Faith Therapy: Getting Divorce after Affair
My Wife is Having an Affair and Wants Divorce but Lives in My House. Help!
Q: I am divorcing my wife against my will. She had an affair and continued to come in at all hours of the night, rarely caring about the needs of our son, let alone mine. Unfortunately, we’re still living in the same house while the proceedings unfold. Needless to say, it’s awkward, and I worry about the impact on my 7-year old son. My wife has recently begun to sleep with him in his twin bed in an attempt to cement a bond with him belatedly. How do we manage this madness and protect our son as much as possible?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to entirely protect your son from what sounds like an emotional roller coaster in the home. You can use the example of what has happened to your family to teach him about the ups and downs of relationships and that this happens to be a down time for the family unit but doesn’t mean the family has to stay at such odds with each other.
In order to keep his life anchored in some semblance of normalcy, be careful to still observe certain daily rituals (e.g., bedtime reading, nightly prayer, little league activity, certain private jokes, meal-time). If you haven’t had any rituals, try to establish some that lighten the mood of the household and give him something to anticipate with interest. Be careful, despite your emotional upheaval, to avoid saying anything negative about his mother including avoiding nonverbal expressions that convey hostility or disdain (e.g., rolled eyes, painful sighs, curled lips that mock her).
Seeing you each cooperate with each other with civility takes one thing off his plate to worry about. Explain the process of divorce to him in an age-appropriate language without judging or criticizing his mother as well as any odd behavior.Try noting that the family is adjusting to something unplanned, which causes people to respond strangely sometimes.Most importantly, emphasize your hope that the adjustment is likely temporary and constitutes an experience from which all will eventually learn and grow.