Marry a Father?
Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating each other off and on since we were in high school together, though after high school we lost touch for about two years. During those two years he had a child with another woman. A year ago we got back together, and now he wants to marry me. Is it a good idea to marry a guy with a child? -- Nekeya, 23
Dr. Susan: You may be focusing on the wrong thing here. If he didn't have a child, would he be the man you can picture yourself spending your life with? Do you see the two of you in rocking chairs on a porch watching countless sunsets as you both grow old and decrepit together? Do you figure you can tolerate him when he leaves the toothpaste cap lying in the sink, or when he makes funny noises while eating? Can you imagine lovingly standing by him even if he loses his job? Gets sick? Goes bald? If the answer is yes to all these, then the fact that he created a baby with another woman shouldn't be a critical sticking point.
But let's get to the heart of your question: Do you resent him for having this child with someone else instead of with you? Will you be able to handle his ongoing parenting relationship with this other woman?
Something else to think about is how comfortable you are with his current arrangement for caring for this child. Is he a good father? Does he visit, help out, pay child support, and so on? Because if you plan to have kids with him also, you'd want to know he was a dependable person in that arena.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.