Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The decision

So, for those of you that have not read my older posts, you may not realize that my daughter is not my soon to be ex husbands child. I have known him for over 10 years, but started dating him when she was 12 months old. Within 1 and a half years, we were living together, engaged, married, separated and now soon to be divorced. Yes, I know that this makes me sound like a slut with major issues and it’s probably true, but I like to do things backwards and wrong. I have always done things this way, people that know me, even expect it from me. I am sure that this explains a lot.

Now I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. You see, she calls him daddy and in her 2 year old mind, still relates to him as such. When he is around, she clings to him. She tells me she wants to go to daddy’s house almost every day. He says that he wants to be her daddy and remain in her life, but that it would be up to me to allow that. I am torn as to what is best for my daughter. I know that she loves him and he loves her, but should I cut the ties now while she is young and maybe won’t be affected too much. What if someday (a very long time from now) I meet someone that wants to be a family and actually means it? Someone that doesn’t promise time and then only come though with it when it works for him. Someone that doesn’t need to drink himself silly and miss major events in her or my life.

I know that my soon to be ex will provide financial help for her directly (meaning that he will get her the things she needs, but will not provide me with child support, which I completely understand and agree with since it is way more than most would do in this situation) and will be very good to her when he finds time. He will also provide a strong drive in academics, work ethic and possibly some male interaction that all little girls need. He really does love her in the only way that he knows how to love.

Here is where I have a major problem;

I know that he loves her in his own way. He treats her very well when he can find the time. But, we have been out of his house for over 2 months now and last week was the first time he has made time to see her. When we all lived under the same roof, in the beginning, he made a lot of time for her (and me), but almost as soon as we got married, that stopped. He began to choose work, hunting, friends and drinking over family time. Yes, I did play a part in this; he is not all to blame. However, he chooses to actually miss almost every holiday (including her Birthday family celebration) because he is hung over. Case in point: This Christmas Eve, I invited him over for dinner and to watch her open her gifts and possibly stay over night to be there when she woke for Santa’s gifts. He said that he wanted to and would call when he knew what time he could make it. At one point, he called to say that he was on his way and even offered to pick up my step sister. About a half hour later, I got a call that he couldn’t do it because he had to get up early to go hunting. In the background, I heard 2 of his buddies and they were already drinking, plus I could tell that he was already started slurring during our conversation which meant that they started drinking hours ago. He promised to see her on Christmas day, so I invited him to come over to my family’s home that is about 10 minutes from his house. His response was that he would come over for a while to give her his presents, but that he hates gatherings and didn’t want to stay too long. About an hour before that, I got a call stating that he was going to his sisters instead. (This would be completely understandable except that not one time while we were together did he accept an invite to her house for any reason because he can’t be in the same room as her for more than 5 minutes. But then again, her husband is one of his drinking buddies). Finally Saturday, he showed up, after Christmas was over and was of course hung over. But, I guess better late than never. This is how most of our married life played out. Everything came before me and since my daughter is “me”, before her too. I don’t understand how you can want to be a part of her (a 2 year olds) life and not want to be with her on her first “getting it” Christmas.

I can handle his selfish behavior now (I could not when we were married and I had to be round for the drunken hung over parts), but can a young impressionable little girl? Do I want to share her with someone that is no longer in my life, nor is blood related to her and can miss all of the important times in her life for a beer, gun and his friends?

I truly want what is best for my daughter and am torn between what that is. A father figure that is there when convenient, but is there sometimes and she loves him.

Or, just a mommy that can show her enough love for 200 people.


  1. Wow, this is a tough one. I think you need to have a heart to heart with him (if that's possible). Tell him everything you've said here. If he's not willing to make a committed effort to seeing her on a regular basis, than I think you need to cut the ties. Because it will hurt her as she gets older ......

    I feel for you, this is not an easy thing to solve.

  2. I agree with Dual Mom on talking to him about this committment. Also you may want to change him to his name with Toots. She may never have anyone to call dad, but hopefully she will have certain men in her life that can rely on. Good luck with it all.

  3. Speaking from my own experience, I believe a real *Daddy* is a man who puts his child's needs before his own. Period. There may be "father-figures" or other men in her life but the only one who should be called Daddy is the man who can put her first and ALWAYS act in her best interests.

    I also think that actions speak louder than words. Your soon-to-be ex may have the best intentions, but do you really think he can follow through? It doesn't sound to me like he can.

    That being said, I think trying to have your daughter call him by name from now on and maintain *some* relationship with him would be a healthy alternative to expecting him to be a Daddy to her. And then see how that goes. Ultimately, you should do what YOU think is best for her.

  4. I can't really speak about this, as I am not a parent. Not from a parental point of view, though.

    However, I am child of divorce, and have had male figures in my life disappear on me as a child and a teen.

