WIBU, a long time ago but now I worry about it (absent father thread)

(54 Posts)

To cut a verylong story short--er--, there are bits of this that I am not proud of and don't need anyone to make me feel any more guilty than I already do. When I was young I had an affair with a married man, I knew he was married and make no excuses for myself at all. It didn't last long and we seperated. I then found out that I was pregnant (I am against abortion for ME, so it wasn't an option). I told him and he was shock. My parents threw me out and I was housed in temporary accommodation. (Not complaining, trying to give a picture). I then found out that ExP (easiest way to describe him) wife was also expecting a baby. He showed very little interest in my pregnancy. When my DS was born he came into the hospital to visit. He brought him a cuddly rabbit and a second hand car seat. He visited several times that week. When we were discharged (after a week), my DS was referred for a kidney scan at 15 do. My ExP rang to see how the scan had gone, obviously no results yet. We talked about "access" and "contact" and ExP said (something along the lines of) "I'll drop in when I can". I replied that that wasn't good enough, I wanted him to commit to seeing my DS on a regular basis, I didn't want any money off him, I could arrange for a neutral person to liase with the contact (as I guessed that ExP's wife wouldn't be happy for us to spend time together - justifiably so), I was happy for him to see DS as often as he liked but it had to be a regular commitment, several times a week, once a week/ fortnight/ month or even 2 months but if he couldn't commit to at least once every 2 months then I felt it was better if he walked away as I didn't my DS growing up not knowing where he was. We never heard from him again. My question is not about my wisdom stupidity in having the affair, but WIBU to insist that he made a commitment to seeing my DS on a regular basis? I feel like I was wrong, as I have deprived my son of his father, although my DH has been a "real father" to him all his life and adopted him as soon as he could.

Less importantly, I gave the cuddly toy rabbit to a charity (with a huge pile of other cuddly toys) and have felt guilty about it ever since, as it was the only gift he ever gave my DS.

BearsInMotion Sun 28-Jul-13 06:44:37

This sounds very similar to my DSis. I understand that you would like him to know his real father, but I do wonder what it would have added to DS's life. DNephew sees his dad whenever his dad makes the effort, once not for 3 years! DSis finds it very hard, especially making sure DN knows it doesn't reflect on him if he doesn't see his dad for months on end. She often says she wishes she'd cut off contact before DNephew understood what was going on sad

Thanks Bears. I'm not sure what I think my ExP would have added to his life really. I also worry about the fact that DS has missed out on 3 siblings that he doesn't even know exist (he doesn't want to know anything about his "father" or his family, or the circumstances, just not interested, thank you)

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 28-Jul-13 06:55:26

Does it really matter if you did?

On the great scale of life all that happened was he chose to walk away more than likely to avoid telling his wife,if your the type whose going to do that so easily then it would have happened anyway and sooner is often better than later.

Just be honest when your dc asks that's all you can do.

MammaTJ Sun 28-Jul-13 06:56:59

You have not deprived your son of anything. His dad has.

You have protected him from a lot of hurt and heartbreak, you are a good mum.

Sockreturningpixie His wife knew blush. The hurt I caused her is the only big regret of my life. I could never regret having my DS, but I wish I could have done so without hurting her. sad

yanbu about access at all. I don't get anyone who won't put a regular 5mins aside once every 2mt for their kids if there's nothing physically stopping that happening. it wouldn't have been fair on your ds to have not known when or even if his dad was coming again.

WaitMonkey Sun 28-Jul-13 08:38:02

How old is your ds now ? It doesn't sound like he has missed out on anything. He has a loving father, who may not be his biological parent, but has chosen to make a commitment and love him.

waitmonkey he's 20 now shock

ImagineJL Sun 28-Jul-13 08:43:12

Don't beat yourself up over the effect this may or may not have had on your son. There is no way of knowing which option would have the best outcome. A father who visits but has to be nagged to do so is not necessarily an asset. My Dad was like that, and I think my brother suffered more than he would have done if my father had never been around. Being rejected by someone who never actually knew you is not as painful, in my opinion, as being neglected by someone who knows you but clearly doesn't value you enough to bother too much.

How old is your son?

ImagineJL Sun 28-Jul-13 08:44:23

Crossed post. Does he know the full story?

ImagineJL still 20! grin

Another crossed post! grin
No, he doesn't want to know anything at all. He knows I'll tell him and that I can find his father any time he wants me to. he also knows that neither me nor his dad would mind.

