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DNA Testing Surprises

Dear Chump Lady,

I was wondering if you could address a topic on your site. I know you use humour a lot, and while this topic isn’t funny, I was hoping you could discuss it.

I was adopted, and in the process of looking for my biological parents, I joined a couple of online support groups.

Something I am seeing more and more are adults coming forward who have found out the man who raised them and who they have always believed to be their father isn’t. Their mother had an affair and got pregnant, but never told anyone. I guesses they figured no one would know and no one would be hurt.

In the past, that may have been the case, but with DNA testing becoming more common, more people are finding this out. Some are even finding this out in their 70s and 80s, and it’s really painful for them. One described it as feeling like they had been punched in their stomach.

Then there’s the people who find out their biological father was married and their mother was having an affair and got pregnant either by accident or on purpose. This looks to be every bit as painful, and they find themselves having to explain to their newly discovered half siblings what went on.

It’s bad enough that someone has to screw up their own life… do they have to do it to an innocent child as well? Mind you, I’d be happier to have found out my background was that prosaic.

I was hoping you could mention this on your site. It’s so sad to see how cheating can impact families even decades later.


Dear Jane,

Thanks for bringing up this topic. I hope some of our guy chumps are reading today, because while I devote a lot of column inches to gender-specific shit like being cheated on when pregnant, paternity testing is a horror unique to the guy chump experience.

To be betrayed is to examine everything in your life and wonder what was true and what was a lie. Just exactly how badly were you duped? Did our friends know? Did I flip a burger for this guy at my backyard BBQ?

It’s an unfolding series of betrayals. And the general discourse on infidelity fails to mention this. It’s not JUST that your wife cheated on you, it’s that her girlfriends knew she was doing it, and they smiled at your face and accepted your free legal work. Or your in-laws knew.

So, there’s that lie — who knew when you didn’t. Who kept secrets and laughed behind your back, and used you. But then there are the lost opportunity costs of If I Had Known…

I wouldn’t have put the cheater through college

I’d not have sidelined my career

I would’ve spent time living nearer to my family…

All chumps of any gender or orientation can relate to this theft. Of being robbed of consent. You just went along investing in a shared, committed life together, not realizing that the commitment was one-sided. You deserved the choices that come from knowing the truth. And it was deliberately concealed from you.

That is shattering enough. Having to paternity test your kids is a whole other level of betrayal. The founding lie is primal — this is your offspring, and you will invest in your children.

I can’t imagine the devastation for that man, and for those kids. Will my father love me less because we don’t share DNA? Do I have to use air quotes with “dad”? Is my family really my family?

Of course, men raise children every day who aren’t “theirs” biologically. My son’s real father is my husband — he’s the man who shows up, who schlepped my to X-country practice at 6 a.m. for years, who loves him — but he chose this.

And the shit sandwich for guy chumps in this Who’s Your Daddy situation is that you can never complain about the existence of your children. Well, aren’t you glad they came anyway? Love is love! 

And it is. But you’ve also been served the humiliation of being cuckholded. Of literally investing in the product of your wife’s affair.

For those children, imagine the psychic pain of being the lie. The dirty family secret. Of knowing that your very existence pains your father — the only father you’ve ever known.

All this agony because someone fucked around. Which is no big deal and we shouldn’t judge them, except they kept it a secret for 20 years, because…. trifle.

I hate when cheaters spin themselves as Architects of the Greater Good.

The cheaters get to extract value from the chumps — raise my child — and then they also want the Sad Sausage narrative of I Had to Lie Because No One Would Understand. Or they were brave martyrs to their love. Or they did it to protect everyone’s feelings!

The only feelings the cheater was protecting were their own.

To chumps and to kid chumps discovering their parentage — my advice remains the same on “What Was Real?” — you’re real. You brought your a-game. You invested. You cared. You’re still you. These lies are no reflection on you. You’re not a lie. Carry zero shame.

That ignominy belongs to the cheater. The Potemkin partner, the puppet master of lies.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Thanks to 23 and me my mom and her sister have found 3 siblings they never knew about, so far. They are in their late 70s. Their father was a cheating piece of poop. On sister doesn’t want to meet them (her daughter, their niece did), another sister they knew growing up and a third sibling remains anonymous. They got together with one sister and their niece and had a great time. Their niece, my cousin, is so happy to have more family (only child). My mom and her sister were sick with the realization that their father was a married man with two kids already was sleeping around so much that he produced 3 other children, that they know of. One affair was a married woman who who passed the child off on her husband. Another was a single young woman whose life was probably ruined being an unwed mother in the 19040’s.

    • Modern technology is truly amazing and enlightening.
      A not exactly close friend of mine was adopted and so was her sister. They are all grow and my friend decided to do one of those DNA tests. It revealed to her 8 other siblings. They have gathered and met and realize their dad was quite a piece of work but they don’t let that reflect on them. They are also aware that they could stumble upon a new sibling at any time. She appears to be taking it in stride and enjoying her new family ties but I think the instant family thing is really hard to grasp.

  • There is another side to this that politicians and courts fail to acknowledge.

    In Maryland the courts have to do “What is in the best interest of the child”

    If a father discovers he is not the father of the child he has with his current wife and he wants a divorce because she obviously had an affair. The court will order him to pay child support even though its not his child because they assume that you have adopted this child indirectly and “It is in the best interest of the child”.

    There are many fathers out there that get the 1…2 punch of not only infidelity but having to pay child support for a child they have no legal rights to and at no point in time are courts saying, ok this man suffered enough the mom has to take responsibility for her own actions and she needs to go after the true father of the child and let her current husband go.

    It disturbs me when you hear people getting arrest for not paying back child support for a child that is not even theirs!


    Now, I think the court should give the husband a choice. If he raised the child and they are a teenager and they are close even though the child is not his then the court should at least ask him do you want to support a child that is not yours financially (A CHOICE).

    This is a side that is never discussed and completely ignored.

    • I hear you and yet I think how unjust for this child, who loses support and a father. And presumably those bonds of parenthood and connection don’t dissolve because of DNA evidence, or a divorce.

      I think it’s the presumption of support from the chump and the NON-enforcement from the sperm donor/cheater that’s the injustice here.

      Kids need all the support they can get. This is brutally unfair to them too.

      • I agree, thats why I think it should be a choice! The father should have the option.

        I was reading another article about moms knowingly providing the wrong name to the courts on who the father is because they slept with them maybe once and for whatever reason felt it was better to use their name than the real father. It then becomes a huge problem to try and walk back from that.

      • I’d also add, I think it’s probably laziness on the part of the state.

        Child support is most often enforced if the state fears a child will get put on welfare otherwise. So they’d rather the individual pay than the state. The guy who married the mother is closest at hand, versus the guy you’d have to track down and prove is the father. In this crude calculus, it makes sense. Even if it’s unjust.

        • Lazy and …. stupid! What kind of emotional support is the child going to get from his/her cuckolded ‘father’?

          Even though my dad (story below) was always suspicious about this daughter, he was very generous towards her because he knew she was the innocent party and just a child. And she was adorable.

          My sister’s problems did not stem from lack of support from a father, but from the dynamics that my mother caused.

          My mother spent a lot of energy disqualifying me (I’m the eldest and was witness to the events at the time of my sister’s conception; I’m also a scientist, w/ abilities in genetics, etc., so my mother was afraid I would do a DNA test) and disqualifying this sister (who was just too different from the rest of us).

          Everything rests on the cheater. If the state needs money, why not fine the cheater for paternity fraud?

          • And yet these situations are very rare compared to the other more pressing BS.

            • No Thor, This is quite common. Search CDC stats an you will find out.

            • @Leonidis is correct — it’s more common than many would like to believe

              For example, a recent article in UK press highlighted this because medical professionals were being put in an awkward position. Why? Well when they needed to do DNA testing because of a child’s illness, they were finding that around 10% of children were not related to the father listed on their birth certificate. The dilemma for them was whether they should tell the child & father or keep quiet.

              This 10% figure seems to be repeated elsewhere — good article here:


              • I would not call 10% common at all. That’s quite a small fraction. For it to be considered common it would have to be at least 50%, to me. If something happens much less than half the time, it’s certainly not common practice.
                However, that fact doesn”t help the 10% who are in that situation. It sucks for them, but let’s not start calling uncommon experiences common just because they suck and are unfair. It also sucks that 75 % of kids don’t get the full amount of
                child support they are legally and morally entitled to. Now that is common.

              • For every 100 children , 10 don’t know that their father is not bio…unbelievable! Way more common than I thought. And these are just cases where they don’t know, some do know, so it adds to the percentage.

              • I’m not sure why something has to occur ‘more than 50 percent of the time’ to be considered ‘common.’ Cancer is estimated to affect about 38 percent of Americans in their lifetime, but I wouldn’t call cancer ‘uncommon.’

                Regardless, I think the commenters here were just trying to say this happens with more frequency than we’d like to believe. I had no idea the estimate was 1 in 10 – and that’s just for kids who underwent DNA testing.

      • My wife had an affair when our daughter was about 1. To her credit she told me she had had an affair. That’s all she told me!!! When I tried getting answers from her she threatened divorce. Like the Super Chump I was, I shut up. I still loved my wife and the thought of someone else raising my daughter scared the crap out of me (I was in the military at the time; stationed overseas). Shortly after we resumed relations, my wife was pregnant with our son. I knew there was a 50/50 chance my son was not mine biologically. But, I did my best to provide him and my daughter a good home.

        For the most part, we made our marriage work and our kids were happy and raised in a Christian environment. I put my son and daughter through 7 years of college each. They are both happily married taxpayers with 4 beautiful daughters and 1 great son between them. Obviously, I would give anything for the affair never to have happened. But, if the affair was the only way my son and his daughters could exist, I’d go through it again.

        This article sparked my interest because, my son has a chronic illness that could lead to needing a transplant. Of course, I would volunteer but, I would have to decide whether to go ahead and tell him of the possibility or wait until DNA matching confirmed one way or another. My son and daughter know nothing of their Mom’s affair.

        My son will always be my son regardless of DNA.

          • Are you saying that a real man wouldn’t have divorced his wife for this?

