Many years ago, I had a client who had been having an affair with a man she didn’t want to marry. However, she did want to have a child with him.
She selected very well. He had good genes. No craziness in his family, a conventional background, good-looking, stable income, well-educated, and socially adept.
My curiosity roared to life. With all these acknowledged excellent traits, why wouldn’t she want to marry him, especially if she was attracted to him sufficiently to have had sex with him for the last few years?
Apparently, she felt that they weren’t really suited to one another except that she thought he would make an excellent father and she wanted to have a child. More especially, she wanted to have his child. She liked his gene pool and had selected him to father her child.
After several years had passed, she told me that she had chosen well. He made all the important decisions and she liked not having that responsibility. He chose the gynecologist, the pediatrician, the kindergarten, and just about everything else. He also paid all the bills.
One day, she called me and told me that she wanted to have another child so that her daughter wouldn’t be an only child. And guess what? The same man who fathered her first child was her choice for her second child. But this time there was another element that factored into it. This man had recently gotten married.
I thought for sure that would have thrown a spanner in the works so I asked, “Don’t you think his wife will mind if her husband is having sex with you?” and she replied, “This doesn’t concern her; it’s between him and me.”
In her mind, she was just using him for sex to conceive a child. In my mind, she was still sleeping with her former lover. She didn’t want some anonymous sperm donor; she wanted this man’s sperm.
Over the course of a lifetime, I’ve spoken to several thousand women and I can’t recall a single woman who would have sanctioned her husband’s sleeping with his former lover for the purpose of creating a child.
My client eventually had a second child with this man. They didn’t use a turkey baster; they did it the old-fashioned way by having sex. I don’t know many women who are able to separate their emotions from sex, and even fewer who are able to carry a child and not have some deep feelings for the lover who impregnated her.
And, once again, this man took on the role of the responsible parent, making all the decisions regarding the children’s welfare and paying all the bills. He wasn’t a wealthy man but he had a stable income. Still, I don’t know any newly married woman who would feel comfortable supporting her husband’s lover and his children, especially if one of those children was conceived shortly after she married him.
I thought that I would never hear of anything similar to this situation but I was wrong. Several years later, I met a woman who had decided to divorce her husband but wait … not until after she conceived another child by him.
She told me that she loves being pregnant and her husband loves seeing her pregnant. He also loves having children around and he was willing to pay her to keep having his children.
They eventually got a divorce but, by mutual agreement, he had moved out of the house before she conceived his last child. They couldn’t stand living together but they enjoyed making children together. At least this one hadn’t gotten married and then went to bed with her for the purpose of having another child with her.
After their divorce, the husband bought a house near their other house so they could share custody. It meant that their children could spend half a week in each parent’s house and they could attend the same school and keep their same friends and stay on the same sports teams and not have their lives disrupted because of the divorce.
Both their marriage and their divorce were toxic yet they deliberately kept bringing additional children into their toxic relationship. Sharing custody and living near each other so that the children’s lives were not torn asunder is good up to a point.
If these parents could get along, it might have been the best of all possible worlds. Instead, the children bore the emotional scars of a dysfunctional family and no amount of “sameness” in their lives could compensate for the endless fights they had to witness when they were within hearing distance of hostile telephone calls and visits.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I believe that children shouldn’t have to choose which parent is safe to love and which house feels better to live in. They deserve to have two parents who don’t undermine each other to their children and who speak respectfully to each other in front of their children.
And if they can’t manage to do that, then they should reevaluate their decision to bring more children into the world.