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No relationship with sons father. What do I tell me son who is asking about his dad.

42 replies

bouncy · 23/03/2003 10:43

I was with my partner for 2 years when I fell pregnant. It was an accident and partner doesn't he did not want to know.

He moved away and I have never seen him since. My family are well off and I have never needed for anything for my son. I did send pictures to his parents with change of address etc etc, but never heard anything.

Ds now 4 asking where his dad is, so far I have changed the subject, I know he will keep on, but how do I tell him his dad wants nothing to do with him or me.

OP posts:
pie · 23/03/2003 11:20

I was married to my DD's bio dad. We split up when she was about 10 months old. He promised to stay in touch etc, be a 'proper dad'. When he first moved out he saw her about twice a month, though he lived minutes away. Then it became about a every three months. Until the age of 3 1/2 (for about an 18 month period) he saw her 4 times. Then he saw her every other week, this lasted about 3 months under the influence of his new girlfriend. Last August I asked him for some money, as he has not given me any for her EVER since we split up. That was the last I heard from him. So it's been 7 months now.

Today is her 4 the birthday (she's with my mum as I'm supposed to be getting things ready for her little party, but mumsnet is addictive.)

There has been no card or present, and as yet no call. If he calls I will not let him to speak to her. I have been with my husband for almost 3 years now (anniversary will be May). He is Daddy. She knows about my ex and if pressed says she has 2 Daddys. I have never lied to her about where she comes from, indeed about a year ago I sat down and had a chat (as much as you can with a then 3 year old) about you my ex was and their relationship. I told her she can call which ever Daddy, but she usually only keeps that for my now husband.

I have tried to make sure she knows about how it started. She asks why he never sees her anymore, and once asked me to find him, but other than my ex mother in law, who apparently hates me now, I would not know where to start. I tell her that she is the most loved little girl and that my husband choose to be her Daddy as he loves her that much. I tell her I don't know where my ex is or why he has stopped being part of her life, as I'm not prepared to make his excuses for him. I hope that I will bring her up strong enough that when the day comes she can ask him herself, if that is what she wants.

It is so hard though bouncy. How do you explain? I don't know and thats all I can tell my little one.

Whatever you do, I think its best to be honest, and don't cover for your ex. Even to spare you DS feelings for now, as in the long run he might end up resenting you too.

SofiaAmes · 23/03/2003 23:34

bouncy, I think it is important that you are honest or he will end up resenting you. You can tell age appropriate truth without being hurtful. It isn't easy, but it will be worth it when he gets older. My cousin had a similar situation to yours over 20 years ago. When her son started asking questions, she told him that he could write to his dad when he was 11. He did and didn't get a response and was devastated. (Personally I think 11 was too young for this.) When he was 17, he sued his dad for back child support and money to pay for his university costs (this was in the usa). He was successful in his suit, but never did get a relationship going with his dad. I think my cousin was hoping that somehow this lawsuit (it was her idea), would force the dad to acknowledge his child, but although he did in the eyes of the law, he did in any emotional sense. Good luck, I'm sure it must be very difficult.

NQWWW · 24/03/2003 15:20

If you want your ex-partner to be involved in some way in his son's life, then perhaps you should try to set up a meeting with him to discuss it. His views may have changed and if you explain to him that all you want is to open up the channels of communication, he might feel ready to have a strictly limited and defined role in his son's life. Or perhaps not, but have you got anything to lose by trying?

If you don't want your son to have any contact with him, then I agree that you have to be honest with your son. Good luck, I know its difficult, but IME (my parents split up before I was born, I have never met my father and have never wanted to) its worse for you than for him.

doormat · 24/03/2003 15:38

Bouncy. Please tell your son the truth,at least as much as his age and his understanding of vocabulary allow.Kids like to know where they stand.This is where the stability comes from. They also know who loves them and who does'nt.In the long run he will appreciate what you tell him.

bouncy · 24/03/2003 16:06

Thank you everyone who replied.

I have send ex-partner at least 10 photo's since ds was born and have never received a reply to any of them.

