Can a Marriage Survive a Love Child? (Here’s What to Do)


Anytime a spouse cheats, there’s a chance it will destroy the marriage. But sometimes that affair produces a child, leading both spouses to wonder can a marriage survive a love child?

Here’s what I’ve seen:

A marriage can survive a love child, and 3% of all children are raised by men who aren’t their fathers but believe they are. And while as many as 75% of couples stay together after an affair, that does drop significantly if the affair produces a child. 

But there’s a lot more to know about an extramarital affair and illegitimate children.

So in this article, we’re taking an in-depth look at what happens when an unfaithful spouse produces a child. We’ll explore what the statistics tell us about the marriage’s chances of survival.

But we’ll also see what things can improve or worsen that chance of survival. Most often this happens when a married man is the cheating spouse. But wives also can find themselves in a similar situation too.

Ultimately, we’re answering the question of can a marriage survive a love child?

You CAN save your marriage — even if your spouse is had or is having a child with an affair partner.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond the pain. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and respect; whether you were the cheater or the cheated on, and even with a baby in the picture.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse isn’t sure they want to save the marriage.

Mend the Marriage is a course developed by renowned marriage expert Brad Browning who has well over half a million subscribers on his YouTube channel.

This quote from Dr. Bruce H, Ph.D. perfectly sums up the quality work Mend the Marriage does:

“It is the ultimate guide for stopping divorce and saving your marriage. Most importantly, it provides you with effective, professional solutions for each (possible issue) and inspires you to make some changes.”

Serious about saving or improving your relationship?

CLICK HERE to watch this free short video from Brad.

When infidelity produces a child

Nothing hurts more than an affair.

Well, nothing, except perhaps when that affair leads to a child being born. An affair always destroys trust. And while the marriage can definitely be saved, a child is a constant reminder of the affair. And then if you stay together, there’s most likely going to be child support payments for the next 18 years too.

Every time we see or hear of the love child, it’s like hearing about the affair for the 1st time all over again!

Getting over an affair takes time. But you CAN get past this difficult time and save your marriage. However, when there is a love child, that does require a huge amount of maturity, patience, and humility from the spouse of the cheater. When a child comes from the affair, expect the marriage recovery to take twice as long as recovering from an affair alone.

Sadly, 41% of spouses have an affair.

Since a husband cheats almost twice as often as women, my article will focus mostly on a man cheating and getting another woman pregnant.

But make no mistake. Extramarital sex happens on both sides.

A woman getting pregnant by a man other than her husband can also be incredibly devastating to the marriage. In fact, the best-selling book on Amazon called Marriage Undercover details the marriage of Bob and Audrey Meisner.

Just click that link to see the book on Amazon.

In this case, Audrey had the affair and got pregnant. They not only stayed together, but Bob adopted the child of the affair and raised it as his own.

Should I be OK with my husband wanting to be involved with his illegitimate child?

Yes, is the short answer here. It’s the right thing to do.

Ultimately, we’re talking about an innocent child here.  The child isn’t responsible for your husband’s reckless behavior. But the child NEEDS a father in their life.

You should only move forward trying to save your marriage if you are prepared to forgive your husband (eventually) and learn to be at peace with him helping to raise the biological mother’s child.

No one says you have to get there emotionally overnight. It will be hard work. But in order to save the marriage, you do need to get there eventually.

Now, no one would fault you for not wanting to stay with a man who fathered a child with someone else. BUT, if you do choose to stay with him, you should only do so being 100% accepting that he will (and should) be involved in the child’s life.

By definition, that also means you’ll likely have some level of interaction with the other woman.

If you can’t see yourself doing that, you should ask yourself if you really want to stay with your husband. After all, what kind of a man would he be if he abandoned his child? That’s the kind of man you should question being with, not the kind of man who wants to be involved in his child’s life.

A child raised without a father faces a lot of challenges in life, and life is challenging enough.

If you don’t get that, check out a recent article where I spell out all of the benefits of father involvement in a child’s life.

In short, a father’s role, as with the mother’s role, is crucial for a child’s development. And again, the child is INNOCENT in this situation. You’re understandably hurt. But don’t hurt the child in the process of dealing with your pain.

If your marriage is failing, then check out this quick video on the 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage that will help get yours back on track.

If your spouse is lying about an illegitimate child

Having an affair is bad.

I know. I’ve been cheated on and been a cheater. But I can tell you from personal experience that being 100% transparent and humble is the only way to keep your marriage going in the aftermath of an affair.

Now, to be fair, I’ve never fathered a child outside of my marriage or been with someone who had a child from another man. So that is new territory for me.

But I can still say with absolute certainty, that for the cheater, 100% accountability is a must.

Now, I get wanting to lie about a child fathered with a mistress. I really do. If that happened to me, I would feel ashamed and embarrassed. I would also be afraid of my wife’s reaction. When I admitted my affair to my wife, it was the hardest decision of my life. But being honest was critical.

In short, you don’t fix a huge problem (a child from an affair) with another problem (lying about it). If you know your husband had a child with another woman but he isn’t being honest about it, you have a tough decision to make.

Here’s what I would do in that situation:

  1. I would let them know that I know
  2. If I wanted to save the marriage, I would make that clear
  3. Then I would lay out specific conditions I would need to be met to move forward
    • 100% honesty moving forward
    • The father must be involved in the child’s life
    • I would want to meet the other woman (and lay out some clear ground rules with her)
    • The father cannot have any communication with the other woman unless it pertains specifically to the child.

