Hi everyone! I don't post much in here, but I log on every day and I absolutely love the single mamas forum. Let me explain my situation really quick... I've been a single mom since February of last year. My dd is now almost 21 months old, she was 5 months when we left her emotionally abusive/neglectful father. I am baby mama #3 for him, his first daughter he signed away the rights to and the papers came for that when I was about 2 months away from having my baby. He still claims that child isn't his. I also discovered he was married while I was pregnant, but had known he had a daughter (who is now 4) with that woman while we were dating. He is a liar and very manipulative... he also cheated on me several times and his time with our daughter consisted of him playing video games while holding her, that is, when he was home and not out partying or drinking or sleeping with his boss.
Okay, got that off my chest. And please don't ask how he got me to stay with him that entire time! I think my brain just wasn't working correctly when I was pregnant. I just wanted it to work so bad. Unfortunately things only got worse after she was born. So I finally left and that was the hardest choice I've ever made.
Now he lives 4 hours away, he has never cared about our daughter, and the only times he pretended to care was when he was trying to get me back. His trying to 'get me back' all ended when I finally asked for child support a couple of months ago, and he hasn't talked to me since. His (now) ex-wife suggested I go through ORS, so I did that and now child support gets taken out of his checks.
Anyways, that's just some background information, I guess I just want some advice. This man is despicable, but at one point I did truly love him, and he has been through a LOT in his life (divorced parents, best friend killed himself, brother killed himself 6 days before our daughter is born). The fact that I understand this makes it very hard to not be forgiving of his behavior and even though he wants nothing to me, I still have this tiny amount of hope that in the future he will 'change' and we can be together. The thought of dating someone who is not my babies real father sounds so complicated, especially since she has a sister from a different mother already. I have attempted to move on several times, but I just find myself looking for reasons to end it because it doesn't feel right having another man around my daughter. Not that it is okay to have her REAL dad around her either. Maybe I'll just be single forever?
He texted me yesterday and told me he is in town, and needed directions to his ex wifes house. He did not ask about his daughter (he never does) and he didn't ask to see her. I saw on facebook some old friends posted pictures of him partying and drinking and playing computer games.
This is the man I can't move on from. Why? Just because he's my daughters father and that makes me want to have hope for him.. to someday be the person my daughter and I wish he was.
Am I crazy? Is it normal to feel this way? Everyone around me thinks I need to be dating, but I don't know if I'll ever be ready for that. Not to mention I'm in school, work (part time) and am a full time single mama with no help or involvement from the father.
Thanks for listening, anyways.. I respect and love you all so much for what you do! Single mothers amaze and inspire me. :)
Some clarifications really quick: That was supposed to say he wants nothing to do with me, not he wants nothing to me. Also, right after I left him he used to take her for one night a week while I worked, but I discovered he was smoking pot and drinking and so that did not last longer than a couple of weeks, so that's why I said it's not okay for her to be around her real dad either.
Thanks for any responses. Sorry if this is confusing! It's a complicated situation :(
Yeah, you're a little crazy right now. I'd wager you inherited the crazy from the culture-at-large, the one that perpetuates all this daddy-addiction/exoneration garbage. Good news is, you can change the crazy. Even better news is that only you can change your own expectations for your own life. Whee!
Block him out of your life. He shouldn't be able to text you for directions to his ex's house. I hope you did not respond.
Start thinking of her as 'my' daughter, not 'our' daughter.
And whatever you do, don't make any 'declarations' to him. Just get down to healing yourself in group/individual therapy, etc. It will raise your standards, which is what you need, stat!
PS. It's not a complicated situation. When you realize that, you're well on your way (IME).
Yeah, I never talk to him, I've had the same number for years so he's had my number for if he ever wanted to arrange a supervised visit here at my house (which he never does or has). He has tried to get me back several times, at least I'm not crazy enough to give in, right? This is just something I deal with secretly, even though I know it's crazy to think he'll ever change. I really need to move on...
