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Totally absent dad come out of the woodwork

(57 Posts)
TakingTimeOut Tue 30-Apr-13 09:31:42

I'm not sure if relationships is the best place to put this but could do with some advice.

I have Dtwins with an ex. He was an alcoholic, weed smoking fuckwit. I was young and naïve - totally in love with him despite my parents concerns.

At 5 months pregnant he upped and left. He didn't talk to me about it, instead leaving me a note simply saying that he wasn't ready to be a dad.

Devastated was an understatement. If it wasn't for my family I would never have coped.

The twins are 12 now (13 this year) and have never met their dad. They see his parents regularly and have seen photos of him but haven't any contact whatsoever. He did a bunk over to Ireland so I'm told but has clearly been uninterested in his kids.

Until now.

His parents have told me he's now wanting to meet the twins possibly in the summer. He recently got married and had a baby.

I don't know what to do. I've moved on, happily married to DH and have another wonderful child and two wonderful DSC. The children have never asked about contacting him and we're quite happy as we are.

I'm so afraid that if he directly gets in contact all my resentment towards him for leaving me while pregnant is going to resurface. How dare he think he can just swan in and everything be fine. How dare he quite happily play dad with one after pretty much writing out the others.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Apr-13 09:37:59

I think it would probably be a good thing if you had chance to lay your resentment to rest. Don't see any reason why this should mean he gets to play 'happy' Dads unchallenged ... I think he's long overdue a dressing down and you're long overdue expressing exactly how he devastated your life.

TakingTimeOut Tue 30-Apr-13 09:43:46

I'm wondering if he's doing it because he's got another child and try and show off to his wife? He's years too late. The twins know him by his name and that he's biological dad. I don't see where he has the right to be called dad.

His parents have been great so I'm also worried on how that dynamic will change. He is their son after all.

I'm going to be quite blunt - but it's not about you, it's about your children, and whatever happens I think you will probably have to deal with your own feelings seperately.

I've never been in your situation, but my first thoughts would be.......

Firstly, I would want to be clear with their grandparents how serious their dad is about this, and explain you are going to talk to the children.

At age 12/13, depending on how mature they are, I might be inclined to discuss it with my children and let them figure out how they feel about it. Correct me if I'm wrong (someone, please do I don't know this for sure) but wouldn't a court take a 13 yr olds view into account??

Hard as it is going to be, if your children would like to meet their dad I think you should be prepared to facilitate it and deal with your own feelings seperately.

You don't have to see him, or make arrangements, just let his parents know their decision and they can do the rest. But you need to be their for your children. Perhaps some councelling for you would help work through your feelings of abondonment and your resentment.

TakingTimeOut Tue 30-Apr-13 09:50:33

Giant, if the children want to meet him that's their choice I've not said otherwise but they have expressed no interest in wanting to contact in the past - neither has he. I'm sorry but swanning in 13 years later and expecting to pick up the dad role is really getting my back up. I am aware my feelings are coming across but he hasn't wanted to know for so long - why now?

sleeton Tue 30-Apr-13 09:53:03

I totally understand how you feel and if the only issue was his behavior and the effects of that on you and your family, then I would agree absolutely with How dare he think he can just swan in etc.

The main issue now is not his behavior (past and present) and what he wants, nor is it how that makes you feel (and I say that very sadly, because I do understand how you feel).
The main issue is the right of your twins to see their biological father if they want to and (if they want to and if possible) to form some sort of relationship with him.

In the past, this has not been something you had the power to facilitate. In the present, you don't have the right to stop it (nor does he have the right to insist upon it).
Your dear twins are the ones with the right and it sounds like you have done a fabulous job with them, so I would imagine that they will (with your support) cope well with the end result.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Apr-13 09:54:38

Why now? Maybe he's not the alcoholic weed-smoking fuckwit of 13 years ago. Maybe he's grown up a little or cleaned his act up? He'll never assume 'the dad role' for kids that age, however. He'll just be an interesting bit-player for them most likely. A sort of uncle figure, at best.

Your back is principally up because of the unresolved hurt from all that time ago.

Taking - I think you have to compartmentalise a bit, for the sake of the twins.

No, he hasn't wanted to, and hasn't up till now. Like I said, find out how serious this actually is, and if he really wants to.

