I Can’t Tell My Children About Their Parents Marrying After an Affair

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 50s and I have two children who go to high school.

My husband and I married after having an affair. I have lived my life worried about what others think because I feel bad about myself.

My husband has a child from his previous marriage. For this reason, I thought I should not have children, so I went through many abortions. However, in my mid-30s, I began to think about being a mother and giving my parents grandchildren. I gave birth to two children, so I have thankfully been able to experience child-rearing.

My husband is the kind of person who is not happy unless he is the center of attention. He is violent and does not care about the family. But I have not divorced him because I chose him as a husband and I believe I am responsible for my actions.

My concern is that I have been unable to tell our children that we got married after having an affair. I am happy that I became a parent, but I am ashamed of the background of our marriage and how shallow I was.

I want to tell our children how we got married before they hear about it from others. But I am worried that they will despise me after they find out.

— L, Fukushima Prefecture

Dear Ms. L:

Do you remember the day when your children were born? Even though you may have been filled with remorse, you must have been so happy to have your children and prayed for their happiness.

I understand that you want to tell them how you and your husband got to know each other before they hear about it from someone else. But if you feel ashamed of your life and regard it as something to be despised, your children will feel nothing but negative emotions.

Even if your marriage started through adultery, that was the choice you and your husband made.

If somebody tells things about your marriage to your children, that person is nothing more than an irresponsible third party. What you have to think about is how you will answer your children when they ask you about your marriage.

Consider the reasons why you cannot think about your marriage in a positive way. You married under unfavorable circumstances, but your husband is violent and does not care about the family. Are you so overwhelmed by the reality that you are trying to convince yourself that you must be punished?

Don’t you think your children may feel that their existence is also being denied if they learned that their mother has such thoughts?

Please keep your shame, regret and guilt to yourself and give something back to society to make up for these feelings. The children are innocent. You must not cause a cycle of negativity.

— Hazuki Saisho, writer