Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Fiancé Doesn’t Want My Daughter To See Her Father Anymore”

I need help making my fiancé and father of my unborn baby understand my feelings towards the father of my 19-year-old daughter and 5-year-old daughter. He says that if I continue to let my younger daughter see her father, he will leave me. It’s like I have to choose between my daughter having a relationship with her father or my fiancé staying with me; it’s overwhelming. I’m six months pregnant and this has been going on since we met. He always told me that I had to make the father of my children more financially responsible for them. The process of child support is ongoing, and I really feel like he should not take this as far as making me choose between him and letting my daughter keep seeing her father.

Please give me a bit of advice regarding this matter. — Impossible Choice

Let me help you reframe the decision you have to make: Continue being a loving and compassionate mother to your 5-year-old daughter by supporting her relationship with her father or be a terrible mother by choosing to continue a relationship with a hateful and insecure man who doesn’t have the emotional depth to foster a pet parakeet let alone help you raise your children. The choice seems obvious to me. That you are pregnant with your fiancé’s baby — even though his assholery precedes your pregnancy and has been going on since you met! — is a complication you’re going to have to deal with the way anyone deals with raising a child with someone she is not romantically involved with. You’re familiar with the process already. Lawyer up and try to protect yourself and your baby as much as you can. Definitely the best way to protect all your children is cutting the fiancé out of your life as a romantic partner and establishing clear boundaries with him.

And in the future, when someone tells you who they are, believe them. Your fiancé has been trying to control you since you met. What kind of man starts telling a woman he’s just met how to conduct her personal affairs and how to co-parent with an ex? Not a man you want to have dinner with, let along agree to marry and build a family and future with. Any man who pulls that kind of shit should be kicked to the curb immediately. For your children’s benefit, if not your own, please, please don’t let yourself fall for this kind of jerk again. Your children don’t have the power or the voice to say no to the crazy. You have to say no for them and protect them from people who don’t have their best interests in mind. It’s never too late to start being a better mom. That’s the true choice you’re faced with making. Please don’t let your children down.

After losing my husband to cancer, I was left alone with a 7-month-old baby. I decided I needed a partner, perhaps a second child (despite being 42), and a good father for my daughter. I met this wonderful man, “Roger,” on a single parent website, and everything was perfect. His 11-year-old son is so polite, he is fantastic. Then out of nowhere Roger explains he isn’t the biological father of the child. The child, who has been calling him “Dad” in front of me for the past two months, has never been adopted either. Roger explained that 11 years ago he was in the process of separating from the mother when she slept with someone else, got pregnant, and then came back to him saying she didn’t know who the baby’s father was for sure. They got back together and he gave the child his last name. Then he presented the woman to his family for the first time and told everyone it was his baby. He probably believed it too. Or wanted to believe it.

Since the relationship with the mother wasn’t working out (again), Roger moved out. They were never married, but Roger continued to help raise the child, considering him his own. When the child was about two, the mother wanted a DNA test so that the child could be made aware of his true biological father. But the biologocal father, a rich and famous man, doesn’t want the child. So, to legally force him to take the DNA test, my boyfriend “had to” decline any rights to the child, thereby losing all rights and custody over the child. The biological father took the test, it was positive, and he never wanted to meet with the boy. The judge accepted that the boy keep Roger’s last name.

Now, where is the problem? Well, Roger has been lying to his entire family and friends from the very beginning! Now I have to lie to them too! Or at least I have to pretend. The child’s mother doesn’t want to work and has been demanding Roger’s money. She is nine years older than he is — about 47 — and she has never dated anyone else for the past 11 years!!! She got fat and unattractive and hasn’t got a single diploma or any job qualification. She refuses to get a job as a supermarket cashier or do anything that isn’t her dream of becoming a famous painter. She demands to be paid for eveything: rent, food, the child’s clothes, etc. From what I understand, she demands money from Roger to see the boy and to have him on weekends. When she found out Roger was dating someone, she forbade her son from coming to my place. She used the Apple tracking system to make sure her son wasn’t with me.

Roger and I recently started trying to have a baby of our own. I asked him how he intends on managing the financial aspect of having a baby, which costs a lot around here, since I can’t pay for it myself. He answered that he didn’t know how. Well, I sure can’t raise a second child on my own.