            • Imbackbaby,

              I won’t put words into Atties’ mouth. But, I can tell you, that for many years I felt less than a man. I agree completely with CL and the CN community. 95% of chumps faced with a cheating spouse should follow CL’s advice. Kick the asshat out on their keester, lawyer up, take as many of the assets as you legally can. Go no contact as much as possible and make the cheater do all of the heavy lifting.

              If the cheater can turn their life around, take full responsibility for their actions, show appropriate remorse, regret, empathy and apologies, then maybe give them a 2nd chance on probation. And, I would only do this if young children are involved.

        • This is a good example of how the cruelty and tragedy of infidelity is about way more than an affair. The secrets permeate the rest of the lives of the people involved. I am so sorry you have to deal with this part of it, and for such a sad reason.

        • What a terrible Sophie’s choice to have to make. I’m so sorry about your son’s illness and for what your wife did to you. Not very Christian of her, was it. I can’t abide the hypocrisy of Jesus cheaters. Now your kids and grandkids may have to get a terrible shock. Cheaters never think of the possible ramifications of their actions because they’re abominably selfish.

        • TURBO! thank you for honoring the very real relationship and emotional tie with your son.
          I appreciate and applaud your grace and commitment to this human, who deserves it.
          whatever your wife did, you raised a child and grew with him. that’s priceless and precious and deserves to be honored.

    • Completely agree

      This should be made law that a father has the legal right to ask for DNA testing to establish whether the children really are his — if not, then yes he must be given the choice of whether he wants to contribute any child support (I imagine some fathers might want to anyway).

      In addition, if DNA testing is performed after separation and after the father has been paying child support, then if established that the children aren’t his, then he again has the choice of whether the mother (his cheating ex-wife) should be required to pay back all of the child support he has already paid (as this is a simple case of fraud)

      • A solution to this is that every man should ask for a paternity test before his name is put on the child’s birth certificate. If the woman won’t comply, he’ll know she cheated and can refuse to have his name put there unless she complies and proves the child is his. The state can’t enforce child support if you aren’t the father of record, can they? Then the guy can dump her cheating ass. Will faithful wives be offended by men demanding proof of paternity? Sure. They will think their men are saying they don’t trust them. But they’ll get over it. The motto men use could be “trust, but verify”. Guys, don’t ever be afraid to get verification of paternity. I offered to do this for my husband, and he declined. He said he was certain the child was his. I asked him how he could be so certain. I thought it was kind of stupid. How could he possibly be sure? I think it was arrogance on his part rather than trust. He assumed he was the only guy in the world I would ever find attractive, even though he was attracted to other women and acted on it the first time somebody came on to him. It took 30 years for somebody to do that. Yet he assumed he’s God’s gift to women and therefore I’d never even be turned on by another guy. Delusional narcissism.

        Anyway, get a paternity test. If she’s faithful, she should agree.
        Women should start offering to do it as well.

        • I have kids with my h.
          Would I be willing to do DNA testing on kids?
          I was a nanny during my 20’s and was always forthcoming with-being comfortable with a security cameras in the house while I was taking care of the kids. My state on it? I’m a stranger, I have never did anything harmful to the kids… parents had a full right to see what’s happening when I was taking care of their children…
          But, that’s because I had nothing to hide and I’m an honest person.

          That being said- my h was cheating since day 1 and was risking my life for 15 years.
          He is a father of our children, but taking into account that he had no issue fucking hookers and having sex with me after ( while I was pregnant and breastfeeding) – he doesn’t deserve to call himself a father

            • We can protest this. Let’s stand up for other chumps! Somebody could compile a list of jurisdictions that do this and who to write to about it, and we could start a petition and write letters. I’m in Canada so I don’t know the US court system, but I can certainly create an online petition if there’s enough interest to make it worthwhile. Anybody got a list?

          • I concur. If the guy cheats himself, he can’t reasonably expect you to do a DNA test with no evidence to support the possibility that the kids are not biologically his. Plus, if he’s a shit father anyway, he doesn’t get to whine about you refusing to do it.

        • In some respects, I can see DNA testing becoming compulsory in the very near future. Not for paternity reasons, but for medical ones. So the paternity issues will become a by-product of this necessity.

          And it has to be done for the health benefit of the child; e.g. if a child’s biological father has a genetic defect, which has a high possibility of a disease such as cancer early in life, and we have the technology & knowledge to test for this and to cure it (or diminish the risk), then without the DNA testing we won’t know and by the time it’s discovered it might well be too late to do anything. As ever, the children suffer…

    • This happened to a friend of mine. He married s woman with a 1 and a 3 year old. Military sent him on tour. Came home to another man living with her in his house. Got divorced. State would not “bastardize” the children and forced child support on him.
      The states need to find the dad or go ahead and welfare for the mom in these cases because it’s kind of encouraging fraudulent criminal behavior-
      Can’t find the dad?
      Marry a chump dude.
      Cha Ching!
      Instant child support.
      Yes, he has paid to raise those kids for over a decade because he was married less than a year.
      He has no rights, but all the responsibility.
      It’s very very wrong.

      • I think making men pay for children that aren’t theirs is wrong on so many levels. Does anyone else here watch the show Paternity Court?

      • It is wrong. Men need to stand up for themselves and ask for paternity tests routinely, and the state needs to stand up for their right not to have to pay for some other dude’s kid. They’re just trying to save money, because a lot more kids would be on the welfare rolls if they couldn’t force you to pay. They’d have to spend money chasing down the biological fathers, forcing them to get tested and trying to get them to pay. It’s cheaper and easier to make some poor chumped guy pay so that’s what they do. It’s despicable. Like they haven’t been used and abused enough by the bitch who chumped them and the creep who impregnated her.
        Men, stand up for your rights. Good women will support you. Maybe we can spark a campaign for reform for our chump brothers.

    • There are a lot of good thoughts here.

      Another one is that people introducing sperm into/around the vagina of people with uteruses can result in pregnancy.

      So, if a person with a penis wants to have sex/ejaculate but does not want to have a baby, one should carefully manage where one spews one’s ejaculate. If that person doesn’t want to be troubled with that responsibility, that person might create a child, and that requires its own responsibility.

      It might be unpopular, but it’s scientifically sound.

      • I guess my point is, the person who provided the spermy DNA should be at LEAST as legally accountable as anyone else and WAY more than anyone who didn’t.

      • Condoms/sheaths have been around for a while. Use them or get a vasectomy.

    • My kids are 10, 5, and 5. I’ve considered paternity testing, but even if it were to reveal they weren’t mine biologically, it wouldn’t change anything; sure I’d know I was lied to longer than I thought, but my relationship with my kids wouldn’t change in any way.

      Granted the oldest and one of the twins look just like me, but with what I’ve been through, I’ve definitely thought about this.

  • My ex cheated and had a baby with the other woman. She always told him that he would not be in their child’s life if he left her. He did leave her a year later (not for me, I divorced him) but he had introduced our four children to the woman and their half sibling. She stayed true to her word when he left her and several years later he still does not see the child. Everyone has moved on with their lives and she seems to have introduced a new man who her child believes to be her father. My ex is onto a new woman who believes it is all out of his hands and he is somehow a misunderstood victim in all of this. My kids – still have questions about their half sister. They named a tree in our backyard after her. They are getting old enough to understand that it has nothing to do with them, that the adults in control are the problem. I guess, they won’t be surprised when she comes to find them someday, there’s that at least.

  • This just happened to my ex-cheater this past month. At drop-off a couple of weeks ago, he started crying and told me he had something to tell me that could have health repercussions for our son. I’m figuring cancer or something else fatal for my Ex. He then said I can’t say anything to his dad, who is in his early 80s. Apparently cheating runs in ex’s family and his dad isn’t his dad. Ex plans to bring my son (10 yrs old) to meet his new bio-aunts and uncles and bio-granddad, but Ex is planning to lie about who these people are, and has asked me to maintain this secret. So now, I’m complicit in maintaining this lie from my son and his grandfather, whom I love dearly. I have had a fantastic relationship with my ex’s parents and now I feel dirty carrying this around.

    • “I have had a fantastic relationship with my ex’s parents and now I feel dirty carrying this around.”

      I hate to suggest this BUT you could purchase your FIL the DNA test kit for Father’s Day and have it sent anonymously.

    • You are not complicate if you refuse to be. Tell your ex to tell your son an age-appropriate version of the truth. Give him two weeks, and you will tell your son after that.

        • This is the right answer to me. Don’t participate in the lies because it is clear the truth will eventually come out. Then all of the liars will be viewed as evil by the kids. Tell the truth now that you know it. Let the ex sort it all out – hopefully with the truth too

          • I, too, am on board with not getting trapped into a lying pact with a liar. I see no good that can come from it. He’s just roping you into betraying your child right along with him, in my view.

    • My daughter is 12 and it has been made clear to her in counseling that no one is obligated to keep secrets regarding the affair. This is terrible baggage to put on anyone, let alone a child.

      Please seek a competent therapist if you haven’t already, to help you navigate this.

      Of course the cheaters never see the depth, breadth, height, and length of the nuclear damage cheating causes, and want us to be complicit in their lies.

      I don’t comply with dysfunction.

      • I would love a tattoo of that on my arm – “I don’t comply with dysfunction.”
        What a terrific answer to so many requests…….

    • I personally would not lie (keep a secret) to my children. Someday this will come out and your son will find out that you knew all this time. He will probably feel very portrayed by you too. Your ex is an asshole for telling you his secret. He could have just as easily introduced your son to them and you never would have known. He’s pulling you into his drama where you no longer belong. BOUNDARIES!!

    • You shouldn’t lie to these people, not even for a noble cause. What will your child think, who are these new people? More gaslighting and at least in the future very confusing for your child. Not to mention what happens if/ when grandpa finds out. I tell everybody that I don’t like lying and they shouldn’t expect me to lie for anybody.

    • Yea, don’t lie, it obviously offends your values. We all get to choose how we respond and behave. Lying, outside of a few very narrow circumstances, is shitty behavior. I agree with a commenter above that you ought tell your ex that if he intends on introducing these people into your son’s life, he either needs to tell your son who they really are OR you will.

      But, one could make a very good argument for NOT introducing your son to these people. If the ex wants to forge a relationship with his new family, more power to him, but there’s no reason he needs to drag a 10 year old into this cluster fuck of disfunction. Like, he can wait until the kid’s older to expose him to all that crap. But, this is another one of those shit sandwiches we get to eat as divorced parents…we lose a say in this kind of BS.

