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Thursday, 22 March 2001

Wanting Husband to Admit to an Affair

Written by  Naomi Baum, PhD.

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QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

I have been married for 22 years and have two children, a son who is 17 and a daughter who is 19 years old. My husband and I are in the process of separating. He has been gone for five days now. He is coming over in the next few days to talk to the kids and explain why we are splitting up. He tells them it's because we are two different people . The separation is no surprise to the kids. But they don't know he is having an affair. I told my husband to leave because of this reason. This is his third affair and the last with me. I want him to be honest with the kids, even though it's going to tear them up. He has to start facing reality. I have proof, but he still won't admit the affair to me!!! What do I do? My proofs are e-mail letters he wrote to her. She's a "family" friend. How do I get him to be honest with the kids. I don't want to be the one to tell them. HELP!!!

Wanting Husband to Admit to an Affair

ADear Wanting Husband to Admit to an Affair,

It's clear that you are going through a very tough time now. You are faced with your husband's extramarital affairs, your impending separation and the painful challenge of informing your children.

Understandably, you want your husband to admit the truth about the marriage, not some simplistic statement that puts the blame equally on both of you. You want fairness and justice. Nevertheless, in this case you can't and shouldn't force your husband to admit his infidelity to the children. How your husband explains things to the kids is his business. What you do control is how and what you decide to tell your children.

You are certainly hurting now and you may very well be motivated by your feelings of revenge and jealousy. You want the kids to know what their father did. On the other hand, you need to consider that this man will continue to be the father of your kids, and a relationship with Dad is very important to any kid. The details of your relationship with their father are not their business and are probably not going to be very helpful to them. In order for you to feel up front and honest you might tell them that you and their father have separated because you feel that he has not been honest and up front with you and you are not willing to live that way.

However, you must share with them about the affair, if you think they may hear it through the grapevine or around the neighborhood. It is better to hear about it from you than from an outside source.

The bottom line remains that you don't control your husband, and in fact never did. I trust this may be difficult to swallow, but once you get used to the idea, you can get on with the many things that I am sure you need to take care of.

Your kids need a lot of love and support from both you and your husband during this difficult period. Save your energies for them and for yourself.

All the best,

Naomi L. Baum, PhD

Last modified on Saturday, 21 January 2012 07:46
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Naomi Baum, PhD.

Naomi Baum, PhD.

Naomi Baum is the Director of the Resilience Unit at The Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma and the National School Resilience Project. Her work at ICTP focuses on developing programs to build resilience in communities that have been highly exposed to trauma and stress. She has successfully brought her approach to Biloxi, Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Her work there included seven visits to the city, she trained teachers, social workers, school nurses, and counselors. She has also worked with the population in Haiti following teh earthquake. She has written about Trauma and Resilience in several published articles and books.

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