Sometimes he says, “It’s just money” or “I have to consider my son’s interest.” And, of course, the child often argues with his mom, before crying over the phone and complaining about her. The child is manipulative. He is trying to get the most out of every one of us. He is sweet, but he can’t be trusted.

How do you advise I deal with these circumstances? — Wants a Second

 
Well, for one thing, stop trying to have a baby you can’t afford with a man you have such deep issues with. If nothing else I say resonates with you, please, dear God, let THAT be something you hear: Stop trying to have a baby!! And if you are blinded by some fantasy that this is going to somehow magically all work out and you’re going to get the family you want — two kids with a helpful and loving co-parent who has no baggage that interferes with your life — and you continue trying to have a baby, I pray fate intervenes to prevent a pregnancy from happening.

Roger doesn’t sound like a bad person. He sounds like a man who has been trying to do right by a boy he considers a son, who comes from a complicated background. And in trying to do right — likely without legal representation and advice, it sounds like — he has made some missteps. Those missteps have been costly in a variety of ways. The best thing he can do for himself now is to get legal help to find out if there’s any way he can get some kind of parental protection since the two biological parents this poor boy has seem uninterested in providing for him.

All that said, this is only your problem if you decide to stay with Roger and build a future together, which I would advise you not to do. For one thing, your thinly-veiled contempt for an 11-year-old from a broken home suggests you lack the compassion and empathy to be an appropriate partner for a single dad, let alone be a co-parent to a yet-to-be-conceived child (again, please don’t!!) and a stepparent to a child you don’t think Roger should even claim (despite raising him as his own since birth).

I cannot imagine the grief and the agony and the overwhelming stress of losing a partner shortly after having a baby together. I’m not judging you for wanting to find a new partner to love you, to love and help parent your child, and to build the family together with that you thought you were building with your husband. I do hope that you let yourself properly process and grieve the immense loss you suffered, maybe even with the support of a counselor or a group of people familiar with the specific pain of losing a young spouse, before you begin searching for a new partner. If you haven’t done that, it’s absolutely not too late to seek out that support now. Because while the idea of providing your child with a second parent to raise and love her is nice, what is more important is that the parent she already has is as strong as she can be on her own — emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. If you are all those things, you will be as good to your child as two parents. And if you are all of those things, you will attract people who are equally strong and capable, as friends and as potential romantic partners.

You already have the family you crave for your daughter and yourself. It’s you and she. Work on making the foundation of your family as strong as you can so that if and when there’s an opportunity to build on it, there will be enough support for it. I don’t believe you’re there yet. I think if you’re honest with yourself, you don’t believe you’re there yet either. Continuing to invest in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere isn’t going to help you get there. Let Roger go and then do the work on yourself that needs to be done to make yourself the best mom and, eventually, when the time is right, a good partner and even potential stepparent.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

25 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Artsygirl October 30, 2018, 8:23 am

    Holy shit -I can’t even with both these LWs.
    LW1 – any man that would demand you cut ties with the father of your young child is a grade A asshat. Also, unless your ex is abusive you could be found guilty in interference with the rights of a non-custodial parent. Get thee to a lawyer and have a custody agreement written up for your unborn child.
    LW2 – Yep, WWS. You dislike your BF’s son because he is interfering with your plans – which seemed to be driven by your biological clock rather than reason. The boy has two bio parents that are selfish, horrible people and your BF sounds spineless – he should not be trying to have a kid with without financial stability and he gives into his ex rather than rocking the boat (which I get since he doesn’t have a lot of legal ground to stand on). Seriously this whole situation is one evil twin short of a daytime soap.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie October 30, 2018, 9:13 am

    No no no no no no no no no.
    LW 1- from the outset your bf has been jealous, insecure and manipulative. Why have you stayed? Why have you put this man’s needs above those of your children? You are their protector, in particular the younger. Why are you letting someone demand you make your world smaller so that he feels bigger? See a lawyer, learn your rights. End the relationship.

    LW2 -you sound incredibly selfish. You would make a good partner for the first LW’s bf – I’m sure he’d happily give you a new baby and be much more comfortable that you’re a widow than a divorcee.

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  • avatar

    RedBlue October 30, 2018, 9:37 am

    Sigh. You know what? You need a license to have a dog. You need a license to drive a car. You need a license to run a business.

