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Child as a result of an affair

(50 Posts)
SFC80 Tue 09-Jun-09 20:46:11

Not sure if this is the best place for this question, but I'm looking for advice.

I've been with my parter for 10 years. We have children together. He had an affair and it resulted in the other woman getting pregnant. The little girl is 2 now and my partner will soon be applying for contact.

Does anyone have any experience of this type of situation? Any ideas on how we can go around contact?

The ideal way would be to treat the situation as though it was a typical "step-child from a previous relationship" situation but I feel I may not cope with that due to the nature of my partner and this other woman's previous relationship.

I would be interested in hearing how anyone established contact like this. Did your partner visit the child in the mother's home? Were you involved a lot more from the start? What boundaries did you put up from the start and made the other woman aware of?

Thank you for any advice in advance xx

LooptheLoop Wed 10-Jun-09 11:57:40

Sorry no experience but didn't want to leave your thread unanswered as that sounds like a really tough situation.

Just a thought - you may find it difficult to have the child visit but it would at least give you the opportunity to build up a relationship with the child. If your partner visits without you, will you just end up resenting the child and worrying about him seeing the mother?

Whatever solution you come to, I would think clearly drawn boundaries, mutually agreed between your partner and yourself, will be key.

Good look and hope it goes well.

mrsjammi Thu 11-Jun-09 09:33:07

Message withdrawn

TriWizardTournament Thu 11-Jun-09 09:42:05

I'm sorry for you and would like to put the other side of it, if I may.

I had a child with a married man, years and years ago.

Contact was initially secret but once his wife knew, she would call me to threaten me with taking my child away, saying it was conceived during their marriage and therefore belonged to them.

I could understand her anger but you need to be very clear about what is best for the child, and make sure that your inevitable, and completely understandable and valid anger about all of it does not in some way come out against the child.

I was all for letting them see my child but my mother stepped in and told me not to be so ridiculous, as the wife would undoubtedly hate the child because of its provenance, and that although she may not be aware of this she would somehow show her resentment in a subconscious fashion.

My mother may have been right or wrong, we never found out as I only allowed him to see the child on his own, without her present, and shortly afterwards the contact stopped. I have a feeling he could not handle being in that position.

My child grew up without having any contact with his father. It is sad but at the same time not tragic - he is a lovely person, rarely mentions his father, and I don't think he is too traumatised for not seeing him.

Just be very careful that you don't want this contact yourself for ulterior purposes - ie to claim your rights over the child's mother, or demonstrate ownership etc as this may damage the child irreparably.

I hope this is taken without offence, I feel for you and don't seek to defend the other woman's behaviour.

sunshine13 Thu 11-Jun-09 10:02:47

blimey.. that's a toughie.

I have to congratulate you for being so strong.

I have never been in that situation but I do reckon that boundaries are essential here. I totally understand your partner's need for pursuing contact, but if you dont set boundaries you are going to find yourself being utterly miserable.

Aside from your partner having a child from a previous relationship (which brings its own hassles & stresses) you have the additional stress as this was a betrayal on his part.

I would actually suggest some counselling for both of you here. You both need to be OK with it and you both need to know how to deal with the situaion and feelings.

Best of luck!

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 12:45:38

Thank you for the replies x

TriWizard... I can understand what you are saying. Being a mother myself, I can kind of put myself in her shoes as to how I would feel if it were my child. Obviously I cannot say how I will feel in the future for sure, but I can say I would definitely not treat the child in anyway as a reflection of how I feel about the mother. The same way as my own children never bore the brunt of my anger towards their Dad at the time. Thank you though, it gives me some insight from the other side.

Although I will add, I do think your Mother was wrong. Speaking to others in this situation, they have managed to build a relationship with the child themselves.

Sunshine, me any my partner have had couples counselling and he has had independent counselling and it certainly helped, although we have had to stop for a while due to financial issues. x

TriWizardTournament Thu 11-Jun-09 13:20:54

That's fair enough, and I'm sure you'll be careful not to let the circumstances affect your relationship. However from the point of view of my mother I think she could already see that the woman was not thinking about the best interests of my child, from the threats she had made to take it away from its mother. Surely that wouldn't have been a great idea!

Good luck.

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 14:28:02

Sorry I didn't word it very well. I agree. In some circumstances your Mum was right. Just not in every.

