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