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Tell older kids the truth or spare them?

Katz13 posted 7/14/2020 17:48 PM

Should I tell my 15 year old the truth of his Dad's past PA and current EA? There is a good chance the EAP will soon be a part of my son's life when he stays with his Dad. The EAP spends time and has been for 3 years with my son on many weekends as part of a Scout group doing hikes, camping etc.

He has told others the reason we are splitting is because I want to control what he does and I'm jealous. These people don't know about his past.

I must admit part of my motive stems from anger/revenge and the fact that my son has to be with my STBXH and EAP.

How did you all get over the anger and thirst for revenge?

h0peless posted 7/14/2020 18:22 PM

Before I was a betrayed spouse, I was a betrayed child, and to this day, I resent my Dad for not being truthful about my Mom's behavior and for behaving like a doormat for all those years. I think gaslighting is wrong, even when the person being gaslighted is a minor. Please have enough respect for your kids to tell them the truth.

Justsomeguy posted 7/14/2020 19:05 PM

I am in a sticky situation with this very topic. I have two teen girls. I want to be honest, but my STBXWW would rather not as it would harm her image. I have told her that I will not carry her burden for her. If someone, including my kids ask, I will tell them. We agreed to ask both girls if they wanted to know (I suspect they fo slready) but they said they would rather be kids a little longer. I respect that.

The problem is, things have a habit of coming out and our town isnt huge. Because of my career, I am known by hundreds or even thousands of people and people talk, so the chances are, they will find out from someone.

If I had cheated, I would have sat down with my kids and apologized to them, and come clean. My STBXWW refuses to do this, but I guess cowardice is one of the qualities that led her to cheat. All I know is that it will be a shit show when it happens.

I think the best advice will come from adult children of parents who have faced this issue. Infidelity is messy and there is no way round it. I'll be looking forward to the responses.

Katz13 posted 7/14/2020 19:58 PM

Problem is my STBXH won't talk to our son about it. Plus he thinks his EA is nothing. I don't think he believes it's betrayal unless you have sex. If anything is said, it'll be up to me.

Phoenix1 posted 7/14/2020 21:58 PM

I am a firm believer in age appropriate truth. Always. That doesn't mean any gory details or bashing your WH. It just means you are honest.

My youngest was 16 at time of D, but she was also very mature for her age. I told her the truth, without details, and promised I would never lie if she had questions.

As time went on and she processed things, she started asking questions. True to my word, I never lied to her. Eventually, she learned everything and has repeatedly expressed appreciation for my honesty. She said things she had seen/heard over the years finally made sense. You would be surprised how much they already know. She even shared tidbits with me that helped put some of my own puzzle pieces together.

I told Xhole I would never cover for him with the kids. I didn't bash him, but I always told the kids the truth. The consequences for Xhole is his own fault, not mine for being honest. Xhole doesn't care.

Honesty. Always.

Buffer posted 7/15/2020 04:07 AM

Sorry but yes tell the elder child the full extent of the betrayal by his father.
One day at a time

Ripped62 posted 7/15/2020 04:11 AM

I followed the advice of some of the members here when confronted with this issue. (The comments of Phoenix1 resonated with me.)

I told my children the truth. I tried to use my experiences to teach them about relationships, infidelity, and maintaining one's integrity through the wrongful acts others may introduce into their lives.

[This message edited by Ripped62 at 4:15 AM, July 15th (Wednesday)]

Bigger posted 7/15/2020 04:29 AM

I have a very strong opinion on this issue and was just about to write this long post to share here.
Then I read what Phoenix1 shared.
Couldnít say it any better.
Honesty. Always.

JS84 posted 7/15/2020 05:18 AM

I'd tell. My mother told me when I was 17. I was grateful, mostly because it helped clarify a lot of things for me. Chances are he's going to deal with cheating one way or another in his life anyway. Might as well start learning what the consequences can look like.

At the end of the day though it's up to you. Some parents keep it away from the kids regardless of age. I don't think there's necessarily a wrong choice.

homewrecked2011 posted 7/15/2020 05:20 AM

Yes. My childrenís counselor at the domestic violence Center said that you want to respect them enough to be truthful. And truthful from here on out, as dysfunctional families have way too many secrets and the children grow up unable to decipher whatís really going on around them. The counselor and I gently explained that Dad has gotten a girlfriend and itís completely unacceptable behavior to me.

They had a lot to process in the following weeks, but tgey ended up better than if they had been gaslighted all these years.

