Telling your Children about Infidelity I well remember my oldest daughter bringing home her first boyfriend for me to meet. It was a day I had long dreaded. Was someone trying to take my little girl away? I’m sure he was nice enough, but from the start I was skeptical. First, his name seemed better suited for a chauffeur than for my future son-in-law. Second, his family lived out of state, which was an immediate black mark since it meant my little girl might move away. Finally, when he arrived at our home I decided to test his metal. I loaded up my truck with axes and chainsaws and put him through the paces of cutting down trees for the next four hours to check out his work ethic. He ended up hurting his back and spent the rest of the weekend in bed. Two days later, after dropping him off at the airport for his return flight, my daughter came upstairs to get our opinion. I turned two thumbs down triggering an emotional flood which caused her to run downstairs crying. Needless to say, mama wasn’t pleased and demanded that I go downstairs to straighten things out. Upon entering her room I was greeted with, “Why don’t you like him?” “I didn’t say I didn’t like him", I replied, “I just don’t think he’s the right person for you”. “Why not?”, she demanded. I sat down on the edge of the bed and gathered my thoughts. “Honey, I began, “you are just like your mother; both of you are stronger than a 60 pound bag of onions. I’m sure this is a great guy, but he wants so badly to please you that he could never be strong enough to be your husband. He would never have an opinion because he would always want to do what you wanted to do. He could never stand up to you because you’re more confident and passionate about what you believe. You would go over his head so many times I’m afraid he’d have athletes foot on his scalp. You need someone who’s capable of being a partner to you, who will stand up to you, who will disagree with you and challenge you, and who can take care of you." And just as the tears seemed about to stop, a second wave swept in. “What now?" I inquired. “I know if I go ahead and marry him you’d be able to forgive me, but I don’t know that mom could forgive me for disappointing you”. I couldn’t help it, I just had to laugh. “Why are you laughing at me?" she asked.“I’m not laughing at you," I replied, “I’m laughing at how little you know about your mother. You will never be able to know what your mom is capable of apart from knowing the complete story of our marriage”. “I’m not laughing at you," I replied, “I’m laughing at how little you know about your mother. You will never be able to know what your mom is capable of apart from knowing the complete story of our marriage”. Which brings us to one of the primary reasons for telling our children. In The Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens begins with this famous paragraph, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." I am unaware of any paragraph that better describes the times of those trying to figure out how to get over an affair. It's not just the worst of times, it is also the best of times. It is a time of struggle, it is a time of triumph. It is a time of regression, it is time of growth. It is a time of pain, it is a time of healing. It is a time of failure, it is a time of overcoming. It is a time of death, it is a time of life. It is through crisis that character is revealed, and it is through failure that life’s lessons are learned. It is through crisis that character is revealed, and it is through failure that life’s lessons are learned. While my infidelity was the most painful circumstance Stephanie has ever experienced, it also provided the backdrop which revealed the magnificence of her character and of what was possible. Without knowing the struggles and the trials that we experienced, my children could never know who their mom truly was or come to understand her capacity for love, forgiveness, strength and courage. They would never know the lessons I learned. They would believe a lie about who we were and live with an impossible standard of perfect parents, only to perhaps find themselves subpar. They might even feel we could never understand because we never had to face the difficulties they are encountering. Sharing our lives and our story at least gives realistic expectations, and hopefully, a sense of hope that difficulties can be overcome. Life is hard, and it is careless to teach our children otherwise. Sharing our lives and our story at least gives realistic expectations, and hopefully, a sense of hope that difficulties can be overcome. Who knows, maybe it even gives them the chance not to repeat my mistakes. Although not easy, positive things can come from living through and learning how to get over an affair. In the Recovery Library, I complete the series about telling your children about infidelity with a warning that it doesn’t always end up the way you think. I’ll share the story of how and what we told our children and give other suggestions and guidelines for talking with your children, if you choose to do so..