I am 23 with two children. I have found a man who really loves me and is very kind to me. We are planning to marry soon and hope that we shall have other children together.
The problem, however, is that he knows only one of my children and thinks I have only that one child. He gets along with the child and does not mind being the father.
I’m scared that if he finds out the truth then he will not want to marry me. Should I tell him the truth now and risk losing him?
Linet this is the kind of situation that you will need to sort out sooner rather than later as it has great potential to cause resentment in the family when it emerges.
Duly note that I have used the adverb ‘when’ not ‘if’ because it is only a matter of time before the cat gets out of the bag. Marriage is a life-long commitment and when people are getting into it they are encouraged to do full disclosure of all skeletons in the closet and more so those that are likely to come out at one point or another in life.
It is unreasonable to think that you can keep the other child a secret your entire life. If you are seriously considering getting married to him then building trust should be the biggest agenda at the moment. Full disclosure seems not just the best but the only way through this situation. He had better find out about this when he still has an option of carrying on or opting out of the relationship rather than find out after he has tied the knot. In the latter he will feel cheated and trapped and this will breed a lot of bitterness within him which may even prompt him to do unimaginable things.
The worse he can do if he found now is to end the relationship. With this, you will still have other chances in life to get a partner. If he found out later after you are married to him, he may still leave you but this time you will be a divorcee and perhaps with a child or two with him so your chances then will not be as diverse as they are now.
Lastly, do not get stuck with the thought that his only cause of action will be to leave if he found out about the other child. He may just surprise you by accepting both children as his. This will build the element of trust in your relationship and life will be much easier when you have nothing tucked up your sleeves. When it comes to relationships openness, honesty and trust are invaluable elements.
There is always a temptation to hold back information that reflects negatively on us, but we must endeavour to be truthful. Dishonesty not only lies in telling falsehood but also in withholding, exaggerating or telling partial truth. It could also involve one’s conduct, where they project an image that is far from what they really are. Ever heard of, ‘fake it till you make it’? This phrase does not work in relationships.
When you hoard vital information you deny the person the opportunity to make informed decisions. The longer one takes to reveal this information the more difficult and complicated it becomes.
All of us wish we would correct one or two decisions we made in the past. To that regard, you have no option but to reveal the full picture.
This is not just for him but much more for yourself, because this will liberate you from any sense of guilt. You will be happier living with the consequences of the truth than of a lie. Do not trade your kids for anything. They are an indelible part of your life and if he truly loves you, he will have the capacity to take this. Be prepared for whatever outcome as you hope for the best.
Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology.
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