Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “My Boyfriend Isn’t Ready to Be My Daughter’s Dad”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I have a three-year-old daughter. The father is not in her life at all. The father’s family is not in her life at all. I was dating this guy named “Carl” for a year who was a wonderful guy for my daughter but not for me, so we split up. The day I split up with Carl I met a guy named “Frank” whom I have been dating almost two years now. I was living at my mom’s and he was living with his friends for a whole year. I stayed over there a lot, but now he lives at his own house and my daughter has a room set up over there and everything is at his new house including my stuff. We stay there every night. Unfortunately, he just recently said he’s not ready to be a daddy to her and he wants to live his life. He has not had a job the whole time we have been together, but he is a full time student. He receives a G.I. Bill from when he was in the army. He is 26 and I’m 23.

I love him and my daughter likes him so much. They play together and we do family things together, but his friend just broke up with his girlfriend and wants to start a band, so now Frank wants to join this little band. He has been practicing guitar. I think he needs to grow up. I am a medical biller and coder, and I am ready to settle down. The last couple days all I do is cry. I don’t want this relationship to end, but I want and need him to be able to accept my daughter. It’s like he’s confused. One minute he is all about her and then the next he needs a break. I don’t know what to do. I want my daughter to have a father. His family all accepts her as well. — Looking for a Father for My Daughter

194 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Jillie z May 21, 2012, 3:06 pm

    If you want a father for your daughter, sounds like you need to MOA and find someone who wants to be that guy. Your boyfriend told you in pretty simple language that he’s not the one. Don’t make things harder for yourself or more confusing for her.

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  • katie

    katie May 21, 2012, 3:10 pm

    you and your daughter are a package deal. thats as simple as it is. if he doesnt want to be a dad and he wants to “live his life” and “join a band” let him. if he doesnt want half of the package deal, he doesnt get any of the package deal.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh May 21, 2012, 3:13 pm

    You can’t force someone to want to be a parent. I think you need to stop focusing so much on finding her a Father and focus on providing a safe, stable environment for her.

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    • SweetsAndBeats

      SweetsAndBeats May 21, 2012, 3:24 pm

      I agree completely. This man does not owe her anything – he’s not married to her, and the child isn’t his. Being a medical biller means that you have a pretty stable income, LW… start providing for yourself and your child. Living your life based on the principle that the only thing your daughter needs to be happy is a daddy will backfire.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Excellent point! She doesn’t NEED a father, but she does need stability and love from you, her only parent.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray May 21, 2012, 3:41 pm

      Great advice!

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    • avatar

      Slamy May 21, 2012, 5:50 pm

      23 is still really early to “settle down.”

      At 26, I bet hearing those words really freaks him out. Nowadays even a lot of 30 year old guys consider themselves too young to settle down. I understand wanting to find a mate so that your daughter will have a dad, but I agree with jlyfsh. Focus on providing a safe, stable environment for her.

      Also: my sister had my nephew when she was 18 – 14 years ago. She met her now-husband when my nephew was 3. They didn’t get married until he was older than 10. My nephew has had this awesome father figure in his life since he was a little boy, and probably the reason that my now-brother-in-law stuck around when they were so young was because my sister didn’t pressure him to settle down.

      I’m 24, and I feel like 26 is early to be told to “grow up.” Maybe that’s just because of where I live (in the middle of a big city) and who my friends are (dudes in bands, bartenders, etc.) but I know a ton of twenty and thirty-somethings who are in bands or otherwise chasing their ‘childish’ dreams. My dad was in a band until I was probably about 10. Let the dude have his fun, or he’ll resent you for it. If you want someone who is ready to settle down, then find someone who is older and who says he is ready to settle down. This guy has already told you that he’s not, and you telling him to grow up is not going to change his mind.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery May 23, 2012, 12:48 pm

        Meh, this woman has a child. He should have expected a higher degree of responsibility and a higher chance of settle-down-ness in this relationship. It’s not like she’s a Teen Mom or anything.

        (Disclaimer: by Teen Mom, with caps, I’m referring to the MTV version, so as not to offend any possibly responsible readers out there who were once mothers and also teenagers at the same time)

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle May 21, 2012, 3:13 pm

    He may care about your daughter, enjoy playing with her, & love her company– but if he says he isn’t ready to be her father, then he just isn’t ready. Maybe he needs to “grow up,” but you can’t force him to do that.

