1788. Sex Difference Redux— Part 42: Dignity Wins III

As we approach the middle of this series, I caution you. I’m trying to think like a woman from a man-think perspective. So, don’t take everything literally. Morph the concepts and principles to woman-think and use them to generate and sustain as much dignity as possible. More dignity strengthens your strong-mindedness, uplifts your soft-heartedness, and otherwise makes you feel better about yourself as your iron-willed resolve brightens your future. Remember too, the things that won your husband in the first place should still be attractive to him after he cheats. So, a more dignified manner of restoring feminine mystery, female modesty, monogamous values, and highly attractive daily appearance should work well for you. Imagine this: You appeal so differently to husband that whatever about you enchanted him before marriage returns to enchant him now. That’s the victory to restore his dedication to your marriage, and dignity paves the path best.

I continue with the story of my playing the wife with three kids who has been insulted by an unfaithful husband. I’m not a child psychologist. I’m just a man thinking how I would handle it with my kids, if I were a cheated-on wife and mother distraught over the family’s future prospects. It’s not advice but more of WhatWomenNeverHear.

Even before I get control of my emotions, I may have to deal with my children. I need to prepare, nurture, guide, and coach them with all my motherly dignity in order to alleviate their anxieties. Primarily I aim to teach them that husband-wife problems are not the concern of children. They help mom the most when they don’t judge either parent as other than their love objects.

Insofar as possible, the children must NOT know of husband’s cheating or my being victimized. Until divorce is actually contemplated, it doesn’t concern them. Except when forced by other pressures, I divulge
nothing to my children about husband-wife issues.

  • Mom and dad have interpersonal problems, and children can’t help except by not interfering. It’s marital business to resolve husband and wife issues. If necessary for older children, I may describe the family rank structure that separates the role of husband from father and wife from mother. I cite principles but not our domestic issue.
  • Kids have enough opportunities to sour on life, why give evidence to make it worse? Why teach them to lose respect for one parent for cheating or the other for one-sided complaining, blaming, or victimization? It’ll happen if divorce comes, but why do it prematurely?
  • Kids take sides and their partial view and short-sightedness cause them to kill the messenger. Disparaging one’s spouse inevitably comes back to bite. Taking sides disturbs family solidarity and future harmony regardless of how the family continues in the future.
  • If husband discloses his cheating to kids, then he effectively says it’s okay. Just a minor mistake and his confession or begging their forgiveness supposedly clears the air. It’s garbage, however. His daughters learn to be suspicious, and his sons learn that cheating is manly and how to recover if caught cheating later in life.
  • Kids learn right things about character, when they see adults pass through extremely tough times and keep their emotions to themselves.
  • I keep my guilt to myself. Expressing it solicits sympathy and keeps me from thinking that I could be responsible for husband’s behavior. It makes me feel better but weakens my resolve to view my marriage objectively.

If the children find out anyway, I take a different path. As I mentioned before, the optimum relationship comes when they cooperatively avoid interest in my affairs. Of course that may be too much to expect, but it’s worth trying.

  • I minimize discussion and offer no excuses. It’s none of their concern, because they neither caused it nor can they fix it. It’s between wife and husband and not mother and father. Toughest case will probably arise if daughter sees me crying. I need to find some ‘magic words’ before it happens.
  • If old enough to grasp the principles involved, I explain a family’s rank structure, i.e., husband, wife, mother, father, and children.
  • If kids take it up with their father, I do the best I can to minimize the effect on my game plan without demeaning him or them.
  • It’s an intimate matter, but I can handle it. I resent interference by anyone in my intimate personal life. Further, I have no idea how the future will play out. We all must be patient, and allow the best course of events to develop behind closed doors.
  • I ask that children keep it to themselves. Don’t let it leak to brothers, sisters, cousins, or others outside the home. Their support on this issue demonstrates their maturity and personal growth toward adulthood.
  • Our adult problems have no bearing on our love for them. Nor did they have anything to do with causing it. Considerable patience, explaining, and perseverance are required to get kids to put their curiosity on hold. For mom who appeals for their help, however, they likely can.
  • Moreover, as an adult issue, it has nothing to do with them. If they think it interferes with my performance as mother, then tell me. I’ll apologize if I’m in the wrong. I ask for their forbearance, and I promise to do better and protect their interests.
  • This isn’t the time or the way to dial children’s interest into the adult world. They should learn to compartmentalize and handle the tougher sides of life by seeing me do exactly that.
  • Teenagers will be especially tough to handle, but the principles remain the same. Except do more coaching than trying to nurture them through tough times.

