There are countless stories of infidelity – emotional infidelity, sexual and financial infidelity; breaches of trust that cause painful and traumatic relationship injuries. It’s very sad to hear how devastated people are when they learn of their partner’s betrayal. But there are skills and tools to help them recover from these relationship injuries and set them on the path to a happier life and relationship. Some couples stay mired in their troubles, sinking under the weight of betrayal and pain sometimes for years before they do seek help or decide to break up the relationship. Cheating spouses ruin the family. They wreck the security of the home and negatively affect the future of the children.
I know it happens, I know you never meant to hurt your partner and you’d sooner cut off your arm than harm your child. Cheating is one of the more selfish acts you can commit when you’re a parent. Putting your own needs and desires above the needs of your children and your family is more harmful than you may realize. The effects of infidelity on the family and even very small children are negative and detrimental; whether the family separates or stays together. Children need security and safety in their home. They need to be able to trust their primary caregivers to be there for them and to love and nurture them. When you’re living a double life or in the midst of strife in your relationship with your partner, children are affected. You may not think they know what’s happening, but they are far more aware than you may realize.
If your family is broken apart because of infidelity, you are putting your partner and your kids at risk. They may suffer not only emotionally, but physically and economically as well. If your spouse loses your support, what will happen to your kids? As a parent, part of your responsibility to your children is to model good behavior, to show them by example how to be a good person, an upstanding citizen, and to model loving and healthy relationships for them. If children grow up in dysfunction, their odds of living out a dysfunctional adult life themselves are very high. How can children trust and feel secure if they are raised in an atmosphere of betrayal and a lack of confidence in their parents?
Any time you’re tempted to be unfaithful, you have a choice. You can choose to do one of two things.
1. Get some professional counseling to find out why you’re thinking about cheating
You can take a good long look at yourself and your relationship with your partner and get some professional counseling to find out why you’re thinking about cheating. What has happened to your relationship that has made it susceptible to infidelity?
2. Cheat and endanger the relationship
You can cheat; you can lie, and be unfaithful to your partner and run the risk of ruining your family and endangering the security and health of your children. Then what?
Now reread number 1. You started out in this family with a commitment and maybe a vow to your partner to love and cherish them. You brought your children into the world so that you could have a family. Are you prepared to throw that all away? You don’t have to cheat. You can find the love and connection you need with your partner. You had it once and you can have it again. It’s not inevitable that you lose your family. You can fix what’s wrong and keep your relationship intact and your family together. Chances are that’s what you’re truly longing for; that connection that’s been lost.
A qualified couple’s therapist can help you find it. Don’t wait until you do something you’ll regret. Take steps now to repair the connection with your partner. It is possible. I see it every day. We have the tools to repair what’s broken between you. Don’t throw away what you’ve built on an impulse or a moment of weakness. Your family’s future is too important.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Stuart Fensterheim