I accept what I did in our relationship was wrong – but I don’t accept not being a father to our two children.
Right now my daughter is ‘echoing’ many of the same words my wife uses about how I need to be held accountable for the things I did five or more years ago and how I don’t care about or love my children as much.
Needless to say we’re going through a difficult time and your words/perspective have shined a little light on the situation. My wife professes to be a Christian who “prays for me” and I hope one day she’ll find the forgiveness and acceptance you found in your life. In the mean time I want her to consider the complex feelings of our children.
Your wife is still hurting, even if it was 5 years ago. Although you admit to “accepting” what you did was wrong, that doesn’t mean she did. Whether right or wrong, her inability to accept what you did or her hanging on to that hurt is affecting your daughter and your relationship with your daughter.
I can suggest something that you might not want to do, but might want to consider, especially if it has a tiniest of chances to help improve the situation.
Through your acceptance of what you did, find a way to say to your ex: “I am sorry that our marriage didn’t work out, and for whatever I did to end it. I never set out to hurt you, but I know I did and I know that you are angry. I want you to hear, that I am sorry I hurt you. I don’t want our children to hurt like you are. But I also want you to know, I want to be a good father, but you need to let me be that person. Can we try to focus on what will make the kids still feel loved and secure with both of us?”
You wouldn’t believe what that will do to restore communication, let go of the past so she can begin healing and improve your relationship little by little with your children, as it sinks in. Again, you have nothing to lose, but it really does make a difference to wives who feel that they have been wronged.
Write McKenna at firstname.lastname@example.org