Free Press Journal

Personal problems with Anjali Chhabaria

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I want to see my daughter

Q I was married for 12 years and, when I met my wife, I was a single parent with a young boy and girl. My parents helped me tremendously while I worked shifts at a call centre and then when I met my wife she was great with my children and we had a good life. The problems started after we had our daughter. My eldest two kids were immediately treated differently and my wife’s parents were suddenly at our door three times a day. Eventually, I blew my top and the visits slowed but we were still dominated by her parents, who picked up our daughter from school even on my days off so I began to see less of her. My children weren’t happy either as it was clear that our youngest was being very spoilt by them. Finally, I told my wife it wasn’t working. We were living like two separate families in the same house and she agreed, and we decided to split. Things were cordial for a couple of hours, then she told our daughter it was all my fault and proceeded to turn my daughter against me. She was only 10 and we were very close. After a very nasty divorce I am still trying to gain access to my daughter nearly three years later. My ex has gone against the judge’s orders and denied me access to her regardless of the fact she’s been told that the conflict and lack of contact with her father will ultimately harm her. I am heartbroken.

A Although I think the law has improved for fathers, it’s clearly not good enough. I am sure it is frustrating and terribly upsetting for you when the court makes an order to allow you access and your ex just ignores it. Because it’s usually a long process she’s probably hoping you’ll give up – but don’t. Keep going and if it means dragging it through the courts again, do it. You have every right to see your child and what your ex is doing is damaging her. She’s using your daughter as a weapon to hurt you. It’s despicable. You could use some emotional support and advice from fathers who’ve been in your situation through blogs on social networking websites. I’m sure you’ve already tried to reason with your ex but maybe the next step is to ask another family member or friend to mediate or speak to her on your behalf. Or message or email her and ask her to put aside your differences in the best interests of your daughter. Tell her you’ll not give up because you love your daughter, but want to do it amicably.

Fault-finding neighbour


Q Our neighbour is always criticising what our kids do. When they moved in over a year ago we thought it was great as their children are in the same class as ours and were friends. Today things are completely different. No matter what happens, her children are never to blame, but she is very quick to point the finger at others. She even dictates who her daughter plays with and says she can only play with one child at a time. But we feel that kids should play with whomever they want to, when they want to, and not isolate themselves. It’s driving us mad!

A Why does it bother you so much? Let her bring up her kids her way and you do it your way. I honestly don’t think it’s worth getting in a dispute over kids. I understand it’s frustrating if she’s always blaming your kids, and hers seem to do nothing wrong. But you know that’s not true and at some point this perfect view of her kids will be shattered and it’ll backfire horribly. Her kids will find it impossible to live up to her idea of perfection. We all make mistakes as parents, and kids are going to mess up too. That’s just life. But what you do is learn from it and move on and not pretend it never happened.

Overcoming disorder

Q I’m a 28-year-old guy and have recently started seeing a gorgeous, vivacious young woman I met during a auspicious day in the temple in our locality. We hit it off straight away and have wonderful chemistry. We are all set to move things on to the next level, but one thing in particular is holding me back is my Tourette’s. I have suffered all my life with the condition, which becomes more acute during moments of excitement. The issue is more sensitive to me because a previous partner made derogatory comments when my conditions cropped up during intimate moments and now I have become a nervous wreck during passionate moments. I realise that the right person will understand my condition, and perhaps even make light of my outbursts, but I’m really worried nevertheless.

A The only thing you can be is honest. I assume she already knows you have Tourette’s so, before things get to that next level, be open and tell her what you might do during sex and explain how an ex made you feel very self-conscious and embarrassed. If she’s the right person and you’re comfortable with each other, it won’t matter. Clearly your ex wasn’t that person. The right woman will love you for who you are.