Part Two of responses to the father who’s considering leaving his three young sons to live across the country with a woman who has three young daughters (January 26):
Reader #1 – “I think your advice lacked the moral clarity and fortitude that’s required in this situation.
“This man owes it to his children to be there for them as much as he can, not just pop in every few months with presents.
“Very nice for him that he found a new love, but his children should be his priority until they’re adults, when he’s free to do and be with anyone he wants.
“Most things in life are a shade of grey. Not this one.”
Ellie – I appreciate your view and the opportunity you’ve provided for me to share with readers some of the thinking that goes into my answers.
I believe this man senses that the move’s a mistake. Why else would he write me? He already knows which of his friends he can count on to say, “Follow your heart.”
And he knows which relatives and other friends will say he has no right to leave his own children.
So I chose a different approach, asking, what’s the rush? He should visit this woman – not move - and discover her expectations:
How often he’ll be able to get back to his own kids. The time, costs, and emotions involved.
I recommended getting counselling to probe his motivation, since he’s acting on passion and impulse, yet already recognizes he needs guidance.
He should ask the therapist the likely impact of his decision on his kids’ lives.
He needs to find his own moral clarity, not just be told what to do.
I also knew that readers would present others’ experiences and what attitudes he’ll face.
Reader #2 – “My parents divorced a year after I married in my early 20's. My younger brother still lived at home.
“Dad left Mom for "the love of his life" and began a new family. My brother and I were expected to understand.
“Still, 35 years later, the impact of the perceived rejection by him is still there, although Dad doesn't see or get it. He never has, he just followed his heart.
“Dad’s on Wife #4 now. Kids are forever.
“It’s the ultimate in selfishness to create them and then dump them when something better comes along.
“What you do will forever impact on your relationship with them, even when the "woman of your dreams" is no longer around.
“At one time your "ex" was the love of your life with whom you produced three beautiful kids.
“Ask yourself: Are you willing to risk the love, respect, self esteem, and good times you could have together with your children for the rest of your life?
“Is it fair to do this to them?”
Reader #3 – “I wanted to say how professional and helpful your advice was to “Torn. “
“I do wonder if that man realizes that if he moves across country to raise someone else's three girls that his own flesh and blood boys will at their young age, quickly, be calling someone else Dad?
“Is he afraid of taking true responsibility for raising his children and how they turn out? And how could he know he's met the love of his life?
“He's apparently mistaking transference and lust of the moment with dealing face-on with his issues.
“I can't understand how someone could abandon their own children to raise someone else's.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 85, whose late-wife’s children are selling her house where he lives (Jan. 28):
Reader – “The wife just passed away. This man needs an estate lawyer to contest the will she left.
“In a jurisdiction where Succession Law Reform Act applies, he will get the first $250,000 of the estate and possibly the rest of the estate split evenly, depending on how the will is worded.
“The estate (her children) can have the costs ordered against them.”
Reader #2 – “Since this is a second marriage, if the woman’s will was written before their marriage, it is null and void.”
Ellie – This column receives letters from across the globe, so while you may read it in a particular newspaper or online, confidentiality is the reason that the actual jurisdiction of the writer isn’t revealed.
That’s why I often urge people, as in this case, to get legal advice that’s specific to the jurisdiction in which they live.
Tip of the day:
People who seek advice usually need guidance more than orders.