I think I speak for a lot of men in my situation. I was dating a woman for almost a year. I can truly say that I loved this woman until she broke my trust in the most despicable way. We were always honest with each other, so she knew how I felt about starting a family.
She had always wanted children, but knew I did not want to become a father. I trusted her so much that we stopped using condoms. I also trusted her to respect and honor my position. Needless to say, she did not. She assured me that she could not get pregnant. I won't go into the details of what transpired, but I am now a father and I feel angered by it.
This woman could have easily chosen to terminate the matter, but she decided to force me into fatherhood. Men have no rights when it comes to becoming a parent, but it seems like we get handed the heaviest of responsibilities. Oh, I can be forced to become a father and forced to pay for it? Where are my rights?
I promised I would financially support the child, but as far as being around as a hands on father? I would rather not. How am I supposed to parent a child I did not want? A child who I resent?
Dear Involuntary Father:
I would say something about the child being innocent and deserving a good father, but I honestly do not know how much of a good father you would be. You have contempt for a little human being whose life you contributed to creating. So your being an active participant in this child's life may be harmful, until the point where you can replace the hostility with love.
You can parent your child by first forgiving the mother and yourself for the way in which the child came into being. You can take responsibility for your own part in it, and divorce your feelings towards the mother from the opportunity you have to help mold an amazing little person. You can choose to love this baby. Love covers a multitude of sin.
Most everyone knows where babies come from and how to prevent that from happening. You did not mention whether or not you and the mother used other methods of contraception. That tells me that you knew the risk and took it. You already knew that the mother wanted a child, yet you chose to continue being intimate with her without protecting yourself. I understand that you feel misled by the mother, and you feel that she violated your trust.
Trust is a most precious gift to give someone. So you undoubtedly feel violated. Going forward, you should think about trust in a somewhat more protective way. Trust, but verify. Sometimes people make assertions that they are unqualified to make. Unless the mother was a reproductive specialist and had a medical diagnosis, how would she know whether or not she could get pregnant?
Did you expect a woman who wanted children to have an abortion in order to absolve you of your obligations to a child you both created? The likelihood of that occurring was nil. Men cannot choose abortion for a woman. It is just not possible at this particular point in our judicial system. It may not seem fair to you, but it is reality.
This reminds me of the curious case of Matthew Dubay, a young guy from Michigan who brought suit around 2006 to preclude himself from child support and parental obligations. Dubay argued that his girlfriend assured him she could not have children. Dubay asserted that he did not want children with this particular woman, and therefore, should be allowed to terminate his parental rights.
Dubay's attorney's argued that men should have the right to relinquish their parental rights and avoid support obligations through legal means when involved in a non-marital relationship with a woman. Their position was based on the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution, and the inequity of the fact that women seemingly have the unilateral right to abort, adopt out or keep a child once conceived.
The court in Dubay vs. Wells, dismissed the complaint and ordered Dubay to not only pay support, but to also pay the legal fees of all opposing parties. The National Center for Men appealed the case, but was unsuccessful. Dubay declined appealing to the Supreme Court. From Wikipedia:
In its dismissal of the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals (Sixth Circuit) stated that:
- "Dubay’s claim that a man’s right to disclaim fatherhood would be analogous to a woman’s right to abortion rests upon a false analogy. In the case of a father seeking to opt out of fatherhood and thereby avoid child support obligations, the child is already in existence and the state therefore has an important interest in providing for his or her support."
I tend to agree with you on the unfairness issue. The mother should not have misled you. It is unfair for a woman to have a child with a man whom she knows does not want children. However, the party to whom it is most unfair is the child. The child has the burden of being unloved and unwanted by one of the people who created his or her life. Quite a heavy weight for an innocent life to carry, right?
You have to carry some of that burden and take it off your child. Further, as the court alluded to, the child is here, and someone has to take care of his or her needs. One reason the child support system exists is to shield the public from having to pay for a couple's indiscretions. How fair would it be for public to pay for your private "happy ending"?
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