    It doesn’t sound like you guys really talked about his role– what does fatherhood mean to him? What does it mean to you? Just because there’s empty space for “father figure” in your family doesn’t mean you can shove anybody in there.

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  • avatar

    G May 21, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Why have you basically moved your daughter into a guy’s house without making sure that the situation/relationship is at least semi-permanent? If Frank says he’s not ready to be a father, take him at his word. Move out. And then think long and hard in the future about the effects of uprooting your daughter before you know that a guy is ready to form a family with the two of you.

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  • Kristina

    Kristina May 21, 2012, 3:22 pm

    One thing that stuck out to me is that the LW met her new boyfriend the day she broke up with the old one. That just seems like she moves on very quickly, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to be brining multiple men into her daughter’s life. This guy said he’s not ready to be a father so the LW needs to listen to that and move on, but importantly I think she needs to stop putting the focus on finding a father for her daughter and focus on being a stable mother. I think it’s a little weird that the daughter has a room set up in the boyfriend’s house, and she really seems to be forcing the situation, when the boyfriend admits he’s not ready. And it’s probably not that simple for the boyfriend since it’s not even his child. He’s probably come to love that child, but it’s not so cut and dry to just make up a whole new family.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:26 pm

    He did not choose to have a child. You did. He has every right in the world to say what he has said and do what he wants to do. LISTEN TO HIM. Please accept it and leave him. It was wrong of you to let it go this far (as far as moving in together) without discussing if he is ready or wanting to be a part of your family. Now you have to pull your child out of another home because of it. YOU are the one that needs to grow up. Not him. And I say this as another single mother whose child never met her father.

    Also, I hang out with friends who treat my daughter wonderfully, we all do things together that “families” do together. That does not mean they want to be my family or hers.

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    • Kristina

      Kristina May 21, 2012, 3:37 pm

      “Also, I hang out with friends who treat my daughter wonderfully, we all do things together that “families” do together. That does not mean they want to be my family or hers.”

      I like this point a lot. I think the LW needs to take a similar approach.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:48 pm

      Something I did that worked for me was I gave up on doing anything for me (not anything anything, but close to it). Some may very much disagree with that. BUt it worked for me. I made her the absolute most important thing in my life. She was more important than me. I gave up on the idea of dating until she would be older. I just put it out of my head entirely. I was, and assume you are, too busy for dating right now. You should be. You are raising a young child alone. And working. That’s tough stuff! You will be much better off and she will too if you focus all your energy on being the best for her and putting yourself second for a while.

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  • avatar

    ele4phant May 21, 2012, 3:27 pm

    It sounds like you very much want your daughter to have a father, but I can’t help but cringe when reading about your dating-history and current situation with “Frank”. It sounds like you’ve been trying to stuff whichever guy you can into the role of “Dad”, and when it doesn’t work out, you soon find a replacement.

    Have you thought about how disruptive that must be for your daughter? It seems, while it may seem better in the short term for your daughter to have a guy around, to back off, and stop introducing her to boyfriend after boyfriend. Create a stable life for you and her, and when you start dating, go slowly. Wait to introduce them, and make sure the guy you end up with is there for you AND her. Don’t plunge her in and out of quasi-father-daughter relationships until you find one that sticks.

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  • avatar

    Suzanne May 21, 2012, 3:28 pm

    At 26, he’s still young. It sounds like you think his reasons aren’t valid, choosing to be in a band (and presumably party) over raising your daughter. But that is his choice. And frankly, I think it was rather brave of him to be honest with you when he told you that he’s not ready for the responsibility of taking on a toddler at this point in his life. He did not take it lightly – he put thought into his decision. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love your daughter, just that the responsibility is too much.

    You are a very young mother – who was taking care of your daughter when you spent all those nights at his place in your first year together? I’m guessing your parents did. Now it’s up to you to care for her on your own and you seem to be in a hurry to find someone to help. There are men out there who will make great stepdads – start looking!