The twins haven't expressed an interest up till now, but haven't seen it as a possibility. If you said "your father has been in touch with Nan - he wants to meet you". What would they say? You don't know for sure, so ask them.

Meeting them doesn't mean he will be able to 'play the dad role' and I doubt very much your twins would let him at all.

IN terms of your anger - you have every right to be. He has proven himself to be a twunt of the highest order. He deserves you to give it to him both barrels, and to make him take things very slowly with the twins if they want to see him.

Why do you care why he has decided to make contact now? his life and his circumtsances are nothing - don't waste precious energy thinking about he. He doesn't deserve the waste of thought, breath or anything else. Treat him with the distain he deserves and have nothing to do with him.

But don't let that stop your twins at least meeting him if that's what they would like to do given the opportunity.

TakingTimeOut Tue 30-Apr-13 10:09:31

See, I don't ever want to be the mum who's judgement is clouded by her own feelings. Yet I know a lot of what I've posted is about my feelings.

If the children want to meet him then that's their choice. I will support them either way. If not, I hope he can also accept that. I need to know for myself that he is serious about coming in to their lives. His parents will be biased about the whole thing. But I will not allow him to be involved just to fuck off with no contact - hurting the twins in the process.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Apr-13 10:16:32

Sorry, but you can't put the responsibility for that decision on children that young. Someone asked about courts and I think children have to be 15+ before their views on contact with a parent are fully taken into account. As the responsible adult you have to make the decision, obviously with their involvement, but it would be unfair to make it theirs alone.

TakingTimeOut Tue 30-Apr-13 10:23:33

Cogito - that is why I need to see for myself about how serious he is. I'm not going to let them be all set up for a fall. The thought of court hadn't crossed my mind.

dogsandcats Tue 30-Apr-13 10:28:09

fwiw, and I could be wrong, but I am guessing that him having a baby has stirred up all sorts of emotions for him.
It may have made him realise what he did, how he behaved. And what he missed out on.
Even his new partner may be thinking that their child now has half siblings.

acceptableinthe80s Tue 30-Apr-13 10:35:26

I disagree with the above post. I think at 12/13 it should be up to the children whether they see him or not. They might for example not want to see him right now but at some point in the future.
Afterall it's supposed to be about their rights. The biological father gave up any rights he had a long time ago.

I can sympathize with your concerns and feelings on this Op. This is something that could feasibly happen to my son in 10 years time should his father ever have a crisis of conscience. I would however always facilitate contact if that's what my son wanted. In fact I actually hope it does happen in a way as it would take away the mystery for him.

But these men will never be 'dad' to the children they abandoned, at best they'll be an uncle type figure.

MaryRobinson Tue 30-Apr-13 10:51:19

Has he contributed anything financially to them?
Could you say to the grandparents, privately, that the fact he is still using them to weasel out of being a man and doing stuff properly makes you very very twitchy.
What sort of relationship is he thinking is going to happen going forward- he can't hope to go "well I'll meet them once, and then after that I'll decide or not decide". They aren't a tourist attraction.
How do you feel about the CSA which can be collected in Ireland by the way.

betterthanever Tue 30-Apr-13 10:51:55

taking I am in a similar position but my DS is only 8 ! and my ex has not come back remorceful and changed in any way but is trying to rewrite history to once again paint himself as a victim (as he did to me when we met) and making acusations against me. Life appears to have got worse for him over these last few years as I have regrouped and make a good life for me and DS.
I agree with a lot of what cogito says in terms of your own feelings. I know it can trigger emotions that you thought you had dealt with or if you are like me, probably didn't have time to deal with as you had twins to care for.
At the DC's age they do get a say in court and I think would have an understanding of the benefits and risks to contact with him regarding thier emotions.
As you say, this may not go to court and it would be much better if it didn't. However the process for introducing DC to a parent they do not know via the courts could be done out of court. A court would only really order indirect contact at first especially if the twins are not deperate to meet him, as any relationship could only be done gradually if at all. Could that be an option? he writes a letter to them which you would see and approve first?
It would be so sad if thier relationship with paternal grandparents was affected. I think a good honest chat with them could allay your fears.
This may give you to chance to deal with emotions from the past but seperatly. He has just turned up and you do not have to jump into anything. Seek advice from expereinced agencies and they would stress the importance of anything regarding contact like this being done slowly and at the DC's pace.
I agree with the point made about him probably just wanting to make himself good good in front of his new wife. Does he live locally again? if not would any contact only be limited anyway?
Each story that is posted on here like this has it's own set of unique circumstances and has to be taken forward differently. Some DC are upset by the absent parent and are suffering a really loss and maybe other things as a result, some are not and have a stable happy life that could be distrupted. IMO all the factors have to be taken into account. The only real solid advice I would give is to not say no, never at this point. Look at all options and of course the main thing, do what is best for the DC, no-one knows them and your ex better than you.

