Help! A Decade Later, I Just Found Out My Husband Has 2 Kids

I have been married for seven years and have three children with my husband. We have had our ups and downs, like most couples. When we first got together nine years ago, he told me he didn't have kids. I would have been fine with it if he did, it wouldn't have changed how I felt about him, but he was very clear about not having them. Well, guess what? I came to find out last month he has two kids with two women from previous relationships. They are ages 11 and 12. He pays child support for them from an account I don't have access to. He told me he was moving money from our shared account into a retirement account for us, but instead he's been moving it into this secret child support account. I don't understand! I am livid! When I confronted him, he was humiliated and begged for forgiveness. He said he didn't think I'd want to be with him if I knew he had kids (even though that's not true), and since he is not in their lives at all (he has no contact), he says that "in a sense" he doesn't have kids. That's ridiculous. How could he hide something like this from me for so long? What else is he hiding? I love this man, but seriously, this is wrong and I don't know if I can handle it. I am actually thinking about ending our marriage, which makes me sad for OUR kids. What do you think about all this? Am I wrong to be this upset? —In the Dark
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Dear In the Dark,

What an incredible breach of trust. Not only did he lie to you about not having kids, which I’m sure made sense to him at the time, but he perpetuated the lie by actively hiding an account from you and keeping important financial information from you. Of course you are having concerns and wondering if you can trust him.

Often people lie for one of two reasons—from fear and a desire to avoid negative consequences, or to gain something they don’t believe they can gain via the truth. Your husband says he lied initially because he didn’t think you would accept him if you knew the truth. Lying can become a habit and even a coping mechanism. Lying can generate fear of being found out, which necessitates additional lies until it looks as if there is no way out. It seems as if your husband justified continuing to lie for fear that if you learned the truth his world would unravel. I am not condoning his actions, but I can see how one lie begets another and another until it seems insurmountable.

Often people lie for one of two reasons—from fear and a desire to avoid negative consequences, or to gain something they don’t believe they can gain via the truth.Now that the truth is out, this would be a great time to work with your husband on becoming completely honest with you about everything. That means giving you access to all of his financial records, legal documents, and passwords as well as sharing his entire unvarnished history with you. Whether or not you intend to stay in your marriage, if you are going to parent with him, rebuilding trust is going to be important for you and for your kids. I recommend working with a therapist on this process. If your husband has indeed been hiding even more, being able to tell you about it in a safe, neutral environment may encourage more transparency. It may also encourage him to consider why he chose dishonesty for so long.

I should mention that, while uncommon, there are some individuals who lie without remorse, who use dishonesty to manipulate, or who lie simply because they can. It is a very small percentage of the population, and I am not suggesting that your husband falls into that category, but it might be helpful to have professional support as well to ensure that you are not dealing with this particular type of individual.

Best of luck,
Erika

Erika Myers
Erika Myers, MS, MEd, LPC, NCC is a licensed psychotherapist and former educator specializing in working with families in transition (often due to separation or divorce) as well as individuals seeking support with relationship issues, parenting, depression, anxiety, grief/loss/bereavement, and managing major life changes. Although her theoretical orientation is eclectic, she most frequently uses a person-centered, strengths-based approach and cognitive behavioral therapy in her practice.
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  • Rylie

    Rylie

    June 19th, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    Honestly I think that I would be checking into other things that he could have been hiding from you.

  • Emmorie

    Emmorie

    June 20th, 2015 at 9:44 PM

    My moms first husband had 5 children and upon marrying third wife he had nothing to do with any of them. Who keeps children a secret? Who has no contact with them ? Disgusting! I think your right to question what else he is hiding. Where there is smoke there is fire! And where there is one mouse their are many mice. Ie. Secrets! Liars lie. No sense making sense out of them. Keep digging or just divorce this pathetic amoral jerk.

  • Monica

    Monica

    June 20th, 2015 at 12:28 PM

    Look at all of the wonderful things that the two of myou have missed out on together because he felt so insecure about this one thing, albeit a very big thing. I don’t know if I would be more disappointed that he lied or that he didn’t trust in you enough that you would actually be alright with being a stepmom.

