Wedding Woes

That's a lot of kids and a lot of secrets.

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I have been married for three years. We have a 4-year-old son and 16-month-old twins. I have four older children. My husband was briefly married once before me; I was previously married for 12 years. We were both going through our divorces around the same time, messed around, and got pregnant. We hadn’t planned on anything serious, but we gave it a shot and ended up falling in love. Early in our relationship, I shared something vulnerable with him: I got pregnant with my oldest at 16, and I never told her birth father. I didn’t think he was reliable, and I decided to raise her myself. I have absolutely no regrets. She is now in college with a bright future. I don’t share this with many people, but I wanted to be totally honest before getting into a serious relationship with my now-husband.

I haven’t been with many people, while my husband has been with hundreds of women. We have joked before that he might have a bunch of children that he doesn’t know about. Recently, my husband had been drinking and asked me if he could share a deep, dark secret. He said he’d had a one-night stand with a friend of his sister a long time ago. About 10 months later, that friend told my husband’s sister that she had had a baby girl but had moved out of state and was raising it with her then-partner. She didn’t want anything to do with my now-husband. Her sister told him, and that was it. He never reached back out or tried to get in touch. They never told anyone else. That girl would be about 15 or 16 now.

I have a lot of feelings about this. None of them are positive. But my main issue is that he didn’t tell me about any of it. And he had plenty of opportunities. I am absolutely shocked. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened either—he had admitted to getting a DUI about 12 years ago, but I found out he was arrested for DUI at least three times. After a lot of discussion, he finally apologized for not telling me sooner, but he maintains that she never told him and she never gave him a choice to be present. I feel like I never got to choose whether this was a dealbreaker before we got married. It’s not such an easy decision now. He says he told me because he thought I would be able to relate, given my daughter’s situation. I want to be supportive. I know this was hard for him to talk about. But I also feel like the trust between us has been damaged. We have lots of other issues that need work, but I need to first learn how to live with this. Will my feelings of shock and betrayal ever go away? Should I just move past it, if he has?

—The Past Isn’t Past

Re: That's a lot of kids and a lot of secrets.

  • So this woman never actually told your husband (or his sister if i'm reading right) definitively that it is his child.  You also did not tell your oldest child's father that he had a child.  Now you're mad that your husband didn't tell you that he might have a child and also mad that he has never reached out to his possible child/child's mother?  Maybe i'm misreading but this seems a lot like the pot calling the kettle black.  
  • You may have been able to relate, had he told you about it when you told him about your daughters birth-father. This+ the lies about the DUIs would make me think there are other things he’s not sharing. Y’all need to do some work here, probably with the help of a professional because keeping this many secrets isn’t going to end well. 
  • This is a lot of secrets but it's also two people who had lead lives full of ups and downs before they met. 

    I guess the question is what was expected before commitments were made?  Did she say that she put all her cards on the table and expected the same from him?   

    I don't know if these are deal breakers but it does look like they'd benefit from therapy if she needs to know about all the skeletons in the closet.  But in doing that, she needs to consider if she really wants to know about who is was rather than who he is. 
  • Ummmmmm.  You did exactly the same thing to your daughter and her father. So get off your high horse and deal with the rest of your issues and maybe get some better birth control. 
  • Ummmmmm.  You did exactly the same thing to your daughter and her father. So get off your high horse and deal with the rest of your issues and maybe get some better birth control. 
    That's what I saw too.  Is LW thinking she's able to throw stones at the H's house because she told him more first?  
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    The redder flag here is LW’s H’s reliance on/relationship with alcohol. All the DUI’s, needing it to share a secret kid.  It’s ironic that they’ve each been part of the same scenario, just in different roles, I think that’s okay IMO.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I just feel bad for all these kids. Their parents are collectively a hot mess. 

    But counselling. 
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited February 18
    Overall, I think the LW is making a mountain out of a molehill.  It seems wild to me that she is thinking about this being a dealbreaker.  She was ready before they got married to tell her H that she had never told the father of her oldest child, about the child.  That doesn't mean he was then obligated to tell her a "secret" that, for all intents and purposes, doesn't matter.  Who even knows if that child is actually the H's.  That's what he heard second-hand from his sister.  It's impossible for either one of them to know for sure if there were other "possibilities" for who the child's father was.

    The DUIs would be more concerning to me then apparently they are to the LW.  But even then, it depends how long ago it was.  Sounds like it was ancient history and before the LW was around.  Though it's definitely worth a discussion about why it happened and multiple times.

    With all that said, it's bothering the LW and that's fair enough.  I think some couples therapy sessions to help her manage her feelings and explore why he didn't mention these things sooner would be helpful for everyone. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Sounds like LW fucked around, had several kids, and then found out.  But seriously, I think the DUIs are way worse than the possible child from his teen years that he's not sure is his.  I've met people like this IRL and it's much drama.  
  • Oh!  I forgot to mention one other thing that was so weird with the LW.  She mentions her H has been with "hundreds of women".  I assume that was an exaggeration?  Maybe?  But even if we are talking more like dozens of women, plus he doesn't seem to be the most "careful" fellow out there.  Then, I hate to break it to you LW, your H has kid(s) he doesn't know about.

    I have a friend whose only girlfriend he had in his whole adult life was a woman willing to be in a poly relationship with him, plus they both traveled a lot for work.  He is tall, good looking, charming, and wealthy.  He majorly sleeps around and loves it that way, lol.  At least from what he tells me, he always wears condoms.  But, as he likes to joke, they're only effective 98% of the time.

    When he was in his 20s, he got a knock on the door.  Process server with an order for him to take a DNA test, in regards to paternity.  He laughed and told the person, "I knew this would happen one day."  It was a women he had a one-night stand with as a teenager.  She got married shortly after her daughter was born and that women's H had supported her and the child for 10 years.  But then they divorced and she was on harder times, so she sought out who the father was (more than one possibility) and collect child support.  My buddy turned out to be the bio-dad.

    All things considered, it turned out great for everyone.  My friend was happy she was his daughter, but also didn't resent the first 10 years of her life that he missed out on.  He said, as much as he hated to admit it, he was glad he didn't know for all those years because it gave him a chance to go to college and establish his career.  By the time he found out, he had the financial means to help support her.  His daughter lives far away from him, but he travels to her city twice a year on business.  The mother was also awesome in that my friend wanted to establish a relationship with his daughter and the mother was totally open to and welcomed that.  So he keeps in touch with phone calls/e-mails and sees her when he's in town.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • The DUIs are a big deal but if they are all over 10years ago I wouldn't be that concerned about it being an indication of future behavior.

    It sounds like secrets are big deal because they have so many. I feel like LW should be a little more understanding about the daughter though, especially given that the mother of the child never reached out to tell him. For all they know, she is confident that he is not the father for a number of reasons.
  • I think I'd be a bit more inclined to judge him if there'd been a dating relationship before hand.  But they jumped together into a relationship, so there are sure to be things that come out through the marriage, rather than beforehand.

    Shame makes people do odd things and he was obviously ashamed since it seemed to take some liquid courage.  LW piling on top of that in whatever way will help nothing.  

    The alcohol related stuff is a bit alarming, but she doesn't say when all of them happened, just the 12 years ago one, so I'm not sure whether it's a red flag or not.
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