Flip-flopping hubby wants a divorce

All Woman

DEAR COUNSELLOR,

My now husband and I met in 2006. I got pregnant and gave birth in 2009. We rented a house and lived together for six months. After that we separated and he started going in and out of his child's life and barely supported her. At one point he stated that he wanted nothing to do with the child and as a result he went unheard of for eight months. Then I received an e-mail from him. He asked to reach out to his child and I did let him in. We decided soon after to get married and have been living overseas since.

Now he has decided that he is filing for a divorce and that I am not taking my child with me back to Jamaica. She is very unhappy about this as she doesn't want to stay. I am also four months pregnant and he is telling me to abort it or face the consequences.

If he doesn't want to play a part in this new baby's life that's fine, because I managed with our daughter before. I really don't plan to give the baby his last name. I hope it won't haunt me. Please give me your advice.

So your partner had been in and out of yours and your child's life and now is seemingly exiting again. One can understand your sense of confusion and frustration regarding the situation.

Sometimes in life we make relationship decisions knowing full well that the person we are pursuing, or are with, has some fundamental flaws that will negatively impact the relationship. The gentleman's AWOL in the early part of the relationship should have indicated to you his lack of commitment to his responsibility as a father and a partner.

Missing in action for eight months is a long time to be away from you and the child and then to proceed to marriage shortly after his return does suggest that no serious thought was put into taking this very important step. Was the reason for his absence fully explained and accepted by you? Was he unhappy with the state of the relationship then and decided to stay away? If so, why?

Another unsettling issue is his declaration that he wanted nothing to do with the child. That statement is disturbing because no matter what problems the man may have had with the mother of his child, denying the child any emotional and financial support should never be entertained or even said in anger.

So after these two acts of displaying his potential you decided to enter a committed relationship by not only getting married, but moving overseas to be with him, which on the surface was the proper thing to do. But is it that you expected him to change his unkind ways? I am sure you were hoping that things would have been better in the new environment overseas.

Unfortunately for you this was not the case and things seem to have escalated and now he is threatening divorce and you may have to go back to Jamaica without the child. Does he really understand what he may be doing to the emotional and psychological development of the child?

You need to seriously assess your present and future status in this relationship. The marriage issues you mentioned, can those be resolved with the intervention of a marriage counsellor? Certainly, the last resort should be divorce. However, if he insists on walking away from you and the unborn child then you must put contingencies in place to take care of yourself and the child that is expected in a few months. You may require the services of a family law attorney to discuss what rights you may have as far as his demands about having the other child remain with him.

As to not giving the baby his surname, I believe this is a personal decision, but again your attorney can advise you. From a psychological perspective it could play on your mind as the child gets older and needs to know who its father is. The truth is, despite his objection and threat to you carrying the child, he is still the father and that cannot be erased once the child has arrived.

Do what you consider integral to the welfare of your children and when you need legal and psychological support don't hesitate to reach out to the appropriate professionals for help. Take care of yourself physically, especially now as you carry this child.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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