Patricia Redlich

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Had His Baby

I recently gave birth to a baby whose father I've been having an affair with for the past three years. Neither of us are the type to enter into an extra-marital affair lightly. We started as friends while both of us were in unhappy relationships. He was married while I was with a boyfriend who suffered badly with depression and consequently rejected me and made wild accusations about me.

At the time I believed this man loved me as I did him. It was never just about sex. We were best friends. He asked me twice to leave my boyfriend - hypocritical I know. Each of these requests came at a time when his wife had left him. The second time she left him, he took me to meet some of his family. His wife found out, returned to the marital home, and they stayed together. After that we went on seeing each other, but less intensely. At this stage I had already ended it with my boyfriend. My lover often said how unhappy he still was, how he wanted us to be together, but that it would kill him to give up everything he'd worked so hard for. He has no children.

When I discovered I was pregnant, he at first denied that it was his, citing a very brief fling I'd had, and insisting that the man in question must be the father. Eventually he accepted that this was not so and that the baby was his. But at no time did he ever say he would leave his wife. I then, very briefly, renewed my relationship with the man I'd had the fling with, and my lover broke off all contact. He said it was for the best. My reading of the situation was that he hoped this man would take on his responsibilities for him.
The re-union didn't last long, the man departed, and my lover came back from time to time. The sexual relationship continued. He visited me once while I was in hospital having the baby and a couple of times since. And yes, much to my regret, sex happened again. All he could say was that he was sorry for ruining my life, but that he couldn't be there for me. The last visit was five weeks ago. My baby is now 8 weeks old. He just says on the phone that he'd like to keep in touch and help in any way he can.

I still love him and think about him constantly. Yet I know there is no future. I have great difficulty reconciling the selfish man he is now with the loving kind and generous man he was for the first two years of our affair. I kept hoping he'd change back again to the man I first knew. Yesterday I found out that he'd been on holidays with his wife, their first since the affair began, and I knew their relationship was back on track.

At that point, to my shame, I completely lost it and sent him loads of texts and calls accusing him of using me when she didn't want him and then dumping me when I needed him most. He, of course, didn't reply. I have no-one to confide in, except his sister, to whom he barely speaks now, presumably because she sided with me. Thankfully I don't need his help financially - not that he offered. But while I know only too well that we're better off with him gone from our lives, I need help to get him out of my heart and out of my thoughts.

You don't need me to tell you that this man is bad news. We won't even go into it. It's not necessary. None of this is about him anyway. All of it is about you. Put plainly, if he hadn't come along, someone else would have.

It's always hard to say that without sounding punitive. But unless you bite that bullet you will never achieve what you want, namely to put him out of your mind and move on. Your task, if you like, lies within. What has you holding on is your own inner torment and need. That's also what got you into the relationship in the first place.

Change your focus and concentrate on you. Deep down you don't believe you deserve better. Otherwise you would have walked away long ago. It's not just that this man was married, and therefore trouble. He didn't at any stage get his act together, separate, and clear the decks for you to be together. On the contrary, he was careless and self-serving from very early on. The question, therefore, is why did you settle for so little? Why do you think so little of yourself?

I hate handing this out, like some kind of mantra, but I do believe you should spend some of your money on serious professional help. The reason is simple. Thinking little of ourselves is a habit born in early childhood. It becomes so much part of us that we're not even aware of it. It's kept alive by habits of thought, feeling and behaviour - often so subtle that no-one can see them, let alone you. Therapy unearths all that. It's not about finding a parent to blame. In fact it's not necessarily about asking why at all. It's about unearthing those habits of self put-down, holding them up to the light so we can see them clearly, and then ditching them.

So I'm not saying forget him. That would be hard, particularly as you now have his baby. I am saying shift your energy and attention and start changing your self-image. Your beautiful baby deserves a mother who thinks well of herself. Go work on it.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design