Accepting H's toddler daughter from an affair - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-20-2013, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone done this or know of anyone who has?
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:47 PM
 
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No, I don't know anyone who has been in this situation, and I feel awfully sorry for anyone who'd have this situation to experience.  Whoa.


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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Old 01-20-2013, 04:47 PM
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I'm so sorry, mama.  I just wanted to give you a big hug.  I couldn't stay with my H if he had done that to me.  (Not only had an affair, but also failed to use adequate protection.)  I wish you peace in your life.  Do you have children of your own?  If so, this child will always be your children's half-sibling.  But that doesn't mean you have to keep H in your life.  He will continue to be in contact with the OW for at least the next 18 years because they will have to talk about this child.  And he'll be paying child support to her.  I couldn't put up with all of that--I would be too angry.  

 

Robin Williams said, "The worst thing is not being alone.  The worst thing is being with people who make you feel alone."


"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes....its been heart wrenching. We have two young ones....3 and 6. I have no idea how to begin explaining this to them. H wants them to meet at some point...so far he has respected my wishes to wait....surprisingly. I'm still undecided and not sure if I can handle all of this....just wondered if there was anyone out there who has been there.
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:55 PM
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You will always. wonder. if. he. is. still. sleeping. with. her.   As hard as it will be, financially, emotionally, whatever--get out while you still have some dignity and youth left.  


"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 01-20-2013, 04:55 PM
 
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Good men can do terrible things.  I hope that your husband is that guy instead of one who will continue this kind of thing.  Get yourself into some counseling if you can afford it, or try to find free help if you can't. 


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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Old 01-20-2013, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Where would free help be available? I did manage to go to one counseling appt under my insurance but couldn't afford to go more than that.

A&A that is so true. I wonder that 24/7. Especially when he picks up the child. I have chosen not to accept her at this point so I have nothing to do with drop offs or pick ups....not sure if I can handle it....how can I explain the child to my own kids...I don't even know what to tell them. Whether I stay in the pic or not I'm sure he will definitely want our kids and the child to have a relationship so they'd be spending lots of time together on visitation....at this point as dumb and pathetic as it sounds....its the only thing I feel I have control over....
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:25 PM
 
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I'm so, so sorry. hug.gif

I know someone who has been in this position. I don't want to say much about her very personal situation publicly but I do want you to know that you aren't alone in this. It was incredibly difficult for her (and still is, at times) and has taken a ton of hard work & therapy, but she & her family are very happy now.

If this is the choice you make -- to stay with H and/or to accept his DD and/or have your children meet her -- I think that is a very valid, very strong, though very difficult choice. I do think that the ...assumption?... in our society is that many would leave their H in that situation, have nothing to do with his DD, etc., and I think the decision to stay is so under-recognized and hardly talked about that it can feel even more scary and painful and even shameful for some reason. The one thing I want to you to hear is that his affair is not your fault... and neither staying nor leaving, accepting his DD or not accepting her, is the "right" or "wrong" choice -- you will make the choices that are best for you & your family. I hope that you have some supportive friends to be there for you through this, whichever choices you make, and that you can find others in similar situations to talk to. Are you seeing a therapist? If not, I would recommend both private one-on-one therapy for you, as well as couple's therapy if you are both open to it.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:33 PM
 
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We cross-posted...

Finding free counseling is really tough. You could look for support groups run through local hospitals or community centers. Also you can get some one-on-one help from pastors, ministers, etc. if you are open to that... contact churches in your area. I am in therapy for completely different reasons, and I can't afford it, but at some point I realized I can't afford NOT to go either. It's something I absolutely have to do if I want any sort of a life worth living (and, honestly, at times it's something I need to actually keep myself living...) It is worth going into debt for... whatever it takes. Of course that's only if you can find a GOOD therapist who's helpful & effective... otherwise it can be just a waste of money. Focus on finding someone just for you and, for now, forget about the couple's therapy I just mentioned, especially if you aren't sure you want to stay with him. Whether you stay or leave you need support, it's a trauma and it's something you shouldn't have to deal with on your own.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It definitely feels shameful....I feel very embarrassed about the whole situation... I feel very angry...bitter....resentful....my kids are what keep me going...
People don't deserve to go through this. Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve this....I'm not perfect but I'm a good person...a good mom...don't drink or do drugs...etc....why?

