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Accepting H's toddler daughter from an affair - Page 2

post #21 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by chikeemomma View Post

If someone can offer some advice as to how to introduce and what I should tell my own children I would be so appreciative.

I think at their age you don't have to offer a whole lot in way of an explanation. Introduce the child as their sister (or brother?), and if they ask questions, explain that she lives with her mommy in another house, that she's Daddy's child just like they are, etc. In time, as they get older, you may have to explain in more detail but for now, a very simple explanation should suffice.

But really, it sounds like this wound is still too fresh to be introducing the children to each other so soon. When H is seeing his child, he can take her out somewhere, visit elsewhere. He doesn't need to bring her into your house until you are ready (if at all). One thing to keep in mind is that his child and your two children will all feel the hurt & pain & resentment if you bring them all together before you are emotionally ready. Not that you need another thing to worry about, but I just wanted to mention it because I'd imagine your reaction to his child will be so mixed, so full of emotion.

If you can look for a trauma therapist... that might be someone in a good place to help you start to work through this.
post #22 of 141

I'm so sorry you are going through this...I think I read another thread of yours about this and it sounds like your dh is not at all doing what he should be to make this better for you. 

 

I think your kids are young enough that you can explain it very simply and they will accept it.  You may find yourselves answering questions about it later on in which it is much harder to give the details, but I think telling them now when it is still "normal" for them is MUCH better than waiting for them to find out later.  I would probably just tell them that you just found out that they have another sister (brother? not sure, sorry), who has a different mommy but has the same daddy as them.  If you are not ready for them to meet yet, just assure them they will get to see her soon.  If they ask why she has a different mommy from them, I would probably just tell them that all families are made a little differently, etc. etc...hopefully you won't need to go into more detail than that?  I imagine they will be both excited and a little sad and confused about why she doesn't live with you, and I'm sure this is incredibly hard for you to talk about in any kind of neutral manner, but being neutral and supportive about the whole thing will make this much easier for your kids-as you said, whether you stay or go, they have a new sibling whether you like it or not.  Good luck mama. 

post #23 of 141

My mother had to have this experience. Although a little different than you. Her other children (my sister, brother and myself) were all grown.

My mother and father opened their home to my older sisters best friend because she was homeless and going through some difficulties.

Eventually my father and this young woman had an affair. At first my parents broke up and my father and this other woman moved out and moved in with each other.

She quickly ended up pregnant. One year later, when the baby was just a couple of months old, my father and this other women broke up but co-parented the child together.

 

My parents, who were together for 25 years until then, stayed separated for 7 years. Although, my parents always stayed very friendly with one another and we were able to still have family events that involved everyone. My father had his child 4 days a week until she started school and then every weekend after that.

Eventually (after 7 years) my parents got back together. My father had a 7 year old that he paid large amounts of child support to and had every weekend. My mother quickly grew to really enjoy this little girl. The two of them had quite a close relationship. My mother made sure that the child support payments were sent on time. (my Dad never had problems with child support...just my Mum did all the finances). She never resented the child. Funny enough, the childs mother had more of a problem with my Mum than my Mum had with her.

 

I honestly think it was harder on my older sister. She felt betrayed by her father and her best friend. And She had a young baby of her own and wasn't prepared to have her best friends baby also be her sister!

When it came time to explain the relationship to her children it was very easy at first when they were young. But questions came up later, when the kids were 6-12 yrs old because my neice and nephew had an aunt who was younger than one of them and just 6 months older than the other. I was probably a little embarrassing to them when they were teenagers and able to understand the implications. And having to explain their relationship to others. But the kids all loved each other and were very very close with one another.

 

Good luck to you and your family.

It may not seem like it right now, because wounds run deep and are fresh and new, but you can move past this and still have a fulfilling life for you and your children. It will not be easy. But we are all dealt cards to deal with...some of the situations suck. But like it or not, it is now your life and will always be the life of your children. I do not say that to be cruel or hard hearted. I say that because it is the reality. It is out of your control. Not something that you chose and not something anyone would choose. But it is and so all you can do is find a way to not let it break you or your children.

post #24 of 141

It's  your h's child........he should be the one to tell your sons that they have a sister.  (He shouldn't lie about "babysitting," though.)

post #25 of 141

It's been almost three months since you posted about this same situation before.  Why haven't you made a decision yet?  Sorry to be blunt, but s___ or get off the pot.  You are in a horrible relationship, Honey, it's not getting better, you need to end it.  You are hanging on to something dead, something that's not even there. 

