We all want our lives to be perfect.
But the difficult parts of life help us grow and learn.
There were four times in my life that did not seem fair to me — two times the rules were changed without my input.
Two times were from a spouse, and two times from a family member.
There are others so don’t for a moment think that this is a complete list.
I was 19 1/2 years old and a new father
Within 2 1/2 years the relationship ended when my daughter’s mother decided that she wanted to be with someone else.
The rules had changed without my input.
I noticed a change in her behavior and events which led me to discover that she and a work associate had been seeing each other for some time. Over several months she seemed to become more and more disconnected from me. Yes, they were having sex.
We discussed the possibilities of returning to a single partner relationship, but she would have none of that.
After we separated she moved back in with her parents and became less motivated to do anything. No job to go to and just dropped out of life.
The divorcing event happened in the seventies, so I assumed that she would have physical custody of our daughter. Within several weeks she asked me to take physical custody. I did and hired a family known attorney to begin the process of filing for physical custody for myself.
I asked my parents to watch their granddaughter during my work hours; they agreed.
During the custody process, I met and was dating a gal. Both of us were heading for a serious relationship, and she expressed an interest in taking part in raising a three-year-old girl and my daughter.
Although we had been dating for 6-plus-months and the attorney knew of our serious custody of my daughter, he suggested that being married would be more favorable by child custody service and the court. After some discussion, we decided to get married.
Child Custody Services was the Social Services department responsible to review all options and make recommendations to the court as to the best place for a child to grow up, This involved interviewing both parents, and anyone associated with the parents. Those interviewed included my girlfriend and who later became my wife, my parents, the Mother and friends. I soon saw the report and learned that the file suggested that my daughter’s best environment was in our home.
Within a short time, the court awarded us custody of my three-year-old daughter.
My Parents Were In The Final Court Hearing
They called my Mom and Dad into the final hearing by the other attorney and asked their opinions. It was shocking to hear my parents say that they favored a young child growing up with the mother. When asked why they could only say that it was their opinion, they have no logical or disfavorable reason I should not have physical custody.
It shocked me. I never discussed this with my parents after that time. I have not alway agreed with them. There are times when they did not agree with me. My parents and I have always had mutual respect for each other. That is how they raised all of their children
I did not disown my parents, or disallow them the opportunity to see their granddaughter over the years.
I just took it as one of those times in life that does not seem fair and moved on.
The marriage lasted 14 plus years then ended
This relationship started off wonderfully but ended because of two rule changes I did not agree to from the start. Both were the driving force that caused me to end this relationship in a Divorce.
Religion during my childhood was not discussed, encouraged, or discouraged. It would be something as an adult we could each decide. It was my decision that religion was to have no place in my life. My Mom’s parents and my Dad’s Mom were all religious. They would talk about it but I was and have never been interested in religion. And to this day I have no use or need for religion.
My parents were both raised in two different brands of religion. They both chose to not follow either one when they were married. Neither did they introduce any of their children to religion. They believed in doing the right thing.
I believed early in life Abraham Lincoln said, ““When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”
Maybe seven years into this marriage, not sure of the exact time, I discovered that my wife, her brother, and her mother were former religious people who decided to re-take up their religious practice. Just like that, no religion one day, then the next day, they are suddenly religious people again.
The Short was they began to go to church without me and that was fine. But then encouraged me to go. I did, and that was a mistake. I did not like it and was not happy at all.
The second part of the horror story was that over time both her mom and step dad and brother, wife, and three children were living in my home. In the beginning, it was short term, but then it was longer and longer. In the beginning it was to be six months until they got back on their feet. Then they told us they needed six more months and months turned to years. It became emotionally draining and strained our marriage to the point of no return. Nothing could fix it.
The rules had changed without my input.
I recall to this day the exact event that ended this relationship. I was 37 and had gone for a swim, dried off, and took a walk around the neighborhood. While walking I realized that “past history is indicated future history” and the very thought I will likely live another 60 years. I realized this relationship isn’t going to work for me anymore.
