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At the time that people are carrying out an affair, few of them are thinking of the repercussions of their actions. They aren’t thinking of the fall out that is going to affect the family at home. If they were, it would be much more difficult for them to carry out the cheating. Frankly, the faithful spouse is often most aware of the fallout that can (and sometimes does) follow the affair, but for the sake of every one involved, there is a real tendency to try to focus on fixing rather than on dwelling.
So sometimes, it can be a shock to all parties when they look around and see the damage that the affair caused to their loved ones, their families, and to themselves. Someone might say: “the day that I found out about my husband’s affair, I was fully aware that my life was going to change for the worse. I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. I had a horrible, sinking feeling in my gut. I didn’t sugar coat things at all. But even I didn’t realize how far my family would fall. After I found out about the affair, I asked my husband to stay with his mother or his brother because I just needed time to think and I didn’t want to be around him. My husband begged me to reconsider. He did stay with his mother for a very short period of time, but then he immediately kept at me to change my mind. I did not want to change my mind. I wanted to give counseling some time to work and I felt that I needed to be on my own. Well, I guess my husband lost patience because he picked up with the other woman again and I’m pretty sure that he lived with her for a time. Once I started to suspect this, I got a job to support myself because I knew that marriage-wise, things did not look good. My children have never really been on their own. I have always been a stay-at-home mom, so while I was working the kids were on their own after school with disastrous results. They started hanging out with kids I would have never approved of. Their grades slipped. One has been retained and will have to repeat his grade. Meanwhile I am somewhat behind on the bills. I just look at my life and I can not believe it. A very short period of time ago, I had a very nice life and my family was thriving. Now, my kids are struggling and it’s everything I can do not to just come home at night and collapse. Why don’t people consider how affairs can ruin lives before they have one? Now my husband is asking to join me in counseling, but I’m not sure how receptive I am. Because I’m so angry that because of him, my life is horrible. And he’s angry that I forced him to move out. So we’re both angry people who have suffering children. I wish people would think about these things before they have affairs that ruin lives.”
I have the same wish. People clearly do not think. And often, even after the affair is found out, they still do not understand the gravity of their actions because many of them want to rush the process of healing. They don’t understand why it takes their spouse so long to be able to move on. They don’t fully grasp what a huge hole the affair can leave in your home life.
There is no question that affairs ruin lives. But I also firmly believe that since you can’t do anything about the fact that the affair happened with devastating consequences, you can in fact place your focus on moving forward in the best way that you can. I have no idea if you are even remotely interested in your marriage, but even if you are not, I would strongly recommend continuing with the counseling. Even if you don’t save your marriage, the counseling will help you to co-parent effectively. I would also recommend considering if your husband’s mother (or any one else in the picture) would be involved with the kids when you have to work, (assuming that you can’t change your hours so that you are doing most of your work while they are at school.) Your husband’s mother obviously knows what is going on. Plus, there is no reason that your husband can’t and shouldn’t help out with the childcare also. Leaving the kids on their own clearly isn’t working. And that is at least one variable that you might be able to control.
I would also approach your husband about the financial difficulties. Despite the affair, these are his children and he probably understands the necessity of making sure that they have a safe roof over their heads. I get that you are mad at each other, but you are both still parents and the kids’ well being, safely, and supervision has got to be everyone’s first priority. I would hope that your husband can see this, especially since his affair put all of this into motion. No one can blame you for needing to get a job and needing some time away from him in the beginning. You really have nothing to apologize for. You are trying to earn money for the household. But part of this is his responsibility also. And continuing on in the same way lets him off of the hook for that. You can decide about what happens with the marriage later. But first, try to stop the bleeding for the family and the kids. Try to turn things around so that the fall out from the affair doesn’t continue to damage your family and children. You can’t change the affair. But you can alter your reaction to it so that it tries to protect the kids as much as is possible.
write by Tim Marshall Jr