jbake8422 : so I experienced something similar and feel I can weigh in here as someone who has been in your shoes.
11 years ago, I was 20 and met my now husband who was 27 at the time. We met at work. He had been single for a long time and both of us were only interested in a pretty casual arrangement. He was also seeing someone else on and off (they would see each other whenever they were single) but they were compatible long term. Long story short, I developed feelings and told him he could be be exclusive with me or continue seeing other people but in that event, I would be out because it wasn”t what I wanted anymore. He told me he was with me, ended up sleeping with her again (i assume more than once) and she got pregnant. When he told me she was pregnant, we obviously broke up but being young and naive and given that we saw each other at work all the time, we started talking again and eventually i decided I wanted to be with him.
So in my case, the baby was definitely his and there was infedility and betrayal and a whole lot of drama for a very, verrrry new relationship. My parents understandably, lost their minds when I told them I was dating an older man who was having a child with another woman. It was a mess.
OP, the next few years were some of the hardest of our lives. My husband and I saw the ugliest parts of each other. I sort of pushed all my feelings of anger towards him to the side so I could focus on just getting through the newborn/baby stage. I will say, he grew a tremendous amount and took to fatherhood very naturally. He had been selfish in the past and once he found out he was having a baby, his priorities became very clear and he was laser focused on putting the child first. He knew he didn’t want a relationship with the mother and they had many long talks about how being off and on was a pattern they couldn’t continue if they were bringing a child into the world. The mother ended up having a csection and my husband stayed at her house for 2 weeks while she recovered. After that, he spent 4 evenings a week at her house and would also go over on the weekends. He was always available if she called him because he wanted to be there for his child. This was very hard on me and while at 21, I didn’t have the maturity to understand the magnitude of what I was signing up for, I did know that the tiny baby had to come first. I met my stepson in person when he was 4 months old, which was the earliest his mother was comfortable with. His mother and I also messaged and got coffee often to try to get to know each other, which was tense but necessary. Around the time my stepson was one, life was finally settled enough that I felt I could deal with the foundational cracks in my relationship and my husband and I began working through the broken trust and betrayal. I would say it wasn’t until year 3 that we were finally in a good place. Trust of course, is something that gets built over time through actions so while we weren’t 100%, we were both committed to nurturing it together. All this to say, it’s been 7 years since that turning point and we have since gotten married and have a daughter together. I am due any day with our son. My husband is an incredible father and partner who tells me everyday how much he appreciates me. My step son and I are exceptionally close and we consider his mother, her husband and their children part of the family. We were at their wedding and they were at ours. We celebrate birthdays and holidays together and frequently have them over for pizza night because I think it’s nice for families to spend time together and it helps the 4 parents stay united as a team especially as my stepson is becoming a young man with attitude to prove it. My husband and I look at our life and where we started and I am very proud of what we built given our absolute shitshow of a start.
all this to say, if this baby is his and if you choose to stay and support him, know that it is possible to make it work. But bee, it can be so very hard. Even without the infidelity, watching someone you love share such an incredible and life defining experience with someone else is not easy. Knowing that you are one of 2 women that your boyfriend is accountable to is not easy. Putting the stability and happiness of his child ahead of the needs of your relationship, is not easy. And finally, becoming attached to the child and becoming a fixture in that baby’s life makes all the stakes 10 thousand times higher. It is possible to end up with a happy ending and even though I love where my life is now, i would be hard pressed to tell a friend to put herself in this situation knowing how much heartache lies ahead before they get to the other side. I would say we took lemons and made the sweetest lemonade out of them, but man, it was really rough for a good long while. Really spend some time thinking about whether or not you can handle this. Good luck.