    Yet, to have a child, all you need is a backseat of a car and active hormones. Science really needs to find a way of weeding out the stupid, incredibly incompetent and lazy from having children. Children are the future and most precious.

    Today’s writers are living proof of that not all have the mental capability to have and raise children.

    Yet, from experience, realize that both the above two scenarios are possible.

    I fear for the world.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse October 30, 2018, 12:45 pm

      I don’t think licensing people and controlling who gets to procreate (eugenics) is going to solve the worlds problems.

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      • avatar

        RedBlue October 31, 2018, 8:46 am

        Yet the number of neglected and abused children seems to grow every year.

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        LisforLeslie October 31, 2018, 9:05 am

        RedBlue – no one wants abused children. Eugenics (which is what you are proposing) is not reasonable argument. This is not a novel concept, it’s an idea that has proven itself to target minorities and people considered as “lesser”. There are still women alive who were involuntarily sterilized under such “helpful” programs. Go read their stories before dying on this hill.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse October 31, 2018, 9:14 am

        I actually really doubt the number of neglected and abused children is growing. Despite the best efforts of some, the world is arguably a less violent place than it ever has been.

        Vote for candidates that support education. That aren’t taking money away from schools. Vote for candidates that support sex education in schools. Vote for candidates that want to provide education and services to lower income people. That’s what food stamps and head start etc are for.

        Forcibly sterilizing people with lower IQ or the poor is a pretty disgusting idea. Let’s not take concepts favored by the Nazis mainstream

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    • avatar

      keyblade October 31, 2018, 12:09 pm

      There are a lot of non-profits which offer families free or low cost workshops. People make fun of the LDS for getting MRS. degrees but knowing some basic things about kids and families isn’t the worst idea. Classes already are offered, usually in the form of non-profits and often in churches but they aren’t incentivized .

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    • avatar

      dinoceros October 31, 2018, 3:24 pm

      These examples don’t really make a lot of sense. There are plenty of bad drivers, bad pet owners, bad business owners. Those don’t support an argument for eugenics.

      The reasons that children end up in situations where they don’t have what they need or are abused often go back to bigger issues that our society creates. Someone has anger issues and abuses a kid? Well, too bad mental health care is stigmatized and difficult to get. Someone makes bad choices as a parent because of financial constraints? Guess economic inequality isn’t so great. An uneducated person doesn’t prioritize the right things in their kid’s life? Education is not a big priority here.

      I don’t know if this is a philosophical argument or not, but based on who’s in charge here, weeding out “bad parents” wouldn’t actually do that — it would favor privileged groups and not really help anything. Anybody who is concerned about the state of the world and how children are treated needs to focus more on the institutions that our society is based on, not on the individuals who are affected by them.

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  • avatar

    JD October 30, 2018, 10:44 am

    Why do these women have such low standards. If he has said that since you met then you leave, not get pregnant. Good job, now you have even more problems. Sigh. He is right that the ex should financially contribute but frankly you don’t just decide your child can’t see her father if the courts say otherwise, nor does he.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros October 30, 2018, 10:53 am

    LW1: It was a really bad idea to keep dating and ultimately have a baby with someone you had such a big compatibility with. I hope this will finally be the motivation you need to realize that this guy isn’t a good person if he’s this jealous and gives ultimatums like this.

    LW2: Unless people continue to ask who the bio dad is, then I think it’s a little melodramatic to say you have to lie to people for him. I know people who are raising other people’s kids in this context, and they don’t go around shouting that it’s not their bio kid, mostly for the kid’s sake, so they don’t assume they are unwanted.

    Also, why would you start trying to have a kid with someone that you think is so terrible and who doesn’t think they can financially support a kid? The way you framed your search for a partner, it sounds like you just wanted “someone” to procreate with, without actually determining if they were right for you. Also, I don’t really care how terrible you think the mom is — if your go-to insult is about how unattractive she is and her weight, then you sound like a really rude, petty person.

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    • avatar

      Essie October 30, 2018, 11:14 am

      Yeah, that really struck me, too. No matter what the biological history is, he’s part of your boyfriend’s family. Why such insulting, hurtful comments about his mother? Why does her weight matter? Why does your opinion of her attractiveness matter? You’re not painting a very attractive picture of yourself.

