Behind the Back Daddy

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Dear Hoopers,
I am the mother of a 7-week old boy who was conceived during a 4-month affair with a man I will call “Jay”. Twenty-seven years ago, (I was 18; he was 24) Jay and I were deeply in love but ended our relationship after being together for only two years. I learned that Jay had a one-night affair with a very close friend of mine which eventually led me to fall out of love with him. Jay was very much in love with me and struggled for many years to get over our relationship. I moved on quickly and became involved with a man, who I will call “Cee” and with whom I now have 5 children ages 4 through fourteen. We have been living together for 15 years.

Jay and I were less than happy about my unplanned pregnancy, however continuing it was the only option for me; Jay would have preferred I terminate it. He eventually stopped calling and became virtually unreachable during my entire pregnancy until around my 36th week at which time he text messaged me consistently until the birth of my son in August. I have been taking my 7-week old son to visit his biological father, Jay periodically. Cee is completely unaware of the visits with Jay. I haven’t told Cee who my baby boy’s biological father is but he knows he isn’t the father. Both men seem to genuinely love and care for my baby boy. Jay is currently involved with a woman who lives in Columbia that he met on FB in February 2017 (I was 15 weeks pregnant at the time.) I believe they are in love so there’s no chance for he and I to ever be together. I thought I could handle the visits with Jay and my baby boy but I’m finding it more and difficult to be in his company as I am still very much in love with him.

My question is how do I tell Jay that I can no longer bring the baby to see him at his discretion and behind Cee’s back without telling him the real reason and appearing to be vindictive and jealous? I don’t want to keep Jay’s son from him but I also need time to get over him and move on with my life.
-Behind the Back Daddy

Dear Behind the Back,
I definitely hear that your recent behind the back visits with Jay aren’t working for you, but I’m a little unclear about your relationship priorities. Are you trying to remain in a committed relationship with Cee? If NOT, then I think you can proceed straightforwardly in establishing clear communication and expectations with both of the men in your life. You don’t owe Cee an explanation of where you are and what you are doing but I think he would appreciate openness from you about you and your children.

If you ARE trying to remain in a committed relationship with Cee, then I think drastic steps will need to be taken. I would imagine that you two have been in a rough place since the affair. The fact that you had a sexual affair outside of your relationship could be difficult enough for him but the birth of a son from the affair is a continual reminder of your infidelity.

I’m not sure how you could move forward in your relationship with Cee without total honesty about Jay and your past together.

-Dr. Ryan

I’m not sure how you could move forward in your relationship with Cee without total honesty about Jay and your past together. Cee needs to be a full and collaborative partner in the forward movement of your life. This includes honesty about what happened and what is going to happen between you and Jay. Get rid of the secret visits behind his back and instead be an open book about your visits. Setting limits on the time with Jay isn’t vindictive but is a way to take care of yourself and your relationship with Cee.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Behind the Back,
I believe you know what you need to do. You don’t like sneaking around behind your current partner’s back and it can’t feel good to know you are not receiving reciprocated love. While moving on can be hard, Jay has chosen to do so and so can you.

How involved does Jay want to be in this baby’s life? You say that he did not want a child in the beginning but he has since come around to being more active in your life and your son’s life. He has a right to see the child as his biological father, but you hold leverage in what that looks like. You can try to establish a system through friendly terms or can decide together through legal action. I would begin with an honest and open conversation with Jay, expressing your feelings and letting him know that you are ready to move on. Periodic visits are one thing but assuming the responsibility of a father figure is another.

Periodic visits are one thing but assuming the responsibility of a father figure is another.


You’ve built a life with Cee and he is a loving father. At some point you need to have a conversation with Cee to determine whether or not he has the desire to know about the biological father of the baby. Perhaps he has no need to know since he loves this baby like his own, but transparency should be honored.