Dad’s lost interest

Dear Wendyl, I’ve been split from my husband for two years and we share a daughter who is now four years old. In the beginning he was really good about paying his share of the costs for her and spending time with her in the weekends so we never wrote out a formal agreement or got social welfare involved. But now he seems to have lost interest in both those responsibilities, especially since he met a new partner. I have also gone back to work to help make ends meet and he won’t even help with picking her up from daycare occasionally or covering half the costs of the care centre as he says I just want the best of both worlds – being able to work and being a mother. That simply infuriates me and now we can no longer communicate by phone because I just end up screaming at him. What can I do? Desperate oum, Wellington


Dear Desperate oum, I’m sure many women reading this will find your letter very familiar. Anger is not going to fix this. Nor is yelling and screaming. In my experience, neither strategy causes a man to sit up, listen and do what you want. Instead they just run a mile. You need to do what is best for your daughter here, so what would she want? First up, she’d like to see her daddy without witnessing screaming and shouting.

So why not make that your priority and realise that you may have to swallow some pride and a big lump of anger and be nice to him so that he feels he can see your daughter without a confrontation. This is the greatest gift you can give her at the moment. When she is 21 you can congratulate yourself for all the times you had to count to 10 so that she could see her dad and have a good relationship with him. on the money front, get a lawyer.

You’ve played nice and he does not have the option of not contributing to his child’s upkeep. We have laws to protect you from that so stay out of the argument, let the IRD get the child support off him, and remember to put your daughter first.

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