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Should deadbeat dad be allowed to see daughter graduate?

Dear Carla: I am in the middle of a bad situation. My husband has a 12-year old child from a previous relationship. Since the beginning of this year, we have been back and forth with the child’s mother’s lawyer. She wants $800 per month, not including private school fees, and health insurance. In times like this we feel stuck. We want the best for his child, but we can’t afford it anymore. We have now started playing he said, she said, games with everyone when the child goes from home, to our house, and back again.

And to top it all off- I am the one who is being called crazy, because, Yes I would like to have a baby with my husband! He’s paid everything for the past 10 years by himself — and now since we can’t afford what we once could, it’s a problem.

How do I stop being emotionally, and physically, involved without hurting the people I love? How can I help without putting my own marriage on the line? How can I want this child around me, when the child and their mother don’t appreciate anything we have done for them???


Dear Help: It sounds like you guys need the help of a mediator who will be able to objectively look at the entire situation objectively. From a mother’s perspective, I’m sure the ex is looking for what she thinks is most beneficial to the child, and of course your husband has to be mindful how your household will be impacted by the financial obligation, especially if money is tight.

You wanting to have a child with your husband isn’t anyone’s business, so, it doesn’t even make sense entertaining any conversation surrounding that. It’s a shame that the child seems to be caught in the middle of the parents’ mess. As the child gets older, it will only get worse.

Do everything to preserve your marriage. Have you guys considered counselling so that you both have an opportunity to express how the situation is impacting you? I don’t think that now would be a good time to turn your back on husband.

Dear Carla: Here’s my dilemma, our child is about to graduate from school overseas. The problem that I have is that the dad has not contributed like he should financially, only paying a small percentage, and I mean a small percentage, e towards our child’s schools fees, books, plane tickets, and the extras that come with being overseas. He has stopped paying child support, so therefore the financial burden lies solely on me. He feels he shouldn’t have to pay school fees, and child support, so he has stopped paying both.

The question I’m asking is should he be allowed to come to the graduation and reap the rewards from my hard work of holding down two jobs to make sure our child gets a good education.


Dear Frustrated: When I read your question, my initial response to you was no, he should not be allowed, but then I had a rethink. Can you actually ‘allow’ him? It’s his right to be there; after all it is his daughter too. I am sure that your daughter knows that it was you who took care of the majority of the expenses in order to be educated, so, please do not allow his presence to dampen your mood.

Assuming she is at least 18 (you didn’t specify if it was high school or college), if you haven’t already done so, sit down and have a talk with her about the magnitude of her accomplishment, and how hard you worked to ensure that she made it through to where she is today. Do not discredit her father. Be honest with her, and let her know what he did contribute — she can then ascertain for herself what he has actually done.

Once the ceremony is over I would then have a conversation with him, and tell him that her graduating was all you wanted in order for her to have a fruitful future, and that you hope he can appreciate what you have done as her mother. Then I would leave it alone. He may not express it, but if he has a shred of decency he will reflect and see his selfishness. Just don’t expect him to vocalise it to you. Congratulations to your daughter.

Dear Carla: I feel that it’s not okay for my boyfriend to talk/text/Whatsapps or anything to this girl he had a fling with. Even though they work together, I feel that all communication should just be work-related and nothing else.

But he has the attitude of “I can do whatever I like”, and has no regards for my feelings on this whole issue. But when I tell him how I feel, it’s like he just doesn’t care that it upsets me, or bothers me. I wouldn’t do anything like that to him. Although he says he would not cheat with her again, she has clearly made it known, on several occasions, that she wants him again. How should I feel about him still disregarding my feelings? Do I say something to her?


Dear Annoyed: No matter how many times you express to him how you feel, if he doesn’t care, he doesn’t care. So, it makes no sense going on and on about it because he sees nothing wrong with his actions. I think that you need to take a long hard look at the entire situation, and decide if it is something that you can tolerate. I wouldn’t … especially because he had an affair with her in the past. The outside of work communication is dangerous to me. He is clearly disrespecting you. Why are you staying with him? I’m sure if he disregards your feelings about this, he does it in other areas too. Should you say something to her? No, why? She is not talking to herself. She owes you nothing. He is the problem, not her.

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Published April 08, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 07, 2013 at 9:47 am)

Should deadbeat dad be allowed to see daughter graduate?

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