    She is only two. She'll cry and break your heart now, but she probably won't even remember him down the road. She will remember a lot more of his breaking promises when she gets older, so it's best to move on now. Also, what if he does meet a new woman with a child or he has one of his own ? What will happen to your daughter ? Will he stop seeing her ? Will he spend more time on them and she gets to deal with feeling discarded ?

    She does need a good male figure, and you can find someone who will do a better job than he does. It doesn't even have to be a lover. He can be a good friend of yours and if you don't know anyone, you can start meeting people.

    This guy already is breaking promises because of alcohol which is just stupid. You aren't bound to him legally anymore and I think you should cut ties with him and stop making excuses for him just because he may be the only male figure in her life.

    If you settle for him as a father figure for your little girl, then you won't have your sites set on a better man who could be good to you and role model for your daughter.

    As a child of having to deal with constant broken promises and disappearances and heartbreak over it, I suggest you cut ties and seek out someone better.

  5. WOW. Great responses here.

    I do agree that you should talk to him about this. Eventually as you move further on without him, and if he continues to see her less and less, she may not see him as a father figure but as a man friend of Mommy's in her life. He doesn't have to be the *primary* male figure. Let him know that you don't expect that of him so he shouldn't pretend that is what he is to her.

    Do YOU refer to him as "daddy"?

    Don't speak of him with hatred to her but allow her to see for herself that there are better male role models that will come into her life.

    Big hugs!

    I can relate...

  6. I know exactly how hard decisions like this are. My nine year old has never met his father. I think you are looking at it the right way - it's your job to protect your daughter and make decisions that are best for her. If soon-to-be ex truly can step up and be a dad that's great, but if he can't it's a lot easier (in the long run) to cut the ties now. Either way, it's a hard decision. Good luck!

  7. I don't think anyone should be judging you until they've walked in your shoes.... so no one should lable or condem your swift marriage, separation and divorce...

    As for the right thing. You know deep down what that is. Trust yourself... those who said that a true father puts the child before themselves is right...but you know that because that's what you do everyday as that beautiful little girl's mother!

  8. I'm no expert but I think if he can't man-up and act like a dad then he doesn't deserve to be called Dad. She will move on from it much easier at 2 than when she is older.

  9. Wow, you've definitely got a big decision ahead of you. I agree with Kys and Senorita.

    On one hand I want to say give him a chance and have a talk with him about this since she clearly loves him. Then again, I think that perhaps cutting the ties now might be the way to go in the long run.

    I'm clearly no help am I?

    Best of luck with your decision. It's a hard one for sure. :(

  10. Been there, done that. He's already shown you (and consequently her) where his priorities lay. It will be easier for her to miss and then forget him now at age two then to set her up for a lifetime pattern of abandonment issues with men. Bad path. Cut him loose.

  11. Like others here, I am able to see both sides... and then, like other others here, I find myself returning to this point:

    He's not good for you. He's not good for the child. Case closed. DB'n'P:

    Drop Back and Punt!

    (Speaking as a Dad, just let me say: this guy gives daddihood a bad name. He's not worthy of the title, and your little pookster deserves to know that he is not representative of what a Dad should be. IMHO. Of course, I'm just trying to protect the good name of the good dads out there. I'm so selfish....)

  12. Wow, lots of comments already and I don't think I can add anymore. I am not a parent and I can hardly imagine what a tough decision this is for you, but I do tend to agree with most have said about easing him out of the "Daddy" roll.

    From the child's perspective, my bio father wasn't ever a Daddy to me but I do have memories of him on occasional visits when I was really young but those visits faded fast. I don't feel traumatized by the situation, but I had my Grandpa there doing all the things that bio wasn't. When I was 12 my mom re-married and my step-dad became the father I didn't have when I was younger. It all worked out OK. So I say, I don't think I'm major screwed up.

    Thoughts of strength being sent your way.

  13. I agree with Mindy - a Daddy puts his kids needs first. I think if you are ending things with this guy, you are ending them for your family. From the little I've read, I'd guess it's healthier for your daughter not to think of this guy as her dad.

    My kids missed my first girlfriend after we broke up. But the break was clean, and she's not in our lives, and we all got over it and moved on.

  14. THANKS EVERYONE! The comments are really helping me with my decision!
    I totally appreciate it.

  15. Wow! This is a hard one. On one hand I want to encourage the relationship for your daughter but if he can't be a positive participant in her life, I'm not sure.

    Hard call. Maybe you need to sit down with him and hammer out some sort of contract or expectation list.

    Good Luck with it, you are in a touch position.

  16. Yeah, Mindy hit the nail on the head here, didn't she?

    I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you sweet pea, I do hope you find some peace.

  17. First time to read, but the idea of this guy being a role model for "work ethic" seems absurd if he's only using work to evade other responsibilities. I don't see what kind of a role model he could be for anything except being a drunk with a gun.