Boom! Wife suddenly learns hubby has a surprise child

How to deal with the shocking news? Carolyn Hax offers her advice.

Dear Carolyn

HI CAROLYN:

My husband recently dropped a bomb on our lives. He was contacted by someone claiming to be his child.

It turns out that many years ago, when we were married a few years, he had a one-night stand. Never saw this person again and now, bingo!

I am devastated and angry. Our children are 37 and 35. This surprise person is 33. So I was home with two small kids when he acted like an idiot one night.

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We do not want our kids and family to know this situation. But he has been contacting this person after I thought we agreed on no contact. This person seems to think we should have a relationship and be one big happy family. I think not. What do you say?

– Anonymous

DEAR ANONYMOUS: I say you’re entitled to your fury.

I say it’s your prerogative not to acknowledge “this surprise person” or tell your children.

I say your husband’s furtively breaking a “no contact” agreement is a fresh betrayal right when he needs to re-earn your trust.

And I say that digging in to these wholly justifiable positions will hurt you more than anyone else.

Why? Because it happened, all of it. The affair isn’t going away, the child isn’t going away, the pain isn’t going away, no matter how hard you shove them out of your field of vision. Not telling your kids won’t remove any of the weight of knowing.

So my advice is to take the time you need to be angry and to keep this person as far from your personal sphere as you want to and can.

Then, when the anger starts to dissipate — counseling might be helpful here, just for you — consider doing the exact opposite of what your initial make-this-go-away impulse said to do.

Consider: Giving your blessing for father and child to be in touch. Meeting this person yourself. Sharing the news with your children.

You have the power to bring grace not only to your husband and a now-grown child who had no say in existing, but also to yourself, through one transformative act of forgiveness and inclusion.

Lemonade, in lifetime supply.

HI CAROLYN: My husband, “Chuck,” is very ill, and has been for some time. I try to do most of the work around the home, plus driving him to numerous doctor appointments. I also care for him, which is not easy.

Since he has become more ill lately, our children want to visit….

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