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Dr. Harley on telling the children:

Originally Posted by Dr Bill Harley
The same can be said about telling children about an affair. My experience with the positive outcomes of hundreds of families where an affair has been exposed to children has led me to encourage a betrayed spouse not to fear such exposure. In fact, to mislead children, giving other false explanations as to why their parents are not getting along, causes children to be very confused. When they finally discover the truth, it sets an example to children that dishonesty is sometimes acceptable, making them the judge of when that might occur.

An affair is an attack on children as well as the betrayed spouse. And it's true that children are deeply affected by this form of irresponsible behavior. But it's the act of infidelity that causes children to suffer, not the exposure of it. Facts point us toward solutions. Illusion leads us astray. That's true for children as well as adults.
here

Originally Posted by Dr Bill Harley
Q: So, you do suggest telling our 10 year old son? Is this more than he can handle? He never saw any real unhappiness as my husband and I had a very low conflict marriage. I have been protecting our son from this truth. He still has hope that his dad is going to come home.
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A: As for your son, the truth will come out eventually, even if you get back together again. And your son won't be emotionally crippled if he hears the truth. It's lies and deception that cripple children. He should know that your husband is choosing his lover over his son's mother. It's a fact. He's willing to ruin a family unit all for what.

When I first started recommending openness about an affair, I wasn't sure what would happen. But I did it because I knew it was the right thing to do. Now I know that for most couples it marks the beginning of recovery.


Originally Posted by Dr Bill Harley
The reason that children should know about an affair is that exposing it to the light of day (letting everyone know), helps give the unfaithful spouse a dose of reality. An affair thrives on illusion, and whatever a betrayed spouse can do to eliminate the illusion is justifiable. Mold doesn't grow well in sunlight.
here

Originally Posted by Dr Bill Harley
Q. How honest should I be about the A? (they are 7 and under)

A. Tell your children as much as you can about their father's affair, and how it affects you. There are some counselors and lawyers that strongly disagree with me on this issue, but I have maintained that position for over 35 years without any evidence that children are hurt by it. They're hurt by the affair, not by accurate information regarding the affair. Just make sure that you don't combine accurate information with disrespectful judgments. For example, you can say that the OW has taken their father away from you, but you should not say that she is home-wrecker (or worse).
here

Originally Posted by Dr Bill Harley
My basic approach to life is that radical honesty is valuable on many different dimensions. It keeps us out of trouble, it helps others understand us, and it helps others avoid the same mistakes we have made. Letting your children know the details of your husband's affair would help them in all three areas.

The more your children know about your husband's affair, the more careful he will be to avoid them in the future.

The more your children know about his affair, the more they will understand what you are going through in your recovery (by the way, you are doing very well -- keep up the good work!).

Being radically honest about your husband's affair with your children would also help them avoid affairs themselves. How it happened and how could it have been prevented is a great object lesson for children. I learned that I was vulnerable for an affair when I learned about my grandfather's affairs. The extraordinary precautions I've taken were directly related to what I learned about him.

It's the approach I've always taken, and while it's difficult, especially for the WS, there's much more upside to it than downside.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


Messy #2898708 05/11/17 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Messy
I feel like this was a huge mistake.

Believe me, telling them was no mistake. Lying to them was a mistake. You have now corrected that mistake by telling them the truth. Are they upset? Of course. But kids can deal with the truth, they can't deal with lies.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


markos #2898709 05/11/17 03:46 PM
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Also, have you started listening to the show so you can start learning why the Marriage Builders program works?


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
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Originally Posted by apples123
Do you have your written disagreement to her removing the children from the home ( text or email)? Get the VAR and keep it on you. Read the Document thread.

Contact her and let her know you want the kids back home and don't agree with them being gone. Call and text.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
markos #2898711 05/11/17 03:48 PM
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Messy, your wife is an addict. You need to be the stable ones for your kids right now. Calm down and start by telling her you need her to bring them back.


If you are serious about saving your marriage, you can't get it all on this forum. You've got to listen to the Marriage Builders Radio show, every day. Install the app!

Married to my radiant trophy wife, Prisca, 17 years, who is a beautiful angel.
Attended Marriage Builders weekend in May 2010

If your wife is not on board with MB, some of my posts to other men might help you.
markos #2898712 05/11/17 03:50 PM
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I've tried to get her to come back. Shes convinced I'm psychotic for telling them.

I feel like the younger ones didnt need to know, the oldest was relieved, cause she knew things were wrong but had no idea why.


