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11 Negative Effects Of Infidelity On Children

effects of infidelity on children

When you become a role model of infidelity in your family, children can’t help but react. The effects of infidelity on children cannot be ignored. It can affect their current and future life in negative ways. Infidelity can quickly become a legacy that you will pass from one generation to another. When having an affair, you tend to do what you please, regardless of whether it affects others or not. 

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While you may care very little, your children and family are the most affected parties. 

Also Read: Why Do Married Couples Cheat?

Ana Nogales, the author of Parents Who Cheat: How Children And Adults Are Affected When Their Parents Are Unfaithful, conducted an online survey to determine the effects.

The survey received over 8,000 responses from children whose parents were unfaithful. Some key findings showed that:

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  • Over 88% felt angry toward the unfaithful parent
  • More than 62% were ashamed or embarrassed 
  • 80% felt that their parent’s cheating behavior influenced their love or relationships.
  • Over 70% said their ability to trust other people was affected.
  • 83% said they feel people lie regularly
  • 86% said they believe in monogamy.

Even if you decide to work out your issues with your partner, some scars caused to your children may last for long. If you don’t know the effects of infidelity on children, then you’re about to find out. 

Children feel betrayed

While you may believe that your partner is the only person feeling betrayed, the reality is that children also feel the same. Ana Nogales’s research revealed that 75% of children had feelings of betrayal towards their cheating parents. 

Feelings of abandonment

effects of infidelity on children
Source: Mom Junction

Not just divorce will bring these feelings. Feelings of abandonment develop way before separation happens. Children will feel neglected and will no longer see value in you as a parent. They instead place much value on the faithful parent.

It makes them question everything.

When you become unfaithful in your marriage, it becomes hard for children to believe what is real and not. They even begin to question whether love is real or just an illusion.

Children may also question the idea of family. Therefore, as a parent, you will have to work extra hard to ensure they feel loved. Answer their questions and give them time to process what is going on.  You might also need to change completely if you want to build a better relationship with them.

Your infidelity might be passed to them.

Depending on how the situation is handled, infidelity can have lasting effects on children and sometimes be passed.

A study revealed that children of infidelity are twice as likely to cheat in their future relationships. 


effects of infidelity on children

Infidelity causes some detrimental psychological effects on kids. This, in turn, affects their life and potential. A child can feel less motivated and depressed when they have an unfaithful parent. The depression will cause them to underperform in school. It is important to show your child some kindness and love when you notice they are depressed.


If a child gets to know about the affair or senses something up, it can be very confusing and stressful.

If everything is not so clear to them, their mind will be full of questions and imagination. They will wonder whether their parents are about to divorce, losing one of them. 

Feeling Embarrassed

The situation gets worse when your child’s friends learn about your affair. It can be the topic of discussion in school while these friends turn into bullies. They will say negative things to your child, which will make them feel embarrassed and ashamed. This can affect their grades in school. 

Loss of trust and respect for the cheating partner

Children are very sensitive. When they realize that you are unfaithful and that this behavior is hurting the other parent, they might take sides. They will lose respect for you and never see anything good to embrace from you. Children tend to stay with good parents and show them love in such times.

Anger And Insecurity

A stable family is one of your child’s sense of self foundation. When infidelity shakes the family’s stability, they get insecure and worry about the consequences. Infidelity disrupts a family’s way of life. This causes them to have feelings of anger towards the unfaithful partner and always want to see them change their behavior to regain the family’s stability.

They may start keeping secrets.

When your child sees how your relationship is struggling with infidelity cases, they may not come for advice for their relationships in the future. But before then, they will still keep secrets since infidelity distances them from you. They feel they are not free with you and decide to be silent about many issues troubling them.

They will struggle to have healthy relationships.

Having grown around infidelity, once they are of age, they will even doubt their ability to form a healthy relationship. They do not know what a healthy relationship looks like. They do not know how to navigate this path and may often repeat their mistakes.


It is important to know that a parent’s infidelity does not just affect their partner. It affects the whole family, kids involved. When children know about their parent’s infidelity, they can be affected psychologically and even have trouble in the future. 

It is important that if you are trying to rebuild your relationship with your partner, involve your children in the process if they knew about it. It can help reduce the long-term effects of infidelity on children.

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