Last night I came home early from work to find my husband of fifteen years in bed with our child’s babysitter. “Fred” was supposed to be at work as well (second shift), thus the need for a babysitter.
We have been having some financial problems lately, and since Fred handles all of the money I just assumed it was because we had overspent our budget or because of the rising cost of food and gasoline. In fact, I have taken to working extra shifts at work (I am a Nurse) to try and earn extra money – something Fred has been encouraging me to do, even though it means I never get to see our daughter during the week. Now I discover that the shortfall wasn’t all that bad and was only made worse because Fred has been taking off of work the nights I work in order to make time with the babysitter after our little girl has been put to bed.
Obviously, I want to file for divorce. I do not even want to hear Fred’s side of the story. My concern is for my daughter, who is only seven years old. I have never been very good at balancing a checkbook and I am not sure I make enough money to support her on my own. I work first shift at the hospital, so I would be able to be there for her after school and my Mom can watch her for an hour or two before school so I can get to work, but what if I have to work overtime? Could I even afford daycare or a babysitter or an afterschool program? My head is spinning! Is leaving Fred even what is going to be best for my baby girl? She woke up this morning and asked where Daddy was, and I told her he picked up an extra shift at work; I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I sent him to a motel.
Living In A Waking Nightmare
Dear Living In a Waking Nightmare:
You have my deepest sympathies on this horrible betrayal of trust and fidelity. I realize that you have no interest in hearing Fred’s side of the story, but depending on the age of your daughter’s babysitter the police may be interested in hearing it. If she is under the age of sixteen he has committed statutory rape and could be criminally charged for his odious behavior. I realize this sounds harsh, but in a few short years your daughter will have friends that age. Do you want him preying on those young girls, too?
|And you thought she offered adventures in babysitting!|
Since your husband is already at a motel he may want to send for his things while you explain to your daughter that her Daddy has behaved badly and is being put in a “time-out”. This gives her the story on a level she can understand; if Fred was messing around with the babysitter for any length of time (and it sounds like he was) your daughter was probably aware of it on some level.
Next, you need to talk to a divorce attorney about your rights and responsibilities (to yourself and your daughter). Your husband may lose custody of your daughter due to his shenanigans with the babysitter but he will still be responsible for paying child support, which will be anywhere from 25% - 33% of his gross weekly earnings. Knowing this should help you to figure a budget and how to live within it. If you are truly that bad at budgeting you may want to invest in the cost of a personal finance class through your local community college or Learning Connection. With bounced check fees being what they are the class will quickly pay for itself in the money a balanced checkbook saves you. You may also want to see a counselor to help you through this difficult emotional period; your health care provider or even someone at work (since you work in a hospital) can probably recommend one.
Only you can decide if leaving your husband is what is best for your daughter, but my personal opinion is that you are doing the right thing. While a two-parent household may be what is best for a child when the parents’ relationship is well-adjusted, I believe a house built on crumbling foundations will only serve to hurt the child’s emotional development. I do believe that it is important that you allow your daughter to maintain a healthy and close relationship with her father, in spite of your differences with him. Just because Fred is a lousy husband does not mean he isn’t a terrific father.
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