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Posted by HIDDEN

Should I tell my teen that his dad was unfaithful to me?

My husband was unfaithful to me and we are getting divorced. Because I was the one who asked for the divorce, my 17-year-old son blames me and has a lot of anger toward me. He and his dad have always had a good relationship and I don't want to badmouth my husband to my son. But the anger toward me is really hard to take! Should I tell my son the truth?

Answers

Ordered by those with the most votes.

  • He should be old enough to form his own opinions about his dad if you tell him the truth. If he's mature, he will realize that it wasn't your fault, but it also shouldn't ruin his relationship with his father. Unfortunately, there's probably going to be some anger for his father, once he learns the truth, but that's something your (ex) husband should've realized before he was unfaithful. He will have to suffer the consequences of what his child(ren?) will think of him. However, if I was in the situation, I would like to know. And I'm sure your son will too, once you let him know. Good luck!

  • I think you should tell him, he's not just a child, he is nearing adulthood. He should know the situation. Don't talk bad or angrily about the father, as hurt as you may be, just give him the facts. He cheated on you, and as his wife you just can't be with him anymore. That doesn't make him a bad husband or you a bad wife/mother. Let your son know that no matter what you and his father still love him, you just need to go your separate ways.

  • Eek! tough situation...I would consult a counselor

  • This mom doesn't want her kid angry at her; and he is, because she filled for a divorce. The mom filled for a divorce due to the fathers actions... biased on the story we are being given here I am making the following assumption. The father told the kid the mother asked for it, and probably some other information. The Mother sounds like she doesn't want to involve her kid in adult matters, but it seems like the Father already did. Because I am assuming the father already told the kid things, thus causing his anger toward his mother; I think she should be honest with him. 17 year olds today, see and hear more then we would like to think.

  • First let me say, I am sorry that you find yourself in this situation. Next let me tell you that I went through something very similar. My daughter took her anger out on me and it was ugly, so I can imagine your pain and hurt frustration. Telling your son anything about his dad will only send him further away, unfortunately. Try as hard as you can to keep anything negative about his father from coming from you. At this point, I remember thinking that life just wasn't fair or just; I was the one that took care of them, etc. But now that they are grown up (31, 23, and 21) our relationships have gotten 100% better. Your son will see in time the truth about his father for himself, and when he does he will begin seeing you and all you are to him. I hate the saying,"time heals all wounds", but in this case it really is true. It was for me. Keep your chin up and continue doing what you know is right, and the rest will fall into place. I will be thinking about you often Isabelle

  • Yes, tell him the truth do not bad mouth the husband. Being 17 he should understand that your family is going through what a lot of families go through. The anger will go away later. Tell him to talk with his Dad and let him explain

  • Long story short, no. He will likely learn eventually, but he is still a child and shouldn't be exposed to adult problems. Be consistent and show that you still love him, even though you and his father won't be together anymore.

  • He's 17 yes tell him to truth. Lying or hiding things would just make it worse farther down the road.

  • I would recommend seeking a professional to help you deal with your divorce and what it has done to you and then look for a teen specialist to help him understand his emotions. Often times the safe parent is the one who gets worst of the anger. He is most likely he is losing his dad and doesn't know what to do to make it stop so that doesn't happen. Only he cannot. I am afraid to say you have a long road a head of you - if you try to explain without dealing with your issues first - you may lose your son and your relationship - Please hear that I am not blaming you - I am trying to explain that this is an extremely difficult to negotiate a lone.

  • I feel like you should let him know the truth because it will come out one day and it might be too let for him to tell you sorry when he find out so tell him the truth and try not to badmouth your husband just tell what happen and make your husband tell him also because he the one that missed up and you son need to know that.

  • Absolutely not!! Why? unless you want to ruin their relationship and make yourself look better and be a victim. Your relationship as husband and wife should remain between you both and your job as parents should be as parents. If there is so much stress you can discuss that all people have disagreements and you're in the middle of one but the specifics are not for him.

