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Busted By A 5-Year-Old

Question:

My husband is cheating and my 5 year old busted him. My husband screamed at my son for telling me saying that he is lying. I am lost. I want to leave but my poor son is so scared he did some thing wrong and he feels it is his fault. He keeps telling me now he was just playing a joke and please don’t make daddy go away.

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

There are two issues here, I think. The first issue is that your husband is having an affair. The second issue is that your infant son, who is an innocent bystander to this mess, has been dragged into it and is fearful for the integrity of his family – the only family he has ever known. You two (or you alone, however it works out) have to have to figure out what you’re going to do about this affair, and you have to do it while protecting your son as well as you can. Many marriages survive affairs, but generally the ones that do survive affairs give them up and want the marriage to continue to work. I suggest you both attend (the same) marital therapy to give you a forum in which you can safely discuss (away from your son) what you each want, and whether your marriage is going to be viable going forward. To the best of your ability, you both should also be taking steps to reassure your son that he did not cause this problem, that Mom and Dad are working it out, and that he will be taken care of and that things will turn out okay no matter what occurs. I don’t know that it’s a good idea to try to represent to him that everything is okay – that would be a lie – but you do need to reassure him to the greatest extent possible. He’s very young to be exposed to the realities of the world, and its very unfortunate that your husband did what he did, but what has occurred has been survived many times before by millions of families. People are resilient even when they don’t want to be. Do what you can to sort this out as well and as cleanly and responsibly as you can and move forward with your lives.

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