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20 Jul 2005

Single mother
I have a long story to tell, but will try to keep it short. 3 Years ago, I had a brief affair with a married man. I did not plan it – it just happened. We were working together for 2 months and started to like each other. His wife went away one weekend and I invited him over to my house for wine and dine. We had unprotected sex that night and he slept over at my place. I couldn’t believe what I have done, as I know his wife and his family well and I know they are a lovely family and I also know he loves his wife. (He said to me “no strings attached”). I suppose he was in his midlife crisis, looking for some adventure and I was also too keen as I was single, 33 years old and enjoying the attention. For the next 3 weeks, we met each other twice a week for sex. Unprotected. He knew that I was not on a contraceptive, but I told him not to worry as I know how things work with my cycle. The unfortunate thing happened – I fell pregnant. I really did not plan it, but I also didn’t care if it happened or not, as I was totally ready for a child. I told him that I am so excited, because I always wanted a baby and I feel that I am old enough to handle single-motherhood. He begged me to terminate the pregnancy as he has everything to lose and I have nothing to lose, but I refused. He explained to me how hard it will be for me to do it on my own, but I was determined to go ahead, not thinking of all the hurt it will cause him, his wife, children and myself. I told him that I don’t expect anything from him and we agreed that this is a huge secret. I will leave and do it on my own. I am a strong woman. I left the town and kept contact with him during my pregnancy. He supported me through the pregnancy. After my daughter was born, he came to see her and then he confessed to his wife. She was devastated. They are still together (they were married for 20 years) and I am raising this child on my own. He has offered many times to pay maintenance, but I told him I am doing fine. I don’t want anything from him as I feel it was entirely my fault. I am out of their lives completely and I can understand that we cannot be part of his family. Also because only his wife and children know the secret. He has no contact with the child either. His wife and children are deeply hurt and don’t want anything to do with us. I am sure they put all the blame on me. The problem I have is my guilt feelings. I feel like a bad woman. I now realise that I was very selfish and the fact that I hurt other people’s feelings kills me emotionally. I also feel sorry for him for not being able to see how his child grows up. (He has 2 children with his wife). I struggle to forgive myself for what I have done. I know it takes two to tango, but I knew very well that he was a married man. A couple of months ago, I had a sort of a nervous breakdown as I am terrified of the future and I constantly expect a phone call from his wife to take revenge. How do I forgive myself? Should I phone his wife and explain her how I feel and beg her forgiveness or should I leave things as they are. I am now in a new relationship which could lead to a marriage. I don’t know what to do. Do I have to inform him should I get married or can my future husband adopt the child without his approval? He told me once that we each must go on with our own lives and we should handle this case the same as adoption. I am so confused and I feel my whole life is a mess.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

I wonder why you invited him to your place to "wine and dine" while his wife was away, unless you expected something of the kind to happen ? And you were both of course fully capable of realizing the quite likely outcome of unprotected sex, especially on a continuing basis, and when you both had ready alternatives. It doesn't sound as though you were or are the bad woman you feel like, but perhaps a foolish woman at the time, deliberately ignoring the likely consequences of that whole course of action. Self-punishment doesn't solve the problem of having been foolish ; learning from one's experience and adjusting how one lives, accordingly, is a much more helpful reaction. And he is at least fully as responsible for what happened, as you are. He was even more selfish, knowing even better how much it would hurt his wife and children --- and you. he knew, even better than you, that he was a married man.
I don't quite see how likely it is that his wife would act against you to take revenge, for what her husband freelly chose to do. And I don't se, in the situation you describe, how it would help to phone the wife and talk to her.
There might be some legal issues as to whether a future husband of yours could adopt the child without special formalities, and you'd need a good legal opinion aout this ; but as he has paid no maintenance and has chosen not to keep contact with the child, I'd think that his rights would have diminished considerably.
I agree with Debbie that he ought to be contributing towards the child's maintenance, even if the sums he cotnributies are placed in a special savings account for the child to use later. it's also be wise for you to see a good local therapist / counsellor, to work on sorting out your feelings and decisions here. Don't allow yourself to organize your concept of your entire life, around a single episode, a single error
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