Should I fight for my relationship for our daughter's sake?
February 17, 2016 8:05 AM   Subscribe

How do you decide what is more important, to fight for your family, or to fight for what you believe in, which may never happen?

I have hit a moral delima, one of the hardest choices I feel I have faced in my life. I found myself pregnant a year ago to a beautiful now 6 month old baby girl. I had a very difficult 3 months, riddled with post partum depression and post partum anxiety but I am finally feeling as if I am coming out of the other side, I had a lot of help from Metas here with baby questions.

My question is do you fight for your family when you have a child together, or do you fight for what you believe is right or what you deserve, when what you feel you deserve may not be attainable? As I mentioned, I became pregnant a year ago. I know it takes two to tango, but I have to admit that I missed 2 of my pills, which was my responsiblity, so I have to place most of the "blame" on me, I'm old enough to know the consequences of my actions. I had a few medical problems that the Doctor's told me I would need to be put on medication to become pregnant, so I didn't think much of missing a couple pills. I should have been smarter, but this is not to say I am not thankful and grateful for my daughter, I hold the belief that things happen for a reason, I was meant to have her at this exact moment. People fight battles years trying to have a baby, and I am thankful that this happened to me. With that being said, it didn't happen in the best of circumstances and the best time, but then again when is the best time for anything. The man I am with has two other children, one from when he was a teenager and was married and another one from 9 years prior due to an "accident" when he thought she was on the pill also. He is a part of their lives and supports them how he can, and I know I should have been careful. We were together for 3 years, and we often times talked about babies and marriage. I know I should have been more careful given our past too so I'm not here for that, because I slap myself on the wrist all the time.

Here's my dileman... I can tell he resents me, he resents me that I have "forced" him into this place in his life, because of our baby. His whole life he has taken care of children that he never "planned" for, with woman who told him they were protected. He wants to prove to himself and everyone that this time around this is the real deal, he says were in too deep to turn around now, but also told me that he feels I forced him into this by having our child, that hes been forced into this life, that it's not neceesarily where he wants to be but he's "not complaining". I wasn't ready for a baby, I didn't want to have one with him at that moment and I never thought I would but I knew when I found out I was pregnant that it was time to step up with or without him. And sometimes I contemplated not even telling him and distancing myself to spare him more burdren, but I knew that wasn't the right thing to do.

He tells me I'm special, and appologizes when I tell him what he says hurts my feelings--- when he tells me he feels forced into this, or that he feels like he has no other choice. My dilema is when do you just give up on that "family" picture and stand up for yourself, I feel him not chosing me every day. I want to feel I am with a man who has chosen me, who hasn't been forced into "loving" me or being with me. But then again he is trying to be a "man" and be there to help me, he is just not there emotionally the way I think he could be if he just chose to look at the situation differently, or if he was with a woman who he actually chose to have a family wiith. He told me he doesn't think I could do this on my own, that I do need him, and that he wants to be here to help me. But, to me I would rather struggle and do this on my own than feel I am with someone that resents me, doesn't respect me, and doesn't wake up feeling as if the woman next to them makes them happy, that this is right where they want to be. He reminds me in some of his actions of his selfish thoughts, but other times I see a man who is just trying to do right by his family and my family. At the other time I see a man who is empty emotionally for me, he loves our daughter and is so sweet with her, and doesn't want to split up our family, but isn't giving me his all, which I believe I deserve. I'm not sure when to give up on a family if you feel the father just isns't all in, or if he is just going through a hard time.
posted by MamaBee223 to Human Relations (41 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
At the other time I see a man who is empty emotionally for me, he loves our daughter and is so sweet with her, and doesn't want to split up our family, but isn't giving me his all, which I believe I deserve.

He can be her father without being your partner. If you stay together solely for her -- if either of you is only in the relationship because of her -- she will know, to her very bones, and it will affect how she approaches relationships for her entire life.
posted by Etrigan at 8:14 AM on February 17, 2016 [52 favorites]

Can you bring yourself to be open with him about this? There's no simple solution to a dilemma, but I find that people often write to strangers (us) with questions like this as a sort of practice for seeing how the idea fits before talking to the people in their lives (him). Frankness and openness are good first steps toward seeing if the two of you can find a middle ground between the two options you've laid out in the first few lines here. Middle ground can be a good place to aim for.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:14 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

Do not stay with this man. You sound like my mother and I spent years wishing my parents weren't together.

