#AskSJ: She’s lying about the Child’s Paternity
I was young and I made a mistake. Ten years ago on the eve of my husband paying bride price, I had unprotected sex with my ex whom I still loved. I didn’t love my husband. It’s just that he had money. I fell pregnant by my ex and my husband knows nothing. My ex, the father of the child knows and financially supports my son. This thing has been eating me for a decade. What should I do? – Guilty sister.
Dear ‘Guilty sister’
What a cluster fuck!
I never understand why people “move on” when we are still in love with someone else as if those feelings will go away with a finger snap. Unprotected sex is a no-no and people just don’t care. Your ex could have infected you. Anyway, here you are and clearly, you are not in love with your husband. I take it you neglected to mention that you are still sleeping with your ex! Protection, please! Who else is he sleeping with now?
As it should, it has been eating you for decades.
Time to come clean sister.
The other day I was speaking with my aunt about the harm and hurt that ensues when couples fall out. You definitely will have to rope in elders from your family. If you follow this column, I always say that family is there to support you. Speak to trusted aunts and uncles in your family, preferably the same ones who coupled you to your lobolo day. They will have to break it down to your husband and I suppose negotiate a separation.
I do not see this going down well with your husband at all. Your go-betweens will have to be on their best behaviour and apologise to this man and his family on your behalf. You did him bad.
You are not alone either.
Research at the National University of Science and Technology uncovered that 35% of women lie about the paternity of their children. The figure is definitely much higher than that.
Your family may get mad at you and with good reason because you lied to them too. They have already spent your lobolo money. My sister, what the fuck do you even mean that the father of the child “supports the child?” He supports you! That money is yours to spend playgirl. That is why you are feeling bad.
He is as complicit as you are. How can he be underhandedly pumping money for a child that he has no custody to? Trust me, if he was not pumping money and sweetening you up on the App, you wouldn’t be feeling bad at all! Is the child – to your horror – starting to look more like him?
Which surname does the child use?
The father of the child will have to come clean on this as well since he knew you were getting customarily married the day after sleeping with you. If the two of you still want to be together and your child, you will have to leave your husband because I can guarantee you that at some point, both these men will rise up to say that they have been supporting you and the poor child. This whole thing is unfair to a chain of people and you are at the centre. Speak to him first.
Money – one of the four problems of all human beings – has got you in this jungle. The father, your ex, the guy I suspect you are still sleeping with on the side, the one you are in love with. Still, if he is all of the above as good as you paint him, his family should offer a myriad of payment to your husband. All of you involved will have to read a book or two about diplomacy and good counselling to solve this.
If your family refuses to touch this issue, I hope you have good relations in church. Try the church community of church elders to go-between. Maybe your husband will forgive you and choose to remain with you. The trauma may most likely be on your son who will have to learn his true paternity and at the age of 10 when his memories of the man that is not his father are solid. Rather now than later, because later, I guarantee you that you will lose all of these men of in your life.
Sonny Jermain is an award-winning public health, maternal, sexual and reproductive health rights facilitator and a traditional psychic. This column appears Thursdays on #ENTHUSE. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp +263 71 387 2286. Follow @SonnyJermain on Twitter.