  • Paternity fraud is accepted in Maryland?!

    Well, It does NOT protect the best interests of the child. Doubt begets mental illness.

    By a huge coincidence that only Chump Lady is capable of, this very minute I just finished listening to my 61 years old sister’s audios. She is crying and depressed and 100% broke and is having to live with our crazy mother who screwed up her life by cheating on my father and having her. My sister was always unconsciously trying to legitimize herself and made many bad choices that set her back, even thought she is really smart.
    My poor dad, a brillant engineer, spent his life spackling about his wife and this daughter that stuck out among his five children like a corn stalk in a coffee field.

    My mother kept tight control by manipulating every single second of her life the people around her. I can’t begin to list the damages.

    Paternity fraud is evil. That simple. The bill will arrive sooner or later.

    • I was watching a news story in Florida about a guy who was arrested for owing back child support for a child that is not his simply because he was married to the women at the time she was pregnant. He refused to pay the child support and was put in jail. He now pays it because he has no choice.

      The court calls it

      “In the best interest of the child”

      Many states have the same problem!

      • CL replied well above—making children the victims is clearly not the answer, and presumably you don’t suddenly stop loving a child or caring to see that the child is cared for after discovering you aren’t the bio dad—but FL does actually have a disestablishment of paternity/cessation of child support law.

        • It should be a choice!

          If I found out my wife was pregnant and lets say she delivered the child and 6 months after delivery I find out it is not my child. I would like several things.

          First, I want a divorce
          Second, It may hurt but I do not want to be responsible for the child over the next 18 years since it is not my child.
          Third, I want to use my resources to find a new spouse that has my morals and use my resources to raise a child with that person and NOT someone elses.

          So point is that it needs to be a choice. Granted if the child is 15 years old and i find out it was not my child things would be different obviously because I have 15 years with them and strong bonds have been established.

          But IT SHOULD BE MY CHOICE and not forced on me!

          • I think your point is very reasonable. I’d add that the chump father should be entitled in such situations to collect damages from the biological father. And in cases where the innocent child is still quite young when the discovery of paternity is made, the primary focus of the state should be to enforce child support upon the biological father.

            • I don’t disagree with you in theory but I don’t see how this works in practice. Do all men submit to DNA testing, like they register for the draft? Then when a chump dad finds out he’s not dad, they just compare the name to the registry?

              • All dads refuse to sign on the birth certificate until after DNA testing confirms paternity.

                Presumably the mother has at least an idea of who the father is if it’s not her husband/boyfriend.

            • If your name is on the birth certificate and you were married- it is your child. Legally. So yes, you will have to provide support for that child. It sucks that we don’t live in a world with perfect information but join the club. It isn’t the child’s fault. I wouldn’t of had my fifth child if I’d know my ex was cheating on me. Not fair. But he is here. How many of women have a their husbands babies thinking they were fully invested but they weren’t. We all can recognize that marriage is a legal contract. Mainly to make sure of paternity and protect the weaker parties. Proceed with caution.

              • I agree marriage is a legal contract but just like any contract. When it is broken (adultry) then you have the option to leave the contract.

                Why is this different if there is a child involved and the husband is not the father of the child? The husband gets the divorce but still has to pay child support for a child he has no legal rights to because he thought his wife was faithful and that was his child.

                Why does the original father get away free?

                My thought is this (plain and simple). The mother knows who the father is. She has a choice, if she calls the real father she can then collect child support from him! If she does not want to call the real father then she should get no child support.

                The husband (who is not the father) is not responsible for the child! PERIOD! Now if he wants to be responsible that is a choice he freely made but he should not be forced into it.

                Everyone keeps talking about what is best for the child and that its not the child’s fault. Everyone is willing to through the CHUMP under the buss and let the NARCISIST go free! So the CHUMP has to spend 18 years of his life being reminded every paycheck how his picker was broken and pay for a child that he will NEVER see cause its not his!

                There are millions of children suffering in the world and letting these people get away with this just encourages it more. If we hold people accountable for their decisions I guarantee you there would be allot less children with the wrong dads around!

        • The man can still love the child and the mother can fully financially support the child (and hopefully the biological father). Problem solved.

      • In Florida the R led courts make it up as they want – we’ve had numerous false murder/Rape convictions that have been over turned. I’ve always been baffled by the fact that isn’t convicting the wrong guy aiding the real criminals?
        But you CAN sue the real father in civil court for the child support plus legal fees, damages ect.!
        Just get a male divorced lawyer!

    • And not wanting to question Chump Lady’s super powers, but no doubt that the coincidence I describe here is that paternity fraud is so common, like a lot of fellow chumps are pointing out today.

      There was a British study that estimated that at least 10-15% of children are raised by a man who does not know that he is NOT their father.

  • This happens more than you think! I know someone who has never told her daughter who is now an adult long time former affair partner is her real father. I suspect someone else I know has done the same thing. I believe she feels so guilty she cannot bring herself to tell this young man who is now almost 40. Every now and then she will say how he looks like someone else. Amazing.

    • Gentle,

      I can’t count the number of times I would be with my dad and my sisters and people would comment with him how different this daughter looked. I would see the pain in my dad’s eyes.

      And there is a lot of evidence that we have patterns of odors that are inherited from our parents. In other mammals, care of offspring is often guided by this. A father can smell his offspring.

      So I would not be surprised if a lot of suffering from children raised by cuckolds comes from these doubts that are unconsciously raised by odor profiles.

      I remember when I was pregnant (when women are at the peak of a lot of physiological changes) I couldn’t stand my sister’s smell, the one who is the fruit of my mother’s cheating on my dad. I would feel so guilty about it.

  • Probably more prevalent than we know. Cheaters don’t take a lot of precautions. Mine was banging 20 year olds and ex bf no protection no birth control.

  • The horror of it all became reality for me 50+ years ago. My then fiancee, who was away at college, informed me that she was pregnant, implying it was mine. She told this to all her relatives . It was a shameful thing and tough to take in that era – lots of weeping and wailing. To her credit, when she saw the devastation it was causing in the family and potentially to the child, she fessed up and told the truth. The kid was a product of her promiscuous behavior at school. Her family (long time friends with mine), was crushed, but the kid got to know her real father (he checked out 6 years later), and I was off the hook. I guess I can be grateful for that.

  • I teach autobiography and creative writing (with a focus on the memoir and the personal essay) at the college level. One of my students chose to write about the fact that at fifteen she and her siblings and father discovered that she is the product of her mother’s affair. This was and continues to be hugely painful for her, having to wonder whether her father, with whom she shared so much, would continue to love her. They have spent the last five years attempting to integrate this new knowledge into their relationship. Her relationship with her mother has similarly been disrupted, but in that case her anger and her sense of betrayal is at war with her love.
    Anyone who says affairs are harmless, or to be celebrated for their “exuberance” or “transgressive transformation,” or, even worse, that they strengthen a marriage, doesn’t know squat.

    • I would love to take your class Adelante! So would this sister of mine. She does beautiful decoupages to write stories and has a project to make albums of people’s stories with this art.

  • My XW had an affair and got pregnant on purpose with the married OM. She told me that she wanted to have a child with me so we were actively trying to have a child. When the MOM wouldn’t leave his wife for my XW she decided to lie to me. She had done a paternity test with my “daughter” and the AP. She knew it wasn’t mine. But decided I made more money and would be a better father. Basically used me to raise the kids.
    I bought Ancestry DNA kits for my kids in November 2017 as I am into genealogy. Nothing like finding out one isn’t yours. The pain is the worse then I ever been through. Worse then the divorce and my fathers death combined. My son is mind. Found out she had multiple affairs. So filed for divorce 3 1/2 weeks after finding out.
    In Colorado, if you present DNA evidence at the time of your initial court date the court won’t make you pay child support. Which I did. My daughter was 14 at the time.
    I am still raising her. She comes over with my son. She calls me dad. But she has shed many a tear. Women will never understand because the child who comes out of them is theirs. A man has to TRUST that the child is his. My trust in people was shattered. But I have since rebuilt it.
    I have remarried to a fellow chump. But that pain will never go away…

    • I’m a woman. Maybe I don’t feel your pain but I do understand it.

    • I am so sorry. You are very noble for continuing to parent the child who is not yours.

      Evolutionary researchers have a phrase for the problem you describe, “Mommy’s baby; daddy’s maybe.”

  • I found out that my husband of 25 years cheated at the same time I found out my father cheated and it produced a sister. My father died when I was a child and my mother never remarried. He was the love of her life. Thanks to DNA my mother’s thoughts of a once in a lifetime love were shattered and were my thoughts of a loving father. I have no desire to meet this new person. Maybe it’s because this is too raw, maybe it’s because of mutual heartache. Maybe it’s just because I’m pissed that my dad nor my husband had morals.

  • This is a bit off topic, but I’ve said this to myself many times: never said it to another soul.

    I would not be surprised if someday my children get a letter in the mail from a sibling that they didn’t know existed.

    And now I wonder if my XH is the product of an affair. His bio-dad didn’t want anything to do with him, but did pay child support. I only wonder this, because over 20 years ago, his mom told me that she was engaged to bio-dad. But then he broke-off the engagement.

    After D-day, XH’s mommy told my XH a totally different story. She mentioned about him being in the military and going “off to sea”; hard to remember as my head was swimming when he told me a different story than what I heard.

    And as of 2014, mommy knew where bio-dad was living and that he owned a restaurant. Mommy keeps track/stalks him I guess?

    • A couple of months ago I received a strange phone message from some woman claiming to be a potential relative. My phone number is unlisted. My curiosity was piqued so I returned the call-I thought “Oh I wonder if she’s a half sister from my father Harlow’s philandering decades ago.” She’s not, just a distant cousin on my paternal grandmother’s side. I ended the call when she started asking too many personal questions,shared her history of addiction and admiration of the scammer Tony Robbins.She mentioned calling my father to ask him things and I made no mention of my estrangement from him.

      • Yikes! I can’t imagine a distant cousin you never knew existed calling out of the blue! Let alone asking personal questions. Geesh. Like why would you care about her life?!