Listen to yourself. "I would rather struggle and do this on my own than feel I am with someone that resents me, doesn't respect me, and doesn't wake up feeling as if the woman next to them makes them happy, that this is right where they want to be."
posted by Marinara at 8:14 AM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

It depends on what you want your daughter to see and how you want to imprint on her what a healthy relationship should look like. If you stay, she will be taught that it's not important to feel as if she deserves to be prioritized in her relationships. That this lack of respect, resentment, selfishness, and lack of positive emotional support is the way it's supposed to be. Her dad can still love her and "do right" by her if you aren't together. I would even go so far as to say that they could form a much more positive relationship if she does not see him in this context of being in an unhappy relationship with you.
posted by raisingsand at 8:15 AM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

This sounds hard, I'm sorry. You can't save a relationship by yourself. Don't accept less than what you need just because he's the father of your child.
posted by cabingirl at 8:16 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I recommend you go to couple's counseling and tell him this, in front of the therapist:

"But, to me I would rather struggle and do this on my own than feel I am with someone that resents me, doesn't respect me, and doesn't wake up feeling as if the woman next to them makes them happy, that this is right where they want to be."

The presence of the therapist (in some ways the third party therapist can represent "society") is much more likely to allow him to be honest and relax, and feel like he isn't abandoning you. Since it sounds like his real struggle is him vs. society or him vs. his image, rather than him vs. you.

You will also need to have good communication skills to be co-parents in the future, regardless of whether or not you are romantically involved. Therapy will help with that.
posted by quincunx at 8:17 AM on February 17, 2016 [17 favorites]

He's being childish. The moment he didn't wrap up before sex was the moment he consented to all possible consequenCes. Do what's right for your daughter, which is not a relationship with a man who resents her.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:22 AM on February 17, 2016 [24 favorites]

Response by poster: I actually spoke to him last night, calmly and told him that I felt it was time for me to let go, so that he could find the path in his life that makes him happy because in the end I want his happiness too, because that is what our daughter will see. I told him that I didn't feel special to him, that our daughter will sense that and she deserves to have a father who wants to be in their mother's life because he can still be in hers without me. I told him that unlike some other woman in his past who have trashed talked him to his children, I woulnd't do that nor would I stop him from being a part of his life. This is when he told me that is why I have caused "drama" in his life, because I have forced him here with the pregnancy, that he didn't chose it, but that he isn't complainning. He also said "were in too deep to leave now, how could you do this all on your own?" To me, that proved more to me that he really isn't here for the love he once had for me, that he is here for her, which is beautiful and respectful in a sense, but I believe it will just lead to more problems and that I deserve to be with someone who choses to be with me, not because of circumstances. But, at the same time I do know people who have fought through these hard times of raising a new born, a new life, and how stressful it is on both parties. I do not want my daughter raised in a relationship where there isn't respect for the mother. Because at the end of the day I can hire a nanny or handy man to help me with things around the house that he is referring to, I have a great job and make more than he brings in (not to sound rude) but just to show that I can support myself and our daughter financially.
posted by MamaBee223 at 8:23 AM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Best answer: My sister wanted a baby and family, so she tricked her boyfriend into getting pregnant. It was a total clusterfuck, complete with him wrecking her car and disappearing with what little money they had. Sometimes things don't work the way you want them to in life; cut your losses and focus on giving your daughter a mentally healthy life.
posted by sockerpup at 8:25 AM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

This is when he told me that is why I have caused "drama" in his life, because I have forced him here with the pregnancy, that he didn't chose it, but that he isn't complainning.

He will never see that this is complaining. Give him one more chance to go to counseling with you, and then leave.

