I’m rarely on here as I was active in 2014-2016 and in 2015 I divorced so I know some of my answers may not feel relevant on this board, but I think this is a grade topic so I wanted to share.
how did learning about the affair affect their relationship with you, and your spouse?
My kids figured out about the affair on their own when my daughter was 13 and son was 11. As far as I can tell, they did the math based on their dad’s behavior in post-D relationships he had. He was dating two women at once (A and C) about a year after we D, and ended up ‘choosing’ one (A) who he moved in with and proposed to. That ended 2.5 years in and he immediately took back up with the other woman he’d been dating (C) at the same time at the start of the relationship. Turns out she taught classes at a gym he started going to about 4-5 months before he and A split. My daughter therefore believes he cheated on A with C which led her to ask me if he cheated on me. It confirmed for her what she felt about him - that he’s what she calls a ‘male homie hopper’ and she lost respect for him. Her brother did as well.
Have they suffered from depression or behavioral issues after learning about the betrayal?
Both have some anxiety related to his A, our divorce, and his behavior post divorce.
Do they express or show any concerns about issues of trust, both as a family, and in general with friends and others outside of the core family?
Nothing specific, other than they basically always assume their dad will cheat on whoever he’s with and both are grossed out by cheaters.
Have they abandoned one parent or the other?
Not abandoned, but both are much closer to me than to him. I’m the reliable parent in their eyes.
How do they feel about marriage and/or having kids now?
We haven’t really talked about this.
Have they taken up dangerous responses such as cutting themselves, drug use, or becoming promiscuous?
My son was pretty depressed a few years ago when he was 9-10, more due to the toxic relationship his dad and A had before they split. It was truly awful and bad for the kids to witness. My daughter has dealt with serious anxiety, PTSD from some things she witnessed when her dad and A were together, and has had battles with self harm (cutting) and disordered eating. She’s on anxiety meds and in therapy and doing well now thankfully.
If your children do not know about the affair(s), do you still see/feel a change in them because of tensions at home between you and your spouse?
Do you feel that anything positive came out of it for them?
How have you explained or dealt with the affair to your kids?
I did not tell them of the A when it happened and we divorced bc they were 5/6 and 7/8 when those events occurred. When my daughter pieced it together and asked if he’d cheated I was honest but gave minimal details.
How have you controlled exposure to the details of the affair?
What therapy or medications or other treatment have been a result of their learning about the infidelity?
They have both done therapy. My daughter still goes and is on anxiety meds. My son goes as needed. They see the same therapist which makes it easier.
What "rules" have you setup regarding the infidelity and the kids? (e.g. "I won't bad mouth their mother/father, but if they ask, I won't lie")
I was very careful when we were still married to try to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible for them. When we divorced we gave them minimal information and no details of what happened due to their ages and my desire not to be seen as poisoning the well. I decided early on that I would always be honest with them and age appropriate so when they asked if there was an affair I said yes and answered basic questions. They have a difficult relationship with their dad on many fronts bc he has continually let them down and acted poorly and they see his behavior and who he is really clearly now. I don’t initiate talking poorly about him, but they are 15 and 13 now and if they want to vent, I let them. I also validate them when they complain about valid things - for example when they’re promised something by him and he doesn’t follow through (sadly common) and they vent, I tell them they’re right to be upset and they should express that to him. My kids and I are very close and open with each other and I also something attend their therapy with them (at their request). Their therapist has reassured me that at their ages I’m right to affirm their instincts when they feel like his behavior is poor or his character is lacking. It’s hard sometimes not to pile on with my own complaints about him, but I hold back. The truth is, people reveal who they are if you’re paying attention, and my kids have been paying attention. I won’t try to gaslight them into doubting their own observations and feelings.
Have the kids become weapons in the marriage?
N/A but in the divorce they have not. Despite my ex being worth less than a dirty tissue to me, we don’t put the kids in the middle and I’m grateful for that. I think it helps that I’m detached from feelings about him aside from being hurt on my kids’ behalf when he hurts them.