By: Christina Spencer
So your spouse has cheated on you. You’re angry, hurt and full of questions. How could he do this to you, and why did he do this? You want to scream, cry and probably throw something.
These are all normal feelings. Although, because of the children you may not be able to act on them. After the initial shock wears off and you catch your breath, you as a mother should try to get back to basics. Now you must focus on being the mom that your kids need, while sorting through the betrayal. Of course, your kids will know that something happened. They may not know to what extent, but they’ll sense the stress. So you must start putting up some boundaries, not just for your spouse, but for yourself.
Keep the Routine Going. You have to try to keep things stable in the home for the kids. Keep your normal routine as much as possible. This will help them understand that even though something is going on, they are still safe and secure. It will also help you focus on the fact that you, too, will make it through this.
Take Time to Breathe. You must find the time to sort things out. Make sure you take time for yourself. You’re going to have to talk things out with your spouse as well. You can’t do this in front of your children. If at all possible, take them to a friend or family member’s house or talk when the children are at school. You will have many decisions to make and figure out if this is a deal breaker for the relationship. If you stay in the relationship, can you trust him again? Will you be able to forgive? Can you get the relationship back on track? If you choose to separate, who will stay in the home with the children, how will you co-parent apart and how will you discuss it with the children? He may have cheated on you, but he may also be a great father. As hard as it may be, you need to allow that relationship to stay strong for the kids.
What Kids Need to Know. Lastly, whether you have decided to stay together or to separate, you will have to talk to your kids. You and your spouse should talk to them together, if you can remain civil with one another. It’s likely that even though the two of you have tried to talk about the situation alone, your children have tuned in to some of the conversations. Give them a chance to ask questions and try to answer them. If they are old enough to ask questions, most likely they are old enough to hear the answers. Make it a point to assure them that even though there may be some changes in their life, it’s not their fault. You both love them and this is something that you, as adults, must work through. Children often don’t realize that we are husbands and wives, as well as dads and moms.
Infidelity is difficult to get through and even harder when there are kids involved. You may be scared to do it alone or think the kids are better off if you stay with the other parent. Don’t let these thoughts keep you from being true to yourself. Everyone deserves to have a faithful spouse, and the kids won’t be better off if you and your spouse don’t get along. They can, however, learn from you how to handle even a bad situation with strength and dignity.