Although I don't think in all cases, it is a terrible idea for the child to be awarded custody with their father and his partner if the mother is not fit ... which I have spoken to a few people in that situation.

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 14:29:01

Obviously not in your case though! I'm digging a hole here blush I hope you understand what I am (dreadfully) trying to say.

NationalFlight Thu 11-Jun-09 15:38:04

Hi SFC,

what a strange and unusual situation to be in. I do think it's important to look at your motivations, especially as you hint that sometimes taking a child from its natural mother is a good thing - well, obviously if a parent is not fit then of course that's correct, but I don't think this occurs more in single parent families or situations where a child is born as the result of affair, than in 'ordinary' families iyswim.

I'm wondering how many people in a similar situation you actually know, to have encountered several instances where this action would be appropriate.

Sometimes the woman who has had a child by a married man is extremely vulnerable, and usually she is in a position without moral or any other kind of power - financially she is most likely to be disadvantaged, socially as well...it is no surprise under these circumstances that some women hit a rough patch. Perhaps it's their fault, or perhaps they were emotionally undermined by a man who lied to them and everyone else, whom they actually (and naively) thought loved them...and then this same man decides they are not fit to care for their child.

Do you see what I am getting at?
I don't know your individual circumstances but it can come across to an outsider that the parent with care of an illegitimate child can very easily be bullied into giving up whatever rights they do have, in favour of the people she - perhaps unintentionally - wronged.

Be really careful and try to remember that that two year old needs a sane mother - not a stressed, court-summonsed, terrified person who is throwing up, crying and falling apart every day because she thinks her child will be taken from her. That is never good for a child.

<rant over> smile

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 17:02:06

My motivations are certainly not to take a child away from it's mother if she is capable of giving that child a loving, safe home.

I don't think you can generalise these situations into saying that "the wife" will always hate the child and treat them appallingly ... or that the "other woman" will always be a naive, vulnerable person misled by the husband/father of their child. There are so many possiblities that it is not a straight forward case of "do this and this will be for the best". If that makes sense.

The few people, meaning 2, people I know of where their father has been granted custody of the child has been because the father was in a better position to be the resident parent and the mother was not acting in the child's best interests. But for these 2 that I know of I am sure there are many that the opposite outcome is best.

I am not looking to this possible contact to lead to us taking the child from her mother. I am looking to this contact to mean that the child has a loving father in her life, (a father who wants to accept his responsibilies and do what is best for all his children) and gets to know her family.

I kind of feel like either way is never right. If I encouraged my partner to not interfere then we would be in the wrong ... if I support my partner in seeking contact, then I am seen as a threat as stealing a child from their mother.

We want to do what is right for the child and for our children and that's why I was looking for any advice from people who may have experience in this unusual situation.

Thank you for your replies. It is always good to have an outside opinion to make you think of things differently.

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 17:27:40

Honestly, the prospect of any contact is difficult enough for me without going for full custody lol.

And in our situation, the OW was not naive, vulnerable or misled. She knew of me and my children from the beginning. She knew me before the affair started but still participated in bringing a child into the world which would have a second family, so she has some responsibility to take as well.

NationalFlight Thu 11-Jun-09 17:46:13

SFC, I can see that you are angry at my post...I'm sorry if it upset you or caused offence. I didn't say that you would do any of those things or that your motives were not wholly good.

I just said that it can happen.

I didn't intend you to take it personally but the way that you seem to have done so indicates to me that you might be a little more uncomfortable about the idea of this child being involved with your family than you are prepared to let on.

I hope very much that you find a way to sort the situation out.

msdevine Thu 11-Jun-09 17:47:49

wow how have you been able to get through that. ive had a similar situation. However, the other woman had a termination. We are still together but to be honest our relationship is at breaking point. Have you forgiven him? sorry i know thats not what the question was about but it would be good to have some advice myself.

best of luck.xxx

NationalFlight Thu 11-Jun-09 17:48:55

Sorry, that you were prepared to elt on initially. I understand you are now saying you would find it very difficult.

I don't think you are wrong to support your husband and my earlier post was also quite angry, I should not have posted my extreme feelings on your thread.

I'm sorry. Good luck.