        • Pretty creepy, right ? She invited me to visit her in Tennessee. That will never happen. So much for paying for an unlisted phone number (and address). I did a little searching of my own and I think she’s some married man’s side piece in Florida. We can’t make this stuff up, can we ? Good Lord

          • Have you ever Googled your phone number, or yourself? If you ever used that phone number on any applications, credit card, mortgage, car loan, etc, then that number is most likely online somewhere. There isn’t much you can do about it, except ask the websites that have that info posted to take it down.

            • I have and understand what happened. Data brokers sell our information to merchants and websites so it was scraped and reposted. Oh well.

  • My STBXW and I have 4 kids. Ages 20, 16, 10, & 7. We were together for 24 years & married 18 years. I caught her cheating 9 months after we were married, with my 3rd cousin. I forgave and moved on as we had a 2 year old son whom I didn’t want to live without mom & dad together and of course I loved her. A year and a half later in 2002 we have our second son, in 2008 our youngest son is born, & in 2011 our daughter is born. Over that time period everything was great. I help put her through school, I worked full time and then came home and did everything so she only had to concentrate on school and her part time job. Dishes, laundry, cooked, mowed the lawn, made sure kids got to there appointments, practices, games, and everything else. I had no problem with any of it. She finally graduated in 2010. I was proud of the hard work she had put in. Since then she slowly climbed the ladder to where she was earning 6 figures. I of courses continued to raise the kids, work, & keep the household running. I just wanted to give a little background into our life.
    So at the time our oldest was 15 and we were at a track meet of his. Well for some reason his best friend looks at my son and says “you know, you look nothing like your dad.” Of course I heard this and did not say anything. It really bothered me knowing that she had cheated on me before. Well a few days past and I was really upset by this so I asked her about it. And she finally told me after all these years there was a chance that I wasn’t the father. I was fucking crushed but we didn’t tell him. He’s still my son no matter what. Fast forward to 2017 she took a new position of leadership. She did all the hiring and firing and what not in the healthcare field. Well about 1 year prior to this we were warned about this partner predator. So I kept my eye on him as he was from our town. Well wouldn’t you know she tells me she’s hiring this guy. I of course said no you’re not. Well she hired him anyways. Well 5 months later in February 2018 I see all the same shit repeating. Oh we’re “just friends”, I’m his boss, he’s a nice guy you would be great friends. Blah, blah, blah. Finally I had enough and told her I wished he’d fall on a knife. Well that was enough to trigger her. I got the ILYBINILWY speech, and she just needed space & time. Of course for 6 months i did the pick me dance. I finally agreed to separate and rotate in and out of the house for the kids. Oh and a month before this he moved into the house right behind ours. Well when we’d rotate him and his 4 boys stayed at the house when I was out. He has 5 kids with 3 women.
    In November 2018 she told me she was going to visit our oldest to tell him he wasn’t my son. That was the final straw for me. I had been gathering all the info since September 2018 to file because she said she would not. So the day after thanksgiving I filed. I moved out and she immediately moved him in with his 4 boys. She was triggered because I am going after child support & maintenance. She never did tell our son but she has managed to alienate my 16 year old son from me. Just have to add that the 3 youngest are mine for sure as they all look just like me. We are still battling it out in court as she’s a narcissistic sociopath. I am NC and gray rock as much as I can and I enjoy that. I only spend time with my youngest 2 as we are really close. All the time I spend with them is just us 3. Her time with the kids is with him and his 4 boys. I’m trying to keep an eye on my daughter as much as I can. They start counseling soon so hopefully they get help with that.
    Sorry it’s so long I just wanted to give a little bit of a background. Finding out you could be raising someone else kid hurts but I am also proud of the young man I have helped him become. He is studying Law at UW-Madison. And hopefully my 16 year old will open his eyes soon.
    Thank you CL and CN for all the help over the past year.

    • Sending Hugs! I can’t imagine how difficult that must be.

  • Ex’s aunt went to visit friends of the family in Switzerland and noticed a photo of their son on display. He was the spitting image of her father. That’s how she found out she had a half sibling. Turns out her dad had an affair while in the army during world war II. Apparently the woman had been given permission to have an affair, although I guess her husband hadn’t expected her to turn up pregnant. Meanwhile, I don’t think he had permission from ex’s grandmother. When he got back she made herself “indispensable” to him because she loved him so much even though he was often a jerk to her. They were married 60+ years when she died at age 90. Sounds like one long pick me dance. No thanks.

  • This is a double sided coin for sure.

    I have a newly discovered cousin who linked to me through She was the daughter produced by a pre-marital fling by one of my uncles who recently passed away. She’s a lovely lady and after some hesitation, her half siblings and their mother have embraced her as one of her own.

    For my part there certainly have been worries. DD(26) has the same bright blue eyes as a neighbour who Mme YogaPants used to invite over for coffee and brownies all the time. DS (24) was the result of Mme seducing me and refusing to let me wear a condom and was seemingly conceived in a – ahem – one shot deal.

    Now on the other hand, my father has those same bright blue eyes as DD. Both kids have a strong family resemblance to me. Once we decided to have our first child Mme never went on birth control until well after her affair with Senor MoneyBags started around when she turned 50 and both I and one of her friends nagged her in to it. I had a vasectomy prior to DS being born as I didn’t want more children with Mme as the mother and didn’t want her to go through using birth control (which I didn’t trust her on) or getting her tubes tied. Mme certainly was fertile as well and hated using condoms. And from what I’ve read most cheaters aren’t that thoughtful.

    I’ve heard lots of rumours of course about prior infidelities. When someone is down, the knives certainly come out. I think that DD herself is concerned about paternity. She has mentioned it. I’ certain that lots of rumours go around about the paternity of my kids. DS lives with me and may have even heard about that too which bothers me.

    I have CHOSEN to believe that she was faithful and that both children are mine genetically as well as emotionally.

    But does it still bother me? Yeah – it does. And perhaps it always will. Even if Mme ever addressed the issue – and she’s not talked to me for almost 3 years – could I actually trust what she says?

    I do my best to just not think about it and also make no suggestions at all that the kids have any DNA testing regardless of how cool I personally think it is.


    • I’m taking this same approach. DS12 is definitely my biological son. DS6 looks just like XW, so who knows? Our third son gives me the most pause, though. XW ‘suddenly’ wanted a third kid, and we ended up with DS3 who is the only son with blue eyes. Otherwise, he doesn’t really have any strong resemblance to either of us. I have blue eyes while XW has brown. Seems straight forward except that OM also has blue eyes, so I find myself studying DS3’s face for hints of OM traits.

      Despite my suspicions, he knows me as Dad, and I love them all. I would rather not know for sure if one or two of them are not my biological sons. It raises too many other questions. Would I treat them differently even if I didn’t mean to? How long should I hold on to that secret before telling them? How would the knowledge affect their relationships with me or their grandparents or even their future relationships? It just doesn’t seem like any good comes from knowing for sure.

      I’ve decided the best way forward is to assume I’m their biological father unless one of them finds out otherwise. If that happens, at least I won’t be totally blindsided since there will always be that sneaking suspicion, and by the time the boys are old enough to pursue something like genetic testing on their own, they will also be well aware of the possible ramifications of their mother’s affair. However, there’s also the risk that they could see it as a betrayal on my part for suspecting but failing to find out for sure, and as such, allowing their entire life to be a lie.

      • Wow, what a classy approach Chumpity-Doo-Da. I really appreciate your view and thoughts here.

        I was raised by my stepfather and bipolar mother (who refused to take medication.) We all knew he was my step father so there was no deception there. But, I can solidly report that the only decent person involved in my life on my “parenting team” was him; the one with which I have NO shared DNA. I am a firm believer that the one who made you feel loved is the “real” parent.

      • I will add that I think it is ridiculously wrong to expect a non-biological Dad, duped or not, to provide financially against their will. Ugh, I get the part about the kids being the victims though. This is another awful sprout of fuckedupness that cheaters create.

      • Very classy. May I suggest though that you write a letter to each of your sons, to be opened after your death, where you tell #3 that he may not be yours biologically.

        Although he may know one way or the other by then. Many people buy the kits for fun. Sometimes they are tested for medical purposes (my breast cancer was not genetic. Great news for my relatives, kinda shitty news for me given the nature of my jobs since college).

        You love him fiercely. That is what matters the most.

  • A judge in our area ordered a man to pay child support for twin boys that were a product of his wife’s affair.

    • Sick! Do you know the judge’s name? We can put the word out about this asshole.

  • You know, it seems that with all the various testing done on new-borns these days, paternity testing should be done as well. There is never a question of maternity, but, for some reason, people just assume all those women giving birth are doe-eyed innocent angels who would never, EVER lie about who the baby daddy is. I call BS.

    There are plenty of cold, calculating women who take a look at who could provide the most for them (and maybe the child), then attempt to foist the child off on that man as “his child”. And nobody ever questions her.

    I think a man has a right to know if the child he is investing in is his biologically. If it isn’t, then he can choose whether or not to continue his investment in the child and/or the relationship with the mom.

    I think that paternity testing should absolutely be required when child support is at stake. I have seen guys try to weasel out of paying because they claim, “that kid isn’t mine”, then refuse to get tested. I have seen women refuse to have their child tested when the dad asked. Get the kids tested, end the debate, let the truth come out.

    • Totally agree. It should be routinely done for all births. That would solve the problem. The man would know he was chumped and his name would not go on the birth certificate.

  • Okay, so here’s another wrinkle. With infidelity being so rampant, how long will it take before someone finds out the person they want to or have married is a half-brother or half-sister? I simply can’t imagine the heartache it would cause. Cheaters don’t understand the what ifs at all. It’s all about instant gratification and MY HAPPINESS. Narcissistic lot, all of them. They need to learn to adult!

