My ex might as well back off...need advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-14-2005, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 3 year old son with J. J. had a lot of problems with the law while my son was a baby and wasn't around for almost 8 months. He did spend a lot of time with him when he was a young baby, though. As of right now he sees him on average twice a month. When he does come to see him, he gives me about 10 minutes notice - "Hey I'm up the street, I'll be stopping by..." This irritates me to no end, but I let him come by anyway.

I have been with C. for 2 years and I am 37 weeks pregnant. We plan on marrying in a few months. He is everything I can ask for in a father figure to my son. He spends time with him, takes him out, does "guy" stuff with him. My son calls him daddy occasionally (a couple times a day), but mostly calls him by first name. He doesn't call J. anything.

J. doesn't give me any money, but then again I've never asked either. There was a time when I brought him to court years ago but was denied support becase he didn't have enough money. The money doesn't matter - I'd rather J. just come by and call on a regular basis. J. still acts like a child. While he does have a decent job finally, he still parties and has little to no responsibility.

C. gets upset that I let J. come over unannounced, and don't hound him for money. He is also upset that I don't make sure he comes regularly. As C. puts it, "If he's not going to come at least weekly, he doesn't need to come at all." I know J. won't come that often. He doesn't even take him out (when he DOES visit our son, he remains at my house, or takes him to the park down the street...has never taken him to his own house or out, which makes for an awkward hour or so).

As of today, J. has last seen our son on Sept. 16. He called last week to say he had been sick (apparently for a month - I don't believe him) and he would be here. He never showed. He called today to say he was on his way and I said I needed more notice. He got mad and said he'll be here tomorrow. If he comes tomorrow it will be a month since he's seen our son.

What do I do? I feel guilty about possibly telling him to not bother, but then again my boy doesn't need a guy who's coming in and out of his life. I guess I just needed to get this out. Maybe someone has been through something similar...

Edited to add: J.'s parents do not speak to J., but are very close to my son. They see him twice a week.
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#2 of 8 Old 10-14-2005, 12:49 PM
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I would have to agree with your C. Because my girls' "sperm donor" or whatever..I refuse to call him father or dad. We went to court, and I told my lawyer I didn't want child support at all. From him, because then he could get atleast supervised visitation and if he did well he could get unsupervisted to taking me back to court and try and get part time custosy. I basically told her, that if he isn't going to be around, I don't want him around at all. He would screw them up mentally, emotionally, pscyhologically. On every level. I wanted to just cut ties with him and do it on my own. Where I knew his influence would not harm the girls. His presence alone, could have caused pain for them. I know he is not responsible, he is not consistant, he has no cares but his own. I didn't want that for my girls. My bf is the best father, and he is truly their dad. They call him Dad, they do stuff with him, he protects them, provides, loves them and nutures them as his own. I am glad it worked out that way, they would have been so confused. And my middlest's knows (J. sperm donor) as a bad daddy. Not because of what I have said, because all I have ever told her is that he was sick, and he needs help. Which is true. But not mean. He has major addictions, drugs, pornos, drinking, and he is extremely unstable. I was never brought up that way, I was brought up in a strict Christian home. I wanted my kids to have a stable life. You should fight for sole custosy, and get him to be denied all access from your son.
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#3 of 8 Old 10-14-2005, 03:48 PM
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Yep. What Heartofachild said. The only thing I regret in my life is marrying my ex and so making it that bit harder to remove him from my childrens lives. It is a privilege to be a parent, and I get really, really angry with people who act like children don't matter.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#4 of 8 Old 10-15-2005, 03:51 PM
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Oh this is so hard. I'm sorry you and your son are having to deal with an uninvolved, unenthusiastic parent. It's just the pits for everyone.

Although it seems it might be easier for you, I am actually not in favor of telling him not to bother coming anymore. Like it or not, he is your son's father and I think it's up to you as his mother to facilitate their r-ship. To a point anyway (as long as there is no abuse or neglect), and with some boundaries.

For example, I think it's totally reasonable for you to tell your ex that visitation should be at a certain time - say, every other Sat for two hours and that he needs to take ds out of your house for that visitation. The boundaries are up to you (maybe you are okay with 24 hours notice, and not so concerned about the set schedule?), but I do think you need to set some. Once the boundaries have been set, he can choose to abide by them or not, but it's his choice. It's not fair for you to have to jump every time he calls and then to have to "entertain" him as a guest when he does visit, and it's okay for you to say no to him if he tries to run the show like that. If he plays the "if I can't do it however I want then I won't come" game, then that's on him.

