Dear Dr. Romance:

 My husband had a one night stand several weeks ago. He told me about it.   We've been going to counseling for several months and were doing great. We just found out she's pregnant. I love my husband, but can I work   through this?  

Dear Reader:
I'm so sorry you have to deal with this, and so glad you and your husband are in counseling.  Yes, you can probably work through this, if you think it's worth it to save your marriage.  Here are some tips that may help.  

Dr. Romance’s 3 tips for moving on past infidelity and an out of wedlock child. 
Discovering that your spouse has had an out of wedlock child is so upsetting and overwhelming that you may not think you can get over it. Surprisingly enough, many marriages do survive this. However, even if your marriage doesn’t last, if you have children, this is their half-sibling, and the connection will last a lifetime, so it’s important to learn to handle it.

1. Please keep firmly in mind that none of this is the child’s fault. Aim your anger where it belongs, at your straying spouse, and not at the child. Do not punish this child to get even with your spouse or your ex. This child has enough strikes against him or her already, without adults adding to the problem with bad behavior.

2. Treat the child as you would the children of a previous marriage. Explain the situation to your own children according to their age level, and allow them to have a relationship with their half sibling. Children usually seek out missing siblings when they grow old enough, if they haven’t been allowed contact. They feel the need to connect.

3. This is a very difficult emotional problem, so don’t hesitate to get help. Therapy will give you a place to express your feelings, and some rational advice and support. If you’re in a difficult financial situation, seek low-cost counseling through a church, the local department of mental health, or attend Al-Anon or Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, which are usually free.

Dr Romance's 3 tips on handling the discovery of an out –of- wedlock child 

If your spouse has had an affair, that's tough enough, but finding out there's a resulting child is really devastating. Your marriage can survive, if both of you still want it.  Here are three things to consider: 

 1. Deal with immaturity and thoughtlessness.  In order for a child to result from an affair, both people involved were not taking responsibility for their actions. There may be ulterior motives, or just avoidance of responsibility.  It doesn't help for the betrayed spouse to be vindictive and childish, either. All these issues need to be addressed, both legally and emotionally, and it will probably take the help of a therapist to talk about them in an effective way.

2.  Whatever happens, the child is not at fault.  The child deserves financial support, and should not be blamed – none of this was the child's fault.  Don't blame or punish the child because you're mad at the parents.

3.  If you're to repair your devastated marriage, you need to focus on the present and the future. Of course, the affair must be ended. The affair and the child should now be in the past. Make whatever legal arrangements you need to regarding the child, and focus on the future of your marriage. Don't expect this problem to be fixed quickly or easily, but if you work on it, you can get through it.    How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together has more help for dealing with this issue and others like it . 

Happy Partners cover

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.