*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Trying to work things out in a long-term relationship can get very complicated if affairs show up, and even if you argued with your spouse for a while, it would be a lot harder to go back to what you had if you have to think about someone else's pregnancy too.
How far could you go to keep your family, and could you dismiss an affair if it resulted in a pregnancy and your partner would have to support the child for years to come?
My friend Angela, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, has been married to John, her husband, for 14 years. They have two daughters together and have both been focused on their careers while hiring a babysitter and asking their parents to come by and make sure their kids had everything they needed while they were at work.
"We had to do it like this because I didn't want to give up on my career, and it wasn't ok to stay home and expect him to pay for everything I wanted. And I don't think my girls missed out on attention because their grandparents are always around, and we all have fun together during the weekends," Angela said.
While Angela kept struggling to make sure they had a good balance between work and family activities, her husband gradually began making lists of what she had to do around the house. He also blamed her for not dusting or cleaning every day, even though he just wanted to watch TV after he got back from work.
"He wasn't willing to help, but he wouldn't stop complaining. I told him several times I wouldn't take such behavior, but it kept happening. We argued a lot, and I didn't want our girls to see us like that. We used to have such a positive relationship, but it was like he forgot about all that and focused on my faults. We both lived in our home in Phoenix; he could do his part instead of blaming me. That was just wasted time," Angela said.
As time went by, John kept making more lists of what she had to handle, and he decided homecooked meals were better than ordering food. And he wanted his dinner served on particular plates. Each time Angela forgot, he either refused to eat or kept shouting until she changed the plates for those he wanted.
"It was tiresome. After a hard day at work, I didn't need to hear him shout. After I asked him several times to behave better, I eventually told him he had to move out for a while. He didn't like that at all, but I made it clear there was no other way unless he wanted a divorce," Angela said.
They were separated for three months, but Angela didn't feel ready to end their relationship. She knew her husband was living with his sister in Phoenix, and after that time passed, she texted him to see if they could have a talk about their marriage.
"He replied in 5 minutes and asked me to have lunch. We met at our favorite restaurant in Phoenix, and I went there ready to hear an apology and see if we could finally have a happy relationship again," Angela said.
Unfortunately, what her husband told her left her confused about the future and how their family will go on.
John let her know he'd been going out with one of her friends, but he pointed out it was just a casual thing, and he didn't really care about her. Even if he said he loved Angela and wanted to have her back, he added that her friend was pregnant.
"Just three months away, and she was going to have his baby. Is that all it took for him to forget about me? He keeps saying he actually loves me, but what are we going to do now? He will have to support the baby, and I don't want to see that friend ever again. But she will be part of our lives since she's the mom. There's no avoiding that," Angela said.
She asked her husband for a few days to think about her decision and their relationship, but she wasn't sure how to react. While she doesn't feel ready to go her own way and tell her kids she can't be with their dad anymore, she still can't forgive her husband for what he did. And to her, the pregnancy and the baby will be a constant reminder of what happened.
"He got my friend pregnant while we were separated; I don't want to be a single mom, but I can't move on. And can I even let it go when there is a child he has to look after for at least 18 years?" Angela said.
What do you think about this situation? Is it fair for John to expect his wife to have him back, knowing he will be a dad soon? Can their relationship last while John will need to pay child support and be a parent with someone else?