I cheated on my ex and got pregnant over 20 years ago – but I've never told him
DEAR DEIDRE: I’M haunted by a mistake I made more than 20 years ago which could destroy my family.
I’m a 45-year-old divorced mother of two children. My ex and I are on good terms. We have two sons, aged 22 and 21. But I’ve kept a terrible secret from him for 23 years.
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During a rocky patch early in our relationship, I had a one-night stand. I never told him about it and haven’t seen the other man since.
But a couple of months later, I discovered I was pregnant with my oldest son. I desperately wanted it to be my partner’s and went through with the pregnancy.
I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Soon after, we got married.
Not long afterwards, our second baby came along. But as they have grown up, I realised more and more they look nothing alike.
My second son has his dad’s large build and dark, wavy hair. My first son is fair and slim.
My ex-husband thinks the older boy looks like me, so has never suspected anything is wrong. But something tells me he’s not the boy’s biological father.
It’s a gut feeling but it keeps growing and gnawing at me. I haven’t told a soul about the one-night stand. I don’t know what to do. If I tell my ex-husband and my son, they will be devastated and it could ruin all our relationships for ever.
I could lose my children’s love.
Is it always the right thing to tell the truth? Or should I take this secret with me to the grave?
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DEIDRE SAYS: There is no one right answer here. You need to think carefully about what is to be gained by revealing this secret, which you say no one else knows about and is very unlikely to come out after 23 years.
Being honest will lift a weight from your conscience. But you will be placing the burden of truth – and the accompanying pain – on your son and your ex-husband instead.
You can’t rely on looks alone when it comes to paternity. The only way to be sure is through a DNA test.
On the other hand, your son deserves to know who he really is and to understand his genetic legacy. But your ex has and always will be your son’s father in every way that matters.
It would be a good idea for you to have some counselling before you make a decision. My support pack about this explains how to access it and how counselling can help.
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