Messy #2898713 05/11/17 03:51 PM
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I know telling them was the right thing to do. It just appears that WW is now done.

She was also pushing back on EPs...

Yes, I've been listening to the show, that's why I followed thru with it.

Last edited by Messy; 05/11/17 03:55 PM.
Messy #2898714 05/11/17 03:54 PM
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"I'm sorry your affair is embarrassing you but I won't lie to my children. I do not agree to you leaving the home with our children. You need to return them to their home immediately."

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It's been a couple days, Messy; keep calm. Do not compromise on EPs or the return oof the children.

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trying...

Messy #2898717 05/11/17 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Messy
I've tried to get her to come back. Shes convinced I'm psychotic for telling them.

I feel like the younger ones didnt need to know, the oldest was relieved, cause she knew things were wrong but had no idea why.

Feelings are not truth. Any child over age 4 needs to know. To lie to them about the source of tension in your home only causes confusion. If you don't tell them, they will find out on their own or they will be told lies by your wife.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


Messy #2898719 05/11/17 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Messy
I know telling them was the right thing to do. It just appears that WW is now done.

She was also pushing back on EPs...

No, you will be DONE if she doesn't get on board with the EP's. Do you want your kids raised in a home where their mother brings in men and shags them in their home? That is what you are dealing with here. Does that sound like a good environment for children?

It is up to you to take charge of this situation and start protecting your children.

That starts by a) telling your children the truth, b) holding your wife accountable to EP's, c) protecting your home from your wife's destructive, dangerous behavior.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


Messy #2898720 05/11/17 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Messy
I've tried to get her to come back. Shes convinced I'm psychotic for telling them.

She will come back home when she gets done with her childish fit.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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I know, I wasnt going to compromise on the EPs either and I know that was going to be a deal breaker for her. So I decided I can't live in a relationship where she isnt willing to do whatever it takes to fix the M. Telling the kids might have been the catalyst to get her to where she knew she already was.

She now wants nothing to do with me.

Messy #2898723 05/11/17 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Messy
[

She now wants nothing to do with me.

She wants nothing to do with you right now because she is angry you told your child.


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Yes. I'll give it time.

I think I just need to go lay down for a while. I'll check in later. Thanks for the support.

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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
To lie to them about the source of tension in your home only causes confusion. If you don't tell them, they will find out on their own or they will be told lies by your wife.

I agree with MelodyLane 1000%!

Messy - if you hadn't told them, rest assured that WW would have filled their heads with lies, it's what waywards do. When I exposed my WW, she got to the kids before I had a chance to talk to them, and she told them half-truths and lies. Only one of my kids, DD1, knew immediately that WW wasn't telling the truth and was minimizing everything. DS came to believe me when I talked to him the day after. But I think my DD2 still is unsure if I'm telling the truth, and that's because my WW filled her head with lies before I could tell her the truth.

The fact of the matter is that if you didn't tell them the truth, they would have been much more confused with uncertainty and lies (which WW would eventually tell them, if she hasn't already).

Your instincts aren't serving you well because of your fear of losing your marriage and your intact family. But you are already realizing that with WW refusing to EPs, your marriage would already be over. She has gaslighted you continuously, it's what waywards do. It creates guilt and uncertainty in you, just as waywards want it to.

I know this is the hardest thing you've ever done....we've been in your shoes before. We are here to support *you*, the betrayed spouse. None of the mistakes you made in your marriage compare to what WW has done to you, NOTHING. So it's good to recognize that you made mistakes in your M, you both did, we all do. You are willing to fix those mistakes. But don't feel guilty about exposure when WW committed the most painful and selfish act imaginable, and continued the A even after you knew about it. You don't expose for vengeance, you do it to end the affair. You do it because the truth is 1000% better than lies and secrets.



BH (me) 50, WxW 47
Married 1994
D-day, plan A, & exposure Jan 2017
Divorced Nov 2017
abrrba #2898729 05/11/17 06:16 PM
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Great post, abrrba!


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.." Theodore Roosevelt

Exposure 101


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Originally Posted by MelodyLane
Great post, abrrba!

Thanks, Mel, I learned from the best & brightest!


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Thanks again, laying down helped a little. I'm not in as much shock now.

abrrba - you are spot on I couldnt trust my instincts anymore. My instinct was FEAR, fear of losing her and my family. So I was compromising what I knew was right out to avoid the fear. It's how I ended up in a 2nd d-day.

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