Dear Dr. Buckingham,
My husband committed adultery more than once and produced a son who was born two months before our 4-year-old daughter. We also have a 10-year-old daughter. I am extremely hurt and dealing with pain, but at the same time, I acknowledge that my husband has a responsibility to be a father to his son.
But he is emphasizing his responsibility to the child. And I strongly suspect that part of his motivation to play a bigger role in the child’s life is because the child is his first son (we both wanted a boy).
Not to mention, his ex-mistress and baby mama called social services because she feels my husband should spend even more time with his son. Now my husband is picking him up more.
Don’t get me wrong. I am committed to our marriage covenant and understand that he has to be father to his son. We both put God first, each other second and then our children. But I have to admit living this out is presenting a challenge for me.
I feel like I am being taken advantage of. What timing is healthy for regular visitation? Should my husband be more concerned for when I’m okay with the visitation schedule or is it solely his choice to decide—whether I am okay with it or not?
I’ve found great helpful resources on BMWK, but I did not see this area addressed, and helpful information is needed right away
Dear Betrayed Wife,
This is a very tough situation that you are in and unfortunately it is somewhat common. I commend you for being committed to your marriage vows, but I am slightly concerned that you have allowed your husband to abuse you emotionally by remaining with him throughout a couple of affairs. If you decide to remain with your husband be prepared to work hard.
I mentioned hard work because your pain will attack you from every angle, and it will be difficult to manage at times. You will probably feel intense anger, betrayal, distrust, resentment and vindictiveness toward your husband and the child.
While it is normal to feel these emotions, it is not healthy to act on them. If you fail to manage your emotions, your situation will feel unbearable. Given this, I highly recommend that you to seek professional help in order to rebuild your self-esteem and to focus on healing from within.
Now to answer your question: “What timing is healthy for regular Visitation?”
This is a complex question because visitation issues have both legal and moral implications that come into play. Legally speaking, the courts can determine visitation in cases of neglect and other challenges.Therefore, you should seek legal guidance to gain a better understanding of the legal implications.
Morally speaking, most people would argue that your husband should embrace his son and provide him with as much support as possible.
While many individuals would agree that you are a victim, they would also agree that the innocent child deserves to be embraced and loved by all involved. With this in mind, I would encourage you not to focus on the timing of visitation, but to focus on what is best for the child.
I know you are probably saying to yourself, “Why Do I Have to Take the Higher Road Again and Sacrifice?” Glad you asked.
Children should not suffer at the hands of irresponsible adults. Your husband chose to be irresponsible with another individual, and unfortunately, the burden became yours through marriage. You should take the high road again because the child needs a mature adult who can help him adjust to an unfortunate situation. He needs to feel accepted, not rejected. After all, he is innocent.
Try to keep an open mind and heart when dealing with the child and work with your husband to determine what is acceptable visitation. However, be mindful of how you continue to negotiate with your husband. If you feel taken advantaged of, you probably are being taken advantage of. Respect is not given it is earned.
You have to decide if your husband is worth the work. The child’s frequency in your home or the timing of visitation is important, but it is the least important issue in your situation and marriage. Healing, trusting, loving, communicating, forgiving and restoring are issues that require your immediate attention.
Some people might tell you to leave your marriage, so that you can recover properly. My advice is this: do what your heart and mind can manage. You might feel powerless, but believe it or not, you are very powerful because you have the ability to choose what is best for you.
You appear to be a woman of faith, so I encourage you to spend some time in prayer and in professional counseling.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to [email protected]
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.