I am 31 and my boyfriend is 41. We have been dating for 6 months and I am head over heels in love with him. When we first met he lied about his age and told me he was 35, I discovered he was actually 41 about a month later, and confronted him. He confessed and I let him know never to lie to me again. He then confessed two other things to me; he had a felony conviction of theft by taking when he was 18 and that he has another child other than the 2 that he had previously told me about. He told me that this child is now 10 years old and he has never seen the child, even though the child and mother live within 5-7 miles of his home. He has been court ordered to pay child support for this child, but says he wants nothing to do with the child because he feels like at the time the mother tricked him into getting her pregnant (said she was on the pill and wasn’t). My dilemma is that at the time we talked about it, I told him that he needed to make that situation right, and stop punishing the child for the faults of him and this woman over 10 years ago. That was 5 months ago, and he still has not made any efforts to make a relationship with this child. I am starting to get irritated because I have an issue with any man who doesn’t take care of his children, both financially and emotionally. He is an excellent and loving father to his 2 other children, one he has full custody of. This situation just doesn’t sit right with me because I feel that if he can s*** on his child, his blood; then he will probably not have any problems with doing the same to me. I feel like it is affecting my trust for him. Am I wrong for feeling this way? Should I mind my own business and not let the estrangement of him and his son affect our relationship.
Thank you for bringing this to TRP, I know it couldn’t have been easy for you to pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard over this. I hope what I’m about to say helps you find an answer that will benefit your relationship.
At first glance I was all set to go on about how the actions of parents affect children and about responsibility etc. On reading a little closer I understand your dilemma and to a degree why you have this dilemma. So I’m going to take it piece by piece and try to present your problem back to you from a different angle.
Your relationship began with a lie. People lie for different reasons; the three main ones are, to get out of trouble, to get what they want and to protect themselves from emotional hurt. In this case he may have thought that if you knew his real age you wouldn’t continue to date him. You confronted him and he not only did he put his hands up to it, he divulged information previously withheld. This indicates two things to me. He likes you and wants this relationship to work and knows that part of that is to put all his baggage out there. The other is he trusts you. To reveal an issue as sensitive as jail and an unrecognized child, takes a lot of trust one month into a relationship.
Turning his back on the child
I may be way off base here, but I don’t think he has (turned his back) on the child. The fact that he told you about the child makes me think he thinks more about this child than he is letting on. His devotion to the other two is what makes me think, the other child is still very much part of him. Especially as he watches the other two grow.
As a woman when it comes to children we are blinkered with our views regarding paternity. We want things done in a particular way and if it isn’t we get frustrated. You have been ‘dating’ for 6mths, a time when couples are starting to move the relationship up a notch. Becoming more and more part of each others’ lives. I don’t think you are in a secure enough position to be dictating to this man how to run his life. However, as someone he has confided in, invested some trust and confidence in, I do feel you are in a position to DISCUSS this issue with him. He may never have actually sat down and really thought about the impact his decision is having on this child. You are probably aware of this and see a situation that is easily rectified, yet stubbornness is preventing from being resolved. That is YOUR frustration. I don’t think it’s a deal breaker. I think this is a situation that could have a happy solution, but you are going to have to put your frustration aside and put your relationship with this man first.
There are a lot of issues here. Your trust in him, because he lied to you, at the beginning of your courtship. His trust in women, because his right to choose was taken from him on an issue that was very close to his heart. He came clean to you… he gave you details and reasons for his behaviour and situation. His issue has never been resolved. Instead… he was hauled into court and instructed to maintain for 18yrs minimum, a child that he didn’t want. We could argue the whys and wherefores regarding the responsibility of contraception but it wouldn’t change how he feels now.
Do you like this man? Does he possess the qualities of someone that you could see yourself making a life with? In his actions and behaviour around family and loved ones, is he selfish and offhand? Is he attentive to your needs as a new love interest? What is he saying about your immediate future and the growth of your relationship? These are the things you need to be considering when thinking about whether to continue with the relationship or not. If he is committed to building a solid foundation for a relationship to blossom and grow with you, and you are too… then I think you would be remiss in throwing it away simply because he’s not doing what you want him to do regarding this child.
The father and child relationship
This man has no relationship with his own flesh and blood… I doubt very much that, that doesn’t bother him. However, he’s holding onto the deceit that he had fallen victim to. We all know what it’s like when we hold onto things. You hold on so long that you even question why you are still mad. If you want to help this situation, show this man that he can trust again, that the man he is, wouldn’t let a child go through all the negative aspects of growing up without a solid relationship with his father. He wouldn’t allow a child of his to suffer the consequences of feeling abandoned, neglected, unloved when he knew he could do something about it. Be gentle, don’t ride him but plant the seeds and water them, until the idea becomes one he HAS to face. If he is half the man you make him out to be… it will be positively resolved. Whatever you do… don’t make it about you!
My answer has been lengthy, it’s been pretty detailed because I wanted to show you how intricate, what seems to be a cut and dried situation, can be. I also wanted to show you how we can often miss a valuable lesson and opportunity to project love and understanding, when we put our own feelings before the actual issue. I mean, he told you that he went to jail and you are still there five months later… there must be something about him you like. Hang on in there… show him you are committed to the relationship and to encouraging him to be the best that he can be. Which also means being at peace with himself regarding his children. Remember, this child is old enough to reject him, none of us like to be rejected… for all you know he did think about it and convinced himself that the child probably doesn’t want him now anyway so what’s the point… why set himself up to be rejected. You have a lot of thinking and talking to do.
Good luck with it.
So, what do you think? Enquiring minds want to know!