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Unsure of how to go about caring for my other son


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Old 2nd August 2017, 1:27 PM   #1
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Unsure of how to go about caring for my other son

Five years ago, I had an affair with a very young girl. Our affair produced a son, Brian. My wife and I reconciled, and outside of Brian, everything is fine. Brian is a very sore spot for my wife children, (all teenagers) and I. He is a great little boy, but he's just always a reminder that I am an idiot.

I love Brian, he is very thoughtful, kind, and I think he might have some musical talent, and I know his mom is working with him on it. He has a great ear for music and understanding of it. It actually freaks me out a little.

When he comes over, I take him for a few days every month, my whole family gets very distant and angry. I understand why, but it's difficult. Brian is staying with us this week. Yesterday, I couldn't find him, and he was sitting in the kitchen with his head down crying. I asked him what the problem was and he said "I hate myself " a five year old!!! That scares me. I don't know where he'd learn that.

His mom is great with him I think, she just turned 22, but already puts Brian first. I know she gets frustrated with him, but I think she does a good job. Recently, she asked me to give up my rights to him. I haven't told my wife because I know she'll want me to. She tolerates him, but if for example I see him in public with his mom I am not allowed to acknowledge him. This happened a few weeks ago. I was out to dinner with a large group of our family, some who don't know about Brian, when he appeared in the doorway. He kept waving at me, and I couldn't wave back or go see him. Finally I had to text her to get him away from my view because people we were with were noticing him. I was so mad at her, but she keeps saying she didn't know I was there. Her story is he was playing with some other kids when he walked over and did that and she had no clue until I told her he was waving at me. I don't know if I believe her though.

I don't know what to do, if I should keep my rights or not. I love him but he's very difficult on my family. What should I do?
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Old 2nd August 2017, 1:39 PM   #2
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This is one of the most compelling yet flat-out difficult questions I've ever seen posted here.


You have legitimate concerns over the feelings of your wife and other kids on one hand, having this reminder of your (pretty monumental) screw-up, and the life and well-being of Brian on the other.


My heart goes out to the little guy. I couldn't and wouldn't walk away from him, but I'd be hesitant to subject him to the apparent enmity of the rest of your family. Whether they vocalize it or not, the kid seems to be picking up on it.


I just don't know. Maybe family counseling, because obviously your family's forgiveness doesn't run as deep as it should, particularly towards a boy who's the innocent in all of this.


I wish I had something more profound to lay on you
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Old 2nd August 2017, 2:07 PM   #3
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If I have read your post correctly (please correct) Your former affair partner is currently 22 and the child from this affair is currently 5. If this is correct then you had an affair with a 17 yr. old girl.
Your wife and her family are aware of this affair, yet shun the 5 yr. old child. To the extent that if you are out publicly, they are visibly angered at the child's existence if the child is within breathing distance.
Your affair partner is also asking that you release parental rights which would in effect cut all legal/social ties with this child.
Is this all correct so far?

I would like to be sure that I have correctly surmised your post before giving any opinion.
Thanks
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Old 2nd August 2017, 2:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Timshel View Post
If I have read your post correctly (please correct) Your former affair partner is currently 22 and the child from this affair is currently 5. If this is correct then you had an affair with a 17 yr. old girl.
Your wife and her family are aware of this affair, yet shun the 5 yr. old child. To the extent that if you are out publicly, they are visibly angered at the child's existence if the child is within breathing distance.
Your affair partner is also asking that you release parental rights which would in effect cut all legal/social ties with this child.
Is this all correct so far?

I would like to be sure that I have correctly surmised your post before giving any opinion.
Thanks
Yes, that's correct. The people who know of our affair are my wife, our children, and our parents. Maybe a few friends. Then whoever the mother has told.

Last edited by Brian's dad; 2nd August 2017 at 2:27 PM..
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Old 2nd August 2017, 2:32 PM   #5
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It seems the affair hasn't been addressed properly with marital/family therapy. The whole affair, including the child, have been 'rugswept' out of sight, out of mind. Until they are not.
Your wife will not participate in any residual outcome of your indiscretion, including a child who is a half sibling to her children and your son.
How does that feel for you and what is your marriage like with the 'elephant' always in the room?

Have you been paying child support?
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Old 2nd August 2017, 2:53 PM   #6
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Not to rush your response...this is very serious with most importantly, the well being of a child in balance.
It occurs to me that maybe nothing has been through any proper channels because the girl (your affair) was a minor at the time.
Have you avoided court and therapy and everyone wants the child and his mother to go away for this reason?
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Old 2nd August 2017, 2:57 PM   #7
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I feel for little Brian a lot. I can relate to him a bit, not exactly the same situation but I was born out of wedlock, and when my dad later married, my step mother has always wished I never existed, and whenever I was with them I was treated like the bastard I am... but still my Dad was allowed to acknowledge me in public.

Anyway, you were a jerk, but it doesn't in any way condone the way that your wife and children are treating Brian, it isn't his fault. Shame on them, and shame on you for allowing it.

If you and your family aren't going to fix this situation then maybe you should just give up the rights. It's not fair for you to invite him into your family home, and then for him to get treated that way.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:05 PM   #8
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This poor little boy .

I don't think you should give up your rights, but I do think you should only see Brian outside of your home. Your asinine actions have consequences, and unfortunately that means with your innocent family members as well. But, just as it is not their fault, it is not Brian's fault either, and he doesn't deserve to become fatherless.

I also think you should expand the circle of people who know about him. I know your family probably would hate that, but this boy is going to grow up feeling like he was a shameful mistake and that will not be good for his emotional development in any way. And, really, your family should maybe feel a little grateful you weren't thrown in jail.