You do not need his permission to break up with him.
posted by Etrigan at 8:26 AM on February 17, 2016 [27 favorites]

I don't think you should stay with this man. And unless you forced him to have sex with you, you didn't force him into being a father. No form of birth control is 100% risk-free; short of surgical intervention, pregnancy remains a possibility with sex, full stop.
posted by Gelatin at 8:28 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Next step: get some help so you stop thinking you deserve to be punished for getting pregnant and having a baby. You're having a hard time shaking that idea yourself, and his abuse has amplified it. Your child is here now regardless of how she got here, so it's time to put that behind you before she starts to pick up on this idea that she's less than worthy.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:29 AM on February 17, 2016 [37 favorites]

First of all, you didn't force this guy into having another kid. Even with perfect use, hormonal birth control is not 100% effective. He could have insisted on wearing a condom (a birth control method that he has control over). If he doesn't ever want more kids, he could have had a vasectomy. If he just didn't want kids with you, then there are things he could have done to make sure that didn't happen. At some point he's got to look at his past and think, "What's the common denominator in these unwanted kids."

But, at the same time I do know people who have fought through these hard times of raising a new born, a new life, and how stressful it is on both parties.

I think "fighting through hard times" takes both parties willing to listen to each other and to compromise, with love and with mutual respect, not to blame each other for the situation that they're in. Is he willing to go to couple's therapy to stay together? Or is he looking for you to dump him so you can be the bad guy?

As for being "in too deep," why is he in too deep with you and not with the last two women that he knocked up?
posted by muddgirl at 8:29 AM on February 17, 2016 [18 favorites]

I think if your mind wasn't so clouded by misplaced guilt you would see your situation more clearly. If he didn't want a baby he should have worn a condom. For gods sake, this man should know that better than most as he did the same thing previously! But that is just another example of him blaming you for everything and making you miserable, getting to enjoy the benefits of being in a relationship with you without putting in any effort. Why on earth should birth control have been solely your responsibility???
posted by hazyjane at 8:29 AM on February 17, 2016 [31 favorites]

Best answer: he resents me that I have "forced" him into this place in his life, because of our baby. His whole life he has taken care of children that he never "planned" for, with woman who told him they were protected.

His penis is his own. He is responsible for his own birth control. Every adult is responsible for their own actions. Nobody "forced" him into anything.

He's going to let you feel enough guilt for two, because that lets him off the hook for owning his own decisions. I get why he's thinking the way he is. What I can't figure out is why you're feeling the same way. You're even feeling guilty about his *other* children!

The child you are responsible for is a baby girl, not a full-grown man-child. I recommend devoting your limited energies on your baby and yourself, and telling this man to own up and grow up, or there's the door.
posted by headnsouth at 8:37 AM on February 17, 2016 [33 favorites]

For you two to work long-term, he would have to stop resenting you and stop feeling trapped. He would need to decide that he affirmatively wants to be your partner and is willing to do the personal work to deal with his feelings, likely in therapy, so that you two can have a healthy relationship. Since he is loving with his daughter, is trying to some degree to be a stand-up guy, and has been good to you in the past, I can see giving him some time and another chance or two to get his shit together. Also, right now might not be the best moment to make a big decision like this since you are just getting out of the post-partum fog yourself. However, if he can't or won't make an affirmative decision to be with you and do what's necessary, then I think you do need to dump him.
posted by Area Man at 8:40 AM on February 17, 2016

Response by poster: I do believe in a sense he tries to behave in a way that would push me to a point where he can wipe his hands clean and say, look I tried- it's all on her... she did this that or the other, and I'm done. I have this weird feeling with some of his actions that he waits for a reaction or an over reaction that will give him a "sound" way out.

I do carry the guilt of both and it is such a debillitating feeling...especially just getting over my post partum. That is what is so hard, I can't shake it, and every day I worry she is going to pick up on it I know I need to make a decision before it impacts her whole world and the way she views things/relationships. I will lay this out for him and give him one more chance to own up man up or leave... but I know how this will end. He is leaving for 2 weeks to visit his daughter in a different country, staying with that baby mama for that time, so I will take this time to hopefully re-focus myself and gain better insight on this situation by looking at it with clearer eyes. Thank you everyone.
posted by MamaBee223 at 8:48 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I forgot to add: I think you should leave him. He will never adjust his attitude. There are men who have the strength to make the best of a situation and take responsibility, and there are men who just refuse to or are unable to for whatever reason.

