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His Take: “Does He Want Me Back?”

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.

ART: Cut! The! Fucking! Cord!

 

 

 

 

 

* If you’d like to ask the guys a question, simply email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with “His Take” in the subject line and I’ll pass your question along to them.

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{ 37 comments… add one }

  • avatar ReginaRey April 6, 2012, 9:28 am

    All of the guys gave great advice, but Matt’s response resonates the most with me.

    You and he aren’t the most important players in this drama right now. Your daughter is. And before you start questioning how he feels about YOU, and whether YOU should let him back into YOUR life…I think you should be asking those questions on behalf of your daughter.

    How he treats HER is very indicative of how he will treat you, and how important “building a family” is to him. If he barely calls to ask about her, doesn’t show much interest in her life, doesn’t want to provide financial or emotional support, and doesn’t make sacrifices for her benefit, then he sure as hell isn’t going to do those things for YOU.

    He can sputter on about how he wants a family, but his words shouldn’t mean much to you. Watch what he DOES. Does he start being a real father to your daughter? Does he put in the effort and make the sacrifices I mentioned above? If he does, and if he does it consistently for quite some time, then MAYBE you should consider striking up a romantic relationship with him again. But until he can prove himself capable as a father — as a “family man” — then you shouldn’t hand him the “family” he says he wants right now.

    Personally, I think the questions you asked at the end of your letter say it all. “Does he feel he needs comfort from someone he knows truly cares about him?” Yes. I think this girl probably dumped him, he got lonely, and he started missing what he knows. That does NOT equate to him all of a sudden becoming a loving, caring, responsible, dedicated family man. It means he got bored and lonely and tired of where he was. The fact that you asked those questions means somewhere, maybe unconsciously, you know there’s truth to it. So use that intuition to keep guiding you, and remember that your priority, for now and forever, is your daughter.

    • dandywarhol dandywarhol April 6, 2012, 12:40 pm

      Yes to all of this! Of course :)
      But my favorite line of yours: “How he treats HER is very indicative of how he will treat you, and how important “building a family” is to him.” Sooooo very true. Just think of the term daddy issues and see how important a man is to his daughter. If he can’t respect his own flesh and blood…well then, that shows his true character.

  • avatar kerrycontrary April 6, 2012, 9:29 am

    I would let him back into your daughter’s life but that doesn’t mean you have to, or should, be in a relationship with him. I don’t think the question is does he want you back, but why would YOU want HIM back? and I love Matt’s response “the minute that third heart started beating, you both became the least important characters in this story.”

    • avatar Jillie z April 6, 2012, 9:39 am

      Me too- matt’s comment was just spot-on!

  • avatar Amanda April 6, 2012, 9:35 am

    LW, this guy is a scumbag. There are multiple examples, but this one in particular stuck out to me: “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.”

    LW, this guy left you and your newborn daughter, bragged to you about fucking some other woman AND doesn’t care about how his daughter is doing. These are not the actions of a man, but a much lower life form. A SCUMBAG

    I would recommend that you stop communicating with him. IF he calls you, keep the conversation about your daughter only. Remember, this man doesn’t care about you. He treated you incredibly poorly. You MUST do better for yourself and your daughter. Good luck

  • FireStar FireStar April 6, 2012, 9:37 am

    It would be a happy ending to get your family back together – but don’t get lost in the fairy tale of it all. He called you to tell you he realized that you were always there for him…that’s nice but what have YOU realized about his behaviour? Sweetie – you cannot love and support a man into being the type of person you want him to be – he has to achieve that all on his own. A lot of women think that their love can fix a man and eventually he will appreciate her for it. But all you know for sure is that he is capable of what he has done in the past. If he is not satisfied with his life let him take action to remedy that – you and your daughter are not a temporary option where he can play house with you to see if that satisfies him. I hope you have had financial assistance this entire time – and if you haven’t arrange for it now – but if the emotional investment he is prepared to offer his daughter stops at “cool” then you haven’t seen enough proof that he is the type of man your daughter should have as a father. You’ve seen the opposite. Words are very easy. I understand that you might want to take the risk to get the reward of reuniting your family. I get it – but it is a huge risk and there is nothing that says you have to take it – but if you do – do as Jarek says and wait to see significant action on his part, and sacrifice on his part and the ability to put you and your daughter above his own needs and wants before you even let him in the door.

  • avatar Amanda April 6, 2012, 9:38 am

    Sorry, I would like to add that he should be able to see his daughter if he makes the effort to do so. But the LW should have nothing to do with him romantically.

