I’m thirty-nine years old. Six months ago, I separated from my wife, and I am being unfaithful to her. Before that happened, she made life impossible for me with her children. She was a widow with four teenage kids who never accepted me, but rather treated me with contempt…. We had a daughter together… but my wife treated me very badly. She used to hit me… and I became clinically depressed as a result of all the abuse. She even stabbed me in the arm with a knife when our daughter was six years old, and our little girl saw the bleeding and everything. I couldn’t stand it anymore and I left her.

Now I’m with another woman who shows me all the love, affection, and understanding that I needed. I’m in the process of divorcing my ex, and it’s inevitable.

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry for the way your wife treated you, but we are even sorrier for what your little girl has been through. It sounds like your wife is not a good influence on your daughter, and if that is true, there is the possibility that you could try to win custody of the child in court.

However, it is unclear as to whether or not you are a good influence on your daughter either. You are not even divorced yet, but you admit that you are with another woman and thereby being unfaithful. That relationship makes you a less than ideal person to parent your daughter.

Of course, you are suffering from the consequences of a very bad decision. When you decided to marry a woman with four teenage kids, you signed up to suffer. You say that they treated you with contempt, but you married their mother anyway. We believe that it is extremely rare for an adolescent to accept a step-parent, and therefore we advise people with adolescent children to devote themselves to their children and refrain from romantic relationships until the children are adults. You only made things worse by bringing another child into the world to have to deal with a difficult environment.

Obviously, it was not easy for you to live with your wife’s temper and tendency toward violence. We would never recommend that a spouse stay in a home where they are in danger. But even that situation does not justify your adultery nor your current relationship. You are prioritizing your own romantic desires above the welfare of your innocent daughter.

Only God is powerful enough to help sort out the mess that you have gotten yourself into. Our advice is that you ask for His forgiveness, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on the cross for our sins. Then determine to follow Him by following the Ten Commandments. Find a church where the people’s lives have been changed by His power, and where you can be accepted as a new follower of Christ. And study the Bible and pray regularly, asking Him to help you figure out what you should do next.

We wish you the best,