Telling Our Kids. Part 2.

We both agreed, telling our kids was essential. It was still early on in the process of discovery…just 33 days…

At this point, we had been to two different counselors. We got their insight into telling our kids (18-26). We decided to write out the story, to make sure we covered what we wanted to share and didn’t get distracted or bunny-trail into other areas. We designated who would say which parts…wrote it into our copies…pressed print…

Seriously.

Here HUSBAND and I were, writing out a presentation to our children about the lie their lives had been. It was surreal, unbelievable. It felt to me as if I was watching someone else’s life, surely, not mine. Looking back, I have no idea how I was part of this process…bleeding and broken and shattered as every part of my being felt.

Our not-yet-engaged daughter and her boyfriend came to town for our meeting, but only daughter joined us that morning, along with the three boys. We traveled over to my precious and very SAFE office…a small, restored home in a revitalized area of our town…bringing donuts and milk and OJ…I brewed coffee…we sat on the comfy chairs in the “living room” and looked into the eyes of these most-beloved children. I could scarcely believe the scene.

And HUSBAND began. He began by saying that he had some really hard things to tell them, and he needed them to listen, and to not ask any questions until the end. He also told them we had prepared our words in writing, because we had thought them out carefully and wanted to make sure we shared the important things.

HUSBAND – This will be difficult to hear but we are confident that the best thing in the world when facing tough situations is to get them out of the dark…to kill the power that secrecy and uncertainty have over us, and to commit to the actions and attitude changes that are required for healing and restoration.

First thing we want you each to know is that we love each of you, completely and unconditionally.

ME- Parent love is a bit different than couple love. A wise woman once said the difference in the two is that a mom/dad would not hesitate to jump in front of their child to take a bullet. That same mom/dad MIGHT jump in front of their spouse to take a bullet. It doesn’t mean the couple love isn’t real, it is just different because it is two, independent, adult people who bring in their own “stuff” and perspectives and backgrounds and needs and wants into the relationship and sometimes those things can make the love feel dim.

HUSBAND – We married, as you know, 27 years ago. We married quickly and we thought we had tons in common because some of the “outward” things we shared-parents who were still married to each other, hard-working dads, moms who stayed home mostly with us kids, financially secure, etc. We walked down that aisle and said “We will…for better or for worse…for richer or for poorer…in sickness and in health…til death do us part.” We had guests there who had the opportunity to share any concerns, and when they did not, the Priest declared, “What God has put together let no one put asunder.” And our life together began. It wasn’t easy for us from the start. We had some quick differences that were kind of big…I spent many weekends away for pleasure to hunt and fish. Mom was pretty lonely pretty quickly. And I had some struggles with old habits that included marijuana and personal time and friends. But we worked those things out, and then decided we would try to have a baby…which happened immediately upon our “trying.” SON-1 was born when we had been married only one year and four months. Four months later, my ten year high school reunion took place, and I went while Mom stayed home with our 8 month old. It was a rough night…I did not come home til really really late, but explained to mom that I had really tied one on and slept it off in my car in the parking lot of the event. Since I already had one DUI on my record, it made sense and mom believed me.

ME – Life went on…we had Daughter…we had Son-2…we had Son-3. We faced some tough things – Dad’s DUI, economic difficulties, failed investments. And we had some really amazing and fun times…holidays and Disney trips, homeschool plays and soccer games and birthday parties and renovating houses. There was lots of good…we grew closer as a family and we sought to have God in the center, praying together, reading scripture (remember struggling to get through Leviticus and Deuteronomy)??? We made school decisions and car decisions and had a couple accidents and surgeries and braces and recitals and championships and animals to love and animals to bury.

And then the last few years, we both began to realize in our own ways that we were not spending much time talking to each other. We weren’t spending much time having fun with each other – most of our fun came when spending time with children-related activities. Both of us spent less and less time reaching out for each other for anything other than the “work” of the household. And both of us were beginning to wonder what was going to happen over the next couple years as our last children graduated and left our home although we rarely talked about it together. I tried to talk to dad a few times about my concerns. Dad would listen, not respond much and usually say something like, “I’ll do better.” Simultaneously, dad was coming to the conclusion that he was really dissatisfied, but he did not tell me.  We did not fight much, as a matter of fact, we did not interact much at all.

HUSBAND – There were some great times in the interim during the last year. You guys remember: fun holidays and dinners. A quick trip to South Carolina to help Daughter move, and senior photos for Son-3. A new condo for Son-2 and building furniture in St Augustine. There were nights out with Son-1, and US Men’s Soccer games. There was moving your grandparents into our home. There was National Honor Society Induction, football season (Go NOLES!!!), David Crowder Concert…Soccer…Ranch trips…visits to RAM…Holidays and Anniversaries…bowl games…National Champs…Senior Night…a new business…office renovation…

ME – Then, on April 12 of this year I got an email from an anonymous person who indicated they had seen dad with another woman in what appeared to be an inappropriate relationship on Feb 3, 2014. He told me it was true.

