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DD's dad keeping her secret - please help!(46 Posts)
Hi, I have posted on here before but NC to avoid being outed. I am at the end of my tether and could just use a sanity check on the state of affairs with my baby DD's biological father... Please please bear with me, this is long.
Long story (fairly) short: very manipulative, quite EA relationship of middling length which culminated in a very abrupt dumping from his side. A month later I found out I was pregnant. I told him and he expressed a wish for me to have an abortion, I couldn't, and after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing he told me he wanted nothing to do with me or DD (I was 6 months preg at this time.) It's been a hard road but I now have a 7 month old absolutely beautiful DD, I'm supporting myself and her (my DM has her while I work full time), and I'm in a relationship with a lovely guy who has been a real support and loves DD as his own. Never heard a peep from her biological father. On advice of friends and family I sent him a message about a month ago saying I felt I should tell him she is around, so I can tell her if she asks in future that I tried. (Something I slightly regretted doing after.) He responded, saying he wanted to meet her.
At our first meeting 2 weeks ago, at my flat, he seemed happy to see her. I felt weird but tried to put my concerns/feelings aside. However when I asked who in his life knew about her he said no one except a couple of friends and his mum (his mum doesn't want to see her or think he should be in her life.) His dad has no idea she exists. When I queried this "dirty secret" style situation, he got angry and told me not to push him/I was asking too much/he wants to "get to know" DD then he will tell his dad "in future". I let it drop at the time but have thought about it a lot since.
Saw him again at my flat last night. I had been planning to bring up the family thing which had been bothering me because i realised (and everyone else i spoke to about it) my DD deserves better than that. She wasn't born as a dirty secret, I never wanted her to feel that way, and if he's not ready to "deal" with the whole situation now then he can't be a part of her life. I said this as calmly as I could - and he got a bit nasty, over the course of a 2 hour argument in which he raised his voice and was aggressively verbal towards me several times (i had to ask him not to talk like that in my house, in front of the baby). He described what i was saying as an "ultimatum" and said i was emotionally blackmailing him to tell his family when hes not "ready" (because he doesn't want his dad to think differently of him. His dad is also paying his rent, living costs and drama school tuition for the next 2 years. I am sure he also fears this will be cut off if his dad knows. He is very spoilt, never had a full time job, only just moved out of his mum's, and he is in mid 20s.) He also told me that his friends who knew had told him to get a DNA test and did he think i was trying to trap him - he said he didn't, but I was hurt by this.
I tried to stay as calm as possible but i felt so disrespected and furious in my own home, the home i had built for her. In the end i told him in no uncertain terms that i would not tolerate disrespect, that i was raising DD well with no help from him and for that reason he couldn't do all this on his selfish terms. He seemed to eventually accept this. and admitted "I don't think I'm ready for this, but i want to be" (hence why he wants to keep seeing her for some unspecified time before "owning" it to the world.
I believed i was not being unreasonable in expecting him to inform his family of his change of heart wanting to be in his DD's life. She has an extended family who for the most part don't even know about her! I explained that this was because I didnt bring her into the world as someones "mistake" or "dirty little secret" and i felt him acting in this subversive way even in the early stages of her life would make her feel that way which i want to avoid as far as possible. I pointed out i had decided to become a single parent in the knowledge that i could do everything in my power to raise her with more than enough love and security, largely due in part to my own family's support. His decision to change his mind and be in her life meant he had to acknowledge that. However he accused me of intending to "lie" to her if I told her she wasn't a "mistake" - I can't "protect her" as "everyone is fucked up by their family". (This is all from his own experience- he is the product of an affair, and is deeply emotionally scarred by his own father's dubious presence in his life.) I'm not naive but I just want to do things differently with her. I kept loads of stuff from my relationship with her dad to give her when shes old enough to ask questions and I did feel I had to let him know she's on the planet but this now situation doesn't feel right.