  • You probably already received a dozen answers. Tough question. Divorce is hard to take and him knowing the reason may make it worse or better. It is hard for someone outside of your family to judge. I would ask my husband to explain to the son the reason why or at least let him know it is not your fault. If he refuses and it is really causing your son to disrupt your own relationship with him, he may need to know the truth and why you chose to divorce. Ultimately, it becomes about the boys mental well being. The truth is usually better in my book when a teenager is involved but it is your child and your call. Any chance for counseling? God can heal the most amazing things.

  • I think you should use a different format. Talk about what marriage is and take it from there. 17 may seem like a good time, but it is still his dad, and he should know no one is perfect. I speak on this subject too, I had a similar situation and really did not handle it well.

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  • Yes, but let him know you still want his father in his life. Dont go into to much detail just tell him a sense of what happened. Because if you tell him to much he might hate is father instead, but if you dont tell him he will continue to have anger towards you. So tell him briefly what happened and how it made you feel. Let him know that you hated what is father did you just cant forguve him, but that your son can. Tell him that it made you uncomfortable that his father cheated. Buts thats all, dont tell to much to where he hates him. Remember let it down slowly and not to much information unless he is very persistent then you can tell him a little more just never all of it. I hope i helped some.

  • I believe you should not offer this information to your son. If he asks you outright why you are divorcing his dad...and you feel he's mature enough, then tell him frankly, but I'd avoid details. My daughter blamed me for leaving/divorcing and changing her family dynamic. I haven't explained in much detail as to why based on her age-she's 9. Emotional and verbal abuse are difficult for a child her age to fully comprehend. It's taken a lot of time- one to two years, but our relationship is tons better now. I stayed consistent and don't bad talk her father.

  • I think you should tell him. As an 18 year old myself, I would hate to find out later the real circumstances of the divorce and realize that I had misplaced my blame and anger. You're not badmouthing your husband if it's the truth. He can decided how that truth affects his relationship with his dad.

  • I think your son should know the truth , but there are ways to tell him the truth and always in a calm way. Divorces always affect the children, but you shouldn't show any anger towards your husband in front of your son, because it can have a negative effect on him. Deal your situation in a civilized matter. Best, Ursula

  • Make your husband tell him. If he's that angry, he won't believe you anyways.

  • Is this a conversation your ex-husband could be present for? I would imagine that this shouldn't be something placed completely on your shoulders, and it would be beneficial for your son to see his father take ownership of his actions. In that way then, if you two were able to have a conversation with your son, he can see that even though a divorce is taking place, there is still a level of maturity taking place. My concerns would be him taking his perceptions of the relationship into his own in the future. Of course, I am making an assumption you two would both be able to talk to him. If that isn't the case, I still think it would be important for someone to provide insight into what is going on. To him, his entire world is imploding (speaking as a person who grew up in a very similar situation) and I was most angry about not having answers than anything else. I think the mentality of "it's not what you say, it's how you say it" would also be important to consider. And since you are aware that you don't want to badmouth, you can consider how you phrase your statements before giving them. I would just be honest and say that your currently disconnected relationship to him (your son) is hard for you, and you imagine it is hard for him too.. so, you want to be honest and forward with him, and that you will give him time to express himself when he is ready to listen to you as well. Sincerely, Gabrielle

  • yes, i think you should but try not to make him mad at his dad or hate him. you need to have a sit down heart to heart with him but also in a mature way so he doesn't feel like your blaming the dad for everything and than become mad and defensive towards you.

  • That's such a sensitive spot that you're in I wouldn't dare to advise without intimate understanding of all the relationship dynamics. I would suggest asking a professional, such as his school counselor.

  • Yes, as many others have replied, family counseling will help with all of the feelings and communication between everyone. I believe it is important to be honest with teenagers, especially at the age of 17. They may be hurt now, but they will appreciate your honesty in the future. Healthy communication makes a big difference. It's important for both you and your soon to be ex to explain to your son that you want what's best for him, and will do your best not to bad mouth each other.

  • He's 17 and is going to be an adult soon. The truth will set you free and its going to be hard on your son knowing that his own father was unfaithful but overall he will appreciate that you were upfront and honest rather than hiding such a big secret.

  • I think your son's dad needs to step in and explain a few things without badmouthing you. Until he steps up, your son may not believe what you say.