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 08:46:33

He could have ignored your comments and kept in touch. If someone laid down conditions on me seeing my kids I'd just ignore them.
It wasn't up to you to decide what sort of relationship he had with his son.
Throwing away the rabbit was mean if you never told your son it was a gift from his dad.
Now your son is 20 he can contact his father if he wishes, I presume he knows what you have told us here.
It doesn't sound as though this guy would have added alot to his life but it sounds as though you did get too restrictive too early and not give things time to see what sort of a father he'd be, but now realise this.
I'd leave it up to your son now.

WaitMonkey Sun 28-Jul-13 08:48:33

You haven't let your son down or deprived him of a father. His father made that choice and deprived himself of 20 years with a wonderful son. He may well have great regrets about this himself, but that's not your worry. If your son is happy, thats all that matters and he has a father in your dh who obviously loves him. Sometimes biology isn't important.

WeAreEternal Sun 28-Jul-13 08:48:45

YWDNBU. You did the best you could for your DS in a difficult situation.
If your EXP wanted a relationship with your DS he would have tried to have one, it sounds like he walked away with great ease, basically taking the first opportunity that you gave him to do one, I have no doubt that your DS would not have benefitted from having someone like that in his life.

2rebecca it wasn't a deliberately spiteful move to "throw away" the rabbit. It was gifty type one from a card shop, not suitable for children under 3 job (still nice) but it was in a cupboard with about 50 other cuddly toys that my DS had never played with, I was asked if I had any for a Romanian charity that gives good quality cuddly toys to children in orphanages, and just bagged them all up, I never gave it a thought until later. I agree, that I should probably have kept it in a safe place blush

SleepyFish Sun 28-Jul-13 08:57:56

Your post touched a nerve with me OP. My ds has an absent father, he behaved like an idiot during the pregnancy, wouldn't find out his blood group amongst other things. This led to us dropping contact with each other when I was around 6 months pregnant. By the time I went into labour he felt like a stranger to me so I didn't contact him as it would have been stressful having him there.
Five years later he's never met his son and I often think if he'd been at the birth things may have turned out very differently and he would be in his life.
However in reality these men could choose to be a father to their kids if they wanted to and they alone are responsible for their absence.

Asking him for some sort of regular commitment was not unreasonable at all, children need stability. I would expect the same from ds's dad should he ever decide he wanted to see him.
I do understand the guilt but ultimately no one is responsible for these men's actions other than themselves.

ImagineJL Sun 28-Jul-13 08:59:40

Actually I think it was better to give the rabbit away. It wasn't a huge significant gift, representing a loving relationship now lost. It was probably something he grabbed without thinking in the hospital shop, feeling obliged to bring something. If anything, it was indicative of his lack of interest in his son, and therefore has bad significance, and is probably better being enjoyed by another child.

MissStrawberry Sun 28-Jul-13 09:00:59

Your ex chose to do what was easiest for him, not what might have been best for his son.

rainbowfeet Sun 28-Jul-13 09:02:57

Just like most of us who have had to make such decisions on behalf of our children, you did what you thought was best at that time. No malice just what you felt would be emotionally kinder for you & your dc.

You have no reason to feel guilty, I'm sure your dc didn't miss out on anything & having a 'dad' pop in & out of his life might have been more harmful, plus if bio dad was any sort of decent guy he'd have fought for access. smile

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 09:05:17

What did it matter what his blood group was? Most fathers don't have their blood group checked if their wives are pregnant, it's the mother's group that's important and she is monitored for antibodies if rhesus negative. I'm surprised the hospital wanted him to have it checked, my ex never got his done and it was never asked for. Most men have no idea what blood group they are unless they are blood donors.
My husband knows as he is a donor and also has it on a chain when he's cycling in case he's injured and needs an emergency transfusion. He didn't know what blood group he was when he had kids as he wasn't a blood donor then.

2rebecca I'm sure my DH knows what his blood type is, as he is a regular blood donor, but hand on heart I have absolutely no idea what my own, my DH's or even my DCs are. Is that normal?? [paranoid emoticon]

SleepyFish Sun 28-Jul-13 09:12:11

I don't know but the hospital requested it. I have a rare blood group and had a high risk pregnancy. It was really just one example of his twattish behaviour.

Clawdy Sun 28-Jul-13 09:16:55

I think I would have kept the rabbit.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 28-Jul-13 09:30:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ZillionChocolate Sun 28-Jul-13 09:43:21

I don't think you need to feel guilty. Your son isn't unhappy with the choices you made for him. Be proud that you've done what you thought was best and you've provided him with stable loving relationships.