  • Shellyiam

    Shellyiam

    June 21st, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    You have every right to be angry! I would contact the other women and find out about his behavior with them for a start. 2 children with 2 women and only a year a part. Also the fact that he doesn’t have contact with his kids doesn’t bode well in his favor either. Hiding children and relationships is a huge deal. Hiding money is a huge deal. There is no reason to trust this man. I would go through all the finances and track every penny after something like this as well as do some research on my husband. I’d be willing to bet money he’s been deceptive about other things too. Also if he was quick with an answer when you caught him and he tries to justify his actions that another red flag. Do your homework on this man and focus on what he really is and not what you believed him to be. Some people are great at creating a facade to distract you from who they really are. Remember his first thought was to lie to you. He didn’t even test the water to see if he needed to before manufacturing his lie. There really is something very selfish about this whole thing.

  • Rylie

    Rylie

    June 22nd, 2015 at 3:20 PM

    I agree with Shellyiam!!
    That is all right on the money and you have to be hurting right now but maybe finding out more of the truth can help you deal with this and get on with your life.

  • Petra

    Petra

    June 25th, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    Any guess on whether his first kids know about his 2nd family?
    My guess is no

  • stella

    stella

    June 27th, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    We all have secrets but goodness! That’s quite the secret to keep from the person who supposedly is the most important person in the world to you.

  • Josephine

    Josephine

    June 28th, 2015 at 6:03 PM

    I would be very much concerned for those children. They have missed out on so much and then if they ever found out that he completely erased them from his own family history? Can you imagine how life shattering it would be to find out that one of the two people who gave you life really just pretends that you have never even existed?

  • Kerry

    Kerry

    July 4th, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    I was with a man for 4 years, and we were engaged to be married when I found out he had been lying to me about several important things in his life, such as his job and his family. Once discovered, he shared his guilt, shame, and remorse with me; he had a terrible childhood and was terrified of losing me, he went to therapy, and through careful and thoughtful attention, we began trying to rebuild our relationship. As part of working things out, we made an agreement that if he ever lied to me again in this manner, I would leave the relationship, no questions asked. Several years later I again discovered there were more lies. Lying as a coping mechanism was so imbedded into his emotional makeup that he couldn’t really help himself, and I had no choice but to leave. It was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had. A person who so easily turns to lying about such important life events, who keeps himself hidden from you in order to maintain the relationship, and who is able to keep the lie going through time, has significant coping and emotional problems, and cannot be trusted to be truthful. Tread very carefully and please take care not to confuse the remorse and emotional attachment he has for you and your family to his ability to be honest with you.

  • Verónica

    Verónica

    June 30th, 2016 at 7:47 PM

    Very perfectly stated, Kerry. I’m in the middle of this situation and have been on the fence whether to work things out. 99% of me said no, he is way too comfortable lying, he’ll never change. After reading your comment, I’m now 100% sure that we should go our separate ways despite of having a baby together.

  • Lynda

    Lynda

    May 1st, 2017 at 9:30 PM

    I unfortunately met a man who told me he has one child, wanted a family with me bla bla bla. I got pregnant for him and he abandoned me while pregnant, came to be there for the delivery but decided to abandon me while in labor to have his child. After delivery, I found out he had two other kids he never told me about. He had moved on with another woman and I kept wondering for months why he would treat me so badly and not care about his son. This new woman also thought he only had two kids but found out from me he has 4 kids by 4 different women. She’s the baby mama number 5. She is still believing all of his lies. This guy is the most awful, selfish and the most sociopathic b****** I have ever met.

    I shared my story with you to know that, these type of men don’t change, they just adapt. He probably has more things to hide. He has made this new lady think I’m crazy, but she will find out and learn the hard way.

  • Catrinna J.

    Catrinna J.

    November 12th, 2018 at 6:21 AM

    Omg, this is my life right now.. But 19 years and married for 15 and I just found out he’s been hiding a 21 year old son. We have A daughter who is 11. This is tough one for me. Not only that but after dying now to See what other truths could be brought out, he admitted to having an affair while i was preg. A total breach of trust. And at this point I’m filing for Separation and divorce. But I do have a question that was years ago for you I see. How did this work out for you..

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