I contacted the family attorney and started the divorce process.
Life of a daughter from 18 to 28 years and the Dear Dad letter
By then my daughter had graduated and decided what she wanted to do with her life.
During the divorce process I asked my daughter if she wants to spend time with her step-mother or with me, she decided that it would be me.
I never asked my daughter if she spent time with her mother or step-mother, she was by then 18. She had made a comment that they were both takers and she didn’t want to spend much time with them.
My daughter had met someone who she described as the one. And I was dating again too. She got married and picked a date in Aug 1990. I had been dating someone who had her own horror stories. We were a better match on values than each of us had been in the past.
I proposed that we get married at the same time and ceremony. I thought it would be fantastic to have a father and daughter get married on the same day.
My daughter’s marriage lasted less than 6 months as she was much like her mother and was not happy with just one partner. She had decided that she wanted to become a model and had made some contacts that resulted in moving to Miami and then to Milan, Italy.
She arrived home with a 35-year-old married man and stayed a week and 10 days. And was off to Milan again. She would call and update me on her adventure from time to time.
The daughter’s behavior was completely foreign to me. But like my parents we too had mutual respect. She too was experimenting with life and trying to figure it all out, a bit trial and error. Sometimes more error than success in the beginning.
Part of the conversation was “Dad would you file papers for my divorce”, being a nice Dad I did.
She made progress in Milan and soon moved back to Miami. She was not in Miami for very long and she had married again, now the second marriage. We visited Miami on multiple occasions and she and the new husband seemed in love. But this marriage only lasted a bit over three years and ended in divorce. This time Dad could not handle it; she was on her own. She was on to another relationship at this point.
We were in contact with her on a regular basis and knew she had been making many trips to New York to further her modeling career. Turns out she had met someone new months before she shared the news about the divorce.
Some time had passed and then the announcement of another marriage, this one being the third.
I forget how long this one lasted until she met another man which ended the third marriage. She and the new man were still married to their respective spouses when they started dating. She communicated that they believed they were meant for each other. Both soon filed for divorce. This young person of 28 years sure looked like a “love them and leave them” kind of girl.
We were saddened to hear that she had just decided to move on from her 3 marriages in 10 years. We never spoke about the details of her relationships. At this point there is no opportunity to talk about what she was feeling during that ten year span of her life. Life no rewinds or do overs. It would be nice if that was the case.
My wife and I met the fourth fiance only once. The conversation went something like “This was it, he was the one.” She had decided that she wanted to have children before she was 30, so the clock was ticking.
It was not long before I received an email in which the subject line said Dear Dad.
The letter suggests that I was the worst Dad, and she, her husband, and future children did not want to have any further contact with me.
It was a horrible time for me for many months. I had a different view and how much effort and energy I had put into raising her and supporting her dream of pursuing her career.
One year later I wrote a response letter and said that I would honor her wishes. It has been 19 years since I received that shocking letter. I have learned that over the years she has three children and remains married to this date. I’m glad that she is still married and seems happy with her life.
There was no invitation to the marriage. I have had no contact with her, her husband, or any of the three children she has today.
I felt that it is in my best interest to not interfere or pursue contact with her or her children. I have no desire to re-establish contact with her.
If any of her children come of age and reach out, I will share with them any information about their mother they wish to know.
Next year it will be twenty years ago that I received the letter, I was 48 then, and oddly enough she will be 48 next year too.
Any Dad would be in tears because you miss your child, and grandchildren. You miss seeing them going up, the family gatherings, the first times they accomplish so many things in life.
And We survive
My wife and I will be married 30 years later this year. We are hoping for another 30 or more years into the future.
I love and trust my wife. I know she loves and trusts me.
We both are operating with the same rule book. And the rules have not changed in 29 years.
If you are patient, life can be fair, we just have to wait for it. I did.
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Originally published at http://rs2021.eightysixhundred.com/blog.