Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Should we tell our kids we got together as a result of an affair?(37 Posts)
I'm a namechanging regular.
DP and I have 2 young kids together so this issue is still a way off however it occasionally pops into my head and I'd like some advice.
We have been together a few years, and were friends for about 10+ years before that. I was married and he was single when we started seeing each other. I then left my husband for DP and we've gone on to have two children together. Neither of us have any other children.
I've been lied to by my parents over the years to try and save my feelings over things, although I suspect it was more to do with it being easier for them to keep things from me or outright lie than have to tell me the truth. Things have come out over the years and I've subsequently found out the truth and it's made me come to the conclusion that it's better to tell your kids the truth.
DP and I have discussed the fact that the kids will probably ask us how we met/got together at some point and DP doesn't want to tell them the truth. I don't particularly either due to the circumstances and what our kids opinion of it will be. BUT this obviously goes against what I've just said about not lying to your kids and I know that the reason we wouldn't tell them would only be to protect ourselves. So I absolutely think we should tell them when the time comes but I'm worried about how they'll take it and what they'll think of us/relationships.
I want to use it as an opportunity to tell them that, yes, it has worked out between us however it was horrendous at the time and the hurt we caused is something we'll never make peace with. Nothing could have prepared either of us for the fall out and the events that unfolded as a result of the decision(s) we made. I want them to know that we do not condone it and if we could do it all over again, we would do things differently.
I'd like opinions on if we'd be doing the right thing in telling them and, if so, how we should go about it?
Don't see why you should. But then, cut yourselves some slack, you got married and had two children so I don't think it's a shame that carries on indefinitely. All very painful at the time no doubt (haven't been in this situ) but there's an expiration date on feeling bad about it surely. so tell them if you want to, when they're older. I'm sure it wasn't easy. Listening to your story won't make them think 'that all sounds like a laugh, I'll make my own life hard like that'.
I think you should forgive yourselves by the way. You say you'll never make peace with it. Well it was over ten years ago. Most relationships don't last that long.
I don't think you need to tell them that you had an affair with DP while you were still married to someone else. I agree with you about telling children the truth about anything that affects them, but I don't think this does affect them really. It was before they were born and it has no impact on their parentage or anything like that.
I wouldn't tell any lies, and I would let them know that I'd been married before, but I wouldn't make a big deal out of telling them about the affair. However, if they ask, I would be honest.
Are there other people in their lives that do know and have an understanding about what happened?
I know things of that kind of nature about school friend's parents because I heard my parents talking about things as we were growing up. I never let slip but it was and still sometimes is really awkward because I knew my friends didn't know.
I agree with PPs. Be honest but you don't need to tell them that bit unless they ask, eg I remember a friend working out that her parents must have married when pregnant with her and them trying to deny it - don't do the equivalent.
I don't think you need to tell them or give the impression that your DP was the catalyst that ended your marriage. That is something you can keep to yourself unless one of your dc is in the same situation perhaps. Whether to tell them at all about your previous marriage....well, when DH and his brother were 18 and 17 they needed to show parents' ID to get their passports and they were very shocked that their mother's ID showed Mrs Mum X, nee Y, formerly Z. They wanted to know about the formerly. She had been married before meeting their father. It is actually a very sad story, which she had to tell with no preparation at all, and she found it very difficult.
Actually, I used to work with a girl and she told me a cheerful story of how her mum was miserable with her husband, then she met her dad...... So her Dad was the hero. Kinda. Anyway.......... It wasn't something she felt she needed to hold back telling me, so she was comfortable with it.
I think you should tell them when they're old enough to understand, maybe 12-13. Without knowing your exact situation, is there a chance that when they go to secondary school, there will be some kids who will know your history (obviously from hearing about it from their parents)? The worst way your kids could find out is if some smart arses in their school start taunting them about "your mum was married and ran off with another bloke - that's how you were born!" Kids will do that unfortunately, if they have that information.
