Post # 1
My fiancé and I have discussed this a few times because it’s a large part of my childhood. I actually have 2 questions for y’all.
Basically, my mom was a serial cheater and after every indiscretion, my parents would sit me down and explain they were divorcing because “mom is in love with another man.” I felt this was very destructive and hurtful, especially once I started putting together the pieces. The first time this happened I was around 8, and continued until I was 18 when my parents finally got divorced.
I explained to my Fiance that sometimes I wish they didn’t tell me, that they could’ve just separated and told me “it wasn’t working out.” Why share such intimate details with a child?
Fiance said he would want to know details, and would also cut off whichever parent was unfaithful. I have very low contact with my mother but feel bad cutting ties 100% though I have really negative feelings toward her.
So, my questions:
1) Should parents tell their children about infidelity within the marriage? Does the age of the child matter (disclosing infidelity at an age where a child can understand what that is)?, and
2) Would you forgive a parent who was unfaithful toward your other parent? Or should the child just “stay out of it” because the relationship is between the parents, even though it does affect the child? * Obviously this question is very subjective and depends on a lot of factors *
Post # 3
Absolutely not. I was 18 when my mom cried to me one day that my dad had an affair and I hate that she did that. I think it was so selfish of her. I get that she was trying to confide in someone but that shouldnt have been her daughter. Even at 18. Not something children should know about their parents. I love both of my parents and have a great relationship with them especially my mom but I get angry whenever I think of that and think it was really shitty parenting on her part. I love my dad but of course couldnt look at him the same after she told me.
Post # 4
I think if the child is old enough and actually asks the parents, then they should answer honestly. However, under most circumstances, I think its unfair to a child and can taint their relationship with the cheating parent.
Post # 5
Kids should be left out of it, grown adults are another story. Parents shouldn’t hide reality from grown adults but they shouldn’t use their kids as friends, support, or weapons.
Post # 6
I would want to know why, as children have a tendency to blame themselves when they don’t know/understand the reason for why things happen (obviously they shouldn’t say things like “mommy is a cheating whore” but they should be honest to the extent that “mommy chose to be with someone else”). How much of the situation they choose to disclose is up to them and dependant on the child’s age/maturity. Whats more, kids may come to resent their parents for hiding the truth from them, especially the one who they find has caused the fallout (in the event of infidelity). I am with your Fiance on this one.
Post # 7
My parents divorced when I was young and I grew up hearing my mother could complain about all my fathers supposed affairs. I didn’t care, not my business. Much later in adulthood I found out they really divorced because of her affair and that it was doubtful I was his until tested. I more mad about being lied to for so long. No, not the child’s business. It is an adult topic that should be kept to the adults
Post # 8
Nope, nope, nope. You never involve children in adult problems. When the child is old enough to understand what an affair is, chances are they will find out on their own and can deal with that as they wish. Even if it wasn’t cheating (they’re divorcing because of anger issues, financial struggles, etc, whatever) still wouldn’t tell the kid. I’d just say “it isn’t working out between your father and I. We both still love you very much and will always be here for you, we just won’t be married anymore”. There is no reason to place blame on either parent and taint the child’s view of them one way or the other.
Post # 9
I’ve thought about this alot. I found out about my dad’s cheating when I was 12 and it forever changed the way I looked at him.
On one hand, I would sometimes wish I never knew about it because then I could just keep thinking he was Super Dad. But I would have found out about his serial cheating and stealing money from my mom for his mistresses eventually, and I personally would have felt even more betrayed that the truth was kept from me and that I was made to keep believing that my dad was someone who he really wasn’t. So at the end of the day, I’m glad I was told. If I wasn’t, sure, I would have had a few more years of “ignorance is bliss” — but the later impact of the cold, hard truth coming down on me would’ve been so much more devastating. Not only would I have lost faith in my dad, but I would have lost faith in every single person who knew who he really was and chose not to tell me.
But as you’ve said, this is totally subjective and every single person is different in terms of how they would react to things. So my story won’t apply to everyone.
Post # 10
I agree with 100%.
How cruel sitting you down after every cheateration… I’m sorry thats sick.
Children do not need to know the ugly details. A general things aren’t working is okay. Your children are not there for support, that’s what ADULT friends are for.
Post # 12
I am very close to my dad. He confided in me that my mom was cheating when I was around 11 or 12. Sometimes I wish he hadn’t, but I’d rather find out directly from him than from someone else. It would have really hurt my feelings if he had confided in his brother for example who then let it slip to my cousin who said something about it to me. That would make me feel like “outsiders” knew more about what was going on in my immediate family than I did. My parents eventually divorced when I was 16. My sister is seven years younger than me and we never directly told her but I think she has her suspicions or has heard gossip about it from my dad’s side of the family. I don’t know how she feels about it since it’s obviously not something we talk about. Knowing about it probably did affect my relationship with my mom, but we already didn’t have a very good one (she was also an alcoholic). I think whether or not a parent tells their child(ren) about infidelity is really a case by case situation, depending on their relationship with their child, the child’s age/maturity level, etc.
Post # 13
Although my parents never have affair but I wish my mom never told me anything bad about my dad. We all know things about him but it would be better to keep to herself…..because with her keep telling me what my dad did wrong, or how he doesn’t treasure me…. as a teenager, I cannot help but ……….lose respect to him…
Kids should stay out of all complicated matters….
Post # 14
I don’t think children should be told but if
they are going to be told it should be by the cheating spouse as it is their sin to confess. I see it as spiteful and unnecessary for the person who was cheated on to tell the children.
Post # 15
Children should definitely be left out of it. It isn’t fair at all.
My dad cheated on my mum when I was tiny. When they divorced because of it, I didn’t know why for a long time. Their relationship did not concern children of such a tender age. The only sibling who did know was my brother who was about 18 at the time, but only because he caught my dad. Of course we all know now. My sister who is in her 30s still wants to bury her head in the sand and pretend my dad is a saint, where as the rest of us are open about what he did but still respect him and love him as he is our dad. I hate what he did, but I can’t change it, and I can’t change the fact that he’s my dad.
Anyway. I do not believe you should have been told about your mum’s infidelity. It clearly hurt you at the time, it wasn’t fair of them to bring you into problems in their relationship at such a young age, no matter which parent was in the wrong.