I am in a kind of a dilemma with two very special women in my life. I am a married businessman with three children, and I am expecting a baby this January with my girlfriend, who my wife knows about. My wife is not happy with my affair, but she has grudgingly given up on trying to convince me to leave my girlfriend. She does not know about the baby, and I plan to keep this secret for as long as I am able. However, I am a good father to my other children, and I want to do the same with this child, who will be my first son. I want to take time off work to help the mother in the first few weeks of the baby's life, and I also want to include the baby on my insurance and pension plans. How can I do all this without offending my wife, whom I love dearly (and whose family's money got me where I am today?) I want to do the whole works — night feedings, diaper changes, etc — and while I understand that I can't have my cake and eat it too, I don't think my son should suffer for my indiscretions. Can you suggest any way that I can be a good provider, good husband and good father without rocking the boat?
As adults we are expected to conduct ourselves with a sense of maturity and take full responsibility for our behaviour/actions. So when we carry out an act that is not considered socially acceptable we are accountable for the indiscretions and must be prepared to pay the penalty.
In your case, you chose to engage in an extramarital affair, which has resulted in a pregnancy of the other woman. From all indications it does not appear that you have regrets and that this was not a deliberate decision on your part. You mentioned that your wife is aware of your relationship with the other woman and that you have no intention of ending the extramarital liaison.
Permit me to focus for a minute on the two women in your life — your wife and your girlfriend. Can you recall the vows you repeated on the day of your wedding? How did you respond to this question posed by the marriage officer, “Will you have her to be your lawful wedded wife? Will you love her, comfort and keep her, and forsaking all others remain true to her, as long as you both shall live?” Was your answer, “I will”?
Do you understand what you committed to? Do you understand what forsaking all others means? Are you comforting your wife and remaining true to her by your act of infidelity? Maybe the vows were just empty words said in the moment and have no significance to you.
Whatever is going on in your marriage could you both not work through the challenges? I imagine you believe you have good reasons to go outside the marriage to fulfil a need you have that your wife could not supply. You mentioned that the child on the way is a male. Was this a motivating factor, as you already have three girls and wanted desperately to have a boy to carry on your surname?
It must be disheartening for your wife to know that she has to be competing with another woman for your love and attention. Even if you don't tell her of the pregnancy it's just a matter of time before she finds out. In this technology-driven world of social media, very little remains a secret. It is as simple as your proud outside woman posting pregnancy pictures online, which can be picked up by a mutual friend/acquaintance of your wife and the other woman. It would make sense that you break the news to your wife as soon as possible. Surely she would be infuriated but not surprised as she is aware that you would be sexually involved with the other woman.
So now about the other woman, what assurances have you given her? Is she OK with sharing you with your wife? Is she comfortable knowing that she will forever hold position number two and labelled as the side chick/other woman/homewrecker? Is she also aware that having a child for a man is no guarantee that he will promote her to the number one position? The truth is, some women choose to attach themselves to men who are married or in a committed relationship knowing full well what the consequences and likely outcomes will be.
Now back to you — keep in mind the above observations as you venture down this road. You have taken the decision to be involved in an extramarital relationship and to bring another child into the world. You physically cannot be at two homes at the same time, so scheduling your time is going to be key to sorting out the dilemma. You said you want to be around your new babymother to assist her with the early parental duties; and whereas this is commendable you must remember that in your present status as husband and father of the original household you may not be able to share in all those activities in the second household. Surely you can't expect your original family to accept you missing in action while you play your fatherly role elsewhere. This is a consequence of your action we spoke of earlier as you attempt this balancing act.
The sooner you sit with your wife and inform her of the position the easier it will be to know how to navigate this rather sticky path. Accept that she has all right to be upset, but over time, particularly on the arrival of the child, she may have a change of heart and will be OK with you offering a helping hand to the babymother. But don't expect her to be ecstatic about your moving out to carry out overnight duties elsewhere. Unfortunately, this is a consequence the new babymother must have been prepared to deal with when she decided to be impregnated by a married man.
You said it sir, you can't have your cake and eat it and so you must lose something to gain something else. I also share with you another adage, “when you make your bed you have to lie in it”. Maybe if you had heeded the warning of your wife you would not be in such a predicament. But the damage is already done and now you are in damage control mode. Do your best not to cause any emotional harm to your three children at home, as your physical absence and emotional unavailability can cause long-term negative psychological impact.
All the best.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.