Telling Our Kids. Part 3.

We finished reading. We looked around the room. It was one of those suspended moments…a split second of time in which time doesn’t really exist. A moment in which I could see the confusion and hurt and pain in each of their eyes, yet no one yelled, or got up and ran or stomped out of the room.

The oldest, our brilliant former national-merit-scholar son who’d spent time seeking his own way and returned to start a company locally only a year or so before was the first to speak. He fumbled around his words, saying something that sort of tried to bridge the gap between his understanding of his life and what he now knew his life really was; something laced with an attempt at logic for a situation that defies logic. He twisted in his seat and got up to refill his coffee.

Our daughter, number two child, had an interesting, quick insight. She said that so many things made sense now…mom’s craziness wasn’t really so crazy…that she was shocked yet not shocked…that she sensed the discord in our lives but it was so under control…and that she was glad we were going to at least try to work things out.

Number three child, Son-2, was angry. His eyes would NOT meet his father’s eyes. At first, he hid behind some kind of sarcastic dig at his dad, and he pretty quickly told the room he thought I should divorce dad. Then he said it more emphatically, and was pretty disdainful toward me if I stayed with him.

Son-3…our quiet and introspective son…the one who had heard the sobs regularly and imagined all kinds of pain or tragedy around my outwardly visible disintegration…was sad. Just sad. He didn’t meet his dad’s eyes either, but it was less with anger and more with…well, the best word? Sadness.

We got up and the kids hugged me and felt awkward about their dad and we came home.

That afternoon, HUSBAND and I took our daughter and soon-to-be SIL out. It was very important that he know about this since it was now a big part of her life. We felt like it was unfair to not share it with him…what a bombshell to learn ANYWAY, but specifically as you are planning your own marriage with visions and dreams of a future, and your past has just been shattered in some ways. So we told him the gist of the story, with HUSBAND sharing how affairs came to pass and encouraging SIL to make different choices. SIL’s mom and dad had a difficult marriage, filled with alcohol abuse and other women. When he was 7, the marriage ended and he had no relationship with his father. He had looked to HUSBAND as a father-figure, an example of a husband, so it was a sober moment when he realized that even the person he held up as a model was broken. He was very gracious, and encouraged us to continue our counseling and work toward reconciliation if it was possible.

Some days passed, and Son-2, who was home from college for the summer, was staying away from our house and completely distant from HUSBAND. One day, I went into his room and he asked me, no, he sort of yelled at me WHY AREN’T YOU DIVORCING HIM MOM? WHY? He’s an ass…he’s never going to change… HUSBAND came to the door and Son-2 told him to LEAVE! I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU OR TALK TO YOU! HUSBAND honored it, went out the door. I sat on the other bed as Son-2 sobbed and told me what a jerk he was. Son-2 began to recall some events in which his life and HUSBAND’s life had crossed the secret life: That Friend (see prior post) who had been complicit in the last affair was a great cheerleader of Son-2, texting him from time-to-time and supporting him with an occasional gift in the mail, or check for good grades, that kind of thing. That Friend had mentioned to Son-2 that he should plan to come up for the opening of his new building with HUSBAND and me. Except that That Friend had also told HUSBAND that if I didn’t come, SW (slut-whore) could come and he wouldn’t tell. Son-2 didn’t know that, of course-about SW, and mentioned to HUSBAND that That Friend had invited him…and could he go…and HUSBAND had empathically and overbearingly said NO! YOU CAN’T COME! Son-2 had been surprised at his response, and hurt and wondered where that response had come from. Now he knew. He felt so used by HUSBAND and That Friend. He felt so manipulated.

I listened, held his hand as he sobbed.

barely_hanging_on_by_daisukie_chan-d4ua27c

I tried to explain softly that I didn’t KNOW if I would stay married to dad. That I was involved in a process. That I didn’t want to make fast decisions, and had a lot to consider. That there were years of faithfulness and good and that it was so much.

Then Son-2 gave me new information. He told me he’d found porn on his dad’s phone several times.

Porn. On his phone. Several times.

I did not react, but I asked when.

In high school.

Why didn’t you tell me.

You were his wife, Mom.