I'm in my mid thirties and never in a billion years did I ever see myself going through this...
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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You did NOTHING to deserve this. His faults, his poor decisions, etc... that's all on him. And you being married to him does not in any way mean that you have to share that guilt or shame.

You don't deserve this. No one does. My eyes keep welling up with tears for you. I'm really, really sorry that you are in such a crappy situation. Sending you lots of peace and healing.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the "ear". Its so hard because I don't have any friends to talk too....

Everyone is so supportive here....
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:01 PM
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I read your other post, and it's such a huge red flag that he lied (by omission) about this child for over a year, and won't even tell you her age/ birth date! If he were a man you could at all begin to forgive and trust, he'd at least tell you when she was conceived/born!   And he would be so profoundly sad/empathetic for hurting you, which he isn't.  

 

Honey, I know this isn't the question you were asking, but you deserve better!  You will find someone to love you in the traffic of life--you just have to turn on your cab light and kick out the riders who are not paying full fare.


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Old 01-20-2013, 08:49 PM
 
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oh mama, this is not your shame to carry.  I totally hear you on your feelings and want to validate them, but please remember that his choices are HIS choices and have nothing to do with you.  whatever you decide is what it is.  it's no one's business or decision.  there is no shame in whatever you decide to do.  take care of yourself and your kids first and foremost.  don't punish yourself by leaving OR staying.  you don't have to leave and you definitely don't have to stay.  my heart goes out to you.  personally, I would probably stay and work through it, but you know your marriage better than I do.  I will support you no mater what.

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Old 01-21-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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I couldn't read and not post in support.

 

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Old 01-21-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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I know somebody who went through this - but it was some 50ish years ago.  My ex-husband's grandmother.  She cheated on her husband, and had a child, and the husband was aware of it and decided to stay with her.  They went on to have other children, after that.  Honestly it was such a dysfunctional situation that none of the children came out of it without their own problems.  She favored the "love child" over the other children, and the whole thing sounded like such a mess. I don't even know what to tell you.  I would have SUCH a hard time with this, I can't even imagine.  Especially the part about having to explain it to your children.  Man....  WHY do people do such crummy things to the people they claim to love? 

 

Yes, what others said - take care of yourself and your children.  Every decision you make moving forward, make in the best interest of yourself and your children.  Yikes, what a mess. =( I'm so so sorry you're going through this.

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Old 01-21-2013, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whichever direction I decide to take....I still have to explain this child to my own....because at some point they will be introduced to this child.

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

At one point H just wanted to bring the child over and tell my children that it was just a child he was babysitting.... greensad.gif
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:56 PM
 
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Oh, ouch! That he would even think of that move shows horrible judgment.

My dh was one of the kids in a similar situation, and his parents completely chickened out, choosing to lie and conceal the child from dh and sil for nearly twenty years. This did not end well, and dh and his sister don't speak to their dad anymore. I do not recommend this route, obviously.

I don't think you have to tell your kids the entire unvarnished truth - and it might not really be appropriate - but they need to know that the new baby exists, and is part of their family. Everything else I can think of to say starts getting pretty judgmental about your H. For that reason, I want to say you should maybe give yourself, like, a week to think about what you want in your relationship going forward, since that will affect what you say. He should maybe sleep on the couch during that time, if space will help you gain clarity.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:49 PM
 
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I haven't been through this situation, but I know someone who has. I have always admired her remarkable strength at being as angry as she needed to be at her husband, and still recognizing that this child who was born of the affair had NO part in his father's horrible and hurtful decision. She refused to make the child pay for his father's bad choices. She allowed the child to have a relationship with his father and with his half-siblings, and eventually even welcomed him as part of her family. He was included in family events and is in many family pictures.

 

I absolutely admire this woman's remarkable strength, and hope I never have to find out whether or not I would have that strength. In discussing this situation with my own husband, I said that I might be able to do it but that it might not be for such lofty reasons-- it might simply be my refusal to make this situation any easier for him by allowing him to live life without having to figure out how to deal with the consequence of his horrible behavior. To me, allowing him to "opt out" of any of his obligations would be letting him off too easy. Of course, I say this theoretically because I'm not living it... so I can only imagine how I would handle it. I don't imagine I would do it with any sort of grace.  You are right, no one should have to figure out how to navigate this situation. 


