Need a bit of wisdom ....(8 Posts)
I'm kind of new to this and it's my first post. It's going to be long so bear with me.
I didn't really know where to post as well as I have a blended family, I've been reading mostly in Step-Parenting so will post here. Sorry if I don't get all the Abbr. right...I haven't figured them out yet.
I have a DD who's turning 6 this week. Her birth father (BF) left when I was 3 months pregnant. She was a surprise but I was happy to be pregnant. He was very resentful of me deciding to keep the baby and made my life a misery during pregnancy and in the few months after birth.
I met my husband while I was pregnant but we didn't get together until daughter was 1 year old. I moved to the UK from Canada and since then we got married and live here. DH has been a wonderful father to my daugther since we've been together and she sees him as her daddy. He has 2 DD (7 &9) from previous marriage and the eldest lives with us.
At the time, BF said he was actualy pleased I was moving abroad as he didn't want contact with me or the baby. I filed for sole custody and moved.
DH is very supportive of me and also has DD best interests at heart. He's always said no matter what I decide that he will be there. He's also made it clear that he would be happy to adopt her.
DD does know him as ''name'' and a friend of mummy in canada and I'm planning to tell her before she is ten or when she will ask about how and when she was born, whichever comes first.
Since then he has seen DD only twice (2006 & 2008) when I went back to visit. He never came here to visit her. He sends one gift to cover b-day and xmas each year, and pays maintenance when he feels like it(Because I'm abroad they don't have to chase him so it's irregular). Every 6 months , he writes a mail, saying he wants to establish contact and I, trying to do the right thing, go along with it , arrange a time only for him to cancel the whole thing because he doesn't feel like it anymore. Then it is complete silence for another 6 months...
Each time , He ends up rambling about how much this whole thing has ruined his life but then he rants about how he wants her to know he's the father and I have to explain over and over that it's not about him but about DD's happiness. I have to feel the time is right for her to understand the complexity of the situation. He's sending very mixed messages and I'm not sure how to read him anymore.
Now with her birthday coming up , I just got a mail from BF asking for my mail address (which I sent him twice since we've moved!)and a request to wish happy birthday to DD via skype. I've agreed to it but haven't said anything yet to DD as I'm afraid he will cancel it last minute as he always does. I'm feeling a bit uneasy and unsure about this....
so my question is : I'm really sick of him rambling about the past and wish he would either get over it , get involved because he wants to or we both agree he's out of the picture unless she actually wants to know him at some point...
I've always been cooperative and courteous for the sake of her ''possible future relationship'' with him but this is now really annoying me.
Not sure if this makes sense or not...
I'd appreciate some input as I'm feeling a bit lost here...
I was a lone parent (although I understand you have a new partner) in a similiar position to you for a long time so totally understand the frustration you feel. I am not sure really whats for the best - is your dd aware of every time he messes about? If not I think my big concern would be that he would continue to muck about when she does know and it would start to really hurt her. That said she has a right to a real relationship with her father.
Do you think the distance thing might shield her a bit - he cant muck up every weekend for example as contact wont be that regular. I would consider suggesting yes he can talk to her, first broken promise to her and thats it you stop it permanently.
Lone parents is also a good hangout for this sort of issue btw?
Hi, have a similar position.
In your circumstances I would actually refuse to allow the skype contact and indeed any other contact.
I am not a person who would normally advocate refusing contact, for clarity, I have a dsd and a dd. DSD is with us more than 50% of the time after dp had a long and painful battle through the family courts.
I wouldn't allow the skype contact because your daughter is not fully aware of the significance of this person, she isn't aware because he has not made the effort to be a part of her life and because it isn't a subjkect that you have discussed fully with her yet.
Therefore, it could be a potentially very upsetting conversation if he refers to himself as "daddy" etc or makes any comments at all that she does not understand.
He is not making the decision to commit to her fully as a parent, you have given him lots of opportunities but he has not taken them, therefore i would take charge now and say that you will not facilitate any further contact until your dd is of an age where she decides that she wanta contact. If that happens you will happily assist her to do so.
Don't send him your mailing address, he already has it. Don't reply to any ranting emails/letters, you don't need to.
My dp drives hundreds of miles each week to pick up and drop off dsd to her mums, he refused to stop contact even when her mum was at her worst, disappearing without forwarding addresses, cutting off telephones etc.
He has a fantastic relationship with his dd because he has worked so hard at it.
Your ex sounds like he wants a elationship for him, not for the benefits it could have brought to your dd.That's not healthy.