I will tell DS the truth, I am not a bitter person and will have to phrase it better than "Your daddy doesn't want to know", It is upsetting because he is such a lovely boy and know ex-partner is missing out on so much.

Thank you

OP posts:
Tinker · 24/03/2003 19:26

Hi bouncy, lots of sympathy with your situation, in a not too dissimilar one myself. However, would agree completely that you need to tell the truth as much as your son is capable of understanding it. Obviously not that he doesn't want anything to do with either of you. Just 'I don't know' is often the honest answer. Maybe it could be time to send another letter, not emotive but telling him that his son is asking about him adn would he like to meet him. Hope things work out for you

NQWWW · 25/03/2003 11:59

If you do write to your ex again, I would explain to him that you don't want to threaten his way of life, that you're not asking for money or for him to look after your ds in any way, and that he only needs to get involved as far as he feels able. You could offer to meet on neutral territory - perhaps arrange for someone else to take your ds up to meet him, as he might be afraid of encountering you again.

bouncy · 25/03/2003 19:17

I have sent ex-partner one final letter. I explained that DS is asking who his dad is and wants to know more about him. I have asked if he wants to meet up and see him. I have assured him I do not want his money. I have also asked that if he is not ready to see his son at the moment can he send a picture of himself so that I can show his son who he is.
I do not have a problem being a single mum and think that I am doing me best, however I did get a bit annoyed yesterday at some report saying if a father is around they are more likely to do well at school and less likely to get into trouble with the police.

OP posts:
NQWWW · 26/03/2003 11:00

Bouncy - single mums still do get a hard time, don't they, despite the fact most of them work so hard with less support. You certainly sound like a very caring parent, and I for one don't doubt that you're doing your best for your ds.

Is that report based on statistics? If so, I would imagine that they get that result because a higher proportion of single mums are amongst the lowest income groups and are excluded in social terms.

NQWWW · 26/03/2003 11:07

Meant to say - hope he responds, but if not, please don't feel guilty about it. As I mentioned, I grew up not knowing my father and it has never really worried me. I too asked questions when I was small and was always told the truth (though not the whole truth until later when I would understand it). I accepted the situation very early on, was very happy living with my Mum and her parents, and have never felt a desire to contact my father. My mother remarried when I was about 6, and my elder sister and I have always felt that this was mainly to give us a "father" - frankly I wish she hadn't bothered!

bouncy · 26/03/2003 11:49

Well I am deeply shocked and upset. I have just received a phone call from my ex-partners mother. She informed me that HER son has moved on and has married and his wife is pregnant. He and they have no interest in my ds now and never will and can I stop harrassing them!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

She made me sound like I was an ex-girlfriend trying to hook up again, I have no feeling whatsoever for my ex-partner other than he is the father of my son.

I got so upset because my son is a special lovely little boy and they are missing out on so much.

When I tried to explain what I actually wanted, she just told me to leave her son alone and hung up. I wanted to call her back but caller withheld number.

I know that her son doesn't live with her, but it is the only address that I have. What if she never passes the letter on. Where do I go now or should I just drop it.

OP posts:
eefs · 26/03/2003 12:05

oh Bouncy, your poor son. Maybe you should get the CSA onto him for child maintenance. I know this was never your intention, but it is one way of making him acknowlege his son. There are probably better ways of managing it, but that makes me so mad on your son's behalf!
Maybe his new wife doesn't know of your son's existence and he's trying to keep it a secret?

pie · 26/03/2003 12:11

I realise that you want nothing from your ex but his acknowledgement, and its sounds like you have very good reason. Is his name on the birth certificate?

How would you feel about reporting him to the CSA? Not particulary get any money but to get him to face the facts, that he has a son.

How hard have you tried to track him down? Have you tried directory enquires or doing some serious digging on the net.

I think you need to tell him directly what is going on with his DS, ex mil can be vicious. Then if he wants nothing to do with your DS you have it from the horse's mouth and you can tell him that he is going to have to face up to his responsibilites even if it is simply finacial.

Its possible ex mil is being so nasty as you ex partner's new partner has no idea, perhaps she would see your ex in a totally different light.

I really feel for you bouncy and to be honest my rage is building.