    Good luck.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:52 pm

      Best thing my parents didn’t do for me was watch my kid so I could go out for fun. Seriously. Best thing ever. You are a mother. Your parents should not be taking over that role so you can still go have fun. It sucks. Trust me, I remember. All my friends were still out partying and I was stuck home in a small apartment all alone. But you know what, my child never for a minute didn’t have her mom around. I gave her stability, raised her like parents are supposed to, didn’t drop her at my mom’s so I could go out on dates and sleep out.

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      • avatar

        haggith May 21, 2012, 4:07 pm

        “You are a mother. Your parents should not be taking over that role so you can still go have fun,” can i nominate this as the best comment of the day?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray May 21, 2012, 4:24 pm

        Remember way back when Wendy had Comments of the Week? I used to try really hard to say super insightful things, hoping to make the cut. Then Wendy stopped posting Comments of the Week, which meant I didn’t have to try as hard anymore, which was a real stress reliever. Lol. But if she brought it back, I’d find motivation to be wise again.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 21, 2012, 4:29 pm

        I completely agree with what you’re saying l_b_h. But didn’t you ever go out once in a while with friends, or anything, and have someone watch your child for a few hours? I’m not asking this to judge at all, I’m honestly curious.

        Granted, I don’t have children so I’m not a mother, but don’t you think most things, in moderation, are ok? Getting your nails done, going to a movie, grabbing dinner with friends, having a date night if you’re married? Those are just a few of the examples I could think of, probably because those are things I enjoy doing and hope I don’t feel I have to give everything up once I have children.

        And I also don’t agree dropping kids off so one can go party, or any other activity. My little sis was a young mom and was a mom first. Unfortunately, she lost almost all her friends when that happened because they wanted to party, etc. Some times my heart breaks for her because I know the difficulties she has had because of being a young mom. However, she now was two awesome kids who are completely loved. And really smart for their age!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 4:38 pm

        In an emergent situation, no, going out and treating yourself to things is not appropriate. If you need sanity time alone, put the child to bed and sit and read a book at home for free. In a normal situation, of course go ahead and go out and treat yourself and take a break for the insanity.
        But to me, this situation right now, where she was living with mom and dad, then with boyfriend, now ?, its not the time for her to be worrying about getting her nails done or eating out with friends, or dating.
        I will tell you that I honestly did not do anything for myself until I was secure and stable on my own. That was a long time. It sucks a lot. Its not easy. The only times I had a sitter was when I had to go to classes or work. Those two things ate up all my “me” time. And that’s just how it was and how it needed to be. I’m not saying this to sound like a martyr. I’m not. But the reality is is that her life is messy right now, and its not helping her child. All the suckiness will pay off eventually. I have a lovely life now. I get plenty of “me” time now. But I also know that I never would’ve been “here” if it weren’t for those many years of difficulty.

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      • SweetsAndBeats

        SweetsAndBeats May 21, 2012, 4:55 pm

        Really, seriously, I have to give you some kudos right now. The selflessness you adhered to during your daughter’s early life probably really helped her future mental health, and not to mention has probably greatly improved your current living situation. You don’t sound like a martyr to me – you sound like a mature Mom.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 5:01 pm

        Thank you so much. I’m not saying I know it all, or I did it perfectly. Trust me, there were plenty of bumps in the road. I messed up along the way. We all do. But you hit the nail on the head that in the end, it greatly improved our situation today. We get to both be in a really good place finally. And when I look back at the early days, I think of them fondly. I loved sharing a room with her. I loved the 2 person team we created. I loved even the little things, like free arts and crafts projects and PB&Js. It wasn’t all bad. Tough, but not bad. And I got to learn how amazing it feels to accomplish things all on your own. The feeling of pride in looking at her and knowing *I* did that, nothing beats it.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger May 21, 2012, 5:02 pm

        I get that at your age, maturity, and lief-situation, that was the method that made the most sense and it clearly worked for you and for your (I’m sure can only be) fabulous daughter. (Familiar readers will know there is not a single shred of sarcasm in that sentence).

