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How a Parent's Infidelity Can Hurt a Child

Infidelity on the part of your spouse can be extremely hurtful. Of all the betrayals and misdeeds that a person can perpetrate against their spouse infidelity is probably the worst of those. What infidelity does to harm the level of trust between 2 spouses can be extremely significant. When we consider that in a marriage sometimes all the two of you have is trust then the impacts of infidelity become even more profound. There is so much in the world that can harm a marriage. The last thing you and your spouse need is to engage in behavior that undermines the marriage from within.

The impacts of cheating in a marriage can be felt even more acutely when there are children involved in the relationship. Bringing children into the world with your spouse means that you are committing to not only physically ensuring that the child has everything he or she needs to thrive but also working together with two present a stable and hospitable home life 2 him or her. Circumstances involving infidelity threaten the stability and nurturing environment that a young child needs to thrive.

What many people disregard or do not consider highly enough is that multiple types of infidelity can harm not only your marriage but also your children. Physical infidelity is the type of infidelity that most of us consider for most when it comes to cheating in a marriage. This is the type of cheating that we are exposed to in the media, movies, television, and even in our personal lives. Learning that a close friend is going through a divorce because their spouse cheated on them can be a sickening feeling. Not only for your friend due to what they are about to go through in the divorce but also for yourself. We cannot help but put ourselves in our friends’ shoes and sympathize with them when they go through a circumstance like this.

However, there is another type of infidelity that can be just as damaging to a marriage and two children. I am talking about financial infidelity. When a spouse hides money, wastes resources, spends frivolously, or otherwise cannot be trusted with money that can destroy the legitimate ends of marriage period from there, it doesn't take a huge leap of faith to see that your ability to parent your child will be harmed as well. Money cannot buy happiness nor create everything you need in terms of fulfilling home life. However, what it can do is provide you with stability and at home so that all these things are made much easier. When your spouse cannot be trusted with money then it should lead you to consider the question of what else can he or she not be trusted with? You would like to not have to consider this but reality comes and has a way of making the obvious something that we cannot ignore.

In today's blog post we are going to talk about these types of infidelity only how they impact your marriage but how they can negatively impact your children. Understanding that all families are different I am going to do my best to make sure that we cover topics that R likely to pertain to a broad group of families including your own. As always, if you have a specific question about the material contained in today's blog post then you should certainly contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We will be more than happy to arrange for a free-of-charge consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. No matter what you and your family are going through our attorneys are equipped to provide you with information in one of these consultations period from there, you can use this information however you wish.

Physical infidelity

I don't think that many people would argue that it is better, all things considered, to be able to raise children in a two-parent environment. The benefits of having two parents in the home are many and well documented but I think we can walk through them here to establish a baseline for this conversation. For one, parenting is tough. In a world where it is more than likely that both you and your spouse both work full time there are only so many hours in the day where your children and you can interact. Rather than leaving all those hours to discipline and structure, having your spouse available to assist you with raising your child leaves you more time to enjoy what hours in the day you do have with your kids. Otherwise, you may be left scrambling and feeling like your entire day is spent trying to take care of the necessary items around the house without being able to enjoy time with the kids.

Choosing to raise children with another person means trusting that that other person has the best interest of your children in mind. For instance, it certainly can change the tone of a marriage if you believe that your spouse has bad intentions or at the very least has views on parenting or habits that do not align with your own. This is not to say that you cannot effectively raise children with a spouse that you disagree with on occasion in terms of methods of parenting. Disagreeing with your spouse from time to time on parenting methods will happen. However, if your goals do not align when it comes to raising your children together then you have major issues.

The reason being is that if you can agree that you and your spouse both want what is best for the children everything else falls into place when it comes to parenting. You may not necessarily agree with everything your spouse does regarding parenting the kids but typically we can look past that and understand that our spouse has the best interest of our children in mind. There is something about infidelity in a marriage that causes even that kind of trust to go away. Physical and sexual infidelity cannot help but be at the front of your mind when you encounter adverse circumstances in raising children. It is my experience in working with people who have gone through circumstances like yours that even when it comes to raising children with an unfaithful spouse those acts of infidelity are always at the forefront of your mind. Many people simply cannot shake the image or idea of their spouse being unfaithful. As a result, the mistrust and unease that parents experience in this regard can be completely detrimental to raising children.

You may be able to talk with a family therapist, counselor, or even someone through your church to be able to help you get past these feelings. If you feel like it is a possibility that you and your spouse can work through these issues together then you should try to do so. Working hard on a shared mission with a shared goal can do a lot of good in your marriage and can work to repair some of the broken bonds of trust that the cheating has caused to come to the surface of your marriage. This is typically most effective when both parents are on board with the counseling or therapy and not just one of you wants to work on preparing the damage done through cheating. This looks like a discussion in a decision quickly after the cheating to move forward with attempts at reconciliation. The longer you let the cheating faster the less likely you are to find that reconciliation is possible.

