I recently mailed Johnny Soporno about a problem I have with my children. I have his permission to post his response on the forums, so here goes. I'm not completely comfortable in admitting this problem publicly, but it feels a bit too selfish to keep it for myself, in case other people has similar problems.
Dear Johnny, |
You came into existence for me a year ago by a link on the Steve Pavlina forums to your free seductive reasoning videos, and I've been firmly hooked since then ) I trust Steve quite a lot even though I've never met him, and his going polyamorous, meeting you in person and especially his very positive recommendations of you means a lot to me. You've heard it before, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Thanks for the enthusiasm, and for the feedback as well - I'm delighted that Violet and I have been able to help Steve and Erin with their appreciation of one-another, and their acceptance of themselves; from reading your email, I believe that YOUR situation is stymied by your lack of confidence in YOUR OWN acceptance of yourself!
If you don't mind, I'd like your input regarding having and bringing up kids. I know you chose a proactive solution to that, but it's a bit late for that in my case ) I ended my (traditional?) relationship that had lasted 7 years (4 years married) also about a year ago, for reasons I paraphrase as "She is very much into family and kids, and I not so much". At the same time, I was struggling with guilt for being twice unfaithful to my former wife, and still do to an extent. All of it because of my lack of resolve and long term thinking and predicting consequences.
Stop beating yourself up, Elias!
If I may be so bold, your sense of guilt here is caused by your failure to recognize and appreciate WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE, and what drives you, fundamentally. You are clearly a man who is here to "spread the seed", rather than one who is born to protect and nurture his partner and her [and presumably his] offspring.
Here's a little something to help you understand where I'm coming from:
The Functional Design and Phylogeny of Women's Dual Sexuality: Estrus and Extended Sexuality |
by: Randy Thornhill, Professor of Cultural Anthropology & Evolutionary Psychology, University of New Mexico
Recent research questions the conventional wisdom about the evolution of women's sexuality. Women have two functionally distinct sexualities. At the fertile phase of the cycle, women prefer male traits that may mark superior genetic quality. At infertile cycle phases, women prefer men willing to invest resources in a mate. Women's peri–ovulatory sexuality is homologous with estrus in other vertebrates and estrus likely arose first in the species ancestral to vertebrates. Thus, contrary to conventional wisdom, women have not lost estrus, and human estrus likely functions to get a sire of superior genetic quality, which is the evolved function of estrus throughout the vertebrates. Women's sexuality outside estrus is extended sexuality. It appears to function, as in other taxa with this type of sexuality, to get material benefits from males. Also contrary to conventional wisdom, men perceive and respond to women's estrus, including by increased mate guarding. Men's response is limited compared to other vertebrate males, implying co-evolutionary history of selection on females to conceal estrus from men and selection on men to detect it. Research indicates that women's concealed estrus is an adaptation to conditionally copulate with men other than the pair–bond partner. Women's sexual ornaments–the estrogen–facilitated features of face and body–appear to be honest signals of individual quality pertaining to future reproductive value.
In other words, women have evolved to pair-bond with men who provide them with both confidence and wherewithal that ensures their children will be well cared-for; yet to BREED (surreptitiously) with more ambitious, sexually-exciting itinerant partners, without bringing this up to their long-term mates. "Extra Pair Coupling" resulting in "Non-Paternity Parenthood" is rampant throughout the animal kingdom, even amongst nominally pair-bonding species.
Men have equally evolved either to have 'alpha ambitions' (ie, the motivation never to settle down, and to spend their energies on impregnating an abundance of willing partners) or to have non-alpha temperaments; to be comfortable in a protracted, long-term relationship with a single partner, and to contribute to the raising of her offspring (presuming them to be his own).
I vowed never to be unfaithful again and always to be honest regardless of convenience. Of course, the best way to avoid the problem is to avoid exclusivity altogether (DUH!) I'm not far in the area of polyamory/non-exclusivity yet, but I feel confident that I'll eventually handle it well. My question is about kids. Kids are, contrary to adults, not capable of taking care of themselves so they present unique challenges not present in adult-adult relationships.
Heh - few 'adults' are mature enough to take care of themselves, frankly - although it certainly sounds to me as though your ex and yourself ARE fairly enlightened and objective in your rationality.
See, I've got two kids, aged 6 and 2, both of them not-that-planned-for (first one while on the pill, second one using nuva-ring), both of them with my ex-wife and twice I wanted abortion and she wanted to keep them. You could say it is odd that two accidents happened, that she did it on purpose or even that they might not be my kids, but I have on reason to suspect any of that. My ex-wife is very reasonable, even more logical than me in some cases ) and the logistics and economic aspects are taken good care of.
I expect that most-likely you could have a frank and sincere conversation with her about your needs and motivations, reminding her that you had explicitly opted not to be a father (and had been blind-sided both times, having relied on A) hormonal medications and B) her appreciation of your desire not to assume the responsibilities of a father at this time.
While I am sure you love and adore your kids, I completely sympathize with your not wanting the burden of caring for kids that young at this time in your life. You need to communicate to her than YOUR KIDS WILL SENSE that they are overwhelmingly NOT WANTED by you, and it will cause them psychological and socialization harms which neither you nor your ex would want for them.
Frankly, I expect you're probably pretty ADHD yourself (based upon your obvious intelligence and your career path) and this isn't conducive to raising youngsters: KIDS NEED ATTENTION, regardless of whether they are actually interesting to you at each moment or not - and failing to give it to them will end up causing inestimable damage to their self-esteem and their emotional welbeing. (This doesn't, of itself, make you a douchebag! But failing to find a positive solution does!
Personally, I recommend that you offer to cover or share the costs of a live-in nanny to tend to them (nominally at her home) and to see them on a less onerous schedule, which would give you time to crave their company and yearn for the time you'd spend with them, thereby ensuring that they feel treasured and appreciated. If your ex wants to tend to them on her own when she would otherwise have had responsibility for them, she should be assumed to have invested her half of the nanny's costs in so doing... but as an MD, I would imagine she'll ultimately leave the kids with the nanny a lot more than she would spend time with them directly.
I hope this is helpful to you!
My problem is time. I now have two kids by myself for 1 week every |
other week, and it's draining me. She, being a familiy-kind-of-woman,
loves to have the kids and craves more time with them, but being a
medical doctor doesn't allow her to take more than the 7 days she
already got. I'm a freelance programmer and my schedule is very
flexible, but even though I love my kids I don't see much satisfaction
in the day-to-day child-care. As you've said, time is the most
valuable asset, and I basically don't enjoy my time alone with kids
. I enjoy my weeks without kids quite a lot and I rarely miss my
kids like my ex-wife does when she doesn't have them.
What would you recommend? I would very much like to hear about anybody
you know in a similar situation and how they handle it. I see:
a) Refuse to have them all 7 days. Hardly fair when she's a doctor
with little extra time. She's got a new (familiy-compatible ) )
boyfriend, but he's _also_ a doctor with even less time!
b) Suck it up. That's basically what I do now and will continue to do
if no other viable solution comes up, and I've become competent enough
in the fatherhood business to know that my children are not being
harmed that much by having a douchebag father ;o)
Being kids, you can't just say "I don't enjoy time with you so I don't
think we should see each other" like you always can for adults. And
what about the old cliche with the dying man on his death bed going "I
wish I had spent more time with my kids"?