Should I tell my wife about my love child?

Dear Counsellor,

I have a good marriage. I love my wife and she loves me. However, there is a small issue. I have a three-year-old child and my wife does not know about it. It happened during a rough patch in the marriage when I thought my wife would leave me. There was this co-worker I admired. It was the first child for her. This girl does not want to cause any trouble in the marriage. She is even disappointed with herself for having a child with a married man. She said when she was growing up she did not want to be like her mother who had a child with a married man. I had to counsel her during the pregnancy. She did not ask me for any money during the pregnancy although I play my financial role now. At the christening I played the role of the Godfather. My wife saw the picture of the child and asked how it was that the Godchild looked so much like me. I gave her a story. My best friend who is the only person who knows about the child thinks I should tell my wife about the baby. I think it will destroy our marriage, and I do not want to burden my wife with my problem. What do you think?

Simon

Dear Simon,

It’s painful to deal with an affair which resulted in a child, as that child is now a part of your life.  Infidelity is wounding and it can create permanent cracks in one’s heart, causing feelings of anger and resentment which may result in emotional distress. This is betrayal at its worst and it’ll be too upsetting for your wife to bear when she receives this information. You are between a rock and a hard place. Nonetheless, it’s about facing the reality and not postponing the problem to mature and intensify in the future. You can’t measure the damage that your emotional dishonesty will cause to your marriage when your wife discovers what you did; infidelity coiled with strong lies. You need to do something to repair the damage early before things get worse.

Stand firm and look for ways to bring up the subject using a suitable approach, time, and place. Plan a day out and explain exactly what happened, your fears and strategies of handling the situation to save your marriage. There are two basic elements to healing after you’re caught in an affair; ending the affair and the restoration of trust with your spouse.  So, be very remorseful, polite and ready to receive all sorts of cruel reactions because you know you have wounded her and it’s extremely difficult for any person to contain such information for the first time.

Making the marriage work after infidelity requires tact and a sense of security. Therefore, do everything possible to restore trust as a couple, with no private interaction including phone calls, emails and texts between you and the baby’s mother without your wife’s consent. That way, the process of rebuilding trust won’t be threatened. Presenting a united front to the baby’s mother will clear the air, that the interaction is about the baby and that the affair is definitively over.

Infidelity is probably the worst of all marriage clashes because it can lob marriage into a state of crisis that could trigger divorce. Re-establishing trust in this relationship may really take time but it’s absolutely important for you to move forward with life and love. Your marriage has changed and if your wife chooses to give you a second chance, you’ll need to provide total assurance to her that you’ll never again cause her this kind of pain. Going for counselling together and taking concrete steps to make time for communication is a crucial part of the reconciliation and recovery process.

The bottom line is solving the problem from the roots, understanding your mistake, and showing remorse from the bottom of your heart to avoid such similar troubles in the future.  She needs your support to rise above the pain and focus on what is best for your children and the marriage. What should remain a constant is; respect, communication, and fidelity. It is not easy and it needs divine bravery to stand this pressure, but your rational approach and remorse will lay a solid foundation to gain her trust once again. Let your wife know the truth, it will set you free; the rest will be sorted out automatically. You’ll be exonerating yourself from the burden of having to shoulder this unforgivable offense by law, faith and humanity.

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