Fall­out from man’s dou­ble life with se­cret fam­ily

Kenora Daily Miner and News - - COFFEE BREAK - AMY DICK­IN­SON

DEAR AMY:

My part­ner and I have been to­gether for al­most three years. He has two adult chil­dren from his pre­vi­ous mar­riage, and one ado­les­cent child from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship. When we met, I was get­ting di­vorced, and his other re­la­tion­ship was dis­solv­ing.

We now have a 2-year-old, and we’re ex­pect­ing our sec­ond child to­gether soon.

He has never told his chil­dren about me or our child. He has a very strained re­la­tion­ship with the adult chil­dren, but a very good re­la­tion­ship with the ado­les­cent. They talk ev­ery day and are to­gether ev­ery other week­end.

The ado­les­cent’s mother doesn’t want the child around me. My part­ner’s rea­son for not telling his child is he’s afraid the re­la­tion­ship will end and the child won’t want to see him, be around him or may be an­gry with him.

This sit­u­a­tion has caused a lot of ar­gu­ments in our house. I des­per­ately want his child to be a part of our lives, es­pe­cially for our chil­dren. My part­ner keeps telling me that in time he’ll talk to his child about it. But it has been a cou­ple of years!

I can un­der­stand his fear, but he hasn’t even tried to talk to the child. I think the longer he waits, the worse it will be.

I’m frus­trated and hurt by the way he’s han­dled things.

I’m tired of fight­ing over it. What can I do to help? Do I just have to ac­cept the child may never be a part of our lives? It feels like our life is a se­cret and it shouldn’t be.

— FRUS­TRATED

DEAR FRUS­TRATED: First of all, I’m gen­uinely puz­zled about why you would choose to have two chil­dren with some­one who al­ready has two sets of chil­dren and is keep­ing you -- and now your chil­dren -- in the closet.

The way your re­la­tion­ship started (both of you in the midst of dis­solv­ing other re­la­tion­ships) may have cre­ated a pat­tern for how it is con­tin­u­ing. And yes, with ev­ery pass­ing day, and more chil­dren, this de­cep­tion grows more se­ri­ous.

Rather than face the re­al­ity that his ado­les­cent might be con­fused, hurt and an­gry to learn that Dad has a whole other fam­ily, he is dou­bling down on the se­crecy. His cow­ardice is need­lessly cre­at­ing a cri­sis for all of you.

You are a cow­ard, too. If you don’t want your life, and your chil­dren’s ex­is­tence, to be a deep and dark se­cret, then own it. Give him a non­nego­tiable dead­line.

Find a re­la­tion­ship coun­selor, make an ap­point­ment and state your very rea­son­able case that you will not stay in the closet. Map out a plan for this dis­clo­sure. If he re­fuses, you should re­con­sider stay­ing in the re­la­tion­ship.

This is not emo­tion­ally healthy for any of you.

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