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Woman's right to choose the father for her child - what do you think ? - LONG story

(54 Posts)
waitingandwaiting Tue 14-Oct-08 13:23:28

Hi girls,

Not sure this topic belongs in this list but I have recently found out something that bothers me a lot and I'm not sure how I should see this.
One of my very best, oldest girlfriends, who always has been very reasonable, very traditional has told me something about her life.

Just a bit of background: she has married her first man at 21 and has been married to him for 10 years. They are reasonably happy ( comfortable), but as far as I understand the sex life has never been enjoyable for her with him, it happens very rarely and has never been good for her IYKWIM( well she didn't do any better as he was her first).
The husband is a good man, very quiet and kind with very few friends and his wife is basically his only best friend. The husband thinks all is fine, although she discussed this subject with him many times. As the marriage progressed she did have a couple of lovers as she was frustrated with the whole sex situation. That's how she found out what proper sex is.

Eventually she met another man, the opposite of her husband - very much a centre of attention with hundreds of friends, with whom she end up having a long affair ( about a year - her husband goes away very ofthen). The man knew that she was married, but she told him they were in the process to get separated. She never thought of her lover as a partner material, as he was quite popular with ladies and also does not have a job ( he lives of his sports hobby which is his business with very low income and some odd jobs here and there). So she saw him more as a toy boy. But at some point she realised that she was pregant from the toy boy. ( The lover actually seemes to have fallend in love with her and wanted her to get a divorce and be with him all the time and wanted to have children with her when they could afford to have them).

She has recently lost her job, so now fully depends on her husband. In 10 years she was never pregnant from her husband and even thought that she or he was infertile. She asked the husband to get checked several times, but he refused, saying that he doesn't want to be treated like a sperm donor. Other than no children and bad sex she thinks that her husband is a good companion. So she didn't tell the lover that she was pregnant, but told her husband and he belives it's his. She says she knows that her husband would still stay with her if he knew, but would only be hurt unnecessarily if he knew everything, and this might be the only whay that they as a couple would have a child, as the husband would never get checked or do anything special like IVF for it.

She decided that she can choose who the father of her child will be and is choosing to stay with her husband. She broke up with the lover, who is completely heart broken, but will get over it as he seems to be quite popular.
Sorry for such a long info - what do you think - does a woman have the right to choose the father for her child?
I don't want to judge her, I actually could not understand how she managed living for 10 years in this closed marriage, she does come from a very traditional upbringing, but I think they may a good chance to live happily ever after ( well if you forget about sex and possibly future children).

needmorecoffee Tue 14-Oct-08 13:26:40

if they have a good chance of living happily then maybe she is making the best decision. Its a tricky one, especially given the child may inherit things from its biological father. And what if the child meets a half sibling?

Her husband seems a bit distant to me. Is she staying with him out of security? Does she actually like him?

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Tue 14-Oct-08 13:31:01

I think if she is willing to give up her lover then she should be okay.

But what will she do if god forbid the baby gets sick and needs blood/bone marrow and nither parent are a match? Maybe she should consider telling the truth as if it comes out in another way her husband will be hurt even more.

AMumInScotland Tue 14-Oct-08 13:32:20

If she wasn't married, I'd say she has the "right" to get pregnant with any man she's having sex with, if he's not taking precautions and she's not lying to him about her fertility/contraception. But I don't think she has any right to make her husband raise someone else's child without knowing it. What might happen in the future? There's every chance the lie will be uncovered at some stage, and that will make both the husband and the child unhappy.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 13:33:46

It could all work out ok but my instinct is that this is deeply wrong.
Every child has a biological mother and father, and actually the child should have the right to know who her/his father is. And the father himself has a right to know. And the woman's husband has a right to know he isn't the father.

There are just so many other factors in this situation - such as if the child inherits a lot of characteristics from its father, if at some point in the future she/he meets a half sibling, asneedmorecoffee points out.

What if the marriage does break up? - They may be 'good companions' now, but what of the future? Would she expect her husband to support a child which isn;t his? Is she staying with him just because she wants a baby and a man to provide for her? If so, then she's being selfish.

Lots of alarm bells for me.

VinegARGHHHTits Tue 14-Oct-08 13:35:12

I think she is very selfish, both the father, her husband and the child have a right to know the truth, personally i could not live with a lie as big as that.

2cats2many Tue 14-Oct-08 13:41:26

On balance, I think she's making the right decision to not tell the truth in this instance- even though it will come back to haunt her in years to come.

Her rights to choose a father aside, her baby has a right to a loving, stable family and it seems to me that staying with her husband gives the best chance of this at the moment.

At some point she will need to tell the truth to both her child and her husband, because of the reasons already raised by previous posters and if there were any genetic/ health problems, but by then, her husband would probably love the child enough that he would still consider himself to be the father- despite the genetic issues.

Nothing's cut and dried, but difficult choices and massive compromises are made in life all the time. I'd probably do the same if I was her in her position.

unavailable Tue 14-Oct-08 14:06:03

Surely the most important thing is that the child has a right to know who their biological father is? Can you imagine how heartbreaking it would be for all concerned if the truth was to be discovered 5, 10 or 20 years down the line. It is WRONG for her to persist in this lie. From what you say I think she is doing it for purely selfish reasons (financial) but even if she truely thought it was for the best it would still be WRONG.

If she is so sure her husband would forgive her and support her and the child, why wont she do it? "She doesnt want to hurt him" line is just utter tosh.