Thanks so much itsmeolord, it's good to feel i'm not alone in thinking his behaviour is not right.
Also thanks to pretty, I have also posted in Lone parents.
I've been tempted to cut all contact for a while now and since he only 'pops his head ' in my life twice a year, I was being quite tolerant.
I do have concerns about what he will tell her...he knows I don't refer to him as ''daddy'' and that I will choose when the time is right for her to know.
He is very selfish person, always has been...
I would never dream of keeping it a secret from DD nor prevent her from getting to know him at some stage but everytime I get news from him there's always a chance he will lash out on a tirade of how I've ruined his life and frankly it's been 6 years now and I think it's time to get over himself...
I really appreciate your input...thanks.
I'm a little bit confused as to what the current state of your DD's knowledge is - when you say she 'sees' him as her Daddy do you mean she actually thinks he is her Daddy?
Because if she does, that to me is the bigger issue.
On the contact front I disagree about stopping contact as I don't think you have the right to make that decision for your DD. But I think your instinct not to allow skype in case he lets her down again is spot on.
I'd explain that it needs to be step-by-step. If he wants contact he should start with mail, and if he can keep that up regularly (eg twice a month for 3 months) then move on.
However, you also need to deal with this issue of DD not knowing who her Dad is. IMO the older they are, the more difficult it is for them to hear news like that. They feel they have been deceived. You have kept it a secret from her - because if you hadn't, she'd know! - even if it was for all the right reasons.
To help clarify:
DD has know my DH since she was 9 months and we have been living together since she was 18 months. With step children involved, it wasn't long before she started calling DH Dad and also, he IS the only person that's been a dad to her...
She knows my DH wasn't around when she was born and that we came here later. SHe hasn't gone into questioning all the specifications around it yet...Also being in a non -traditional family, her step-sisters have another house and it seems that she doesn't view it as being strange.
I have never lied to her and I never intended to.
It's a tough issue as to when I do approach the subject with her. When is the right time ?
There is no right time. But younger children find it easier to accept all manner of things. I feel quite strongly about this as I have a friend who, on her 21 birthday, recieved an envelope from her mother containing a letter telling her that the man she had always thought was her Dad wasn't.
I cannot describe to you how devastated she was. Particularly when it turned out that her birth father had died a few years before, so she had been denied the chance of ever knowing him, and by extension, that whole side of herself and family.
I knew her mother who was a lovely woman, and I understand that she must have found it difficult to tell her daughter this - it was infidelity so that made things more difficult - and she had planned to tell her, but there's always something...if I said 'tell her right now' you'd have a hundred reasons why not; she's too young, won't understand, is having a difficult time in school, doesn't need to know as he'll let her down again, she's poorly, it's christmas, it's her birthday, it's near her exams, she deserves to enjoy her holiday...etc etc etc. This will never change.
There's a fine line between 'never' lying to her and 'letting her think' that her father is 'a friend'.
mmred, I can understand where you're coming from and I do feel for your friend.
I just had another conversation about this with DH not the first and not the last...
We've been doing quite a lot of soul searching with this but now, with DD just only turning 6 and her never questioning about ''where and how she came to the world'' still feel it's for her best interest not to know just this moment.
I know that I've always made the right choices for her and no, I won't wait until she's an adult....I did set myself a deadline, because I want her to know her origins and where she came from. I , myself , came from a family who were ravaged & tortured by secrets and would not want that for my children...
She knows the mum of her BF as Granny , just as much as my mum and my DH mum , and I've never hidden her as an auntie or a friend. She just didn't ask and I didn't give her the information as I don't think she's ready to handle it.
It's not an easy situation to be in.
what I wanted from this post, is to get some input as how to approach her BF, as to explain to him, that , yes, I am willing to let him into her life, but that, at all time , he needs to remember that it was his choice to not be part of her life until now and that I won't be bullied into giving her this information until I feel and know she's given me the cue to make me aware that , she is ready to understand.
It can be very easy to judge when you're not in that position, I take total responsibility for my choice and I know when the time is right I will find the strength to talk to her and tell her about how she came into this world.
There's no ''one size fits all '' in those situations i'm afraid.
Prettyfly and itsmeolord have given me some great input and I shall use both of your advice. I will decide of when and where the contact shall take place and this won't happen until I am convinced that it is about loving her and caring for her and not just to satisfy some guilt.
I shall let you know how I get on...but not now ...as i just go an email saying BF won't be able to commit to a chat now, because BF has a long weekend away, and my working mum schedule, didn't work with his. Funny that...might take another 6 months..
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