Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

The Pain of a Parent’s Adultery

on February 22, 2014


“They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!” 2 Peter 2:14

The Day My Dad Left

I’ll never forget that day. It was a day that changed our lives in many ways. It was a fork in the road that led us all into the path of pain, poverty, fear, hopelessness and hatred. It was the day that what we had known, though not very pleasant either, would be ripped apart. When I say that he left, I actually mean the day he moved out. He had really left a long time before, but on that day – the day that it was discovered he had been committing adultery with my mom’s secretary – it was finally over. That’s the day my dad left. 

My parents never had a great marriage. My mother was a Christian, but my father wasn’t. The fighting, cursing, occasional violence….it was not uncommon. It was what we knew growing up. There were separations and then reconciliations. Rumors and suspicions of multiple affairs on my father’s side were always present, but there was never proof. Not until that day.

Now my intention in sharing this personal story is not just to tell a sad story, nor to seek to harm the reputation of anyone involved, but to shed some light on the pain and harm a parent’s adultery inflicts on his/her child. You see, too many people who commit adultery think they are only cheating on their spouse. I’m sorry, but that’s just not the case. When you cheat on your spouse, you are cheating on your children as well, and you are most certainly sinning against the Almighty God.

 Cheating on Your Kids Too

Adultery is one of the most selfish of all the sins, though I dare say sin in and of itself is always based on selfishness in some way. When a husband or wife commits adultery, he or she seeks self-gratification at the expense of the spouse and children. Knowing that this action will deeply wound and scar the hearts and minds of their children, they go forward. They please themselves. Their mouths may say that they love their children, but their actions show that they love themselves far more and don’t care about the well-being of their kids. They cheat on their family. How sad! It is a most selfish and abhorrent act. God hates adultery.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19

When my dad’s adultery was found out, he left and eventually married the woman, raising her children as his own. We realized later that, looking back, he had been fathering them for a while anyways. He coached her kids little league team. He never did those things for us. He was always a better stepfather than a father. At his funeral many years later, the person reading the story of his life, skipped from when he graduated from high school to when he married the woman. The twenty plus years that we were a family – my parent’s marriage, our births, our childhood – were deleted from his timeline. We were deleted. While he didn’t write it, he chose it. He chose to cheat on his wife and abandon his children.

There’s Healing in Jesus!

While this seems like a very sad story, I want to leave you with hope. It was 8 years from the time he left before I was willing to speak to my dad again. Even then, I had such bitterness and hatred in my heart for him and his wife. Every moment with them was torture. The Lord, however, did a magnificent work in my heart. Throughout the years I was able to forgive my father for the hurt he had caused us. Only a few years ago, he died of lung cancer. I can say with thanksgiving in my heart that I was able to hold his hand, tell him I loved him and say goodbye before he departed from this life. I have no regrets for anything I did, but only regret that I never had the father I should have had. 

Today I am so grateful to see my husband playing with our daughter. He loves her so much. He would die for her and he would never hurt us the way my father did. I praise God every day that my daughter has a mother and father who will not break our marriage vows. We will not cheat on each other or her. We will not file for a divorce no matter what the circumstances. We stand solidly on the Rock knowing that Jesus Christ is the center of our home. 

If you have experienced the pain of a parent’s adultery, you know very well the bitterness and scars it causes. My prayer for you is that you find total freedom from it all and the ability to forgive through the strength of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is so powerful. It’s freedom! Pray for those who have harmed you. Make yourself do it, even if you don’t want to. Ask for God’s help. He wants to bring you healing and wholeness.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Repent of Adultery

If you have committed adultery, or are having an affair even now, repent! Repent for this sin and ask God to forgive you. Change your life. If you can win back the hearts of your spouse and children, make that the most important thing in your life. Love them more than yourself. That’s what God wants from you. God hates adultery.

Flee from Temptation

If you are considering committing adultery, I beg you to stop now before it’s too late. You are about to do something that will utterly destroy the lives of many, and that will cause a schism between you and God. Think of your spouse. Think of your children. Think of the tears they will cry and the heartache they will endure. Will you really put them through all of it for a moment of pleasure?

 Flee from temptation and sin! If it lingers at you workplace (as it did for my dad) quit your job and never go back. Find a new job. Your family is more important. If your spouse isn’t giving you the love and support you need, don’t go trying to find it elsewhere. Read the Word of God and keep the vows you made to God. That’s right! Those wedding vows you made were before God. Stop now before it’s too late and you have crushed the hearts of the people you are supposed to be loving and protecting. Please stop.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Find Healing through Jesus

The adultery of a parent is painful indeed, but there is hope for the hurting in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, you need Him. He wants to heal you, forgive you, know you personally and change your life. He wants to give you eternal life through His death and resurrection. Confess your sin and ask Jesus to forgive you and to come into your heart. He will answer your prayer with joy. If you are a Christian who is hurting, allow God into those wounded places in your heart. Ask Him to help you forgive. It won’t be easy, but it will be exceedingly worth it in the end. I have found peace through Jesus.