However, if you find that reconciliation is not possible then you need to consider the path you want to go down. In having worked with many parents who have gone through a divorce a typical reason why he or she may have delayed divorce is to maintain a certain family structure for as long as possible. As I mentioned a moment ago, I believe that a two-parent household functions best when it comes to raising children. At the same time, I recognize that it is not always possible for families to remain together through certain adverse circumstances. Infidelity of a physical nature qualifies as an adverse circumstance. As such, staying in a marriage where cheating has occurred will likely be detrimental for some families.

This is especially true when your children have been exposed to cheating. This does not mean that your children will have had to walk in on your spouse and another person engaged physically but it could mean that your children met your spouse’s girlfriend or boyfriend and were forced to interact with him or her. Unfortunately, your spouse may be completely comfortable with the idea of your kids interacting with this person. Not only does that show a complete lack of consideration for you but it also crosses many relational boundaries with your children. The last thing you want to do is encourage bad behavior by your spouse when he or she has already taken it upon themselves to act badly in the marriage. Maintaining a marriage that is not benefiting your children is a bad idea. A marriage where there is no trust or consideration for the other person is not a marriage at all. Therefore, I would not recommend remaining in a relationship with the person who continually violates your trust has no concept of boundaries that are appropriate with children.

This means having a conversation with your children that you may not have ever had to expect. Namely, this could mean that you must discuss the subject of a divorce with your children. This could mean different things to different families based on the ages of your children. For example, discussing with a 4-year-old about divorce looks a lot different than a conversation with a 14-year-old about divorce. Many people find that sparing unnecessary details with a younger child makes more sense whereas with an older child you can provide slightly more information and a long-term outlook. That's not to say that you are obligated to tell your older children every detail about what the divorce means and why it is being done. However, it simply acknowledges that your older children may have the ability to take on more information and process it more maturely than a younger child would. Either way, you know your children better than anyone. You should consider the needs of your family and make decisions based on their circumstances. While it would be good to be able to discuss this information with your spouse before speaking to the kids, I realize that is not always a possibility.

Finally, when it comes to discussing this subject matter with your children you should reinforce to them that nothing about the divorce is their fault. Children have an uncanny ability to both internalize the problems with divorce and blame themselves for you having to go through the divorce in the first place. Helping the children to understand that the divorce occurred through no fault of their own is it great benefit to talking honestly to the children about your case. There is no magic script that you need to follow when it comes to having this conversation. However, in my experience the more honesty you can have and the more direct you can be the better. A piece of advice that I've heard many times that still makes a lot of sense to me is that to be unclear is to be unkind. Do not give your children a false sense of hope unless you have a true belief that your marriage can be salvaged. Rather, be as direct as you can be based on the age of your children about what the divorce means for your family now and in the future. It may not be something that you feel great about in the moment but in the long run honesty with your kids, can pay huge dividends.

Financial infidelity

Finally, financial infidelity is a type of infidelity that we do not consider as readily as physical infidelity but may impact more families than sexual infidelity. To me, financial infidelity simply means not being in a position where you can trust your spouse when it comes to family finances. One of the major recommendations that I give to anyone who asks my advice on finances and marriage is to combine your financial worlds. Having separate checking accounts may sound innocent enough but I find that it leads to having separate financial goals and then ultimately leading separate financial lives. You can be lulled into a false sense of security that you are safe from financial hardship if you simply look after your own money. However, sharing a vision and acting intentionally with your spouse when it comes to your financial goals is a key to establishing financial and relational trust with your spouse.

Problems with finances and breaking of that trust can occur in a marriage when you and your spouse do not think ahead and have a plan when it comes to your financial goals. Every family can achieve success financially. The success of your family may look different than the success of your neighbor’s family. However, being intentional when it comes to goal setting with your spouse and your finances is not overly difficult. It simply takes time to develop a rhythm with him or her. When your spouse Cannot control their spending, waste money, or lie to you about spending money then you need to look to the degree of that infidelity before deciding on how to proceed.

repeated acts of financial infidelity like this can not only destroy the bonds of trust in your marriage but can harm your children in real-time. It takes a great deal of effort to maintain a strong marriage. The inability to put forth the effort 2 build a strong marriage is what leads to many divorces in our country. Despite your best efforts, financial infidelity can lead to divorce just as readily as physical infidelity. At the same time, it can create a circumstance where you are unable to provide the necessities of life for your kids. Imagine trying to checkout at the grocery store only to find that you have no money in your checking account. When you go home to check in on your bank account you may find charges that you were unaware of and are left with more questions than answers. These are hallmark signs of infidelity from a financial perspective. Discovering financial infidelity is only the first step in the process of mitigating the damage to your children. Being able to re-establish trust is the next step. It may mean attending counseling or working with your spouse 2 do away with their access to your credit card or debit account for a temporary period.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Lawyer

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with ar Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.

A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.

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