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Ex may be trying to get access to DD after two years of indifference - what should I do?

(12 Posts)
Sally4484 Mon 22-Sep-08 12:13:05

My DD's father ended our relationship when I was four months pregnant. He told me to get an abortion and said that he was leaving because he didn't want children. When I wrote to him before her birth saying that I wanted him to be part of her life he replied by TEXT(!) to the effect that he wasn't interested. He has paid maintenance but not seen her since she was six weeks old. He has never shown any interest in her. She had surgery when she was five months old and he never even enquired as to how she was doing.

Two weeks ago, just after DD's second birthday, he texted me to ask if he could see her to give her a birthday present. There wasn't a convenient time that week and we were away the week after so I've managed to put him off without actually saying 'no'. But he contacted me again yesterday demanding 'a slot' to see her quite shirtily.

At the moment I'm thinking of suggesting that we meet in a park nearby and taking my parents along. I really don't want to see him. I really don't want him to have anything to do with my daughter. I'm terrified that he is going to want to start seeing her regularly. But I'm also worried that he is more likely to get nasty about it if I refuse him access altogether. I've spoken to the advice line at Gingerbread, but they didn't really help much. Any thoughts? Am I better off letting him see her briefly or should I force him to take it further if he really wants to see her?

Lauriefairycake Mon 22-Sep-08 12:16:52

It's good that he has wakened up and wants to see her. It is good for her to get to know her dad. You need to agree a gradual build up - with others around to start with until you feel comfortable with her being on her own with him - this may take a while.

Of course you shouldn't refuse him access, this, after all this time is not about you and the relationship you had with him - it's about her and her needs now. Yes, it's going to be really tough and i wish you lots of luck - having your parents or a friend is an excellent idea - while he is playing with her you can be chatting to them. Try and be as relaxed as possible.

avenanap Mon 22-Sep-08 12:20:36

I agree with Lauriefairycake. It sounds as though he's trying to get to know her. I know that you are pissed that it's taken all this time but you can't change what's happened before. She has the right to get to know her father and her family.

hecate Mon 22-Sep-08 12:24:16

Hard but you need to put her first. Yes, he was a shit for walking away, but she has the right to know her father - even now.

If you block it in any way, she will resent you for it.

Yes, you risk her being hurt if he walks away again, but it's not your place, even as her mother, to stop her having a relationship with her father if it is possible.

I understand how you feel though, it must feel awful and I can understand how angry you must be. But you have to separate your feelings about him from what is right for your daughter.

LittleBella Mon 22-Sep-08 12:34:30

You should let him see her.

He's obviously a twat but it's better that she knows him and doesn't build him up into some kind of romantic figure.

He may only want to see her this once, and then no more until she's 8. OTOH he may want to establish more regular contact. Chances are he has a new girlfriend who is questioning why he has no contact with his DD, so he feels obliged to play the concerned father. OTOH he may genuinely feel remorse about abandoning his child and curiosity about her. Until you meet up with him, you don't know.

Play it by ear. If he says he wants to establish contact, you can make it very clear that he can't simply pick her up and drop her like a toy every time he gets a new gf/ feels like it and that he can't see her on her own until she knows him. But you do have to let him see her, simply becuase if you don't and he has the energy and the interest, he will go to court and they will force you to. Also, if your teenage/ adult dd complains that she never knew her father, you need to be able to say truthfully that it wasn't becuase of any decisisons you took.

Sally4484 Mon 22-Sep-08 15:36:46

Thanks for the replies.

They pretty much tally with my own thoughts. But it's pretty infuriating that I have to accomodate him after the way he behaved. I have very little doubt that if he does pursue an ongoing relationship he will let her down as much as he did me and I don't want her to be hurt or confused. When we first split up I did everything in my power to encourage him to play an active role in her life but he was completely disinterested. Having built up a new life for myself and created a happy and stable little family with my daughter, I find the idea of him just swanning in simply because it is now convenient for him or because he wants to impress a new girlfriend frankly abhorent.

abouteve Mon 22-Sep-08 15:49:44

I can understand how you feel but he is her father and she should have the opportunity to have a relationship with him. I sincerely hope he doesn't let her down, but if he does then you know you didn't block it.

Have you asked him why he is now interested and what his intentions are. You need to ask.

LittleBella Mon 22-Sep-08 15:55:38

I think at this stage, you can ensure that your DD doesn't think he's anything more special than any other friend you might meet up with. Then if he loses interest, it won't be a big deal for her.

But you need to talk to him about his intentions, before you make any decisions about how to manage her expectations.

Sally4484 Mon 22-Sep-08 16:38:22

For the time being I have suggested a date and location where we can meet so he can give her the birthday present. I've also told him that my parents will be there. No way I'm going to meet him alone.

If he then asks for further contact I'll ask for more detail about his intentions and what exactly he wants. I don't want to do this at this stage becasue I don't want to make too much of a big deal of it or plant ideas about ongoing contact in his head.

When we first split up I desperately wanted him to be a part of DD's life. It was his choice to walk away. It's so infuriating. I couldn't compel him to be a parent when he didn't want the responsibility, but he can compel me to let him play at being a daddy because he now likes the idea.

CarGirl Mon 22-Sep-08 16:46:47

I would suggest you introduce him as x (his name) rather than as Daddy. Then if he shows his commitment to being part of her life you can tell her that he is her father. I would also try and broach him about it so he is forewarned.

Sally4484 Mon 22-Sep-08 17:02:20

I've already thought of that, CarGirl. I thought I'd just say that I'd appreciate it if he didn't refer to himself as 'Daddy' or as 'your Father' and say that I will refer to him by his name. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who doesn't think it would be appropriate for him to be referred to as 'Daddy' the first time they meet.

LittleBella Mon 22-Sep-08 17:25:51

Oh yes, it's outrageous that men have the choice of being adults when and if they want to and that courts allow that.

But for your DD's sake (and long term, your own) you just have to accept that our mysogynist society allows it and put up with it. Recognising it's unjust is OK, but feeling furious about it is unhelpful for you - it just won't do you any good. Come and rant on here, but try not to allow it to affect the way you proceed with this.

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