        But if I was to get pregnant now, for example, at 28 , even with no father in the picture, I wouldn’t dream of going at it alone. I would move to be near my family and use every resource I have at my disposal. Mom and babysitters and daycare to keep my job, and family and babysitters occasionally to keep me sane when I need it. I can’t imagine that Id feel guilt leaving my well-loved bundle of joy with my “raised three kids” exsoccer-mom parents while I went out to dinner with friends or a date once a week or, if that progressed, had my daughter have a bimonthly “sleepover” with her grandparents until I was sure where my relationship stood. I know I don’t have a baby and maybe its actually harder to leave them like that, but I can’t imagine that I was setting up a “unstable” household that way. Is it the age part that’s different? The support system? the money? I just don’t feel like a bad hypothetical mother.

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      • JK

        JK May 21, 2012, 5:10 pm

        You never know until you´re in that situation. My kids are 4 and 1/2, and 1.A few weeks ago my husband and I went out as a couple for the 1st time since before the eldest was born.
        And I felt so weird about leaving them (with my mum at her house, where they both love going). We´ve left them during the day before, but never at night. The 4 year old has slept over there a couple of times, at her request.
        Motherhood is truly something that you have no idea how you´re going to do it until you´re doing it, if that makes sense. No matter what you think beforehand, or what plans you make, kids have a way of changing everything.

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      • theattack

        theattack May 21, 2012, 5:16 pm

        I agree with this. LBH, I think you sound like an amazing mother, and it sounds like you made the perfect decisions for you and your child. But I also don’t think your way is the only mature way to do it. I always loved staying the night with my grandparents so much, and it helped me learn about values, love, and respect for my elders. It was so healthy for me. When I have kids, I plan on dropping them off at grandma’s house once every couple of weeks just because it’s good for them, whether or not I need the help.

        I can see a difference between that sort of an arrangement and just trying to get rid of your kid so you can get drunk. But still, even single parents shouldn’t have to do it all on their own all the time.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 5:23 pm

        I hoped no one would misinterpret my comments as This is the Only Way. Of course getting a fun sleepover at grandpa’s is great for kids. Of course. I’m saying I didn’t have time for dropping her off so I could go have fun. There was no time. Now, she has sleepovers with my parents so I can go out to dinner, etc. or just because she loves spending time with them. Its a different time now though. I have time and money. I didn’t then.
        I agree with your points completely. But for me back then, and seemingly the LW now, it doesn’t sound like what she needs.

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      • theattack

        theattack May 21, 2012, 5:38 pm

        That makes sense. I honestly wasn’t sure what you meant by it, and if you thought it was wrong to ever do that, or if you just meant that toward this LW. But you bring up a good point: If you don’t have money (or energy, etc) to do something in the time that your parents have the kids, is there a reason for you to drop them off there to begin with? Interesting.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 5:42 pm

        If you have all your chickens in a row (wtf is that saying?), go ahead, drop ’em off, and wander around the mall or go for a walk alone.

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      • theattack

        theattack May 21, 2012, 5:51 pm

        But so do you think it’s not okay to let your parents babysit if you do need some extra help? I guess my question is, what exactly does it mean for all of your chickens to be in a row?

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      • theattack

        theattack May 21, 2012, 5:53 pm

        Nevermind. Just saw one of your comments below. I get it.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 5:28 pm

        Please note that I said “in an emergent situation.” I am certainly not saying don’t ever get help or ever give yourself a break.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 5:25 pm

        I think a lot of young, single moms take advantage of having their parents’ help. Your examples are not taking advantage of help. You should be the primary parent, not your parents (the grandparents). It sounds like this LW allowed her parents to be parents to her and her daughter. That’s where it gets messy, imo.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 5:39 pm

        Thanks 6. I would HIGHLY recommend that you use every resource you have, and be closer to your family if you can be. It takes a village, right? The difference between your examples (that are great) and the LW or whoever else, that I guess I didn’t make clear, is not taking advantage of those resources. It very much sounds to me like this LW did. She didn’t prioritize her kid. She prioritized finding a partner, going out, staying out all night (many nights) while leaving kiddo home with her parents.
        Wendy’s said it a ton on here and I agree wholeheartedly that moms needs their sanity and alone time in order to be a great parent.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh May 21, 2012, 5:51 pm

        lbh i think you bring up a great point in this and other comments that there is a difference between using parents/babysitters/friends in the right way vs the wrong way. my mom was a single parent and of course she relied on all of those people and more while we were growing up. she worked her butt off and while her primary focus was us, she still had fun and had her me time. i get that you’re not saying have no social life, ever. but, rather create a stable home first and then go from there. maybe coming from a single parent home i have a different outlook on it, but i appreciate everything my mother gave up to be the best mom she could be. and it makes me happy then and now to see her dating, having friends, etc. you can do that in a way that the kid doesn’t feel like they come second.