Of course, it all sounds solemn and tough. But it far and away beats dealing kids into my recovery game. I need maturity, freedom to think for myself, and separation from emotional wannabe helpers.

That’s enough about children. The ‘battle’ is for adults. Tomorrow’s article pits me against him.


Filed under sex differences

20 responses to “1788. Sex Difference Redux— Part 42: Dignity Wins III

  1. Anne

    What would you say if children see *husband’s* anger?

    Your Highness Anne,

    It’s worse than bad. Get him out of their sight ASAP. Do whatever it takes to take all husband-wife and mother-father disputes out of sight and earshot of kids. By their nature they duplicate parents. Act immature, as adolescents, or as argumentative spouses battling in front of your kids and you will be able to observe them acting later as adults with immature and mental adolescent mindset.

    Moreover, it breaks down the authority that parents need as leaders, which reduces them to having to explain their leadership with “Because I said so, that’s why.” Both parental anger and spousal disputes in front of the kids breeds dramatically and drastically contagious behavior.

    However, Anne, you need to find a less offensive and obtrusive method of conveying those thoughts into your household.


    • Anne

      This is a bit of a tangent from the topic at hand, but there are many people who suggest children *need* to see spouses “handling their emotions” (which presupposes displaying them) – ie, if children don’t SEE their parents argue and then make up, they won’t know how to handle their emotions (negative or otherwise) when they have marriages of their own. The same is said of displaying sadness (including tears) around children, exuberant happiness, etc. The idea is that all this helps them to see the parent display / process / resolve their feelings.

      Now, thanks to WWNH (and in part to my temperament & his), I don’t argue with my husband EVER – in front of the kids or not. I have so much better luck with indirectness and (when time presses) gentle-toned serious conversation. But I have often wondered if my kids need to see other emotional displays? Do you have some of what women never hear on this topic?? 🙂

      Your Highness Anne,
      I regret it but I’m having health problems that prevent responding now. Also, you invite a rather large comment, I expect to disagree with the people you listen to, and it won’t come easy or in one day. So, standby for a few days.

      • soloduckgrowingup

        In relation to the comment above, I don’t think that handling one’s emotions necessarily presupposes displaying them (and\or displaying them in front of others). To my mind, someone is handling their eomtions when they are aware of them but are able to own them and thus retain self respect and respect of others. Most *arguements* are a resultof the opposite ocurring.

