In movies, books, and sometimes even real life, you often hear stories of men sleeping with their best friends’ wives. But in reality, that happens a lot less that you’d think. In fact, men may actually be biologically to stay away from the fruit of the forbidden tree (isn’t that poetic?). Researchers at the University [...]
Dear Mr. Dad: I’m an expectant father and something weird is happening. Ever since I found out that my wife is pregnant, my loyalty to her has started to waver and now all I can think about is going out and having affairs—especially with her best friend. I don’t know what’s happening, but I’m in desperate need of help—it’s driving me crazy.
A: Cheating in marriages is nothing new. And although there’s a stereotype that men are the primary cheaters, a number of studies have found that women are just as likely as men to stray. Cheating during pregnancy is actually pretty rare, but thinking about it isn’t. There are a number of interesting theories about why this happens.
Dear Mr. Dad: I was divorced in 2001, when my daughter was 1. She’s now 11. Here’s my dilemma. The person who was a big part of the divorce is still with my ex. But up until recently, my daughter knew him only as a cousin. After all I been through, I resent him when my daughter talks with him or spends time with him. Do I just keep swallowing my pride and let it go, or is this something I can talk about with her in a subtle way. She understands that her mother and I were divorced but not that this guy was involved.
A: I totally get that you’re still angry with the guy your ex is involved with (and who, if I’m reading between the lines correctly, was involved with her before she became your ex). And you have every right to resent his proximity to and relationship with your daughter. But be very, very careful. As painful as it is, you’re going to need to swallow your pride for a while longer—at least until your daughter comes right out and asks why you and her mom got divorced. Given that she’s perched on the brink of becoming a teen, that should be pretty soon.
When that day comes, you can—and should—tell her the truth. But do it in as calm a way as you can. Do not come across as attacking anyone (and by “anyone” I mean your ex or her “friend”). Just lay out the facts—and make sure they’re facts no one can argue with. The last thing you want is to get your daughter involved in a he-said-she-said kind of thing. She’ll end up in the middle, and that’s a place she should never be.
Like it or not, your ex’s friend is a part of your daughter’s life, and you need to bite your tongue and support him. If you can’t bring yourself to be supportive, at least don’t do anything hostile or vindictive. There is absolutely no upside to that. The only thing that will come of it is that your ex and, most likely, your daughter, will turn on you, and you’ll become the bad guy.
Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is expecting our first child. Initially, I was really excited, but lately I’ve been having these strange thoughts that the baby isn’t actually mine. I trust my wife completely and don’t want to mention this to her, but am I nuts?
A: In a word, No. At some point after the initial excitement passes, a surprising number of men find themselves experiencing exactly what you are: an irrational fear that the child their partner is carrying is not theirs. In his research with expectant dads, psychologist Jerrold Lee Shapiro found that 60 percent “acknowledged fleeting thoughts, fantasies, or nagging doubts that they might not really be the biological father of the child.” Like you, most of these men don’t actually believe their partners are having affairs. Instead, according to Shapiro, the feelings are symptoms of a common type of insecurity: the fear many men have that “they simply aren’t capable of doing anything as incredible as creating life, and that someone more potent must have done the job.” Fortunately, most guys get over these feelings pretty quickly.
Interestingly, irrational thoughts aren’t confined to biological dads. Men whose partners got pregnant using donor sperm—who actually didn’t do the biological creating—often have them too. A lot of guys worry that the sperm samples were switched and that they’ll end up with a child of a different race. Actually, it’s not so much race as physical similarity. Most couples who conceive artificially opt not to make the details of the pregnancy public. And, like any other dads, these guys hope their children will look like them—at least enough so that they won’t have to deal with the inevitable “Gee, the baby doesn’t look anything like you” comments.