So, in answer to your question - Yes, every woman has a right to choose the father of her child - and she did that when she got pregant by her lover and chose to continue with the pregnancy. Now she has to tell the truth.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 14:11:18

The more I think about it, the more wrong this seems. The other people involved have a RIGHT to know the truth. The child, the husband, the lover. The child has a right to know its father. The husband has a right to decide whether he wants to bring up someone else's child. The lover had a right to know he is a father. Let's face it, if the woman's marriage goes tits up she'll probably want maintenance from her ex lover - it cuts both ways.

flowerybeanbag Tue 14-Oct-08 14:18:04

Can't see this as being about the woman's 'right to choose the father' at all.

As findtheriver says, it's about the right of the child to know its father, the father to know about the child, and the husband to decide whether he's happy to raise the child.

Not about the woman's rights at all.

donnie Tue 14-Oct-08 14:21:01

agree with flowerybb. Big secrets like this inevitably unravel and come back to haunt - when least expected. It's not worth the gamble and is unfair on all parties.

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Tue 14-Oct-08 14:23:03

I think she is wrong to let someone else think he is the father of her child when he isn't. If indeed he isn't, husband could be the dad afterall assuming they have had sex.

LostHorizon Tue 14-Oct-08 14:31:24

Incredibly mean and selfish thing to do. She is stealing from him, financially and emotionally. It's the moral equivalent of rape. She must really, really hate him to do this to him; first she's a repeatedly faithless wife and then when she gets pregnant (how??) she deceives him further. I feel so, so sorry for this guy, married to a lying, gold-digging adultress.

Piffle Tue 14-Oct-08 14:38:44

not selfish to choose husband per se
But deceitful to not tell him the truth

VinegARGHHHTits Tue 14-Oct-08 14:44:24

Surely her DH must suspect something, i mean if they never have sex and suddenly she is pg, my guess is he knows anyway, but the OM has a right to know if he is going to be a father, and the child has the right to know, it could have detrimental effects on the child in later life.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 14:46:53

It's morally vacuous isn't it.

Cappuccino Tue 14-Oct-08 14:49:04

"She asked the husband to get checked several times, but he refused, saying that he doesn't want to be treated like a sperm donor."

I'm sorry but the dh doesn't sound so fantastic if that is his response to his wife trying to start a family

"the husband would never get checked or do anything special like IVF for it. "

why would you think a bloke who couldn't be bothered going to a clinic to get checked out is going to make a great dad?

sounded like he completely ignored what she wanted from life

I'd rather run off with the flakey bloke personally

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 14:49:17

Where has the OP gone? Would be interesting to hear her response...

waitingandwaiting Tue 14-Oct-08 15:45:44

I'm back and have read all posts.
All these thoughts have gone through my mind when I found out: is it right? is it wrong? What is right and what is wrong?

Is it in the child's interest to be brought up by in a stable family with a loving father ( although not his biologically), or is it better to stick with the biological father, break the marriage and then possibly not have a father for the child as that new relationship could easily fall apart for various reasons.
Still not sure about how to see this to be honest. If she was very selfish she'd stay with the lover as she is happier with him as a woman, but not sure she could have a family with him. Would she be better off as a single honest mother - also not so sure. Would the husband be happy to loose her and the child? ( I also think he may suspect that this is not his but has decided for himself to accept it). Difficult choice I'd say.

LostHorizon Tue 14-Oct-08 15:47:51

If the parent isn't the father and doesn't know it, it is certainly not a "stable family".

"If she was very selfish" - we've already established that she is.

TheDevilWearsPrimark Tue 14-Oct-08 15:50:42

I'm not sure how stable your friend will be.

The emotions you feel for your child knock you for six, I certainly never expected it to be so intense, how on earth can she bond with the child knowing that it's all a facade?

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 15:50:58

Yes, you describe the dilemna very clearly. But I think the fundamental point remains that the woman would be basing the whole of her future, and that of the child, and that of her husband (and in a sense the ex lover) on a really big lie. I mean, how much more signficant do lies come? Lying about the parenthood of a child.

There are just too many lives involved here to make it anything other than abhorrent really. The bottom line is: there is no neat, comfy solution. It's all very well to talk about a 'stable family' - but how stable is a family when it's founded on a lie? The only way you could really argue that it's a stable family is if the woman comes clean, confesses to her husband, and he agrees to take on the other man's child. Any other way is completely based on a big fat lie, and I think is likely to end in heartbreak one way or another.

LazyLinePainterJane Tue 14-Oct-08 15:52:56

I would be concerned that her DH's lack of willingness to go for fertility testing means that he does in fact know that he has fertility issues.

Might he find out himself?

mayorquimby Tue 14-Oct-08 15:59:46

completely selfish and an absolute slut.
the mans right to the truth and to decide wether or not to bring up another mans child over rides any made up self indulgent "right" she has to choose the father. she doesn't that's decided by biology. she's had several affairs over the years,is now pregnant by someone else and some how she's trying to claim the morale high ground by hiding behind it "being best fr the baby". it's absolute bs she's doing what's best for her and doesn't want to give up her cash cow.
can't believe that some people think it'd be ok for her to keep this from her husband and trick him into raising another persons kid.

VinegARGHHHTits Tue 14-Oct-08 16:03:22

But she is selfish, she already proved this by having an affair just for the sex, without any concern for her DH, now she is being double selfish for staying with him becuase she knows he can provide a better family life for her and her baby, than her lover can, if she cared for either of these men she would tell the truth but she is obviously only interested in herself, and is not thinking what efect a huge lie like this would have on the child. IMo best to tell the truth and risk being a lone parent than decieve everyone she is supposed to love and care about.

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