Dahlen Tue 30-Apr-13 10:55:31

If they want to meet him and he appears genuine, I would let it happen. However, there would be a few provisos.

Firstly, I would insist on building up involvement slowly. I would want him to open up an email/telephone dialogue so that I could gauge his intentions and see how serious he is. I would want to know what he intended to tell the DC about why he disappeared all those years ago and why he wants to be involved now. I would want to know how he expects the relationship to develop - annual visits? regular phone calls and monthly visits? What? I'd also want to know what, if any, financial contribution he intends on making (not that it should affect contact, but it would show a seriousness of intent to continue the relationship).

I would also expect an acknowledgement of the hurt he caused 13 years ago. He may well have changed, but unless he's capable of owning his past actions and apologising for them, he hasn't changed enough to be allowed the privilege of seeing his children - their right to emotional stability trumps his desire to play dad.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 30-Apr-13 10:57:41

Children age 12/13 are not emotionally equipped for this one. Asking a child to choose between their mother (who is clearly quite upset at the prospect) and their father (however remote) is very unfair. If they choose to see him and Mum is gutted, they will feel guilty. If they choose to reject him, they could feel equally guilty. The OP has to choose on their behalf, putting aside her own feelings & with their best interests at heart the same way that, as parents, we make all other decisions in their lives. The OP has to take that responsibility on her shoulders... not put it on theirs.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 30-Apr-13 11:05:27

Twelve years is along time, think your ex has realised babies are hard work, teens are too but are pretty independent and can hold a conversation and take themselves to the loo. They won't be a mini him. Did he have a DD or a DS I wonder? He has his Dad hat on now. Good for him. He may be a great guy now. This is about the twins not him. I think at their age they are old enough to choose. And set about establishing contact at their pace. I would take a very dim view of someone who belatedly picked them up only to drop them again.

betterthanever Tue 30-Apr-13 11:09:39

Cognito I agree with some of that but how they feel about things does play a part. I agree an absolute yes see or no, don't see descion should not be made by them alone but I don't think it can at this stage be made by anyone. There are many unaswered questions and I think they need to be looked into and agree with all points dahlen made in terms of the questions to ask. He may not have thought things through that far, if not he needs to. His motivation needs to be addressed - is he doing this to ease his own mind or does he want contact that will benefit the DC? Or something else?

acceptableinthe80s Tue 30-Apr-13 11:13:02

No-one's asking the children to choose cognito. The mother shouldn't really express any bad feelings she has on the subject in front of the children anyhow.
However as mentioned above, yes it's important to establish what his intentions are before mentioning his wish for contact and it makes sense to start with phonecalls/emails etc if the children do wish to have to contact.
I really don't think any mother should deny their children contact with their father, unless of course they are abusive/dangerous.

MumfordandDaughter Tue 30-Apr-13 11:13:10

I'm certain i read that 12/13 is the age that children's opinions are taken into account in court cases like this. If i were you, i'd go with their feelings on this. If they want to meet him, let them. But i'd try and gently warn them that it might just be a one-off visit to say hello. i.e. don't build up expectations that he'll want to see them again. Something like this can rouse so many issues and feelings in children. They might get upset, present abandonment issues etc. Especially if he then does another bunk after meeting them.

This is one of my fears, OP. We actually 'bumped into' dd's biological father (who has been absent since she was a few weeks old) a few months ago. He knew who we were, yet acted like we were strangers. Thankfully, dd didn't recognise him so wasn't made to feel bad.

However, i fear that he might want to be part of her life once my dd is about the same age as your twins. She's only 5 just now.