BonsoirAnna Thu 11-Jun-09 17:54:23

I think that if you are brave enough to do so and think that you can be fair to this (entirely innocent) little girl, you should let her into your home and let her get to know her father and step siblings. Obviously it will be unusual to start with (no one ever expects this to happen to them) but you will all get used to it, if you start off with open minds and open hearts. Nothing could be a better present to this little girl than to grow up knowing her father and step siblings, and you are really the key to enabling this.

I'm sure that, however hard it may be, you will also both be glad that you opened your home to this little girl and get the eternal gratitide of your DH and DCs.

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 18:00:52

I wasn't angry NationalFlight. Just, like you, wanted to get my point across as well.

Blimey, yes it's difficult. But so is the alternative.

msdevine, yes I have forgiven him. How far past the affair being revealed are you? It has been almost 2 years for us and it has taken a long time. I have read lots of people's experiences of affairs online and think that my partner's bahaviour following the revelation made it a lot easier to work on our relationship and recover. (Although still not completely) He accepted full responsibility. He never tried to shift the blame, either onto myself or the other woman, ever. He seeked counselling to overcome some problems he had which helped a lot. He did all he could to help me build trust in him again. No silly little lies, no hiding things, being understanding and patient when I had a wibble and took 2 steps forward, 10 back. I could never have got to where we are now if he had carried on with any of those. How is your partner treating you since the affair? Have you tried counselling/RELATE?

I'm sorry to discover you have been in such a horrible situation also x

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 18:03:28

That's what I am hoping BonsoirAnna. I am also hoping just as much the mother to the child will be as focused on her daughter's best interests.

BonsoirAnna Thu 11-Jun-09 18:04:48

She probably will be! And you won't know unless you try... smile

How old are your DCs?

skidoodle Thu 11-Jun-09 18:08:19

They are not her step siblings, they are her siblings (or half siblings, if you bother with that kind of thing)

BonsoirAnna Thu 11-Jun-09 18:09:19

I have stepchildren, so I should know! My DD has two stepbrothers (ie same father).

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 18:16:52

My eldest is 4 and my youngest 17 months, 4 months younger than the little girl.

And yes I believe they are half siblings, step siblings are connected by marriage ...

skidoodle Thu 11-Jun-09 18:18:42

Yes, you should know, but apparently you don't. Those boys are your daughter's brother, or half-brothers, not her step brothers. They are your step sons.

NationalFlight Thu 11-Jun-09 18:23:31

Gosh...I didn't realise they were so close in age. How very painful for you.

You don't have to do this, you know.

If it is likely to make your life and your marriage much more difficult, there is part of me that thinks that you shouldn't.

The little girl could get to know her father much later on. Has her mother a boyfriend? Or family support?

I say this because sometimes a child isn't aware they are missing anything. As long as they have a lot of love and a strong sense of family around them (be that a mother and grandparents, or a mother and father or just a parent and a wide circle of close friends) they will usually be quite happy.

Is your husband very keen to be in contact with her? Are relations between him and the mother fairly good?

SFC80 Thu 11-Jun-09 18:35:34

The mother's relationship has been cause for concern in the past. She doesn't have a partner at the moment. She was on and off with the BF who thought the baby was his up until 7 months into the pregnancy and was hoping so until the DNA results came back saying he wasn't. Then he told her he wanted my partner to have nothing to do with the child ... but he would have nothing to do with her either. She let this go on for a year and a half. The BF was even heard, by my sister, to have said he wished the baby was dead This confused us as to how she would allow this man to continue on in her life.

We understand all of what you have written above. We have argued it over and over in our heads for almost 2 years. At some point, a while ago, my partner expressed a desire to see his child and chose not to because of my feelings. But we live so close to the child that we see her regularly. Although it doesn't affect the child in anyway as she knows no different, it has a negative effect on our relationship each time.

It has come to a point where I realise that I cannot and do not want to be the reason that my partner has no relationship with his child. He will resent me and our relationship will not survive and/or the child will resent me and I understand totally that she is an innocent party in all of this, just as our 2 children are.

My husband is very keen on contact. He says everything he does is tainted with the knowledge that he is a scumbag not fighting to see his child. But he has gone along with not having contact with her on the initial request of the mother and believing it was in mine and our other children's best interests, pushing his feelings aside.

Living so close really makes things so much harder.

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