My DP knows nothing about DD's bio dad contacting her or seeing us- I feel it would really hurt him though I know it's wrong of me to keep it from him. I feel paralysed by this all. He has been so amazing with her.
I do not know what to do. As was the case in our relationship he tried to make me feel like I was crazy, ridiculously demanding and manipulative. It was so upsetting. Part of me wants to just tell him until you're really ready for this, don't contact us. I just want to do whats right for my DD but i have no idea what that is. Was I wrong to expect something of him? Does she not deserve a family? Is he dangerous for her? Maybe he needs to grow up a bit before he has this chance. Please help!
Thank you for reading xx
Wow. A lot has happened in a year for you.
You can't tell your DD's dad what to tell his own family, sorry. Yes your daughter deserves better but tbh it sounds like she's had a bad deal generally with this dad, so this might be the least of the problems. He should tell his family of course but if he doesn't want to then I think you have to accept this.
Don't keep this a secret from your DP. I can't see how that will cause anything other than massive drama in the future.
He sounds like a selfish toddler, do you think that your DD would benefit from having a relationship with him and his family at this stage?
Is he named on her birth certificate?
If I were you I would leave it for now.
fastday - I agree, but if he doesnt want to tell them, does that mean I should let him continue seeing her? It just doesnt sit right.
vindscreen - he is not on birth cert as he wasnt in the picture til now. Do you mean leave it as in cut contact with him, or continue letting him see her?
Oh and of course your DD deserves a family, she deserves a family that will love and cherish her, but it doesn't seem that your ex and his mum are offering that at the moment.
I understand that it must be awful for you, seeing your lovely DD being rejected by her paternal relations, but to be honest they don't sound like they deserve to have a relationship with her until they do a bit of growing up themselves.
You really must tell your partner, otherwise you're just storing up ridiculous problems for the future.
Sadly, I think you will all be better off in the long run if he is allowed to keep up some kind of relationship with her regardless of what he does or doesn't tell his family. Yes, he's in the wrong. But to punish your daughter by removing what is potentially (we can all hope right?) a loving influence in her life migth cause you regret in the future.
I'm not sure what to advise about contact plumcatt, how do you want this to play out? Do you hope that over time he and his family will want to become a permanent part of your DD's (and your) life? If so, how will you feel if the relationship continues to be a source of unhappiness/resentment/conflict over the entire course of your DD's childhood?
If you do decide to allow contact, it may be better if you meet up somewhere rather than your home, that way you can pick up your DD and leave if things become heated between you, rather than relying on him to leave your home if asked.
By the way your mum sounds lovely, your DD's other grandmother-not so much.
I can totally understand how hurt you are that he doesn't want to shout from the rooftops about your beautiful DD, but you can't force someone to feel or act the way you want them to. You opened the door, he didn't chase you to see her and it's unrealistic to expect that he's going to behave like a mature adult when he was a massive tool before.
Also there's something off balance about expecting him to be open and honest to those around him, but keeping this huge secret from your partner and the man who is effectively your DD's Dad. Your DP really needs to be told if this contact is going to continue and if you want to remain in a relationship with him.
I hope this works out for all of you.
lastone - I know you're right about my DP, I guess because this has all happened quite quickly I wanted to work out how I felt about it first, because knowing my ex, I could see it not working out quite quickly and didnt want to cause drama with DP if this was a non starter anyway. My ex is known for being emotional chaos, indecisive and changing his mind about stuff out of the blue. He could still do that anyway in future, I realise!
vindscreen- I don't know what I thought I wanted from this for Dd. I guess I just wanted to be able to tell her I tried for her- but maybe he just isnt worth it
So sorry OP
I'm sorry but I would probably cut contact, her Dad sounds like an absolute tosser and so does his mother. She will be better off with just you and your family, IMO.
I do not agree with people who say it's always better to have a relationship with your father than not. Sometimes it just makes for years and years of heartbreak.