    • Yep. Here’s an story, not from infidelity, but related to your comment. A woman I worked with years ago was adopted, but her adopted parents didn’t tell her. She said her adopted mother would go to great lengths to make comments like, you have my hands, etc…

      They adopted her from a women who was accidentally pregnant while they had experienced infertility. It was an under the table hush, hush deal. Goodness knows why they couldn’t just tell her she was adopted?! Anyway, the arrangements were that the bio mother would get to see her occasionally under the guise that she was a family friend.The bio mother had another daughter quite a bit older than the one she gave up for adoption, and then a son younger than, but very close in age to the daughter she gave up. (All 3 of these children had different Dads which is an eye-roll itself, but beside the point here.) Because of the family acquaintances, the kids all got to know each other and the adopted daughter ended up having a sexual relationship with her 1/2 brother in her mid- 20’s which resulted in a surprise pregnancy. The older sister knew the real deal and ended up telling all.

      Moral: People. Should. Not. Lie. Period!

  • I worked with adoptions for years. I could not believe the ignorance of the bio families about their medical histories. We had pages of questions about family illnesses, educations, siblings, you name it. There is a reason for it. Genetics. My husband is one of six kids. Five of them have diabetes. It killed their mother. Cancers run in my family. My children know all of this. For some woman to lie to her husband is bad enough but her child could be sitting on a genetic time bomb.

  • In addition to all of the emotional damage cheating does to kids, hiding paternity also puts their health at risk because they aren’t aware of bio dads history, or won’t be able to get donor match from relatives in event of medical crisis.

  • Tracy, I propose a Friday Challenge as a spin off from today: “if I had known, I would/wouldn’t have…..”

    Today’s post is stellar, btw! Absolutely spot on and why I still read CL every single day 4.5 years out from DDay. Thank you! You give words to my experience, which heals. I’m glad to be a Patreon of yours! ????????????????????

    This: “It’s an unfolding series of betrayals. And the general discourse on infidelity fails to mention this. It’s not JUST that your wife cheated on you, it’s that her girlfriends knew she was doing it, and they smiled at your face and accepted your free legal work. Or your in-laws knew.

    So, there’s that lie — who knew when you didn’t. Who kept secrets and laughed behind your back, and used you. But then there are the lost opportunity costs of If I Had Known…

    I wouldn’t have put the cheater through college

    I’d not have sidelined my career

    I would’ve spent time living nearer to my family…

    All chumps of any gender or orientation can relate to this theft. Of being robbed of consent. You just went along investing in a shared, committed life together, not realizing that the commitment was one-sided. You deserved the choices that come from knowing the truth. And it was deliberately concealed from you.”

    • Agreed twice!

      It is indeed a great post on a difficult and oft ignored topic. And a wonderfully written response too.

      Love the Friday challenge idea too — “If I had known…” yes sadly

    • Excellent suggestion. Being robbed of consent through lies is horrendous. Your life is stolen from you. A person has to embrace pure evil to be able to do that to a supposed loved one, or anyone for that matter.

  • off-topic alert!

    For some reason I went down the Tim Tedder rat maze. The eldest kid (daughter), the one who he insisted was doing so well? Wasn’t at the time of the podcast and still isn’t. He was lying to his audience, which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    He may not be a serial cheater (said with a scoff), but he IS a very practiced liar. That kind of thing eventually bites people in the ass. It doesn’t take a DNA test to know that lies can lead to bad things happening.

      • #107. The one where he invited two of his adult kids to discuss what happened. He was not forthcoming as to how the family dissolving in such a spectacular manner really affected his eldest. Of course, she wasn’t volunteering it either.

        • Thanks, No Shit Cupcakes. I’m interested in this because he is one of the RIC people who almost got through to me. Must be his lilting voice. Huh, I guess the truth will always come out sooner or later.

          • I think he has been married three times, not twice. I don’t know how many he claims.

  • I have long suspected that my cheater is not his father’s biological child. There’s a discrepancy on the date of birth on his birth certificate and the date of the wedding. The marriage was hastily put together between his mother and a friend of her father. His mother claims to have been raped sometime before she got married and that her now deceased husband proposed not long after that. He does not resemble his father physically. He was treated more harshly than the other kids and was never close to his father. His father was a serial cheater himself and not interested in his wife sexually. I do not believe his parents were ever in love. It was an arranged marriage, IMO, done as a favor for a friend who had a pregnant single daughter.
    My ex has never sought to investigate this, has said I’m crazy to believe that, but deep down, I think he suspects it as well. He insisted he looks like his father, but when I put their pictures side by side, he was forced to admit there was not a single common facial feature. With his father dead, he’ll never know. He doesn’t want to know. His pathetic life of denial and delusion is not my problem anymore. Phew!

  • Where I live, absent paternity testing, there is a conclusive presumption that a child born to a wife cohabiting at the time of conception with her husband who is not impotent or sterile is a product of the marriage. Nevertheless, paternity testing is rarely done.

    I know a man whose marriage was on the rocks when his wife came home one day wanting to have a baby. He was surprised, but hey, she was offering to sleep with him for the first time in donkey years, so he gave it the old college try. And viola! She was instantly pregnant. Yes, they divorced, and yes, he supported what the ex always called “her” daughter right up until the child told him he could watch her college graduation online (no personal invite) and said that she and her mother were ordering a packet of photos to send to family members, but if he wanted one, here is the price list.

    • Sounds like the “daughter” is as lousy as the ex wife to do such a thing to the man who supported her. What a user.

  • This is something that really hits home for me. I have never had my kids tested, and I probably never will. The primary reason is that both of them, especially my daughter, look just like me. When my ex came clean about all the previous AP’s (not just the one I caught her with), she swore up and down they were mine. She said, among other things, she wanted them to be mine. In reality, she knew she wouldn’t get to keep “cake” if I discovered her, and the other deadbeats wouldn’t pay up in child support (yes, we were married at the time). Then again, why exactly would I believe her? At this point, I have already spent all the time raising these two; no matter what, I’m still “dad.”
    Still… it’s something that keeps me awake at night some times.

    PS I could’ve written the “what-if” part of the article. I actually did pay to put her through college (and, now that she’s earning money, I don’t get any of the enjoyment of her salary). I did take some serious hits to my career for her sake. Oh well 🙁 . Another day, another shit sandwich.

    • I don’t get the what if. She looks like you. Of course you don’t get enjoyment of her salary.

      • I think he paid to put his XW through college. And he did this while she was cheating on him.

      • Yes, I put my ex through college. D day happened not long after she finished her degree, all of which I paid for. Now, she is earning a salary at her first real job, and I have to pay child support based on her earning minimum wage.

        • That is called a “change in circumstances,” allowing modification of child support, at least where I am.

          You might want to give it 6 months or a year for her to demonstrate job stability so she won’t dump her career just to penalize you. But ask your lawyer about that. It works for spousal support too.

          • The numbers are often based off of past tax returns so he might have to wait until she has at least one tax return or two at the new income.

    • Plus she may have a type that she favors and therefore the OM do look a great deal like you – so the kids do too.

      I’m really sorry that she did any of that to you.

    • Ah man, that all sounds so heartbreaking…except the fact that you claim your kids nothwithstanding their DNA. That part is heart warming and really what love is. And kinda what us chumps are all about.

      I might add that getting DNA tested one day may mean a lot to them, if just to know some family medical history stuff.

      The guy I’m dating is a step father to 2 grown children who he raised, as their primary father, from young ages until their teen years, when his marriage with the ex fell apart, partly because…you guessed it, cheating! It’s been many years since he and their bio mom split, and he’s still pretty tight with the kids (young adults now). I think maybe he’s more of a dad than a lot of bio dads I know. They aren’t close with their mom, but they are with him. DNA doesn’t matter so much when it comes to family bonds. : ) And good men are good because they do good things, like lovingly raise kids that aren’t biologically theirs.

  • Cheating wife had an affair when our daughter was 18 months old. Daughter looks like me but that’s my only assurance. She is 2 now and the lawyers say bio paternity is moot at this point. I guess my best option is delude myself into not thinking about it.
    I’m the classic breadwinner chump and a divorce will put me in a dire financial position. While everyone here will tell me to eat the shit sandwich and move on, I don’t know how I can survive a pitiful lifestyle while my wife gets to continue living the good life in my house with my daughter and I just get to finance it. I’ve talked to 5 lawyers and the unanimous consensus is if I want to keep my wealth I have to stay married. If I get divorced I lose the money and my daughter.
    What a cruel world.

    • I’m sorry Mac – that is a shit sandwich of epic proportions.
      But there are worse things than losing your wealth and being stuck with a cheating wife you can’t trust feels like one of them. I”m assuming that along with the cheating comes all the associated entitled behaviors. Something that comes to mind is that money ebbs and flows, who knows what the future will bring financially. But I do think past performance is a good predictor of future returns when it comes to a cheater.
      Being many years out from the misery of being married to a character-disordered person, and having been poor, then rich, then poor (single mother can’t make the mortgage poor) and now comfortable again I can tell you one thing I have learned. Being partnered with a trustworthy grown-up who inherently understands CL’s emphasis on the importance of reciprocity is a different kind of wealthy-far, far more satisfying than the financial kind.
      Hang in there Mac – this shit is hard.

    • Losing half of your wealth I get but losing your daughter I don’t. There is no reason in this day and age why you should not be given at least 50/50 split on custody/placement of your daughter if you want it and you are not a danger to her for some reason. Most states seem to put such an emphasis on both parents having equal parental rights no matter what. As long as you have 50/50 custody and placement she shouldn’t get any more wealth than you even if you are the only one working for it. You story seems to be completely contradictory to so many on the other side. Women who have lost everything just trying to fight to keep custody of their children and still are not yet in the clear. Maybe it is just the state in which you live. In the meantime, she is still spending all of your money and you are getting a glimpse today of what would happen if she gets pregnant by another man which doesn’t seem like such a remote possibility. I would say yes, it is going to cost you, a lot, but get out now while there is still time to cut the losses or it may be even worse later. Maybe the forums would have people in your area who can recommend a lawyer that may be able to do more for you. They have to work within the laws, but does the law really say the wife gets everything no matter what? 50% sure, but everything? Does it make a difference who the judge is? Could you file in a different city with a possibly more sympathetic judge? Regardless, it still seems that it would be best to lose everything now and have a chance to replenish later when it is harder for her to get her hands on it.

