one of my children is not my husband's - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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yes, this is ne of those juicy anonymous threads. I need to cast out a net for opinions on what I should do in terms of telling my DC/ DH or not, and if so when.

5 years ago I became pregnant by a man other than my husband. My husband knew about the relationship, but truly has no idea this child is not his child. The bio-dad and I are no longer involved sexually but do keep in contact to discuss his bio child, and he sees his DC once a month at most, pays no support, and we talk on the phone in depth about the DC once a week or so. I have five children, all the other ones are biologically DH's.

Here are my questions for you:

Should I ever tell my DC who their bio dad is? If so, when? If not, why not?

Should I ever tell my DH that this child is not biologically his? again, when, and, if not, why not?

I will not be able to post here under this name for quite a while, but know that I am reading your replies.

I know sometimes the tone can get unkind in this forum so please take it easy on me. I really just need opinions on those 2 questions. thanks!
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#2 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:21 PM
 
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are you sure? I mean, obviously you must have been sleeping with them at the same time or your DH would know, right? so did you do a DNA test?

DD1 7/13/05 DD2 9/20/10
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#3 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:24 PM
 
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Yeah, are you sure?

Would it severely de-stablize your life if you tell your dh?

Does the bio-dad desire a relationship with his child?

Would the bio-dad be willing/able to pay support? Do you need/want support?

Personally, I would tell. I think it is important for children to know the whole truth about who they are and what their story is. But you need to weigh the factors and decide if the timing is right for you.

Good luck with your decision.

ETA: If you think it won't rock your life too much, or you feel able to deal with rocking right now, I'd tell sooner than later. And definitely long before your child's adolescence.
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#4 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:27 PM
 
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No advice yet.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#5 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:29 PM
 
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I think your DC has a right to know. What if he/she finds out when he's older? How is he/she going to feel? You should probably tell him at an age were he can understand. This is a hard situation all around. I also think your DH has a right to know. You probably should have told him once you knew but whats done is done and hopefully you guys can get past this and work something out. I'm sorry i'm not very helpful.
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#6 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:34 PM
 
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Wow, that's a juicy one! I think it's kind of mean to lead your whole family on about this. It's quite dishonest. How old is this kid?
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#7 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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Boy. I think you have to tell. I am a believer in not all truths are best told. But in this case, I don't think you have a choice. Your dh and your dc really have a right to know this kind of information. I think you would spend the rest of your life worrying that they would find out if you didn't tell them. I would tell you dh and then plan together when to tell you dc. He is still kind of young and it might be better to wait until he can understand better.

Good luck. I hope it all works out for you and your family.

Mama to two wonderful daughers: 02/03/03 and 10/19/05
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#8 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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I wonder, would your dh possibly think about or treat this child differently if he knew?? Would he not feel as bonded towards him/her? Would he direct anger over your affair towards this child? Even if it's subconscious? What if years down the road you & dh have severe relationship troubles or decide to separate? THEN could you imagine him playing favorites out of anger? Like "I'll pay child support & provide health insurance & have visitation with every child except *that* one" kind of thing? Or what if, whether the child knows or not, your dh says something like "I guess DC got THAT characteristic from his "REAL" dad!" even if he meant it kindly, & your dc over hears this? I imagine if your child hears anything like this at all, over the years your dc might feel quite odd. And what if your other kids knew?? Wouldn't you be scared that at some point, at least one of them, maybe during an argument, would say something lilke "you're not even my sister/brother!!", or "he's not even YOUR real dad!". I am scared that somehow, even if your family tried very hard to treat the dc just like the rest, little things would get said or be overheard by your dc that would hurt his/her feelings and make him feel like the oddball of the whole family.

Myself personally, trying to imagine how you feel, I don't think I would want to tell anyone. I think I would be too afraid that more bad than good would come of it. All 5 of your dcs HAVE a wonderful father & are happy in the family. Why throw craziness & confusion & anger into that?

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#9 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:06 PM
 
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Your child absolutely has the right to know, for many reasons, the most pragmatic being that the child has a right to know his/her own actual biological medical history, which is not that of your dh.

Given that you need to tell your child, it necessarily follows that you need to tell your dh.

