Your children will undoubtedly question your reasons for divorce. This process, while one of the most trying and heart-wrenching a family can ever experience, is nonetheless a common experience. In cases of infidelity, though, emotions and confusion can reach toxic levels for everyone in the family. Because of this, you may wish to avoid divulging these facts to your children.
Deciding whether or not to tell your child depends on a number of variables that are unique to your situation: How old is the child? Do you have a healthy relationship with him? Will your chances of earning custody be threatened by telling your child? Was your ex faithful? Does your child suspect something?
No matter the situation, you must face certain difficult truths while making these decisions. Concern for your child's well-being, though, should be your first concern. If you feel that your child will benefit from total honesty, the choice to tell your child will likely reflect that. If you plan on starting a new family with your new partner--and wish to avoid animosity between your child and that person--you might decide otherwise. With such a personal and complicated decision, this blog entry cannot possibly cover all the subtleties and differences from one case to another.
The best approach to such a delicate situation is generally to consult professionals, both legal and therapeutic (mental health professionals). The way you respond to your child's questions may very well follow your child for the rest of her life. It may establish a paradigm from which your child struggles to separate over the ensuing years. Do not take these questions lightly and I strongly recommend that at the very least before exposing your children to ANY adult topics, especially one as intimate as divorce, you consult with a child development expert or a counselor who specializes in treating and counseling children of divorce.