I dunno - friends and relatives who have grown up not knowing who their father is have found it very difficult. My dad says he used to go through town wondering if every man he saw might be his father, with whom he had no contact. I do realise in lots of cases there is no option as the father wants no involvement or isn't safe to be around his children. But I do think you should give it a chance. He is the only biological father she'll ever have, and I would feel like I had to leave that door (metaphorically) open. Agree about seeing him outside the house though, much easier all round.
This is going to sound harsh, but I really don't understand women who invest loads of stress, time and effort into trying to get their abusive dysfunctional partners to act a certain way.
He's a dick. You left him because he's a dick. He will probably always be a dick.
I understand your frustrations about how he's reacting to this situation (because it's dickish), but as long as he sees her, spends time with her, and is nice to your DD, whatever else he does or doesn't do is just white noise. You will only stress yourself out worrying about it and trying (unsuccessfully) to change him, and ultimately it doesn't really matter. Let him see your DD as long as he treats her kindly and treats you with a sense of polite detachment. I think it's really the best you can hope for when you've procreated with a moron.
maybebaby- thats kind of how I feel. She has father figures- my brothers and friends, who are good guys, and plus my dp if it all works out. And my own dad really hurt us kids by having countless affairs, then leaving our mum and cutting us off and stuff. Throughout her short life DD has already had so much love and she won't ever lack for it. I just am not sure that a biological dad with his issues is a safe person for her. I shouldve just realised that before and never contacted him I guess.
Similarly to a PP, what really sticks out for me about all this is your current dp not knowing. I find it concerning that you think he will be 'hurt' and you are reluctant to 'cause drama' with him. Is he likely to react with drama? Even though, if all works out between you, he may well come to be a father figure to your dd, he is not her (bio) father and from what you say of his potential reaction I would be concerned that he is expecting to 'be the only father in her life' iyswim. I think at this stage it is too early to tell whether her bio dad will step up and prove worthy of the name, although the signs are perhaps not hugely promising - but I do think it would be worth giving it a go, and openness with your current dp is the only way forward in that context. If he kicks off about it, that would set off alarm bells for me, tbh. You can't have been in a relationship with him for long. You've had a very emotionally turbulent time and I am wondering whether a focus on your dd and your still rather new role as a mother might be better than pouring a lot of energies into building a new relationship at this stage.
I think you are being unreasonable to expect him to do as you say, and then threaten no contact if he doesn't. He's right. That IS emotional blackmail.
Look at it from his point of view. He has a baby he didn't want in the first place. Now yes, he should have taken more precautions so that didn't happen, but clearly he wasn't ready for a child. Regardless, you offered him an olive branch and he has taken it. He's seeing his daughter.
He has told his mother and she has been negative, said he shouldn't see his DD. you have no idea what grief he is getting from her and his friends with regards to contact and DNA tests etc.
You've had 7 months to get used to having a baby around. He's only just building up that relationship. Maybe he wants to do it without the negative influence of his dad, as he's already experiencing it from his mother. Maybe he's just thinking for himself right now in order to build a relationship with his daughter.
You say he was EA. Don't you realise you're doing the same? Giving him his child in one hand but taking it away if he doesn't do as you say.
He's still able to be a dad to his child without his father knowing for now. Let him do it when he's ready.
You must not keep this secret from your current partner
For God's sake, don't risk the trust he has in you to try and wrangle with this dickhead
You're overthinking. Your daughter needs stable people in her life, people who can give her unconditional love. Ok, he may be her biological father but that counts for very little when the biological father is an immature tosser - and that is what he is.
I'd totally detach yourself from him. Focus on the good guy in your life. Make a wonderful life for yourself and your daughter. You're inviting drama that you don't need into your life by trying to include someone who has serious issues with being responsible and who is incapable of taking on the role of a decent, thoughtful, respectful parent.
You need to tell your DP before he finds out and the whole thing explodes. This is major breach of trust.
Walk away. An an child like that will only bring years for you and dd if you let him into your lives.