    • Thank you for your support Fern and Chumpinrecovery. My wife is a social worker (very favorable to judges) and my daughter is very young. Those 2 facts mean she is all but guaranteed to win primary custody if I even fight for it.
      Splitting 50% of our assets is just a regular shit sandwich. Temporary alimony is another regular shit sandwich. 50% time with my daughter is a devastating loss but also bearable.
      The problem is due to our income differential, I will be forced to pay a huge amount of child support. Based on running the calculations with several lawyers, a SHITTY apartment would eat up 50% of my remaining take home pay. Throw in regular monthly bills and you have a financial catastrophe. As my lawyer told me yesterday, the court does not care about my bills. I will be undoubtedly in dire circumstances for years while wife lives the good life.
      The 50% time share does not impact child support in my state. The result is my lower earning wife will get more take home money than me and gets to stay in our nice house because it has a low mortgage payment and that is what the court will determine is in the best interests of the child.

      • So if you have 50/50 custody, why isn’t it in the best interests of the child for you to stay in the house with the low mortgage payment if you are paying her all that money to go rent an apartment somewhere? Why does she get the house? And if she does, it must have a lot of equity and should count pretty heavily towards that 50/50 split of assets. The home value is typically determined by a current market assessment from a real estate agent and does not account for maintenance and or what it would cost to sell. You might be able to argue that it would be easier for you to refinance as would be required if only one of you owns the home. If that is the only asset of value that you have between you then it would need to be sold to get the value out so then you both get to rent the shitty apartments. Do you have any documentation regarding her affairs and time you have spent caring for your child while she was off partying? Social worker or not, best interest of the child is whoever is actually going to bother parenting. Maybe you will lose, but don’t just roll lover without a fight.

      • Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. Yes, I need to change my defeatist attitude.
        If I go on the offensive, it seems like the outcome is the exact same, but I spend a fortune on lawyers and ensure a miserable co-parenting relationship.
        From what I see here it seems like the chump pretty much gets shit on every time in family court. Almost like the judges enjoy the power of wielding nonsensical injustice.
        On another sour note, I’m pretty sure this situation is a breeding ground for MRA creeps. I feel myself losing sanity.

    • Yea, that all sucks. Big time. You sound panicked about it…understandable. Lots of tough choices to make for you and your daughter. Tho, I would encourage you to not make your decision based on the finances. That’s a red herring for happiness. That part will suck but more than likely you will be ok. What’s your freedom worth to you?

      Also, not sure what exactly your attorney told you but the court has an interest in not bankrupting you. In fact, their goal, generally, is to ensure both parties maintain as close to the same lifestyle they had when they were married. That requires compromise for both, but what you are describing sounds way too lopsided in her favor. I’m sure there’re details we’re not getting here, but if your attorney is running numbers that put you in a far lesser position than your ex-wife…something wrong may be happening.

      Also, it does not matter that she’s a social worker. 50% custody is default in most states, even if one parent is perceived as “better” by the court. Absent evidentiary abuse, neglect, or just total lack of capacity to care for your child, you should wind up with 50% custody. Again, not sure of your state or what your attorneys told you, but it would be odd in this modern era that a father who wants 50% custody and is demonstrably capable of it would not get it in most states. Best of luck.

      • Appreciate your comment. Yes I will get 50% time share, which is 50% less than if I somehow stay married to cheater. The unfair part is my child support obligation doesn’t change regardless of how much time she lives with me. I can petition and get a pittance $100 deduction. Once the primary custodian is determined, they get the child support. I’ve been advised that children this young will be placed with the mother absent anything truly reckless. Expensive drunken dalliances on weekends don’t even come close. Combine that with her occupation that the judges will love and I am shit out of luck. I’d love to sell the house, but the mortgage is the same as an apartment in our area. Basically my own lawyers are saying I’d be a scumbag to make my daughter leave her house. I might get the equity in 2 years if she can afford to refi. If not, I’m again an asshole if i try to get the equity and make my daughter leave.
        Bottom line I’ve been ruminating on possibilities for months and all creative ideas are getting shot down. Feels like walls closing in around me.

        • Friend, sadly, that is what divorce feels like, and for a while. It’s been almost 2 years since we started proceedings and just now I’m beginning to feel “ok.” Sounds like your house is a big asset. If ya’ll are splitting everything down the middle, then she needs to buy you out of your share of the house if she intends to stay in it. She needs to secure a loan to do that. Or you give her the house in exchange for other assets that equal your share of the property. Either way, there needs to be a fairness there. If neither of you can secure a loan to buy the other one out, you just gotta sell it. That’s how that works. It doesn’t make you a monster, makes you a realist. Divorce, by definition, means loss. It took me a moment to accept all of this, but eventually I did. My ex did not accept any of this for a long while and made splitting our stuff unnecessarily painful. Shit sandwich.

          I’m in a community property state. I had to buy my cheater out of his share of the home so I could stay living here with my kid. That involved a giant re-financing and pulling out equity from the home and begging family members to co-sign for me. That means I owe more money now on it then when we bought it. BIG financial setback. It is what it is. Shit sandwich.

          Also, in my state we don’t do “primary custodianship” when parents split custody. We are both considered primaries. Sounds like your state is different. Bummer, cause the way you’re describing it really puts you at a disadvantage and seems unfair. In that case, I might try to fight for primary custodianship, even if it’s losing battle. You are a loving father with a good income…why not you as primary? There are judges that may agree with you if you make positive affirmative arguments about yourself and NOT trash talk your ex.

          All I can say is that the feelings you’re having and calculations you’re making are totally normal. Your life is about to take a dramatic shift, and for a while that will suck ALOT, and you’ve done nothing to deserve it. It’s called being a victim. And it feels helpless and hopeless sometimes. The worst is the 50% custody, honestly. It never gets easy or fun. : (

          My ex is paying me child support until I finish school, and then I’ll have a career where I make more money than him and likely will pay him child support for far longer than he ever did. He’s angry over having to pay child support but I try and look at it with gratitude. I’m thankful that I’m about to have a job where I can provide for my child, even if it’s by giving money to her dad. There is honor in doing so. I’m proud that I can. And one day when she’s grown, she’ll look back and see that mom took care of her. And that is priceless.

          And, for what it’s worth, much of this does get much better. I’m 2 years out and in a loving and committed relationship with someone who treats me great–it’s opened my eyes to seeing how terrible my ex was to me and how life is short and we all deserve to be loved and cherished. And that too is priceless. Best of luck guy

    • If there is equity in the house, you are entitled to half of that and given what you say it sounds like the house will have to be sold(unless your ex can buy you out). Maybe if the house was sold, you could find a better place to live while rebuilding your life with the eventual goal of buying what suits you and your daughter. It sounds like your ex won’t have the income to do the same but she made her choice and choices have consequences. My hope is that you’d take steps towards creating a solid plan that you could present to a judge that demonstrates your intention to be an equal parent to your daughter and not accept defeat or less because “that’s the way things are”. “That’s the way things are” is the attitude that excuses cheaters to cheat and take advantage of chumps. I’d go down fighting if I was you. Maybe it won’t change things- but it will change you -and it might help you find your strength to live your best life in spite of the asshole you married.

      • Thanks for your comment, see above for the house dilemma details. I love the last half of your comment. I think about the plan all day and it just does not come together. Going down fighting is much better than rolling over if the outcomes are the same – I’ll keep that in mind.

        • “Going down fighting is much better than rolling over if the outcomes are the same.” Perfectly said. And ya know, sometimes the underdog actually wins one.

  • Just thinking about all the variations of what could happen, and who gets to decide what is known or not known makes my head hurt. I also have to wonder what is right or wrong to tell a child about a parent, because of the variations. What choices would a woman make, and how much information would she share, and with whom, if she actually had the right to make a decision whether or not to have a child? Older generations did not have the choices some of us have now, some of our choice may be taken away. What rights belong to adopted children? What about rape cases, or incest? Do you want to be the one to tell a child that grandpa raped his own daughter, or that they never caught the rapist, and mommy has no idea who the bio father is? Would children born under those circumstances be readily adopted? What about children born with birth defects, or addicted to drugs?

    In my state there are “No Question” zones where babies can be dropped off and there is no information available about them, ever, except of course dna info. I hate to think children believe their parent just didn’t want them, when there could be many different explanations about why they were available for adoption.

    I do not have a good relationship with my bio father, and used to wish that someone else was my dad, and envy my friends who had dad’s who loved them. There is no end to dysfunction in this world. Child support is finite, and far from a perfect solution to supporting children, but it is a part of the safety net that is there to protect those who cannot raise themselves. I can not imagine what it would be like to know and love a child that I found out was not mine years later, or be tricked into marriage due to a “surprise” pregnancy.

    My only question, for us all, is how do we take care of the children who are already here, regardless of how they got here, and regardless of who the bio parents are? I can get over bad feelings, but as my grandmother used to say, that won’t feed anyone. I know my sons are mine, I have 2 c sections to remind me, and I know who their father is. I am one of the lucky ones. I worked hard to see they were raised well. Their father was a cheater, but I never denied him access to his children. He was lucky, too. I think my sons know they were wanted and loved. They were lucky, too. Not everyone is that lucky. I think about the children. What can we do for them????

  • when our son got very ill, they did blood tests on both of us. We were told that this is how a lot of dads in the ER find out the child isn’t theirs. I could be wrong, but I believe the number was 10%. I cannot imagine that pain.

    I have a feeling these stories are going to be coming fast and furious with these at home tests. I’ll just add that when I bought them for my parents, they were excited and couldn’t wait to get the results. No fears from them at all, and no surprises came out of it.

  • A person I know who was traumatized for years by paternal incest was, in her 20s, contacted by an overseas agency that found her online. They were looking for the father because his overseas children were trying to find him and introduce him to his overseas grandchildren. She told the agency about her history, that she didn’t stay in touch with him for obvious reasons, and suggested that children would be unsafe around him so they should reconsider finding him. One wonders what the agency reported back.

    There was no need for any of this, of course, but he and his overseas military peers considered this sort of thing to be completely normal and supported one another in the deception.

    If we did a better job of nurturing boys and culturally training and supporting men to be emotionally healthy, sexually functional, and fully self-managed from childhood, the whole world would function better, especially for men.

  • I also helped my XW get through college and worked killer jobs to support the family. I KNOW people suspected my XW was unfaithful but didn’t tell me. My XW and me would be invited to her AP’s houses and events. That pisses me off to no end.


