Has my wife had children with another man?

What you need to know:

  • On these documents, which are NIRA certified, she had registered the two as having ‘unknown fathers’. I have not yet discussed it with her because her betrayal is hard to come to terms with

My wife and I have been married for 12 years and have six children. I have all documents (birth certificates and passports) for all our children in safekeeping. However, recently, I found other documents for two of our children hidden away by my wife. On these documents, which are NIRA certified, she had registered the two as having ‘unknown fathers’. I have not yet discussed it with her because her betrayal is hard to come to terms with. How should I handle the matter? Anonymous.

Dear Anonymous,

Paternity issues can stir up strong emotions in a relationship, especially if not well handled. It is unfortunate that this is happening after 12 years of marriage, a time it is expected that by this time the bond is supposedly deeper and more robust.

Now that you have secretly discovered some disturbing information, it is safer to first find support from a trusted friend or a professional such that you approach this in a non-confrontational way. A marriage relationship is one of the most exciting unions and can be a determinant of our health and satisfaction. This bond can also be easily threatened by insecurity and betrayal, among others factors.

The above threats can lead to bitterness and loss of trust by one of the partners or both. In your case, it is safer to talk to your wife and express how you feel about what you have found. Give her time and a chance to explain herself.

Remember the temptation to take things into your hands and conclude the matter is high. Asking her about it and letting her explain herself will lessen your anxiety. It is possible that the information you have varies from hers.

Keep in mind that this can lead to a heated debate, so it is safer to first control your emotions before approaching her. Sometimes, when you discover new information about your loved one, you might feel the right to overreact and disregard your partner’s side of the story. This can lead to unnecessary anger and even unintended mistakes.

In case you feel unable to talk to her peacefully, seek support from a neutral person that you both trust. It is possible that your fears are unfounded and there is an explanation for what she did.

Even when what you suspect turns out to be true, you still need support to cope to do what needs to be done such as paternity tests, which can be frustrating and emotionally draining. Finding a professional marriage counsellor to support you and your partner is key. The professional will avail you with skills for handling this before it ruins you psychologically.

Evelyn Khorono Lufafa is a counselling psychologist with Sermotherapy Counselling Foundation

Readers' advice

She has to come clean

Jane Mukisa. This is not so much a character issue as it is a maturity issue. Your wife is not a liar across the board. But by the same token, she has to be willing to come clean, because regardless of the reasons for her dishonesty, lying is a toxic practice that will eventually break down your marriage.

Think of why she lied

David Johns. The worst thing you can do is provoke someone, especially after recognising that they are not being honest with you. Try to look at the situation from your wife’s perspective, and attempt to understand why she felt the need to lie. Emotional fear causes people to lie because they do not want to feel exposed, for whatever reason.

Talk to your wife

Joyce Musoke. Be careful not to appear judgmental. Instead, let your wife see that you are sad and hurt, and that you want to have a relationship that is not painful and does not include deception. Tell your wife that you do not want this to happen again. Trust is the foundation of love, and you must be able to maintain a healthy sense of trust in one another in order to nurture the lifelong love you both want.

Ask for the truth

Jade Waithera. A lie may not be meant to hurt another person but that is very often the result. Some people lie as a form of self-protection. Others do so to save themselves from punishment or conflict, or to gain acceptance from a group or get something else they want. Ask your wife what she did because if you do not, you will continue hurting without moving forward.

Talk to a professional

Wycliffe Richard. Some people who have been lied to may be unable to cope with their reactions or the emotions they are feeling. They simply cannot get past the feelings of betrayal and the affair itself. In this case, it may be time to reach out for guidance from a mental health professional. Seeking counselling to deal with a partner who lies is helpful if the pain and upset have become too much. Therapy will help you work through the emotions and move forward, either on your own or as a couple.

Truth will set you free

Lulu Alpha. Ask her to tell you the truth. There is a reason she did this and until you know this reason, you will not settle.

Take them for a DNA test

Benson Mwaka Funi. The longer you take without confronting an issue, the more complicated it gets. Talk to her and after hearing her side, tell her she has given you reason to take the two children for a DNA test.

Heal first

Kirsten Kevaul Nassuna. If you are weak hearted, please do not go for a DNA test. You might collapse after getting the results. Get comfort first, heal and maybe approach your wife then. Ask her who the father of the two children is. Her response will give you the next course of action.