I got pregnant with this man 8 years ago. I liked him a lot but we did not plan to get married or have children. When I got pregnant I was as surprised/shocked as he was. When I told him I am not going to have an abortion, he couldn't deal with it. He saw our daughter briefly a few times over the years, (mainly because I sued him for child support) but he showed absolutely no feelings for the child. That was the part that really hurt me badly. He was ignoring his own daughter. He never even told his family about her. I know during this time he had some relationships, he got married briefly and got divorced. But all those years, he never showed any genuine interest in our daughter.
Now our child is almost 7 years old and suddenly he called and said he wants to see her. That was what I wanted all the time: that he wants to see her. He's been seeing her for 3 months now and they have developed the best father-daughter relationship in the world!. He says he loves her and she loves him and they have a lot of fun together.
So what is the problem, you are wondering? Well, I just do not feel comfortable with this. I mean I am glad that they spend time together, but every time he tells her he loves her, I feel like it's a lie. I want to do what is good for my child so I say nothing, but how can this be true? How can he really love her when he turned his back on her even though he saw her when she was born? I imagined if he ever comes back he would be more like a pal/friend for my daughter - and in real life he actually comes back as the best and closest father one can imagine. It is as if he has been always with her. He has even moved into a house next door to be close to her. He is so loving and hugging and caring - but it just happened. All of a sudden he became like a completely different person. Can a person's feelings change so much? Can this be real?
I say, it is horrible that he didnt want to be a dad for so long, but that you should accept him now. Put aside any ill feelings , and just be happy that your daughter has her dad, and that he wants her in his life.
I have to agree with cmansmom because I'm living a similiar story. My son is 10 now. We were married 8.5 yrs and tried to get pregnant (hormone therapy, surgery) and nothing worked. Then I got pregnant and he wanted me to get an abortion--kind of went off the deep end so to speak. Told me he didn't want me or the child. After our son was born (which by the way, I was on my own as far as pre-natal, delivery, diapers, formula, clothing, furniture, car seat, etc), the divorce was final 1 1/2 yrs later. He still did not want to take any part of caring and/or supporting our child. Of course the judge didn't see it my ex's way--child support and reimburses me half of everything else.
But the point I really want to make is...I have always encouraged the ex to spend time with his son, never tried to sway my child one way or the other as far as his father goes, basically remained neutral and if questions where asked about why is dad not coming to see me or why is dad cancelling all the time or why is dad yelling all the time, I would redirect my son to ask his father. This way, I am not "filling his head" with my assumptions and my son can form his own opinion. Which I might add, he has! It's best to let your child work through the difficulties from the very beginning so they don't have to crumble later but at the same time, find good male role models for them to begin patterning their behavior. I had a little boy so it really was important for me to find a few male role models, girls will be much easier because there is you and your friends.
Back to the redirecting your child's questions as to why, what, when, where:
It's sometimes easier for you to begin facilitating the questions your child has asked when the other parent is there so the child learns to ease into the conversations/confrontation with the other parent. I know it really helped my son because he was and is still fearful of his father. I always listen to what my son has to say and take note of behaviors of what he is not saying. I will tell you it has not been easy--it's been very difficult over the past 10 yrs. Keep your eyes and ears alert and your child will let you know.
As far as the question can a person's feelings change so much--well, yes, they can. They can realize, OMG look what I've missed out on, they can become a christian and ask for forgiveness, they can grow up finally. There's a lot of things that can happen to cause a person to open their eyes and their heart. Ask him. You may not get an answer but I firmly believe you have to put yourself out there if you are going to find out. If you have that mind reading thing down pat, let me know--I want you to teach it to me!!! LOL
I agree with the other comments that it is a blessing if your daughter now actually has her dad in her life, better late than never, but after 8 years of a very different attitude, he owes you some explanation, or at least some insight into his thoughts on the years to come. It is a positive sign that he moved into the house close to you. That sounds like a conscious effort to work in your daughter`s best interest versus dragging her away from her usual environment. It is quite possible he has realized over the years that having a child is the most important part of life. Still, 8 years is a long time span.
My son`s dad and I stumbled into parenthood so unexpectedly that even at an older and wiser age all that wisdom did not prepare us for reality. Or at least I was unprepared for him being so totally cold and uninterested in his son from day one. Pretty soon it was clear that we were better off living in separate households to keep the senseless battles and tension to a minimum for baby`s sake.
For baby`s sake also, I decided to take a similar route as wishgrantedchild and "forced" dad and infant son to be in contact at least once a week. I never went for child support, I just asked him to remain in his son`s life as the male counterpart, not necessarily role model.... He agreed but for the longest years did not really know what to do with him.
Only after he got married again and eventually had another son, he opened up and made some room in his life for our son. At least enough that my son can honestly say he has a dad. It only took him 2 1/2 years, not 8, and still it was hard for my son to truly warm up to the man called dad who used to treat him like a hot potato. So in comparison, your daughter seems to be doing extremely well despite the previous years. Just watch the situation carefully for any hidden agendas and try to get a commitment that her dad will keep up the friendly contact and not weave himself in and out of her life. Consistency and predictability is so important, that`s why I think your Ex should open up about his future plans.
Thank you for your replies. In the meantime, my daughter's father has asked us (me and my daughter) to move in with him... He says what he did in the past was a mistake and he wants us to be a family. He admitted that in the meantime, he had a child with another woman but she cut him off completely and re-married and wants nothing to do with him. I think probably this somehow made him realize what he was missing and how welcoming I always was to him. Well, I don't know. Of course, it's great he is so good with my daugher, but regarding me, I wonder... Is he back because he was rejected somewhere else or is he back because he loves me.. As a matter of fact, he never said he loves me, just that we are a family and should be together. It is like he feels it is his duty to be with us and to keep us together. So it continues to be strange. He is better off than I am so I wonder, could he take my daughter away from me? He never said he would but in such a short time they got so close together, they seem inseparable...I am now even more confused. It is a great feeling when they are hugging each other and life somehow feels complete, but it seems like an illusion. Where have we been before? Who are we? Of course, he can give my daughter some things I can never afford; better education, clothes, vacations overseas and what looks like love...I do not know how I feel about him other that I am so confused - and then it feels almost right. But then, how can it be: he was with other women all these years and he didn't give a damn...He is acting like a completely different person and I still have all past in me. I am crying every night and I am afraid and I should feel happy but I also feel trapped and cheated. I am sorry
If it feels odd, it is odd and I would not move in together while it feels that way. You will probably fear your daughter will think it is the best idea ever now that she is so close to him but you are free to make your own smart decisions. I would delay the answer on moving in or not until he has either opened up to you or you have gained some insight on his past 7 years. He has another child somewhere - do you know why the woman turned her back on him? Is she the one he had married in the meantime? You need to get to know him better or maybe you do, but on here he comes across rather like a stranger. While the two of you were together, did you communicate at all or did you always wonder about his motives? Either way, take it slow!
My dad came back after ten years and our relationship has been great. You're hurt he didn't show up sooner, and that is completely understandable. He moved next door--I think he has changed. I hope things work out for all of you.
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