Article by Kweli Wright
~ August, 2021 ~ Divorce is never easy, but when you have children it makes the process that much more complicated. Add infidelity to the mix and things can get messy. That’s the case with one dad who learned his wife had been cheating on him and told their three kids the truth, causing a family rift. Now, the dad wonders in a recent post on Reddit’s AITA forum, if he was wrong for airing marital secrets to his kids.
“I raised my kids to know that cheating is one of the worst things in the world,” he wrote. “If you no longer love someone, break up with them, don’t cheat. Even if you have issues with the relationship, work it out or leave them.”
After learning about the betrayal, the OP and his wife sat the kids down and told them of their plans to divorce. The mom didn’t want her children to know she was unfaithful, but the dad was opposed to lying to their kids. “She tried to dance around the whole reason for the divorce, citing ‘adult issues,’” the OP writes adding, “14-year-old asked why we were getting a divorce, and I told him, flat out, ‘she cheated on me for 3 years.’”
The mother was upset and the kids were, according to the OP, “incredibly angry with her.” Now, three months later, the children still aren’t speaking to their mom, claiming “she ruined their family and their lives, and that she’s a cheater and a liar.”
Commenters passionately defended the OP for being honest with his children.
“I am a child of divorce. I would have rather known the truth at the time my parents split than learn it a few years later,” wrote one. “Your wife cheated. That is a fact. She wanted to conceal that fact. That is an unrealistic expectation. Bad news is not a fine wine. It does not improve with age. Her relationship with the children took a backseat to her infidelity the moment she cheated. You owe her nothing. Especially lying to protect her.”
Another wrote that the father simply stood by his values: “I’ve always found that the best way to get people to not tell other people about the terrible things I’ve done is to just not do terrible things in the first place…trying to hide the reason your teenage kids suddenly get two Christmases is never going to work. Kids that age need real answers and ‘we just aren’t in love anymore’ doesn’t qualify.”
One offered a personal story: “…When my parents divorced, my sister turned detective. That child was looking at emails and texts, listening behind every closed door… Years later and we know most of what went down, yet she’ll still digging for every piece of the story.”
Someone disagreed: …”You could have definitely waited for things to settle down before discussing it more maturely with your kids” pointing to the details of the affair as “unnecessary” and “aimed at hurting your wife more.” Another said the father’s actions were “revenge and parental alienation, pure and simple.”
Although the mom is humiliated that her infidelity was revealed and the children are hurt and disappointed by her actions, perhaps the truth will allow them to process the divorce and encourage them to set standards in their future relationships. As one commenter mentioned, “You’re better off just telling them the truth and letting them decide what they want to do with it.”