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          When an Affair Results in Pregnancy

          October 07, 2002

          An affair can cause lasting damage to both partners in a relationship. When a child is born as a result of infidelity, what can you do to cope? Dr. Phil offers some advice:

          “As a result of my partner’s affair, a child was born. I’m trying to accept this child into my life, but I really don’t know how. What can I do?”

          • Don’t let your feelings about the affair reflect on your treatment of the child. The child is innocent, and had nothing to do with the actions of your partner.
          • Though it may be difficult, don’t withhold affection from the child. By keeping the child at arm’s length, you are punishing him for something he didn’t do.
          • Give yourself permission to own your feelings. Having feelings of anger doesn’t make you the bad guy in this situation. It’s painful to deal with an affair, and when that affair results in a child who becomes part of your life, you may feel like everything is being dumped on you.
          • You may have to make the decision that you’ll work to get over this, or get out of it. Find a way to forgive — or get out.

            “I was involved in an affair, and now I’m pregnant. I don’t know if the baby’s father is my husband or the man who I had the affair with. What should I do?”

          • First, you need to figure out what you want. You have been putting yourself ahead of your marriage, and now you’re trying to figure out what’s best for you. Is your marriage worth saving?
          • You have to tell your husband the truth. The deception has to stop. If it’s not his child, he has the right to make an informed decision about his life and the marriage.
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