Go find the former type of man. What you describe is a very weak person who will just make your life worse.

Also, he has another Baby Mama? Wow. Good grief. He should have gotten a vasectomy if he didn't want kids, for reals.
posted by discopolo at 8:52 AM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I have a great job and make more than he brings in (not to sound rude) but just to show that I can support myself and our daughter financially

It sounds like you have been waiting for him to decide what he wants.

You aren't trapped in this.

Go, on your own and without telling him, to talk to a lawyer specializing in "family law", and ask about what would be possible in your situation. Find a lawyer who favors a non-adversarial approach and just ask them about your situation and what your options are and if there is anything to be cautious of. This is just doing your due diligence and does not mean you will have to take any specific course of action, and it's a smart thing to do for your daughter before you make a decision, you are just doing some research just like you would look into schooling or health decisions that would affect her life.

not neceesarily where he wants to be but he's "not complaining"

There's a way to do "not complaining", and pointing out repeatedly that you aren't complaining is not how it works.
posted by yohko at 8:52 AM on February 17, 2016 [24 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm not trapped, you're exactly right. That is why I feel torn, because I am allowing this to continue. I have choices- I am not married, and I am not financially tied to this man. I admit that I have been wiaitng for him to decide, because to me- I would feel so much better if it was him that decided to walk out, and maybe that is how he is feeling. I will start doing some research, I agree that is what is smartest so I can gather all information I need in order to make a good decision.
posted by MamaBee223 at 8:56 AM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

you have to let the guilt go. hormonal birth control isn't full proof even at perfect use. and missing a pill or two is so normal as to be unremarkable - think of any other daily chore or responsibility - does he ever forget to take the trash to the curb? has he ever gotten to work late? while the outcome of the lapse of memory is much bigger in the birth control situation, the offense is just like misplacing your keys or leaving your lunch on the counter.

this man, i assume, is smart enough to know where babies come from and knows that once a pregnancy happens he has no control over the outcome. these are risks he took to have penetrative sex that ends in orgasm. if he didn't want kids he could never orgasm inside a woman, he could wear condoms, he could get snipped - the idea that men have no control over birth control, and it's all the woman's responsibility, is bullshit. he was actually in a place to be extra aware of this because he saw it fail before. do not let this man guilt you into a lifetime of unhappiness because he didn't take control of something that is seemingly so important to him.
posted by nadawi at 9:03 AM on February 17, 2016 [11 favorites]

Stop investing any more energy in trying to figure out what he will decide, it's absolutely not your job. Move on, with conviction, and devote yourself to your well being and the well being of your baby. If he's and adult, and has any motivation to be a part of his child's life, there are ways that he can figure out, at his time, and at his expense, to do so. Your child is far too young to carry memories of his struggles, so don't fear for her if you do your job as a parent. If he gets his shit together, perhaps he will be a parent to her also, but again, that's his job, not yours. Get going!
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

it sounds like you're both waiting for the other one to leave so as to not be responsible for making the choice. the way this guy has behaved so far shows how unwilling he is to put on his big boy pants so i'm afraid being the responsible one will have to fall to you. you know you shouldn't stay. you know your daughter will be better off in a home that is less fraught. maybe you're worried that she'll blame you for leaving her dad one day, but that is not a reason to stay together. if that happens you'll just have to tell her that your relationship with her father is a separate thing from her relationship with him and you believed it was best to separate those relationships so she could have the best parents possible.
posted by nadawi at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

His whole life he has taken care of children he never "planned" for, with women who told him they were protected.

he told me....I have caused "drama" in his life, because I have forced him here with the pregnancy

I'm sorry, but it sound like he does not actually take responsibility for his actions: as you mention, it takes two to tango.... he was there, he 'tangoed' too, and if he doesn't want kids then he can A)wear a condom and/or B)get a vasectomy. He doesn't get to hold his irresponsibility against anyone else.

