relationship with ex/baby daddy's family - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-06-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am divorced with 2 kids, but have a (surprise!) baby with a man with whom I had what I cringe to describe as a "friends with benefits" relationship. Never had any plans to be long-term with me, we kept each other company while HE waited for "something better" to come along. My state of mind was not good at that time, as my ex-husband just got married and I'd always hoped we'd reconcile, and this guy's company was a great comfort to me while I was recovering from that shock and disappointment. ANYWAY...

We have an unusal co-parenting arrangement. We have a custody agreement and I am the primary parent, but he wanted to pay the least amount of child support possible, so he is entitled to have her for 180 days a year and I have her 185. That is just "on paper". In fact, he does all his visiting WITH me, 4 nights a week he's at my house for a couple of hours (he leaves work, grabs a bite to eat, and drives probably a total of 15 miles out of his way to come see her). We usually get together one day on the weekend, too, during the day. It makes me happpy that he is so devoted to her and she loves him. But it is sometimes hard on me.

He abruptly ended our friendship/dating relationship when I was 4 1/2 months pregnant and I didn't see him again till the night my daughter was born. During the past 18 months, he has usually been pleasant and cooperative. For a while, he was taking us all out to eat regularly (dating??) and for a few months, invited us to his house on Saturdays to visit and share a meal. 3 months after the baby was born, I was surprised to find him making sexual advances, but it was short lived, as I insisted that if he wanted a sexual relationship with me, he needed to marry me. I'm relieved that he didn't pursue that, but I would like to have a more warm relationship with him.

I KNOW he is commitment-phobic as described in Steven Carter's "Men Who Can't Love". I read this book when I first met this guy --before we got sexually involved--and I was trying to help him figure out what was wrong with him and how to fix it. He really wanted to get married and have a family. He's almost 40 and has never had a 2-way romance. He had crushes on a couple of women, but before me he had only a few and very brief relationships with women. He'd only get involved with women he would not marry (I was divorced with kids and 6 years older than him when he was looking for someone about 10 years younger, never married, no kids) and he'd dump them as soon as he felt they were wanting to "get serious". He dumped me after I asked for (but didn't demand) a commitment.

I rarely see my ex-in-laws, but after we were divorced, before he remarried, I'd take them pretty regularly on visits without my ex, and sometimes we'd all go. Since the re-marriage, I'm pretty much out of the picture.

Now, with the baby's father, things are about to get messy. He is from a different country and the only family he has here is his sister. She is about to move here from out of state. Since the baby was born, she has visited a few times and we all socialized together. She has 2 kids around my baby's age. Back in November, he abruptly told me to not inquire about his friends, family, work. He used to volunteer all sorts of information, and photos and such, but he hardly tells me a thing now, and didn't even tell me when his nephew was born. In Steven Carter's book, this is part of a commitment-phobe's typical behavior--building artificial boundaries.

When the sister came up a few months ago (he told me the night she was coming), he invited me to stay and visit with them, but I declined. I simply dropped the baby off. The sister (whom I would LOVE to be friends with!) called me and asked why I wouldn't visit with them. I tried to explain that I hadn't been in his house for the past 3 months, that I was told not to express any interest in HIS family and I needed to protect myself emotionally. I didn't want to socialize/feel close/love her and her husband and kids if the baby's father was going to give me a hard time about it. I don't know if I made her understand. It did make me feel sad when I did see her and her children briefly and I knew I wasn't considered part of my child's family. Baby's dad wanted my kids to come in and see his nephew, and I let them, but I felt bad about it.

I think the dynamics are different when there has been a marriage. If my ex-husband told me to not ask about or communicate with my ex-in-laws, I would tell him he didn't have that right, that they are MY family too and they can decide for themselves whether to talk to me. Some of them are my facebook friends. I feel comfortable around them. But with the baby's father, it is different. Technically, they are my family by blood, but since the baby was an "accident", I was never invited to be a part of their family. So, I feel like an outsider. Shunned.

I am wondering what other never-married parents do. BTW, I don't think the baby's father is "seeing anyone". He told me in November that he wasn't (I asked if that is why he suddenly started acting so weird) and he also has told me repeatedly (not that I asked him to) that he would tell me if he does. I think that would change the dynamics, too, if he had a wife/girlfriend.

I am sad because I think his mother will probably come to visit for a month or so this summer, like she did last year. She doesn't speak English, but I have been told MANY times that she "likes" me. I don't know why. The baby and I spent almost every day with her last year when she was here. If she comes this year, I cannot feel comfortable with her. I don't want to offend her and I'm not sure how to make her understand that it is her son who is standing between us, and that I love and respect her and would like to have a relationship with her as my child's grandmother.

I am trying to get counseling to help me deal with this situation, but I don't know if I'll be able to afford it. I'm hoping someone here might have some experience dealing with this situation and can offer supportr or encouragement.
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#2 of 12 Old 05-07-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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I don't have any BTDT advice, but I saw that no one else did either.

