Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 1

affair child

We recently had someone write with a request (slightly changed for confidentiality):

Can you write about how we should deal with discovering a sibling born out of adultery? In this case the Loyal Spouse was not aware there was a child conceived of adultery, as the child was hidden and never revealed. The Disloyal Spouse introduced their parents and siblings to the hidden child, and they helped the Disloyal hide the child until the marriage was over. How do I deal with this discovery?

We’re going to answer this request from two points of view.  First–today–we’ll answer “How a Loyal Spouse, married several decades, would deal with discovering their Disloyal Spouse had a child that they didn’t know even existed from an affair in the past.” Tomorrow we’ll address “How a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.”

In the first instance, the Loyal Spouse and Disloyal Spouse were married for many years. Apparently at some point in the past, the Disloyal Spouse had an affair and created a child with the Affair Partner. The Loyal and Disloyal did not split up or divorce, and they continued with their marriage for many more years,  and they had a family together … children.  Whether the reconciliation was successful or a rug-sweep we don’t know; whether issues were addressed or avoided we don’t know.  But we do know that the Loyal Spouse did not divorce the Disloyal for many years, and we do know that the Loyal Spouse didn’t know there was an affair baby.  That child was not part of the Loyal Spouse’s life or part of their family unit.

Therefore, to the Loyal Spouse, discovering that there was a hidden affair child would be equivalent to discovering adultery that is going on right now.  The trauma of discovering infidelity is in the present because the discovery is in the present–even though the actual unfaithful activity was many years in the past.  From the Loyal Spouse’s point of view, this will be “as if it is happening now” because the shock is occurring now. This is what it feels like: “Finding Out: What It Feels Like to Hear that Your Spouse is Having an Affair

How would the Loyal Spouse deal with this?  Well our whole site is full of ways to cope with discovering your spouse had an affair!  You could start with this series: “How to Rebuild After an Affair: Step 1 Forgiveness” (there are links to the other steps) and this series is all about the stages that occur as you deal with discovering adultery (again there are links to the other stages).  The Loyal Spouse is going to have to work through this traumatic experience.

But overall I think we would recommend that the Loyal Spouse ask themselves “What does the Bible say about dealing with trials?” and “What does the Bible say about dealing with difficult people?”  How did Jesus respond to people who challenged Him and tried to trap Him?  How did He respond to those who were rude or sinful? Was He harsh or dismissive or abrasive?  Nope–He showed patience, He rebuked when it was necessary, and sometimes He remained silent.  Copy Jesus when dealing with both the Disloyal and the Affair Partner.

ā€œBut I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to youā€

~Luke 6:27ā€“31

It’s pretty clear in this verse how Jesus wants us to act, even toward those who are our enemy. That’s not to say that we are commanded to be a doormat and allow our enemies to keep hurting us, but we are told to be so profoundly changed by the Holy Spirit with us that we do the exact opposite of what comes naturally.  We are supposed to be so different that we are transformed.

Tomorrow, Part Two of this little series.  We’ll talk about how a young adult would deal with discovering their parent had other children by other people.

5 thoughts on “Help! How do I deal with discovering a secret affair child? Part 1

  1. If I read the original question correctly, it appears divorce has occurred, and discovery of the Affair Child was not until after the divorce…and the Disloyal Spouse’s parents (grandparents to the Affair Child) and children (1/2 siblings to the Affair Child, and children of Loyal Spouse) were aware of Affair Child. If I understand it right..then Loyal Spouse is definitely going to be dealing with trauma in the present on numerous levels: finding out there was an Affair Child, and that other’s they held near and dear were in on the deception. My heart breaks for Loyal Spouse, who is alone now in this pain and journey to healing. Scripture tells us that when his friends experienced huge loss, Jesus wept. I perceive that God is grieved beyond human imagination at such betrayal, and wishes He could cradle his precious girl lovingly in His arms. I hope the Loyal Spouse will find compassionate and heartfelt help that will care deeply for her wounds, and will help her find a journey to wholeness.

    1. Hi savingshards,

      Just to clarify, as I understand it the Loyal Spouse and children did not know about the Affair Child. The Disloyal Spouse knew about the Affair Child, as did the DS’s parents and siblings (grandparents, aunts & uncles), but they kept the Affair Child a secret from the LS and the children.

      That’s why part one addresses the LS…and part two addresses the children, who found out that they had a half-sibling they never knew about!

      1. Ohhh…thanks for that clarification. But still…the grands and aunts & uncles…what trauma, what betrayal Loyal Spouse has to deal with. My heart just breaks… And looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the children. HUGS!

  2. I’m in a similar situation & before I loose it & divorce I’m really seeking to hear more helpful comments

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