This started a journey for us. A journey in which dad told me that he was not happy and that he thought he wanted a divorce. A journey which started with an adamant denial of any affair- just a friendship, but eventually, the admittance to having an affair for the past-10 months. An affair that was emotional and physical, and that dad wasn’t sure at first he wanted to stop. Finally, on 4/28/14, he did stop the affair.

HUSBAND – Eventually, more came out. Over the next months, I admitted another affair with the same woman that began with my ten-year reunion, when mom and I had been married less than two years. It was someone I had known in high school…never dated, but had a brief casual sexual relationship with the year after high-school, and then invited to attend our wedding. I never told mom that she had been a former sexual partner. Not too long after this affair ended, I had a one-night stand…And then I had another affair a couple years later, lasting about a year, with a woman that I worked with. This last affair ended up going beyond just sex – the truth is I was even thinking of divorcing mom to have a future with the other woman. The details are devastating, shocking, painful and overwhelming for mom and we are working hard with counselors and a couple friends to get to a place of peace and forgiveness. I am very sorry now, and am ashamed. In looking back, we both realize several things:

ME –

  • Affairs do not just happen. There are all kinds of subtle precursors, including
    • Society’s casual view of sex, and a constant mocking of fidelity in all realms.
    • Cultural norms including adults who have affairs and are still loved and respected without consequence, the constant emphasis and lauding of “personal satisfaction,” and “doing your own thing,” Dad’s family emphasis on personal pleasure seeking…all while there is a huge lack of talk and understanding about the holiness of our bodies…and of sex…and holiness of the sanctity of marriage.
    • The ability to disassociate behavior from who you are as a person. Dad never saw himself as “that guy.” He did not integrate that he was my husband and your father, and also a cheating man. He looked at cheaters with disdain. But he was a cheater.
    • The concept that you can have things happen outside your marriage that don’t affect your marriage…as if one has nothing to do with the other. Marriage is a covenant and what affects one part directly and hugely impacts the whole. The lies and deceit surrounding dad’s ability to carry off these affairs affected every part of our marriage.
    • Early and past sexual relationships, even before marriage, are damaging and dangerous to a marriage.
    • The ease of communication these days: FB, FB messenger, Glide, Skype Snapchat and other forms of communication that are nearly untraceable and can be accessed mobile along with on the computer. They create the ability to be in contact with no one else knowing, even if you are sitting in the same room next to them.

HUSBAND –

  • I did not flee from the opportunity for sexual sin, from adultery, in our marriage. Instead I flirted: by inviting a woman that I had had a sexual relationship with to our wedding, by leaving mom and going to the ten-year reunion, by expressing interest with a woman on a trip, by engaging with a woman at work, by talking to the same women I had already had an affair with earlier in our marriage. Then, I flirted by facebook messaging her, and giving her my cell phone number and then by taking calls, and calling her back. And quickly each time the flirting turned in to an adulterous situation and/or a full-fledged affair.
  • I am really good at deception and covered my tracks well. Mom had no idea, none at all, and wasn’t looking or tracking anything. She asked me about things…and I lied. And mom believed me every time. I could never lie to her about anything else, but was very successful at lying to her about sex with other women.

I did a terrible thing that is super difficult to recover from, and mom is not to blame in any way. This behavior started early in our marriage, and affected every part of our lives. It was always there between us…but I was convinced that since mom did not know, it could not be affecting her, or our marriage. I know now that the early affairs destroyed our true intimacy, and the low-lying hurt, anger and disappointment mom had was due to my lies. Mom always felt unloved by me…she tried talking to me, and pursuing me.  The situation made her confused, and sometimes hurt and sometimes angry. You kids saw that. You saw her anger toward me and her sharpness. She had no idea what the real source of the distance was between us. Mom thought it was her. We attended counseling from time-to-time, and I never revealed my affairs, or my lies. After becoming a Christian, I confessed to a men’s group (“I was unfaithful.”)  I thought I had really overcome the behavior, and for the next years, I pursued God and we had a good family life, but I never told mom. For 18 years, I did not engage in the behavior, and for about 16 of those years, we were pretty happy and enjoyed each other overall, yet there was a gap that she could never quite figure out. Then I did it again.