  • Absolutely not. This is your husband's confession, not your. Speak with your husband about the anger issue. Present a united front to your son about the dissolution of the marriage. However, I don't think this is information your child should hear. It is between you and your husband.

  • Yikes, depends how close you are to the son. That would be really hard for a son to believe. Almost sounds like the dad should tell the son the truth not you, you didn't do anything. He needs to hear it from his father and maybe all 3 of you should talk together about it privately since it is something that will affect his life as well

  • That's a good question for a family therapist and should we worked out collaboratively. I don't think that YOU should be telling him, your husband should tell him in the company of a neutral party and answer the question WHY. You may benefit from being present. 17 years of marriage is a very precious thing one that shouldn't be seen or thrown away lightly or at least without a fight if it can be salvaged.

  • I was in the same situation as your son. I was close with my mother and she cheated on my dad. When my dad told me, I took it as him trying to pull me to his side. I still don't talk to my dad three years later. I would definitely consult professional help.

  • No,it will come back and bite you.never speak ill of his gather or the first time hes angry with you he will run to him

  • Your son should know the truth. Your son is going to agree with his father because it is in the male nature for them to stick together and always defend each other. Have a seat with your son and simply explain to him the disagreements and problems that have been occurring between you and husband. Im sure he will eventually understand the concept of it all once he actually realizes what is occurring.

  • Your son is 17. Practically an adult. If he has any close male mentors (not his father), then I would talk to them about it. Another thing you could do is skate over the issue, tell him something like, "there are reasons I asked for the divorce. You and your dad have always had a good relationship so I haven't told you the details because I still want you to get along. But here lately you've been so angry at me. I have my reasons for asking for the divorce, and I am so very sorry that you are having to go through this. Please know I did what I felt was right." ....you can also tell him if he wants to know what your reason was, to ask his father. (that probably seems cruel, but his father did what he did knowing it was wrong.) It was his actions and it seems like you are shouldering the consequences. Best of luck, and I am truly sorry that you are in this situation

  • Divorce is really, really hard on kids no matter what age. And sometimes its the hardest on teens because they feel like they could have prevented it somehow or that in someway it's their fault. Let your son know that the situation is in no way his fault and ask him how he feels about the whole situation and why. Your son may pick a side to cope with the situation anyways. He blames you now, and after you tell him he may resent your ex husband instead. No matter what he's going to be angry at someone because his family is no longer together. If anything maybe just tell him your husband had disrespected you as his wife instead of flat out saying he was unfaithful. Hope this helps!

  • I'm not sure what your current relationship is with your son's father, but if it were me I would encourage my husband to have that conversation with our child. I think your husband owes it to your son to be honest with him and own his mistake. In addition, I think he owes it to you. If your child is taking it out on you unfairly, the least your husband can do is take some of that weight off your shoulders; telling your son not to blame you for HIS mistake.

  • I'd probably say something like 'He does something that hurts me. I tried so hard not to let it go this way but I cannot take it anymore. I know It's hard on you. I'm sorry that it effects you. I wish there is other way I could do.' I'd not tell what he does because that could ruin their relationship and it might be worse on your son. Anyway, sorry to hear that and hope things get better.

  • Yes do not think that holding back information from your child is helping them, it is actually hurting them. You have to tell these kids the truth, yes it will be confusing and hurtful but they will appreciate that you was open and honest with them. Talk to them with your soon to be ex husband, i know you probably do not want to be associated with him but you both telling your kids the truth will better help the kids process what is going on and whats going to happen from there on out.

  • I think it is important to talk to your son about this, being that he is 17, he should be able to understand. It is important because he blames everything on you and has a lot of anger toward you, but doesn't know all of the information about your situation. Most parents are role models to their children, and I think it would only be fair to your son to tell him about his father's unfaithfulness. Often times, sons look up to their fathers to see how they should treat a woman, and unfaithfulness is never acceptable, and your son may change his views and possibly become an even better person for it. Although it is important, he may react badly, and not believe you. There are good and bad sides to this, and I hope whatever you choose works out best for you, and your son realizes that it truly wasn't your fault. I hope this helps.