 

I posted in your first thread that I knew a couple that went through this.  The wife accepted the illegitimate child just the same as her own children.  It's not the child's fault she was born.  If you can't put on your big girl panties and allow this child to be a part of her rightful family, time to walk away.  It is your husband's responsibility to raise ALL of his children the best he can, and you are being selfish by standing in the way of that.  Get divorced, and find a boyfriend who actually loves you, that is the righteous way to take care of yourself. 

post #26 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post

It's been almost three months since you posted about this same situation before.  Why haven't you made a decision yet?  Sorry to be blunt, but s___ or get off the pot.  You are in a horrible relationship, Honey, it's not getting better, you need to end it.  You are hanging on to something dead, something that's not even there. 

I posted in your first thread that I knew a couple that went through this.  The wife accepted the illegitimate child just the same as her own children.  It's not the child's fault she was born.  If you can't put on your big girl panties and allow this child to be a part of her rightful family, time to walk away.  It is your husband's responsibility to raise ALL of his children the best he can, and you are being selfish by standing in the way of that.  Get divorced, and find a boyfriend who actually loves you, that is the righteous way to take care of yourself. 

WHAT?!?! I can understand encouraging her to get out of an unhealthy situation, but 3 months is barely enough to let the shock wear off, nevermind start to pick up the pieces and figure out how to proceed and begin to heal. She is not being selfish by taking the time she needs to figure out what she really wants. And she is not standing in the way of anything... H can see his kid. He can just make sure that it's NOT at their shared home.
post #27 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post

It's been almost three months since you posted about this same situation before.  Why haven't you made a decision yet?  Sorry to be blunt, but s___ or get off the pot.  You are in a horrible relationship, Honey, it's not getting better, you need to end it.  You are hanging on to something dead, something that's not even there. 

 

I posted in your first thread that I knew a couple that went through this.  The wife accepted the illegitimate child just the same as her own children.  It's not the child's fault she was born.  If you can't put on your big girl panties and allow this child to be a part of her rightful family, time to walk away.  It is your husband's responsibility to raise ALL of his children the best he can, and you are being selfish by standing in the way of that.  Get divorced, and find a boyfriend who actually loves you, that is the righteous way to take care of yourself. 


This is the kind of aggressive, mean-spirited post that never used to happen (or would quickly be deleted) before mothering changed its moderating policies.

 

OP, we do wonder how you are doing. Check in if you can! Sending you warmth and strength.

post #28 of 141

Sorry, I am aggressive. 

post #29 of 141

I'm so sorry that you are going through this! And it seems very selfish, to me, for your dh to even expect you to deal with this child at all or to have her in your home or in your life. No, it's not the child's fault, and yes, the child has a right to visitation and support from her father. But I don't think it will harm the child to just have a relationship with her own mom, and with her dad when he comes to see her and takes her out, and not to meet her dad's wife or her dad's other children. I do realize it won't be ideal for her not having her own dad in her home and getting that continuous contact with him -- but lots of kids survive that just fine. As someone else has mentioned, kids are pretty quick to accept what is. None of that is you punishing the child -- it's your dh's choice to make a baby "on the side" -- a baby who would always to some extent have to be a "side" relationship for him (if he is to stay with his first family) -- that is punishing or making things less than ideal for her.

 

I also don't think it will harm your own children not to meet the child whom their dad fathered with another woman. It seems similar to having a parent who had a child at a very young age and placed the child for adoption. Some parents do choose to tell their children about this child they had long ago, and sometimes the half-siblings meet at some point, and life goes on. It's true that they will probably find out at some point, so maybe you'd rather they find out from you, and at that point if they want to meet her, maybe they can go with dh when he makes his next visit. But I think it might be better to wait till they're old enough to understand why Mommy prefers not to meet the child herself or have her in their home. I don't see how it harms them not to know about their dad's affair at this young age.

