Recently, one of my friends told me he’s devastated by his recent divorce. But he said they stayed too long together, and that his ex-wife should have left him six years ago instead of now, when he had an affair and his lover got pregnant. She decided to keep the child, and my friend told me that if his ex didn’t push him to know this kid, he would never have fulfilled his role as a father.
My friend’s relationship with his daughter is difficult. She’s never happy to see him, he said. He’s spoiling her with presents, but she’s never satisfied. And he told me he feels more and more distant with her over time. When she will be older, she will certainly be resentful against her mom for deciding to keep her despite my ex’s opposition. But the damage is done, and we can’t turn back time.
My friend said that his ex chose to stay with him albeit he cheated on her and had a kid with another woman, while his ex couldn’t conceive a child anymore. He asked me if I would have stayed in a situation like this. And the truth is, I’m not sure I could forgive this. He said this because his ex told him she stayed in their marriage because of the child. His ex feared his child would have been hurt if she didn’t intervene.
Well, his child has a mother, her own one. And her mom has a comfortable situation as a lawyer in a high profile company. One of my other friends told me she was raised by her single mom, and that her mom didn’t have much help when she was young. Yet, for all the money in the world, she told me she wouldn’t want a father. “I had loving grand parents. And I knew my biological father, but nobody tried to impose me his presence, and I didn’t want him to be a part of my life. I knew that my mom and he didn’t get along because he wasn’t nice with her. And he was certainly not a good father. He was always M.I.A.” she said. I asked her if she was mad at her mom for deciding to keep her. And she replied negatively. “I have the most amazing mom in the world, who did a great job raising me on her own. I’m not sure this would have been easy if she hooked up with my biological dad who would have made her unhappy” she said.
Most of the women I know who stay in a bad marriage admit they do this for their kids. But what kind of example are they giving them? “When I was married with S., we started to fight regularly when our second child was born. I didn’t know what to do until one day, my eldest daughter started to scream at me and told me I was mad. Just like her father. This was clear to me: I couldn’t bring my children in an environment full of hate. I had to divorce“F., 34, said. “There was no love between my parents. They barely spoke to each other and tried to be nice in front of us. But we weren’t that naive. I think my mom should have divorced and raised us on her own, instead of staying in this destructive relationship“P., 37, said.
So, my friend’s story only shows one thing: his ex tried to make him feel guilty a lot. She was afraid of losing him. But love isn’t about keeping someone. This is called imprisoning. No wonder he wanted to get out of this.
We cannot force the one we love to stay with us.