His Take questions are answered by our panel of smart, opinionated, and funny dudes.
My ex and I dated for three years and then on-and-off for another three years after that. He broke it off claiming he needed space and fell out of love with me because I drove him to the edge. (I would call his phone non-stop because he’s lied and cheated a couple times). He moved to a different city because he found a good paying job on the oil fields. We have a daughter who was only five months old at the time.
He’s been in Alberta now for almost two years. I found out from his best friend that he met a girl the first year he was there. When he fessed up, he bragged to me about how he slept with her four days in a row, and talked a lot about her to his friends. Exactly a month later, he texted me and said he missed me and our daughter (who is now turning two). Shocked, I asked him why the sudden change seeing as how he seemed happy with that girl and even told me “she appreciates him” when I didn’t. Then he tells me he realized I was always there for him even during the lowest times in his life when no one else was.
He barely ever calls to ask about our daughter, and when he does, all he says is “cool” or a one word response when I update him on how she’s doing. Now all of a sudden he wants a family, and has decided he’s not completely satisfied with his life. I don’t understand. Did this girl he was so head-over-heels for dump him? Does he feel he needs comfort from someone he knows truly cares about him? Or does he actually mean what he says? — His Baby Mama
JAREK: So far it appears this guy has lived his life at his own convenience and has refused to take any responsibility for his actions. I’m not going to recount the things you mention in your letter that makes this guy a dick, but there were at least six. You want to know if he has truly changed? Make him prove it. Make him show he actually has an invested interest in the daughter he abandoned at five months old. Make him prove he wants you in his life and to start a family. He needs to make amends with not only you, but your family and friends, and he needs to acknowledge his bad behavior and genuinely show he has changed.
If he is not willing to actually work to get you and his daughter back, he is not worth it. This sudden desire to “satisfy” his life was likely brought on by a depressed state of realization that no one actually loves him and wants to be with him. And he’s probably right. But if that was the wake up call he needed to get his life in order, then so be it. But it’s not as easy as picking up the phone and saying “baby, I’ve changed.” I’m not saying people are incapable of changing – they are. But it’s going to be a long road for him to restore any sort of trust with you, your daughter, and your family. If you are both willing to put in the immense amount of work necessary to make that happen, then go for it. But if you’re skeptical or hesitant, listen to your instincts and do what is best for you and your daughter.
DAVID JAY: You’re going to need more information to be sure. Is it possible that he found God out there in the oil fields and decided to start living up to his responsibilities as a man? Absolutely. Is that likely? No.
The answer probably lies in the middle. He’s starting to feel his age and he sees what other men his age have (i.e. wives, kids, and self-esteem). Just looking for “a place to put it” every night doesn’t cut it and he’s starting to realize there is more to life… and more to live for than just himself. Regarding your daughter, he is probably feeling some deep-seeded guilt about that situation, and staying detached has been the easy way out.
See if you can lure him into a few deep discussions. If he eludes to any of the above, don’t turn him out. There could be a real man in there trying to get out. See what he is willing to provide. BUT, if he mentions anything about needing money or a place to “crash,” that front door should be hitting him in the ass while the last syllable is still hanging in the air!
Matt: Are you worthy of his love? You didn’t ask it, exactly, but I feel part of what you wrote implies that you are somehow pondering that question. He left a tumultuous relationship and you, clutching your newborn child, to go work in the oil fields with some other mysterious woman in the background, only to reach out and say how much he misses you. Passion, betrayal, the mysteries of the heart, honor, duty — this has all the makings of a great Steinbeck or Fitzgerald tale. But here’s what: the minute that third heart started beating, you both became the least important characters in this story.
First comes your daughter and it sounds like, for now, you want him in her life. Let him know that that is what you care about most—that he plays a role in her world, providing financial or emotional support or, preferably, both.
While the love to a child and love to another are two different things, figuring out how he really feels about her, both through his actions and his words, can provide a much better understanding of whether he would ever be ready to examine how he really feels about you. It’s no guarantee that the two of you are meant to be together anyway, but it does help you answer the question you should be asking: Is he worthy of your love?
JOE: Every once in a while, you’ll see a story about how someone had a spike driven through his head, had a stroke, or experienced some other major trauma, and as a result, completely changed his personality overnight. For the most part, they’re the only sort of people who do so. Virtually anyone else takes a long, long time to truly change. Unless you video chat with your ex and see bandages around his head, he’s not being honest with you.
However, it doesn’t actually matter why he’s acting interested again or how honest he’s being. It doesn’t really even matter if he thinks he’s truly interested. It won’t last. He’s a no-show as a father (a huge strike in my mind) and he’s never really been good to you before… including cheating on you, abandoning you with a child, and bragging about his sexual exploits to you. This man is not good for you, he’s not good for your child, and opening your home to him again will likely do nothing other than give him just enough time to hurt you both again before he leaves. I sense that you still care about him. That’s fine, but care from a distance, because he does not care about you or your child.
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