ME – As the story has unfolded, I have experienced shock and pain and devastation. Son-2 and Son-3 saw this as I would be sobbing, or go out of the house and drive, or stay in my room all day in tears.

HUSBAND –This pack of lies has been between us for 25 years of our 27 year marriage. It was the “space” between us that impacted our intimacy. It was the wall that existed that Mom was always battling and never knew. After I broke, after the truth was out, I looked at Mom, and said “I am so sorry. And I love you so much.” And for the first time, Mom knew it was REAL.

ME – The damage to me as a woman is enormous. There is all kinds of data that shows that marital betrayal affects the betrayed and they suffer PTSD. The consequences for adultery, for having an affair, are huge and it will take gigantic commitment for us to recover. It will be a journey to rebuild trust. The very core of the relationship has been fractured, and trust is nonexistent right now. We have excellent counselors and a small group of mentor couples who we are leaning on heavily and we are hopeful that we will stay together. But it is one day at a time, and I cannot say with certainty that I will stay married to dad at this point. It is extremely painful for the betrayed spouse, and will be a very very long journey. That’s why we are telling you…we need your help and your support. And we need you to understand the TRUTH.

HUSBAND – For our possible recovery, I need you to know what I did. I need you to know how ashamed and sorry I am, and what I put your mom through. I need you to love her and to understand that I love her and that I treated her wrongly for a long, long time. Mom is my beloved, I adore her and I cherish her. I need you to never treat mom with anything but love and respect, and to know that she is a fantastic woman of faith to agree to try to work through this. Many women throw their husbands out. Most punish their spouses. Mom has done none of this.

ME – In the bigger picture, and equally important for us to talk to you about is communication. We have learned that we had some very unhealthy communication patterns and were dealing with each other from the mind-side of our brain v the emotion/heart-side of our brain – and that is how we have communicated with you. That is fine in business, but it is not the side of the brain that we should deal with the people that we love. We are reestablishing the patterns with which we listen, hear, process and react and the intimacy that we are developing is nothing short of astounding. You all have learned from US your patterns of communication, and it is not healthy. We want you to know this. We want you to have healthier ways to communicate and to build intimacy with your cherished ones. While this is NOT the cause for the affairs, the lack of emotional and physical intimacy in our marriage was one fissure. Our intimacy was doomed with the lies and deceit that dad was carrying, but our communication patterns were also damaging.  We NEVER want to see any of our children go through the unbelievable pain of an affair. It is nearly unbearable.

HUSBAND – So…here we are. We want you in this fight with us. We need your prayers, your support, and your grace as part of our support system while we heal from this grievous situation.

ME – This has helped us realize that we love each other deeply. And we love each of you so darn much it hurts. We are a family. We have warts and lumps and dark places and sadness. But we also have joy, and relationship, and safety, and dreams and commitment. We have each other. We are so blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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36 thoughts on “Telling Our Kids. Part 2.

  1. Once again thank you for your honesty and transparency. I am confident you sharing these intimacies will provide healing for others. Praise God for the grace He has continued to shower on you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Even reading the words now is strange, Kaye. I can’t believe how we function through the pain and devastation. I am so grateful that HUSBAND was remorseful and quickly began to build empathy for the shitstorm of a life he’d created…and all that goes with it. HUGS.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wish we had told our kids this well. Your Husband seemed to have gotten his broken behaviour so quickly after discovery. Beautiful. I hope others in the early stages of discovery find your post and learn from it to tell their children in such a mature and realistic way. Thank you for sharing xxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes…in reading other stories, I see how quickly he did. Between April 12 and April 28, he was still in contact with his AP and thinking he would end things with me – doing the MC dance for show, etc. But somehow, on 4/29 when I read the full letter and knew the (truth) of the affair (truth…because there were more affairs and stuff to come out), he semi-broke. Then after he gave me (full) affair disclosure 5/25, he really broke…I could see it and he changed. Dramatically. I am thankful for that relatively fast timeline. HUGS.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Our timeline is so similar it’s frightening. Husband was in constant contact from the time he got back from training March 8 and wanting to end things with me and her move here (she came here April 9 to visit him) to my husband breaking on April 30, 2014 and telling the OW it was over the next day. All throughout contact he went back and forth telling me he was sorry and wanted his family and then she kept reeling him back in. He was so confused and conflicted. He is now remorseful and trying to keep us on track with our healing.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. He sees the pain he’s caused when I break down. Not sure if he really “sees himself”. I think he’s separated himself from the person who did those things. He treats me better, not that he treated me horribly, but he doesn’t put me down jokingly anymore to make himself feel better. He knows he’s been given a gift of a second chance with someone who didn’t have to give it to him. We don’t speak often of the affair mainly because I’m done making him feel guilty about it. It’s over and done. She’s gone forever. He knows there is only one chance he will be given.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. To sixpence. Once your infidelity was out did you start to feel a real sense of relief? To finally be able to lead the life of truth and honesty and no longer have the deceit eating away at you ?
    My Husband felt so scared at first then slowly the relief came. Today he is liking himself more than he has ever done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow,Tempted. I didn’t feel strong. Just utterly broken. Almost like my only lifeline was this tenuous, tiny strand called truth. I have so much to say about this as the story goes on…so much I discovered about me, and about our life, and about things I could never see. HUSBAND’s speaking in honesty and clarity has been really instrumental in the process for all of us. HUGS.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I
    Wish Thats what all the wayward spouses would get- the need for honestly! Just get it all out – I
    Hate that they convince themselves they are protecting us, but it is still so much about protecting themselves. The thing about truth is that it will come out. I
    Would much rather get it from a remorseful husband than a spiteful ow or find it myself!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Awww you typed it up and pressed print… Now you sound like my world. Oh my little spreadhsheets.