I agree with Harper--I don't always think that all truths need to be told. But in this case, despite the fact that it will be painful for your family, your child should know who his/her biological parents are.
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#10 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:06 PM
 
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I would tell...it's only fair to them both. I also agree get the DNA test!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#11 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:15 PM
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I wonder, would your dh possibly think about or treat this child differently if he knew?? Would he not feel as bonded towards him/her? Would he direct anger over your affair towards this child? Even if it's subconscious? What if years down the road you & dh have severe relationship troubles or decide to separate? THEN could you imagine him playing favorites out of anger? Like "I'll pay child support & provide health insurance & have visitation with every child except *that* one" kind of thing? Or what if, whether the child knows or not, your dh says something like "I guess DC got THAT characteristic from his "REAL" dad!" even if he meant it kindly, & your dc over hears this? I imagine if your child hears anything like this at all, over the years your dc might feel quite odd. And what if your other kids knew?? Wouldn't you be scared that at some point, at least one of them, maybe during an argument, would say something lilke "you're not even my sister/brother!!", or "he's not even YOUR real dad!". I am scared that somehow, even if your family tried very hard to treat the dc just like the rest, little things would get said or be overheard by your dc that would hurt his/her feelings and make him feel like the oddball of the whole family.

Myself personally, trying to imagine how you feel, I don't think I would want to tell anyone. I think I would be too afraid that more bad than good would come of it. All 5 of your dcs HAVE a wonderful father & are happy in the family. Why throw craziness & confusion & anger into that?
I have to agree, though it is probably an unpopular answer.

Look, I know people always talk about people having a right to know where they came from and all that stuff, and in some cases I believe that is true...in this case, probably not though. Your husband IS your child's "real" father...it doesn't matter who's blood runs through whose veins.

I think telling would cause more trouble than it is worth, and I question your motivation for wanting to tell. Do you really want to do the right thing or do you want to alleviate some of your own guilt? I am not trying to be harsh at all, I just mean you had better be 100% sure of why you would be telling...

I am not a fan of dishonesty, I am really not. On one hand, I can try to understand you wanting everyone to know the truth and how in some way you feel they have the "right" to know. However, sometimes though, like the previous poster said, it can do far, far, far more harm than good and then what will anyone have? The wonderful security in the knowledge that "at least they know?"

I personally wouldn't want to know if I were your husband, or your child. I was told at 18 that my father wasn't my biological father and I would have rather not known...I would have always rather have remained in ignorant bliss. It changed everything....not for the better. My dad is still my dad and he loves me, and because he is very ill, he doesn't know---well, my mom did tell him when she was pregnant with me, but she thinks that he honestly convinced himself it wasn't true because he never mentioned it again (they divorced when I was 2 for unrelated reasons)...and he has never mentioned it to me or acted in any way differently...so I dunno...but I DO know that I personally, could have done without knowing and been just fine.

Father isn't just some random sperm that turns into a human. Your child HAS a father. don't take that away from them...and don't take away from your husband one of his children. If this other man REALLY wants to put his child's best interests ahead of himself he would respect that.

I am wondering how he gets to see your child once a month? Your husband is okay with the man you had an affair with hanging out with your child once a month or like, what? Explain that to me?

Anyway, sorry to be long-winded. I would not tell. Reserve this for a deathbed confession if anything.
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#12 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:34 PM
 
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Father isn't just some random sperm that turns into a human. Your child HAS a father. don't take that away from them...and don't take away from your husband one of his children.
ITA with this, but I don't think that being honest with the child will "rob" him of having your dh being his real father. Quite the contrary. As the child grows up and learns more about life, he will appreciate his real father as being the man who changed his diapers, taught him how to ride a bike, and helped him with his homework. He'll also realize that not all men do that and not all men make good fathers.

I come from the perspective of being a mother through adoption. My dh is the most wonderful father on earth, biology not withstanding. I think the experiences of adult adoptees might be relevant here, and I don't know any who think that lying to children about their parentage is a good idea.

I'm also going through a serious medical issue right now. My treatment could be completely compromised if I were telling my doctors phony medical history because I didn't know the truth. Is it fair to do that to a child? It is also possible that the parentage issue could come out for genetic reasons.

I also think that this is a secret that could ultimately come out, no matter what the intentions are to keep it secret. Shouldn't the adult responsible be the one who controls how the information is presented to the child?

As for the deathbed confession, please, please, please don't even think about doing that. It is the ultimate chickens*** betrayal, with the child never having any hope of closure.
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#13 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:38 PM
 
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I think I would lean towards not telling EXCEPT for that fact that this could very well become an issue at a really unfortunate time.

What if the bio dad needs some sort of transplant in 20 years? Do you then tell the biokid so he/she has a chance to donate if he/she chooses? What if the biokid ends up with some health problems and it become clear through testing that he/she isn't your dh?