My mind reeled back. One time…one time…the younger two boys were in middle school…siblings off at college…we were getting into the car…HUSBAND was in the driver’s seat….boys were in the back seat…I was fumbling with my blackberry trying to look at something on the web, which worked so poorly on the BB, and asked HUSBAND if I could use his iPhone…reaching for it as I asked…and when I swiped it there was a PORNOGRAPHIC picture and I LITERALLY shouted THERE IS PORN ON YOUR PHONE!!! He grabbed it from me and closed that page. I was shocked, and did not try to hide my shock from anyone including the boys. IT WAS COMPLETELY, UTTERLY, TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER FOR MY HUSBAND, OUR HOME, OUR WAYS, OUR LIVES. So when he told me that he was so sorry…someone from his office had sent that to him and ‘he was so shocked when he saw it he just closed his phone…he’d meant to delete it and confront the co-worker’…I bought it. I sat down in the car, and he told me how sorry he was, and I looked at the boys and said something mom-like such as “isn’t that disgusting…who would ever…”

 I comforted Son-2, asked him to bear with me, to just support my journey, hugged him tightly and left the room.

Son-2’s words resonated…. Yes. I was his wife.

And I was his mom.

And I was so so stupid.

 

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45 thoughts on “Telling Our Kids. Part 3.

  1. Your story is so well written and so heartbreaking. In the last year a member of our family destroyed his by having an affair. He and his wife separated and divorced. She loves our family. She called the other day sobbing because she missed us at Thanksgiving. Her youngest child does not know about the affair. This child hero worships the dad. What will happen once one of the older siblings tell? Cheating is like kudzu. It smothers, and smothers, and smothers until there is nothing left.. Somehow you are managing to kill that deadly vine. My relative is so sorry. The affair lasted about 6 months but it was enough to destroy a family.

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    1. CHEATING IS LIKE KUDZU. Yes. That is an incredible picture…the way it takes hold…slithers in and through the other plants…looking somewhat lovely, but killing…smothering. I think the only thing that can kill it is facing it with TRUTH. It’s so funny…as we reveal it, any power that the ugliness has over HUSBAND and I just slowly dissipates. Not in a linear fashion…through ups and downs and in and outs. But it is LOSING POWER. Thanks so much for this description. HUGS.

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      1. “We’d rather opt for the illusionary alternative where we hope they’ll return to what we thought they were”. You were never stupid! You were trusting and whatever you saw that was inconsistent with what you believed your husband was, you dismissed it as you are a good and loyal person.
        Hugs

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    2. Yes, this is so true. The affair in itself might not have lasted that long, but the behaviors leading to it and during the affair…are killing the potential of a good marriage. It is the deception and the selfishness. Healing, as so many say is possible, but as so many others say, it will never be the same. I understand the people who leave the marriage. Trust is broken and to many it is not possible to repair.

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  2. Oh my heart is breaking with yours as you relive those painful days. Again your courage in recounting these events and sharing them to help others inspires me. Praise God for His grace, always sufficient, poured down upon you, husband and precious children. Praise Him that He will never leave or forsake us, because without such hope, how could we live? I hope you can feel all the love I am sending you.

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    1. @sixpensejp…..A gift to your family that keeps on giving……Credit to you for finally owning your shit, not many cheaters do. …..Your faithful wife and trusting children can barely believe this story is written about you. No doubt they’re sorry that you made this their story.

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  3. And you know what? The husband is the biggest loser in all this. You’re not the stupid one. Definitely not. HE IS! He is the stupid one for following temptation. He is the stupid one for choosing a few moments of pleasure instead of enjoying his time with his family. No. You’re not stupid. He is!

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  4. So sad for you and the kids. But I’m glad they were told and your husbands lies and disgusting behavior was not hidden from them. He made his bed, and the disdain from his child is only natural. But nonetheless it does not make it any less painful.

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  5. Beautiful. My kids, son 8 and daughter 6, have no clue why their father and I got divorced 5 years ago. I know someday they will ask and I will be completely open and honest about and I am terrified about their reactions. You are NOT stupid, you were his wife, so of course you believed him. That is what we do. He betrayed you.

