WHILE it is a trying situation for a wife to forgive her husband and reconcile after he cheats, it is even more difficult for her to accept him after he has not only cheated, but brings a new addition to the family – a child or even children.

It’s a situation 25-year-old Susan Bartley is all too familiar with, as her bond of trust was severed when she discovered that her partner of six years was having an affair.

To make matters worse, Bartley later received a telephone call from her partner’s mistress, who told her she was a few months pregnant.

“It was terrible,” she told All Woman. “The other woman would call my cellphone at nights from his cellphone when he had told me earlier that he was attending to projects at work. She would stalk me! My boyfriend was silent on the matter. He was a good father to my daughter and I loved him dearly although we were having relationship problems.

She continued: “Did I mention that the other woman lived a few blocks away from my dwelling? My neighbours were obviously aware of my spouse’s relationship and started whispering behind my back and then if that wasn’t enough, my ‘matey’ would pass by my gate in the tightest blouses so that I could get a glimpse of her protruding belly — my boyfriend’s child,” she said.

Bartley said she went into major depression when her lover seemed all excited about his newborn son and even took him to their home.

“I wanted to smash both him and his newborn’s heads in. I was bitter. I couldn’t stand to look at the child although I knew he was just an infant and innocent of what was going on,” she admitted.

Bartley admitted that several months later, she tried accepting the child as she wanted to save her relationship.

“I tried to be the perfect stepmother and I honestly wanted him to bond with my daughter, but me being in acceptance with all the turmoil he put me through gave my boyfriend the privilege to continue the relationship with his mistress. This made me hate the child more as I thought he was a major cause of our problems.”

Bartley said she gave her boyfriend an ultimatum to take care of his son without frequent communication with the child’s mother, or to end their six year relationship.

He chose to end the relationship and now lives with his son’s mother a few blocks away from her.

While Bartley’s story ended with an end to her relationship, there are other women caught in similar situations whose relationships continue to thrive despite their men’s deception.

The key, counselling psychologist Ivret Williams said, is for women to forgive and not make the children pay for what happened.

“It will be difficult for some women to welcome these children, but when the healing has taken place these children could become part of the extended family,” Williams said.