To cut out deadbeat father?(12 Posts)
Hi - apologies, this is going to be a long one:
Five years ago I met a man, and after only around six months of dating I fell pregnant with my DS1. Ex partner was never very supportive, to say the least... sleeping around whilst I was pregnant, a bad drink/drug problem, mental health issues, bizarre online 'friendships' with women in other countries and a 'poor me' attitude to life in general. We had a long distance relationship, as I moved closer to family after I found out DS1 was on the way. EP did move in with me, then left as we were always arguing due to his drinking, then he's 'change' and come back, then move away again, then come back, etc. I was a naive young woman expecting my first baby and I depended on him emotionally, especially since I had moved away from all of my friends (who were no longer interested in me now I was no longer able to live the 'student' lifestyle with them) and the life I had created for myself to be near my family again.
He's always gone from job to job, usually getting the sack for being drunk/hungover/mouthy. He'd always work hours away meaning I'd only see him every few months, if that. Though we were still meant to be in a relationship. I would hear from friends of his that he'd been sleeping around and acting like an asshole. Even his own FRIENDS advised me to just carry on with my life and bring the baby up alone, because he is such a mess. Even so, I still clung on to the relationship because... well, I don't know really. Because I was having his baby and I cared about him.
Anyway, after a massive argument just a few weeks before my due date because the money I sent him to come and visit me had been spent on drugs, he basically said he wanted nothing to do with either of us, as he was 'a waste of space' (his words). I was devastated, having now not only lost the life I'd once had, but being abandoned too by the father of my baby so close to my due date. I had a long two day labour, and during the latent phase I asked him to attend the birth. We were on pretty good terms again by this point. He said he didn't think he'd be able to, as he'd promised to watch a football match with a friend who was staying, and he couldn't leave the friend alone, and besides he 'probably wouldn't get there in time'. (!!!)
So I gave birth without him there, and he eventually came to see us about a week later. He stayed for an hour and then left. To cut a long story short, we basically ended up in the same cycle of getting back together, him moving in, finding a job miles away a few weeks later and moving away, losing the job and coming back, and repeat. When DS1 was just a few weeks old he had too much to drink and trashed the house, resulting in me calling the police. He moved out (for good this time) and a few months later we started talking again, he made a lot of promises about wanting to be a good father and quitting drinking. We stayed friends, he'd come to visit every few weeks for the weekend and seemed to be keeping his promises. One thing lead to another and I ended up sleeping with him - this was the one and only time in six months. I realised a few weeks later that my contraception had failed and I was pregnant again (DS1 was only one at this point).
I was utterly terrified - I knew how stupid I'd been to get myself into this situation again, and went from feelings of "I've pretty much raised DS1 alone this whole time and done just fine, I can do it again" to feelings of "I'm not going to cope alone" and "He's going to abandon me again". Although he promised to stick by us, he had already gone back to his old ways of drinking, drugs and sleeping around. I ended the relationship and said I'd still let him be involved, and attend the birth too. He said of course, and we remained on okay terms for a while - until he started ignoring me when I asked for child support/sent him bump pictures and updates on DS1. When I asked for money for nappies for DS1 as I was in a bad way financially, he would say he had no money (or ignore me) and then there would be photos appearing on my newsfeed of him out at lavish parties drinking/draped over other women. He continued to ignore me for a very long time after that, and then I got blocked. I found out from a family member of his that he had met a woman on the internet, who happened to be quite affluent.
His family continued to send presents/cards/sometimes even money at birthdays/Christmas - but have always been very cold towards me, and never come and visit us. I would still send them photos and updates every once in a while.
DS2 came along, and when he was around eight months old EP contacts me saying he's changed he's settled down and changed his ways, he wants to send me child support, he wants to meet DS2 and see DS1 again. I felt very resentful towards him by this point, but his partner contacted me several times to tell me that he really HAD changed this time. I arranged to meet him, and we spent the whole time in silence. He didn't really interact with the DS's and was quick to leave. However he contacted me afterwards thanking me for giving him a chance and saying how much it meant to him. After that, he vanished AGAIN. He started ignoring my messages again, and a year later he contacts me again, saying he was sorry for all the hurt he's caused, but he moved abroad to get over his drug problems and get help for his mental health issues. I didn't trust a word he said - but he was persistent and kept sending presents/letters. Again, his partner would tell me about how he'd cry all the time because he wanted to be a good father and begged me to give him a chance. I eventually agreed to sending him updates/photos again, but said they would not know that he was their father until the day I could trust him 100%, and he was not living in a different country. He seemed to understand this.