      • Anne

        I look forward to it! Please get well in the meantime! 🙂

      • A.GuyMaligned

        Your Highness Anne,
        I too have heard many arguments about not sheltering children from displays of parents’ emotions, such as temper outbursts. People defending such claims always make it sound good and, therefore, plausible and desirable. But is it? I find it to be more self-serving than beneficial to children. I like to measure with results rather than intentions and promises, and so I disagree. I draw different conclusions by looking at the trends—aka results—in both society and our culture.
        You ask, “I have often wondered if my kids need to see other emotional displays?” I offer these points as relevant:
        • Whatever you display, say, or intend means it automatically programs them as okay to duplicate at least in adulthood and it may be okay for childhood. It’s a long-lasting lesson they learn without parents even trying. The greater and more repetitious the parents’ emotional involvement of an act or event—whether outburst or silent grief—the more indelible it registers in a child’s mind.
        • Children duplicate parents. The less in quantity and quality are parental displays of emotion, the more eagerly children teach themselves to develop and rely on their thinking skills; thus, more effective parental teaching takes place. It happens quite naturally and is very difficult to reverse.
        • The more and better that parents exemplify the use of reason and logic, the better that children will pick up and practice those skills in their formative years and use them as adults.
        As to results in society, I’ve watched trends in the following factors move inexorably from good to poor to bad to unwanted over the past sixty years of my awareness and study. The ever-increasing predominance of emotional decision-making in families has led us to problems that we abhor in society, such as violence, immorality, corruption, theft, indebtedness, child abandonment, sanctity of human life, anti-religious politics, dissipation in college life, ethical standards, unmarried sex, tyranny by the majority, loss of individualism, rule of man replaces rule of law, constitutional rights taken away, rejecting civic duty by not voting, men avoiding husbandly responsibility, wives weakening motherly responsibility, unwarranted escalation of school grades, disrespect of others, and on and on.
        Humans are emotional creatures. By not continually growing by putting restraints on their emotions to make room for more reason and logic, adults program themselves to remain emotionally motivated. By failing to suppress and hide emotions, parents indirectly program kids to follow their example into adulthood. As each generation faces adulthood pressure for more reason and logic, children soon learn they lack mental skills, habits, and motivation to avoid emotional decision-making. They don’t recognize it consciously, and so they fall victim to their own shortcomings caused by duplicating the emotional conduct and decisions of their parents.

        • anonymous

          For anyone contemplating if it would be beneficial to fight in front of their children here’s a little anecdotal example for Guy’s explanation: my friend and I are just entering adulthood (both in college). We have very similar backgrounds. We both come from the typical white American middle-class family (actually if anything she might even be upper-class as her parents are both doctors). The one big difference I can pinpoint is how our parents behave in front of us. I’ve never seen or heard my parents fight or have emotional outbursts. Not once. She grew up with her parents fighting and uncontrollably expressing their emotions in front of her, and they still do. My poor friend is only 21 years old and already takes medication for depression and has to go to therapy on a weekly basis. A couple months ago she was so depressed she didn’t even leave her house for months. She told me she believes this is just the way it’s going to be and there’s nothing she can do about it. The smallest most trivial things upset her and she can’t get over it. Me on the other hand, If I’m upset about something I either fix it or tell myself to get over it if it’s unfixable because there are always worse things in life. People tell me I am one of the most even-tempered people they know. I just got back from accompanying my friend to get Plan B because she drunkenly had unprotected sex with a random person this weekend. I consciously and logically chose a boyfriend who is not the most physically attractive but has more character than any other guy I know. We’ve been dating for 2.5 years and he treats me more like queen every day. My friend has slept with 5 different random people in the last 2 years. My thoughts control my emotions and actions. Her emotions control her thoughts and actions…..Which do you want for your children?

        • Anne

          The argument (from society) seems to be that, if you haphazardly display your feelings/emotions your child will grow up knowing that its okay to acknowledge how they feel & therefore they’ll be better- equipped to handle their own emotions as adults. After reading your response, I was put in mind of the self-esteem fad of my childhood: tell your child they’re fabulous just because they exist (and completely disconnected from any decent behavior) and they will grow up feeling good about themselves and being a responsible adult. Not so, as we have all seen! This bred laziness and lack of responsibility! Your words show me that yet another fad breeds undesired negative outcomes!! I appreciate your words and sound logic. I appreciate your decades-long perspective, too!

          Reflecting on your response, I was put in mind of other qualities (which seem to sort-of be emotions, but sort-of not) that it seems it WOULD be good to display regularly to children: compassion toward the needy, joy in the presence of both young and old, delight in the things of God, sadness when witnessing sin…

          Closing with my favorite line from your reply: “Whatever you display, say, or intend means it automatically programs them as okay to duplicate at least in adulthood and it may be okay for childhood.” What a great lodestone for decision-making about all manner of experiences a parent might consider sharing with a child!