Okay, that's the past; what about the future? I'm sorry, but all the folks who are telling you it'd be best --- for you and your daughter --- if you were to break up with him are 100% right. It won't do any of you any good to try to force a relationship to exist where it clearly doesn't; all of you will be happier if you and he co-parent instead.
posted by easily confused at 9:08 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I admit that I have been wiaitng for him to decide, because to me- I would feel so much better if it was him that decided to walk out

If you reframe it as doing what you need to to create a happy, joyful, positive environment for your daughter (which depends on you feeling happy and strong and not on eggshells) then maybe it might help you better see what we see: this man is going to be deadweight be ause of his negative energy and self-pity.

Go see a lawyer, get full custody.
posted by discopolo at 9:11 AM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Couple comments removed. MamaBee223, I know you're trying to sort something out here, but please keep in mind that Ask MetaFilter is more for asking a question and letting folks answer it as asked than for extended back-and-forth conversation. If you need to add a followup comment to clarify something specific that was left out of the question, that's fine, but try to keep it to a minimum.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:13 AM on February 17, 2016

he's being incredibly clear that you are not important to him. he is treating you abysmally. you might want to read the it's not worth it thread to get some perspective on emotional labor and how his withholding is following an all too common pattern. he's made his choice, he's just too much of a coward to enact it. people turning into total jerks to get the other person to leave is a thing a lot of people do and it can be confusing to be in the middle of. listen to what he's telling you with his actions and inactions. find some happiness, he's not going to provide it for you.
posted by nadawi at 9:14 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds to me that he is just having a hard time, you have to put yourself in his shoes, having his third unplanned child has to be hard. Don't make a drama and tell him you can do it all alone because if ha has told you that he wants to be there for you, it means he loves you and wants to be there, what you should do is talk about how he feels and not what you are feeling about him. Spend time together (not with the baby) try to have fun and remember him why you both were together after the baby.

If in a couple of months you see this is not working then go on your own, is better for the baby to live with you in peace that between a marriage war.
posted by ErickClifford at 9:20 AM on February 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'd like to talk to you for a moment about gall.

Specifically, I'd like to talk about the gall it takes to create three human being as the result of repeated bumblefuckery, and then resent the women into whom that bumblefuckery had cast those three human beings for "forcing" this hapless bumblefuck to live with the consequences of his monumental bumblefuckery.

I am of but middling intelligence, but even I managed to figure out that I need to take responsibility for seeing to it that I don't accidentally fill a woman's womb, whether or not she's claiming to be on birth control herself. But even if I was a mild to moderate bumblefuck, I'd probably have figured this out after the second child I'd accidentally created. But no, you have created a daughter with the Bumblefuck King. Take solace in the knowledge that bumblefuckery is not genetic.

In the meantime, that gall! Where and why and how does this bumblefuck get the fucking gall to resent you for this? Ultimately, it doesn't matter; that gall will poison you if you let it, and your daughter deserves better than to watch her mother swallow gulp after gulp of toxic gall. You deserve better than to deal with it.

This colossal bumblefuck needs to meet his responsibilities, but you are under no obligation to continue being the effigy at which he directs his resentment for his own bumblefuckery.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:20 AM on February 17, 2016 [79 favorites]

Here's the thing; he probably is going through a hard time, AND he has (as Parasite Unseen so wonderfully puts it) the unmitigated gall of the bumblefuck.

Couples therapy will give you guys the tools to do one (or both) of two things: 1) figure out what's really going on with the romantic relationship, 2) figure out how to co-parent while not in a relationship.

For that matter he might consider individual therapy to figure out why he keeps on putting himself in the position to be a dad when apparently, he doesn't really want to be one. I'd bet good money he has some deep shit to untangle. Or maybe he just likes the drama. (True story: the more someone talks at you about all "your drama," that you supposedly caused, the more that person is likely to be KING DRAMA MOST HIGH.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:00 AM on February 17, 2016 [11 favorites]

Best answer: So.... you feel guilty because you got pregnant. Nope.