Then, just as with any affair, the husband would need to earn back his wife’s trust. That likely means marriage counseling. But it also takes time and losing some freedoms and flexibility during the healing process.

I have a recent article that breaks down the best ways to decide whether to stay with a cheater. In it, I consulted with 6 marriage experts to get some unique and expert opinions.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do I get over my spouse’s infidelity when I have to see the child?

Any time someone cheats, it is devastating.

I once heard that for every month an affair lasted, it can take up to a year for that to heal. In my case, my affair was only 2 months long, back in 2013. But that 2-month affair still took the better part of 2 years to heal.

But when you have to regularly see a child from an affair, that’s like ripping the bandaid off every single time. It’s almost like starting over on the healing with every visit.

And that’s on top of the guilt most of us would feel for feeling that way towards an innocent child.

But the reality is that anytime one of us has sex with someone of the opposite sex, a child is possible. It’s just that most people cheating get lucky and don’t end up having a child.

The key to restoring a marriage after an affair, with or without a love child, is rebuilding trust.

Now that sounds overly simplistic and obvious. But if you have complete love and trust in your husband, seeing the child will eventually not hurt. Or at least not as much. You may even grow to love the child if they are in your house often enough.

There are several steps your husband can take to rebuild trust. But while he is ultimately in the driver’s seat of that, you can lay out clear expectations, such as:

  • No contact with the other woman that you aren’t aware of
  • That contact should only pertain to the needs of the child
  • They should give you complete access to their phone, email, and social media accounts
  • He should be willing to go to marriage counseling

In a recent article, I go a lot deeper into what you should look for and expect from your husband when he’s trying to win your trust back after an affair. I even cover the 1 thing that’s an absolute deal-breaker for 99% of us.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can a marriage survive an illegitimate child? – What the statistics tell us

Unfortunately, affairs happen.

The reality is that 10-15% of women cheat on their husbands and  20-25% of men cheat on their wives. Despite what you might think, of those affairs, between 60-75% of couples stay together after the affair is uncovered.

BUT, if that affair produces a child, that can potentially change everything.

It’s also worth pointing out that only 3% of men who cheat actually leave their wives for the mistress. But when they do, 75% of the time they end up divorcing.

Amazingly, almost 3% of all children born are the result of an affair the wife had. And most of the time, that child is raised by a man who isn’t the father but doesn’t know that.

Check out these and a lot more statistics about infidelity in a recent article I published. The biggest shocker was how long couples take to recover from an affair.

Just click the link to read that on my site.

Should I ask my husband to verify the paternity of the child of an affair?

The paternity of a child would be something worth verifying. And as the betrayed partner, there’s nothing wrong with you insisting on it.

After all, both your husband and the young mother had unprotected sex. And both were clearly OK with marital infidelity and putting morals aside for their own gratification.

And since we know they’re capable of that, there’s no reason she may not have also been having unprotected sex with other men.

So for your sake and the potential future marital satisfaction, I would want to know 100% if the kid was indeed my spouse’s. And of course if it’s not, while that’s a horrible place to put the child, it’s now no longer your probable or your husbands.

Since my husband will be seeing the biological mother occasionally, are they likely to rekindle things?

There is always a chance that he or she will be weak and look for an opportunity to revisit their affair.

After all, just because there’s been a lot of drama doesn’t mean whatever drew them together in the first place is gone. And while it’s entirely possible for your husband to recommit himself to you and be dedicated to rebuilding a good marriage, he will have to be strong.

And as the saying goes, “if a woman sets the table, a man’s gonna eat”. 

And by that, I mean that we men can be weak creatures if being hit on by an attractive woman. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve turned down plenty of advances when I was in committed relationships. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

So the best plan, if you and he stay together, is to:

  • Do custody exchanges or visitations at a public place
  • You go with him
  • For a period of time, he should be 100% willing to let you monitor his phone, email, and social accounts

After all, he’s got to earn back your trust. This is a difficult situation. And if he is serious about wanting to turn your unhappy marriage into a good relationship, he’s got to be open, honest, and transparent.

Final thoughts

In this article, we took a detailed look at marriages that are rocked not only by infidelity, but also a child born of the affair.

We looked at the terrible toll that takes on the marriage. But we also looked at what the marriage’s chances of survival are.

Ultimately, we answered the question of can a marriage survive a love child? And we looked at the best way to get through this for couples that wish to.

You CAN save your marriage — even if your spouse is had or is having a child with an affair partner.

I’ve been in your shoes. You want to move beyond the pain. And you desperately want your marriage to have trust, mutual acceptance, and respect; whether you were the cheater or the cheated on, and even with a baby in the picture.

Luckily, all hope is NOT lost, and there is something you can do, even if your spouse isn’t sure they want to save the marriage.

Mend the Marriage is a course developed by renowned marriage expert Brad Browning who has well over half a million subscribers on his YouTube channel.

This quote from Dr. Bruce H, Ph.D. perfectly sums up the quality work Mend the Marriage does:

“It is the ultimate guide for stopping divorce and saving your marriage. Most importantly, it provides you with effective, professional solutions for each (possible issue) and inspires you to make some changes.”

Serious about saving or improving your relationship?

CLICK HERE to watch this free short video from Brad.


Some infidelity statistics data are courtesy of the General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Other info courtesy of the book Intimacy After Infidelity: How to Rebuild and Affair-Proof Your Marriage by Steven Solomon & Lorie Teagno.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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