There is just no way this can be resolved, imo, without the messy truth. As to when, well obviously it should've been right away. But I know I'm not the most sane person when pregnant, so i can understand making the wrong choice. If the child is under 7 or so, I think telling ASAP would be best, so that it seems natural and not something you were hiding. If they are closer to teen years, that's really a tough one. Under those circumstances I might try and ride it out and just hope nothing every happens that's an emergency that necessitates telling at a time not really of your choosing.

Good luck. This must be a horrible burden to be living under. And if it weren't for possible medical issues down the road, I'd think this might be a secret best kept.
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#14 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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5 years ago I became pregnant by a man other than my husband.
So this child is 4 going on 5.

I'd tell.
Stuff like this has a way of coming out at the worst times, and the older the child gets, that harder it is to deal with the fact that the world he/she thought he/she knew is not reality.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#15 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:49 PM
 
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eee. what a tough situation. s mama.

if it were me, i wouldn't tell them unless they *needed* to know (like if there were health concerns, or something of that nature)... but that's just me. i can't imagine being in this situation.

i guess something to consider is if you were a child, would you want to know that you had a different daddy? to me, it seems like it would change the entire dynamic of the family / structure....

good luck.
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#16 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 02:54 PM
 
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Oh, Mama. Living with this secret must be so hard for you.

I also have to ask - are you absolutely 100% positive the child is not your DH's? Have you had a paternity test done? I think you shouldn't do *anything* until you have done so, if you haven't already.

So, going with an assumption that the child is definitely not your DH's...

I think that while it will definitely be incredibly difficult, you have to bring the truth to light. Your DH has a right to know this, and so does the child. The child should grow-up knowing the truth, because finding out as an adult would be devastating. Furthermore, knowing one's family health history is becoming increasingly important. It might seem like a small thing, but really it's not. When it comes time for your child to have children themselves, they have a right to know what types of traits they may be a carrier for, etc.

Who knows how your DH will respond. I won't sugar-coat it for you - things of this nature can really tear people and families apart. On the other hand, so can keeping secrets. And keeping this secret must be really hard for you too.

I feel awful for you, Mama. There's no easy way out. I think a first step would be seeing a counselor, maybe get a relationship established with one before you take this leap. That way when things get tough you'll already have a good solid therapeutic relationship set-up, and they can coach you through it much more effectively. Your DH, your child, and yourself are all going to need outside support through this. Ask for help, OK? You can do this, you can get through. Good luck, Mama.

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#17 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 03:47 PM
 
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Here's my 2 cents. Its based on my dad's side of the family. My grandpa was in the service for most of my dad's life, in the navy aboard an aircraft carrier. Since he was out to sea at various intervals, he basically could tell that all the children were his EXCEPT my youngest aunt My dad remembers my granny going out to the west coast (from MN) to visit my grampa at his base. When granny left, she brought her youngest 2 children (my aunt and uncle) with her. The kids were pretty young, at 5 & 3.

When granny came back, she brought back a baby. She claimed that while she was out on the west coast, she befriended a couple that got into a car accident. This couple recently had a baby and now granny was the guardian of this newborn. Obviously, my aunt and uncle barely remember all of this because they were so young...

So grampy heard of this story and confronted granny who was actually honest with him and told him that the baby was indeed hers but from an affair. Not your typical 'good catholic woman' in the day... Grampy held that against her and my youngest aunt for a long long time.

He nor my granny ever told a soul about the truth and continued to speak of this 'adoption' instead. Well, lo and behold, my youngest aunt needed her birthcertificate for her marriage license. It was then that she learned of the truth

Probably not the best way to handle the situation in my opinion. Now, it is sort of obvious once you hear the true story when you look at my youngest aunt and the rest of the siblings. My aunt is the only one with brown eyes and dark hair in the whole bunch. The other 4 all had/have blond hair and BRIGHT blue eyes. Both my grandparents have BRIGHT blue eyes and had blond hair. She also has a totally different body structure, much finer boned.

Personally, I don't think you're going to be able to continue to keep it a secret if dc does see biodad from time to time since kids are known to talk.

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#18 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 04:31 PM
 
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I have similar story in my mother's family. My uncle to this day in uncertain of his paternity. He's in his 60's and very sucessful my most of societies standards, but tends to be bit of a head case. I think not knowing/keeping secrets has been a big issue for him most of his life.

