Interview with Anne.
Here is a woman who has 14years experience under her belt. Kudos to you for making sure your son has support in dealing with his anger.
Would you please state your age, race, and religion?
I am a 36 years old. I am white. I don’t really affiliate with any particular religion. I was raised Catholic but over the years have studied many different religions. I feel the most emotional attachment to Islam but over the years have kind of let it go.
Where/ how did you meet your Saudi? How long did the relationship last?
I met my Saudi, whom I will call B, in a nightclub in Denver, CO. He was 24 and I was 22. We hit it off right away. Within a few weeks we were living together and within a couple of months we moved out of town together to attend the university in a different city. He fully supported me the whole time we were together. I never worked and he helped with my tuition. How long the relationship lasted is a harder question. We were together for four years before I became pregnant and geographically together for two years after our son was born. At that point he returned to Saudi Arabia. The plan was for him to find a job in Dammam, close to his family, and for us to live in Bahrain. (Which in retrospect I don’t even know if that’s possible)He didn’t feel that I would be happy in Saudi and would have a better chance of acclimating in Bahrain. That was 8 years ago and I have pretty recently come to accept the fact that won’t be happening. However, we still have a relationship in the very broadest terms. He calls two or three times a month and we exchange emails and text messages frequently.
What was your Saudi’s reaction to your pregnancy?
Quite honestly neither of our reactions were great. It was something that neither of us were prepared for. For quite a while he seemed lost and very confused about what we should do. We did a lot of talking and planning but in the end he told me the decision about whether to have a baby or not was ultimately mine but I had to realize there would probably be a time when he wouldn’t be with us. Shortly after he insisted that we get married so that our son would be recognized as his legitimate child.
Were your family members accepting of the relationship? How do they currently view the situation?
My family loved him as they would love a son, and he them. My sisters and grandparents were especially close to him. My youngest sister was 14 when we met so he was most definitely an older brother figure in her life; I think she is probably the most disappointed in him. Also his younger brother came to live with us for the summer when he was 14 so our families were fairly enmeshed. Now my family feels hurt and abandoned. I think we all trusted he would do the right thing.
Describe your current situation (your life, your child’s life, and current situation
Our life now is pretty good. Honestly I put my life on hold for about 7 years waiting for our little family to be reunited. It has only been within the last year that I finally decided to stop waiting and start living. I have started making plans and setting goals for the future that do not involve him. This has been really hard for me to face. Our son( whom I will call J) is a bit of a different story. J was two when B left and they were thick as thieves. At first our son was very angry. He refused to speak to B on the phone for at least a year. J is so hurt and confused that it breaks my heart. I sought counseling for him last year because I know that he is angry and sad but he refuses to work through it. He absolutely will not talk about his Dad at all to anyone. The counselor tried to get him to talk about his dad and the feelings he has but he refused. He told the counselor, “I don’t talk about my Dad to anyone. Ever. “We went to counseling once a week for three or four months and J never said a word about him. Finally the counselor said that until J is willing to talk about it there is nothing that can be done, and for me to call back if that starts to happen. Once in a while he makes comments in passing about how he wishes his Dad could be here so that he would be able to see what kind of boy he is turning out to be. This kills me because J is so smart and funny and kind. I worry so much about how his life will be affected. I’m very afraid that the emotional scars will be great. We are both very fortunate that we have an amazing support system and a very loving and close family.
Will the Father be involved in any way in raising your child?
His father calls once every couple of weeks and talks to J for a few minutes. They have a hard time communicating because J has a hard time with his Dad’s accent, which is funny to me because when he was two he was pretty much bilingual. He doesn’t even remember that now. They exchange emails and he sends money for J’s birthday and Christmas. Other than that it does not appear he will be involved in any other capacity.
How are you dealing with the lack of support? (Financial/emotional)
The lack of financial support irritates me. I know that his family has money, whether he actually does or not. There was one time that I needed a fairly large sum of money to help with some medical needs for our son. The first thing out of his mouth was, “If you feel like you are not able to take care of our child then you should send him to me so I can.” I was flabbergasted and extremely irate that this person who had basically disappeared from our lives would have the audacity to even suggest such a thing. He sent the money but other than that the only other time we receive anything from him is on J’s birthday and Christmas. Emotionally is a harder thing. I fear we were both, in some ways, fundamentally broken by this man. To this day I love him. I am angry and hurt that he didn’t keep his word on so many things. I am furious that he seems so willing to be so far removed from our wonderful, beautiful child regardless of the consequences to him. But, I refuse to allow our son to see any of this. I have never spoken a word against his Dad nor will I allow anybody in my family to. I feel the day will come when J will have the opportunity to confront his Dad and form his own opinions.
What are your hopes for the future?
My biggest hope for the future is that a very strong Mom and a loving family will be enough to make up for J not having his Dad present in his life. I hope that one day they will be able to know each other. I hope that our son will someday get the answers to the questions about his Dad that he is too afraid to ask.
What advice would you give to another woman in your current situation?
Be strong and make decisions that are best for you and your child.