The way I see it, you can only take care of yourself and your family. You can't control him and his actions. But you can set boundaries that make you and your partner more confortable. The ex can participate in his son's life or not, but in the end, your hands are clean - you never denied access, you never told him "just forget it", you did your part. And that's all you can do. If he is too childish to do his in a responsible manner, that doesn't mean you should have to acoomodate that. But it doesn't mean you have to throw in the towel altogether either, kwim?

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#5 of 8 Old 10-15-2005, 09:11 PM
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I just have to say, when i was a kid my real father wasn't around much for a few years. He was unreliable and would call drunk, hours after he was supposed to pick us up, to say he couldn't make it.

BUT. It was better for me to see him sporadically than not at all. And while we still don't have a close relationship, things have improved and he is a much more responsible person than he was back then. If my mom and stepdad had kept me from seeing him, I would have ended up resenting them, and trying to be like him even more.

Also, the simple fact is that we inherit our genes from our parents, and they affect things like mood and behaviour more than you might think. There are a some things about myself (personality flaws I guess) that I really recognize when I spend time with my dad. And without that mirror, it would be a lot harder for me to recognize that and work on that behaviour.

Anyway, I agree on setting guidelines though: simply tell him that he can come by on a certain day of the week at a certain time, and if he doesn't bother to do it, he has only himself to blame.

Good Luck!
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#6 of 8 Old 10-28-2005, 01:11 PM
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Just a post from the other side of the fence...

My bio-dad agreed to "disappear" when I was 2, and boy was I glad he did. I never had to endure swapping weekend visitation or fighting parents like I saw many of my friends deal with. My mom remarried when I was 5 and I considered my stepdad my new dad.

I reunited with my biodad when I was 25, he is a pastor now, and this past weekend he performed my wedding ceremony. We have a close relationship now, and I think much of that is because our separation allowed both of us to grow up in peace.

I have asked my kids' biodad to disappear, but he insists on semi-visiting (which means showing up late, if ever, not visiting for months at a time, paying his child support sporadically and never in full). It breaks their hearts when he doesn't return their phone calls.

The fact is that joint custody is never fun or easy, and neither is abandonment. As a parent, only you can decide what is best for your children. I vote for being honest and open about the situation as your child grows and giving them options as they get older. They will respect you for it.

Mom to : DS1 (11), DS2 (8), DD3 (4), : DS4 (1), and : : :
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#7 of 8 Old 10-28-2005, 03:32 PM
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I personally, would not want to tell my child's father to stay away (unless there were extreme circumstances or danger). It may be what you want, but it may not be the best for your child. It has been good to read some of the perspectives here from people who grew up with these situations.

However, it is perfectly okay to set some boundaries with him regarding visits and notice of visits. It is good that he does see his son, but you do not have to be so accomodating if it doesn't work for you. Once in awhile, I'd be okay with the spontaneous call, but I think it's just better if he knows he needs to give you a few hours, a day or a few days notice, or whatever you feel is acceptable for your family.

Setting boundaries for yourself and your family is perfectly okay. If he is not willing to accept those terms (assuming they are reasonable) that is his choice and his problem. If he wants to see his child, he will make it work. If not, then you can move forward knowing you took care of your family and did what you could to make your son accessible to his dad.
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#8 of 8 Old 10-28-2005, 10:31 PM
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My ex sees our son once or twice a year. There was a 3 year span where he didn't see him or call him once. In fact, we didn't know how to reach him and his family claimed they didn't know where he was. Apparently he was avoiding child support. I honestly thought he was avoiding our son.

From 1-5 years of age I made all the initial contact to get my son & his father together. People tried discouraged me, but I did what I felt was right by my son.

From 5-8 years of age I couldn't find his father. He moved 3 hours away. I found this out 3 years later. I was upset, but I got over it.

From 9-11 years of age I managed to get them together sometimes, but my son considered his father someone from my past and couldn't seem to conect.

From 11-15 years of age. I met my husband when he was 11. All of a sudden my son's father started wanting to see him every month. That lasted nearly a year, then he stopped. Now he sees him rarely.

Even though it's been h&*# to get them together, I feel good about the fact I tried. I don't want my son to ever come to me and ask, "Mom, why didn't you try."
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