Note: Please do not use ancestry kits as a paternity test. If you genuinely want to check your child is your own - get a proper paternity test at your local MedLab (medical lab). Ancestry tests are not accurate, and should not be used to test paternity. In my case, it simply raised the alarm to get a proper test.
First of all, I'm sorry if this ends up being long and rambly, I am not really in the best state of mind. My world has been turned upside down over the last couple of weeks. I just want to write as much context as possible so I can get the best advice needed. For obvious reasons, I am not yet comfortable talking about this with my friends/parents/siblings.
Background: I met my wife when we were in highschool and we married in college. We have 5 beautiful children together - really, I consider them a total blessing regardless of what I'm about to bring up - and up until a couple of weeks ago I thought that we had the perfect marriage.
We were typical high school sweethearts, we go out together, we never fight, I feel like I've done everything a loving husband should do. I am saying this not to make myself out as the perfect husband.
For example, my work has always meant I work long hours and maybe haven't always been there when she needed me, but I want to stress that I've never felt our marriage was in any trouble. And never in a million years would I ever have suspected my wife of being disloyal - she's always done everything she could to support me and take care of our children.
Now, my eldest daughter recently had an ancestry test done. And the results of the ancestry test strongly suggested I was not her father. She confided this to me privately, showing me the results, and I could tell she was visibly upset by this.
Of course, the first thing I did was reassure her that no matter what, she's my daughter and I'll always love her unconditionally. But secondly, the two of us decided to get an official paternity test since the ancestry tests are not completely reliable. It comes back and I am indeed not her biological father.
This news really broke me. I'm ashamed to say I broke down in tears in front of my daughter. The combination of finding out about my wife's infidelity and how upset I was making my daughter by how I was reacting. I really wish I had kept it in for her sake, but I didn't.
Following this, I asked my other children, except my youngest, to come and see me. I wanted to know the extent of my wife's infidelity - if it was a one off, I could maybe work past it, especially given how long ago it would be. However I didn't want to tell my youngest as she is still in school, a teenager, and really I didn't think it was appropriate to tell her yet.
We tell the other three what has happened, I reassure them that I love them unconditionally and that I'll always be there dad, but that I need to know how long this has been going on. God, I can't begin to explain how touching their reaction was.
They didn't care I wasn't their biological father, they were just upset at how heart broken I was. I feel like the only thing that has kept me going these last couple of weeks is their unwavering support.
So we have paternity tests for each of the three done. Not only are none of them my biological children, together four of my children have three different fathers. Which somehow made it worse. It's like, she wasn't just having an ongoing affair, she was having multiple? I can't explain how this make it worse, but it just does.
So I confront my wife with this, expecting her to confess and beg for forgiveness. She doesn't confess. She doesn't even take it seriously. She says the tests must be flawed. All four? How the hell am I supposed to take that seriously?
I keep bringing it up and she keeps brushing it off, getting progressively more annoyed at me. When I bring it up she will try and guilt trip me. "We've been together since high school, do you seriously not trust me?" etc. But how am I supposed to trust her in the face of such overwhelming evidence?
Now that I have rambled and explained what has happened. I guess let me ask a few direct questions for advice. How can I reassure my children this doesn't change anything between us? I feel like the way I have reacted, total break downs, has made them second guess this despite however many times I reassure them.
How do I handle my youngest daughter? I feel like our marriage is beyond saving, and I will need to tell my daughter something. I don't want her to know the truth until she's older, but I also don't want my wife lying and making me out to be the villain.Is there anyway, anyway at all, you think I could or should save my marriage?
I've been with my wife my entire life it's almost impossible to see a life without her. I know that the answer should be a clear cut "leave her", but we have 5 kids together. If there's anything that can be done to save our marriage, I want to consider it seriously.
Thanks so much to everyone for all the support and advice. I have not replied to as many comments as I should have, but I've read each and every one and taken your advice to heart. I'll continue reading any comments or messages you send me.
Again, I can't begin to thank you for all your support. If this is resolved I might post an update, but if she continues to lie then I don't think I'll bother, as there's not much more I can add. From the advice in this and the r/parenting thread I've decided to:
Get second tests just in case some freak accident has occurred. Confront my wife with all four of my older children present. Tell my youngest of the situation. Ask her if she wants to have a paternity test. It will be entirely her decision. I'm 100% going to get some form of therapy. My mental state has really been deteriorating over the last couple of weeks, and I owe it to my kids to hold it to together.
Depending on whether my wife tells the truth, and what her explanation is (if any), I have not ruled out some form of counselling. But at the moment I think divorce is inevitable unless she changes her attitude drastically. Contact a lawyer and prepare for divorce, if it comes to that once again.
I'd like to thank all of you for the time you took to express your support and share advice. I guess I should clarify some things that people have been asking.
How did the ancestry results suggests I wasn't her father?
My family is entirely Irish. No relatives outside of Ireland other than my immediate family, and I even have the stereotypical red hair. My daughter's ancestry results showed nothing from the British isles/western Europe/northern Europe. That's what set off alarm bells, but it's by no means conclusive, hence the paternity tests.
Which two children share the same father?
My two eldest daughters share the same father.
How did your wife conceive your children?
Our eldest daughter was not planned. All the others were planned. Each time we conceived several months after we started trying. Our first three planned children were both our ideas, while she pressured me into having our youngest. She was in her late thirties and wanted one last child before it was too late, and eventually I agreed. She was conceived several months after we started trying, too.
Are you infertile?
I don't know. I've never had a fertility test done. But the fact that none of our planned children are mine makes me think that I might be. I will have a fertility test as soon as possible.
You need to consult a lawyer ASAP.
Speaking with a lawyer is very important right now.
Ok wow, im sorry She refuses to address the situation? Have your children all confront her at once ... Intervention style.
I have a 14 year old daughter and believe me they know when something is up. She will be extremely upset that she was the only one left out if you don’t tell her. So sorry you are going through this but so I have so much respect for you for never leaving those kids. You are their father no matter what. Thank you for the silver kind stranger!!
I have been debating whether or not to post an update, because nothing was ever resolved. I decided I would post it here in case anyone is still waiting for one. I apologize for not updating early when I promised I would. My kids and I confronted their mother shortly after making that reddit post. It really didn't go well.
I think the prospect that no one believed her finally hit home, because she completely broke down and apologized profusely, but refused to explain herself, or anything that would give myself peace of mind.
For the next few weeks we barely said a word to each other; I was hoping she was thinking it over, and I expected her to eventually sit me down and explain herself. I figured she was so far deep in a lie that got out of control, she needed time to think things over. Nope.
I came home one evening to find she had taken her own life. So I lost the love of my life, and I'll never know what mistakes she had made. I really wish I could go back in time and forget about it all. Whatever mistakes she made, I honestly wanted to work through it, and now I'm just riddled with guilt that I pressed her for an answer.
The worst part of this entire ordeal was watching my kids work so hard to keep me together, after having lost their mother.Anyway, please tell your family you love them while you have the chance.
Jesus Christ I did not expect that to end like that.
I can’t even imagine the numerous, strong emotions OOP must be feeling. I hope he can find his peace.
Even worse, the daughter who found the first results. She must be (unjustifiedly) blaming herself.
If this is real, the wife was extremely selfish. All the choices she made were only with herself in mind and she couldn't face the consequences of it. Therapy is needed on this one. I hope OP and his children are able to overcome the loss and betrayal.
*editing to add: As someone who has been the one to find a close relative after trying to unalive themselves, I fully understand that it is typically associated with mental illness and needs a lot of care/support/love/and understanding to deal with. However, the wife only did it to escape having to handle the fall out.