 

Yes, it will be upsetting to them at whatever point that they do understand that their dad cheated on their mom. I think your dh's goal is probably to establish the relationship now before they can really understand what a jerk he was, just to make it easier on himself. And he is bonded with this other child and doesn't like having to live two lives. He wants all of his children to know each other, how sweet. It's really too bad that he chose to have two lives when he had that affair! Now he just needs to accept what he has created, and quit trying to force you to bear the brunt of it in order to make things easier for him. You've had to deal with enough already -- now he needs to buckle down and deal with this on his own.

post #30 of 141
I disagree with Mammal Mama. If you're going to stay married to your dh, I think you have to accept that this child is in his life, and therefore in yours. I think it's unethical to do what MM is describing and make him keep his daughter on the side. Either you accept this in your life or you get a divorce. You can't just paper over a child's existence so long as you never see her.

I also think it does hurt your children to not be told about their sister. Maybe not today, but having seen my husband go through this - that pain can be for life. Your situation is NOT like having had a baby you placed for adoption before they were born.

There is no amount of foundation you can lay now that will keep your kids from judging you harshly if they discover this info as teens or adults. There is no guarantee that their judgment will fall where you want it to fall either - they might blame you. Especially if their dad can argue that he wanted to tell them, but you were opposed.

This child affects your life. She affects your household budget. She affects your H's availability to your kids. You need to be open about her existence.
post #31 of 141

Wait to introduce the toddler daughter until you have decided if you are going to stay or divorce your H. If you think you will divorce, I'd wait until after the divorce was finalized. Then you'd have a date in mind where you would tell them and you could work on strategies and continue to work through some of your own feelings.
 

post #32 of 141

MeepyCat, I do understand that the OP's children are eventually going to learn that their dad cheated on their mom and that this fling resulted in a child who is their half-sibling, and I'm not necessarily saying that her children shouldn't find out until adulthood. I think that in a few more years, the OP's children will be better able to understand -- probably not why their dad made such a horrible choice, but why their mother doesn't really want to bring this child into the home and have a relationship with her.

 

I can also understand why the OP's husband would find it more convenient, for himself, to explain to the kids now, while they're still in at the age of being more likely to think, "Daddy did something bad, but now he's really, really sorry, so Mommy should just be nice and let our sister come to our house." In this scenario, the kids would have accepted the adultery at an early age and would already have a relationship with the child who is taking away some of their dad's financial and emotional resources, by the time that they understood more fully what a really awful thing their dad did to their mom and to them.

 

You're absolutely right that this affair will affect all of their lives forever, but I'm not sure how helpful it will be to the OP's children to hear about things like how the child support payment affects their parents' ability to provide certain things for them, or their ability to take as many vacations, or what have you.

 

I'm sorry about your husband's pain over what his dad did to his mom, and I'm sorry that the OP's children will also have to experience some pain because their dad cheated on their mom. Only the OP can decide whether she wants to stay in the marriage, or whether at some point she wants to bring the child into her home and make her part of daily discussions with her kids as to why Daddy doesn't have as much time or other resources for them. Honestly, if I were the other woman, I'd want to keep my child as far as I could from having to be in such a horrible position, but of course I'm not saying that her feelings should even come into this. So I'll go on to say that if I were the child, I'd rather not be dragged into this sort of a situation. I'd rather just be raised by my mom, and maybe a nice stepdad someday, and have some nice outings with, and financial support from, my bio dad.

 

I have just remembered a couple of situations I know of where a husband cheated and a child resulted from the cheating. In one case, the wife initially wanted nothing to do with the child who was born within a very short time of the birth of her own baby, who incidentally was born with syphilis because of her dad's philanderings with not just this woman but others. Later on, she started letting her husband bring the child home for visits, and they even tried at one point to get custody because the child's drug addict mother wasn't taking great care of him. They did eventually divorce, not just because of this, but because of the husband's chronic problems with dishonesty and unreliability.