  • avatar Chicago_Dude April 6, 2012, 9:38 am

    You’ve made it too easy for him to come and go (pun alert!) as he sees fit with
    you. No one hooks him accountable for his actions (and his daughter) – sad.
    Dude is pumping oil when and wherever he wants. C’mon, grow a spine and move the hell on with your life without him.

  • Fabelle Fabelle April 6, 2012, 9:51 am

    “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?”

    Why are these three separate thoughts? All of those possibilities could very well be true. It’s actually likely that he’s entertaining the thought of becoming a family with you again because his girl left him & he realizes you’re the only one devoted to him. However… that doesn’t mean shit. He isn’t devoted to you. He’s already cheated and lied to you “a couple times” (ack) & he left you & your daughter, barely glancing back, and not even being there for you guys long-distance. Even if he DOES want you back– it’s not worth it.

  • avatar TECH April 6, 2012, 9:52 am

    LW, just don’t get back with him.

  • avatar evanscr05 April 6, 2012, 9:54 am

    I think you need to encourage, and push, him to become a more active parent and actually be involved in your daughter’s life. He has a responsibility to that little girl. But, honestly, the sheer fact that he takes no interest in her, and the immature way in which he handles his romantic relationships, tells me that not only does he not have any actual interest in being with you, but you should never include him in your life in that capacity ever again. He needs to purely be your daughter’s father and that’s as far as you should involve yourself with him. He’s a man child. An irresponsible, emotionally stunted, boy. You should be striving for a better man for yourself and for a better role model for your daughter. Give her an opportunity to see what a healthy relationship looks like, and an opportunity to have a man in her life that actually loves her and treats her properly so that she grows up with a healthier idea of herself, especially with regards to her own relationships with men. You can do so much better for yourself AND your child.

  • avatar Ladybug April 6, 2012, 10:09 am

    I’ll echo those saying that all the guys have valid points–your ex has shown that he’s capable of being a complete dick, and it’s impossible to tell if someone has made a permanent change for the better based on a few messages. If you want to give him the chance to show that he’s changed, follow Matt’s advice and focus on your daughter. If he steps up and becomes an involved, supportive father, then you can decide whether or not you want to resume your relationship with him. If it turns out this is all talk and no action, listen to Art.

    On that note, I think we should add CTFC to the DW lexicon. It’s just perfect for the agonizing, drawn out relationships that are beyond MOA.

  • avatar iseeshiny April 6, 2012, 10:14 am

    Matt’s response was positively poetic.

    • avatar iseeshiny April 6, 2012, 10:15 am

      So was Art’s. I like that one.

  • avatar _jsw_ April 6, 2012, 10:35 am

    Art’s is perhaps my favorite His Take reply ever. I wish I could be that succinct.

    • avatar _jsw_ April 6, 2012, 10:52 am

      To be clear: I mean no offense to the other guys. It’s just that Art summed it up perfectly. The only thing that I didn’t like about it is that he swore, which I think is just plain fucking wrong.

      • avatar Painted_lady April 6, 2012, 1:03 pm

        Look, this guy doesn’t bother asking about his own kid. His own kid. Sure, maybe it’s awkward because he left, blah blah, boo hoo, and yet, when you get right down to it, sometimes you need to put yourself and your own awkward weirdness someplace less important. When that kid hits adolescence and demands to know where the hell he’s been all her life – if he’s even there then, in any capacity – I’m pretty sure “Well, honey, it was just so awkward,” isn’t going to fly. Like at all. I think putting any sort of faith in him now is just inviting a second chance for him to hurt her, only now she’ll remember it.

        On just a romantic level, when someone says, “You were always there for me,” it is NOT a compliment. It’s meant to be, sure, but it isn’t. What it means is, “I know you’re always GOING to be there for me.” As in, no matter what I do, no matter how often I neglect you, you’ll be around when I need you to be. I had an ex who said that. Everytime we got back together over the course of ten years, he’d say that. Eventually I realized that if he really wanted me, he’d make sure he had me, rather than going back to me because there was no one else and then ditching me when I started asking too much of him. And you know what? He told me as much. I was finally done and needed some answers, and he said since I was always there, he assumed I always would be. And I decided I wanted a man who would be so thrilled to be with me he’d never risk finding out if I’d hang around if he went and dated someone else. You shouldn’t accept that, either.

        • avatar Painted_lady April 6, 2012, 1:05 pm

          I don’t know how that was a reply to you, _jsw_. Weird.

          • avatar _jsw_ April 7, 2012, 4:24 pm

            Doesn’t matter – it was very well said. :-)

  • avatar Temperance April 6, 2012, 11:02 am

    I hope LW is getting child support from this loser. He sounds like a total jerk, and it makes me sad that she doesn’t see it.