Anyway, for the last year or so now he has been quite consistent, showing an interest and talking to them on the phone as 'Mummy's friend'. They've even got to know his partner quite well. Still no child support or visits (still abroad) however. He promised to move back to the UK this year, but now he is making excuses about his partner not being able to get a visa, so he's staying put. And when he does come back for good "in a year or so", then he's planning on living in a town that is three hours away from us. He still shows quite an interest in DS1 and DS2, and still chats to them. But the time difference and my/his work hours and school etc makes it impossible. He's not rang for around two weeks now, making excuses about no internet connection/working longer hours etc. However, his partner does seem to encourage him to make an effort, and insists he is taking medication and not drinking anymore. They are both planning on visiting at some point this year, when work allows them too.
Should I just give up already?! I don't have feelings for him, but as he's been more consistent with the phone calls, making an effort etc, I've felt better mentally. A year ago the resentment and anger was grinding me down and really affecting my life. Part of me wants him to see them grow up, even if they never know he's their dad. The other part of me wants to listen to all of the people (even his own mother) who tell me to cut him out and move on. I don't want my children to be hurt/let down by him in future - neither do I want them to resent me when they are adults because I stopped him being involved when he 'wanted' to. DS1 already asks awkward questions about 'not having a dad' which I never know how to answer. He's also grown quite close to him from their video chats, but again they don't know who he really is.
What would you do?
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Firstly well done for bringing up your ds's as far as you have they are lucky to have a mum like you.
Secondly- you asked what I would do and here it is... I am the grown up child of a man who could not be bothered. He ran off after having an affair and went to live abroad. My mum gave him chance after chance, after all 'hes their dad', 'he should see them grow up' and 'he has changed'. All I got from this is disappointment, confusion and eventual resentment of him. My mum was tying to do the right thing by giving him chances, I wish she hadn't.
He does not deserve you trying to maintain contact. He cant keep running off, saying he has changed, coming back and doing it again.
Don't let your boys grow up like my sister and me- waiting around for their dad after he breaks yet another promise to them.
End this now. If he wants to see them, arrange short visits when it suits you. Then get on with your life. Do not get in contact with him, let him contact you, then arrange visitation around your plans. Do not expect money from him either, of he sends it that's great, if not, fuck him.
I know I might sound harsh but believe me you have already given him too much, in the end- your boys will suffer.
Also- why is his partner messaging you telling you he has changed? Ita none of her business.
Thanks for your comment. It's interesting to see it from the perspective of an adult with a deadbeat father.
Gosh that is a hard one ! Sorry but he will never be a decent dad. This will get me in trouble but cut all ties don't let him back in makes life easier if you meet someone who could be a good partner and dad if you wished.
Tell your kids the truth, he is their dad but he is still working out how to look after himself atm. Good luck xx
ollieplimsoles' answer is better than mine go with that xx
Thanks Balanced12. Hopefully one day I will meet a decent guy - though I don't really have the time to meet any these days
You're right too though Balanced,
It is tough because its not right that children don't know their father. But sometimes you need to just make the call to protect them.
Do not chase him, let him chase you. He should want to see his kids, he shouldnt need reminders. If he needs to sort himself out, he can do it on his time.
Keep that bar high op, you and your ds's are worth so much more.
My mum didn't settle for anything but the best after my dad ran off, and I ended up.with an amazing step dad who did everything for us.
But I knew my mum.could.make it on her own, and we had a great bond.
Keep at it! Xx
Don't ever rely on him, contact him, make plans around him, or try to organise him with his new partner. This guy clearly can't be a dad, you need to accept that and disengage. Even his own mother is warning you not to expect anything from him but trouble. Listen to her.
But if you prevent contact you risk him going for court ordered contact -enjoying the 'victim' role- when/if he comes back to the UK. Whereas if you just don't make any effort to facilitate contact it will fizzle out due to him being useless.
Your sons won't be the only kids who don't see their dad, and only you can gauge when you can be honest about who he is. If you don't 'big up' your ex's contact or non contact and make it a big deal, but just shrug your shoulders, -oh well, he's just not a reliable person- now what shall we do today? then you can welcome anything positive he or his family can offer your sons as an unlooked for bonus, which realistically, you can expect to come and go over time.
I would cut him dead, you have given chance after chance, you cannot wait forever to get his act together, meanwhile he is letting your ds down time and time again. They don't deserve this.
For the first 5 years of DS life I was trying to get my ex interested in DS, after that I stopped bothering. Last time I tried last year in May. This March ex died, just after DS turning 10.
I must say - it was much easier to tell my son that his father is dead, than keep repeating the same thing over and over again - "I messaged him, but he doesn't answer ".
Right now I have new DP, who is better dad to my DS than ex could ever be. Last year's Father's Day was the first time my son could give a present to father figure and was so happy. This year he also have a baby sister and he is the happiest ever. We are very happy little family.
My advice would be to cut him out and never bother to contact him. Let him do it. Maybe when he will eventually move back and will come over regularly for a year or so, you can tell your DS's that he is their father. Not earlier.
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