It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Wants What’s Best for Daughter” who was getting divorced and wondering whether to move with her 16-month-old daughter two hours away to be closer to family support or to stay near her estranged husband who provided little to no financial/child support for their daughter. “So should I sacrifice my financial security and comfort in the hopes my daughter can have a better relationship with her father? Or, should I uproot our lives and start over closer to family?” she asked. Keep reading to see what she decided.
I ultimately did take your advice to move, and I am so glad I did. My daughter and I are living with my grandmother. My grandmother is such a great help, and I think it has been a really healthy thing for her to have us there so she isn’t alone. My mom bought a house a street over, and we see her several times a week. We are all happy and thriving.
I plan to go to school, but for the time being I found a part-time job with high hourly pay and it has been perfect. Since I eliminated every expense I could, I now have 3-day weekends with my daughter.
Most commenters were supportive and kind. Some questioned my judgment for having a child with my husband in the first place. Trust me, no one has been harder on me than myself in questioning how I ended up with such a person. I have been going to therapy, going to a divorce support group, and just generally working on myself. I am terrified of choosing the wrong mate again, not that dating is even on my radar at the moment. All I can say is that he told me he wanted the same things I did. And when there was something at issue, he was never ever honest. I was working with the best information I had at the time. My therapist suggested that he is a narcissist.
Of course, I was right about his not exercising his visitation time or paying child support. He was fired from his job just before the divorce was final, and he just completely quit paying. But he has been taking weekend trips with his girlfriend and just generally living it up. I am pursuing legal recourse to hold him financially responsible. I often think about how, if I had stayed, I would have been up shit creek trying to pay rent and daycare with no child support.
Even though my daughter isn’t two yet, she asks for her daddy every day. Initially, I tried to encourage him to Facetime with her, but I’ve given up on even that. I obviously can’t control him, and it just upset me more to push him to be there. So for now I try to disengage from him as much as possible. These are just a few of the reasons that I am glad that I moved.
Thank you for your advice. I did weigh what you and the commenters said in my decision.
Thanks so much for the update. I’m happy to hear you and your daughter have support and love now and that you’re doing well. She is lucky to have one parent who loves and prioritizes her as well as a network of family to help raise her. Keep working on yourself and seeing a therapist and, when the time is right, you will be in a much better place, emotionally, to choose a better partner for yourself.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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ktfran October 10, 2016, 1:42 pm
LW, I’m sorry your ex sucks. I’m even more sorry for your daughter. But I definitely think you made a good decision. And now she is surrounded by people who will love and support both of you. That’s a great thing. Even if it isn’t her father.
I wish you both the best of luck and much happiness.
RedRoverRedRover October 10, 2016, 2:44 pm
I agree, you obviously made the right decision (which you clearly realize as well). Sorry your ex is such an ass, but at least now you’re in a good position to give your daughter a great life going forward. And if and when you start dating again, you’ll now have your past experiences to help you identify jerks like your ex. Good luck for your future!
Juliecatharine October 10, 2016, 3:59 pm
LW, it seems like you are doing the right things for you and your daughter. I’m sorry your ex is a douche–hopefully the legal system can at least get him to pay child support. Good luck and best wishes for a happy, peaceful life with your family.
Bittergaymark October 11, 2016, 2:53 am
Honestly? Maybe don’t date for a good long while. Focus on you and your daughter…
RedRoverRedRover October 11, 2016, 8:51 am
She said that’s what she’s doing.
marynn October 11, 2016, 9:25 am
I just hope the LW reads this link! It’s such a beautiful column from Dear Sugar for a mom dealing with an absent parent of a baby. I immeadiately thought of this when I read this letter. Best of luck to you LW!
Louis P February 4, 2017, 7:45 am
If your ex is not going to pay support and he doesn’t want to participate in his child’s life willingly the best thing you can do for that little girl is to encourage him to sign away his parental rights.
Every little girl deserves a daddy and I’m sure some day you will find someone who is more than willing to fill that role. Having your ex terminate his parental rights now will clear the path for this person to legally make her his daughter some day.
Plus if you wait til you’ve already found him your ex is probably not going to be so willing to cooperate knowing there’s another man willing to take on the role he has been neglecting.