          Your Highness Anne,
          You’re uncommonly wise to recognize the harm done by the self-esteem fad. You’re right on also in what you say in the second paragraph.

          • Anne

            Thank you. I have been intrigued by so-called “self-esteem building” and other ways parents are told to help their children understand that they are good/loved (“attachment parenting” is a newer fad I have some doubts about, too, although elements of it are catchy).

            It is a sad thing when a child grows up in a loving family and concludes no one cared for them – I saw this in my brother. But, as a parent, I am becoming more and more inclined to think we can’t just *tell* our children all the good stuff we want them to know-in-their-bones, such as the fact that we love them. They have to draw their own conclusions based on their own experiences. And, sadly, they don’t have and can’t process “all the information” since they are children, so they will misunderstand, misrepresent, and misremember so many things. For this reason, I have become a huge believer in photo albums with pictures of hugs, snuggles, and fun events. Just in case anyone ever wonders – in a dark moment later in life – if they ever had them! 🙂

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  3. Cocoa

    Dear sir Guy,

    I wish I read this back in 2009. Anyhow, I am over it now. My aim was to protect the future of my children and it worked. It drained me emotionally but I recovered.

    Two questions:

    1. If kids were exposed to some of what happened (I couldn’t hide it all) do you think boys, teenagers, take it differently than girls?

    2. As mention in the previous article. He was not welcomed in my bed for a very long time, and since then it has been very occasional, as I have been advised that i should welcome him once in a while, so the agony is not
    repeated! What’s your views on this? I dont feel like having him back in my bed AT ALL.

    Thanks in advance.

    Your Highness Cocoa,

    1. Yes, boys take it more in stride as less meaningful for their lives. Girls, OTH, view it from the slant of their greatest fear, abandonment. Both from their dad now and by forming higher expectations of it happening to their marriage.

    2. My view on having him in your bed is this: He won’t change in your favor—if ever— unless and until he respects you for standing up more distinctly and respectably for yourself. Keeping him out of your bed says it more dramatically than anything else you can do. I strongly endorse your feelings about “AT ALL.”


    • Cocoa

      Thanks Sir Guy, I feel much better now. No one around me appreciated my position, even my own mother! I have spoken very little though but stood strong. Boys are doing more than fine a deliberately keeping their selves distant. I am amazed at the wisdom at such young age.

      As I mentioned before, I don’t expect to get everything in life.

      Thanks again 🙂

      • Cocoa

        Hello sir Guy, it’s interesting when I stumble at my own comments and questions.

        It’s been 18 months since is posted this question and guess what! The boys have grown older and wiser in their own minds at least.

        What do I do in the following situation:
        Boys are turning into advisors, especially one of them, the other just withdraws. The father is encouraging boys to have their say in OUR issues. Lately and after all these years or serving and holding the family together, I am getting a disrespectful tone from my son! I felt like my world is spinning and shacking around me and the shock is overwhelming…

        I did put him in his place but sir Guy I am very very upset. I am more upset than when I discovered my husbands cheating.

        My son now is giving me a lecture on how I should behave.
        Is any of this expected? The older is approaching 20 years of age and is considered very mature.

        I am lost!

        Your Highness Cocoa,

        You are lost? Then, you need to shift into shock-and-awe mode of dominating your home. Take charge, take action, and take no guff from anyone.

        Their father has undermined your authority, which transfers his disrespect to the son.

        Your son is too old to be living in your home, so expel him or he shuts up. Tell him to go find another woman to disrespect and harangue.

        Is their father living in your home? If yes, sit him down for a long talk IN PRIVATE about ranking a son over you in your home and make sure you win the battle. You can’t tolerate such disrespect; it’s the worst thing for a home. Either mom rules the children or ill feelings slip directly into dysfunction and even hatred.

        If father is not in your home, send the lecturing son to live with him. Remove all of father’s influence from your home.

        You have to put yourself in greater charge or all will get much worse. Your mental health is threatened by such conditions, and only you can change things. Be very tough about letting both father and son get back in your good graces.