      But to get to your question – as everyone else said, stop trying to have a child with this man, immediately. You have NO power to change anything about the situation with the boy. None. Your boyfriend considers him to be his son. Your boyfriend’s family considers him to be part of their family. You either accept this child, totally, and love him as part of your family, or you remove yourself from this relationship.

      Because if you continue on the path you’re on, you’re going to hurt the boy, your boyfriend, and yourself, and the relationship is doomed anyway.

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  • avatar

    Smalls October 30, 2018, 12:43 pm

    I’m the most concerned about your attitude toward Roger’s son (and the fact that they aren’t biologically related matters very little in terms of how they think of each other, which is clearly a parent/child relationship). He’s a kid. He’s coming from tough circumstances. His real father doesn’t want him. His mother is using him as a chip to get payment from the only person in his life who seems to want him around. And while you feel he might be exhibiting behavior that’s tough to deal with, that’s unfortunately what happens to some kids who grow up in circumstances like that. If you can’t have compassion for that, you probably need to exit your relationship with Roger. His son is part of that relationship, whatever issues he may or may not have.

    Wendy’s advice on focusing on yourself, your grieving, and your daughter is spot on. Don’t have a baby with this man –or any man– until you are in a better place.

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  • meadowphoenix

    meadowphoenix October 30, 2018, 12:51 pm

    LW1 and LW2: Get a grip. Focus on what’s best for your current children not what any of your prospective partners want. Don’t have anymore kids till you figure that out.

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  • avatar

    brise October 30, 2018, 4:33 pm

    LW1: it is sad to let yourself be bullied like this. Defend your children. If you don’t, nobody will.
    LW2: you seem in a full denial of your loss and mourning. You sank into a new project, which is obviously a recipe for disaster, only to avoid the big trauma you faced being untimely widowed. You sound horrible towards this boy – and Roger IS his father, whatever the genes say. Stop diving into this drama which is not yours, and focus on your own reconstruction. Go to therapy, you need it.
    And don’t have a kid you can’t afford. Imagine what you will offer to this family of yours! Not great. Focus on your actual baby and on yourself. Let him go.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom October 30, 2018, 5:23 pm

    LW1 It is probably illegal to prevent your daughter from seeing her dad. If there is a custody agreement you are legally obligated to follow it. Anyone who is demanding that you break the law is bad for you. Just as serious, it’s not good for your daughter so you refuse. You refuse even if he leaves because you are her mom and it is your responsibility to make good decisions on her behalf. You have an obligation to keep your daughter safe and that means emotionally safe. She needs a relationship with her dad. Anyone who would demand that you do something that emotionally hurts your daughter should be removed from your life as fast as possible.

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    • avatar

      saneinca October 31, 2018, 12:44 pm

      I think the BF is saying that unless the ex (father of child) pays child support, LW1 should not allow him to see the daughter. LW1 feels it should not be linked to child support issues.

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      • avatar

        JD October 31, 2018, 1:32 pm

        While many people do make them linked it shouldn’t be. Finances are separate from the child having a relationship with their father. My father still owes almost half a million dollars in child support and im 36 now but my mother always allowed him to see me regardless of him paying. I am so grateful I have those memories with my father. I did realize reality when I got older and was mad for a long time but now we have a great relationship because I want to continue the good memories.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros October 31, 2018, 3:17 pm

        Yeah, and kids aren’t going to really understand that punishment. They either think their dad doesn’t want to see them, or they find out that their dad doesn’t want to pay money for them AND they don’t get to see him.

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  • avatar

    ron October 30, 2018, 8:36 pm

    LW #2 —
    Your story makes zero sense. If the son’s mother wanted a paternity test, but your bf was happy with the status quo, why would he agree to relinquish all rights in order to get the other guy to take the test? If the other guy wants zero to do with his bio-son, why would he insist that your bf relinquish all parental rights? I’d think he’d be happy for your boyfriend to continue to be dad to this kid he wants nothing to do with. If the boys mother wants money to raise her son, it should be easy, with paternity test in hand, to get court-ordered child support from this rich and famous man who would be required to provide more $ than your bf can provide. Either LW #2 is a troll with poor plot skill or her bf is a liar who is the actual bio-father of this boy.

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    • avatar

      saneinca October 30, 2018, 8:49 pm

      I think the BF’s ex is getting child support from the bio-dad but he is not there to act as a father to the child. That role is being played by BF, but the ex also wants additional money from BF. At least that is what I made of the story.

