Question: Dear Luise: I am 21 and my husband is 22. My husband and I used to live our lives free; traveling, hitchhiking, backpacking, in the forest, beach, just on the road in general. Last year I became pregnant and now we have our beautiful 6 month-old Marley. To make a long story short, initially my husband wanted to terminate the pregnancy but I did not. For a while he seemed to like being a dad, but now he says that Marley is too much; that he was never ready to be a father and that if he could go back and change it he would. He also says he misses his freedom and that he hates being tied down to a job and a life inside the house all the time. He says he only wants to be with me and that it sucks that all the rest has to come with me. But at other times he’s great with Marley. Please help, I don’t want to lose my marriage and I don’t want us to live unhappily. What do I do? M.
Answer: Dear M.: There is no turning back. Marley is here. You married a man who may at times enjoy his child but who does not want to fulfill the confining (for him) role of father. Many men don’t want that and they have every right to make that choice. However, I see it as their duty to have a vasectomy and take responsibility for their point of view. Then when they marry, their wives know what it is going to cost them unless they are of the same persuasion regarding parenting…and many are. Some want to focus elsewhere and some want to stay perpetual kids, free to run and play.
No matter how careful you are, accidents happen and no child should be seen as an “accident.”
When you chose, against your husband’s wishes, to have Marley…you chose to end your marriage in the context in which it was created. You have that right but you can’t necessarily expect “happily-ever-after” to be part it. You are who you are and your husband is who he is. Therefore, unless he has a change of heart, you are not going to be able to go on together “happily” and you may not choose to go on together in misery.
He isn’t wrong, he’s just being honest and you aren’t wrong, either, you’re just fine. The problem is that you are adapting to something you want and he isn’t adapting to something he doesn’t want, two very different approaches to the same issue. Apparently he’s trying but you can see it’s not working. All you can do, as far as I can see, is to let him go and face up, both of you, to not thinking this through in advance.
You have your work cut out for you now, and you may find, when you look back later, that Marley was worth it. I can’t imagine being on this planet without my son, who is 54. Blessings, Luise