Adultery in a military family carries a price for everyone involved. When the paternity of a child is at stake, the price is unimaginably high.
This week, “Still in Shock” wrote that she thought her husband of 15 years had great morals. The man is a sergeant major and a deacon of their church. She writes:
Dear Ms. Vicki,
I found out three months ago that my husband has been living a lie. He has a child with a woman at my church. My husband has submitted to paternity testing and the child is definitely his. This homewrecking hussy has ruined my marriage. Out of all of the men out there, why did she have to go after my husband? My husband keeps crying, telling me he made a mistake and he wants to save our marriage.
How can we explain to our children they have a brother? I don’t think I can get over the embarrassment and shame. My husband said the affair is over and that he is a changed man. How can I believe that? I love my husband, but I don’t think I can get over this.
“Still in Shock”
Dear Still In Shock,
It will take a lot of healing for your marriage to be saved and the healing has to begin quickly. The longer the resentment and guilt fester, the gap will become wider and wider between you and your husband.
First things first, I think you need to attend another church. Surely, you can find another place for spiritual support. I just don’t think the healing will take place as long as you have to look across the pews at the woman who had a sexual relationship and child with your husband.
Second, remember the children. They are innocent in all of this. I know it will be hard, but take the high road and don’t lash out at this woman or the child.
Third, work on some forgiveness. You sound shocked and hurt. You also sound like you want to save your marriage. The one sign that tells me when a marriage is surely over is when the forgiveness stops. When a husband or wife cannot find the capacity to forgive, the marriage is over.
Forgiveness is a choice in my opinion. I won’t be critical of you if you cannot forgive your husband. It’s up to you. It will also take some intensive counseling. You see, there are reasons for this affair. Your husband has to be honest with you and willing to discuss why and how it happened. I think you should contact TRICARE (877-874-2273) and Military OneSource (800-342-9647) for marital counseling. They will connect you with a provider in your local community. Ask for someone who specializes in marriage and family therapy.
This is difficult, but I have seen marriages survive situations like yours. With a lot of work, the marriages have emerged much stronger.
Dear Ms. Vicki,
For years, my husband and I tried to have children with no success. With all of the deployments, it was impossible to do fertility testing or to consider the in vitro route.
Then I cheated on my husband. Not only did I cheat, but I had a full-blown affair for about a year. I got pregnant during the time my husband was home for R&R but I was still seeing my lover at the same time. I don’t think my daughter is my husband’s child. She looks just like my lover and members of his family.
I don’t want to lose my marriage, but I want to know the truth: Iis my lover the biological father of my daughter? What if my husband leaves me? What happens if I move on and act like I never cheated? As long as my daughter is loved and cared for, will it matter if I never tell the truth?
Truth or Dare
Lady, I don’t think you would know the truth if it hit you in your face. I’m not buying your crisscrossed sympathy act. You don’t get it. You are not apologetic. You are not sorry about the affair.
You obviously know your lover and his family quite well. This affair was not something you hid. It was in the open for many people to see ... while your husband was away dodging IEDs fighting for his country!
Jeesh, lady, get a clue. Tell the truth for once in your life. You are still having this affair, aren’t you? You are still very involved with your Mr. Lover and you want to have the comfort of a sure-steady husband, an ID card etc., all the while you can’t wait for your husband to leave again. You have no interest in finding out who fathered your child. After all, you could have a paternity test done with your lover and your child, right? What you want is for me to give you permission to continue this lie. Well, I won’t ... I’m out!
Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, is married to an active-duty Soldier and has three sons. She has a Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as a therapist with military servicemembers and their families. She provides services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping.
Ms. Vicki also writes an advice column "Dear Ms. Vicki" that appears in the Washington Times, the Fort Campbell Courier and the Heidelberg Herald Post. Ms. Vicki also hosts an internet radio show and blogs on her community site with the Washington Times. If you want to ask Ms. Vicki for advice about your military life, please email her at AskMsVicki@military-inc.com.
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