        Now, I know that all of that goes against your nature. That’s why I suggest shock and awe to awaken those who are against you. Rise above your nature and it will restore their respect in you as mother and home boss.


        • Cocoa

          Thank you sir Guy. After putting him in his place, I told him ” don’t you dare talk to me like this in my house and while you are still asking for pocket money from me” . Of course I got really upset and teary so I took my car and left, went for a long walk . Couldn’t stop crying so went back to my car.

          His father is at home and was there during the whole episode and said absolutely nothing.

          I am thinking it is much easier for me to go sir Guy. Their father won’t go. He just won’t leave. They can sort it among themselves while I recover somewhere else. I feel I am getting physically sick, my whole body is aching.

          Just a reminder, it is a taboo in my culture to leave, he can cheat and return. He can disrespect and respect and now the boys are following suit. But if I chose to save myself and restore whatever is left of and in me, then I am a bad woman. That’s ok. I can live with that I am a bad woman. Actually I can write a book on how I am a good, God fearing woman.

          I will go.

          Your Highness Cocoa,
          I pray God blesses you with all the determination and strength that you need to turn what you have into what you want.

          • MeowMeow

            Cocoa you have tried so hard. You ARE good in the eyes of God I’m sure and that matters more than the rules of Man. it sounds like you have done everything a ‘good” person can do to try to stand up for decency and order in your home. i don’t know whether you should stay or go from the home, but you sound like you need a respite from this chaos and I would prob. want to leave the same as you at least for awhile just to be able to think properly and get some perspective. I like to go take long walks in a nice neighborhood or safe area when I feel distressed to bring up my spirits by looking at the pretty places and getting my legs moving. And maybe go somewhere like a quiet library and write down my ideas or feelings that come up to me. The challenge when you return to the bad situation is to hang onto the thoughts you gained from your time away. With practice you can do it. Please take care.

          • MLaRowe

            Cocoa, God will be right there with you whatever you need to do.

            Our caring and loving God doesn’t desire for those He loves to be abused, neglected, ridiculed or anything like that.

            Prayers and strength going out to you no matter your decisions.

            I have noticed that angels working overtime on my behalf lately as I walk through the valley of death. I wish I could say I had no fear of evil but I will tell you I keep getting message after message that God is holding me close and keeping me safe. My fear is keeping me humble and dependent on prayer.

            Prayers on your behalf.

          • My Husband's Wife

            Dear Cocoa,
            Praying for you and your family.

          • Cocoa dear, I’m with you in my thoughts.

          • tink


            I was thinking on you last night…. i will continue my prayer chants.

  4. Cocoa

    Dear all, thank you so so much for your prayers and thoughts.
    Oh dear! I didn’t know so much people are praying for me, thanks again.

    I did leave for a week and returned after meeting with my son and putting him where he belongs. He thinks twice now before responding back to me.

    Father used my absence to turn the boys against me. I found out the he tell me stuff and promise this and that while behind my back encourage the boys with their behaviour. He gives them extra pocket money than what we’ve agreed on. (Oh, apparently he didn’t understand what my son was saying to me! He said that when I asked him how could he be there and say or do nothing when my son was lecturing me)

    Anyway, I am back home now. I am praying and fasting so that the Lord may one day resolve my agony. He knows I did not choose and He see that I have done my best. He knows AND He sees how I’ve been treated, he is just and He will deliver me.

    I am afraid and scared to take action and do what my heart and what my mind are telling me. He, my husband is SO unpredictable. Yes I am scared to move out and to move on. My only hope is mercy and deliverance from God.

    That doesn’t mean that I am crumbled or broken. I am holding strong and doing my pretty time, how amazing is this 30 minutes of mine. I do talk to my best friend in the mirror, and she is reassuring me that hope is my strength.

    Love you all. 😍

    P.s thank you sir for directing me to the post. This is the one I was fetching for.

    • surfercajun


      I am so excited to see you here!!! Thanks so much for the update…. I love you as well!!! :o)

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