 

In the other situation, I was friends with the wife for a couple of years but we lost touch after my family quit going to the same church. We met when her youngest daughter was nine, and I learned early on that this child had a sister who was the same age, whom my friend had learned of soon after giving birth to her daughter. She and her husband stayed together for a short time, but her husband was not at all apologetic and was actually kind of cocky about the whole thing, and she wasn't able to deal with his attitude, so they divorced and he married the other woman. The last time I talked with the mom, her older two kids didn't like visiting their dad anymore and she was no longer making them go, but her youngest actually had been wanting to go live with her dad, because she said it was more fun over there, and my friend had pretty much decided to just let her go. The ex wasn't so great about paying his child support but really treated his youngest like a princess and bought her lots of stuff and took her on fun outings when she was with them.

 

Last summer at a homeschooling park day, I saw a face that looked like this woman's oldest daughter's face, and asked if she was so and so. It turned out that both my friend's oldest and youngest daughters had gone to live with their dad and be homeschooled by their stepmom, with whom they seemed to have a good relationship. Of course, for all I know, my friend's ex may not have even been honest about having a wife and kids when they got involved. I think men who will lie to their own wives are quite liable to be lying to the women they cheat on their wives with.

 

That said, I think that this is a choice that only you, the OP, can make. No one else is in your exact same shoes with your exact same feet. Just do what feels best for yourself and your own children, and don't let your dh make you feel like you have to put your own feelings aside in order to make this tangle that he's created any easier for him to work through.

post #33 of 141

I agree with mammal mamma that OP should be able to decide if she wants this child in her life, but I also agree with Meepy that if she stays with DH, she has to accept the child as part of her life. If she leaves DH, then she shouldn't have to accept the child but I think that it is ineveitable that they will get to know these other siblings unless she has sole custody, because that is her DHs wish. 

 

I also think that either way, OPs kids have a right to know their sibling, and that this sibling has a right to know her own siblings.  This isn't about making things easier for the adults in this situation.  I think when there are kids involved their emotional needs should take a pretty high priority, but maybe that's just me.  I don't think that letting the kids know now is about letting dad off the hook, I think it is about creating a situation where those kids involved in this situation can have a relationship with their mutual father and with their half sibling(s) into the future.  How does it help the situation to wait until they can understand dad was a "bad man"??  How does it help anyone??

 

What if the OP was the other mom, who was upset because she wanted her daughter to have a relationship with her father and her half-siblings? (Also, this is assuming that this other woman even wants her daughter to know the other siblings).

post #34 of 141

N, I do realize that staying with the husband would mean accepting the existence of the child in terms of accepting that every month, that child support would have to come right off the top budgetwise, and every other weekend, or whatever the visitation arrangement is for him, he'd have to spend several hours away from the family he made with the woman he made vows with.

 

In that sense, she'd definitely need to accept the child's presence because this situation that he created will take up a huge chunk of his time, energy, and economic resources -- but I don't see how staying married necessitates her actually meeting the child herself or bringing her into the home.

At whatever point that she felt her kids were emotionally mature enough to learn about their dad's adultery, if they wanted to meet the child from that relationship, they could go along with their dad when he got together with the child. If her kids ended up becoming close to this child, then I suppose they might want to invite her to their high school or college graduations or weddings someday, but that would be years down the line. If they wanted to start inviting her to their birthday parties right away, I'd suggest giving them two different parties. Not many kids would say no to two parties, LOL.

 

I don't mind saying that I tend to be more pragmatic than romantic. I know you can never really know what you'd do till you're actually in the situation -- but if the dh was easy enough to live with, and a good, caring and involved dad, and if he brought in enough money to support us reasonably comfortably even after the child support was subtracted, I might just decide to hang in there. After all, some husbands have to travel a lot for work, so if we had him most nights and most of the time when he wasn't working, I suppose I could accept feeling like a single parent for some hours every other weekend or so. I honestly love it that my children get to have their dad right there in the home with them, to hang out and snuggle in bed sometimes and just be there most of the time when they wake up in the morning and when they fall asleep at night. So maybe if our homelife was basically pleasant, I could find a way to accept that he'd cheated and make it work.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

What if the OP was the other mom, who was upset because she wanted her daughter to have a relationship with her father and her half-siblings? (Also, this is assuming that this other woman even wants her daughter to know the other siblings).

