Returning Ex-Husband Resents Situation with My Young Child

Reader’s Question

I am a 44 years old and have a three-year-old son. When I was pregnant of 6 months I started getting back with my ex-husband. My son’s biological father did not want to marry me, but he pays child support and wants to be part of my son’s life. He lives out of state, and he has seen the child twice. My ex-husband has moved in since the baby was 3 months old and does not want my son’s biological father to have any contact with my son. My husband also does not accept my son carrying his biological father’s last name. We have having awful fights because I feel my son has the right to get to know his father and carry his last name. My husband would rather see my son’s biological father dead and puts guilt on me by saying he is the father because he is here for the child, while my son’s father is nothing but a sperm donor. Am I wrong for wanting my child and his biological father to develop a relationship? Or should I keep my son away until he is 16 or so to get to know his birth father?

Psychologist’s Reply

This situation contains several legal issues. The last name of your son has been legally determined and the biological father has accepted responsibility and pays child support. Based on this situation, it’s unlikely you can actually keep the son away from the biological father as he also has a legal relationship with the child. While the biological father remains involved (child support), two visits in three years tell you that his involvement and participation in the life of the child will be minimal.

Your real problem will be the attitude of your ex-husband. When he reentered your life he was well aware of the situation with your son and his biological father. Second marriages and reunifications often involve additional children as well as the requirement to be a stepfather or stepmother. His resentment about the situation is immature, especially considering the payment of child support and minimal visits. Yes, he will be the parent, but he knew that from the beginning. That was the deal.

I suspect the real issue here is his immature jealousy and resentment toward you and the fact that you had romance between the divorce and his return. He may also have resentment toward parenting a young child at his age. The innocent child is a symbol of that romance/relationship and the new situation. I suspect anytime he’s angry, this topic will surface. He will also use this topic as his reason for not remarrying, not fully investing in the relationship, and holding a grudge against you. Nothing in your question mentions his desire to adopt the child, which is the legal solution. Sadly, this is a legal situation he knew about from the beginning. He’s now using it to vent anger and resentment in your direction.

I’d remind him that this is a legal situation rather than something you can repair. Also remind him that he can approach the biological father with the idea of adoption. You are looking at the long-term health and development of the child which is very appropriate.

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