It's important to see him as he really is. It's also important to realize that tons of people go through the hard things he's been through and much much more without turning to drugs, alcohol, sleeping around, deception, and chronically hurting the people around them.
He's a loser. He isn't trying to change, and probably never will. He gave you the gift of your daughter, and that's all he can give you. He has nothing to offer her other than DNA. He probably doesn't care about others because he lacks the ability to.
A therapist can help you sort through your anger, fears, grieving, and more. It takes a lot of time to heal from something like that, and I know for me at least, thinking seriously about dating while my DD is so small feels unnatural. It will have to be a spectacular guy for me to want to engage in a relationship again. I agree, you have to raise your standards. You get what you look for, and keep what you think you deserve.
Good luck with everything. Also, it's okay to tell your ex that you're no longer available by text. He can reach you by email or snail mail. That way you have clear documentation of everything that goes on between you.
Living happily and embracing adventures.
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I agree with a lot of what banabee has said. And really, a good therapist makes a HUGE difference. I owe a lot to my therapist.
I had a hard time getting caught up in the "well, it COULD be like this" instead of looking what it actually was right in the face. You can't live in what if's though, and I lost so much of my life in that hiccup.
I was worried about the complications of dating too, and how it would be to have another man in my children's life. But I know for me personally, I enjoy sharing my life with someone... but I set out with the intent that I would not settle for anything less on my must have list... and I have been blessed with an amazing amazing man who adores my children and treats them really good... there is no weirdenss factor at all.
But I had to heal me first to be where I am today. It certainly didn't happen overnight and I spent my entire 20's hoping the man would change. They don't change. You deserve more than a hope. You deserve something real and someone who will treat you with respect and love and like the amazing person you are. Don't settle for anything less than that. You owe your ex nothing but maybe a kind prayer for giving you your DD. Past that... nothing.
And, my abusive ex had a crap childhood too... and like banabee said, and what I had to accept and realize too, many people have had rough childhoods, but when you are an adult.. it's your choice to confront that and get therapy if need be to move past it and act like a healthy human being. Your ex shows no signs of wanting to accept and get help. And you do not have to wait for that to happen, because chances are it never will.
Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula
Student, Aspiring CNM
DD ~ 1/7/09 DS ~ 9/22/10
Hmm, add a criminal background to the mix and some delusions about the Apocalypse, and you'd think we were with the same man.
My background, real point form:
XH has 4 kids, each from different women.
He lost custody of #1; that child was adopted when the biomom died and has since disappeared.
He never had to fight for custody of #2 because babymama freaked out after the birth (she was 16 at the time) and left him with the baby. She came back but to this day, he still blackmails her with the treat of revealing that she abandoned her baby for a year
He lost custody of #3 by not showing up in court and claiming that the child was never his.
I am babymama #4. I got sole custody by default because again, he didn't show up. Like you, I feel like my relationship with XH was a period of temporary insanity, where I was trying to save/help/change him because poor little him, he'd had it so hard.
My XH is a "functional" alcoholic, a drug user/seller, a cutter (self-mutilation), and possibly sociopathic with some important delusions about his "place" in the grand scheme of things.
See some similarities? :)
IMO, you could really benefit from individual counselling and possibly Al-Anon (for friends and families of alcoholics). Al-Anon is how I managed to understand what mess I was in and WHY I was in it. At first, I thought that Al-Anon was all about HIM and HIS addiction, but it turns out that I had a part to play in choosing a partner who depended on me for everything. All my previous partners had been somewhat similar...Also, I started to ask myself this:
"Do I love my partenr for who he is today, totally and completely? Because that is the only person he is willing to be." That's when I realized that loving for their potential isn't a healthy foundation for a relationship. Anyhow, I'm rambling, but if you want to PM me to talk some more, please feel free to do so.
(I strongly suggest reading "Codependent No More" by Melodie Beattie. It's an eye-opening read.)
In your shoes, I would cut all contact with this person who is nowhere near finding recovery OR being a good reliable father figure for your child. If he wants directions to his ex's place, he can find them himself. He's a big boy.