    “She joined a secret Facebook community called DNA NPE Friends—NPE is short for “Not Parent Expected”— and found not just the support she needed but a reminder that she’s far from alone.”

    There is a chance that Chumps may discover this is true of their FOO – and there is at least one group formed for those who discover it.

  • After the Twat left in 2010 I went on my first (of now many) trips with solos groups to Turkey. There was an older widow on this trip who I thought was a bit stuck up so while I said good morning to her I never got to chat to her much. Turns out she just had an “unfortunate” resting face and was actually very shy! So don’t judge a book by its cover I guess. Anyway, we ended up sitting next to each other on the flight back to the UK. She was terrified of take-off so I just held her hand really tight. After that I ordered 2 bottles of wine and we got yacking and she turned out to be really nice. We yacked all the way home! But she told me the very sad story of a friend of hers whose son had married a Thai woman and had a little boy. When the boy was about 7 the mother ran off with another man, leaving the little boy behind with his father. Now as dad worked on the oil rigs his parents stepped up to the plate to look after the little boy who, by all accounts, was adorable. A beautiful, happy, polite and intelligent little boy. However, a friend of the father advised him to get a DNA test and – you guessed it – it wasn’t his child!!! They were all devastated. The grandparents love him to bits and so does the “father” – although apparently he started to pull away – he just couldn’t help it. The frightening thing here is that the mother could, of course, just swoop back in later and reclaim “her” son I supposed. I obviously don’t know what the end result was but I hope for all concerned (except the mother) that they hugged that little boy even closer to their hearts and that dad was able to do the same! Their story played in my mind so much after we landed. I’m pretty sure my answer would be “well he’s mine regardless”, but who knows. I hope so for that little lad’s sake!

  • This is a another twist and turn to infidelity. Lies always have a way of finding you out! My xh cheating on me for 31 years (didn’t know until I did) then I promptly filed for divorce CN & CL saved me from complete insanity! Anyway, he got a vasectomy after our 3 child which we had about 7 years after we were married. I often think that he had to have fathered offspring somewhere, considering the amount of whoring around that he did! I hope if he did that the DNA testing that is the craze nowadays will find him out!

    On another note a close friend who is 74, found out from his mom on her death bed that his dad was not his real father. No details, then she died. He was 70. Recently I told him I had done the MyHeritage DNA testing and he ordered a kit to see what he could turn up about bio dad. Sure enough within a week he had emails going on and found his 4 ½ siblings still alive and wanted to meet him. He flew across the country to a place he had never even been. coincidently they were having a family reunion and wanted him to come. For him it was a good ending, his 4 ½ siblings LOOK exactly like him, have above average height and had very similar interests etc. They did NOT know about him either, but as it turned out his Bio dad had been in the Navy and had had an affair with his mom. No-one ever spoke of it because BOTH were married. How sad to take a lie to your grave and have that lie revealed later. He said they all decided it was SOOOO long ago, that they just wanted to keep in touch with their newly found family. A LIE is ALWAYS a LIE!

    • Here’s a repeat of a comment I made previously on the site.

      A former landlord learned in late middle age that his mother had an affair with an Asian man in Panama in the 1930s so his “father” wasn’t his bio dad. Mum was pretty tight lipped with any details or discussion and went to her grave that way. This man proceeded to justify some screwing around (with an Asian woman no less) on his own wife of a few decades with this revelation. Didn’t choose to talk to a counselor. Saw a mistress as a better option. Last I heard he went back to his wife and I wonder how his two sons have processed his behavior. He seems to be bankrolling their creative (low pay/no pay) careers.

      The truth will set us free.

  • I’m pretty sure the Limited fathered three children while we were married. The first two he was screwing a neighbor who wanted no strings attached sex to have kids. She had a timeframe to become pregnant due to a condition. She told me she had slept with hundred of unsuspecting men. She wanted nothing from them just to get pregnant. The Limited was caught st her home after the birth of the first. He frequently made visits and she had a second.

    • My ex had a cousin that raised, by himself, the young child of a woman he married who just took off one day. The child grew up to be a really nice teen-ager last time I saw him. To bad my ex didn’t get that side of the families genes——

  • He was a convincing liar. I was naive and 21 pregnant with my first.

    When I was pregnant with my second he was cheating with a coworker. She was big and I found letters confirming the breakup and their cheating. Years later the child passed away and she was pregnant when he was screwing her; she duped her husband.

    To tell or not to tell? I know he’d deny it. I’m hoping they check someday but can’t prove it otherwise. For the man who grieved the loss of his son? I’d never want to hurt anyone with that news.

    However, Theresa good chance my children have siblings out there. It’s disturbing.

  • And what does the mother of those two children tell them about their father? Did they believe he abandoned them or did she explain her use of a serial cheating character disordered neighbor who for the free sex would oblige her willingly, no strings attached?

    Either way these kids have disordered parents.

  • I have a buddy who used to work at 23 and Me and he mentioned the frequency people are finding out their family relationships aren’t what they thought they were.

    So I know the main message of this blog is: Don’t cheat or leave your cheater.

    But if you know of cheating, and have documented proof, do you tell and if so, how?

    • Send anonymous snail mail from another city, state or country when you travel. If people want to see the writing on the wall, they will;others can’t handle it.

    • You know someone that worked at 23& me? They don’t even process the samples so what exactly did he/she do?

  • I’m completely dumbfounded!
    Just when I thought I’d heard every single damage a cheater can do, and I’ve been here a long time, this subject has just taken occupancy in my brain. Something I never thought of, and I’m not young!.

    All I can say is, it’s a big, huge fucking mess!
    As if the affair wasn’t bad enough.
    This makes me feel particularly horrified because this is really is the living proof of the affair the spouse probably didn’t know about, or tried to forget. I can’t think of anything more painful. A woman, now, they would have an idea if the dad was this and who, but not about to admit it. And, how horrific for the child now with DNA testing being the fad.

    I would highly suggest everybody stay the bloody hell out of those DNA tests, unless you want to stumble over that your bio father was John List, or Bundy or one of Manson’s kids. Might be a novelty but, like finding out the details of your husband’s infidelities, I think the less you know of what went on, the better. Life has moved on. Your children are yours if you raised them and that’s all that matters.

    Too many Pandora’s Box Springs ready to pop up and scare you. I think this technology is too new to know if it is a good thing or not. At this point, I say, leave well enough alone and keep trucking along in your own life w/o those kind of (mostly) insignificant results lasting in l/t friendships.

    I can’t see how people can protect this anymore with the OTC DNA tests.
    I’d do one on my dog but it really doesn’t matter.

  • I’m not trying to diminish how painful finding this out would be for the adults involved, but it’s even worse for the children, often now adults themselves.

    I was adopted, and had my DNA tested. While there was no affair involved ( some things are worse than affairs) I am in an online support group for people who have this sort of “surprise” show up. There’s all sorts of baxk stories. Some were adoptees who were placed for adopted after infidelity and some grew up always knowing this.

    One of the sickest parts of all this? There are some women out there who will try to get pregnant by their married man because they think he’ll leave his wife. At least one member in the group found out that’s how she came to be. She tried to contact her dad not knowing he was a married man and as you can expect, the end result was incredibly painful for her, her bio-dad\s wife and her half siblings.

    Just another way infidelity is the gift that keeps on giving, I guess.

  • I think it’s horrifying how many men are eager to immediately dispose of a child who has never known any father but them, who has loved and respected them all their lives, who has *done nothing wrong*, just because they find out the DNA doesn’t match.

    Yes, being cheated on sucks! Yes, it’s a horrible body blow to find out that the child you thought shared your genes does not!

    But I have no respect for any man whose immediate reaction is “but my rights”.

    I’d honestly rather have every baby paternity-tested at birth to spare children the agony of being discarded like garbage.

    • I note that it’s a body blow that you will never experience. You might find out that your husband fathered a child with another woman, but you are unlikely to be expected to raise that child and you will KNOW it wasn’t yours.

      There is a biological father out there somewhere who might want to know his child and who should be paying child support. Presumably the cheating wife has a clue who it may be.

      The child is innocent, but that doesn’t give the mother the right to lie about the kid’s parentage and genetic identity.

      “I’d honestly rather have every baby paternity-tested at birth to spare children the agony of being discarded like garbage.”

      I agree. That way no one is played for a fool and a sucker.

    • Although I guess you could be tricked into taking care of another woman’s child that he fathered if he came home with a baby in a blanket one day and said, “Look what I found on the car seat! Let’s keep the baby and raise it as our own.”

      I doubt that happens nearly as often as men getting tricked into raising a child that isn’t theirs.

      • No, but I can be tricked into loving and depending on a ‘father’ who one day says “I hate you and wish you were dead, pay me back all the money I ever spent on you and never speak to me again.”

        Thinking that a child had your genes and discovering that it didn’t is painful. Especially if that was your only or oldest child. Especially if you had all sorts of fantasies about how Junior was going to follow in your footsteps, how this was your future self, how something of you would linger in the world even after you were gone… And then to have that taken away. That hurts.

        But the idea that your relationship with a child has zero value if the child does not share your genes? That a child which you fed, carried, cuddled, clothed, kissed the scraped knees of, told stories to, a child that you taught your traditions to, a child who worshipped and idolised you and wanted to follow in your footsteps, a child whom you told “I love you” every night…

        … the idea that the child is now garbage because they turn out not to share your genes? That’s what I’m objecting to.

        I’m not arguing that men don’t have a right to be upset. But if their reaction is “I demand back all resources that I spent on this garbage animal because it is not MY child”, that’s what I’m saying I can’t respect.

        • I save my disdainand ire for the cheater, the one who lied to the male Chump. He lost his opportunity to raise his biological child.

          It is admirable to raise a child you know isn’t related to you. Seeking redress from the adult who lied and cheated on you is fair. She can pursue back child support from the biological father while repaying the man she defrauded.

          DNA testing is available. It overturns convictions and leads to big awards (Central Park Five). Male Chumps deserve redress just as much as female Chumps.

          Cheaters suck and they should face consequences for doing so.

          • It’s not the cheater facing the consequence there, though, it’s the child.

            I suppose if you wait until the child is an adult and then demand some sort of repayment, then the two could be separated a bit more and it wouldn’t be the kid directly paying. It would also look less like you were throwing your child away (and that is still your child, regardless of genes). It would help keep the focus on the person who actually did something wrong.