As a final note, my teenage son often said alarming things like "I hate myself" when he was that age. He had a tough time processing his frustrations and dealing with them. He grew out of it beautifully and has never tried to harm himself, rest assured.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:16 PM   #9
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Ok, this kinda hits home, because my own daughter is a child from an affair. Her father was and still is married.

I was extremely clear with the father that under NO circumstances would my child be kept a secret and raised that way. I'd rather her have no father at all then one who would make her feel like she is something to be ashamed of.

If your wife, yourself and your children are unable to move past the affair and accept the child as a separate human being that he is, then I do encourage you to take the mother up on her offer.

I assume that she is currently in a relationship/married and her partner is willing to adopt the child, otherwise you wouldn't be able to sign away parental rights (courts do not terminate parental rights unless there is either another person willing to adopt or a parent was deemed to be dangerous). In that case, allow it and possibly keep in touch every few months.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:19 PM   #10
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I do pay child support. I've actually wanted to have the amount raised, but every time I petition it, she fights back and always says she "doesn't want my money anyway." She was old enough at the time of the affair. The only real disagreements we have about parenting Brian are: he's not baptized which bugs me, and she is very hands off on things. He walked in with a blue Mohawk on Monday, which was supposedly "his idea " that's what I don't like.

My wife and I do go to therapy because of the affair, but there have been very mean things said about Brian that I'm not okay with, and so at least for now he isn't being brought up. It does hurt that it has to be that way, but I love my family and I don't want to lose them.

Another way that Brian is a source of contention is her friends own a pizza shop, and over the last year, Brian has become an unofficial mascot. There's a joke that every new pizza has to have Brian's seal of approval, and I know their Facebook page posts little things about him. My son's friends like to go there, but now he won't because of Brian. A few other businesses joke about it too, and it's just a little thing that's popular in that area where the shop is. Not a huge deal, but I know it hurts my family.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:26 PM   #11
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Yes, you were a cheating cad and it is wrong. I'll go ahead and get that out of the way.

I can kind of see your teenagers acting like, well, teenagers.

But for a mother - any mother - to treat a 5 year old child with contempt turns my stomach.

Brian didn't betray your wife - YOU did. If she can't be a decent human to a five year old, then I think you need to put your son's emotional health first and cut the ties.

Yeah, I get it, betrayal hurts.

This is a CHILD. He cries and says he hates himself. I know exactly where he got that: from YOUR family.

Give up your rights and let him have a chance to be surrounded by people who can be in his presence without loathing him.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:38 PM   #12
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I think you need to get into family counseling with your wife & kids before you answer that Question. You all need to work together to not damage Brian. He's an innocent kid in all of this but I can so understand your wife's anger that her husband impregnated a teenager & risked being labeled a pedophile. She may have forgiven you but she is never going to get past that without professional help. Hopefully when she's done being pissed at you, she can be more tolerant of Brian. The idea that you have to ignore a 5 year old in public makes me heartsick for the little boy.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by knabe View Post
Yes, you were a cheating cad and it is wrong. I'll go ahead and get that out of the way.

I can kind of see your teenagers acting like, well, teenagers.

But for a mother - any mother - to treat a 5 year old child with contempt turns my stomach.

Brian didn't betray your wife - YOU did. If she can't be a decent human to a five year old, then I think you need to put your son's emotional health first and cut the ties.

Yeah, I get it, betrayal hurts.

This is a CHILD. He cries and says he hates himself. I know exactly where he got that: from YOUR family.

Give up your rights and let him have a chance to be surrounded by people who can be in his presence without loathing him.
I would agree with all of this except for giving up your parental rights. Your son deserves to know who his father is and have his father in his life. It is your responsibility to direct your family's disgust where it is properly deserved.
OP, tell your wife and children that you will make amends with them but you will not tolerate Brian to be treated with any disdain. Remind your wife that you will tolerate her hurt...except when it is directed at your son. When you are in public, you will acknowledge him. He is their brother, you are his dad.
Tell them the anger they feel should be directed at you.
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:45 PM   #14
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Why didn't authority press charge for statutory rape then?

It sounds like Brian's mommy has a decent support system (financially and socially), so perhaps you should just give up your rights and just meet him outside of your home?
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Old 2nd August 2017, 3:46 PM   #15
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Ugh

I agree with GT about this being one of the most compelling yet flat-out difficult questions I've ever seen posted here.

As a mother, I find myself choking up reading your post and just imagining what Brian is going through. The poor child didn't ask for any of this.

As a mother, I'm beyond appalled by your wife's behavior towards him. Again, the child is the innocent one in all of this. She can hate on you all she wants but Brian doesn't deserve the treatment he's been getting by anyone on your side, affair child be damned.

Having said all of that, I can't side with those who are telling you to give up your rights to him. I just can't do it.

At the same time, I don't have any answers for you either. I'm sorry.

It might have been one thing to have given up your rights whilst he was an infant and didn't know you or understand anything but to do it when he's 5 seems terribly cruel. He already seems to be suffering so much but I can't imagine the kind of pain he'll have to further endure and carry with him knowing his father abandoned him. And it WILL feel like you abandoned him no matter how you sugar coat it.

I don't believe you would be able to let go of him that easily. And I don't believe that giving up your rights to him will solve all your problems either.

The only advice I might suggest is therapy for Brian. Sincerely. It's never too young and given his unique predicament and the overwhelming feelings he's having to sort out, I think only a professional can help him, even if only to monitor him more closely.

I'm sorry again. I know I'm of no help here but needed to weigh in regardless.
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