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Baby daddy must pick between the child he loves or his new wife

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Dear Deborrah:
I am a 30 year old black male who recently moved to the Bay Area. I married the woman of my dreams and a childhood friend. The problem is that I had to move far away from home to be with her. She's been everything I could ever ask for. My dilemma is that I have a child out of wedlock that I do all I can for. When I speak of moving back so I can be close to my child (even though I've made arrangements to have my daughter in the summertime when shes not in school), my wife is against it.

All I want is to go back home with my wife and be close to my only child; however, my wife doesn't want to move. I feel so lost and destroyed inside. How do I get her to be on the same page with me and still make her happy? I feel like I'm in a lose/lose situation.

Signed,
Broken Hearted Dad

Dear Dad:
I appreciate the difficulty you are experiencing and my heart aches for you. It's ironic to me how on one hand, black women complain that black men show no loyalty to their children and don't care about them. Yet here is a man in anguish because he wants to be there for his daughter and an integral part of her life on a daily basis, and the woman he has chosen for his partner can't see how important this is for both of you.

One thing I must say to you before we figure out a solution to your problem is that you messed up. This is an issue that you and your now wife should have discussed in detail and agreed upon before you made the move to the Bay Area and married her.

You didn't mention any children so I am assuming that your wife has none. To me that means that she had more flexibility in where she could live (no ties), and could have come to where YOU were live and become your wife there. I assume you had a home for her to come to, and a job to support her temporarily while she looked for work, right? With all that, to me there was no real reason for you to move.

Sir, sometimes when women grow up with a toxic or abusive father (or no father at all), they don't have the faintest clue about the importance of the relationship a father and daughter have.

Daddy is a little girl's first love! Her father sets the tone and the standard for every man she will choose in her life. If father abandons her, she will tend to select men that do the same. If her father abuses her, she will tend to select men that repeat that same pattern. If her father is there for her, caring for and loving her with all he has, she will select men that treat her well.

It is VERY important that you be in a position to make sure your daughter never feel that you don't care about her and left her behind.

Lastly, I know that the religious among us will say "well, the Bible says a man leaves his mother and cleaves unto his wife". Yeah okay. But it says nothing about cleaving unto your wife and abandoning your own flesh and blood children.

Blood is thicker than water.

In other words, your daughter will be your child until the day they throw dirt in your face, and you will live on in her life as her pops until SHE dies. Reality is wives come and go with the wind these days but children are forever.

Bottom line: Your daughter NEEDS you -- your wife merely WANTS you. That baby needs her father to educate her, protect her, and guide her through life. Your wife sounds like an amazing woman and I can certainly appreciate the conflict you're experiencing. Your wife knew when she got with you that children and their parents are a package deal! You cannot get the parent without getting some level of responsibility for the well-being and maintenance of your mate's child/children.

But she is an adult and can handle herself; your daughter is a minor child and cannot.

This letter makes me reminisce about my Dad. For real, I cannot imagine how I would have turned out or the person I would be without the loving and steadying influence of my father. He was everything to me, and I was everything to him.

Because of the time he spent talking to me, telling me about life, and teaching me things, my standards for the men in my life are extremely high. I expect nothing but the best from men because that is what I received growing up.

The first sentence I ever spoke in my life was "I WANT MY DADDY," and it was that way until he died. Whenever I didn't know what to do, I sought his counsel. Whenever I had a problem, I'd ask for his guidance. When I achieved a goal or won an award, he was the first person I called to tell about it. When I got fired from my first job at 18, his was the shoulder I cried on.

I even did the eulogy at his funeral because my other siblings already knew that my Dad and I were close as two thieves in the night, and no one knew him better than I did. Even as an adult, living states away, I spoke on the phone to my Dad at least 3x per week, and returned to San Francisco to see him as often as I could.

This is an extremely difficult decision to make, but my suggestion is that you:

  1. Sit down and really explain to your wife how much you love her, but also how miserable you are. Tell her that you are sure you made the best choice for yourself for a wife, but that it is juxtaposed with feeling like a complete failure as a father and it is breaking your heart.
  2. Tell your wife that after thinking about it, you feel the best decision would be to move back to where you were within six months time. Let her know that you will begin making arrangements to do so soon.
  3. Tell her that she can come or she can stay, but you are going and hope that she comes with you. Tell her that your daughter is your only child, your flesh and blood, and that you refuse to abandon her for years and leave her to grow up without your guiding hand.
  4. Start making plans to get a place to live with room for your wife, and to line up employment. Perhaps your old job will take you back? If not, the internet is a great tool to use to find a job. Try a recruiter/head hunter as well. They may find something fabulous for you where you make more money than you ever have.
  5. Call your daughter 30 days out from your departure and let your baby know Daddy is coming. Then do it.

Finally, watch what you do with your wife sexually. If she is on birth control pills or shots, be sure she keeps taking them and/or using it. What many women in her position have done is try to find a way to keep you there by slipping up on BC and becoming pregnant. That would give her more power in the situation, and a tool to use to keep you where she is since you'd have a baby on the way.

I know it sounds crazy but trust me, that is how some women think. Desperate people make desperate moves.

This is one of the most difficult letters that has come across my desk in awhile, and I truly feel for you. Let's hope that things turn around and that a solution that is satisfactory to all three of you can be found.

Please know that I wish you, your wife and your daughter my best.

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