We had a GREAT question asked to us on our “The Purpose of No Contact” page. It was such a great question, in fact, that I thought it would be helpful to several others in a similar situation if I wrote a post about it! Here’s the question:
“What happens when a child is born from adultery, how do you sustain the no contact rule and do what is right for the child?”
The first thing I want you to do is to take a look at that picture at the top of this post. Can you tell by looking at that picture if that child was conceived in love? Can you tell if it is a child of rape or of adultery? You can not tell, can you? And to the baby…it can not tell either. It is a human being whom God did not just “allow” to come into this world–He was actively involved in the conception and creating of life–even if the coming together of the sperm and the egg was through sinful circumstances. So before we go any further, the baby — the child — is not involved in “how it was conceived.” The child is an innocent, and the child needs love and needs a mom and dad in its life.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s jump into the actual question. When one spouse is Disloyal and commits adultery, and the Loyal spouse is willing to reconcile, in order for the affair to truly END and the recovery to begin, there has to be complete and utter, 100% NO CONTACT with the Affair Partner. I think when there is no child conceived, people generally understand why and how to do this. But when a child IS conceived, what do you do? HOW do you do it? It seems impossible to cut all contact with the person who is the other parent of your child, and to be honest, it is extremely difficult! BUT that is also one of the reasons why affairs are so destructive and the damage is so devastating–because the Disloyal puts the Loyal into the position of having an STD or a child that will be a constant reminder for life!
But getting beyond that, here are some practical ideas:
1. Bear in mind that when a man and woman have children together and divorce, they may need to communicate ON THE OCCASION, but by-in-large they do not need to talk every day, they do not need to do things for each other, and they are no longer involved in each others’ day-to-day lives. Thus, when your Disloyal Spouse claims that they need to be mettling in their Affair Partner’s life or be involved doing things on a daily basis… no they don’t. No matter who is who, the female person had unprotected sex with someone and made a baby, and she made that choice; she’s responsible TO THE CHILD. And likewise the male person had unprotected sex with someone and made a baby, and he made that choice; he is responsible TO THE CHILD. Now if they had been smart, they would have considered that the reason a person only has sex within a committed, lifetime marriage is for the stability it offers to their potential children! But they were not smart, and now they do each owe THE CHILD, but neither one of them owes a thing to their adultery partner!!!!! Their promise was to their spouse, and anything they owe (like loyalty or honor) is to their SPOUSE.
2. Get everything about the baby/child legal and court-ordered. Have a legal custody agreement, a legal parenting plan, and a legal child support order. This is to protect both the Loyal and Disloyal Spouse from an Affair Partner out for revenge, and to the protect the child. There should be a way to enforce visitation and where the child lives and when, and if there is a court-ordered custody and parenting plan, even if the Other Person goes insane, the court can help you enforce it. Likewise there should be clearly-defined child support, which protects you by itemizing exactly how much is owed to whom and when…and can document/prove who gave how much to whom and when. Of course, if you are the Disloyal Spouse you owe it to the child that you created to take care of its needs and provide for the child, same as if you and your spouse had a child together. If you owe child support, YOU PAY IT–not your spouse.
3. There is absolutely no reason for either of the Affair Partners to email, chat, text or call each other. Ever. There can always be an intermediary, and that can be anyone: the Loyal Spouse, a pastor or mentor, a mutual friend, a parent, an attorney, or a day-care person. The Affair Partner can send any communication to the intermediary, and the intermediary can get the message to the Disloyal Spouse. Period. NO CONTACT.
4. Exchanging the child does not require contact either! There is no reason why the child could not be left at an intermediary or neutral place, and this works better as the child gets older. For example, the “mom” leaves the baby at day care on Wednesday morning and goes to her work…the “dad” picks up the baby at day care Wednesday night on his way home from work. Then he keeps the child until Sunday, when “dad” drives the child to Sunday School and “mom” picks up the child after Sunday School at church. The drop off point could be McDonald’s, school, a sport (like if the child is in baseball) or practice, or a park! When the child is just an infant baby, it may require more time with mom, but even as an infant, the baby could be dropped off and picked up at day care or a mutual friend’s house. Either way… NO CONTACT!
5. The hardest part of having a child out of adultery is the honest fact that on the occasion there are going to be emergencies–but an “emergency” does not mean “baby mama drama”!!! It means blood or fire. It means the child got hurt or is ill. If the child has a cold–that is not an emergency. In the event of an actual emergency, I suggest that the Loyal and Disloyal Spouses just have a Mutual Agreement about how to handle it. If you have a reasonable Other Person, if the affair was literally years ago, and if everyone is out of each others’ lives and pretty respectful, it’s conceivable the Loyal may be okay with the Disloyal getting true emergency contact. It’s far from ideal, but having an affair is far from ideal!! On the other hand, some Loyal Spouses may not be able to handle any contact ever, in which case I suggest that the emergency calls go to the Loyal Spouse. I mean if A and B are married and B had an affair with C and had a child, C could call A and say “There is thus and such emergency” and A could tell B and meet at the Emergency Room! Chances are that C would not be calling A with every little papercut either.
6. Finally, if you are a Loyal Wife and your Disloyal Husband got the Other Woman pregnant, it is possible and okay for you to choose to love and raise and accept the child as your own together as a couple. Likewise if you are a Loyal Husband and your Disloyal Wife got pregnant by the Other Man, there is no law that says you can’t choose to love and raise and accept the child as your own together as a couple either. My point here is that often people just assume that the baby would live “elsewhere” and that does not HAVE TO be the case. If you have the love within your heart to adopt a child and love it because you choose to commit to it–then maybe you have the love within to choose THIS child too. If you can see past the circumstances of how the child came to your life, and instead see all the joys and laughs and energy and fun and life that the child will bring to you… then I encourage you to be the custodial parents! Show the child what love really is: a choice to treat someone in a loving way.