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Absent father - should I make contact for DD?

(12 Posts)
namechangedincase Wed 26-Sep-12 16:22:18

I have a 15 yo DD - very well adjusted, sociable, achieving well academically.

I am a lone parent - conceived after a short relationship, tried to keep in contact with the father during pregnancy, and when I gave birth tried one last time but no interest (yes I know that doesn't sound like a lot of effort on my part, but I was fairly green and more concerned with looking after a baby than chasing someone who didn't want to be involved!).

He, had he wished, would always have been able to contact me (mutual friends, he knows where my family live) but has never tried.

On the back of reading the thread about the poster whose DC's have an older half sibling who is not in touch (the OP was a query about telling her DC's about the half sibling), I've been rethinking the no contact situation.

Any questions DD has asked me, I've answered to the best of my ability. I've let her bring it up whenever she felt she wanted to (which was, TBH, not very often - I'm close to my family and she has a lot of close relatives on my side, so I don't think she's felt a huge lack of that relationship, but am aware I may be projecting what I hope is true)

Should I be volunteering more info, do you think - perhaps even getting in contact with him with a view to fostering a relationship between them?

One thing I have learned though from Mumsnet - there were quite a few red flags in the relationship (controlling/isolating tendencies on his side).

There were a couple of very disturbing incidents (which I actually handled quite well even though I didn't realise the basis for them at the time!)

I knew at the time that something was not right, but couldn't articulate it (thank God it didn't go the distance).

So based on all this, do you think I should be contacting him - or only doing so if DD wants me to? I have never said a negative word about him to her - she's quite unaware of my misgivings (I hope!).

In other MNetter's experience, has an XP with controlling/abusive tendencies turned out to be a positive in a DC's life if they weren't in their life previously?
Have they been able to control those aspects of their personality in their relationships with their DC's? I'm not talking about those parents who have always been present in their DC's lives, just those who have made contact in later years.

Thanks in advance!

namechangedincase Wed 26-Sep-12 16:28:36

Oh, no maintenance ever paid - I've supported DD financially completely on my own.

I have to say, if she (or he) wanted contact, I'd be supportive - but would eventually bring money into the equation - as in, "now we're in contact, it's time for you to pay your fair share going forward" (not looking for a fortune, but some extra to put aside for third level for DD would be a godsend)

I know legally contact and money are separate, but can see him using money as an excuse to break contact (i.e. if I don't see her I won't have to pay) - I wouldn't like to see that happen but is it likely based on the experiences of others?

We're not in the UK so CSA not involved.

amillionyears Wed 26-Sep-12 19:57:10

This is a tricky situation imo.
On balance,I think I would be thinking in terms of let sleeping dogs lie.
As long as you have not given her cause to believe that if she, or when she brings the subject up,that it upsets you.Which causes her to rarely talk about it,or be scared to talk about him.
Do you think this be more about that you would like him to pay or contribute money for her going forward?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 27-Sep-12 07:57:43

"So based on all this, do you think I should be contacting him - or only doing so if DD wants me to?"

Now that she's older I would share a little more of the unvarnished truth about her Dad if the opportunity comes up. If you continue to protect his reputation that can backfire. The initiative to get in touch should really come from her and, if she has a fuller picture, forewarned is forearmed. I'm not sure why you'd be asking for money after all this time. If the man is controlling, I'd have thought you'd want to avoid any kind of obligation.

effingwotsits Thu 27-Sep-12 08:05:01

I was your daughter once and my mum went to great lengths to maintain Contact with my violent alcoholic father. He was never directly violent to me.

I never wanted to see him, I would have been much better off not knowing anything about him. I went because I felt I had to. It may only have been once a year or so but it was still a cause of stress in my young life.

That's just my story, it's not to say your daughter would feel the same.

What does she think about it all?

olgaga Thu 27-Sep-12 08:12:36

She is old enough to understand that he has never made any attempts to contact her or fulfil any parental responsibility to her. I'd leave it up to her to contact him if she wants to, but I certainly wouldn't encourage it.

chole1 Thu 27-Sep-12 08:16:12

I think if she wants to meet him then thats her decision, i would not contact him unless she wants you to or he gets in contact.
I grew up without a father and found him 10 years later its very hard to have a relationship as its like to strangers and i did feel like he owed me something and lots of answers as i felt he rejected me.

I dont speak to him now have not for 2 years as when i am in contact i feel stressed and a different person. He never gave me away at my wedding and does not even know i have a DD and it makes no difference to me.
As i say what i never had i never missed, just carry on answering questions and if that day comes support her.

As effingwotits said thats my story does not mean she feels the same way

namechangedincase Thu 27-Sep-12 10:24:41

Thank you for all your answers, it's great to get all the points of view.

Just to clarify, I would not be getting in touch to look for money - we have managed up to now and will continue to do so! I was just imagining a scenario where they built up a relationship and at that stage I would feel it was 'fair' for him to contribute to her upbringing.

She hasn't brought it up in months, I'm going to start a chat about it to see how she feels. I like to believe she hasn't a clue about how I feel about him but of course kids are more perceptive than we give them credit for at times smile.

amillionyears Thu 27-Sep-12 11:01:24

Good ideas namechange.

mummytime Thu 27-Sep-12 11:54:43

My mother left my father when I was 2. I knew from my teens until he died the town where he lived. I could have tried to contact him if I had wanted. To be honest I never really wanted to.
I have half-brothers and at least one half sister. I have been vaguely curious about them, but as I get older I don't think I would ever really want to contact them. Partly this is because I wouldn't want to hear really bad news about my father, and I do feel slightly worried that very bad things could have happened to them as they retained much more in contact with him than I did (although they were older, my father went back to their mother after my mother left him).

I wouldn't have wanted my mother bringing him back into our lives. She did have to contact him once when I was 14 as I wanted to go on a school trip overseas.

I would be honest with your daughter and let her make up her own mind whether or not she wants to contact him.

cestlavielife Thu 27-Sep-12 12:08:58

why not let her bring it up?

bring it into conversation if something triggers eg a film/book/relative/friend situation.

then if she wants to initiate some contact fine but say last time your saw him he had personality traits which werent good - that you honestly dont know what he is like now. (but the fact he hasnt bothered says it all really doesnt it)

namechangedincase Thu 27-Sep-12 13:13:05

cestlavielife I like your last line about personality traits and not knowing what he's like now!

I think it's time to watch Mamma Mia again...wink

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