I think you should definitely tell them you were married before - reasons stated above. You can tell most of the truth, without lying. Eg yes I was married before but we weren't happy so I married daddy and now I am happy.
I think it's a cleaner break as no dc were involved.
I disagree with telling them aged 12/13. They will judge you. I'd tell them casually aged 5/6.
I was the result of an affair. My parents got together and stayed together.
They didn't sit me down or anything, I just remember it being mentioned by someone ("ooh do you remember all that kerfuffle", a v casual way of putting it), and my mum just explained to me that she'd been v unhappy and had gotten married for all the wrong reasons etc etc
I found it all quite embarrassing and really, there was no need for me to know. It has nothing to do with me. If anything, I was more aware than ever that life isn't black and white, and love is a complicated thing. <nods sagely>
I'd tell them when they ask and you feel they are emotionally mature enough to take it all in.
They won't thank you if they hear from a third party..that would be humiliating for them.
DH and I had an affair. We've now been together for many years.
The DCs have known from a very early age that DH was married previously and so don't think anything of it. They just know that DH had another wife first and that they weren't very happy together and then DH met me and we loved each other and now we've been married for a long time and have them and we're all happy. My DCs are now 10 and 8.
You don't need to go into details.
We met through work. We have both been married before. My kids know these two things but I think that is all they need to know tbh.
Why do they really need to know that amount of detail? I have no idea how my parents met. I met my DP online about 13yrs ago when it was a weird thing to do. The kids don't know that I invited a stranger into my house to fix my computer and we ended up in bed together. Too much information!
Going against the grain and saying I would. My dad never told my half brothers how he and there dm got together and my db let it slip to them thinking they knew. I would rather be the one to tell them then somebody else.
I never lie. But the details don't need to be told until they are much much older.
You can tell them how you met without going into a lot of detail. If you met at work, say that. Children and teenagers can be incredibly conservative in their views (especially when it comes to their parents lives!) so maybe wait until they are older before the talk about the affair/previous husband. It's not like it's crucial information for them anyway.
Thanks for all your posts.
I'm actually quite surprised the number of you saying there's not really any need to go into the particulars, that's making me have another think about it. I think my own experiences may have tainted my view somewhat.
Would definitely be telling them I was married before, can imagine that would be a big surprise to them to suddenly find out randomly if they hadn't known.
In terms of who else is aware of the situation, pretty much everyone. All our family know what happened. I can't really say about when they go to school. There's always the chance that they could find out that way as we live in the same area.
F0xChat we've been together 5 years and were friends for 10+ before that, we're not married yet, sorry for any confusion.
We both still struggle with what we did and feel that punishing ourselves by not letting go is our penance if you like, well that's how I think of it. I'm lucky in that my exDH and I are on really good terms and are in touch every so often. There are no hard feelings on his part which is amazing.
i doubt theyll ever ask. if they do, you can play it down
Defo tell them you were married before, that would be a weird thing not to know. I was fascinated when I found out my mum had been engaged to someone else before marrying my dad.
Made me think she was a bit cooler!
They might ask where you ex is but be factual. They don't need details, but we met through friends /work/spelling coffee on him in a book shop in Notting hill....
I would tell them basic details while they are at a younger age so it's not sprung on them as teenagers and becomes a shock.
Something like mum was married before and wasn't happy and met dad.
If they would like more details when they are older it is up to them to ask.
My parents didn't have an affair but my dad was married before and as a result my parents weren't able to get married for a long time. This was back in the day when living in sin was throwned upon so they didn't feel their relationship had a future.
Their relationship was a bit on and off because of this but my mum was very hazy with details and never said when she and my dad started going out even though I asked. So I filled in the blanks a bit and got told something that explained a lot after my parents had died which I really should have been told about and then I wasn't able to talk to my parents about it which caused me a lot of upset.
So personally I would always be honest with any questions and tell them the significant facts. I feel my mum didn't want me to know details because she thought it would have made me think badly of my dad. But I viewed it as he was my dad and I loved him regardless and I would have preferred to have been able to ask questions and talk to them about it.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.