Life is not easy for anyone, and I am no exception. I had to overcome many obstacles to reach my goal, which was to become a professional.
When I was twenty years old, I had a son with the wrong woman (I was not in love with her). Because of pressure from some of my friends, I had sexual relations with her, but only once.
My dilemma is that to this day I do not have a good relationship with my son as I would like to have. His mother gets in the middle and we always end up arguing. As a result, I prefer not to visit him and am not close to him. I am now married to the woman of my dreams, and together we have a son that is my reason for being. This is not how I feel about my first son, and I don’t know what to do about it.
Thank you for having the confidence to share your case with us. We are thankful that you have taken the time to write about your problem because it proves that your conscience is not clear regarding your first son. Deep in your heart you know that you cannot continue to handle this situation in the same way that you have until now.
Let’s think about this from the perspective of your first son. We’re going to call him Juan, though we have no idea what his real name is. Juan is a ten-year old child who is growing up with a constant insecurity inside of him. He asks himself every day, “Does my father love me? What did I do to make my father not want to be a part of my life? I must be bad, or my father would love me. He loves his other son, so why not me? What is wrong with me?”
Statistics show that boys who grow up without fathers have many obstacles to overcome in life. These boys are more likely to suffer emotional problems, more likely to have difficult adjustments in life and in relationships, and are more likely to end up in jail. Is this what you want for Juan?
You say that Juan’s mother is the one who makes it difficult for you to have a good relationship with him. Of course, she is not happy with you and is taking it out on both you and her son. You chose to have an intimate relationship with her, even if it was only one time, and now you are responsible to work out the details, no matter how difficult they are. Is Juan just a negative consequence of your unwise decision, or is he a valuable human being who deserves the love and care of his father? Is he disposable to you?
We have a close relative who has a similar situation to yours. We have seen what happens. It is very difficult for the father. He is seen as the bad guy by outsiders, and he feels like he is putting in all the effort but getting no results. The mother seems to have all the power, and she is very quick to use that power to hurt the father in whatever way that she can. It is much easier for him to just give up and stay away. This stops the constant bickering and gives him more peace. But is it right? What about Juan?
In only eight more years Juan will be an adult. It will then be too late to develop a relationship with him. And you will have the rest of your life to regret that you didn’t try hard enough to do the right thing. So how can you prevent this? You can do it, but you must start today!
You say that your other son is your “reason for being.” For obvious reasons, you are partial to him. There is a case similar to this in the book of Genesis in the Bible. Isaac has two sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau is more like his father, a hunter and a “man’s man.” For this and other reasons, Esau is Isaac’s favorite. But what about Jacob? His mother feels sorry for him and as a result, helps him trick both his father and his brother. This creates a feud that lasts for many years. And no one wins, for no one gets what they want or need. The lesson we learn from this case is the importance of treating our children equally, regardless of their individual differences, qualities, or traits.
Juan and his half-brother both carry your blood in their veins. They are both equally your sons. We believe that you should make it your goal to treat them equally from this day forward. How can that be done? We can give you a few ideas to start with, but you’ll have to put them into practice. However, the most important guideline to aim toward is that you will do whatever it takes to make this right. No matter how hard, no matter how complicated, no matter how stressful, you WILL make it happen.
Find an impartial person to serve as a mediator between you and Juan’s mother. If you can afford a professional counselor, great! If not, find someone who is wise that you can trust. Set up a meeting with Juan’s mother and the mediator. Explain that you want the best for Juan and that you want to know what it will take for her to make it easier for you to spend time with Juan. Confess that you have given up too easily in the past, but that now you will do things differently. Set up a reasonable visitation schedule, and never miss your times with Juan. In between visits, talk to him on the phone, send him letters or emails, and do the hard work of building a relationship. He may mistrust your motives at first. He may be afraid to raise his hopes that you really will act differently in the future. Give him time and keep on doing your part.
With brotherly love,