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      • theattack

        theattack May 21, 2012, 5:52 pm

        I guess if I had scrolled down a bit before asking my question above, I would have read the answer here. So your difference is taking advantage vs. using resources then.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 4:51 pm

        Also, I bet your sister would say it was all worth it.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 21, 2012, 5:08 pm

        Some days yes and some days no. Totally kidding. We all adore her two girls. She ended up marrying the father of the first, the year after she was born, and four years later had the second. All is as it should be.

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  • call-me-hobo

    call-me-hobo May 21, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Hey LW,

    So you started dating Frank the day you broke up with Carl? That doesn’t sound like the healthiest thing in the world. It sounds like you are a woman who feels like she needs to be attached to a man to be happy- and that’s not true. And honestly, that is NOT the message you need to be sending to your young daughter.

    I think that you need to take a dating hiatus. Take a year and commit to NOT being involved with anyone besides your daughter. Take this time to build up your own sense of self. I promise you, when you achieve a higher sense of self worth, then you will attract a higher caliber of men. Men who understand that dating a single mom means that you will have to be a parent.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:54 pm

      Sorry I am all over this thread, but it hit home.
      You raise another awesome point in your second paragraph. The men who have wanted to date me have all given me the same reason over the years…they respected and admired my maturity. Be that girl. Trust me you will end up with amazing men.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray May 21, 2012, 4:00 pm

        I was hoping you’d be all over this thread. I knew you’d have insightful things to add. Single mothers, listen to lbh!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 4:01 pm

        Oh thank you AP!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray May 21, 2012, 4:20 pm

        You can advise these ladies, and I’ll advise the ones lusting after unavailable men. Yours will be more of a “here’s what I did, and it worked out,” and my advice will fall more in the “here’s what I did, it didn’t work out, and do you really want to be like me?” camp.

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      • avatar

        ktfran May 21, 2012, 4:30 pm

        You’re funny. As always.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. May 21, 2012, 3:36 pm

    You may be ready to settle down, but Frank clearly is not. He has been honest with you. Accept his answer and move on.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle May 21, 2012, 3:41 pm

    if you want to settle down LW then don’t live with a guy before you are married.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed May 21, 2012, 5:11 pm

      That’s not necessarily true.

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    • avatar

      MissDre May 21, 2012, 6:30 pm

      Different strokes for different folks. I don’t think it’s fair to say that at all.

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    • avatar

      temperance May 21, 2012, 7:59 pm

      Not true at all. It might apply sometimes, but the whole “he won’t buy the cow if the milk is free” thing is so f’ing outdated. Ugh.

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      • avatar

        *HmC* May 21, 2012, 8:36 pm

        I don’t believe in living together before marriage, for myself, but it has nothing to do with some cow and milk analogy, which I also feel is outdated and also sexist. So please don’t assume that the two beliefs are one and the same.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 21, 2012, 9:20 pm

        I used to be vehemently opposed to living together before marriage not because of that old adage, but because it seemed a cop-out. Like, “Oh I’ll commit to sharing a life with you – but not really, I still have an easy (well easier than divorce) way out if it comes to it.”

        Then due to circumstances I moved in with my BF on a semi-permanent basis, and whadda ya know – its awesome. I highly recommend it.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG May 22, 2012, 9:16 am

      I am more in the “to each his own” camp.

      Sarolabelle, while I see that there may be *some* truth to your point for *some* people… it is not for everybody.

      I think the better statement would have been for her to find someone who she is sure wants a full commitment to both her and her daughter before moving in.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones May 21, 2012, 3:51 pm

    MOA, and next time you meet a guy, have your dates during the day while she is at school or daycare so she won’t prematurely bond with some guy who is not ready to be a dad. Don’t date guys who from the get go don’t want to be a dad. The price of admission to a relationship with you is that they want to be a dad. Once that is established and you guys have good chemistry on your own, then and only then can they meet your kid. I would not let a guy near your kid for at least 3-6 months. Once they meet your kid it is only when you have an established relationship and they know they are on track to be a family. You will weed out a lot of flakey guys that way. And your daughter won’t have a revolving door of men in her life until you meet someone who is a mensch.

