Couples choosing to have children embark on what is likely the most important decision they will ever make together. Becoming a family involves a readjustment of priorities and responsibilities. There is an obvious shift in focus to children. Healthy families intuitively develop child-centered decisions. Where to live, work, and play realign with the new reality of living with babies and young children.
Many couples struggle with this intense period of care-giving and start a pattern of neglecting their relationship as a couple. Wise couples develop a healthy balance of wellness where both martial and family needs are met. Regular date nights, occasional weekend get- aways together, and family holidays are some of the strategies that help to grow strong marriages and healthy families at the same time.
When children or adolescents witness the breakdown of their parents marriage and discover that one parent has become emotionally or sexually involved with someone else, the news can be devastating.
Children do not have the emotional sophistication required to truly grasp the reasons couples grow apart, engage in habitual neglect of one another, or simply reject values of monogamy, honesty, and commitment foundational to family life. Some people grieve the loss of sexual and/or recreational freedom they experienced as single adults.
The impact of divorce and extramarital affairs on children are usually long lasting. Processing the historical emotional pain related to this early trauma is important especially before marriage.
Children are innocent, immature, and sensitive. They often suffer collaterally when families fall apart. There are several resources and counselling services available to help.
A child-centered approach is suggested when this type of problem is revealed. The devastating impacts of deception, disloyalty, and sexual infidelity is real. It hurts the adults directly involved and the children witnessing the revelations that follow.
Responsible healthy adults weigh decisions carefully and catch themselves when or if they are attracted to someone other than their spouse. We are finally arriving at a time in history when there are truly no reasons for secrets.
Many couples have courageous conversations about these feelings and learn to grow together or decide to take a break.
Couples counselling services may help where conversations are circular, stuck or unhelpful. It is best to engage the support of a counselor together.
Children feel the pain of extramarital affairs too. They rarely have the perspectives to fully grasp what’s going on and may never fully forgive, accept, or come to terms with a history of cheating.
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