After my divorce, I had some pretty tough feelings toward my ex. He had cheated on me many times and for me, it was the worst pain in the world. We argued about it and he never seemed to really understand how badly what he'd done affected me. I did not know if I would ever recover or feel whole again. We separated and I took the kids and moved.
In that first month after we separated, I was so hurt by him, that I physically felt ill when he called. He said he was calling to talk to our 2-year old on the phone, but to me, it felt he was calling to try to control me through insisting I put our toddler on the phone and make me force our toddler to have a phone call that our child wasn't really interested in having.
Luckily, I was able to see that my emotional injuries had the potential of negatively affecting our child's relationship with his dad. Yes, my husband wasn't a loyal to me. However, that didn't mean that he was a bad dad. I knew through my decades of experience as a divorce attorney, that children can be poisoned by the divorce, same as their parents, if their parents do not take steps to contain the poison. I knew that my son would see how I treated his dad, and my attitude toward his dad, and potentially internalize that. Children see themselves in their parents and they can gain positive self-esteem by being proud of who they are and who their parents are. In the same way it benefits my son to know he has wonderful mom (me!), it also benefits him to know that he has the best dad in the world.
I love my children more than anything, and so I want them to be happy. If they have bad feelings toward their dad, that will in turn, lead to them feeling hurt, sad, and ashamed. I want my children to feel as good about themselves as possible, and so that means that I have to put my hurt and pain aside, for their sakes, and convey to my children that their dad is wonderful, intelligent, a great parent, and loves them very much.