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Divorce Issues/divorce with unborn baby?


QUESTION: Dear Philip

I am a 34 y old male. 12 years ago I married for the first time, got divorced after 5 years with a little girl who is now 8. My first wife was and still is a manipulative person who used my daughter against me many times to get at me, even though it was she who wanted a divorce to be with her ex-boyfriend (which proved to be a false hope anyway).

I was single for 4 years, then I married again, this time to a girl suggested by my family (my first choice was against their wish). She is 31, engaged to be married once, and has a history of problems within her family which I did not know about at the time, namely her father who was a dominating and irresponsible person in her life. Her fiance turned out to be no better, leaving her stranded for four years before finally calling the marriage off.

As it has turned out, apparently she married me because her father and family kind of forced her to and she accepted also due to my insistence. I have to say I fell in love with her very soon and was very reluctant to let go of her, she seemed such a decent and kind soul. Anyway my ex-wife proved to be a problem in this marriage, taunting her and planning schemes through my daughter to irritate her at every turn. Unfortunately my family augmented this problem by stupidily trying to dominate her by saying my ex-wife was better than her and focusing a lot on my daughter.

So in spite of all the support I did offer her, she has been asking for a divorce for a long time. At first I resisted but when I saw her anxieties were slowly eating her from inside, I agreed. Problem was I could not afford to give her sufficient financial support after the divorce so it was delayed several times and every time I thought she had refrained and come to her senses but I was wrong. In the middle of all this crisis she got pregnant. Now she insists that I let her keep the child but let her go at the same time, so that she could give birth and raise the child alone without him/her ever knowing about the father. I am worried about this child's future in this way, I would prefer an abortion and divorce but I am afraid of the terrible emotional strain and scar this act would have on her, as she loves to have a child (even to the point of wanting to be a single parent in a strange city with no suitable means of income). I dont know what to do. Is an abortion is the way to go? Or should I let her go with the child as she wishes? Please help me as I am at my wits' end...


ANSWER: Wow. Where is a Soloman when we need one.  

It's hard for me to know how to advise you.  Abortion is so loaded here in the U.S. and strong cultural feelings guide these decisions.

Iranian culture is so different and I also imagine that it would matter greatly whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Bahai.... or whether your family was.

It seems in your case that your family makes these critical decisions, not you,... or at least they have an extraordinary amount of influence relative to my experience here in the U.S..

If she carries the baby to term, you will  be responsible for child support and financial aid.  Also I expect that your  parents will want to see their grand child.  

Also, sooner or later, a child will want to know his or her father. Rarely does the child never ever see the parent. Here in the U.S. it has been common for even adopted children to go in search of their biological parents, to want to see them, meet them, connect with long lost brothers and sisters.  This is something the mother should know also.

She sounds very confused.  Although you sound equally confused.  I suspect that part of the problem is that you both are without trusted older advisors.  Most people who find success in life find mentors.  if the parents are not adequate, they find others whom they can trust and talk about these matters.  Most dangerous is to be completely alone and isolated. She will have advisors and so will you.

In the end, she will have to make the decision, not you. The pregnant is in her body.  It will be her life.  She will either include you in it or not, but it will be her life and she will have to live with the decision.  

I think one of your mistakes is that you are so concerned to take care of others that you have lost track of your own inner voice and your own inner guidance.  

You have to know what you want to happen.  Whatever  you decide, you will live with that decision.  Which decision do you prefer to live with.

You have to be able to know these things. That is your spiritual challenge right now, to know your deepest heart.

A marriage can push people to this depth, so can a divorce and so can an abortion.  This is a profound decision and when you've made it you will say, "Okay, this is the kind of person I am."  So decide what you want.  Know what you really want even if you are afraid you can't have it. Still You simply must know your heart's desire.  

Do let me know please.

Then once you know your hearts desire, you have to tell her.  Tell her, "this is your decision. I can not control you .   However if it were up to me, this is what I would want."  Then you have to be prepared to accept what happens

This is something I don't think you have done.  

I do hope this is wise and helpful.

Philip Alan Belove Ed. D.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Philip

You are right, we are so alone and no one seems to be able to guide us, in fact I am so delighted to have someone to talk to about this...

She is indeed confused. This is not the first time we have had this discussion but I had thought it was over when she agreed to stay and raise the child with me (I persuaded her to let go of the idea of abortion at that time) but it seems we have to go over this again and again...

It is impossible for me to see her shattered emotionally like this, she has had a really hard time during her life with me since she is an extremely emotional and sensitive woman, and her upbringing has been so pure and decent that she has never been prepared to deal with the harsher aspects of life and relations with less than ideal people. I have tried to support her as best as I could but apparently my best efforts has not been enough. Her mother died two months ago after years of illness and after I did everything I could for her (I am a pharmacist with business links with many physicians). She was the most special person in her life and her death together with her father's less than ideal performance and her sister's dependency has put enormous strain on her mind and body. And I am sure the abortion will leave a scar too deep to ever heal.

