DEAR CHRISTINE: Shocked to learn of hubby’s children
I HAVE A BIG PREDICAMENT and I need some guidance in how best to resolve it.
I met a man while we were students and the relationship grew from one of study mates to soulmates. I went to live in his homeland and we eventually got married.
While we lived together before marriage, he introduced me to his daughter from a previous relationship. He was not married to the girl’s mother. I accepted the child as a step-daughter. We spent a number of years in his homeland before returning to Barbados as we both wanted to pursue higher studies. By that time our union had produced two children.
On our return to Barbados I got a job and he also got one which brought a level of financial stability. The pay was better in Barbados, the housing was better and the opportunities simply greater, so we decided to stay here. We bought a house and settled down quite nicely into a relaxed atmosphere.
Suddenly, one day a young lady appeared at our home and introduced herself as my husband’s daughter. She had come to the island for a visa and wanted somewhere to stay. Her sister, the other girl whom I knew, had given her our address. I was shocked and dumbfounded.
My husband was reluctant at first, but admitted it was his daughter. The girl spent two days with us. I asked her on the day she was leaving how come she had not visited her father’s home while in his homeland. She said her mother told her she was not welcome there, neither were her brothers.
What!? Brothers? I asked. She said yes; she had two brothers who were also my husband’s children.
Pressed some more, she said she had another half-sister who lived in another part of her island. In other words, my husband had five children before our marriage and I only knew about one.
I flew into a range and called his relatives in his homeland and got all the details. His sister told me what you do not know don’t bother you. She said he even had another child since our marriage.
Since this revelation three weeks ago, I am not myself. I have confronted my husband about these new children only to be told he was never sure since he felt they were being put on him.
I have been abused and totally misled. I feel I should get on with my life with my two children and let this man go.
– Island Girl
Dear Island Girl,
Yes, you must feel totally frustrated at your husband’s actions. He should have been upfront with you even before you got married and let you know about the other children, even if he felt there were doubts about the paternity.
If they are his, and he is certain, then he should not deny them or seek to hide their existence from you. If they are not, then he should have sought the required test, whether in his homeland or elsewhere.
If he had informed you from the outset of the relationship, you would have either accepted him and gone ahead with the relationship, or would have made another decision. It is not only about you but the two children from your union with him, since they too need to know their siblings.
I cannot say whether you should pack and leave or ask him to pack up and go. There are critical decisions, especially on the financial side, which you must thoroughly sort out.
You have not indicated whether he has shown any remorse and more so, the last child which his sister says was born since your marriage can only make a bad situation worse. You need to speak to a professional marriage counsellor since the trust in this relationship is perhaps gone forever.
This is not a situation in which either of you can remain silent or pretend there is no major problem facing you.