  • avatar GertietheDino April 6, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Dude probably lost his job (needs a place to stay) and/or lost the chick he was hooking up with (needs a warm body). He’s a loser, cut off all contact with him except through a lawyer.

  • avatar lets_be_honest April 6, 2012, 12:32 pm

    This guy abandoned his own child!!!! Hello?!? In my book you get a one strike deal when you hurt my kid. You know he’ll do it again and unfortunately now the kid is old enough to get attached. How selfish can you be to think about whether you should get back in a relationship that clearly is for you and not her. You don’t even mention you have a child with him until the end of your first paragraph. grow up. Stop thinking about some loser who you are just oh so pathetically still in love with. Put your kid first. It’s own father won’t. Maybe you could at least try.

    • avatar lets_be_honest April 6, 2012, 12:37 pm

      Also think about stability. Wouldn’t it have been great if you had a stable relationship with this guy 6 years ago. No worrying if coming home or if he’s gonna answer your call. Now this about your kid going through all of that. Except it won’t be with just some scumbag boyfriend. Itll be her dad. Is that what you want for your kid?

  • avatar lets_be_honest April 6, 2012, 12:43 pm

    To all you commenters saying she should encourage him and support him and help him and practically spoon feed him into beig a decent parent. NO that is NOT her job. Her only job is to make sure she loves and cares and protects the child. The end.

  • avatar lets_be_honest April 6, 2012, 12:45 pm

    I’m going to stop commenting because I’m just getting really upset about this. Re read your own letter. All this man cares about is him.

  • avatar jlyfsh April 6, 2012, 12:56 pm

    maybe he’s had a revelation that he has a daughter out there that he’d like to get to know, but i doubt it’s more than that. if he wants visitation rights i would talk to him about setting those ups, but beyond that i would keep the relationship strictly about your daughter. nothing else. your daughter doesn’t need to see her mom and dad in an off again on again relationship for the rest of her life.

  • avatar MISS MJ April 6, 2012, 1:06 pm

    I think LW needs to sit down and figure out why she would even want this guy back. She cannot count on him since he left her with his 5 month-old daughter and cannot be bothered to even check on how she is doing. He isn’t trustworthy since he cheated on her. He has no class since he bragged about his sexual exploits with the the “love of his life” to the mother of his child. He has no sense of responsibility since he left the LW with their 5 month old child and blamed it all on her “pushing him to the edge.” He’s just found himself alone and lonely, so he’s calling the LW. As soon as he finds something better – and he will think the “something” is better than the LW – he will fall off the radar again. If this loser wants to see his daughter, fine. But the LW should’t count on a known loser to be a stable a part of her or her child’s lives. Instead of entertaining some sort of redeeming the bad boy fantasy with this guy, the LW should sit down, think about what is missing in her life that she’d even entertain the thought of having a romance with someone who had treated her so poorly (and, him being her child’s father is not enough, considering the circumstances), and focus her energy on improving her self-esteem and finding a partner who will be a good influence in her daughter’s life.

  • avatar Painted_lady April 6, 2012, 1:08 pm

    This somehow posted as a reply. Here it is by itself.

    Look, this guy doesn’t bother asking about his own kid. His own kid. Sure, maybe it’s awkward because he left, blah blah, boo hoo, and yet, when you get right down to it, sometimes you need to put yourself and your own awkward weirdness someplace less important. When that kid hits adolescence and demands to know where the hell he’s been all her life – if he’s even there then, in any capacity – I’m pretty sure “Well, honey, it was just so awkward,” isn’t going to fly. Like at all. I think putting any sort of faith in him now is just inviting a second chance for him to hurt her, only now she’ll remember it.

    On just a romantic level, when someone says, “You were always there for me,” it is NOT a compliment. It’s meant to be, sure, but it isn’t. What it means is, “I know you’re always GOING to be there for me.” As in, no matter what I do, no matter how often I neglect you, you’ll be around when I need you to be. I had an ex who said that. Everytime we got back together over the course of ten years, he’d say that. Eventually I realized that if he really wanted me, he’d make sure he had me, rather than going back to me because there was no one else and then ditching me when I started asking too much of him. And you know what? He told me as much. I was finally done and needed some answers, and he said since I was always there, he assumed I always would be. And I decided I wanted a man who would be so thrilled to be with me he’d never risk finding out if I’d hang around if he went and dated someone else. You shouldn’t accept that, either.

