Love for your child: Affected by love for child's other parent?

Curious question from a non-parent, surveying the parents of the Dope:

Would you still love your biological child as much as you do if you hate the child’s mother or father as opposed to loving the mother/father?

So, for instance, if you are a woman and your child was conceived as the result of rape, would you still be able to love him or her as much as if the child were the result of a happy marriage, or would the fact that the child is a daily reminder of the rapist make it impossible to love the kid?

Likewise if you are a father and have children, but you absolutely abhor the woman with whom you sired such children.

My feelings for my kids’ mother has no bearing on how I feel about them.

Same here. Fortunately.

I despise my ex-wife, and I love my kids more than anything.

Such is life.

Absolutely this. They are not even involved in my feelings about their mother. I never said a bad word about her at all while they were growing up. We were civil as can be. Like the Civil War and the Cold War combined.

Fine young thirty somethings now. I never had to say anything that they didn’t learn on their own.

To paraphrase manson1972, my feelings for my kids’ father has no bearing on how I feel about them. Of course, I wouldn’t have carried a rapist’s child to term.

I can only answer hypothetically, since I’m still in love with my wife, but I can’t imagine how any change in that would change my love for my kids.

I don’t have a biological child, since my wife and I adopted the Firebug, and he’s our only child. And I can’t imagine hating my wife.

But I love that boy more than anyone I’ve ever loved. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone this much until I became a parent. I can’t imagine anything in heaven, hell, or the world in between ever changing that.

Some children are abused or neglected by one of the parents because they resemble or act like their partner (current or ex) or remind them of some unpleasant event. Or purposely lash out at the other parent’s favorite as a way of punishment by proxy. Sometimes children play the same card by saying they love Mom or Dad more, especially those torn by pending or actual divorce.

My second sister, was always treated differently than my siblings and myself. As we reunited during the last years of my Mom’s life and we began to reminisce, I talked about things that I thought everyone heard or knew. As we began to discuss why my Mom treated my sister differently (they had a mild love/hate relationship), I casually mentioned it may be because her nickname (a shortened version of her full name) was the same as my Dad’s ex-girlfriend. Everyone was shocked as they thought my Mom was my Dad’s first love (they both confirmed he actively pursued her, but she said that his best friend was also interested in her). While it may seem odd to pick a name similar (possibly the same full name) as an ex, my brother is named after my Dad’s best friend. The funny thing is, when they got into a fight, my Mom would tell her (and only her) “I should have left you in the trash where I found you!”. When I was young and naive, I asked my Mom several times, even when she wasn’t mad if she really found my sister in the trash and she would confirm it with a smile.

BTW, she’s definitely my real sister as she looks like my brother, who in turn looks exactly like my Dad. Unleeeeessss. :slight_smile:

We’ll never know the truth since both my parents have passed away as well as almost anyone who knew them back then.

The love you feel for your child is unlike anything I have ever experienced & is difficult to put into words. They are their own beings, completely independent of their parents, and they are fascinating & beautiful. It is impossible not to totally love your child, no matter what IMO.


Unfortunately, having read as much true crime as I have, that is sadly untrue.

It’s a funny thing: for so many of us, parenthood flips some sort of switch in us, where as Enola Gay says, “it is impossible not to totally love your child, no matter what.”

And yet clearly there are still a shit-ton of people for whom this does not happen.

Why are some people in one group, and some people in the other? Are there any other characteristics that distinguish one group from the other? I would love to know if anyone’s done research on this, and what they found out if they did.

Yeah, my ex admitted to me that she’d never wanted children and only argued for shared custody - I have majority custody of one and full of the other now - because she thought it was expected of her.

But no, it doesn’t make me care for them less. And I pay more attention to them because I’m carrying both roles.

Allow me to introduce you to my mother, her sister, their parents, his mother, one of my sisters-in-law… Or better, not, I don’t want to spoil your appetite.

I feel like we’re comparing two different things here.

I wouldn’t judge a woman harshly for not being able to raise a kid from rape.
But any man who turns his back on his kid because his mother is a “bitch”, is a dick.

I think it would be hard for a mother to bond with a child conceived through rape, not so much because of dislike for the father but because of the traumatic circumstances behind the conception itself. This makes rape vastly different from your run of the mill falling out between two parents.

Love for one’s kid is a very different breed of love than romantic or platonic love.

I knew a young girl whose parents love for each other affected how they expressed their love for her. She said they were always hugging and kissing each other and ignoring her. She told me several times her mother would tell her “We should never have had you, you’ve ruined our life!”.

I just remembered. I casually dated a woman who was recently divorced and she told me she numerous times that she regretted having her three sons (whom she was left sole custody of) and never wanted to have children. Yes, her frustration was probably (at least in part) fueled by the divorce (her husband left her for a younger woman), but in all the years I knew her, I never heard her say he loved her children. The most she would ever say is that her youngest son was the good one because he listened to her.

Oh. Yes kids can be resented or hated by a parent. Happens all the time.
In my experience loving a child is the easy part. I find as all 3 of my kids are different personalities I love them differently. The older 2 have consistently ragged me about how I treat the lil’wrekker. They were loved just as much (still are) but not the same. It’s strange to feel a differing pull of the old heart strings now that they are adults. But pull it, they do