WhoTheBleep posted 7/15/2020 06:55 AM

I overheard my 11yo talking to STBX on the phone a few weeks ago. She was crying and saying she doesn't like it when he says mean things about me. And that she is confused and doesn't know what to believe. Turns out he was telling her that I was responsible for the death of our 13 year old dog 2 years before (who had been in kidney failure for 8 months before I had to make that decision to let her go). He said I force fed her the wrong foods and walked her too much. Mind you, stbx doesn't even live in my house... How could he possibly know what goes on here?

Anyway, I made the decision then and there to start telling her the truth. (my IC had told me not to say anything. That is the one thing I disagreed with her on. I followed her advice, but never fully agreed) I did not tell DD the details of his affairs, but I did tell her that he lied to me for many many years, and that I found hundreds of files on a computer that proved it. That there is something wrong with him and I don't know why he lies, but the only way to deal with it is to emotionally detach, because he is sick and he won't change.

I do not want him messing with my kids brains the way he did to me for all those years. I will not have my kids feeling crazy and thinking that they are crazy. I will not have my kids feeling off balance 24/7. I'm going to tell them the truth. I'm going to tell them what reality is. They already see who their father is in so many ways, but they don't know how to make sense of it. I'm an adult and it took me 19 years to figure it out. I will not let him ruin my kids.

I am in agreement. Tell the kids.

[This message edited by WhoTheBleep at 6:56 AM, July 15th (Wednesday)]

LadyG posted 7/15/2020 07:30 AM

When I decided that I would be leaving WH, we agreed that we would sit down with our adult children and explain to them what was going on and that we were separating.

STBXWH then went behind my back and filled the boys heads with lies about me and omitted to mention that he was than currently in an affair with OW. He painted me as crazy.

My youngest then 22 was sucked into WH affair and started treating me terribly, just like WH and kept his fatherís affair a secret from me. He felt his father was justified in starting an affair since I was so awful and was leaving him anyway.

When the time came, I approached WH about sitting down with the children to explain the truth before I moved out and he refused and became aggressive towards me.

My children slowly learned the awful truth and started to resent their father for filling their heads with lies.

No wonder WH didnít want to have an honest conversation with our children. He then admitted that he had told the children months ago and they knew everything. All his side.

There are always two sides to every story.

I am fortunate that my children are older and knew their father was abusive and unfaithful. They often questioned, why I hadnít divorced him earlier. It would have saved us all those extra years of suffering.

Sit down with your children and ask them what they would like to know. Mine still have difficulty hearing about the worst parts.

WH still continues to lie and play victim. They have lost all respect for him and have very little to do with him now.

Tigersrule77 posted 7/15/2020 07:45 AM

I recently told my older son (15) about why his mother and I divorced. I did so, because I am strongly considering M again, and my GF may be moving in with us. I wanted my son to understand that M is supposed to be for life. That is the expectation. And I would have only married once, but for his mother's multiple A's. I didn't go into details, just said that she was unfaithful and didn't want to be married to me. He didn't ask many questions, and I don't think he wants to think about that much, as he loves his mother and that shouldn't change. I plan to let him know he can always ask me questions or talk about it, but I'm not going to push him.

EvenKeel posted 7/15/2020 08:21 AM

As a child in this situation - I was told the truth. That did not dampen my image of my father. He did that on his own (and continued to throughout my life).

As a parent of two that went through this. My children did not (and still do not) want to know. I respected that. It has been 10 years since my D and they figured out on their own who their father is.

So I have done it both ways. In both cases in the end the child knows what type of person their parent is.

Your parent is your parent - mistakes, flaws, wrongdoings and all.

Chaos posted 7/15/2020 11:42 AM

IMHO you tell him that you are divorcing because of his dad's infidelity.

countrydirt posted 7/17/2020 06:01 AM

I just told my sons yesterday. The oldest is 29, second is 26 and youngest is 16. The 16 year old is the only one still at home. I gave them plenty of information and the 16 year old had a flashback to seeing stuff on his mom's computer 4 years ago that let the then 12 year old know something was going on but his immature worldview wouldn't let him make sense of his mom's behavior.

The older two are pretty distraught (one in California, one in Germany) and will likely call their mom today and let her know how they feel.

I figure the humiliation she has put me through ought to be shared. She told me last night that I probably didn't need to tell them, I just looked at her and laughed. She probably didn't need to fuck someone else either.

LoveTKO posted 7/17/2020 09:08 AM

I always believe in telling the truth to your children age appropriately and compassionately. I don't believe in confiding everything to your children, even if grown. My sons were 25 and 20 at Dday. I told them the truth but also told them at the same time that this was between their father and me and I would not feel betrayed if they spoke to their father. I didn't dump on them. My younger son didn't speak to his father for 8 months but my older one saw his Dad right away (he told him off but they kept communication open). I think it's important for so many reasons. They need to have complete trust in you..they will lose that if lied to. My two cents.

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