Building bridges with children when relationships fail

In a situation where the children are involved, how does one managed a not so happy situation so the children were not the one that bear the highest brunt of the break ups.

The two situations here were narrated by both Mr Thomas and Mama Ajana. Both had failed marriages but today in old age, one is in touch with the children the other, not so much.

Mr Thomas left Nigeria in the 1960s to study in the UK, a few months down the line he started a relationship with a lady at his university – they had a baby girl. Mr Thomas went back to Nigeria after his studies with his Oyinbo girlfriend. The girlfriend was not approved by the family and had to leave after one week. Mr Thomas came back to the UK to work but did not keep in touch with the mother of his daughter. In the late 1980’s Mr Thomas relocated to Nigeria permanently. During this time his ex girlfriend sent photos and news about their daughter to Mr Thomas and when the said daughter wanted to get married, she informed Mr Thomas about all the arrangements but Mr Thomas did not attend. Now the daughter has long relocated to Canada – that much Mr Thomas knows.

Mr Thomas is 76 years old now he told this story when I asked if today he would do certain things differently from what he had done in the past- he wished he kept in contact with his daughter. But you can do that now, you can search for her, we just put words out, I suggested but he does not want to look for his daughter as he fears it has been too long and that she may have written him off.

Mama Ajana’s story is very similar to the Mr Thomas’  however the approach in keeping in touch with the children was different.

Mama Ajana’s  marriage broke down when their two children were 7 and nine years old. Her ex relocated back to Nigeria from the UK and prevented Mama Ajana from seeing the children. Mama Ajana recounted that for several years she didn’t know where the children were as the ex did not go back to their old home in Sokoto. By sheer luck she says she managed to locate the children when they were in their teenage years. She did not seek any legal help as ex remained in Nigeria.

However, Mama Ajana joy shows all over her as she revealed that since she found the children, she kept in touch with them and gets updates about their schooling. Now, it is even better as they are grown and independent. Mama Ajana spent quality time with her children today, and in her old age feels she is glad to have managed to build a bridge – can’t be easy I bet.