I think you owe it to you partner, child, and other children to have the truth out there if that is in fact the truth. If DNA does conclude it's your husband's than you can cut all contact with this other guy. If not you have other decisions to make.
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#19 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 04:42 PM
 
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I think they both have the right to know. I mean, like others have said, what about health issues that may occur later in life? What if the child finds out through other means? What if the "affair" comes forward first for some reason?

My mom has siblings who have NO clue who their father is. They always assumed that it was my mom's dad, but later found out that in all probablility, it might be some random affair. It's torn the family up not knowing and the whispering and the speculation is constant.
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#20 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 04:48 PM
 
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Wow, my SIL went through this just a couple of months ago. We live in a small town and most folks who had been around for some time knew who the "real" dad was (including our side of the fam). Through high school rumors circulated and she defended her dad as real in the face of other teens, and dismissed the rumors & gossip. Well after a dream she decided to do some digging on her own and lo and behold - she had been lied to since age 2 and a huge confrontation followed. Her dad had wanted to tell her all along, her mom didn't. They are working on it but it was a huge blow to her inner self. I would get the DNA test & if dc is not dh's you owe it to them both to tell the truth.
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#21 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 04:55 PM
 
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My dad adopted my 2 older sisters when my mom and dad met. They never told any of us. They found out (from found adoption papers) when they were in their early 20's. They wish they had never known. They were angry at my parents for not burning the papers. They felt like they lost their father. I mean, they KNEW he was their DAD, but it still took something away from them.

Take what you can from this. Dont tell, or be sure to tell early. Who knows.

All the best to you and your family during this difficult time.
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#22 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 05:06 PM
 
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gah, ok, i have some more input... my sister had an affair which produced one of her four children, and she was totally open and honest about who the father was (not her husband)... and since the birth of this other child i have witnessed a great deal of hostility directed toward this other child that is *not* directed at the other siblings... and i think that although he (my sister's husband) doesn't *mean* to be cruel toward this other kid, it's a subconscious reaction to the hurt that he feels over my sister's betrayal. so i think this is coloring my previous response ~ that this information should be on a need-to-know basis.

i have to say that if i ever had an affair (which i can't imagine doing ~ not just for moral / ethical reasons but because of my own personal body issues ) i would keep it a secret to my grave, regardless of whether this produced any children. : i would want to preserve our overall family structure as much as possible, and i would never, never want there to be any sort of animosity between *any* of my children for any reason, or between my children and us (me and my partner). *** BUT *** if there were *any* health issues that could arise because of this (for example, if i found out i had been exposed to HIV... or if birth defects run in my illicit consort's family...) i would be honest despite the consequences.

you know what? i'd probably have an abortion. goddess this is such a hard issue to even think about. you must be so torn up inside over this.

... do you still have feelings for the biological father? how is your relationship with your partner? how did you find yourself in the situation?

i think being honest about this ~ while in all probability being damaging to your relationship with your partner ~ will help your kids understand that sometimes even grownups make mistakes, and that it's ok to be human and to be honest about what you've done.

whenever i screw up, i try to explain to my son what i've done and let him know that it's ok to make mistakes, so that he sees that mommy is human and learns how to deal with problems like it that come up... and i guess that should apply to the Huge Issues as much as the little things....

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#23 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 06:20 PM
 
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Wow. That is a lot to carry around with you for so long!

I don't see the questions as having two parts- if one knows, the other should, too.

If/when you tell the child, I wonder if avoiding phrases like "real dad" would be useful? I'm thinking, make it special, as in, "You havetwo dads who love you." Especially for a young child, it seems like sharing this info could be experienced as you suggesting s/he shouldn't be as close to your dh as s/he is, so be prepared for a lot of processing, from angles we as adults could have a hard time predicting. In The Mother Dance, Harriet Lerner touches on some ideas about how to truly help a child process troubling events/information...

Is bio-dad interested in being more involved? less so? do you communicate well, and do you see yourselves as able to be true co-parents after the information is shared? does he want the information to be shared? are you prepared for everyone around you to know, as well?

How do you imagine your dh would take the news? (are you monogamous now? -I didn't want to rule out the possibility of polyamory, etc) what would you hope to gain by sharing?

Do your children have god-parents?

Hugs to you. It's a lot to think about.
Do you have a good IRL person to confide in, as well?

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#24 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 07:16 PM
 
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Wow. That's a tough situation.

Does your DH know that you talk to this other man every week and see him once a month? How could he not know this? Does he not have any suspicion at all?

If you do decide to tell you need to be absolutely certain that your dc is not your husbands. DNA test first, tell second.

