“Do you have a daughter?”(2 of ?….)

This is a continuation of Finding out about her

“Do you have a daughter?”

“She’s always told me I do.”

No need for more detail in his answer, he knew there was no way to avoid this conversation. What followed was one of those tearful late night hard conversations most marriages face at some point in some form (but probably not likely this form). The honesty I felt that night was oddly refreshing (if that’s even possible in this situation) and even though I wasn’t looking for a resolution, I just wanted some truth. I needed to be free to ask everything I wanted to know and that’s what I got. I felt I needed to know the hard to hear details to even begin to understand the situation.

Here’s a few of the details:

  • He had semi ended the affair but went back again briefly (A tale as old as time?).
  • He didn’t know until she was 6 months or so along.
  • He paid child support monthly by depositing cash into her bank account.
  • Her birthday is the day before mine.
  • There was never a paternity test. (Not really a concern at this late stage.)
  • He would see her occasionally when they came to visit grandparents.
  • He saw her when she was 12 hours old.
  • He admitted that holding her was when he realized he wanted to have kids.

This has been the hardest part so far. This is the moment my heart shattered. My mind immediately went back to the birth of our first child, our daughter and I realized how insincere my memories of those moments now were.

I already knew he’d paid child support willingly for 18 ½ years thanks to her screenshots, she’d apparently always threatened to tell me if that ever came to an end, which is exactly what happened, he had stopped when she graduated. She had married a nice man when daughter was young and he may have adopted her later on, either way she grew up with a loving father in her life so my husband always felt like that was taken care of and did not want to come between that relationship. I go back and forth with how I feel about how he handled everything. There is a part of me that thinks he’s a piece of shit for not being in her life but then I realize he did take some responsibility and that’s worth at least something. I’m also relieved she grew up with a loving family.

He maintains that he never wanted to hurt me and had always felt like he was protecting me from heartbreak by keeping this a secret. Ultimately, I don’t feel at all protected, I feel like most of our life together was some sort of sham that I blindly, foolishly went along with. Every memory is somewhat tainted with the knowledge that he was keeping this from me all along. Was any happiness we had real or were we just pretending? I’ve become completely dissociated at this point. I don’t grieve what our relationship never was, I’ve become completely practical about the situation.

Besides tarnishing my memories the other big issue for me has been his complete ignorance that this would ever come out. I totally get that in 2001 no one could have imagined the possibilities DNA would bring. My biggest “what the fuck” thoughts have revolved around the inevitability of this secret coming out. Now that so much DNA is out there connecting everyone and their dogs, it’s only a matter of time before this comes to light. This means at some point preferably before they find out some other way we need to tell them. We’re one school project family tree away from the kids knowing. I know they justifiably will feel betrayed if we keep the secret too long. What if the kids want to meet her? What if she wants nothing to do with us? Should we ever reach out or should we wait for her to? I do know that I’d welcome her into our lives if she ever wanted to know us.

As if telling the kids weren’t massive enough, telling them means telling our family & others close to us too. Ironically my kids have made up a long lost sister (in addition to other characters they act out) so it makes sense that they’ll want to tell everyone they know and even if they didn’t it doesn’t feel right to expect them to keep a secret.

This is where some humiliation starts for me. I feel like a fool. She’s now 20 but we’ve been married over 23 years. Anyone can do the math and equates to an obvious affair. Coming from a family filled with “don’t tell family secrets” “that doesn’t’ happen in our family” (even though my dad cheated on my mom & my stepmom), summed up it feels very Jerry Springer or Maury Povich to me. I know that’s on me and just something I’ll just have to deal with but that doesn’t make it any easier.

I went to sleep surprisingly peacefully that night. It was Friday so it was “clean sheet night” which is usually the best. Ultimately that night left me with new walls put up and more distanced than ever. I’ve stayed in a holding pattern of simply “what the fuck” ever since then. I’m paralyzed when it comes to making any decisions as to how to handle this. I don’t know how to move on no matter how exhausting it is to keep going this way.

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MaryAmusing

MaryAmusing

I’m totally NOT a writer but my life has become stranger than fiction so I’m writing it out (somewhat as it plays out) to hopefully be able to process.