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  • avatar

    bethany May 21, 2012, 4:03 pm

    You need to do what is best for your daughter, and that’s MOA. You need to build a stable home for her, not have guys parading in and out of her life. Get a place of your own or move back in with your family, and make her a priority. Take a time out from dating to make sure that you have a stable environment for her. When it comes time to date again, make sure you date a guy who is open to one day becoming a father figure to your daughter.

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    • avatar

      cporoski May 21, 2012, 4:09 pm

      This doesn’t sound like a parade to me. The girl is three and the LW and frank have been together 2 years. slowest parade ever.

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      • Kristina

        Kristina May 21, 2012, 4:17 pm

        True, but 2 years is not long either in the long-term. If there were a new guy every 2 years, that would be 5 by the time the girl is 10. And that’s a lot of men/father figures going in and out of someone’s life. No one should have to grow up with so many parental figures coming in and out of his/her life.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant May 21, 2012, 4:26 pm

        To say nothing of the fact she started dating Frank the day she broke up with Carl.

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      • avatar

        cporoski May 21, 2012, 4:40 pm

        I am just saying that it takes more than two examples to have a pattern. This girl just wants the dream. She wants the family and the husband and the house with a white picket fence and finally some help with this baby. I am not saying that everyone isn’t right here about being a stable parent, but this guy has been around for two years and acted like he wanted the job. I was married after two years of knowing my husband so I can see why she is taken aback.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 4:42 pm

        Sure, he’s been around 2 years. But in those two years, has he shown he’s an adult? No. He’s a college student, crashing on someone’s couch for most of their relationship and now living off of army $ (whatever its called). That’s not an ideal example of someone whose ready to be a dad. She never should’ve been with him in the first place if she was looking for that.

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      • avatar

        Something More May 22, 2012, 9:19 am

        So, getting his own place and using his GI Bill (is whatever it’s called – as LW stated in the letter) after he served his country, no less, to go to school isn’t called being an adult?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 9:33 am

        He’s still a college student. He was FAR from in a position to become a responsible dad, being unemployed, going to school and crashing on couches when they met. Not that he was supposed to be doing anything other than acting like every other childress kid in their early 20s. I don’t see how anyone could disagree with that.
        (I didn’t want to scroll back up to confirm what it was called, didn’t mean any disrespect)

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 9:55 am

        And how many people who comment on these threads every day are still “college students?” If you are going full-time, the GI Bill provides probably the equilvilant to working a full-time job making $11-12 an hour without paying taxes. It’s not a bad gig. So what if he was crashing on people’s couches when they met? He has his own place NOW. He has a steady income (as long as he stays in school), he obviously is working towards a better future for himself being in said school – how is any of this NOT adult material? Sure, he wants to start a band, but so did my then-husband when he was younger. He and his buddies got together once or twice a week and jammed out.

        I don’t know – I guess it just seems like your perception of “adult” seems… childish to me. Like what my daughter would say if I asked her what “adult” means to her. A grown-up with a family, a job, a degree, a house… missing any of that and you’re just a kid.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 10:04 am

        What you describe as an adult is someone working towards being an adult, i.e. a college student. Those people, who are not yet entirely established in their lives, are less than ideal for parenting. I’m not saying the guy is a loser, I’m saying he’s not in an ideal situation to take on parenting.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:14 am

        LOL – well, I’ll be sure to tell all those who have fought for our country that they are just not quite adults yet, living in one of the biggest military areas in the country. I’m sure that would go over well. There are many parents that I know who are apparenty “less than ideal for parenting” who have great kids and great relationships.

        I completely disagree with your assessment.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 1:29 pm

        Its really annoying the way you twist words. I have nothing but respect for people in the military keeping me and our country safe. My point, if you understand the English language which I am really doubting, is that an unemployed college student isn’t an ideal parent. Do you know what ideal means?

