I divorced my second husband five years ago. I had no other choice.
I’ve been successfully self-employed throughout my adult life. When I met this man, I had two older children and an amicable divorce from their father. I was swept off my feet by the romantic-seeming new man who came to work for me.
We were living/working together in a country very different/far from our separate home countries.
He soon revealed his true nature, complaining about his job and arguing with me publicly. He also expected me to be the only source of money for our life together.
I did whatever necessary to divorce, ending up with me supporting him, indefinitely. I even paid for his lawyer.
I have full custody of our daughter, now 11, yet I still have to pay her father for child support.
She didn’t want to see him because of his constant ranting against me.
When one of my older children moved to another country for advanced studies, I moved there too. I took a break from work projects and focused on making my young daughter feel secure in her new surroundings and school.
After a short while, my ex secretly moved there too, very close to my place. I’d just paid a full-year’s lease. It may sound foolish that I stayed, but I believed that despite all his anger, he’d never hurt us.
I enrolled my daughter in a private school which honoured my instruction that her father can never take her home with him. She still doesn’t want to see him due to the daily guilt-inducing emails he sends her and me, too, saying “I can’t live without you.”
I sought legal help in this country and was advised that all he can insist on, due to my daughter’s young age, is that my ex must copy my lawyer on all these emails.
My closest girlfriend here considers my ex a “psycho-stalker.” I can’t let myself believe that or it’d destroy me. What’s your advice to keep my daughter safe?
Since your own finances aren’t an issue, take charge by moving away from your rented house that’s so close to his. If he also moves, you may have grounds for a restraining order, depending on the laws of that country.
Since you haven’t mentioned the country, I can only reply in broad terms to the legal issues. A restraining order may put both you and your daughter (and older children, too) at greater ease.
Your ex sounds too reactive for you to take any chances with him. Also, your children’s sense of security is most important.
If necessary, you may even have to move back to your home country to get the legal protections and peace of mind that your whole family needs.
Readers’ Commentaries Regarding the young woman who’s discovered “My Real Father” (August 7):
“Writing as a donor-conceived person, a "real" father nurtures, cares, is involved with the child/children in his care.
“The writer feels incomplete only knowing half her story. She’s entitled to know as much as possible.
“Since her biological father died relatively young, there may be health issues she needs to know, half-siblings/extended family.
“As for the grandmother, with only one long-ago contact, there may be hurt on both sides.
“She should write her, giving her time to consider a response. Hopefully, as well as mentioning her pride in knowing who fathered her, she’ll express belated sympathy on his demise.”
Reader #2 – “Differentiate between the understanding of who’s a “real” and who a “biological/birth” parent.
“The writer elevates the man who’s essentially the sperm-giver to “real” status, and the man who ostensibly raised her, to not real.
“Yet he’s her parent, the one that raised, loved, and was there for her. For most people, this is the same as a biological/birth parent. But, for adopted families, it’s of critical importance.”
Reader #3 – “If a couple has a baby using an egg from a third person female donor, nobody would dare refer to the egg provider as the “real mother.”
“Times have changed considerably. Today’s father isn’t a figurehead. He is a nurturer of his children along with the mother.
“Re-examine the outdated assumption contained in the “real father” phrase. It’s insulting and hurtful to the real loving, protective father who was living with and raising the children.”
Tip of the day:
When a marriage becomes a constant battleground, move on however possible. Protecting children and yourself is most important.