  • bittergaymark bittergaymark April 6, 2012, 1:19 pm

    I love it when smart, together people hook up and create new life for the world. Really makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and just all around super about both the fate of the planet and its future generations… Once upon a time, when two people had a baby together, they somehow BOTH stopped being ones themselves.

    • avatar oldie April 6, 2012, 5:47 pm

      Agreed. This sounds like a case of she can’t let him go, because he’s what she’s got and she’s afraid to try for better, so despite being cheated on more than once, and multiple breakups, she picks a time when they’re on-again, off-again to have a kid with him. Just more proof that having a kid together is not going to fix a broken relationship or bind the guy tighter to you than he wants to be. Now you’re a single mom and even more desperate and a guy, who doesn’t seem to want permanence or responsibility, sees the kid as just one more reason to stay away. BGM is right, this sort of thing is not at all fair to the kid that is produced and it almost never works out the way the woman is hoping it will.

      • avatar MarieDC April 6, 2012, 5:58 pm

        Agreed.And I think before she begins to try for a better relationship,she needs to work on improving herself.Because no decent,confident guy will (understandably) be interested in dating a woman like the LW.

  • avatar oldie April 6, 2012, 1:57 pm

    This guy doesn’t love you and won’t be a good father. He cheated when you were together, then he abandoned you and his child. Now he perfunctorily checks in on her.

    Yes, the other girl dumped him and he hasn’t been able to replace her yet. He will replace her. Until he does, he wants you for comfort. You shouldn’t do that.

    What you don’t say is important. It sounds like you have moved on since he left. No mention of a new relationship or seeking one. You seem to be clinging to the idea that this loser will come back to you. You really shouldn’t want him back. He’ll just abandon you again, likely with a second child to care for. He does not seem like permanent relationship or good father material.

    Is he paying child support? If not, why not?

    Why are you still clinging to this guy? You shouldn’t for a half second even consider taking him back.

  • avatar Francine April 6, 2012, 3:56 pm

    “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

    Why haven’t you asked him at least your first question? If he can’t provide a direct answer to that then clearly you know that he isn’t interested in being straight forward with you, which then provides the answer to your last question.

    If you can’t ask him, then even if anyone here could answer those questions for you, the answers don’t matter.

  • avatar Muffy April 6, 2012, 5:31 pm

    I’m from Alberta!! Living in Ontario now but still an Alberta girl at heart…I was excited to see my home province’s name pop up.

    Anyways – he’s not into you. He just likes the attention.

    Also: I don’t know why you would want to be in a relationship where you felt the urge to constantly call someone because you suspected them of lying and cheating. Don’t you ever just give up girl? Move on and only contact him for the purposes of your child and child support which he is legally obligated to pay as a percentage of the income he makes

  • avatar MarieDC April 6, 2012, 5:56 pm

    I feel really sorry for the daughter.Two unstable parents who make terrible decisions.Well,technically just one,since the father isn’t in the picture.Here a novel idea:if you aren’t mentally,emotionally,financially,ect,stable, don’t bring an innocent child into the world.

    LW: The only contact you should have with your ex is when he is paying child support.And make sure he pays child support.

  • Roxy_84 Roxy84 April 9, 2012, 4:36 pm

    OK. So is he in Fort Mac if he’s on the oil fields? There’s not exactly a lot of ladies there, and even fewer single ones. Maybe he’s tapped out.

    Anyway, echoing the other comments, he sounds like a scumbag.

  • avatar F8thWalker August 31, 2012, 6:56 am

    BabyMama, I’ve got two words for you CHILD SUPPORT. Does he pay? If not, then he could be trying to “get back” with you in order to avoid you filing. He’s making good money and believe me he doesn’t care about his child he cares more about his finances (I know, I’ve been through this enough to be an expert). Men and money go together like beans and rice. If he is paying child support then he could be trying to get back with you so you can drop the case against him. There’s a saying that “It’s cheaper to keep her”. A man will reunite with his “Baby Mama” just to avoid paying court ordered child support. He won’t be faithful though because that’s the only reason he’s with you. He’ll stick around (please don’t get pregnant by this Jerk again) but after the child support obligation runs out or he finds a woman he really respects and loves ..he’s O-U-T!!! Take it from me, he doesn’t care about your or his child. He’s just stringing you along, playing with your emotions because he knows he has you “like that”. He’s probably telling his friends, hey watch, she still wants me. I’m going to call her and show you. This could be a bet with his friends for all you know. I suggest that you leave this cretin alone, move on with your life, create a secure and happy life for your child and put this FOOL on COURT ORDERED child support. He’s gotten away with too much already.

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