My DH never knew his father. In an attempt to get some acknowledgement he and his mum took him to court (this is in the USA) they had the paternity test and despite the positive result he stood up in court and told my then 12 year old DH that he was not his father. And that even if he were he refuses to acknowledge him as he was the result of a gang rape.

My DH has never come to terms with this, and what makes it really hard is that some 14 years later his mum and dad are now 'dating'.

I think that it is more important to sons than daughters to have the acknowledgement, even if there ends up being no deep bond.

I hope I haven't ranted too much, but I hate mils and men who are s**ts!

pie · 26/03/2003 12:12

eefs, seems we have similar thinking at similar times.

I should really preview first though, pregnancy is seriously effecting my grammer and spelling.

Meid · 26/03/2003 12:20

I really feel for you, what a shock to receive such a horrible phone call. This is her grandson after all!
I know someone who was the result of a brief relationship his mother had while working abroad. When he was born his mother tried to contact the father, via his parents, only to receive a letter saying he had died. Now, as an adult, my friend thinks that possibly this was a lie and is trying to track down his father. This is proving difficult and causing him much heartache.
So I would say definitely try and locate your ex-partner as it looks like it could be his mother not be passing anything on to him, and not necessarily him ignoring your letter. You say your family are well off, surely you could pay out for a private detective?
And, when you do locate him, make sure any letter you write is to Mr & Mrs so-and-so - it is only fair his wife knows that the child she is expecting has an older brother.
Good luck.

NQWWW · 26/03/2003 15:52

Very sorry to hear that, bouncy. I think in your position I would try to contact your ex directly to make sure he has received your letter (and the photos etc you sent previously).

Depends how much you want him to acknowledge your ds - sooner or later you may have to accept the situation and move on.

doormat · 26/03/2003 16:12

So I am not the only one with a diffulcult two faced mother in law.I feel sorry for all of your situations and I can emphathise with all of you as I have been there and it breaks your heart when your ex cannot accept their responsibilities.My ex left me for another girl. Walked out on our 4 children and acknowledged her son as his own and didn't see our children for 7 years.I by this time had settled down with a brilliant man who has taken my children on as his own. We have 2 children together. So it is the ex's loss. The ex knocked on our door last year looking for a place to stay coz he was in trouble (can you believe the cheek of it) to where he got a reply off the eldest which I cannot say on this website as it contains alot of swear words.Being 17 and having one mind of her own I could not or did not want to stop her.He has never been back. Thank god.

winnie1 · 26/03/2003 16:48

Bouncy, ime the best thing you can do for your son is be honest but only tell him what he needs to know at a level he can understand.

My daughters father and I had been together quite a long time when we split up. She was 2.5 and he and I were ok about the split and our responsibilities. This lasted about two weeks and he has been in and out of her life ever since. This has been purely his decision. She is now almost 14 and there have been periods when she hasn't seem him literally for years (at the present time she hasn't seen him for 3 years and he lives only streets away!). She always asked questions and would suffer enormously when he'd appear and then disappear again but I always endeavoured to be honest without telling her how angry I was and what a I thought he was being to her. What I did say as she got a little older was that some parents are simply not very good at being parents. It's not adequate and I often felt like he was getting let off the hook but at the end of the day his choice was HIS loss. HOwever, as she has got older (although she remains desperate for a relationship with her Dad) she has made up her own mind about him and whereas she once had him on a pedastal she is now incredibly realistic about him and she now knows how I feel because if she asks a direct question at 14 it would be insulting not to give her a direct answer. She is a very together young woman and although it has been hard - particularly watching her question whether his absence was her fault - I do believe that the honesty policy is the best one.

It is bizarre that in law both parents are assumed a level of responsibility because one of the hardest things in this situation is accepting that because you have your childs best interests at heart exs, ex-mil, etc will not necessarily have your childs best interests at heart. Whatever happens don't allow yourself to be dragged down to the level of your ex mil's behaviour. You do not have to take responsibilty for your ex or his families bad behaviour towards your child. Your son will grow up and make his own mind up about both his father as a direct result of his behaviour towards him. One of the saddest thing as my daughter has got older is the lack of family she has in her life (i.e Aunts, Grandparents etc). She has no sense of her paternal family history (other than what I can tell her)and this seems to be something that has grown as she has got older and wants to know about her heritage.

