A Mother's Obligation

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Dear Dr. Darcy:

I'm a married woman (for 25 years) in love with another woman. I can't stop thinking about her. The feelings that I have for her feel like a soul connection.  I am 50 years old and never met anyone in life that I have felt this connected to!   I can't even think of any words that describe this feeling, maybe LOVE, all I know is that I have never felt this before. I know she feels the same. However, we must maintain boundaries because of our professional connection [because] she is the trainer and therapist for the agency where I am adopting a child.  I have researched transference, however, I don't think it applies to this situation. From the moment I first saw her (a year ago) I felt attracted to her, which was before I knew anything about her.

Several years ago, I had a relationship with a woman (for one year).  Then, she moved out of town for her job.  The feelings that I'm having right now are different. I am just tired of being married to a man when all my life I have been attracted to women, but just too afraid to come out and be who I really am.  I have gone to church, prayed, gotten spiritual advice, counseling, none of which has helped.  I have even told my husband I am attracted to women, his response was that I can do what I need to do but [he doesn't] want to end the marriage.

I did tell her how I feel.  She said all the things she was supposed to say to maintain her professional integrity.  We had decided that we would try to be friends, but she changed her mind and said it would be best not to try to be friends.   I can see she feels the same as I do, and is having a hard time too! Anyhow I'm having a hard time accepting that we can't be together.

ANSWER

Your life sounds like a mess, and I can’t help but ponder the wisdom in adopting a child at this particular moment in your life. I know that that’s not what you wrote in asking about, but I can’t see how I can address anything else before giving voice to my concerns, and they are numerous:

  1. You do not sound happily married.
  2. You need to come out because you’re attracted to women and married to a man.
  3. The woman who you are in love with is off limits if you want this child.

There.  Now we have a list.  Integrating an adopted child into a new family is challenging under the best circumstances.  Does it make sense for your child to attach to your husband if you know that you’re going to eventually divorce him? Or if you know that you’re exclusively attracted to women and eventually need to come out? Why not adopt after you’ve sorted out your life? Shouldn’t this decision take into account what’s in the best interest of your child? Unless…

I’m a little slow on the uptake, but I get it.  You’re worried that if you’re separated or if you identify as gay, it will negatively impact your candidacy as an adoptive parent.  So you’re sticking around in this loveless marriage until you get the child and until the adoption is final and then you’ll begin focusing on fixing your life.  Right? WRONG.

I realize that the adoption agency doesn’t know about your grand plan, but you and I do.  You can’t pretend that you’re staying in the marriage in the hopes that it will work out.  You are being selfish, mama, and given your intention to bring a child into your family, it’s unthinkable.

Put this adoption on hold and straighten out your life. If you don’t, you’re going to relegate this child to a life of dysfunction. The child’s already been through enough. You are morally and legally obligated to provide it with a safe, consistent, predictable and loving environment.  You’ve got too many moving pieces to meet any of that criteria.  Consider this your final exam in your preparedness to become a mother.  Can you put the needs of your child above your own?

Writer’s Stats: Female, Confused.