            • Well, the biological father has been deprived of his legal rights as a parent and they include child support.

              Whether or not he knew or wanted to be responsible for his wayward sperm isn’t the point. DNA testing can reveal that someone is not the father and potentially lead to discovering or confirming the identity of the father.

              It’s not the kid who is paying because it’s not the child who would be sued. The Chump father is still on the hook to pay the child support even as he seeks to be repaid by the cheater who effectively stole his from him. As long as he’s coughing it up, there is no harm. Wayward ex can fight him or use some portion of the money to find the biological father and sue him for support.

              If Chump non-biological father chooses to cut the relationship off but pays the money, that may stink for the kid (or maybe not – he may have sucked as a parent) but cheating has all sorts of unintended consequences. The courts can’t force him to maintain a relationship if he’s willing to pay more child support and forego seeing a child or children who are not related to him.

              It’s weird to think that grandparents who want to continue a relationship with a grandchild can’t if the named parent(s) refuse them access, but someone can be forced to pay child support for someone to whom they are not related. Simply by virtue of being a Chump.

              The flip-side for the child is why would they want to be forced to spend time with someone who doesn’t want to see them? Or who IS so angry with the circumstances of conception that it makes the entire process so unpleasant? If looking at a child only reminds someone of the Huge Life Lie and they would rather sandpaper their testicles than spend time with them, it’s borderline abusive to insist he do so.

              Again, if someone feels differently regardless of DNA testing that is AWESOME. Double bonus points to him! Not everyone is going to feel that way and to be denied the opportunity to sue the cheater for perpetrating a huge is a double-whammy.

            • “I suppose if you wait until the child is an adult and then demand some sort of repayment”

              I don’t think it works like that. I think the male Chump has to file immediately, even as he is being ordered to pay child support.

              “It would also look less like you were throwing your child away (and that is still your child, regardless of genes).”

              His name may be on the birth certificate, but it was an act of fraud perpetrated on him by his wife/girlfriend and really – he should be thought of more as a step-parent. There are step-parents who are totally completely amazing parents and who would adopt the child if given the opportunity (eyes wide open) or offer to pay child support in the event of a divorce but I suspect the second kind are very rare. More power to them in that situation.

          • JWH, please be careful. You’re speaking the truth and stating facts. People do not like that. I have no clue who Triangle is. Triangle fast forwarded and jumped to scenarios and conclusions to simply vilify a victim paternity fraud. Who is to say that the Hypo-father would not help that child at a age beyond being say a toddler. I think if I was to find something like this out? I may gather facts and information about the Bio dad. Locate him. Ask questions maybe a background check. Especially if child in question is a teenager? But at the time of birth? Before I signed a birth certificate? Found out I was defrauded? I would do some serious soul searching. I certainly wouldn’t stay with the mother because that’s who she has become to me. The mother to someone else’s child.

            • Leonidis – Good point. I was operating in good faith, figuring Triangle Girl was the product of an affair and the shit was hitting the fan. But she may simply be a jerk.

              In the meantime – did you take a look at the links below? Including the update from AABB?

              Yeah, I would be surprised if anyone would stay with the mother of someone else’s child once they found out she had lied to him. Particularly for years on end. Of course I would hope that he would continue to love the child if he had done so already. I still think that mom should be contacting bio-dad for child support and not continue to dump that on the Chump. But that would require integrity and cheaters lack integrity.

  • I am one of the 10%+. I suspected early on, when I heard that 2 blue-eyed parents couldn’t produce a dark-eyed child. I was Daddy’s little girl though – even though he knew or strongly suspected. Mom finally confessed on my 50th birthday, three months after Dad died. She said she hadn’t told me sooner because she was afraid “my feelings for him would change.” The truth is that my feelings did change, I loved and missed him even more knowing how much he loved me in spite of knowing the truth. When I found out for certain I cried for days because my Daddy wasn’t my biological father. My older brothers don’t know and Mom swore me to secrecy, but I wouldn’t have told them anyway because I am still ashamed. Logically, I know it’s not my shame to carry, but the word people used to call children whose parents weren’t married (to each other) still rattles around my head from time to time.

  • I grew up as the youngest of 6 children, three of which are products of affairs. Two are from my father’s ex-wife. She told the children when they were 18 (conveniently when my father’s legal financial obligation ended), but both children chose not to tell the my dad until they were in their late 40s. The other sibling is from my mother, who was the OW. This sibling has never been recognized by her father’s family. My parents were married for life, and I am their only child, and not accepted by any of the other children. All the children were treated equally by my parents. While I have compassion for their situation, I also think about how my dad’s ex-wife robbed his biological children of the limited resources (financial, quality time, opportunities that can be easily done with 3-4 kids instead of six, even a choice of vehicle!) by not telling him two of the kids weren’t his. Maybe my parents could have retired and actually enjoyed life instead of working into their 70s before succumbing to to illness and disability. All these lives affected because people can’t keep their pants up.

  • Yeah…special form of hell. Found out about ex-wife’s 4-yr affair when daughter was just 15 months old. No way to make that math work.

    Promptly informed her that we’d talk about things after I got back from the DNA-testing facility. Cheater spouse tried to ‘comfort’ me by saying that her affair partner had had a vasectomy (I mean….PARDON ME for not finding that awesome and explanatory and shit).

    Test back – with 99.999999% probability I’m the father… People have asked what I would have done had she not been mine. I honestly don’t know. Because SHE IS MINE….have loved every morsel of that little nugget (she’s 10 now) since I learned she was on her way. Saying nothing and running with both kids to a non-extradition country was on the list…

  • Ugh!! Seen some bizarre comments on here. Touchy subject I guess. The 10% people are talking about is just those that are tested. CDC estimates as high as 30% of fathers are unknowingly raising another mans child. It varies from regions. THATS 1/3 of all fathers raising at least one child that isn’t theirs. It is a MASSIVE problem. Too many people down playing this. Too many misandrists deciding what a real man is or should do. Just like any other CHUMP he has the right to leave a cheater and have a cheater free life despite whatever decisions the mother has made. HE HAS THE RIGHT TO THAT CHOICE. everyone and every situation is different. Some misandrists have flat out said they don’t care about a fathers rights much less a mans and apparently any individuals. And so does the BIO DAD if that situation arises.

    • I agree with the bulk of your post but the CDC doesn’t use an estimate of as high as 30% and the source for that number is very old and not likely to be accurate.

      Questionable figures

      Swinburne University sociologist Michael Gilding, who also appears in the SBS program, has thoroughly researched the origins of the popular belief that 10% to 30% of paternities are misattributed.

      He traced the source of the high estimate – 30% – to the transcript of a symposium held in 1972 in which British gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Elliot Philipp mentioned an estimate from a small sample of parents.

      This brief conversation took on a life of its own, despite the fact that Dr Philipp never published the findings of his study. As a result, his precise tests and his population sample were never identified.
      Of the many studies that have attempted to estimate the rate of misattributed paternity, the higher estimates have tended to grab headlines, whereas more modest estimates sink without trace.

      Here’s a follow-up:

      “In 2008 the non-paternity rate reported by paternity testing laboratories in the United States was 25.9 per cent. My survey of a selection of Australian laboratories for the same year arrived at a non-paternity rate of 23.7 per cent.

      The problem with these figures is obvious. The participants are not a random sample of the population. On the contrary, they are a group of people who have doubts about the paternity of a child or children. The main thing we can say on the basis of these figures is that about three-quarters of people who have some reason to doubt paternity will find that their doubts are unfounded.”

    • >The 10% people are talking about is just those that are tested.

      But those are the cases where paternity is in doubt to begin with. Those are the cases where someone knows or suspects cheating has happened. Those are the cases that are MOST LIKELY to come up with a result of parent-not-as-expected. And even then, in 9 cases out of 10, paternity is exactly what it “should” be.

      Imagining that somehow it’s 30% overall is just crazy.

      • I didn’t imagine 30%. Ive read that in several different articles from different sources. And once again ITS AS HIGH AS. I disclosed as from what I read those percentages are regional. I am simply sharing this. But I tend to lean with what the sources tell.

        • You’re overlooking the sources because they are not population-based. The methodology has a built-in bias.

          People who seek DNA testing to confirm or deny paternity already suspect they are not the parent. That is a big weight on one side of the balance. You really can’t extrapolate the results to the population at large.

          This survey of published estimates of nonpaternity suggests that for men with high paternity confidence, nonpaternity rates are typically 1.7% (if we exclude studies of unknown methodology) to 3.3% (if we include such studies). These figures are substantially lower than the “typical” nonpaternity rate of 10% or higher cited by many researchers, often without substantiation…or the median worldwide nonpaternity rate of 9% reported by Baker and Bellis…

          Men who have low paternity confidence and have chosen to challenge their paternity through laboratory testing are much less likely than men with high paternity confidence to be the fathers of their putative children. Although these men presumably have lower paternity confidence than men who do not seek paternity tests, this group is heterogeneous; some men may be virtually certain that the putative child is not theirs, while others may simply have sufficient doubts to warrant testing. Most of these men are in fact the fathers of their putative genetic children; only 29.8% could be excluded as biological fathers of the children in question.

        • Leonidis – You may find the links interesting.

          Companies that provide commercial DNA paternity testing in the United States claim that 30% of their clients are victims of fraud [1], but the use of this figure may be misleading: it originates from the annual statistics provided by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), which has a bias towards people suspecting fraud, so it is not a statistic referencing the general population.

          This is the most recent study reported by ABB that is available online:

          “AABB has seen the exclusion rate misused by several organizations trying to claim that 30% of men are misled into believing they are biological fathers of children when the mother knows this not to be true. This view is incorrect. The exclusion rate includes a number of factors.”

  • The law really needs to change with the times.

    Help for Victims of Paternity Fraud
    Men who are victims of paternity fraud should attempt to seek action in civil court to collect child support funds back from the child’s mother. Unfortunately, reimbursement is generally considered a long shot.

    Consequences for a Parent Accused of Paternity Fraud
    Unfortunately, there are currently no consequences for mothers who commit paternity fraud. Paternity fraud is not considered a punishable crime, and it’s extremely difficult to collect or recollect funds from the mother in question.

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