    This is very honest. I would have trouble reading this out loud but by that time I’m guessing you were so raw there was… Nothing less to burn

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This was beautiful way of handling a terrible thing. We told our older two children (mid-older teens at the time) after some debate. In the end there was no way around it. The whore sought them (and me) out on social media. She bullied, harassed and revealed gory details of the affair. Things no child should have to read about their father and another woman. At one point we were forced to notify the school, after she breached a secure social media group.

    To those who don’t think children should ever be told, regardless of their age, I would say this. They know more than you think they know. Kids aren’t as quick to buy the lies, to believe in the stories. They feel the absence/distance (both emotional and physical) of the cheating parent so acutely. More than we know. I believe we OWE IT to them. Our kids heard the truth. They had imagined much worse and we were able to correct some misconceptions. They heard a broken-hearted, but united front. They heard their parents talking about their plans to forgive and move forward. They learned about grace, mercy, forgiveness. They learned about trying, failing and grieving. And as they get older, they will hear about how to avoid making the same mistakes in their own lives. They will learn about boundaries. They will learn about connection. Putting family first and making your spouse a priority. I pray for all of our children as they grow up into their own adult lives.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. How incredibly powerful. It makes me ILL that these sick people will use our children to wreak more havoc, but it sounds like you and your husband have created a very solid plan of moving forward in honesty and openness. They do know more than we know…and they are injured in this whole mess too. It is powerful that you have included them in the healing, and given them tools moving forward to address deep challenges in their own lives. HUGS.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. To your husband. How did you justify cheating on your wife so early in your marriage? As you moved onto other affairs what did you tell yourself. Could you manage if your wife cheated? I have read blogs by betrayed men and their hearts break just as easily. I am not digging at you. Your loving wife has given you such a gracious gift. I just am so curious.

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    1. I could never justify it, but I believe I rationalized it by a cultural “man code” I grew up and worked around. This kind of behavior was almost glorified as long as you kept it straight around the house and under wraps. This can’t be further from the truth. Lies spawn lies, and is an ever increasing burden to remember lies, stories, who’s intertwined and who isn’t but you had to use them to pull off your lie. So you have to involve an innocent friend to cover your deceit, and it just goes on.

      I think I would have been shattered if the roles had been reversed. Mostly because of my pride, after all, I’m such a ladies man. Bunk!!!

      Now I could deal with it because I’ve have the awesome example of grace and love. I’m also confident that my wife loves me dearly, I don’t deserve to even hold her flip flops

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are amazing to have shared such a private and difficult conversation with us. Thank you for your honesty. I hope you are able to share the reactions of your children and how they are coping with THEIR new reality. Sending you love and strength. SWxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get such incredible strength from each of you, and can only hope that someone might draw an idea, or strength or hope from something that I’ve experienced. None of has any idea what or how or when or where to do ANYTHING when all this unfolds, and if we can help each other…maybe… Big HUGS.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Powerful words. I can only imagine how your kids reacted to the news, but I agree that the truth is important to help all of you heal and to help them as they have their own relationships. Since my oldest is only 5, there is no talk in our house, but I do wonder if I will ever tell them. I also relate to a lot of what you say here. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, Alli, I would not try to little ones. I think the bigger reality is this is now part of the history of your marriage, of your lives, and as you grow as a family, it should not be hidden or ignored. Not exactly sure how that happens, but you will know when the moments come and you can chose a moment of illumination or hiding. I will be writing some over the next few weeks about revelations amongst my family of origin…how it was handled…and how it actually set me up for some of the realities in my own adult life. HUGS.

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