20 responses to “The Pain of a Parent’s Adultery

  1. peacefulwife says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! Sin always brings so much pain to everyone involved. Praise God that He is able to heal and the blood of Jesus is able to cover sin and bring beauty from ashes.

  2. valeribarnes says:

    I love you.

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  5. […] A reader wanted to know about the effect of an adulterous mother on children.  This topic is one filled with emotional angst and pain. […]

  6. Simo says:

    i just can’t stop crying from the inside that hole time i was reading your article in my heart there is a wound causing me such a pain
    i am also a son of a cheating father although i was 24 y/o at the time i discovered,but i couldn’t bring myself to talk about it . so for the last 2 years i discovered more and more proof (pictures , conversations …) about it .it pain me that it’s just me who know ,my mother don’t as well as my all family. i see trough every lie he says every false “job trip” every excuse he makes.
    As you say he’s selfish act that destroy me from the inside trying every morning that i woke up to wonder if it’s his last day in our home.
    sometimes i dream that i shake my mother of her slumber to realize all what here husband have done .but i just can’t so here i am with all that burden, hatred and anger in my heart hoping from god that every one will have what he deserve.

    • I’m so sorry for the pain you have experienced and continue to go through. Praying for you that God will help you to forgive and release that pain and anger. It’s a terrible betrayal, no matter what age you are. Trust the Lord.

  7. Mithra says:

    It makes me cry, my father has not felt guilty about this.. and we had to suffer and still suffering. it’s painful please not cheat at least not your children.

  8. Mithra says:

    I wish everyone reads this.

  9. Christian says:

    I am currently in the same situation, my parents are still married but soon won’t be, but because my father committed adultery my mother used it as a excuse to commit adultery. I told her a verse in Galatians that rebuked this act, and she said she didn’t care. She claims to be Christian but acts opposite, she says she will be forgiven anytime she wants, problem is, The Lord Almighty will not forgive someone who doesn’t care if they sin.

  10. Joseph says:

    I am 22 years old and am going through this very experience and it’s real tough. My father committed adultery with a girl…who is only a couple of years older than me (my dad is 50 by the way!). My dad has done terrible things to test my resolve, such as making sure that I see him and this young girl together by going to certain places he knows I am likely to be. What really surprised me is when I saw him purposefully laughing at me when he was aware that he was getting to me. Although he was really trying to turn the heat up on me, I was determined to show him that I would pass this test, with God’s support. I learnt to show no reaction whenever I encountered him and the girl. In our last converstaion (which was probably half a year ago) I made it very clear to him that unless he repents of his actions, I will not have any level of contact with him. I know that as a Christian it is expected of me to forgive all who have acted against me. I do pray for my dad that God will convict him and awaken him to recognise the need to repent and call on the name of the Lord. I don’t wish him any harm but I know that for me there is no chance of future relationship with him. I feel that what he did was cross a line of no return for me.

    I would like to express my deep heart felt thanks to Jesus. Jesus has supported me fully, guided me and protected me through this trial. I thank God that through this my faith has become stronger than it ever was before. I have felt a closer bond with my heavenly father, whom I can be gladly assured will never fail me. Under God I have been brought through this trial and test and under God I know I will be forever blessed.

  11. Ruby Keller says:

    My mother committed adultery a few years ago while I was pregnant. She moved out to be closer to me and my baby. She is now upset that I don’t have a personal relationship with her or her new boyfriend. (Who she views as a grandfather in a way to my daughter). It is extremely hard to want to have a relationship at all with anyone who put my father, myself, and my child second to this man. She keeps saying there is no one she loves more than my daughter but I don’t believe her seeing as she made the worst choice for me and my daughter by leaving her grandfather. I am searching for the right thing to do. My husband and myself do not want my child to be close to any bad influences and she has repeatedly stated that in the future she is going to be so close to my daughter that my daughter can tell her things she wouldn’t be able to tell me. I don’t know what the right thing to do is! It’s hard being a Christian and having this situation. She is saying I am ruining her grandmother experience by distancing myself. Any advice?

    • So sorry for the pain of your mother’s adultery and sin. It certainly affects everything doesn’t it? My advice is definitely to be praying a lot about how to handle the situation with your daughter and your mother. It concerns me greatly that your mother would want to have secrets with your daughter that you are not invited into. And her choices are not something you want your daughter to think of as okay or even normal. So my advice would be only supervised visits with your mother. If I were you I would only let them spend time together when you or your husband are present. I’m praying for you. Not an easy situation at all.

      • Ruby says:

        Thank you. Most people do not take the time to respond. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. I appreciate you and will absolutely take your advice. I agree with everything you’ve said. My husband and I have talked it over and he is not comfortable leaving my daughter alone with her. Nor am I obviously. One of us will be present at all times. Thank you again.

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