Best wishes.

bouncy · 29/03/2003 09:13

Thank you very much for all your kind comments and advice. I think I will have to hear it from the horses mouth.

Around the time of my sons births things got very worse to the degree that I didn't put his name on the birth certificate, I was advised that if I was going to put a mans name on it and we were not married, then he had to come with me, obviously he wasn't going to do that so I had to put father-unknown.

They live about 60 miles away from me, so it is not that easy to check, but I do know a friend only 12 miles away so in the easter holiday I am going to stay with her and see what happens. I have tried direct enq and no luck (probably ex-dir for my benefit).

OP posts:
Tinker · 29/03/2003 10:51

bouncy - have you tried friends reuninted? Very good for stalking. You may even just find an old friend of his who could put you in touch. I feel so outraged by his mother's actions. As someone has said, this his her grandchild!

I was in a similar situation to you re registering the birth - I was told by the registrar that should the father refuse to have his name on teh certificate (he could do it by making a legal declaration - can't remember the exact term - in the presence of a solicitor) the mother could take him to court to insist. Presume this would then mean DNA tests etc. Don't know if this is something you would like to consider.

I'm sorry things are like this, it is very difficult trying to deal with a disinterested father but, as long as you are honest and don't bad mouth the dad, I think your son will eventually work out for himself that you were the parent who stuck around. At least that's what I'm hoping! Lots of luck and let us know how you get yuo if it feels better to talk on here.

Scatterbrain · 29/03/2003 11:00

Bouncy - another good site for tracing people is, you have to pay £19.99 for 100 searches, but it is really good (have just used it for a school reunion !) - it lists everyone on the electoral role, everyone who's not ex-directory, and anyone who is a registered company director.

I have lots of searches left - so if you want to e-mail me through tech I'd be happy to look him up for you !! I'd need name (as full as poss - ie. middle names too) and the county or town he lives in or near.

Hope that helps, feel free to e-mail me through tech.

bouncy · 10/04/2003 17:31

HI, Thanks for your replied. Have not been on for a while.

Managed to get in touch with a friend through a friend, who knows where he lives and will try and find out a few things.

Thanks scatterbrain that was nice of you, if this comes to a dead end then I will take you up on your offer.

OP posts:
robinw · 10/04/2003 23:31

message withdrawn

bouncy · 11/04/2003 08:42

New Twist. My boyfriend has just asked if we can take the next step, he wants to move in together. I have several concerns.

  1. Do I still continue looking for my ex to confirm he wants nothing to do with ds.

  2. Do I just go for it and stop looking, dp is great with ds and they adore each other.

    I have got all fairytale about this and thinking how great it would be for dp to move in and have a normally family life, what if I do contact ex and he does want contact with ds and it causes friction. dp has pretty much advised me not to bother looking for an as everything ds wants needs he can provide. I so see where he is coming from, but .............................

    Any help, tips idea's.
OP posts:
winnie1 · 11/04/2003 08:58

Bouncy, I think your 'but' says it all.
Whilst I understand that you don't want to put any pressure on your current situation ime what we want isn't necessarily what we should do. How is your son at the moment? Is he still asking about his Dad? I think you have two possibilities; you do not pursue it any further for the moment but it will come back to you at some point as your child gets older and you might have to go through the entire process again. Or you find your ex now and get it over with now. In all probability ex will not want anything to do with your son (given his track record) and that is hard to explain. He may want some contact and prove a let down all over again. He may want contact an dsurprise everyone and be a very good father. The point is you don't know and what ever happens you will be the one dealing with the consequences on a day to day level. However, I really believe it is in your childs interest and therefore your relationship with your son, that you do - at some point - all that you can do if your son wants contact with his father. Does that make sense? As I've said in an earlier posting as your son grows up he will judge both of his biological parents for their imput in his life and he will come to his own conclusions about his father based on how his father is with him. Not sure this helps but I do understand the dilemma. In a sense you can't win.
Good luck whatever you decide.

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