“I keep thinking about the kids.”
“Oh God,” I sighed to Sara. “I’m about done with that saga.”
“Me, too. But, his poor kids. Thank goodness they’re too young to know that about their dad, and once they get old enough to know, the spotlight will be off their family.”
“Unless … more women are still coming out of the woodwork!”
“I just can’t imagine being a
child of an adulterer.”
I can’t either — and yet, I am. Fortunately, I only discovered my family’s adulterous past when I was 40-something and dealing with my own husband’s affair. Still, it made me recast my entire history of my family,
and some things started to make sense.
But what about Spitzer’s kids, and Edwards’ and all the other celebrities and politicians whose affairs were so public when their kids were old enough to understand
that daddy was schtupping someone else, who were dealing with their own budding sexuality? What kind of message did their father’s infidelity send?
Christine’s mom left her hubby to shack up with her lover when Christine was about 12; and she hated him and what he represented at the same time that she was forced to live with him.
Is that a form of child abuse?
For Sting, who discovered his mother’s affair when he was young, it was a heavy burden he carried into his relationships:
“I think it made me very afraid of intimacy for many, many years. It did color every relationship I had with women. I’m not sure if I trusted women, for a long, long time.”
And imagine the kids who discover that their dads have a second family on the side, like Charles Lindbergh and, more recently, U.S. Rep. Vito Fossella.
Talk about poster children for needing therapy!
Nobody’s thinking about their kids when they’re about to cheat; they’re not thinking about their spouse, either. You might even say they’re not thinking, period (or maybe with their genitals, although affairs really aren’t always about sex).
Trent was old enough to know what “cheat” and “affair” meant; he knows enough about the affair and enough about his dad’s and my feeling’s about it. We’re far enough removed from it now to talk about without emotions mucking it up. And yet, I don’t bring it up. I don’t ask him what he thinks about Tiger and marriage and cheating. Should I?
I feel sorry for Tiger’s and the Gosselins’ kids and all children who have a parent who can’t keep his dick or her pussy at home; I feel worse for them than the betrayed spouse, an adult, someone who maybe can put the affair in perspective.
How should we talk to kids about infidelity?