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To ask if I'm being a martyr?

(23 Posts)
HelenLaBloodyAnnoyed Fri 22-Mar-19 22:29:17

I have 3 DC with my exP, aged 5, 4 and 14 months. We separated when I was pregnant and he has chosen not to really see them since. Every few months he'll get in touch about wanting to come round and see them or go for a day out, but he's never once discussed having them on his own. About 8 months ago I had enough of his dipping in and out of their lives and told him it was too disruptive and that he needed to be consistently around and try seeing them without me there for the actual parenting to fall to. I have barely heard from him since.

So for 2 years I've pretty much been a lone parent to them (and my 11 year old from a previous marriage) and even when I was with DP, I did everything and never went out. I love my DC and don't resent the time I'm putting into them at all, but my friend said something today that made me think twice.

She said that exP may well decide to come back into the DCs lives in a few years when they're easier to look after (he has done this with his other DC from a previous marriage) and that if that happens then I'll have been a martyr, doing all the hard slog for years while he enjoys his youth and freedom. She thinks I should contact him and push him into having contact now so that I can build a life for myself outside of the DC.

I'm torn. I would love to be able to do all my jobs, go to the gym, socialise and so on while the DC are with him so all the time they're with me my time is dedicated to them. However, he has literally never looked after them and gets flustered really easily. He struggles to concentrate on more than one thing at a time and doesn't think things through which often results in the DC getting hurt (I.e. changing the baby on the sofa and then leaving him there while he wraps up the nappy so he falls off.) He also gets really frustrated if the DC don't listen to him and struggles to put any boundaries in place at all. Most of all, I think if he has so easily walked away then he can't care about them very much at all and why would I want to send my DC to a man who can happily go out drinking and getting laid and forget about them for months on end?

What do you think? Should I push for contact so I can have a life, am I being a martyr?

Myheartbelongsto Fri 22-Mar-19 22:31:45

what do kids want?

HelenLaBloodyAnnoyed Fri 22-Mar-19 22:40:56

They don't mention him at all. They're lots happier and more stable when he isn't around. However, if we bump into him they're happy to see him but it tends to be so they can share their news and boss him around. As soon as the novelty wears off they want him to go again. I don't think the baby would even recognise him.

babysharkah Fri 22-Mar-19 23:04:06

No you're not being a martyr. He's being a wanker.

FullOfJellyBeans Fri 22-Mar-19 23:24:29

I wouldn't want him having the kids if he's unreliable and not particularly interested in them. The kids will pick up on it and feel like they're just being dumped there. I do think you deserve your own life though, is there anyone else who can help with the kids?

thefirst48 Fri 22-Mar-19 23:29:42

Your friend is stupid! You can't make someone be a parent unfortunately. Keep him out of your children's lives. An absent father is better than one who constantly disappears.

HelenLaBloodyAnnoyed Fri 22-Mar-19 23:31:39

Absolutely no one Jelly beans.

liamhemsworthsrealwife Sat 23-Mar-19 04:44:29

I'd keep a record of all contact, everything he says or does when he does have contact. If he's unreliable and irresponsible I wouldn't be trying to force contact on him - however I would reach out via email and try to organise contact, which he'll probably ignore.

If he tried to get contact in years to come after no contact there'd be fuck all chance I'd be facilitating it, and I'd have evidence that 1. I had tried 2. He wasn't interested. I wouldn't be letting him walk in and out my kids lives. Being a parent isn't an option, you don't get to pick and choose.