  • yes u always tell your kids the truth even tho know it will hurt them. if u keep it from them they will be mad case u kept it from them

  • He will soon find out on his own but sit down and tell him a divorce is two about two people that cant be together anymore for many reasons but no matter what he will always have you and his dad. It might take some time but he will see his fathers true side and he will be you baby boy once again. He is just really hurt and confused. Just be there no matter what he says to you he really doesnt mean it.

  • You should not tell her until you think she's ready and your ready to tell her . Could hurt her with tell her that.

  • I believe that 17 is old enough to hear the truth. If he were younger, than I would let him discover the truth. However, when you tell him, try to be as calm, nonjudgmental, and biased as possible. Say things like, we just fell out of love. Daddy fell in love with someone else. Marriage is meant for the husband and wife to be with no one else but each other. DON'T say things like, you're wretched father slept with some slut and ruined our marriage.

  • Talk to your husband about telling him, it may ruin their relationship. Sit your son down and let him know it really hurts you and that your not doing this for no reason, try to still be friends with your husband, it will help him coop.

  • I definitely would not. With time hopefully he will heal, but he doesn't need to know your reasons in my opinion. That would do more harm than good. Best of luck! if you pray, that may help as well.

  • If you choose to tell him the truth, tell him gently with choice word and set the mood for it to.

  • At seventeen, your son is old enough to know wrong from right and is capable of understanding and processing the "cheating" conversation. But the real issue comes in at will it be helpful for their personal relationship? No, it will not. It might cause your son to dislike his father and have a negative relationship with him. All in all, he IS responsible enough to hear the conversation and reason, but is the conversation worth their relationship.... No. So I say you should leave it alone.

  • You have to know your kid, but I think at 17 he could probably handle knowing the truth and probably needs to know to help your relationship. I had the same situation and I did tell my kids -- it was hard at first, but they worked it out and they currently have a good relationship with both of us. The other thing you could try first is to explain to your son that there are some good reasons this divorce is happening and that you don't want to put him in the middle of your and your husbands issues, but that one day when he is ready, and everyone has cooled off a bit, you will tell him more.Explain that there is a lot of hurt going on right now for all involved and that you don't want to say anything out of anger or hurt. See how he handles that-- at 17 I would think he would say,,, just tell me now, and you have to know your kid to know if you think he could handle it. You don't have to bad mouth his dad, but calmly explain that he has been seeing someone else and that you all are not able to work out your differences at this time.

  • I am sorry to hear about your situation. Telling your son is not the answer, nor badmouthing your husband. Remember...there are two sides to every story and you do not know what Dad has said to your son. As of now, you need to work on your relationship with your son. Suggestion: Talk with your son about his anger. Explain that you are sorry that the divorce is upsetting him. Perhaps you and your son can look into a counselor to discuss his concerns, feelings and why he is angry with you. Meanwhile-set boundaries when your son is with you in regards to the way he speaks to you or expresses his anger. Each of you can begin your own writing journal. This is is a great way to release emotions and can later be used in a therapy session to reflect upon your past journal entries.

  • My advice is that you should see a Therapist and ask him or her. But your son is 17 and should know the truth. How do you and your soon to be exhusband get along? You need to have a talk with him and express your feelings. Tell him your son deserves to hear the truth about what really happened. He may hear it from someone else & be very upset by that.

  • Yes, your son deserves to know the truth. Rather he hear it from you or the woman your husband was cheating on with.

  • I think you just should be honest and respectful to both your son and your ex. Your in a really tuff spot, i would try to be objective and straight forward try no to let your emotions get in the way. Tell him the facts and let him process it.

  • Absolutely not- it serves no purpose now while his brain is still developing even if you tell him he doesn't have the same brain as an adult who can rationalize in a different way and you are his mother so he may even have some young idea that you drove his father to be unfaithful...no don't tell him there is no good reason to tell him unfortunately and I am so sorry to hear this is happening.

  • Yes , you have to be straight up with him . Especially since he's almost an adult . Him and his dad's relationship will get better . But your relationship with you're son will not get any better if you do not tell him the truth .

