Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Teens Are Kept in the Dark About Dad's Office Affair

DEAR ABBY: My husband of 20 years has blindsided me by announcing he's leaving. Come to find out he's "in love" with a co-worker and thinks they are soul mates. Our close friends and family know about the affair (and are dismayed), but our teenaged kids don't. He told them we simply grew apart.

His suddenly leaving with no attempt to work on the marriage sends a confusing message. Is it best the kids don't know about her, or will it hurt them more if they find out later? How do I talk to them about the commitment of marriage without criticizing him, and does that include protecting his lie? -- CONFUSED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CONFUSED: Your children are teenagers. Teenagers today are very wise in the ways of the world. They are also observant; when they visit their father at his place, they will draw their own conclusions.

As to talking to them about the commitment of marriage, refrain from doing it when you are emotional, and leave out any reference to their father and his "soul mate" unless they bring it up. You have my sympathy.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Work & School | Family & Parenting | Teens