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Surviving Affairs and Infidelity Article

"When There's a Child, What Do You Do?"

By Dr. Robert Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach

My name is Dora. My husband and I have been married for 14 yrs. We have 3 children. My husband had an affair and there is now a child from the affair. I am still with him, and yes still love him. He now sees the child and his "ex-lover" almost daily. Should I be worried she's still trying to get him back into his life? My husband tells me he only see's her because of their daughter, but it worries me because the ex-lover gets upset when my husband won't change plans to see them. Their daughter will be 1 year old soon and his ex-lover is still in the big picture. What should I do as the wife?

My response:

Hello Dora,

Time! Yes, it does take time. From my experience it takes 2 - 4 years to adequately work through a relationship crisis with the magnitude of infidelity.

Dora, from the tone and tenor of your e-mail and the fact that the child is 1 year old, I would venture to say you are about half way there.

Worry? Nawwww, don't worry. It's not good for you! :) Where does worry come from? Worry bubbles up from self-doubt and feeling helpless, powerless and afraid.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that your husband's "fling" with the OP is over. It served its purpose (whatever that was) and now he bears the responsibility for caring for a child the two created. As well, the demandingness of the OP is certainly not very attractive and will most likely push a deeper wedge into their relationship.

But, allow me to suggest a strategy that will help you with a couple things. First you need some "markers" or "signs" that indicate that his relationship with the OP no longer serves a threat to the stability of your marriage. And, you want to feel like you have some influence and power in this process that will erase your doubts and calm your fears.

As I read your letter I had at least a dozen questions about your future. Here are a few: Is the OP married? What financial obligations does your husband have for the child? Does he have a visitation schedule? What legal responsibilities does he have? Do your children know about the other child? Do you see the child? What kind of emotional and financial support will carry into the future? Will this child in any way be "part" of your family? What will you do about Holidays? Birthdays? Celebrations?

I suggest you write down on a legal pad as many questions, very practical questions, you can. Ask your husband to sit down and over time iron out and answer specifically these questions. Begin with the question of visitation. Let him know your opinions and needs. Set up a schedule if you don't have one. Stick with it.

You want and need clarity on the boundaries of these relationships, so everyone is on the same page.

If the two of you can sit down and over the next 3-6 months constructively address these questions, I bet your worry fades and you will find your marriage gaining stability and strength. It will be a great sign that he is deeply committed to you. If you can't do this, watch out. This is a red flag. Get some help.


 

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Dr. Robert Huizenga - The Infidelity Coach

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About the author: Dr. Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach, is a respected Marriage and Family Therapist with over two decades of clinical experience, study and research. He created and maintains the website: http://www.break-free-from-the-affair.com.


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