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Man Wonders If He's Wrong For Refusing To Adopt The Child His Wife Conceived During Affair

Photo: Rodrigo Pereira via Unsplash / Prostock-studio via Shutterstock
upset man with head in hand and woman holding an infant

When it comes to relationships and marriages, things can easily get more difficult when kids are involved. One man found this out the hard way when trying to fix his relationship with his wife who “got drunk, had a one-night stand, and got pregnant from it.”

Despite continuing their relationship, the man refused to adopt his wife's child.

Explaining his situation on Reddit, the man wrote that his wife had an affair five years ago. Although they almost went through a divorce, couples therapy convinced them to stay together and try again — with some arrangements regarding how they would go about parenting.

“We talked a lot about it, and I made it clear that I'm ok taking on a step-parent role, but I wasn't willing to fully be his dad,” he wrote on Reddit. “I wouldn't adopt him, but I would help raise him and get him off to college. My wife agreed to this, became a stay-at-home mom so she could take care of him with help from her parents, and I've pretty much been the fun uncle-like guy.”

According to experts, staying together after an affair is totally possible. However, according to psychotherapist and relationship expert Esther Perel, doing so tends to create three types of couples: sufferers, builders or explorers.

RELATED: Woman Wonders If She Is Wrong For Refusing To Babysit Child Her Husband Fathered While Having An Affair

Perel would likely describe this couple as builders, "who remain together because they honor values of lifelong commitment and continuity, family loyalty, and stability." As author P.D. Reader has explained, in this type of post-affair relationship, "the people are still 'close' in that the home and family activities are the same and they are still building that family together that looks okay, but they just ignore that the affair happened." While this is an admirable space to be in post-infidelity, it may not be quite enough when a child is thrown into the mix. 

Though the man claimed to ​"play with him, buy him games, try my best to not resent him (and I am in therapy for this), and mostly just stay out of the way of my wife's parenting,” he admitted that he's more comfortable in an uncle role and has no desire to adopt the child.

People criticized both the father and mother for putting the child in that situation.

He’s not wrong for refusing to adopt the child, but continuing the relationship as if the boy's existence was an inconvenience is confusing and could be trauma-inducing for the boy. The man said as much himself, explaining that the mother has begun “manipulating the poor kid, saying he should start calling me dad instead of uncle like he has his entire life, which is upsetting and confusing the poor boy."

While the couple without the child could have been a builder couple, the child is a permanent physical manifestation of the wife's affair that regresses them to survivors as they're faced with a daily reminder of her transgression. 

RELATED: Groom Exposes Cheating Wife At Wedding By Playing Video Of Her Affair With Brother-In-Law

"The affair has become the narrative of their union. The marriage may technically survive, but their couplehood is dying on the vine," Perel wrote. "When infidelity becomes the hallmark of a couple's life, something has been broken that can't be made whole again."

You shouldn’t use a child to try and get what you want out of your significant other, it’s wrong for the child, wrong for the partner, and wrong for the relationship.

“You also are putting them in [a bad] position by planning to be present while demonstrating what I can only call a wedge between you and your wife where the child witnesses it,” commented one person.

The only person here who wasn’t in the wrong was the child.

Fortunately, it seems as though posting on Reddit helped the man come to his senses as he posted that he would be pursuing a divorce in an update on the post — which many would probably argue that he should have done years ago.

RELATED: Mom Wonders If She Overreacted When A Nurse Said Her Adopted Daughter 'Wasn't Her Real Child'

Isaac Serna-Diez is the Assistant Editor for the Entertainment & News department on YourTango.com. He focuses on writing about pop culture, the entertainment industry, social justice, and current events around the country.