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2. How honest should I be about the A? (they are 7 and under)

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).

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A two year affair that's been brought out into the open is like cancer that is spreading throughout the body. While some people survive even that form of cancer, the prognosis is very bad. You're in a situation where it may be time to let go.

But remember to expose your husband's affair to the light of day. Don't hide it from anyone, including your children. Transparency is like chemotherapy. Hopefully, there is someone who is talking to your husband about the tragic decisions he's making, and can influence him to change course.

Best wishes
Willard F. Harley, Jr.

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While most affairs die a natural death in less than two years, there are some that take much longer to die. That's one of the primary reasons that my first rule in surviving an affair is to never see or talk to the lover again -- even if the affair seems to have died a natural death. An affair can rekindle after it seems to be over. And to guarantee complete separation between the unfaithful spouse and the lover, extraordinary precautions must be taken, such as providing radical accountability and transparency. In many cases, I've encouraged couples I've counseled to change jobs or even move to another state to help create permanent separation.

Another suggestion I make to a couple struggling to restore their marriage after one of them had an affair is to make the affair public. Everyone should know what happened -- children, relatives, friends, and especially the children and spouse of the lover -- so that the affair is exposed to the light of day. What often makes affairs appealing is that it is done in secret. Most affairs become very unappealing once everyone knows about it.

So whether an affair is a one night stand, or has been going on for years, the basic rule for ending them are the same -- extraordinary precautions to guarantee permanent separation. But I will admit that the precautions used for long-term affairs are usually more extraordinary than those used for short-term affairs. I've helped many spouses overcome affairs that have lasted over ten years, but none of them have been easy.

Best wishes
Willard F. Harley, Jr.


"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