Married, dating, cohabiting. The form of the relationship does not matter when a partner decides to hide a whole child from you.
When a partner gets a child with another person while you are together, or when they’ve got one before the relationship began and refused to open up about it till you are deep into the relationship, and absolutely committed, what should you do?
Obviously, walking away sounds like an option. It is really not about the fact that there is a child. Dating a single parent is no longer the taboo it once was. More people are open to the idea of being with someone they really, truly connect with. If that connection is there, having a kid may not really matter.
It is the disrespect, the betrayal, the secrecy and dishonesty of the whole thing that would be uneasy to live with. Imagine having a whole kid and somehow forgetting to talk about it during the first date, second and numerous others.
Conveniently omitting to mention a whole child despite all the numerous pillow talks and intimate conversations had in the relationship also sounds like something unforgivable.
That reaction is also plausible when a partner somehow impregnates another woman. It does not matter whether they were informed about the pregnancy or not; or whether they were involved in the upbringing of the kid or not.
The very idea that there is a child of theirs somewhere that you only just found about is enough to rock the relationship or marriage to its very foundation. Wanting out of such relationship sounds pretty much like an expected, understandable move.
While letting go of the relationship totally is an option, it might be difficult in certain circumstances to take such step. Imagine in a relationship where you already are married, with kids and your lives so deeply woven around each other’s. Letting go does not sound so easy in such situation.
An option to take here might be to allow the child become a part of the family. That is, if you would rather keep your family together than throw it all away.
If the child’s inclusion in your immediate family would be too much for you to handle, you could agree with your spouse or partner for the child to be taken care of, but to have no contact with your family.
Then there is the issue of the other parent to think about. How do you deal with the other man or woman they had the child with? How do you deal with the necessary parenting moves they might have to make with that other person? School appearances, graduations, joint parenting rights and duties, all that stuff.
It could actually be a lot and that is why it is absolutely necessary to not try to do this alone. A marriage counselor, therapist or certified relationship expert may be needed to help steer the relationship through all the puddles and muds it would inevitably have to wade through once that new child is ‘discovered.’
If you intend to stay and make the relationship work if you stay to work it out, then you should be willing for the [awkward] conversations to be had and [difficult] decisions to be made.