 

Well, the only way that I could even imagine having a child by a married man would be if he'd somehow managed to deceive me into thinking he was single. And it's hard to imagine me spending the amount of time that I'd need to spend with someone before feeling comfortable enough to get sexually involved, and still not picking up signs that he had another life. I suppose if he somehow convinced me he was a spy and might have to take off at any moment and fly to faraway places and be unreachable for hours and hours...but that's quite a stretch...

 

But if he'd somehow managed to dupe me so drastically that I ended up pregnant by a married man with two kids, I'd be furious and want no part of him. I know, I know, my child would still have a right to know him and be supported by him....but it would be such a relief to me if he just gradually drifted out of our lives so that I could make a fresh start for myself and my child without him. I certainly can't imagine whining to folks at MDC if he'd simplified things for me in that way.

post #35 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

This isn't about making things easier for the adults in this situation.  I think when there are kids involved their emotional needs should take a pretty high priority, but maybe that's just me. 

 

I think the best thing the OP can do for her kids right now, is to create a situation where she can feel happy and relaxed in her own life and in her own home. I don't think it will be too late for her children to learn about the affair and meet their half sibling a few years from now, after she's had time to work through her own emotions and move forward, either with or without her husband. Of course, I do understand that deciding to end the marriage right now would result in her kids having visitation with their dad and learning about their half-sibling right away, and possibly even spending that visitation in the other woman's home and getting to know her, too.

 

I'm not saying this should stop the OP from getting out if she really thinks this is the best thing for her and her kids, but I also don't think she's being evil and calculating if she weighs her options and decides it's better for her and her dh to stay together for the time being, and possibly forever as they'd originally planned, if they can work things out.

post #36 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

 

You're absolutely right that this affair will affect all of their lives forever, but I'm not sure how helpful it will be to the OP's children to hear about things like how the child support payment affects their parents' ability to provide certain things for them, or their ability to take as many vacations, or what have you.

 

I'm sorry about your husband's pain over what his dad did to his mom, and I'm sorry that the OP's children will also have to experience some pain because their dad cheated on their mom. Only the OP can decide whether she wants to stay in the marriage, or whether at some point she wants to bring the child into her home and make her part of daily discussions with her kids as to why Daddy doesn't have as much time or other resources for them. Honestly, if I were the other woman, I'd want to keep my child as far as I could from having to be in such a horrible position, but of course I'm not saying that her feelings should even come into this. So I'll go on to say that if I were the child, I'd rather not be dragged into this sort of a situation. I'd rather just be raised by my mom, and maybe a nice stepdad someday, and have some nice outings with, and financial support from, my bio dad.

 

I would never, ever have a conversation with a child that ran "we can't go on vacation because daddy has to pay child support for his other baby," or anything resembling it.  But at some point, you are going to teach your children about household budgeting, right?  Wouldn't it be easier, when you do, to be able to use real numbers, instead of madly inventing numbers on the fly that conceal the person you aren't telling them about?

 

The kids need to know about their sister soon, because their sister affects their lives in the near term.  If Dad has visitation with his other kid on some weekends, and isn't supposed to tell Kid A about Kid B, then Kid A gets the confusing experience of hearing that Dad won't come to the soccer game, and being lied to about why he's not coming.  This is awful for a child, who is going to wonder why Dad's so unreliable, why Mom puts up with that, and why Dad gets the occasional "day off" and Mom doesn't.

 

You also have to think about this practically:  When H has time with the other child, where does he install the carseat?  Does he even get to keep a carseat for her?  Where does he store it?  Where can he bring that child, so that you and your kids don't risk running into her at the park?  Do you divvy up the times when you can take different sets of kids to the library or the grocery store?  Do you want to spend your time and energy thinking about this stuff? 

 

If the OP doesn't acknowledge this child's existence, one of the results of that is that she will be forced to collude in the process of building the myth that everything is fine.  That process is incredibly logistically complicated, it denies the OP much of her ability to express her emotions about the situation, and she doesn't have a willing partner in it - Her H partner could spill the beans at any time.  This kind of stress is nuts.

