At the time of DDay1 the children were:
Oldest – 27 (and had been on her own a few years)
Youngest – 14 (she was the one who discovered the LTA)
Both know nothing of subsequent DDays or the cyberstalking that lead to last year’s Cease and Desist
For example, how did learning about the affair affect their relationship with you, and your spouse?
They were shattered. The youngest at 14 still living at home and about to enter high school was a train wreck. She became explosive. She was the one who had to tell me and send me dozens of photos [many pornographic] of them together, together nude, nudes they sent each other, screenshots of sextings, etc.
Have they suffered from depression or behavioral issues after learning about the betrayal?
The oldest I wouldn’t know as she lives on her own. She’s been very distant since DDay1. The youngest has been in regular IC ever since (she was on the books with an IC shortly prior due to that being a condition of Accutane treatment with her dermatologist)
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?
The youngest yes – she has serious trust issues with just about everything and everyone. She’s lost a few friendships over it since DDay1.
Have they abandoned one parent or the other?
The oldest abandoned us both to an extent. I don’t think she’s ever forgiven me for staying and has mentioned to me she’d never forgive him for the LTA. We see her now only on holidays and weddings and such. She’s polite. The youngest to an outsider looking in has no issues. But you can still feel the tension at times. Shortly after DDay and for about 6 months prior she wouldn’t even be in the same room with WH. One time she walked home 5 miles from a volunteer type job so she wouldn’t have to call WH for a ride.
How do they feel about marriage and/or having kids now?
The oldest doesn’t mention it. The youngest wants marriage and children. But isn’t even ready yet.
Have they taken up dangerous responses such as cutting themselves, drug use, or becoming promiscuous?
The oldest I wouldn’t know as she’s been on her own. The youngest did it all. Cutting, drinking, smoking, drugs. She became sexually active at the time. She engaged in various reckless behaviors. She lost all her "good" friends and started with the "wrong" crowd. She’d stay out all hours of the night – I’d be driving streets of our small town at 1, 2, 3am looking for her. She was horrific – argumentative, belligerent, explosively violent. Her one bedroom wall had no more drywall due to her various punching/kicking tantrums. At times keeping her safe overshadowed any attempt at healing myself. She’s 19 now and that behavior is in the past. But it was a very rough 3 years.
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?
N/A – they not only know but were the ones who discovered it and had to tell me.
Do you feel that anything positive came out of it for them?
Hell no. Their lives were shattered – especially the teen.
How have you explained or dealt with the affair to your kids?
The oldest – I explained my decision of why I stayed. She’s never forgiven me and has lost all respect. The youngest and I talk about it from time to time. Less frequently now. I still maintain staying was the right thing at the time. My teen would have been worse had I not. At the time I sacrificed myself for her. While it was the hardest thing for me – I believe it was in her best interest. I resent that I had to do that.
How have you controlled exposure to the details of the affair?
Impossible – my children had all the evidence. All the horrific, damaging and pornographic evidence and had to be the ones to give it to me. I hope they have deleted it from their devices. I hope they no longer look at it.
What therapy or medications or other treatment have been a result of their learning about the infidelity?
I can only speak for the youngest here. She’s been in IC ever since and on various medications.
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 discussed things age appropriately with them. I was open and honest. I didn’t use the oldest as my therapist nor did I whine to the youngest. I hid my tears as I didn’t want her to have the guilt for having to tell me. Now we discuss things generically about trust and relationships.
Have the kids become weapons in the marriage?
My baby lost her innocence over this. And while WH and I are in a good place, had it not been for that child needing all the stability she could get – I’d have walked.
I resent like Hell what they did to my baby. They killed her innocence. They put that child through Hell.
Right or wrong – when I finally did tell OBS and sent him every freaking thing that I had – I made sure he knew my then 14 year old daughter not only found it but had to be the one to tell me/send it. She is forever scarred.
In a recent conversation of the LTA with WH I mentioned that it is convenient for me to "blame" LTAP more than him. Because of what was done to our teen. It isn’t convenient for me to be venomous towards him. It convenient for me to never forgive LTAP. There is not enough retribution in the world for what was done to my children.
Interesting questions. I tried to temper my answers. I can’t stress enough how this destroyed my children - particularly the youngest. I won’t go on a quest for the pound of flesh they are owed. But the dark fantasy of it occasionally allows me to keep going.
The destruction of me pales in comparison to the destruction of them. I am strong enough to rebuild myself. They are collateral damage in someone else’s sick game. They were never a thought. My then sweet 14 year old – she’s a changed person. I can’t stress this enough.
They hurt my teen far more than they hurt me. Simply because I was strong. They were innocents. And all I had left in me [which wasn’t anything] I used to care for my teen. They used their power to destroy her. I used what was left of mine to hold her while she had nothing left. I resent that now. I resent that I had to do that.
I resent that while WH and LTAP took that LTA underground I was dealing with an out of control teen. By the Grace of God she made it through. She graduated high school and now has a good job having completed a trade program through the local community college workforce development program. Only in the past 18 months have I seen glimmers of the girl that used to be. I still at times weep for that loss of innocence.