  • With me being a child of a parent who was cheated on,its hard to try and tell your children these types of things,my mom never told me bad things about my dad neither did she bash him,eventually as i grew older i saw him for the man he was all on my own.So i would suggest, to let your children see things on they're own but always show them love,in situation like this the child(ren) might feel they did something to make their parents be that way towards eachother, so asking how things going and showing attentiveness and love will really help the situation,

  • My parents got divorced when I was in my twenties. My dad in the process told me about how my mother cheated on him when I was an infant. I know my mother committed adultery at the end of the marriage (seamless transition to the next guy). That being said, I recognize his telling me as a manipulative act. My mother's actions have contributed to my trust issues with women. Don't try to score cheap points. When marriages break apart things get ugly, and it is unhealthy to both demonize and idealize people. The HBO series, In Treatment, really helps drive the later point home.

  • If it doesn't feel right don't tell him. If you think he can still build a good relationship with his father then tell him. A very close friend of mine's parents sent him to a therapist a few times during their divorce so he could talk out his feelings on that and so his mind could be opened to the decision. If you feel comfortable doing that you should because your son is still a minor theres a lot of stuff a therapist cans till tell you to help you make the best decision in this case.

  • Yes always tell the truth. Because when you tell the truth you will be free of the secret you been keeping. It will feel good if you go and tell the truth. It's like telling God the truth and to forgive you.

  • Yes, 17 is old enough to understand the results of being unfaithful

  • As a teen, I would want to know the truth. Make sure you tell him in a way that doesn't bash his dad, just tell him what happened and that that is the reason you are getting a divorce. Remind him that regardless of your separation you both still love your son and want the best for him, and that his dad's unfaithfulness to you won't change that. I think it would be better to be told the truth rather than find out by accident in the future and then feel lied to.

  • I am a child of divorce, but unlike your son, I do not have a strong relationship for my father and I know how much my mother does for me. It would be best though for you to sit your son down and explain the situation to him. Be sure to stress that this does not make his father a bad person.

  • I think the dad should be the one to discuss with your child. It is very classy of you to not want to ruin the relationship between the father and son, and while I don't know your husband, I hope he would have the decency to recognize the anger your son has towards you for no reason, and take responsibility for his actions by sitting down with the teen to discuss why the divorce is happening.

  • Being a teen he will probably handle it better than my kids did when I was in the same situation. They could not understand why I was hurt angry and upset all the time, until I was finally honest with them. They were only 10 & 8 at the time but they did resent thier father slightly for the pain he caused.

  • Yes. in a respectable way. He is old enough for you to have a grown up talk with. Just don't bash his dad. Keep it clean and respectful.

  • NEVER, EVER, EVER badmouth your son's father to your son. As tempting as it may be to set the record straight, no good will come of telling your son that your husband cheated on your. It really is none of your son's business. Children have a way of finding things out on their own sooner or later, so the best thing to do is to take the high road and not resort to name calling. It will only backfire on you, and your son will likely resent you even more for tarnishing his image of his father. If and when your son learns the truth in some other way, he will have even more respect for you for showing such restraint, class, and dignity.

  • I think you should ask your husband to speak to your son and paint you in a positive light. He owes you this. Although I would anticipate your son needing to direct his anger towards someone or something. To him, your family is getting divorced, its not about your and your husband in his mind.

  • Oh this is a hard one, I am so sorry this is happening to you. Your son is old enough to know the truth, but he may further resent you for telling him the truth. I think you should discuss this with his dad and you should tell him together. Good luck.

  • I have herd a of a similar case. The best thing is to tell him the truth when he is ready. Not on his birthday or anybother special occasion. Tell him soon though. Becuase by hiding the truth you are lieing.