You can't force a deadbeat dad to be a decent dad. It isn't your job to try to change him.
Leave him be and move on with your dd to a life without the pain he will inevitably bring.
you can't issue ultimatums that unless he tells his family he can't see his dd.
At the end of the day, your dd has a right to a relationship with her father, you have facilitated this right and currently your xp is seeing his dd. Who he's told what is not really your business, and having the conversations which lead to him telling you what people have said can only lead to animosity on both sides. At this stage it doesn't matter, if your ex maintains a relationship with his dd he will eventually be spending time with her independently of you and so will be the one responsible for whatever relationship she has with his family.
And you are being entirely disingenuous by giving ultimatums as to who he should tell, while at the same time not telling your own dp that you are having your ex round to your flat to see dd. How do you think that might look to your ex if he finds out some weeks/months down the line that xp has been coming round in secret? He won't just be thinking that it's to see dd I am certain of that.
At the end of the day he is her dad, no matter how badly he has behaved you can't put conditions on him seeing her.
If I was you I don't think I'd encourage the relationship but he may want to keep seeing her, and if he does you don't get to stop him at this point.
You must tell your partner what's happening. And please be honest with your daughter, don't tell her your partner is her dad.
Tell your partner about this.
You can't dictate terms to your ex, but I wouldn't be pushing him to have a relationship with his DD.
I was in a similar situation with my first dc, and I wrangled with it all like you are doing now. The biological dad didn't want me to have the baby (and to be fair, we weren't even in a relationship, was just a ONS with a colleague ). I always left the door open for him, and when dc was a year old, he decided he wanted some contact. I really struggled with him taking the baby off to play with, treating him like a toy, not telling some members of the family and telling others. Incidentally, his parents also thought he should have nothing to do with the baby either, until they met ds themselves, when they fell madly in love, and why would you not as he was the most amazing baby that ever lived.
It all sorted itself out in the end. DC1 is now mid-20s and has a reasonable relationship with his dad, but I'm his real parent, we have that parent-child bond that will never erode, and he doesn't. Yes it was tough as he was growing up and I was a single parent (accidentally had another baby too) and his dad swanned in and out, taking him when he felt like it, often letting me down at the last minute and expecting me to pick up the slack regarding childcare - and I was working full time too.
But I am really very fond of him now, the bio dad I mean, I see him as part of my extended family, I went to his wedding and he came to mine, and I love his family. We're not best buddies but we do get on and we both love ds. But I definitely have the better relationship with him, no question.
Good luck. Whatever you do will be tough. I think other posters are right, you need to focus on your relationship with dd, provide all the love and care she needs (which you will) and keep the door open for her bio dad. And please tell your dp!
thanks everyone. i hate the thought that i am being EA, that is not my intention, i just know him and how he works and i felt that the keeping it a secret from family thing was a way of him actually deterring making the situation real in his mind. he's in mid 20s and a failed actor but still trying (at his parents expense), i am his only ever long term relationship (and it wasnt even that long), and he has had serious problems including drugs, stealing etc in his past, so i worry constantly about his motives. i realise not having him around in my life for the past nearly one year has been such a breath of fresh air/relief for me. i feel like i never should have invited him back in, but tbh i got a lot of pressure from friends etc to extend that olive branch.
i am going to tell my dp when he comes over on friday, i dont want to do it over the phone and he is away til then. if he's not ok with my decisions about DD it doesnt mean he will take precedence over them. this has all happened so fast in the past 2 weeks that as i said in my op, i didnt know what to do and just sat on it while i thought things through before telling him. i do value his trust in me. only just started back full time work and so much is going on, i'm sure i havent acted rationally or perfectly.
i don't want to dictate terms to the ex but i also worry that despite his initial claims, he isn't ready or ok with this- and he even admitted that himself. i don't know if i should just tell him to contact me when he feels "ready".
but great advice from everyone- thank god for MN
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