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  6. So sorry for all the pain. It is so difficult to admit to our children that their life was not exactly the one we planned, or the one we thought we all had. As I wrote briefly about, my husband explained as best he could to our sons what his life was really like. What he had done. Who he really was. Our boys at the time were 20 & 22. One at home, one living abroad. It was difficult enough with the two, I would imagine your agony was double. For me, it was interesting to see my son’s reactions and how their personalities played in. The son that was at home, unfortunately, is the quieter, and as it turned out, angrier one. The older son took it in stride and was mostly concerned for my welfare. In the past two years, my husband has been able to strengthen his relationship with the older son and mend his relationship with the younger. They even attend Buddhist meditation together now. Part of BE’s healing was creating rituals with them that brought them closure spiritually and also provided some new traditions. In the end, I think his father coming clean and seeking recovery has helped our younger son with his own difficulties. It has helped him climb out of his shell and be more honest and open. A little sliver of a silver lining. During this entire process, however, the focus was on my husband and what he did. Not on me and the marriage, since neither of those were to blame for my husband’s behavior. Since our children knew from the beginning, there was no “aha” moment… why I was behaving so traumatized made complete sense and they were both incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate towards me. I was humbled and blessed. Hopefully the example set and lesson learned is that it is better to be truthful, open and honest about who we really are. xxx

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      1. I hope your family is healing and the anger has subsided. It is so very difficult when our reality is splintered. I go back and forth on whether finding out about my husband’s secret life when the children were grown was easier or harder. On the one hand, I think on most days I would have welcomed the ritual of getting them everywhere they needed to be when they were younger, and having that parenting job take precedence over my trauma. On the other, I guess I was glad that we could tackle this as a family and everyone was all in. Either way, it is a really awful form of emotional torture. Much love and my hugs back. ❤

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  7. Trust is the easiest thing to break and the hardest thing to mend. I absolutely could not forgive. I think it’s wonderful that your children have stood by you. That is a wonderful gift. I didn’t get that gift.
    Follow your heart. Hugs.

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  8. I really admire you and your husband for breaking the news to your kids.

    However I feel the most for your 3rd and 4th children. No doubt they’ve felt something off.

    I wonder what will happen to the building and what was the reaction of that friend when the husband revealed that you knew it all.

    Time for your husband to repair all the holes and create new memories in place of tarnished places SW had been in.

    I am so glad that your husband came out of the affair fog quickly.
    Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It is so hard to tell the kids but when they sense something is wrong and they are old enough to understand it’s best. My oldest sensed something was off immediately and asked if we were getting divorced even before my husband mentioned that he wanted one. She’s the quiet one and is still upset with her Dad even after almost two years. Our youngest assumes that since we’re still together that everything is back to normal. Thanks for this post. (((Hugs)))

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  10. It’s awful the twisted perversion that results from betrayal and all those who participate in it. I am so angry at the friend for behaving like he cares for your son while being in an active participant in causing in his family breaking down. No wonder your don feels so devestates and angry. You are a strong, courageous woman. Not stupid- just trustful. None of knew what a damn determent that is to a marriage! But man did our husbands know how to capitalize on our trust for their own selfishness. But look at the cost- why do they never think about it see the cost!! I’m so amazed by you- you truly are incredible!

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  11. Your kids have you. Thank goodness!
    My daughter will never see her dad as the person she thought he was. He did hurt her and her brother and me. She needed a dad, when he had “prior engagements” …he was not there for her when she needed him. But I was and I will always be, just like you. It takes a lot of time and effort from your husband to repair. It will never be really good. He needs to exercise patience and he needs to be humble.
    Hugs

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  12. It is hard to imagine this is happening for real other that in the movies, so I salute your courage. If I was any of your children(a little past 26) I would be on your side and be grateful you choose to be optimistic till am grown and out of the house but would still love both of you to win this test and be healed. Welldone m’am. God will heal your home.

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  13. Wow. That was some intense reading. Our kids are way too young to share this chapter with them. Maybe one day in the future…who knows. However, I do wish sometime they knew as it would explain a lot about why I often look so sad…why Mommy and Daddy argue so much…and also put Daddy into better perspective as they think he is PERFECT, AMAZING, AWESOME…how “Daddy would never leave you Mommy!”..”Daddy would never hurt you like that Mommy”…yeah…the human in me wishes they knew better. Heavy sigh.

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      1. They saw us fighting a lot and have friends with divorced parents. They would ask me if we were getting divorced. They also see it in their sitcom shows where parents are divorced. They are too young to realise the damage that Divorce would cause and how it would negatively impact their lives.

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        1. That must be really tough. So heavy that our babies have to consider this stuff at tender ages when they should be doing the hard work of playing and discovering. I’m sure you are giving them all the love and reassurance you can…keep it up, brave warrior mom! HUGS.

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  14. You were not stupid!!! You were, and still are, a faithful loving wife, and thought your husband was the same, why would the thought every enter your head?
    Your children clearly love you dearly. Poor son 2 being dragged into it.

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