If your dh had an affair and had another child would YOU want to know?

If it were me I would tell. Not telling is just going to continue the web of lies. What would happen if your dc got sick and needed something from a relative? It would come out then that dc is not your husbands. Or what if something happened to you and this other man stepped up and tried to take custody of dc from your husband? How do you think it would be for your husband to not only lose you but your dc at the same time? What if this other man some day out of the blue decides he wants more time with dc. Unsupervised time without you. A weekend. A week. What do you do? Your husband would obviously wonder why you were sending your dc away with another man. If you don't send him he could sue you and your dh would find out then. With if this other man tells your dc he's the "real dad"? It would all be out and you would be the bad guy for not telling.

Yeah, there's just too many possibilities. I would get a DNA test to confirm who is the father. If your DH is not the father then I would tell DH and together tell your DC whenever you feel s/he can handle it.

Good luck!

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#25 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 07:58 PM
 
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The biological dad knows, is that right? And stays in touch about the child?

I don't know how your relationship is with your husband or what kind of a man he is/how he would take it, and obviously those are important considerations. But I think that if I were in his position it would feel like an ongoing betrayal for my partner to be in ongoing contact with the person with whom s/he cheated about a secret they're both in on and I don't know, especially a secret like that. If you tell, you'll need to be prepared for that depth of feeling on his part. If you don't tell, you're going to need to end the continuing betrayal with the man you had the affair with (which also may not be fair to him, if he has continued to stay in touch because of the child - but you may want to question his motivations there, I don't know).

Yikes. I'm sorry about the mess.
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#26 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 08:56 PM
 
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wow. there are no good answers here. I think since you have kept thisl ie for so long (it is not a secret at this point. it is a lie if you have known the truth and not told him. cedrtainly he had to question. Even if he never gave it voice.i think at this point it would be cruel to all involved to tell. You would disrupt your 4 year olds sense of reality and you well may sacrifice your marriage hurting everyone. You will create a seperation between him and his siblings. At this point I just don't think it is worth it. I think also that you need to cut off contact with suspected bio dad. that is only confusing the issue. he isn't paying support and if he really loves this chid he will back off and let him live his life. Of course cutting him out may make him retaliate by telling. If you are going to tell you ned to do it as early as possible. like now. But by all means if you haven't done it and before you even think about this for another second you need to get the paternity test.

And if you decide to tell you need to be prepared for the worst. You have kept a very big part of this story from your dh. this is much bigger then the infedelity. You are about to take away one of his children.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#27 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 08:58 PM
 
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I'm just confused about something.... if your DC visits his biological father, how does he not know who he is? Does your DC have no idea who he/she is visiting? Doesn't your DH wonder about these visits?
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#28 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 09:02 PM
 
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I would probably try to keep it a secret. No sense in stirring things up now.
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#29 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 09:08 PM
 
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I'm a wee bit confused here.

Does the biological father *know* the child is his.

If so, you are trusting *him* more than you are trusting your husband. You are trusting that he will never want his child to know that he is the "father", you are trusting he will never tell his future spouse or girlfriend who could get a bug up their ass and call your DH, you are trusting him A LOT. Can you really trust him that much? Do you really want him to be the one who decides this?

Also, IMO, you need to have him down as the father in case of medical or other emergency.

 

 

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#30 of 99 Old 04-28-2005, 09:23 PM
 
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Just my .02

I assume that the biodad knows the deal since you and he "coparent" via phone. I am curious who DC thinks biodad is. I am not sure how DC has this "special uncle" and your other four don't. I believe that the truth is bound to come out at some point. I would think that DH would have to suspect unless you were not truthful about the timing of the affair. If the marriage is to stand a chance, I think DH needs to know. I do not see how you can maintain any sort of relationship with biodad without some eyebrows being raised. Your DH is the only one who is in the dark and that seems very wrong from a marital standpoint. Here are the options I see:

1. Stop communicating with biodad, keep it all under wraps and pray that a medical emergency where genetics plays a role never occurs.

2. Tell DH and the two of you decide when/how to tell DC and what role biodad will play. This a a decision the two of you make together.

3. Keep doing what your doing until the truth seeps out. I feel that it is going to happen one way or the other. With monthly meetings and weekly phonecalls and a child getting old enough to ask questions-it is going to come out.

After an affair, IMO, the marriage can repaired if the husband and wife are completely open with info. If you and former SO are keeping secrets from your DH, that is going to erode the marriage.
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