Now, four years later, I still haven’t met his daughter. We have a son together and I would like for my son to meet his sister, but my husband said that now is not a good time. He doesn’t want to stress his daughter out and he doesn’t want any problems with her mother. But I’m not someone he just met! I’m his wife and partner of eight years.
He says he picks his daughter up from school and drops her off at home two days out of the week and I don’t have to worry. I told him I’m not worried; I just believe that, if we are a family, then there should be no secrets. I don’t want to believe he’s still involved with his daughter’s mother, but he makes me feel that way, and my uncertainty sometimes causes conflict between us. — More Than His Baby Mama
Well, now I’ve got one more topic to add to my list of things every couple should discuss before getting married — or at least an addendum to discussion topic #2: children. Under that category, I suggest discussing whether you want kids, how many you want, what forms of birth control you’ll use (if any), and what options you’ll try if you want children and can’t conceive naturally within an agreed-upon time. All good advice if I do say so myself, but I guess I need to add: “If either of you already has kids and are in the kids’ lives, for fuck’s sake, introduce them to your significant other before tying the knot. And if you are engaged to someone you know has a child, don’t get married if you don’t know why you haven’t met the child yet.” Because seriously, that’s some shady-ass business right there.
But we’re beyond that now. You knew your husband had a child and yet, apparently without details about their relationship, or his involvement in his kid’s life (or lack of involvement as the case may be), or his relationship with the child’s mother, or how he planned to integrate his child in your life together and potential future family, you married him anyway. And now you have a husband who disappears at least two afternoons a week to supposedly pick up this mystery daughter from school and take her home… to a woman your husband was once involved with — a woman you don’t know and have never met. No shit your uncertainty is causing some conflict between you.
You are HIS WIFE. You need to know about this very major part of his life. You need to know his daughter and her mother and why on earth he hasn’t made any attempt to integrate them into your life together. Is he romantically involved with his ex? Maybe! Do they have additional children you don’t know about? Possibly! Does he have other kids with other women? Who knows! Is he really seeing his daughter two afternoons a week or is he up to something else he doesn’t want you to know about? Hmm. Anything is possible when we’re talking about a man who could keep his daughter’s existence a secret from you for four years and her identity a mystery to your for eight. Anything is possible.
You say you aren’t worried, but you should be. You’re married to a man whose whereabouts are a mystery to you. You’re married to a man who doesn’t think it’s important for you to know his daughter — a daughter whose life he says he is at least moderately involved in. You’re married to a man who has no interest in introducing his kids to each other. And you don’t have any idea why that’s the case? Woman, get worried, because that’s shady.
If I were you, I would absolutely insist that by the end of the month, he organize a meeting between you and his daughter. Once you have met her, the three adults — you, your husband, and his daughter’s mother — should discuss a good time for them to meet each other. If your husband refuses to do this, I would contact his ex directly and work it out with her. But be prepared to find out some information that may surprise you. A man doesn’t keep a part of his family a secret from his partner for eight years just because “it isn’t a good time.” There’s a reason you’ve been kept in the dark, and there’s a good chance that reason may turn your world upside down.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.