If I dip my pinky-toes into your murky waters…
My user-name is supposed to reflect my goal at improving myself constantly – to be a bigger person. Nearly 20 years ago I decided that I didn’t like some of my behaviors and I decided that the only way to change was by making things change. I have since adapted several goals, rules and processes to help me on that path, as well as milestones and checks to ensure I keep on-path. Not because I was bad or evil, and not because I aim at becoming a saint, but simply so I would be happy with myself.
Focus on YOU. Anything else is a weak attempt at shining up the display-window and leaving the contents of the store in disarray. Do what you can to improve YOURSELF for YOUR sake. Not to get your ex back or whatever. From what I read it sounds a bit like all your actions are focused on repossessing her. You might be thinking that if you change that might happen, but if your impetus for change is for her sake then what happens if that doesn’t work?
Like if she were to tell you that she’s noticed a big change in you and she’s happy for that change, but has no interest whatsoever in reconnecting romantically or as husband-and-wife. What if she tells you that next Thursday if you alone can take the kids to the park, because she’s going out with this wonderful man whom she is attracted to? What if she moves in with a kind, considerate man who will never abuse her and is a wonderful step-dad to the children without excluding you from your parental role?
What happens to YOU and your impetus to improve if the goal is on her and not on you?
Focus on you. Do it correctly and maybe she might again see what she fell for and come back that way. At the very least then focusing on you can make you a better person, thereby a better father and thereby a better candidate for great coparenting.
I agree with those that see a lot of controlling in your choice of words. Once again – focus on what’s good for YOU and not what’s good for getting her back.
How can you focus on you? Well… by reading, contemplating, and studying various paths and methods to self-improve. Some find the guidelines in religion, some do 12-step work, some simply adapt some life-rules that they go by. I think the key in all though is being self-aware of how you act and what you want to change, and then being brutally honest about if you change.
The rape, the abuse…
Tell me friend – when you take off your glasses and remove your clothes are you wearing a skin-tight blue bodysuit and red speedos? Is there a big "S" emblazoned over your chest? Do you have a hard time tucking your cape away under your shirt? What makes you think you are this Superman that could have prevented your wife from being abused or raped?
Heck… if we sort-of-semi-reverse-engineer it… You are implying she was abused and raped because she left you and therefore your protection. Ergo: her actions led to her being raped…
Don’t give yourself so much credit.
Friend – she was raped and abused because her rapist and abuser raped and abused her.
Men (people) that do that tend to be excellent at what they do and do what they want. She was raped because she was a victim of that man. Doesn’t have to retain victim-mentality though and certainly doesn’t have to accept that the antagonists’ behaviors or actions are normal, expected or something she caused to happen or deserved. If you want to help her on this issue, then – probably through a third party like a sister or best friend – suggest she seeks professional guidance from rape- and abuse recovery centers.
Just keep this in mind: Based on your story she was in an abusive relationship. Your actins by cheating are a form of abuse. She returned to an abusive partner…
If ANYONE should be focusing on self-improvement it should be her, and frankly maybe by keeping you at a distance then that’s exactly what she’s doing. She needs to be allowed to decide how fast she allows you back within some zone of safety. Not because you raped her or did anything at the scale of THAT abuser, but your actions in cheating were also abusive actions and her path to healing is learning to refuse to be abused.
OK… So the child…
Who is the father on the birth-certificate?
Were you two formally divorced at time of conception?
How long after the formal divorce was the birth?
I’m asking because there is a vast difference in being a father and being a legal father. You can legally be the girls father and therefore accountable and responsible on so many levels without ever being her "father". Just like you can be her "father" without her having any biological or legal connection to you.
Check the law in your state/country. In most places the married husband of the woman giving birth is automatically entered as the father. I strongly urge you to consult an attorney on this issue, and to clarify who is on the birth-certificate. If it’s empty… then what implementations the timing of the divorce and/or conception or whatever date your area uses might have on your ability to have your name placed there OR removed.
Of course, you need to look DEEP inside yourself: What is your motivation for wanting a relationship with this child? If its part of your masterplan to entice your ex back into marriage… no… that price is too high for that child. If it is a true wish to be a good father and a good person…
Be very clear on this issue: The legal father does not/might not have to have any access to the child as-is, but can be held financially accountable AND can have a major role IF the primary care-taker (the mom here) were to pass away. You mention your ex dealing with cancer… OK… so what happens if it returns? What happens if we have the unthinkable worst-case outcome? If the OM – the abuser, the rapist – is the father on the birth-certificate does he have any input or influence on where the daughter is placed? If your wife passed away would you keep your son, but be legally denied any input or participation on where his sister ends up?
Think this through the stark eyes of reality: If the daughter is biologically yours but legally his… and if your ex wife were to pass away or be incapable of parenting… chances are YOU would have no or little input on her future. It could even be with the "legal" father – the abuser.
To me this issue is totally unconnected to your wish to regain your wife. It’s an issue of how serious you take your responsibility as a father. That role can be determined both by biology and by actions.
I suggest you do things in the right order, and even irrespective of each other.
Continue becoming a better person. Do so totally irrespective of what your ex wants or does. Do it for you.
Get your legal advice regarding paternity and the dates and the status of marriage/divorce.
Think long and hard about the baby. Do you want it to be part of your life forever – EVEN IF your ex moves on?
If you do then be direct to your ex about your role. If there is not father on the birth-certificate, then ask to be placed on it. Explain why.
1)IF you are the biological father then explain how you want to be there for your children irrespective of what happens between you and the ex. Explain (and MEAN IT!) that although you still wish you two could somehow reconcile as husband and wife, then your main reason for wanting affirmed paternity is to be there for your kids. How having two parents that care – irrespective of their marital status – beats having one and explain the risk and uncertainty due to unclear or undeclared paternity.
2)If you are not the biological father then ask to become the legal father. This can be dependent on the laws in your area and time of divorce/conception/birth.
Just make 100% certain you do the above for the right reasons, and your ex-wife is not in any of them.