One of the most visible effects of the infidelity is distance. The distancing may be physical, emotional or spiritual. The child no longer feels the closeness to the parent that may have once existed. Some people may even withdraw from the parent, creating even greater distance.
In terms of dealing with the distance, the degree which the family can discuss the affair is a big factor. In cases where they can not openly discuss the matter, the distance issues are more difficult to work through. The daughter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, carried on a correspondence with her mom in trying to cope with her father’s affairs.
In some cases the child copes with the affair, by imitating the behavior or attitudes of the parent that betrayed them. This imitating is one of the factors behind family patterns of infidelity. It is not by chance that infidelity often runs within families.
The behavior needs to be understood before it can be dealt with. If the issue can not be discussed, it can not be resolved. It will be important to discuss what has happened and what it means to each member of the family. Disregarding the children because they are too young or too old, or it is a secret they don’t know is a mistake. The line of people who regret what they did is long. Using these assumptions as a reason for not dealing with the issues is a big mistake. I encourage you to begin discussing the effects of the affair. If you need to ask for forgiveness, do so.
Nothing in this Work is intended to replace common sense, legal, medical or other professional advice. If your situation warrants it, please seek competent professional counsel.