Just an hour ago she changed her decision twice, first asking me to give her the house we live in so that she would feel some sort of security against my ex and my child, and then she asked me to play along with her for 2 days pretending we were expecting parents living an ideal life before doing and abortion (which I would have to induce with medicines, an unbelievably huge emotional strain on me specially since it could be life threatening for her). Right now I have convinced her to continue living together and promised all kinds of support, but I have no idea how long this fragile peace will continue. I wish I had never married her in the first place, even now I wish all this could go away because I want peace in my life and I wont have it for a long time if ever. But I cant destroy her life like this because even with financial support her hopes for any decent kind of social life will be over. I can handle difficult times much better than her...

I really dont know what to do, God knows when she will explode again, accusing me of ruining her life and hurling abuse at me and all my kin. Yet I feel I must keep her from destroying herself. Am I doing the right thing?


ANSWER: It's a very tricky decision.

She seems quite confused and crazy.  Not only that, she trusts no one.  I suspect that you are the one she trusts most and when her moods take over she does not trust you.

Do not expect that to change quickly or spontaneously. An intervention of some sort will be neeed.  

Without having met her, going only on your descriptions,  I would guess that she does not have the inner strength or maturity to
look at how confused she is and then to profit from it.

It takes a certain level of maturity to be able to have a teacher tell you that you are wrong, undeveloped, immature, in need of training, and so on.

So you have to decide whether she can rise to the challenge of learning how to be an adult and how to care for others.

I think you have decided that she can't do that now.  If that is your judgement, then you have to factor that into any decision you make.

The next decision you have to make is whether to keep her around and work on her, with gentle persistence, and a certain amount of threat ( you'll have discipline her)   She may need (you both may need) the help of a psychologist.

Or you could decide how self-destructive she will be if you simply refuse to be so burdened by her.  

And can you live with yourself if she disappears, gets into a lot of trouble, or dies.

You also have to look at yourself and be willing to do a bit of humble self-exampination.  It was a terrible mistake for you to get her pregnant. You knew she was this crazy. This is a weakness in you which you must look at, much as you want her to look at her weaknesses.

You will need some help in knowing how to handle her explosions and accusations.  There will be many in the future if you keep her.

And you could make a compromise.  

But you  have to be very clear and strong:

For example:

ABortion now and the chance to stay with you and make a good life, but she will have to learn to control herself.

Divorce now and no money and she can be free, if that's what she wants.

This is a bit of a negotiation between you and she is a wild adversary.

Does this help?  

It is possible I could work with you via Skype.  We''d have to work out time differnces. I am usually in Montreall and I work with people in Tokyo, Japan and Xi'an China and Jerusalem.  

Or we could make an email arrangement.

Or maybe you can find someone there who can help  you.

Do feel free to write back.

Philip Alan Belove, Ed.D.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Philip

Skype is excellent. Please give me your free hours your own timezone and we can work it out from there. I owe you a huge debt of thanks over this kind offer.


I'm  in Los Angeles until Thursday and then I'm in Montreal.  I'll need to get settled and acclimatized. It's cold there.
My policy is that I give people the first hour free and then we contract for some sessions.  My focus, as you can tell, is on more mature people and so I like a very thoughtful exchange.  I'm sure you have a sense of my style by now.

You'll want a place where you can speak freely and privately so I expect that your time constraints will be serous than mine.
My time zone is Eastern Standard time and that would be UTC/GMT -5 hours.
In general I like to keep evenings free although for Xian I usually schedule 7 on Tuesday evening which is Wed morning at 7. For Japan I find that my Monday morning is his evening.  Not sure at the moment how that works.

Anyway, send me some possible times and I'll see what can work.   YOur 830 am is my 5 pm same day


Divorce Issues

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.


Divorce is the beginning of a life review process. For many people, it`is the first intentional decision they make about their lives. The transition into the next stage of life is difficult at first, but it gets easier. The questions I can help you with: What happened? How do I take care of our children? How do I get over my anger? How do I plan a future for myself?


I am Philip Belove, psychologist and coach. My specialty is helping people do their midlife transformation work, a psychological project that creates a foundation for happy and satisfying second half of life.

Midlife Work, because it involves so much careful attention to inner truth, is notoriously stressful on marriages and on dating relationships.

The challenges of the midlife project are echoed in the typical questions asked me as a dating-at-midlife expert:

?Learning to reconcile what you say with what you do. This challenge is echoed in questions like: Why does he say this when he does that? What is really happening?
?Learning to create your own dreams instead of being the victim of someone else's. This challenged is echoed in questions like these: How do I say that I don't want to xyz? I've been lying about some things and what should I do now?
?Learning to live a life that suits you. This challenge produces questions like Is what I'm doing normal? What if my kids think I'm crazy? How can I say that this is starting to bother me?

A person doing Midlife Transformation Work needs to develop 1) A Working Vision, 2) Skills and Strategies to realize that vision, and 3) External sources of support for the project. My role for people is to be part of the support system. I help people clarify their visions, develop the strategies and skills they need, and I help them review their progress.

M.A. Counseling Psychology
Ed.D. Counsulting Psychology (Family Therapy)

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