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        bethany May 21, 2012, 4:37 pm

        The kid is 3 years old, and there have already been 2 men in her life- If this keeps up, imagine how many guys she’ll have had in her life by the time she’s 10 or 15! Her mom went from guy #1 to guy #2 in ONE DAY, so I think it’s safe to assume that the trend will continue somewhat.

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        cporoski May 21, 2012, 4:44 pm

        that is like saying I am 18 and weigh 130lbs I have gained 5 lbs each year for the last two years. so at this rate I will be 540lbs by the time I die at 100. To points does not make a pattern. ( I just checked that math on a calculator to make sure I am right. such a nerd)

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      • katie

        katie May 21, 2012, 4:48 pm

        if that was the only factor, you are right. but, if you look at the whole picture- which includes her living at home for some time, her parents watching her daughter multiple nights a week while she stayed with the boyfriend, the boyfriend living at his friends house for a year, phrasing living together as “we stay there every night” as if its a hotel, the boyfriend wanting to up and join a band… i mean, really, none of it sounds that bad if you take it individually- but you gotta look at the whole picture.

        there is a lot of unstability in this little girls life. it sounds like a bad epidsode of Teen Mom to me.

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 4:53 pm

        Yes! And if this is all harsh, then so be it. Let it be a wake up call. We all need one of those from time to time.

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        bethany May 21, 2012, 4:57 pm

        I must have been typing at the same time as you 🙂 Great minds think alike!

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        bethany May 21, 2012, 4:56 pm

        We’re looking at more than the fact that she had 2 boyfriends in 3 years though- She’s shown that she lacks some judgement skills based on the few situations she presented in her letter. She got pregnant young, she doesn’t have a relationship with the father (or his family), she’s been living with her parents, she’s introduced 2 men to her child already, she’s practically lived with one of them, she continues to date a guy who doesn’t want to be a father to her child. In her 2 paragraph letter she’s told us a lot about her maturity level and her ability to make good decisions based on her daughter’s needs. So, in MY opinion, I think it’s a safe bet to assume she’s going to continue to have men in and out of her child’s life UNLESS she steps up to the plate and makes a serious effort to provide a more stable life for her child.

        But all that takes away from the point of the letter- which is that the LW doesn’t know what to do about her current situation. I stick with my answer of MOA, focus on yourself and your child for a while. You’ve got plenty of time to date.

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    cporoski May 21, 2012, 4:08 pm

    LW, I feel for you. I really do. It looks like life hit you in the face pretty hard here. I think it is time for you to re-frame your dream life here. It sounds like you saw the whole future laid out here and that isn’t what happened. This happens to all of us in different ways all the time. It sounds like this is a great guy who you love and was good to your daughter. But that doesn’t mean that he wants the responsibility of raising her. Especially when he is unemployed and currently in school. There are guys ready to be fathers out there and those who aren’t. Neither is better than the other you just have to find a guy that is ready to commit to you both.

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    SpaceySteph May 21, 2012, 3:19 pm

    LW, you had to grow up really quickly by having a child at a young age. It’s commendable that you have taken on the responsibility and are working hard as a single mom supporting your daughter. Unfortunately, your responsibilities have made you much more mature than people in your age group.
    You can’t force your boyfriend to be her father when he’s not ready. In fact, you shouldn’t because that’s not fair to him, to you, or most of all to your daughter. It’s time for you to MOA. And in the future, maybe be a little more careful who you let your daughter get attached to (and live in the house of!?!) and make sure they’re up to the challenge.

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    • katie

      katie May 21, 2012, 3:23 pm

      i have to disagree that she became more mature from being a single mom. if she was more mature, she wouldnt just shack up with each “daddy” who she dated. carl was daddy, then frank was daddy, but mommy stayed away at franks a lot, and then they moved in with frank daddy, pretending to be a real family and doing “family things” together and now they will have to move out, because there was nothing communicated at the start of the relationship (that began the same day that the last one ended????) that she is looking to settle down and needs a father for her child.

      doesnt sound very mature to me at all.

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        kerrycontrary May 21, 2012, 3:36 pm

        I find your comment to be judgmental and callous. While I agree that single mothers MUST be careful who they introduce their children to, it’s not like this woman has been dating men willy nilly bringing around a new John every week. It’s just news to her now that Frank doesn’t want to be a permanent fixture in her daughter’s life. He’s the one that set up a room at his house for her daughter, a pretty serious move. If you had more empathy for single mother’s you would know it’s pretty much impossible to determine with 100 percent certainty which man will stick around for the long run.