  • Yes you should tell your son the truth; the sooner the better. I was a middle and high school teacher, and there is nothing worse than a kid who tells me tearfully that they found months or years later the truth about their parents' divorce. It made them angry at the parent who caused the issue, and equal resentment at the one who didn't speak up initially. There's no formula to stop the pain or cause things to be okay, but the truth always the best place to start. There is no "good way" to tell the child, and no "right time"; make it up in your mind that it must be done. However, if there is a special game or test they have to take coming up, please please wait until it passes before you speak up. I have seen this ruin kids on their one shot of achieving great work in sports or academics, because of the parent's "timing" on news. If you can wait for the school year to end, do it! Just as you'd want consideration on things happening to you, please think of them and what's going on with their lives. Start to build rapport with them on the activities they like to do, like see a movie, go to a sporting match or drama event, and take them out to eat "just because". If you start to do it, then you'll be building or strengthening your relationship with him. This may actually lead to the moment of speaking the truth, and it will help to alleviate his anger towards you. And if you don't already, you need to start to build your own relationship with your son. First, tell them you have to speak to them and make it a "date" per se. Cook or order his favorite meal, make sure you're alone (unless you have to go out to eat), and turn off your phone. Ask them to put theirs away for a serious discussion. Then after small talk, tell them the truth: you were struggling with telling him because you didn't want to ruin their perception of their father, and express greatly how much you aren't upset and why you chose to divorce his dad. You need to be honest, and not share all the intimate details, but make it clear how it hurts you, broke your trust, and how you've had to make tough decisions to protect and bring a sense of "normal" for your son. Make it very clear that there is no good time or great way to share this, and you want him to know the truth. Worse case scenario: he may interrupt and get upset, or even call you a liar, slam doors, try to break something or call him immediately. He may want to confront or get physical with his dad. Best case scenario: he will cry and hug you, beg for forgiveness, and be alone for a while. You must expect that. If you think they have a hot temper or overreact, consider having a family member that he trusts in a private spot that isn't threatening or holds dear memories, and then tell him there. Make an appointment with a counselor for him to speak with; he may not up for it at first, but I've never met a kid who didn't appreciate that down the line. Either way, he will react and you have to expect it. If you remain calm, and show your emotion of being hurt, he will see over time and have to make decisions. Kids at that age are still forming their decisions on their identity and what they want to be; it will affect him forever, and may give him a sense of being "loyal" as opposed to what his father did. And as a last resort, if you think your communication with your son is so bad it wouldn't work, have your husband tell him. He needs to know that if he was cheated, he has to handle the responsibility of telling his son the truth as a man, and allow his son to react as needed. It may ruin their relationship for a while, and he may even lose his son's loyalty based on what he says, but it's not the truth that hurts, it's the realization of it. Either way, your son needs to be told immediately so he can start to heal and handle things. Remember, teenagers are just big kids who are responding to things immediately and emotionally, but if you keep a cool head, it will benefit everything in the long run. And over time, it will help you all get past this situation.

  • If you really love your son, don't get a divorce forgive your husband and work it out. It will help all your family.

  • I do not think that no matter the age you should tell your child the reason behind your divorce. You never want to make the other parent look bad because regardless that is still the child's parent. Whatever you have between your spouse let it stay there, you don't want your child to have a bitter relationship with their parent, then after you are done being mad you realize that because of your feelings your child has an absent parent.

  • Can you do it in a way that is loving and patient? If you are just going to start throwing slurs around and saying angry words, it may not be beneficial to your son or to your relationship with him. Even as an adult, I know that my father's divorces and remarriages do affect me, and sometimes I am not happy when he wants me to be. Please, be sensitive to your son's needs. I am so sorry to hear you are going through this experience. My heart goes out to you. Very best of luck...

  • What a difficult situation to be in! I am so sorry you are going through that. I would have to say no, I wouldn't say anything, because you might risk your son getting even angrier with you, or coming off as just trying to badmouth his dad. The most i would say is something to the effect of, " You don't know everything that is going on in the relationship. I love you and am making what i feel is the best decision.". At 17, you should be able to appeal to his sense of empathy for the difficult time YOU are going through as well. If you are comfortable with him knowing, HIS DAD should be the one to tell him and talk to him about it. He is the one that messed up, and HE should be the one to clean up the mess! not you! A 17 year old can certainly understand the complexities of a situation where I loved your mom. but we were going through a rough time and i made a decision I really regret that has impacted the whole family. That doesn't mean I love you any less, though. If the dad isn't mature enough to have that conversation with his son and man up to what he did, then all I can suggest is a family counselor, who can mediate if you all three go for a session together. Hope this helped!

  • It takes two to get a divorce, tell him that, but give the situation time and you will know when he is ready to know the whole story.. but now is not the time.

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