So...

It sounds like he's the type of guy who likes the chase. So, as I see it, you have two options. Either play the game and make him chase you; or detach from any relationship other than a platonic friendship. If you want the friendship, make it very clear, and reiterate that you are only friends. Granted, this will probably make him want to chase you again, but just stick to it, and eventually maybe he'll give up. Or, maybe you'll change your mind when he finally realizes he is chasing the one he really wants. It's hard to tell.

In any event, can you make up your mind which one you want? It must be pretty tough. I mean, obviously you like him, and he obviously likes you, he's just a big-ol-love-dork.
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#3 of 12 Old 05-07-2010, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by DirtRoadMama View Post
I don't have any BTDT advice, but I saw that no one else did either.

So...

It sounds like he's the type of guy who likes the chase. So, as I see it, you have two options. Either play the game and make him chase you; or detach from any relationship other than a platonic friendship. If you want the friendship, make it very clear, and reiterate that you are only friends. Granted, this will probably make him want to chase you again, but just stick to it, and eventually maybe he'll give up. Or, maybe you'll change your mind when he finally realizes he is chasing the one he really wants. It's hard to tell.

In any event, can you make up your mind which one you want? It must be pretty tough. I mean, obviously you like him, and he obviously likes you, he's just a big-ol-love-dork.
Yeah, it looks like nobody has any experience with a similar situation.

I guess I'll just muddle through like I've been doing. We aren't even really "friends". I wish we could get back together, but it would take a while to feel good about him again, even if he DID want to (but he doesn't).

He definitely wants his space and doesn't want to feel pressured by me. I'm giving him plenty of space.

The great thing is that our daughter has two loving, involved parents.

Thanks for the reply.
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#4 of 12 Old 05-07-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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Honestly the only thing that came to my mind when i read it all was run, run away and never look back. It just sounds so toxic and immature. He doesn't seem to really care about either of you. I would let go and move forward with your own life. Don't get caught up.
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#5 of 12 Old 05-07-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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I'm sorry things are so complicated! I would say to not be a stranger to your child's family. You do not have to step back from talking to his sister if she's interested in talking to you. And if you are invited to bring your child to her grandmother's house, you go say hi to her grandmother. She is your child and this is her family. Set your own boundaries!
Your relationship sounds so familiar to me, I just didn't have a surprise baby with the guy. When I imagine how things would have gone with him if I had, it's just like you described. He'll likely never marry or have a child unless it's a surprise baby with an unsuspecting woman he's spending time with until "the one" comes along. Unfortunately I decided he was a user, not a commitment-phobe.
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#6 of 12 Old 05-07-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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My sister had a surprise baby with a guy she was dating for a couple of months. The father then broke off the relationship when my sister was 5 months pregnant. She had dreams that they would all live happily ever after, even though she wouldn't have been that serious about him if they hadn't had a baby together. My nephew met his father one time when he was 6 weeks old. The man never even held him. He is turning 11 years old next month and I wish for him that he could know his father but he probably never will.

Good luck with trying to sort all this out. It is a really tough spot to be in.

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#7 of 12 Old 05-08-2010, 09:16 AM
 
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I was never married to ds's bio-dad. I left ex when ds was just under 2 months old. I have never let the fact that ex and I aren't together come between his family and I. Ex's grandparents are friends with me on facebook and talk to me WAY more than they talk to him. I send them pictures of ds, they send him gifts to my house, ds calls them and talks to them, etc. I also talk to ex's mom and sister online (facebook for sister email for mom) and send them pictures of ds. There have been times that I've brought ds back to Michigan to visit and his sister is the only one who ends up seeing ds (because ex doesn't show up). Ex's sister has 2 kids and ds has a right to know his cousins. When we visited for Christmas last year ex didn't show up, but his sister and his grandparents did and spent some time with ds.

He cannot tell you who you can and cannot communicate with. If you want to see these people- do it! Only THEY can decide if they want to talk/see you.

Oh, and ex is now married with a new baby. I've talked to his new wife a few times but that's about it. If ex continues on his path of dropping Owen from his life, I will let ds see his half brother, if the other mom is willing. No sense in punishing the kids because.... UAV to finish that one

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#8 of 12 Old 05-08-2010, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My sister had a surprise baby with a guy she was dating for a couple of months. The father then broke off the relationship when my sister was 5 months pregnant. She had dreams that they would all live happily ever after, even though she wouldn't have been that serious about him if they hadn't had a baby together. My nephew met his father one time when he was 6 weeks old. The man never even held him. He is turning 11 years old next month and I wish for him that he could know his father but he probably never will.

