As a therapist specializing in families I run into quite a lot of unique family dynamics. The love child is one dynamic I have run into only once in the last three years. This could be that only about 3% of children born are the product of an affair. It also may have something to do with the frequency of adoption of these children making them unaware of how they came to be or, who knows.
Is a love child a dynamic?
Yes and no. A child of am affair is human like the rest of us but often gets caught up in the drama from the past circumstances of how they came to be. Their existence is a dynamic in that it represents a very complex family structure as well as a plethora of ways families choose to deal with the child.
There is not much on the internet or studies about children of affairs and what their outcomes are emotionally and otherwise.
I present a unique opportunity for you to hear from an adult child of an affair to maybe help you answer some of your own questions if you are a parent or calm your heart, making you feel not so alone if you are the product of the affair.
We will be keeping the identity of this young woman anonymous during the interview. For her protection she would like to be called Samantha.
Q: Samantha, why do you feel like an interview like this is important?
A: Well, I think little is known or recognized on the part of the child of an affair. I have tried to read to help me understand my situation but any articles I find are about how the adults in the situation can heal and move on, but nothing about how the child may feel or any outcomes on my experience. It is isolating and very lonely. This interview may help someone not feel so alone.
Q: What should parents know that are expecting a child from an affair?
A: Wow, that is a big question. For parents to really get this one right they are going to have to set a lot of their ego aside. A lot of decisions have to be made in regards to the structure of the adult relationships, who is going to stay together or split up as well as what role the father will have in the life of the child, if any. I definitely think parents should not make the decision to get married or divorced based on guilt or shame. There are all sorts of families these days and it is okay not to be married and have a child. Most importantly, don’t pin the mistakes of the parents on the child. That is the worst mistake any parent could make. Cherish the child like any other child coming into this world.
Q: It sounds like maybe you felt different than other kids, is that right?
A: Honestly, I thought the structure our family choose was normal. It was over time that angry family members chose to tell me stories on the sly of this or that about how I came to be. Those kinds of conversations, while enlightening, were very detrimental to my self esteem. That brings me to my next no, no; let the parents share pertinent information with the child as needed. In some cases what someone doesn’t know won’t hurt them.
Q: Now that you know the truth, over time as you say, how do you feel?
A: I have a lot of empathy for the adults involved and my siblings. I represent a lot of pain for them. I have a lot of gratitude for their mother who has always been very nice to me. I also have a lot of anger because I have this nagging feeling of not quite fitting the way I feel like I should in my family. I feel like in my specific situation adoption would have been more suitable that way I would have been a miracle to the family who got me v.s. an awkward surprise to my bio-family.
Q: How has your past influenced your family today?
A: There are many variables in someone’s past that influence them. Specifically referring to my being a love child… I would say that I strive to make my home with my husband and children and to just focus on that versus the aimlessness I feel with my bio-family. I have had to learn to differentiate quite a bit, become independent.
Q: What are some things people say that you hear a lot?
A: Very good question! Amazingly enough, I have heard people actually calling me a “love child”. I have also been called “that thing that happened.” The nicest thing that has been said to me was, “You turned out so well in spite of your family.”
Given the structure of my family and the choices they have made before me there is a lot of drama.
Q: What do you suggest to families with a child in your situation and to the adult children?
A: Get help, and lots of it. You had an affair for a reason and you now have just under a year to adjust to an innocent human. Figure yourself out otherwise your family will be dealing with years of unresolved emotional issues. Talk to each other, grieve, cry, go to therapy, apologize and forgive. If you decide to keep the child it will make a much healthier situation for them. If your child is already an adult it is not to late. If you are the child ask questions, if they will be answered, read, learn and know you are as important as any other human on this planet.
Thank you so much for your time Samantha. I know you said if anyone has any specific questions they can post them here and you will answer them as best you can.
If you or a loved one are experiencing an affair and a child is involved please call or ask questions in this forum.