Unless you snuck into his dresser, took out the condoms and carefully committed surgery on them through the foil with a fine pointed needle, you don't need to feel guilty.

If this guy has a history of becoming a dad "against his will" that says something about him and his ambivalence about becoming a dad, not you. Once could be inexperience, but if it is his whole life not only is he doing what he wants -getting to have kids, do a lousy job of raising them, and telling the world he is hard done by, but there is a stronger chance that he entrapped YOU rather than that you entrapped him. I dunno what was going on in the two weeks where you missed your pills, but he may have been around enough to have suspected you didn't get home in time to take them etc. And if he had those suspicions and yet went ahead and got it on with you, he doesn't seem to have been taking any responsibility.

As a species with High Paternal Investment in offspring, there is a wide range of strategies that males take. One strategy is to have as many kids as possible with as many women as possible and to take as little responsibility for them as possible. This strategy is common in groups with a higher female to male ratio as it means when there are not enough males for every female to have a partner it ensures that the birthrate does not drop.

Chances are this guy has very little to contribute; a visible amount of his effort is going towards different social strategies to ensure he isn't held responsible such as making you feel guilty. He is probably not doing this with insight. He probably does honestly believe that he is the victim of terrible bad luck and your unbelievable irresponsibility. But it is also likely that getting any parenting out of him will be like pulling thread through a wound; He will be screaming in pain and you will be feeling guilty and getting bruised by his flailing around and your daughter will not get the kind of prompt and focused, willing parenting that she needs.

My guess is that this guy wants to walk, but will feel guilty if he walks, so he wants you to drive him away by "being unreasonable. The biggest danger is that energy you need to look after yourself and develop confidence, and the energy that you need to look after you daughter will be diverted to trying to support him in being a dad, and a grudging, not-good dad at best.

There IS no good answer to this. If you try to keep him in the little girl's life you will be throwing good energy away for a poor result. You can't make a good dad out of him. (I'm not saying that he can't make himself into a good dad, but that is entirely not up to you.)

You could spend hours debating how much a parent should be held responsible for their own children and you would be unlikely to reach a consensus with anyone. Pragmatics means that somebody will be stuck holding the baby and a bunch of other people will say vicious things about anyone who might contribute to the child. Someone will tell you you MUST make him responsible, someone else will tell you that it's your fault, someone else will tell you that you are forcing the state to be responsible if he doesn't and that's even worse, and so on, not to mention people blaming you for being a burden on your parents, or blaming you for not taking full responsibility, to the fact that schools should have decent aftercare programs for working parents....

So, what is going to work? Knowing you and knowing him, can you co-parent with him. Given his track record for caring for his earlier children and the statistical probability of him having additional children after your daughter? Do you still like him? Given how he makes you feel what does he do that still makes you feel good and hopeful. Is he taking on more of the diaper changing than you are/ Is he doing any diaper changing? Can you trust yourself alone with your daughter? Can you trust him?

What direction is going to make you most happy, and your daughter most happy?

If you haven't given him the push yet, likely you needed to observe him a while longer to get more information, and you needed to focus on essentials, like getting through your post partum depression. There's nothing wrong with having let the situation go on for awhile. It won't traumatize the baby and there is no deadline.
posted by Jane the Brown at 10:44 AM on February 17, 2016 [10 favorites]

I flagged Parasite Unseen's post as fantastic. This guy is truly the Bumblefuck King of the Wide Ocean Of Gall. He is accepting exactly 0 responsibility for the consequences of his actions, and trying to pin the blame on YOU so that he can play Poor, Put-Upon Baby Daddy Who is Trapped, Trapped I Tell Ya, By These Evil Scheming Women.

I will bet cold hard cash that he didn't just trip and fall, penis-first, into several women's waiting vaginas, sans condom. If he didn't want kids, or another kid, there are such things as condoms and vasectomies. Whining and pouting about how hard-done-by he is, spending "his whole life" raising unwanted children, is kid stuff.

