Nine years ago, my ex-wife left me for another man and had a child by him soon after.
We’ve got joint custody of our 13 and 11 year old sons. I have since remarried and have twin 5 year old daughters with my current wife. Being that my wife and I are both lawyers, and, therefore, what you may say are “well off,” we often take our children and my sons on family trips to Disneyworld and even overseas whenever school is out. Plus, I’ve always made it my duty to raise and provide for my children in every way.
My problem is the ex-wife. She basically left me for a good-for-only-one-thing type of dude who can’t keep a job longer than two years, won’t marry her, gambles obsessively, and cheats on her constantly (talk about the irony). I recently heard from my mother, who still speaks to my ex-wife regularly, that the daughter they have together is apparently feeling left out in that she doesn’t get to go on trips, get nice clothes, or even that much attention from her so-called daddy.
My mother surprisingly feels I should take this child under my wing, which has me totally appalled since we’re not even related! I have NO biological or legal connection to this child and the fact that my ex-wife would cheat on me, have a baby on me, and try to request through my own mother to help support HER child has got me pissed beyond belief! I’m not bitter about the breakup I just don’t see the point in handling some other man’s business. And, here’s the kicker -even my wife is starting to voice the same opinions, although I suspect the only reason she’s siding with my mother is to attempt to win favor with her because she knows my mom has always resented our interracial union.
I constantly find myself wondering would people still expect me to “be the bigger person,” or to “have a heart” if I were a woman who had to endure all of this. Please help! – Got Fo’ And Don’t Want No Mo’
Dear Mr. Got Fo’ And Don’t Want No Mo’,
Well, no, you don’t owe your ex-wife, her “good-for-only-one-thing” baby daddy, or their child anything. You are not obligated to care for, nurture, or support a child that his not biologically yours, or one that you are not even related to. And, especially, when your wife cheated on you, left you for another man, reproduced a child with him, and he refuses to nurture, support, or care for his own child. What part of the game is this that folks make you feel obligated to take care of another man’s child, and he sits back and let’s you do it? The hell!!
Sir, it is his responsibility, and not yours. He has to be a man and step up to the plate, and do his fatherly and husband duty. Your obligation is to your two children you had with her prior to her leaving you. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing above and beyond.
She is dead a** wrong for calling your mother and soliciting through her some support from you. That’s just ratchet behavior, and goes to show you that she has not learned anything since leaving you for another man. She’s still trying to use and pimp you. LOL! And, now, she’s trying to get your mother in on the game. Don’t fall for the okey doke!
Let me ask you this: Has she apologized or admitted she was wrong for cheating? Has she said to you that she knew she was wrong, and acknowledged the damage it has caused you, your sons, and her family?
I understand that you are not bitter over it, any longer, however, the way you handle this moving forward is to let your ex-wife know that any issues, concerns, or business related to your two sons is all that matters to you. The child she has with her baby daddy as part of their union is a matter and concern they have to work out between them. It has nothing to do with you. You don’t want to hear about his child, their problems, issues, or challenges. It has nothing to do with your sons, and it doesn’t affect them. Therefore, the money you work hard for to care for your family, and your children is so that you can do for them, and continue to support them, and your family. That’s why you get up and go to work every day. That is what motivates you!
Your mother should not be reporting to you any conversations, any reports, or any parts of your ex-wife’s business with you. You have to let your mother know that you are not interested in what your ex-wife is doing, what is going on in her household, and what her baby daddy is doing and not doing. It is not any of your concern, or business. Therefore, shut that –ish down. When your mother brings up your ex-wife, tell her to stop right there. Don’t go any further. If it has nothing to do with your sons then you don’t want to hear it. And, if she chooses to continue to have conversations with your ex-wife, and she is so concerned about her life and what she’s doing, then she help her out. But, you will not get involved. And, you would appreciate it if she didn’t call you and give you a report about it either.
You need to tell your wife that though you appreciate her opinion, and concern about another man’s child. But, her first and only priority has to be the concern of her own household. Don’t worry about your ex-wife’s house, business, or relationship. Again, if it has nothing to do with your sons, and their well-being, then there will be no discussions about your ex-wife, her child, and her baby daddy. Remind her that the money you work hard to support her, your family, and your four children affords them the opportunity to travel, buy her nice things, and for her to spend when she needs. That each day when you awake and go to work it is for your family to be able to enjoy the finer things in life. You work for your family, and so that they won’t have to worry about anything.
And, don’t get me wrong, I get that your wife feels for the other child, and probably doesn’t want her to feel left out. But, like you said, if the shoe was on the other foot I don’t think you would have sympathy, or supporters rallying for your cause. And, if your wife feels the need to side with your mother so that she may feel wanted, included, or accepted, then let her know this is not the way to do it. This situation is not the opportunity to get on the “mother-in-law-wagon.”
Now, what I do suggest is that if, and only if you can, and if you choose to help your ex-wife’s daughter to feel included, then I strongly suggest that you arrange with them that they pay half. They should at least come up with half of all costs. And, I urge you to get the money upfront. Don’t let them, “Get back with you,” or, “We’ll pay you later.” No, sir. If they want her to go on the trips with you, and they want her to be included, then they have to give you half of the costs upfront. No payment plans, and no if, ands, or buts. You may be “well off,” but paying for travel costs for six family members is very expensive, and to add another person would make costs extremely expensive. I guess everyone figures since you’re doing so well that you can include this other child. This is why you need to tell folks to stay out of your pockets, and your bank account. And, your ex-wife needs to tell her baby daddy to get off his a** and do something. If they really want her to be included then he will be a man and work his a** off to make sure his own child could travel, and do some of the things you’re doing.
But, my biggest concern is that you have to be responsible for someone else’s child while traveling, and on vacation. That is where you have to set up some boundaries and let them know what’s going to take place, how things are going to be handled, and what to do in case of an emergency. They need to know what your rules are, how she has to follow your rules, and no back talking, no throwing fits, or tantrums. You raise your children, but, her child is not yours, and you don’t know how she may respond to discipline, or being responsible, or even interacting with your children. So, I suggest you coordinate in-state, and local play dates with your children. See how she acts around you, your wife, and your children. Let her hang out and spend time with your children. But, again, do this only if you choose to, and if you want to include her. Don’t let others guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do. – Terrance Dean
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