'My kids know I had an affair - should I tell my husband?'

My MARRIAGE had been rocky for a year or two when I fell into a brief affair with a guy from my office. Wes was handsome and funny, and he thought I was hot, which was a compliment I hadn't heard from a man in about 10 years.

To a woman desperate for affection, Wes was catnip.

I loved my husband Jimmy, and I knew I didn't want to leave him. We were raising two gorgeous girls together, Mara, 14, and Tia, 12.

I just felt so lonely and I was briefly intoxicated by someone seeing me for me, rather than the woman who makes school lunches and drives to netball on the weekends.

It was all but over with Wes, and I had decided to throw all my energy into improving things in my marriage, when he sent me a text one Friday night when Jimmy was out with some friends and I was home with the girls.

My phone pinged from the other room but I didn't think anything of it. Then a moment later, Mara strode into the kitchen brandishing my phone, trailed by a curious Tia.

"Who's Wes?" she demanded.

My heart sank, but I clung onto the hope that I could get out of this somehow.

"He's just a friend from work, sweetheart," I answered, trying to look casual while studying her eyes to try to figure out how deep I was in this.

"Then why is he saying he wants your body against his?" she asked, her eyes narrowing. "And why does he end the sentence with 'again'?"

At this point, I knew my goose was cooked, and I was devastated.

I told Mara and Tia that I'd made a mistake and that it didn't mean anything. I could see in that moment the way they viewed me as their mum had altered forever, and they now saw me as a flawed and weak woman. That was what hurt more than anything.

I told the girls it was over, and that I had no intention of ever being with Wes again. They both cried as they came to grips with what had happened.

Tia asked, "Does this mean you're getting a divorce?"

"No darling," I said. "Well, I hope not. I love your dad more than anything and I hope this mistake won't mean the end for us."

The girls and I talked for over an hour as we all processed what had happened. I felt like the worst human on the planet and I vowed at that moment to always prioritise my family - and my marriage - above all else.

I explained to them that my marriage with their dad wasn't perfect and we had drifted away from each other, but I knew we could fix things if we put in some effort. The love for each other was still there.

Mara and Tia told me they wanted Jimmy and me to stay together, and that they wouldn't tell him what had happened, but now I'm left wondering if I can ask them to carry that burden.

Why should they have to cover up for me? And also, how much worse would it be if one of them decides to spill the beans some day, and Jimmy has to find out from our daughter that I was unfaithful?

I'm thinking I'll tell him, to save the girls from having to lie to their dad, and to hopefully be able to start with a clean slate. My big fear though is that he won't be able to forgive me. The girls and I would all be devastated if that happened.

This originally appeared on Kidspot and is republished with permission.