DEAR DEIDRE: MY husband and I had it all: Two happy sons, a successful businesses, comfortable home, holidays abroad and a good sex life.
But all that was ruined in an instant when I was doing some washing.
Sorting through my husband’s gym bag, I found an unfamiliar keyring. My stomach churned as I turned it over to see a picture of him with a new-born baby. It read: “Daddy’s first photo.” The baby was the image of him, with dark skin and hair.
My husband is Asian and runs an online clothing business, and I run a shop which sells some of his clothes.
After my discovery, he came out of the shower to find me on the bed in tears. He thought somebody had died but when I opened my hand with the keyring in it, his face dropped.
He said this baby was now almost four years old. He insisted the child was the result of a one-night stand that meant nothing.
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I demanded he hand me his phone. It had hundreds of pictures of this boy.
Worse still, I recognised the mother. She goes to his gym and looks about 30, while we are both 43. We’ve been together for 22 years and I love him so much.
I want to make our marriage work but after this betrayal I don’t know how.
He says he’s only seen this other son three or four times and the photos are sent by the mother but I’m not sure if I believe him.
I don’t know where we go from here. The cheating is hard enough to deal with but the constant reminder of his infidelity with this other child is what I’m really struggling with.
How do I tell my kids they have another brother?
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DEIDRE SAYS: You have got a bumpy few months ahead if you are going to sort this out, but the worst is now over.
I hear from many couples who go through the trauma of infidelity. So often they realise they have too much to lose, work out where they have taken each other for granted and their relationship can end up stronger as a result.
It will take time for the trust to return but he may be telling the truth, that this was a one-night stand and he is paying the biggest price. That is little consolation but he has tried to do the right thing by being partly involved with his child.
Now everything is out in the open, it will be easier. You both need guidance on how to go forward, tell your sons about this brother and, difficult as it seems, integrate an innocent four-year-old into your family lives in some way.
Help is available online from Tavistock Relationships (tavistockrelationships.org, 020 7380 1960).
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