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.