My husband of 15 years revealed he has a child from a previous relationship. Should I stay with him?

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doing it right 12 11 main  
  • Your husband having a child with someone else doesn't mean your marriage has to end.

  • A therapist can help you figure out whether your husband isn't trustworthy, or if your own trust issues are clouding your judgment about his side of the story.

  • You should also enlist a therapist for your children, who may soon learn they have another sibling.

  • Have a question for Julia? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously. You can read more Doing It Right here. 

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

My husband of 15 years just revealed he has a child from a previous relationship, and that the child was born 15 to 20 years ago. I have five kids with him.

I'm not sure if my husband is lying about how recently he found out about this child. My gut tells me he knew all along and hid it from me for years.

I don't know which way to turn. Should I stay with him, or should I go?

33, Alabama

Dear Alabama,

Considering the bombshell news your husband dropped, it's normal to question the future of your relationship.

The fact you're most fixated on whether or not your husband lied about his knowledge of his child speaks volumes to your dynamic with your husband, New York City-based therapist Kelly Scott told me.

"I would imagine that if this is where her head went upon learning this news, that she probably already had some doubts about the relationship before even learning about this kid," Scott told me.

That doesn't necessarily mean your husband isn't worthy of your trust, or that you can never trust him again. It does mean, however, that you have some thinking to do about why you may have had trouble trusting him in the first place.

According to Scott, you need to figure out how much your lack of trust for your partner stems from his previous actions, and how much it comes from your tendency to be distrustful of others.

A therapist can offer an objective perspective and help you gauge this, said Scott, but if you don't have the resources to see a professional, a trusted friend who doesn't have an agenda regarding your relationship status could also help.

Once you investigate your relationship dynamic a bit more, you'll have more clarity on whether it's one that can be repaired, or one you need to move on from. There isn't a right or wrong choice here and only you can decide if you husband's news is a deal breaker for you.

If you decide the overarching trust issues are something that can be improved, you should figure out how to talk with your children about their once-secret sibling since this news affects them too, even if they don't know it yet.

Scott suggested enlisting a therapist who specializes in working with children to talk through the new family dynamic you and your kids might have in store.

As Insider's resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all of your questions about dating, love, and doing it - no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.

Have a question? Fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.

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