We've sat them down and told them that daddy did something awful that really hurt mommy and that we are working through some things. This means at times we'll be angry and at times we'll be sad and at times we'll be really happy and that at all those times we are still a family and love them. I think it helped them to have a reason for the turmoil.
I remember being by myself washing dishes once without really realizing it I was crying the tears just rolling down my face. Then my oldest, who knows now, but not then, came in and said, "why does washing dishes make you so sad, you cry every time you do?". I would just tell him I was thinking about something sad.
It's hard finding space for yourself during something like this. It must be especially hard since you have a seven year old. My heart goes out to you.
I just read your first post, it seems like you are in the same situation I was in at that time. ALL I can say is (((HUGS))). I know how you feel.
We told them age appropriate, as much as possible. We did not give details of who, how long, etc. My husband basically said, 'Daddy was a liar. Daddy has been lying to all of you, but daddy doesn't lie anymore.' I told them, 'Daddy had a girlfriend. He knows he made a big, big mistake, and I am forgiving him. Mommy and Daddy will both be sad sometimes, but we are strong and we love each other and we are going to be ok.' Something like that.
Our kids have been very supportive - they all handled it extremely well, and have actually seemed to be healthier now that we know we can all just talk about how we feel about things. We are 99% of the time very respectful to one another - for that 1% of the time that we're not, we don't have to be in terror of accidentally traumatizing them.
At the end of the day, I do believe that people, especially children, always handle truth better than half-truth or lies. Particularly if you are trying to break a cycle. The truth brings freedom. You don't have anything to be ashamed of. I'm so sorry you're going through this.
The first week after DD, I managed to muddle through, but the second week, I had to call on people to help me. I'm blessed to have a few girlfriends who jumped into action...between the three of them, they took my kids for 3-4 days. One of them literally just dropped everything and came to get them. I should mention that my oldest has some special medical needs, and it's no small feat to take her for an entire day, much less several.
Last week, my WH took 2 days off to help me. Now we're in the 4th week, and school started yesterday. I feel like I could sleep for 48 hours straight, but my mind won't let me rest. The thoughts and emotions are always there...haunting me.
I'm not saying keeping the A from your kids isn't the right thing to do in your case, but examine your options carefully. Openness and honesty are virtues that cultivate deep bonds, and the family bond is very delicate right now. It can be very easy to sew the seeds of resentment in kids. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you and your partner do it together with love.
[This message edited by EchoLawrence at 6:39 PM, August 8th (Thursday)]