About four years ago I had a relationship with a man who is twelve years older than I am…. After being with him about five months, I discovered… alarming details about him, among others that he had been in jail for three years, that he likes marijuana, that he hates his mother, that he is a womanizer, and that he still had a close relationship with a former lover and their children…. At the same time that I learned all this, I also discovered that I was pregnant. As a result my future looked very bleak, and that’s how my pregnancy turned out–extremely sad, with emotional abuse and humiliation.

In spite of everything, I wanted to stay with him for my little girl’s sake. She was finally born, but I received very little help from her father. I named her, and that miserable good-for-nothing even agreed with me to not give her his last name! Finally, when my daughter was ten months old, he left the city….

Since then we haven’t talked, not even by email. My daughter is three years old now. It makes me so sad because I have read a lot about how important it is for a child to have a dad, but she doesn’t have one. I was the one who kept her apart from him, and that makes me increasingly worried as to whether or not I did the right thing. I don’t know if I should try to contact him. My daughter hasn’t asked for her father yet, but I know that she soon will. With everything I have told you, I find it very difficult to contact him because I don’t want cause problems for me or my daughter. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

Listen to your instincts! When you say that you don’t want to cause problems for yourself or your daughter, what we hear is, “I am trying to protect myself and my daughter from the potential physical and emotional danger that her biological father would bring into our lives.” That statement comes from your survival instinct, and it is the message that you should listen to.

Of course it would be better for your daughter to have a father. God designed the ideal family to be composed of a father and a mother who are committed to each other for life in the sacrament of marriage, and their one or more children. When you chose to have an emotional relationship with a man that you didn’t know very well, you were choosing to bring heartache and emotional pain into your life. And when you chose to have intimate relations with a man that you were not committed to in marriage, at that moment you chose to have a child without a father.

Instead of regretting the fact that you are protecting your daughter from the man who donated the biological material necessary for her to be born, you should regret the fact that you have chosen a lifestyle that does not value the most basic requirements of creating a child. But it’s not too late, my friend. You can decide today that you will never again get involved emotionally with any man before you know him well enough to take the risk. You can decide that the next time you have intimate relations with a man, it will be the man that you are married to and are committed to for the rest of your life.

You have certainly made some poor decisions. Decisions such as yours are the result of our willingness to break the commandments that God gave us for our own protection. When we make such decisions, we are choosing to do things our own way instead of God’s way. But your Heavenly Father is waiting to forgive you for all the ways that you have disregarded and disobeyed his commandments. All you have to do is ask Him to forgive you in the name of Jesus Christ His Son, who already paid the penalty for all your sins when He died on the cross. Then ask your Heavenly Father to help you learn and obey the commandments that He has given for your own protection. Each day, as you serve as a role model for your precious daughter, remember that God will be with you. You are not alone.

We wish you well,

Linda and Charles