Choosing between husband and kids


Choosing between husband and kids


your avatar   Kirsty, 36-year-old woman

Hello, I'm Kirsty. I've been feeling slightly sad and depressed. I have two children (girl 13 and a boy 7). I love them dearly. Their father left me and walked out on us in 2007 for another family. Their family split up, then he lived with his wife, and then he started to make contact with us again. He has been coming around daily after work and on the weekends for one year now.

Everything's been OK until a couple of weeks ago. He was being rude to me and blaming me for things as if he owned the place. Well I'm getting fed up with it and my daughter (13) is extremely upset that he comes around now because she liked our family with just me and her brother. I don't know why but she really doesn't like her dad. He blames her for things and sends her to her room even if it might not have been her. She gets very upset; she has even threatened to walk out on us or to commit suicide which I was very upset about.

The other day she said to me, "Why do you hate me mum?" I said, "I don't hate you I love you very, very much." So then she said, "But if you loved me dad wouldn't come around anymore. Why can't you choose me or him?" She then walked off. I can't choose, but I was wondering if you could help me. I want the best for my children because they're both unhappy, so please I would really appreciate your advice on this.

Do I choose my children or their father? Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Hi Kirsty,

I am a little confused. This man had 2 children with you, then went off and had more children with another woman, and split with her? And then he went back to his wife? Did he split with his wife to be with you?

I hope I got that right. If so, it seems to me that he is being a bigamist (or trigamist if he still has contact with the woman he deserted after you). Do you like being part of a harem?

Another question is, was he paying maintenance for your children when he was living with the woman after you? Since he has been coming around daily, has he increased his payments toward the upkeep of your kids? After all, I assume he eats with the three of you, and contributes to other costs of the household.

Where you live, you are entitled to psychological help on National Health. I suggest you seek such help, from a person skilled at family therapy, and have the man, you and the two children work out your common future. This professional will guide you to make a decision that suits you rather than telling you what to do.

My dear, this is your home, and he is a visitor. He has let go of his rights as the male of the household when he moved out. As long as he is there, he should behave decently to all. You are in charge.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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