DEAR DEIDRE: WHEN I discovered my partner had a secret family for 14 years I was utterly devastated . . . but still I was determined not to lose him.
Five years on and I feel naive: How could I think we could ever get back to anything like normality?
When I learned about his lies, he had actually finished the affair with his lover, but was still very much in his children’s lives.
I don’t know what hurt the most, the fact he fathered three children by her or the fact their affair had lasted so long.
We had been together for 17 years and I thought we had a solid relationship and a great sex life.
How did it take me so long to see the truth?
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I’m 46, he’s 48 and we have a 15-year-old daughter.
She was the main reason I wanted to forgive him and even agreed to get married “to have a new start”.
To begin with, the wedding and honeymoon arrangements kept us occupied but since then I have struggled to come to terms with the reality that he wants to be involved in his other children’s lives — they are 12, nine and eight — and still talks to their mother as a result.
I get angry thinking about how she knew all about me and our child. I, on the other hand, had no idea she existed.
She only lives six miles away and I’ve no doubt passed her without realising who she was.
The only positive thing is he ended the affair before I found out about it.
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DEIDRE SAYS: This must have been a heartbreaking discovery for you, but relationships can come back from a crisis like this and be stronger than ever, if you are both prepared to work at it.
Tell your husband you’re struggling even all these years later.
You’ll need to be really honest, otherwise the same problems will keep cropping up.
You will make huge progress if you can accept his children, who are innocent in all this, as part of his life.
Your husband’s other children are your child’s half-siblings and, in time, you may feel they should know one another.
Read my support pack Cheating – Can You Get Over It? to help you.
You are likely to need help from a counsellor if you are to release all that anger and hurt safely.
You can find a reputable counsellor in your area by going via tavistockrelationships.org.
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