Plenty of kids, the world over, do just fine being raised by single mothers. Hell, Barack Obama was raised without a father in his life, and it seems he did OK. Children need the steady presence of people who love them. If I were you, I'd see a lawyer to be sure I got full custody of my kid, and raise her without babydaddy drama. It will make her life and yours so much easier.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:40 PM on February 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

I want to go back for a second to your post-partum depression and anxiety and respectfully ask that, in light of that, you put a big hold on any new life transitions. You have a six-month-old, and I know what a drain of resources that can be, and you have been dealing with depression and anxiety, which makes it hard to see the positive things going on and makes it more likely that you are are filtering your partner's communication to you through an anxiety filter that turns the volume way up on his negative statements while muting his supportive ones. Frustration with a partner and thoughts of leaving them are very very common during PPD. Even if you are right that you are coming out of the depression, it has been influencing your perceptions for months now, and I don't think that most of the commentators here are taking that into account. Because of the depression and anxiety, things are almost certainly not as bad as you perceive them to be. If he doesn't want to leave and there's nothing like a dire physical safety issue that forces you to leave, I would stay together until at least your child's first birthday and give yourself a chance to fully recover and get into a new pattern. This is exactly the wrong time to add another disruption to your life. I am not saying you should stay with him forever, but I am saying that neither you or we can know the right thing to do right now, except to seek more support from all sources, including counseling.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:46 PM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

I actually agree with Erick Clifford. Babies and toddlers take a toll on most relationships established or not. Take a deep breath, help each other with the baby, and work on "you" plural in a year. I have a two year old and a five year old and I'm finally able to start focusing on me, me with my husband, again. And this is within a stable marriage. However we were older parents and little kids took such a toll on me. I mean some parents get closer and this is in no way to say that your concerns aren't valid but I'm glad I didn't make lasting decisions about my relationship in the past few years. You can always split up in a year.
posted by biggreenplant at 1:02 PM on February 17, 2016

I don't think you need to do anything definitive, just yet. I'm pretty sure that if he really didn't want to be with you, you'd know. I think he does want to be with you; yet at the same time he feels pressured and like he doesn't have any choice in the matter. I would say just work on taking care of yourself and your baby and letting go of your guilty feelings, and just focusing on yourself. The more you put yourself first and focus on what makes you happy, the more emotional space he'll have to be able to figure out what he really wants. It sounds like this two week trip will be a good time for both of you to reflect on what's best.
posted by Locochona at 3:17 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Missed pills did not impregnate you. A man impregnated you. And you should leave this man, because he is trying to absolve himself of guilt and place it on you.
posted by WeekendJen at 4:28 PM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

I wanted to chime in that postpartum depression can last a long time, and even a mild case can have a big impact and might make it hard to make decisions. Don't forget to take care of yourself in all this. You matter. What you want matters. Your daughter needs a mom who is well and whole, but aside from that you deserve not to be a prisoner to someone else's resentments.
posted by emjaybee at 7:29 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

With my ex-husband, I've had four living children and two miscarriages. The ONLY time I was not on the pill was with the first miscarriage. Even taking it perfectly routinely does NOT appear to work for my body. (And yes, I was super-paranoid about taking it the same-exact-time-every-day by the youngest two...)

Despite this, he has never ever even once spoken to me or about me in the manner you describe your daughter's father doing. It hasn't been easy over the years - we've not lived in the same house since before my youngest was born - but it's totally do-able. Especially with just one.

Don't wait to find out what else he won't take responsibility for, and whatever else will become your fault so he doesn't have to acknowledge his part. Make the best life possible for you and your daughter, and allow him to see her if he desires. But never, ever accept more than your 50% share of the "guilt".

But if you end up raising her alone - you have my full permission to accept full responsibility for how wonderful she turns out. And she WILL be a much happier child if she doesn't have to witness her mother being treated like that.
posted by stormyteal at 9:35 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

As a fellow (relatively) new mom, I 100% agree that you and your daughter will be better off creating your own family (with dad as a co-parent). The resentment and passive aggressive emoting of a reluctant "partner" is so psychologically and emotionally draining.

