Complicated

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
Complicated
6
Sun, 05-18-2003 - 4:50pm
I have a complicated question. My fiance John got an annulment 3 years ago. The girl he married was pregnant with a child she told him was his (she is very messed up). It was not. He found this out through DNA testing. She also had a 2 year old when they married. He grew close to these children before the break up and has continued to see them over the years. They live in another town. John does not have children of his own and I can no longer have any. I have an 8 year old who loves him. We have talked about adoption and that is something he would like. Here's the problem: His ex-wifes children call him dad. They do not know any different, nobody has told them. I see a huge future problem with this. What if the ex gets remarried and never lets the children see John again? What if we adopt? How will my daughter feel about this? We took my daughter to spend time with the children. They were very jealous of my daughter and the ex-wife had a screaming fit because I was there. Also the only time John has off is during the weekend which leaves very little time for us and when he goes to see the children he is gone the whole day. He has only been to see them 3 times in the last 5 months, which I think is wrong also. If he is committed he should be going to see them on a regular basis. I just see so many future problems with this picture and I am having a hard time understanding why he can't let go and move on. Please, please, please help! We have gone over and over and over this without finding a solution. Thank you!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: fotogal62
Sun, 05-18-2003 - 6:57pm
There is no perfect solution - the positions are mutually exclusive, so there can be no "fair" compromise. So, instead, I'll give you my advice on what I think is best.

He should see those other kids one weekend a month, and if their mother will allow it, every once in a while they should visit with him at your place. This is what's best for those kids, and they are the innocent parties. The fact that "someday" the ex-wife may decide to stop allowing him to visit is a risk HE should bear. Leaving the kids high and dry now would make certain the outcome that you fear, but which may never occur.

With regard to adoption, your daughter's feelings need to be taken into account. Any reputable adoption agency will make sure that she is part of the decision, and will help in bringing her around to feeling that it's a good idea and a benefit to all (four) of you. If this becomes difficult, then some effort must be put into identifying what HER issues are and then dealing with them. This will be a good thing, even if you don't wind up adopting for whatever reason.

I'm not sure if you meant to give the impression that adoption would affect his relationship with or ability to see the other children. It shouldn't have any effect. If it appears that it will, that's an indication that the adoption is not right at this time. Adoptions mean that the adopted child is brought into the entirety of the new family, which accommodates him, but does not "break stride" from its regular course. If you can't do that, wait until you can.

Lee M.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
In reply to: fotogal62
Sun, 05-18-2003 - 8:49pm
Thank you for the advise. You gave me an idea that I hadn't thought of in having them come to our home. About the adoption part: I was worried that when the time came that we do find a wonderful child to come into our home and lives that all Johns attention would be for the child we adopt and the ex's children would fall to the wayside.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
In reply to: fotogal62
Sun, 05-18-2003 - 9:56pm
He could not "move on" from these children any more than you could "move on" from your daughter. He formed a bond with them. Whatever the future may bring, you need to realize that any man who is willing to make the effort for children who are not his own is a very worthy man of your love. It will be a challenge, but he is their "daddy" and he is right to stay in their lives. It would be no different than if they were his. Good luck!

April

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
In reply to: fotogal62
Sun, 05-18-2003 - 10:53pm
Thank you April! What I meant to say was that I want us to be able to move on with a solution to this situation.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: fotogal62
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 1:21am
Here's the problem:

*** His ex-wifes children call him dad. They do not know any different, nobody has told them. I see a huge future problem with this.

I don't think that there's any problem with this as the situation will be inevitably be corrected later when the kids are better able to understand and cope with the situation.

*** What if the ex gets remarried and never lets the children see John again?

Whether she gets remarried or not, he has no legal right to see the children, although he could take the matter to court and they may grant him visitation since he is the defacto "Dad" and it would be in the children's best interest to maintain their relationship with him. As far as his ex is concerned, she has already established a pattern of behavior (i.e. permitting visitation) to a man who she knows is not their biological father, so that too would be in his favor. Also, since they were married, or at least sleeping together when the child was born, he could either ignor or refute the DNA test and then refuse to take another electing to operate on the presumption that he is the father...but while this would possibly bring him the visitation benefits, it would also bring him the financial responsibility. The best course of action is to maintain his visitation (and possibly support) of the children and try to keep his relationship with his ex as cordial as possible and hope that she would choose what is best for the children rather than what's easiest for her.

*** What if we adopt? How will my daughter feel about this?

Your daughter will have to accept that there are other children in your fiance's life, just as if these children were his own...and in a very real respect, they are. It will be up to the two of you to make this relationship as pleasant and cooperative as possible, although it shouldn't cause much more of a problem than if she were suddenly introduced to a few new cousins.

*** We took my daughter to spend time with the children. They were very jealous of my daughter and the ex-wife had a screaming fit because I was there.

It's only natural for the kids to be jealous, but they'll sort out all of the "relationship" stuff in due course. As for the ex...well all of the adults are going to have to make an effort to get along. If you can't be in the same room, then your finace should arrange to visit the kids at his place so you're not being thrown in the face of the ex.

** Also the only time John has off is during the weekend which leaves very little time for us and when he goes to see the children he is gone the whole day. He has only been to see them 3 times in the last 5 months, which I think is wrong also. If he is committed he should be going to see them on a regular basis.

Your right it should be on a more regular basis, as the only ones being hurt are the kids. I think the best option would be to arrange to take the kids for the day or perhaps the weekend so you can arrange to spend time as a "family"...this, of course, is dependant upon the ex being cooperative. If she insists on being a hinderance, or if he is unable to be a more meaningful presence in their lives, then he should cut it off and move on...for their sakes, rather than leaving them wanting or feeling abandoned.

*** I just see so many future problems with this picture and I am having a hard time understanding why he can't let go and move on.

Despite the "but they're not your kids" thing...you should always discuss this with the presumption that your finace feels that this IS his kid and is trying to be as responsible to their feelings and needs as&wsible...and in that light, could you so easily "let go and move on" from your daughter?

*** Please, please, please help! We have gone over and over and over this without finding a solution.

The workable solution would be if the ex would allow you to integrate the kids into your lives on a much greater level...for the entire weekend, or perhaps for a few weeks in the summer...much as you would if they were actually his biological children. Short of that, I think you're doomed to this middle-ground Purgatory for the foreseeable future...and that's going to play havoc on your current relationship. And rather than live in Purgatory...I'd suggest that he try to protect his current family and relationship and let the other go, particularly as he's only an occasional influence in their lives as it is.

Mac

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2003
In reply to: fotogal62
Mon, 05-19-2003 - 9:35am
Thank you Mac! You had a lot of good points to consider.