Good luck with trying to sort all this out. It is a really tough spot to be in.
I feel nowhere in as near a tight spot as your sister and nephew. I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I really think my baby's father is a really decent man. Thanks for sharing--it kind of makes me feel bad for complaining. We have also have had devastating floods in Tennessee and I know there are tons of people suffering right now. I really am thankful for my many blessings, but I think we all wish we didn't have to struggle with whatever our challenges are.
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#9 of 12 Old 05-08-2010, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=StephandOwen;15384447]He cannot tell you who you can and cannot communicate with. If you want to see these people- do it! Only THEY can decide if they want to talk/see you.
QUOTE]

Yes, this makes sense. If/when his sister moves up here and if she asks me to visit with her outside of Baby Daddy's house, I suppose I should. I guess I should also offer to come help watch the little ones while she's unpacking--my heart tells me it is right to offer. I also told him I wouldn't contact his family, but it isn't fair to not respond if they contact me.

I still wish he wasn't being so stupid about all this. It just makes an awkward situation worse.
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#10 of 12 Old 05-08-2010, 11:46 PM
 
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I didn't mention my sister to make you feel bad about complaining. Sorry if/that I did. But I do think that in many of these situations it is easier for the guy or the woman to walk away from the other person. Human relationships are messy and hard enough, add a kid to the mix and it is sometimes much more than people can handle.

There will always be someone worst off than we are. It doesn't mean that we are not allowed to hurt or to complain. But when I do feel crappy about something I do try to think of the good aspects about the situation.
Your DC does have a father that is committed to a relationship with them. Someone who makes a point of seeing them often and building a relationship right from the start.

I have to hand it to both you and the father of your child to try to make a relationship between both parents and child work. It isn't an easy or convenient task.

I dont know why he is being a jerk about you knowing his family.
Maybe he is threatened by a relationship between you and his family?
Maybe they think he should settle down and are on his case about settling down with you because they like you and there is already a family built between the two of you, etc?
Maybe he is worried that you will bad mouth him to his family?
Or maybe he feels that you are pining for a relationship with him and are trying to get to him through his family? Some guys, like some women, can be insecure and unsure of situations.

Are you pining for him? Or are you really OK with a friendship and co-parenting? Would you really be OK if he was seeing someone else? If you wouldn't be OK with that then maybe he senses that you really want something more and that threatens his commitment phobia, so then he is pushing you away. I know I was a big time commitment phobe and was very suspicious of motives of people in my life that I was in casual relationships with. I would do many things to push them away from me.

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#11 of 12 Old 05-09-2010, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont know why he is being a jerk about you knowing his family.
Maybe he is threatened by a relationship between you and his family?
Maybe they think he should settle down and are on his case about settling down with you because they like you and there is already a family built between the two of you, etc?
Maybe he is worried that you will bad mouth him to his family?
Or maybe he feels that you are pining for a relationship with him and are trying to get to him through his family? Some guys, like some women, can be insecure and unsure of situations.

Are you pining for him? Or are you really OK with a friendship and co-parenting? Would you really be OK if he was seeing someone else? If you wouldn't be OK with that then maybe he senses that you really want something more and that threatens his commitment phobia, so then he is pushing you away. I know I was a big time commitment phobe and was very suspicious of motives of people in my life that I was in casual relationships with. I would do many things to push them away from me.
I guess any of the possible reasons you suggest are possible.

As far as "pining" for him goes--I actually spend more time wishing my ex-husband and I had reconciled. But I have actually, in lonely moments, longed for the father of my baby because he seemed "available" when my ex-husband isn't. I have told the baby's father that it would be liberating for me to know he is seeing someone else. He told me he would tell me if he starts "seeing" someone, and he hasn't, yet he has also accused me of trying to find out if he is seeing someone, and invading his privacy (when I wasn't).

I haven't expressed any romantic interest in him since February. He has NEVER expressed any romantic interest in me since he dumped me, except for a few days when the baby was about 3 months old. And that was more sexual than "romantic."

I really think I'm "over" him. If HE wanted to pursue a relationship, I would have to be open to the possibility, because I don't want to be single and celibate for the next 17 years, which is probably what will end up happening. But I'm certainly not chasing him. I am sad that I'm alone. I hate being a single mom.

I really think there is more of a chance of me being struck by lightening than having the kind of relationship I would like to have with this man (there are too many "if"s.)

I would LOVE to have a platonic friendship with this man. I hate the awkwardness and true friendship would make things more comfortable.

I can't say that I'd not have any bad feelings about him marrying someone else--I don't like stepfamilies. I think we should BOTH be single and celibate till the baby is grown. But I think there is 0% chance of him ever marrying anybody. If he wants to screw around with somebody and keeps it hidden from the child, I guess that's his business.

Something must be going on. He didn't give me anything for Christmas or Valentine's this year, but he gave me a restaurant gift card for Mother's Day today. I felt awkward taking it and I told him so. I may end up giving it back to him--he just caught me off guard. Maybe he is feeling more comfortable with me??? Or maybe he appreciates me caring for his child?
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#12 of 12 Old 05-09-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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Awww that is a nice gesture for Mother's Day. Accept it
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