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 09:44:55

If the hospital requested it then he was showing he was a crap father to refuse. It's unusual for them to request it, a good father would want to give his baby the best outcome and a blood test is a small thing to go through.
I have no idea what my kids' blood groups are. They may have been tested at birth, maybe not as my blood group wasn't an issue and they didn't go to SCBU, as I'm O pos with no weird antibodies blood groups weren't an issue for me.

thechildrensparkle Sun 28-Jul-13 09:56:08

You have built a lovely, stable, warm life and home for your son in spite of all the odds. It doesn't sound as though your son or your dh hold any of this against you and neither should you.

Yours DS's father made bigger mistakes than you. He betrayed his wife, he got you pregnant, he failed to take responsibility for your ds or the situation he was at least 50% responsible for. Your family didn't exactly give you the love and support you deserved either. In spite of all that you had your ds in the face of adversity and battled through and came out a winner.

I don't think you have anything to feel guilty about at all but you have a shedload of stuff and a successful life to feel entirely and absolutely proud of.

I bet your ds is a fantastic young man too - he would have to be with a mum like you.

As for the rabbit - I hope it's making another child happy - it would have had an unhappy association had it stayed in your home and I think even if you had put it in the dustbin you would have done the right thing.

You have moved on; the past shapes us to deal with the future in a positive way and this is what you have done.

KateSpade Sun 28-Jul-13 09:57:30

My thought is I'd rather he wasn't here at all than being a half-assed

BearsInMotion Sun 28-Jul-13 09:58:53

Be proud that you've done what you thought was best and you've provided him with stable loving relationships


DSis is still single, so DN never had a father figure at all. But he had a mum (and extended family) who loved him, gave him everything he needed and is a happy, secure and confident young man. You may have regrets, it doesn't mean your son does, or should!

Thank You thechildrensparkle that made me cry, he is a great young man and I am very proud of him!

KateSpade Sun 28-Jul-13 09:59:55

My thought is I'd rather he wasn't here at all than being a half-assed parent. That's what I think with my daughter, anyway.

Does he ask about his bio father op? I'd be interested to know what you say to him?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 28-Jul-13 10:00:19

The rabbit wouldn't have held any happy associations...it's not a nice memento or anything. Just evidence of a man who didn't become a Father in the real sense.

RedHelenB Sun 28-Jul-13 10:04:46

I think YWBU, sorry. You knew it would be difficult for him to see your son but you sort of excused him from doing so by insisting on regular visits. Still, water under the bridge now but I don't think you would have posted this if you thought you were right in what you did.

KateSpade periodically (every few years) I bring it up, as in a "we haven't spoken about it for a while, but if you have any questions, would like to know about then I am quite willing to tell you vein" but he always says that he hasn't given it any thought since I last asked him, that his Dad is his Dad, and that he isn't interested. I'm not going to force the issue, even if I think that he should know more. (my family all know who his father is and where he can be found, and my DS knows this, just in case anything happens to me and he changes his mind)

RedHelenB do you think it is better for a child to have a father who turns up once in a blue moon, that can't be relied on; or one who doesn't have any interest at all? I didn't, and tbh, still don't think that asking him to make a commitment to once every 2 months was a lot to ask. It really never occurred to me that he would just never ring back. (Just to be clear, I wasn't interested in carrying on a relationship with him, just that I thought he would want to see something of his son)

StrawberryMojito Sun 28-Jul-13 10:18:50

I think it makes no difference what you did or said to him as I think he would have walked away anyway. My mum asked nothing of my father and he still chose to have nothing to do with me. My only wish is that she had kept his contact details as I went through a stage of wanting to find him and had no idea how. However, your son is not bothered so everyone's a winner.

RedHelenB Sun 28-Jul-13 10:54:54

I don't know Justforlaughs, but I have a gut feeling that if I had dug my heels in with my ex tyhen he would have seen less of our kids & all i know is that they like seeing him & he's their dad no matter what. I think you can learn from your parents mistakes,, I certainly have!

HamsterDam Sun 28-Jul-13 11:28:38

you did the right thing. he couldn't even commit to once every two months and walked away at the first opportunity. he never deserved the right to know your ds who sounds happy and well rounded.
you should be proud of yourself its ex that should feel guilty.
I've just had a similar situation with my ds nearly 4 and ex who's not his dad but been there since he was a baby. wanted to keep seeing him after we split but once he got a new gf didn't even ask about him for 2months. i gave him the chance to come see ds but hes got other things he'd rather be doing. his words.
well no actually knowing my ds is a privilege not something im gonna force you to do and im not having my ds feeling like he's not worth the effort. i hope I've done the right thing and i hope he feels guilty.