Brilliantidiot Sat 23-Mar-19 05:45:38

Different situation to you, but I had this with DDs father. He was really reluctant to have her up until the age of about 10, and then it all changed.
I tried, I really did and basically DD just got let down time and again. And when he did Disney dad, she wasn't looked after great either. He was only consistent when in a relationship, and they never lasted long, I saw a solicitor about maintenance at one point and mentioned the lack of contact and he said the same as a pp - you can't make someone parent. And I stopped trying because it wasn't in DDs best interests. I never stopped him when he wanted to (as long as she was safe) but I stopped asking him. However I didn't change plans for him either. If DD was going to DM or Dsis while I worked, or we had plans and he'd text the day before he was told no, sorry, plans made. He kicked off a few times, and threatened social services 🙄 and I just told him to go ahead, I'd never stopped him, he was the one in and out of her life and DD needed stability, and I needed childcare for work. I said that I wanted 7 days notice for contact as I needed to plan ahead.
He shut up after a bit. DD remembers though, and it's affected their relationship now. His loss.
I don't think it's being a martyr, it's doing what's best for your children, then you, and then down the queue, him.
Re-evaluate if and when he turns up later on in their lives and decide how to deal with it then, but the children will probably make the decision themselves anyway.

kbPOW Sat 23-Mar-19 06:11:21

I don't think your friend understands the word martyr!

TheRealKimmySchmidt63 Sat 23-Mar-19 06:21:49

I don't think your friend understands the word martyr!


Your children's best interests first but you do deserve time to yourself too - I know it's hard with no family around - could the "friend" help out once a week even if it's just to put the 5 and 4 year old to bed once a week and then you two have an evening in with the little one?

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Sat 23-Mar-19 06:44:26

I do sort of see where your friend is coming from actually but the crucial bit is that you don't think they'd be well looked after. In that case, you're doing the right thing.

Imoan123 Sat 23-Mar-19 07:15:24

I'm one of three siblings, father left when I was 2 and had nothing to do with us. Years later when he'd had a child of his own decide he wanted full custody of us as didn't want his child to be lonely. Custody battle so visits from probably social services asking what us kids wanted, none of us were even interested. Never received birthday or Xmas cards/presents, phone calls etc. He obviously didn't believe us or mum when we said this, made to meet with him during this, none of us were impressed by him, he chain smoked, spoke to his child in a foreign language (grandfather foreign hence the language) and thought his wife was tacky. It was something I said to social worker that finally made them realise we really were not wanting him to have custody. Went to court and mum won, never seen or heard from him again. If you show no interest in your child(ren) then don't expect them to be interested in you if/when you decide you want to see them.

MillyCoddler Sat 23-Mar-19 07:18:22

Why did you have 3 kids with him?

qwertyskirty Sat 23-Mar-19 07:18:59

I don't care how much of a martyr it is-there's no way I would let this "man" look after my children so I could go to the gym / do other things. I would worry the entire time anyway. The children don't know him and it wouldn't be good for them.

brizzlemint Sat 23-Mar-19 07:25:03

They don't mention him at all. They're lots happier and more stable when he isn't around.

It sounds like there is no good reason to let him into their lives.

TheRealKimmySchmidt63 Sat 23-Mar-19 07:56:13

Milky coddler - comments like that really aren't helpful - the op is clearly in a bind she has 3 children with him - that is the situation that's what she asked for advice about don't kick someone when they're down - unnecessary- you could have read and not commented.

MillyCoddler Sat 23-Mar-19 08:19:02

I'm not kicking the OP. She already had one child then chose to have not one, not two but THREE kids with this man who had already proved to be a useless dad. She's not a martyr ...

kbPOW Sat 23-Mar-19 08:21:03


HelenLaBloodyAnnoyed Sat 23-Mar-19 08:37:35

Milly, our first DC has SN so he used that as an excuse for his lack of involvement as he found it very difficult to deal with her. It was only when we had number 2 that I realised that it was literally an excuse and he was useless. DC3 was the result of a contraception failure, which is why I left when I was pregnant as I knew he'd be useless. He didn't even come to his birth.

liamhemsworthsrealwife Sat 23-Mar-19 10:57:37

Op you don't have to explain yourself to anyone.

Milly why don't you go ask the father instead why HE had THREE children he has no interest in.

Vulpine Sat 23-Mar-19 11:03:24

The father didn't start this thread

kbPOW Sat 23-Mar-19 11:36:53

Oh yes...once again it's Saturday morning and a certain type of poster clocks on for the GF MRA shift.

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