I also wanted to add that for a good number of my formative years my mother was a single parent, and while I deeply love my stepfather and my brothers that joined us later, and care very much about my father, that time when it was mostly just my mother and I was a really wonderful time that I cherish. So much so that when I was a young adult thinking about having my own kids, I would often daydream about being a single parent. I know it's a hard path in its own right, but it can be a wonderful one too.
posted by pennypiper at 1:25 PM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ok, I’ll disagree a bit with the consensus:

I’m looking back at this question, where a guy wanted to use several types of contraception and his partner wanted them to rely only on her taking pills. Quite a few answers in that thread said that the guy was unreasonable, and that it was problematic that he wouldn't trust his partner enough to handle the birth control.

If I imagine a similar discussion preceding the question at hand, I don’t feel like the guy quite deserves all the harsh words written about him. The “...which was my responsibility” part does makes it sound like this couple had discussed birth control and agreed that the guy could trust OP to take her pills. If that’s indeed the case and she missed pills without telling him, I don’t think it’s unreasonable of him to have feelings of resent and betrayed trust. If there was no such agreement, things are different, as they would be if she'd taken the pills diligently but gotten pregnant anyways.

That said, OP, most of us slip up some times also when important things are at stake, and we’re usually just fortunate that there’s no bad outcome. People leave candles unattended and glance at their phones while they're driving, and it's quite rare that houses burn down and cars crash because of it. You were unlucky this time, and it sounds like you’ve beaten yourself up enough about it.

I believe this is one situation where couple’s therapy could actually help and is worth trying, and maybe he should even go talk to someone on his own. If that doesn’t help him get over his resentment and allow the two of you to find peace, I agree that you should split up. I wonder though: Since you both love and care about your child, why is is it assumed that you should struggle on your own? This may be me being Swedish, but I thought shared custody would be the preferred and default option.
posted by Herr Zebrurka at 11:43 PM on February 19, 2016

Response by poster: I wanted to post an update to my thread, and again thank everyone for the advice it really helped me through this. We are still seperated, but it has not been easy on me, I am learning things about the person I am and the mother I want/need to be, and I am struggling being alone with our daughter a lot of the time, and I struggle still with that tiny voice saying telling me I'm making a huge mistake that is going to impact this little girl who is so much in love with her daddy. And he so much in love with her. I hate that I brought her into such an uncertain unstable environment, it really breaks my heart. And I hate that I have to continue to be the "bad guy" telling him that he can't move back in, when all he wants is to come back to be with her. Ive watched my parents, my grandparents, and may other generations stay together in order for the family to be one, but I think that times have changed and I understand children are better off in a stable loving environment whether that is with one or both parents.

It's an overwhelming, weighted anxiety I deal with everyday... because it is always the same with him, he will date or continue his life going out with friends meeting people and reminding me that he feels less stress now than he ever felt with me and that he appreciates being to able to meet and make new friends and realizes how important that is now. But, then he reminds me and asks me if he can come back to live with us, he tells me he wants me and his family, and mostly his daughter. I feel I am being too harsh or critical or dramatic in keeping him away. As time has passed in my mind I have begun to justify all the things that hurt me, and have started to see my responsiblity in the situation as well. I just cant tell if this is a feeling of desperation because of how difficult this has been to be a single working mother, when the father is practically begging to come back but I am saying no and putting myself in this situation. We have only been seperated for 3 months and I sort of sat back the first month and half to watch his behaviors, to see if he wanted to work on us or himself. But, all I really saw was him dating others, meeting new women to flirt with, and digging up his past by reconnecting and confessing his love for prior exes. He claims that he had felt he was in love with someone else (someone he had been talking towhile we were together in the beginning of our relationship) and that he needed to hash it out with her and now realizes it was just lust, and how much he wants his family back. I just can't let go of the fact that right after he left, his primary focus and concern and attention was placed on meeting new people, his friends, going out, bbqs, bdays, exes, dating other woman- and not buildling his relationships with his daughter or fighting a little harder. But, then again- I continued to push him from this house so men will be men, no?
posted by MamaBee223 at 6:43 AM on October 20, 2016

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