      Personally I think the BF has many issues and will not make a good partner to LW2.

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  • avatar

    Vathena October 30, 2018, 8:38 pm

    LW1 and when y’all break up, he’ll be totally fine with giving you financial support for the baby, but never seeing him/her, right? Because he believes that’s what exes should do?

    LW2 I’m sorry for your loss. If you really want another child, it shouldn’t be with this man. It seems like maybe you just went with the first halfway decent guy to come along. If you aren’t on board with him and all his baggage, maybe it’s time to move on and look into other options (donor sperm, etc).

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy October 31, 2018, 5:10 am

    From LW2:

    ” Thank you Wendy for your answer. Thank you for being so perseptive and understanding.
    I read all the comments of the girls as well and I re-read my own. I was myself shocked to see the choices of words in my own writting. It hurt to read some comments… because they were accurate.
    It was the first time I told someone. Just after I send you my initial email I realized, at the very moment I pushed the “send” button that I hadn’t really realized that “Roger” considered the child as his own. I hadn’t accepted the reality yet.
    I also realized that the day I sent you my email was the 2 year anniversary of my husband’s death. These last few days I had felt wierdely empty and in pain without figuring out why.
    Last night Roger and I had a talk.
    I realized that I was afraid of being left alone, again. At that point it is important to mention that my husband wasn’t the only one who died that trimester and that I was left completely alone, without anyone from my family living in the same country or even to come to the funeral or just visit me and help with the baby. I endured it all on my own.
    Then I spent months trying to pay taxes and get enough money to live with my daughter who was sick so often…
    I suffer from a sort of partial amnesia when it comes to the months my husband was in hospital before he died… all that pain and fear is still inside me. It comes and goes like a tornado.
    I told Roger I was going to contact the psychiatrist I had brievely seen 2 years ago and start sessions again. I do need time to process all that… I will take the time to.

    As for my beloved boyfriend, he is a very good person. He is the kind of person who tries really hard to make people around him happy.
    And yes, you were right. He doesn’t have any legal advice on how to handle things. I do. I did it for him but my lawyer panicked when she heard all the details and advised against anything he did, I don’t think that helped us in any way.

    One of the pretextes that made me so angry with Roger’s ex is that she egoistically demands too much from him. She refuses to do her share of anything and has tried to interfere in our relation ship to end it. She is afraid that raising a familly of our own means less money for her… and she takes it on us, including the boy.

    Now, we live in France. Laws here are different. Roger will not get any legal approoval of any kind from the state. I checked it out.
    Mentalities are also different. People have a different approach to others and appearances. I’m not judging, just observing.
    Life is tough in Paris, where Roger’s ex lives. ( we don’t, too expensive).
    Finding a steady job requires a lot of qualifications and personal social skills. Unfortunately she doesn’t posess any of all that. Or perhaps she just doesn’t want to work.
    Roger reassured me he would equally financially provide for all of his children.
    I trust him. I may have been completely shaken by adversity but I don’t embellish reality.
    Maybe the opposite.
    I have gained enough experience over the years, to know who he really is.
    What I need to do, is work on myself.
    Take the time to cry over the loss my daughter and I suffered.
    Take the time to forgive my family for not coming to help me.
    Take the time, not to feel guilty because I m moving on with my life…”

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie October 31, 2018, 6:52 am

      LW -thank you for the update. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot. A lot of grief and fear. But you recognize it and that’s important. The pain is not going to go away, but the sharpness will dull with time.

      You have found a good man, and you could push him away. Or you can accept that he has made this commitment and it’s a testament to the good person he is.

      You’re taking the right steps. Good luck.

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  • avatar

    dmarie November 2, 2018, 3:46 pm

    LW2: I wanted to give you some perspective from someone in a situation like Rodger’s son but grown. I was raised by my stepdad. I haven’t seen my bio father in over 24 years and I’m only 30. Almost no one who wasn’t around when I was a child to know who my biofather was knows. They all assume that my dad is biologically my dad, because why wouldn’t they? My own children don’t know. I plan to tell them when they are older and can understand better. It isn’t really lying. Parenthood isn’t really about genetics. It’s about everything that comes after that. He IS my dad.

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