What do I do?

Your marital misconduct has little to do with custody. What you do on your own time does not affect the children.
Document everything. If you were previously the primary caregiver then ask the court for joint custody with equal time. Unless he can show cause, there’s no reason for the court not to agree with this.
The best thing to do about these questions is to not answer them. Tell your children that you do not feel that it’s appropriate for this to be discussed and that when they are older answer questions as best you can. You did not do this to your children and your children should not be put in the middle. I understand that your stbx may be bitter and angry but that is no reason for you not to have time with your children.
My husband went through a similar issue with his ex telling the children everything. Though the affair was on her part not his she persisted in telling them awful stuff about me when we began dating.
Hang in there…Be the parent and the adult.

Yes, I have always been the primary caregiver up to the point of separation. There was a period of 3 months in 2006 when I left the home. and him with the kids. I still saw them and paid all the bills and daycare, and bought groceries, but I was mainly absent. I had my daughter in 2004 and went through a period of severe PPD. I wasn’t ready for her although I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. After that I went through a series of emotional and physical stressors. Too numerous to name all, including a close family member commiting suicide. After all those things, and with no support from my STBX, I just mentally shut down. My therapist tells me it was the only thing I could’ve done to save myself from self destructing. I went back home after that, and took over my responsibilities as a mother, but things just started getting worse until late last year when we separated. He’s using that period of 3 months as his foundation for primary physical custody. I’ve done much better after that 3 months emotionally, and will be glad to be rid of him… but I am just sooo stressed out about this whole custody situation. I see my kids everyday by going over to his house and cooking, doing homework, getting baths for the kids…anything and everything I can do for them I do. It’s just killing me to think that because I basically had a nervous breakdown, and then an affair, that he’ll have total control over the rest of my life with the kids.

It sounds as though you are still the primary caregiver…that will look good in court also.
You are being treated for your emotional issues so that should have little to do with custody also. These were not recent events so your stbx will have a difficult time trying to show you as an unstable parent if you consistently cared for and were responsible for your finacial obligations and your children even during this time.

My suggestion though is that you begin having the children come to your residence 1/2 the time instead of you going to his home. He can not stop that from happening unless you agree to it. You have, so far, essentially given him primary custody if ther has been no agreement signed. If there has been no agreement and custody has not been decided in court you both have equal access to the children.

It is unlikely that your children understand what is happening nor will remember much of this time, especially the youngest. I was 2 1/2 when my parents divorced and I have no memory of them being together. My sister was 5 and does remember more of it. I believe that they are probably repeating things they have heard their father say more than trying to hurt you.

That’s the mistake that most people make during divorce is thinking that the children are not going to love one parent anymore because they did this to the other. Children love both parents. It does not matter how angry the ex is, or how much the child wants to take up for that parent against the other. They still love both parents. They want to tell each parent what that parent wants to hear. There’s nothing bad about that but it’s a learned behavior. They hear one parent talking bad about the other so they know that parent will “appreciate” hearing them talk bad to or about the other. Children do not understand that you can love someone and be mad at them at the same time. They do not know there is a difference.
Ask the child if they are mad at Mommy for doing this to Daddy and they will say yes. Ask the child if they love Mommy and they will say yes.
Don’t sink to that level. Let your children know that it’s alright for them to still love you both. Let them know that if they need to be angry at someone right now that it’s alright for that to be you. But make sure that they understand that you are their mother and you love them, you are not leaving them, and you are there if they need you. Take a stand with your stbx. It’s alright to let go of everything but you should fight for your children. Quit LETTING him do this to you. What happened in the past is not changeable. It’s over. What you did makes you human. I still do not know the details of my parents divorce. It’s not important for me to know because it doesn’t change the outcome or me…

Thanks Stepmother, your words are encouraging. He actually filed a status quo aka exparte about 4 days after we separated. So, legally, for the time being he does have temporary custody. I don’t know how much that is going to hurt me. Technically, I can only take the kids every other weekend right now…but I do see them everyday, take them shopping, and they are starting to want to come home with me and spend more time at my house. My stbx won’t object to them asking to come, but will certainly try to tell me what to do. I appreciate your responses. You’ve given me a little light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I certainly hope your situation works out for the best. I will definately keep you and your family, along with everyone else here in my prayers.