DragonMamma Sun 28-Jul-13 11:44:11

You did the right thing. I sort of did the same thing with my DD's bio dad, I asked for a loose commitment in terms of time and he came up with every excuse under the sun (and he didn't even have a partner or other DC as an excuse). Then he dropped off the face of the earth because he didn't have a job for a year and 'didn't feel good enough' to be in contact. When he did get himself a job and the CSA caught up with him he crawled out of the woodwork wanting pictures almost 3 years later.

Rightly or wrongly, I told him to shove it - the whole time he bleated on about what HE wanted and how HE'D had a tough time, never once asking about my lovely DD. He promptly crawled back in to his hole and I hope that's where he will stay as he's a great big waste of space and my DH is ten times the father to her than he ever was or would have been.

Strangely enough, bio dad did brought DD a rabbit at birth too, I haven't thrown it out because my DS has taken a liking to it blush but I'd have no qualms about charity shopping it, I've kept crappy cards and emails he sent for her to see, if she wants to, and a few pics. I hope that'll be enough...

Snorbs Sun 28-Jul-13 11:45:00

Let's say you did accept his offer of him dropping in when he could. How long do you think he would have kept that up for? How long do you think his wife would've accepted him doing that, particularly when they had their own child?

You gave him the excuse he wanted to bugger off. This way he could justify it to himself as it being your fault for being all controlling and evil. But if it wasn't that then sooner or later he would have come up with something else to allow him to walk away and blame you.

Snorbs I don't know and never will now. I'm quite glad that most people think I was being reasonable, but tbh I'm still 100% convinced. I think I will always feel like this about it, because unless by some miracle he turns up and says "oh yes, you did the right thing, I would never have bothered to come by and he would have been screwed up by that" I'll never really know

ProphetOfDoom Sun 28-Jul-13 12:09:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 28-Jul-13 12:21:46

Given that his wife knew. It would have been easier for him to make a routine arrangement so you just made it easy for him to do what he wanted to do.

I never get why rp's hassle and try to force nrp's to be involved if they need to be hassled then they are not good enough.

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 12:31:18

The trouble is that someone who is a bit of a tosser age 18 might be more sensible a few years down the line and a good loving father. I don't think rps should hassle men, but I think encouraging them to keep in touch may be in the child's best interests, especially in the long term when the man matures a bit.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 28-Jul-13 12:34:28

That's not down to the rp at all. Its the responsibility of the one who needs to grow up.

He wasn't an 18 yr old, 2rebecca, he was 32.
What is a rp and a nrp?

edam Sun 28-Jul-13 12:45:04

I think you did the right thing. Your ds has grown up happy and secure with two parents who love him. One of them happens not to be his biological Dad, but so what? Your dh has been his actual father, the one who has cared for him and supported him and tended to him.

Your ds's biological Dad has done fuck all. Provided some sperm and a crappy rabbit from a hospital shop. If he'd wanted to stay in touch, he could have done, but he chose to bugger off. His also denied his other child the opportunity of a relationship with your ds, his or her half-sibling. Waste of space.

Far better for your ds to have no contact with him than to be confused and hurt by someone who turns up occasionally on his terms when he feels like it, then buggers off.

I know how much a crappy, uninterested and unreliable father can damage someone btw - my own Father, particularly with regard to my sister (and me, but I had counselling and he was a bit more interested in me - dunno why, maybe because I'm the eldest). And I know how great a non-bio Dad who brings a child up can be, and how little it matters that their biological father isn't at all involved - my cousins.

SmaltzingMatilda last i heard he was still married, they had 3 children at that point, but it was quite a while ago.

TheYoniWayIsUp Sun 28-Jul-13 12:52:10

2rebecca, and what about the 18 year old mother who still needs time to grow up? Do you think social services would take kindly to her dumping the child but reappearing 2 years later to 'play mum'?
Shocking double standards!

OP, he sounds like a piece of scum, and I bet your son has better self esteem than the child he had with his wife. You made a god decision 20 years ago. Do not feel guilty.

Got to go to work now, thank you for all your comments. Will catch up either later or tomorrow smile

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 13:08:27

That's partly my point, babies can't lose inadequate mothers but easily lose touch with inadequate fathers unless they are living with the mothers.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 28-Jul-13 16:05:07

Yes they can 2rebecca.

When the lone parent mother is inadequate the child tends to get placed elsewhere often permanently.

And society is a lot harsher on bad mothers than it is on bad fathers.

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