When do I say enough is enough?

October 13, 2015

Dear Rev Dunbar,

I have been married for five years. My husband has a child from a previous relationship and we both have a daughter. We all live together. However, a year ago one of his ex showed up to say she has been raising his child and is requesting child support. He denies being aware of this and has no proof that this is really his child. I has really affected us, as our income is not sufficient to take care of three children. This woman is very disrespectful to me at times and I don't believe he is man enough to stand up to her. It is very frustrating and I just want to take my child and go. When do I say enough is enough?

-Enough is enough

Dear Enough is enough,

You have not mentioned if this other child was discussed before you entered into marriage, which would better prepared you to deal with the sharing of finances and your husband as well. Your husband's name would certainly not have been called if he did not have sexual encounter with her and just perhaps he may not have known about the child. This is not an uncommon occurrence. With regards to the woman being disrespectful, your husband really has very little, if any control, over what she says or does although he could talk to her about her behaviour. But that doesn't mean she will desist. As for the child, if it is his, he should assume responsibility for his/her care. The reality is that it's hard, but the child is not responsible for the parent's actions and should not be punished for it. I suggest you and your husband have a conversation about the way forward, perhaps looking at another means of income to support the family. In the meantime, try and be supportive of his plight, as I hope he will be sensitive to your case. A tense and resentful atmosphere is not conducive to healthy family life and neither does it enhance your now necessary wise utilisation of your already limited resources.

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