I don’t want to sound judgemental but why have an affair and wreck childrens idea of self worth and marital worth for when they get older. Did you reallly think they wouldn’t find out. Just a FYI–get ready for PO’d kids. One of my parents did this hand I have not forgiven it and it has been over 20yrs ago. What is done is done, but for some reason people don’t want to face up to consequences of their actions. This REALLY hurts kids. Doesn’t matter if you are 2 or 22. It changes who you are as a child of a cheating parent. I hope this helps many others who think about cheating. THINK OF YOUR KIDS FIRST!!!You can’t take back time, so you need to make smart decisions. Don’t forget the kids. The pain NEVER goes away–no matter how old you are or how long ago it happened. All you know is this parent RIPPED your family apart. You certainly can’t keep the affair person around. What a slap in a kids face. Sorry so harsh, but I feel it needs to be said. I hope it saves someone else from the pain I have gone through. Who knows, maybe that is the reason I ended up with the kind of man I did. I certainly plan to break the cycle for my kids. Good Luck

kim black

kblack03 - I’ve said this before and I will say it again. It’s alright to voice your opinion about the posts on this board but please be considerate. Everyone that comes on these boards is looking for support, advice and maybe a little understanding. The same way you will or have. They do not ask for nor do they deserve to be raked over the coals or made to feel worse for a situation that may or may not be their fault.
Yes, think of the children first, but just because you blame your parent for messing up your life does not mean that everyone can or should take that road. At some point in your life you should take responsibility for your own actions and quit blaming someone else.

What happened in kayro’s marriage or what she did can not be changed, but that does NOT change the facts or her rights. She owned up to the fact that she made what she believes to have been a mistake. That’s between her and her husband or stbx. Why does her affair make her any less of a mother? Do you think that affairs happen just to wreck things? Do you think any person cheats specifically so their children will grow up thinking badly about marriage and thinking very little about the ultimate cost? Do you think ANYONE intentionally does this planning to tear their marriage or lives apart?

Personally, I do not believe that there is a good reason to cheat and I have no tolerance in my own life for it, but that is NOT why this was posted.
Think about the fact that every person on here, whether or not the separation was their fault, is looking for answers. They are scared, sometimes angry, confused by the laws and are all in the same boat. Please try not to make things worse for them by pointing out facts that they already know but can not change. Please give the same support you would want if you had an issue to post for…

kblack03, to answer your question, no, I never thought my kids would not find out. I have no intentions of hiding anything from them WHEN THE TIME COMES, but since they are 3 and 5 years old, I believe the only thing they need to know is that mommy and daddy don’t live together anymore, but we both still love them very much. I am truly sorry for the way you feel about your parent who cheated…and I’m also sorry you weren’t taught about forgiveness. You’re right, what’s done is done and there’s nothing I can do about it now but try to make my life and my children’s lives better. We all make mistakes and bad decisions, however, that does not mean we are bad people. In no way am I proud of what I did, and I did not and would never intentionally ruin my children’s lives. Regardless of how my marriage ended, it was inevitable. I could have hidden what happened and played the total victim, but I didn’t and I won’t. The affair I had certainly was not a result of a happy marriage…affairs never are. But as I said in my first post, try not to judge until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes…or anyones shoes for that matter. Like stepmother said, people come to this board are looking for advice, support, and legal answers.

Sorry I did not mean to offend anyone. It is a very sensitive subject for me because of what it did to my family. I just wanted to express what it does to a kid when it comes out. Sometimes that part is overlooked. Again, I am sorry and I did not mean to offend anyone. Once I reread it, I saw it could be. Good luck to you through this difficult time

Ok, let me try to make a long story short…
my stbx currently has custody of our 2 kids, mainly b/c he got the upper hand on me and filed a status quo. We’ve been through mediation without results, so now we are headed to court. He continues to degrade me and badmouth me to the kids, to the point that my 3 yr old told me I have ruined daddy’s life, and my 5 yr old asks me why I’m such a liar. I admit, I did have an affair after 7 years of marriage and that’s totally my fault, however, please don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes. Anyway, he continues to talk to the kids about what a terrible person I am and that I have a bad boyfriend. My STBX has done countless cruel things to me and the children, but I choose not to discuss these things with the kids b/c all it does is hurt them. How do I answer these questions that my 5 yr old asks me honestly without exposing him to things he should never know about? My STBX has already admitted in mediation that he tells the kids everything and that his “preacher” says it’s the right thing to do. I agree that the children should know the truth about things like death and what not, but not the gritty details of our divorce. He’s purposefully trying to turn my kids against me and has no intention of stopping. I am at a loss. This divorce was my fault, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love my children and want what’s best for them. I have documented everything they say to me concerning that, but what is that actually going to do for me if anything? And how do I answer the kinds of questions my 5 yr old shouldn’t be asking me about at all? I don’t want to take the kids away from my stbx, but I want my share of time with them to. I’m just so upset that he keeps using them to get back at me. I have begged him numerous times to love the kids more than he hates me…meaning, think of their feelings too, not just your own,…but to no avail. We’ll be going to court soon for the custody issue…I just hope it works out ok.