 

I acknowledge that this is painful, but please understand:  when I talk about my husband and his siblings, the pain that is still floating around twenty years later is NOT pain about what FIL did to MIL (it was a different situation then the OP's, and they divorced and got over each other).  It's pain about what FIL and MIL colluded to do to their kids.  They acted to protect themselves from their own pain.  It didn't keep them from hurting much - the divorce was really key in that - and they gravely injured all of their children.  Don't do that.

post #37 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

 

 

The kids need to know about their sister soon, because their sister affects their lives in the near term.  If Dad has visitation with his other kid on some weekends, and isn't supposed to tell Kid A about Kid B, then Kid A gets the confusing experience of hearing that Dad won't come to the soccer game, and being lied to about why he's not coming.  This is awful for a child, who is going to wonder why Dad's so unreliable, why Mom puts up with that, and why Dad gets the occasional "day off" and Mom doesn't.

 

You also have to think about this practically:  When H has time with the other child, where does he install the carseat?  Does he even get to keep a carseat for her?  Where does he store it?  Where can he bring that child, so that you and your kids don't risk running into her at the park?  Do you divvy up the times when you can take different sets of kids to the library or the grocery store?  Do you want to spend your time and energy thinking about this stuff? 

 

If the OP doesn't acknowledge this child's existence, one of the results of that is that she will be forced to collude in the process of building the myth that everything is fine.  That process is incredibly logistically complicated, it denies the OP much of her ability to express her emotions about the situation, and she doesn't have a willing partner in it - Her H partner could spill the beans at any time.  This kind of stress is nuts.

 

Yes to this.  Building up some type of fortress of lives to prevent the kids from knowing they have a sibling makes no sense on so many levels! 

 

Even for OPs relationship with her own children, she risks major resentment there when the kids eventually learn the truth.

 

Mammal - I can't understand what children being mature enough to understand adultry has to do with meeting a sibling?  The adultry is kind of besides the point except to the extent that the OP needs to work through that and make some decisions for herself.  This doesn't have much to do with her kids.  They are her husband's children too, he has a say.  The pain of that situation doesn't affect the fact that a child came of the relationship and that the child IS going to impact OPs family and that the child IS siblings with her children.  What if this was a baby that resulted from a fling before OP and her DH were married and she just learned about the child now?

 

I agree with you that the OP needs and deserves to find her own level of comfort and happiness in her life, but at the same time there is this new reality that has to fit in with that.  SHE doesn't need to see this child, SHE doesn't need to accept bringing this child into her life (unless she stays with DH, for all the reasons that Meepy has said) ut denying the truth to her own children is not going to bring her peace of mind or freedom of action.

post #38 of 141
Thread Starter 
I'm so thankful for everyone's responses. I haven't had a chance to read them all but I will this evening.

I do want to add a few details. Ow is pushing for siblings to meet (according to h). She doesn't want her child to be outcast from her half siblings. Weird that I would feel completely opposite....
post #39 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by chikeemomma View Post

I'm so thankful for everyone's responses. I haven't had a chance to read them all but I will this evening.

I do want to add a few details. Ow is pushing for siblings to meet (according to h). She doesn't want her child to be outcast from her half siblings. Weird that I would feel completely opposite....

I hope you are doing ok momma and finding the support you need. hug2.gif

 

It's one thing for us all to offer you advice from our own perspectives, but it's another thing for you to get the advice that's right for you when you are living the situation.  I really do hope you can find the right answer for you and your family.

post #40 of 141
Quote:
Originally Posted by chikeemomma View Post

I do want to add a few details. Ow is pushing for siblings to meet (according to h). She doesn't want her child to be outcast from her half siblings. Weird that I would feel completely opposite....

I understand this, and you can say yes, but you don't have to say yes right this minute. You can give yourself a bit of time. The kids are all toddler/preschool age, right? Waiting 6 months or even a bit longer, so you can give yourself some time to come to terms with all this, is not going to damage their long-term relationship. What could potentially be damaging is rushing it and doing it "wrong" (i.e. like your H saying he is babysitting her) or feeling so caught up in the anger/guilt/etc. that those negative emotions inadvertently come through to all the kids. You can't make a decision in a state of anger & fear. Or at least, I've always tried to avoid making decisions in that kind of state, because I'd probably be unhappy with the outcome.
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