The thing keeping me positive is that Legal Aid is no longer available for such contact cases. And he is a low earner so would never be able to afford taking it to court. So it will be entirely on my terms when/if that abusive bit of scum gets to be part of her life or not. She has autism, so her own judgement/opinion can't be trusted.

I think it's totally disgusting the way a 'parent' can just strut into a young child's life after all the hard work is done, wanting to play mummy/daddy. It's even more disgusting that their parental rights are still intact for all that time. I would have thought that abandonment for several years would strip someone of their 'rights'.

ChloeR32 Tue 30-Apr-13 11:30:40

Oh blimey - been there. I was 6 months when my dad left and at 17 he resurfaced.
I was older of than your DC but maybe my experience will help.
I was NOT told I was on the way to see my dad. I was actually told I was being a lift into town to meet my friend (we were going out).
Pulled up to a huge house, strange man answered. Strange man gave me a hug. Strange man told me he's missed me and how beautiful I was.
I was wondering if I was about to be sold into sex slavery.
fast forward a number of years and I have a very good relationship with him.
I had a fabulous stepdad who was my 'dad' and it never, ever changed. However it was very important for me to see where I came from.
As clichéd as that sounds - it really did slot a few things into place for me.
He didn't once try to be my dad - I had my step-dad - and I met my half-siblings.
I can't imagine not knowing them - they are a part of who I am.
I agree that discussing it with you DC is very important. They are old enough to know that their dad 'didn't want them'. and believe me that's what a child takes from an absent father - regardless of the support around them. If they get to know him, and it works out then in a few years they can ask him 'why'. My dad didn't know - other than feeling overwhelmed when he left. It doesn't make sense to me, but at least I've had the chance to talk about it.
Setting out ground rules, making sure it's a long term thing and not just a brief thing is important.
It helped me, but of course everyone if different, if your DC are involved in the decision it might help.
All the best
Chloe x

betterthanever Tue 30-Apr-13 12:19:09

mumford in some staes in America they have those rules and after x number of years, just two in some places thier rights are stripped. It is interesting to read Chloe's story, and I so pleased that things have worked out for you. If the absent parent is a positive role model for the child and things work out then great but if they are not, it may not and I am sure there are stories like that too. I wonder if your parents had done some research first Chloe, if they knew you would benefit from contact with him?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Tue 30-Apr-13 12:48:04

OP would you be able to sit down with him and find out what his intentions are? Listen to what he has to say, and judge his motives based on that? In your shoes I'd want to know exactly what he hopes to achieve i.e. a regular, consistent, ongoing arrangement (albeit 12/13 years too late) or is he, as someone else said, doing this for the benefit of his new wife and child? I think if you were able to do this, you might well get the chance to address your feelings about his abandonment of you and your DC, and possibly see if there is a way forward that you would be more comfortable with.

Ultimately, I think it would be a shame for your DC not to meet him at some point, as they'll no doubt have their own views/questions/curiosity about him, but that needs to be managed appropriately. They aren't far off being able to make that decision for themselves anyway, and if you feel it's more appropriate for them to wait 'til then and decide without your involvement or input, it's only another 3/4 years to wait. Given he's waited 12/13 years, seems small fry in comparison. I think you need to get the measure of the man now and see if his intentions can in someway be accepted as genuine, or not. Then make a decision as to whether this will be in anyway beneficial for your DC, or if it's best left until they are old enough to decide themselves.

sleeton Tue 30-Apr-13 13:43:20

What a lovely heartening post from ChloeR32! I know it doesn't always work out so positively and I'm sure there are others for whom it's ended badly, or with ups and downs over years, but it's great to hear about the 'positives' so clearly.

There have been some great suggestions up-thread of initially going for non-direct contact, which sounds a very reasonable way forward.
Perhaps TakingTimeOut you could do something along the lines of first saying to your twins that their biological father might be in the area in the summer and ... if so ... they could decide whether they would like to meet him. You could tell them that you will first ask him to write to them and then ... if they want ... you will ask him to phone them.
You could explain that you are making those suggestions because you think that might make it easier for them to decide what they would like to do and also (it's okay to be honest) because you are a bit concerned, so would like things to be taken slowly, as you don't want them to be hurt or upset.

That way, although you are preserving and facilitating their right to see him, you are also retaining some control of how things move forward and at what speed.

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