It happens time and time again, where people give in to passion and let desire take over, leading them to cheat on their spouses in a moment of weakness. While it might feel great in the moment you’ll be left with a heavy heart that’s filled with guilt afterwards, especially when you consider the impact an affair will have on your family. If you’re a parent and are contemplating having an affair read this first so you can stop and really think about what you’re doing to your family. Here are just some of the ways an affair can affect your children:
Messed up sense of security
Kids love the security that comes with routine in their lives and the biggest sense of safety they have comes from their family. Whether it’s following the same bedtime rituals or recreating the same local Christmas traditions every year, kids thrive on consistency in their lives. If you have an affair you’ll be upsetting the balance of the entire family and will be left to deal with children who have been robbed of their sense of belonging in the world. Kids whose parents have had affairs have lost the security blanket of a happy and peaceful home and are forced to face a world of uncertainty instead. Even the slightest imbalance in a child’s routine can throw them off, so imagine what the effects of a major trauma, like an affair in the family, would do to them.
Lack of trust
When you cheat you’re sending a message to your kids that trust isn’t important. If you partner and kids couldn’t trust you then they are left to wonder who they can trust and unsure of why they should strive to be trustworthy themselves. If you are able to cheat and break up the family with no repercussions then your kids will think the same type of behaviours are ok for them too. Kids aren’t mature enough to distinguish between what issues are for adults and what applies to them. Cheating in your marriage leaves everyone in the family with screwed up ideas of what trust is.
Wrong ideas about relationships
Having an affair teaches your kids all kinds of lessons and tips that you may not even be aware of. When your kids see that the family is breaking up because you cheated it will have lasting effects on how they view relationships. In an age of high divorce rates it’s easy for kids to assume that relationships are disposable, especially if one of their parents was unfaithful. When little boys and girls see their family being broken up by cheating they are likely to wonder what the point of commitment is in the first place. Having an affair can impact even the youngest kids in the house, who will grow up with skewed ideas about dating. Chances are you aren’t thinking of this when you’re starting an affair, but the effects of your infidelity on your children’s views on relationships is very real.
Learning to be dishonest
Kids mirror their parents behaviour, whether they even realize it or not. If you’re sneaking around, lying, and cheating you are essentially teaching your kids that it’s ok for them to do the same. As parents we always show our kids that honest is the best policy and that lying is wrong, but when they see you cheating on your spouse you are contradicting all of those lessons they’ve learned. Because you are their parent they will always default to doing what you do, even if that means lying and cheating.
Children of any age lack the emotional maturity to understand that some problems are just for grown ups and don’t have anything to do with them. Most kids internalize whatever is happening around them, finding a way to blame themselves for whatever circumstance they find themselves in. If you’re cheating there’s a good chance that your kids are blaming themselves and wondering what they did wrong. They may view your affair as a punishment and could even blame themselves for the dissolution of the entire family. That’s a heavy burden to place on a child and is one you should be made well aware of before you have an affair.
Kids who are victims of cheating parents will learn that being vulnerable opens them up to being hurt. Children will grow up feeling closed off and reserved from others, afraid of letting their walls down and letting anyone else in. The effects of this aren’t always noticed right away but will always rear its head when kids grow up and start dating on their own. Girls and boys alike will experience commitment issues, wanting to maintain their distance from anyone they’re dating as a way to protect themselves from getting hurt. Teach your kids the right kind of dating tips but modelling the proper way to act in a committed relationship.