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Old 01-21-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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I haven't been through this situation and can't imagine what you are going through.  I am so sorry for the pain you have been caused.  hug2.gif

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

We cross-posted...

Finding free counseling is really tough. You could look for support groups run through local hospitals or community centers. Also you can get some one-on-one help from pastors, ministers, etc. if you are open to that... contact churches in your area. I am in therapy for completely different reasons, and I can't afford it, but at some point I realized I can't afford NOT to go either. It's something I absolutely have to do if I want any sort of a life worth living (and, honestly, at times it's something I need to actually keep myself living...) It is worth going into debt for... whatever it takes. Of course that's only if you can find a GOOD therapist who's helpful & effective... otherwise it can be just a waste of money. Focus on finding someone just for you and, for now, forget about the couple's therapy I just mentioned, especially if you aren't sure you want to stay with him. Whether you stay or leave you need support, it's a trauma and it's something you shouldn't have to deal with on your own.

 

 

I just wanted to agree with the above post from crunchy, particularly the bolded parts.  I went to some therapy sessions myself a few years ago, followed by couples counseling with DH and even though it was a huge expense for us and we had to stretch in other areas to make it happen, I am so glad that we did.  Even if things hadn't worked out between us, I would have been glad I'd gone because I wouldn't have wondered "what if" and I would have felt like I didn't leave a bunch of lose ends.  I do think going yourself for now is good advice too.  That's where you need to start.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by chikeemomma View Post

Whichever direction I decide to take....I still have to explain this child to my own....because at some point they will be introduced to this child.

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

At one point H just wanted to bring the child over and tell my children that it was just a child he was babysitting.... greensad.gif

 

Young kids are very accepting of whatever is in their life as being the "norm".  

 

This is an example from my family (being a bit vague for privacy reasons) that isn't the same, but isn't entirely dis-similar from yours.    A male family member (we'll call B) dated a girl (we'll call L) for a short while many years ago now.  L became pregnant.  L had just broken up with a long time boyfriend when she started dating B, and broke up with B to get back together with the boyfriend before finding out she was pregnant.  She told long time boyfriend the baby was his, and told B there was no way it was his, and married long time boyfriend (knowing baby was Bs all along).  4 years later, L tells B and her now DH the baby is actually his (Bs).  They worked through this and B has an amazing relationship with his DS.  It was tough in the beginning, especially for Ls DH as you can imagine but they worked through it and are still married (not saying that you should "work through it", just that some people do manage to). 

 

Anyway, B and L and Ls DH were very upfront with the DS when he was about 4 and explained that he had two daddies.  This didn't phase the DS a bit.  He knew other kids who had "two daddies" (a dad and a step dad).  He's grown up knowing that B is his biological dad, and that the DH is his "dad".  But can you imagine if they'd waited until he was a teenager to tell him the truth?

 

It sounds like regardless of if you work things out or if you leave, your DH plans to have this child in his life and for the child to know your children.  I agree with PP to be honest and up-front, but age appropriate for the type of conversation.  An honest way to explain would be to say that "some daddies have a baby with more than one mommy and some mommies have a baby with more than one daddy".  I am sure that you know someone who has children from more than one relationship that you could use as an example?  I think it will be harder for you to say this to them than for them to hear or understand.  I am so sorry, it is such a hard thing to try to talk to your children about, but I think that it will be easier now than in the future.  They shouldn't feel shame for what their dad has done or feel shame towards this sibling that they have. 

 

Good luck hug2.gif


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Old 01-21-2013, 04:08 PM
 
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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.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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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. 


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Old 01-21-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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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.


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Old 01-21-2013, 07:20 PM
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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.)


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Old 01-22-2013, 05:31 AM
 
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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. 


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Old 01-22-2013, 07:35 AM
 
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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.

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:50 AM
 
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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.


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Old 01-23-2013, 04:50 AM
 
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Sorry, I am aggressive. 


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Old 01-23-2013, 05:42 AM
 
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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.


Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:46 AM
 
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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.
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