My position on exposure to children has been consistent over the years for a host of reasons: Tell them about the affair as soon as you discover it. The primary reason for this type of exposure is that they should know eventually anyway, even if the marriage is on the road to recovery, because it gives them accurate information about what their mom and dad are going through. If the marriage is headed for recovery, the unfaithful spouse is usually willing to go along with the revelation. But if the affair is still ongoing, or if the recovery is not very solid, the unfaithful spouse will resist the exposure, and become very upset when it's made. Then, it's especially important to expose the affair to the children because it generally speeds up the death of the affair. Affairs don't always die a natural death, but exposure speeds up whatever would have happened without it.

Joyce is correct in observing that it's a tough call when the children are 6 and 4, and she tells me that she didn't say not to tell them, but left if up to Joe's judgment. But my position has been that, tough or not, it's the right thing to do. When the marriage is recovered, it's a great lesson for the children to explain how vulnerable parents are to this very insidious enemy of marriage.