I am currently in a loving relationship with my high school sweetheart.
We are both 25-years old and I am expecting a baby girl this month. We broke up in 2007 when he wanted to move to GA and I wanted to stay in NY and finish college. However, we reunited in 2011. During the time we were not together he was a dating a girl who manipulated him into believing she was pregnant with his child. Once the child was a year old a DNA test was done and it proved that he was not the child’s father. Yet, my boyfriend is still attached to the child and still treats him as his own. In addition, he is looking at our child as his second child.
My boyfriend also wants to fight for full custody of this child so that he can live with us. I completely understand his attachment to the child and I support him being in the child’s life, but I do not feel like it is fair for the child to move in with us. This will be my first baby and I will be forced to be a mom and a stepmother all in one shot.
The child is currently living happy and well with his great grandmother, but my boyfriend insists that the child should be with him. I don’t even know if it is possible for him to gain full custody being that he is not the child’s biological father. Also, I believe the child’s mother has a problem with me being pregnant. I can’t even wrap my mind around why her and her family is happy with my boyfriend pretending to be this child’s father.
I have been keeping my opinion to myself and just being as supportive as possible, but I don’t believe that is the best thing to do. A social worker recently told me I should convince my boyfriend to get counseling to help him learn to let go of the child. I am just very confused about what to do and I do not want to be labeled the bad guy. I just want me and my boyfriend to be happy. I would love to hear your opinion on the situation. Thank you very much for your time. – Not His Child
Dear Ms. Not His Child,
What the??? I mean I’m all for men stepping up and being a good dude, especially a man who steps up to the plate for a child he didn’t know about, but, a child that is not even his, and he wants to seek full custody of this child, and he’s not even with the mother of the child?!? That is quite bizarre and strange.
Let’s consider perhaps it’s because the child is a male child and he’s developed both an emotional and mental bond with the child. Maybe he feels he can do more for the child than the mother, and the father. And, if the father isn’t present in the child’s life he may feel some guilt with the child being without a father. And, during the relationship he had with the mother and with her family he probably built an emotional bond with them, and may feel sorry for the mother because she may not have the support system, or wherewithal to care for the child as a single parent.
Regardless, however, I agree with the social worker that he should receive counseling to get to the root of his connection with the child, and why he feels the need to seek full custody of a child that is not his. And, the fact you are pregnant, and he is not acknowledging your child as his first child. Something is really off about this. It sounds as if he hasn’t connected with his own first child in such a way that he has with this other child. But, your child hasn’t been born as of yet, so you don’t know what bond may occur when your child is born, and what feelings he may develop once your child is in his arms, and a part of your life. Things may drastically change.
But, I’m more concerned that you haven’t expressed your feelings around this matter with him. You say you don’t want to be the bad guy, and you’ve kept your opinions to yourself, as well as tried to be supportive of him and this situation. Uhm, sweetie, this is a contradiction of what you really feel, and thus, I imagine you have garnered some resentment toward the child, and this situation. If you don’t speak up and speak your truth, then you will grow angry, and bitter. If you’re not feeling it, and it makes you uncomfortable, then speak up!
You won’t be bad guy for speaking your truth. If everyone around him is hyping him up to believe he can gain full custody of this child, then they are all lying to him. It will crush him when he goes to court and the judge tells him the truth. He may go into a tailspin of depression, and anger, and he may even become distant with you. We don’t know what the real damage this may do to him, so it’s best that someone be honest with him, and don’t contribute to this pipe dream he has.
And, what I know for sure is that you are upset and hurt that your man is considering your child his second child, and the other child as his first. You’re hurting and upset because you don’t know why he is claiming a child that is not even his, and he is not even acknowledging your child as his first child. You’re saying to yourself, “How dare he think of our child as his second child? I’m carrying his baby, she didn’t! I’m not deceiving him, she did! Why hasn’t he connected with me like he did with her?” Those are the underlying comments and statements you’re saying to yourself. Boo! I peeped your letter and what you’re really saying!
So, stop playing the supportive and loving girlfriend who is trying to be there for her man, and be real about your feelings and emotions. You don’t think it’s fair, and you don’t appreciate not being acknowledged, especially your first child with him. You don’t want this other child in your home, and you want to move on with your life with your boyfriend, be a family, and one day get married. You want this other woman out of your life and nothing to do with her, because if he gets full custody of the child then she will forever be in your life, and you don’t want a reminder of her in your life. You just want to move on! That is the truth of what’s going on!
Now, if you keep your feelings bottled up, and you don’t say anything, then one day you’re going to snap, and it won’t be pretty. You’re going to say some things, and he’ll say some things, and then your relationship will be over. And, it’s all because you refused to speak up and be honest about your feelings and this situation.
And, on the real, I don’t think he can legally seek full custody of the child that is not his. The courts will seek out the father of the child first before they hand over the child to your boyfriend. And, even if the mother gives up custody of the child, the courts will still seek out the father. He has not legal claim or stake into gaining custody of the child.
So, it’s time to get real and be real. I suggest meeting with the social worker, and let them speak with your boyfriend about his desires to pursue legal custody of the child. The social worker can be real with him about his options, and share with him how they may be unrealistic. Also, ask the social worker to recommend a counselor that your boyfriend can speak with about this emotional and mental bond he’s developed for this child. The counselor can help him get to the bottom of his feelings, and what’s really going on beneath all of this. Again, he may feel guilty and want to do for the child, and may feel the mother is no position to care for the child. And, perhaps he desperately wants to be a father, and since your child has not been born yet he hasn’t that the opportunity to develop a bond or relationship with his own child. Maybe this will happen when your child arrives, and he may move on from his delusions of seeking custody of the other child. However, to err on the side of caution, it’s best to seek counseling and have him get to the bottom of his desires, and what is driving him. Good luck to you! – Terrance Dean
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