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:39 pm

        You don’t move your child in with someone prior to discussing and agreeing on the role he will play in their life. End of story.

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      • katie

        katie May 21, 2012, 3:45 pm

        you have no idea who set up the room for the daughter. the LW could have, for all we know

        im not being judgemental of single mothers at all- im being judgemental of this particular single mother, who sounds like she is putting her daughter through a world of hurt from “father” to “father”, and it wont likely stop unless someone clues her in on it.

        and yes, her dating life does seem very willy-nilly to me. you dont break up with someone one day and start dating someone else seriously in the same day. i would say thats willy nilly dating no matter if she was a mother or not. thats not healthy, and very VERY rarely works out.

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        a_different_Wendy May 22, 2012, 9:53 am

        It doesn’t say that they got serious one day in. They’ve been dating for two years! He had plenty of time in there to decide he wasn’t ready to be a dad, and if that’s the case he shouldn’t have been dating someone with a child. And something tells me it would be difficult for her to set up a room for her daughter in his house without his knowledge or encouragement. A two year relationship is not willy nilly, even if it’s with someone she met right after her last one ended. I agree that you’re being a little judgemental.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:02 am

        I love how she probably brought over a box of her daughters stuff to decorate a room for him with the boyfriend obviously bound and gagged so he couldn’t say otherwise now.

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      • katie

        katie May 22, 2012, 10:10 am

        by saying that the LW set up the room, i definitely dont mean she did it without the knowledge or concern of the boyfriend. I mean that it may have been her idea, and he just went along with it. he may have thought it was a great idea to have them all live together, the little girl is so cute, they play together all the time, ect… and then he realized how hard it is to have a toddler with him 24/7.

        i fully give the guy credit for not wanting to raise a child and actually saying it. if he did change his mind, that sucks for the LW and her child. that was a shitty thing of him to do. if the LW just ran into this head on without any real life conversations about what moving in with a man meant when there is a child involved, then that was shitty of the LW to do to the boyfriend and her daughter.

        i cant help but think that this LW is damaging her child. she is not giving her a stable life, she is not making good decisions. she is acting like the typical 23 year she could be if she didnt have a child. but she does. and so i agree with the others here that think she needs to step her act up and become a woman- not a teenager still trying to live it up and hopping from one guy to the next.

        i see this situation all the time on facebook… girls i used to go to high school with. they are the LW’s same age, and the same things happen to them. i see it on my newsfeed everyday unfold. it is so sad, and i cant help but think how damaging it could be for the children involved. its very possible that this might not effect the daughter at all- there are people who go through much worse and still come out fine. that does happen…. and it also happens that this will leave the daughter with a multitude of issues and she will repeat the same pattern her mother taught her. i just think that the daughter should come first. and i dont think that the LW is doing that.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 11:40 am

        I agree. I think the LW nees to make sure that her child’s home is as stable as she can provide and that should be the priority. Whether it’s at her mom’s or not, having help or not – it is ultimately her responsibility as a mother to do that. Having said that, she was practically living with this guy and that big of a step takes two people. He can’t be that stupid as to expect to have his girlfriend and her daughter move in and NOT think it’s heading in a more serious direction. I mean, he could be, but probably not likely.

        I am glad also that he spoke up “sooner” rather than later, if two years could be considered sooner.

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        lets_be_honest May 21, 2012, 3:38 pm

        Agreed. Yes, she likely was forced to grow up faster, however, she lived with her parents prior to shacking up with another guy, so she didn’t grow up that much.

        LW, give up on “finding a daddy” and focus on being the best mom you can be. Teach your daughter what it means to be a real independent woman. Don’t let men into either of your lives until you have vetted them properly and you are on the same page with what you want your futures to look like. I sympathize with you. I was only 20 when I got pregnant, and found myself alone before she was even born. Its hard. It’ll stay being hard. Be strong and set the best example you can for your little girl. Dating is not a priority right now, no matter how lonely you are.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 9:07 am

        I lived with my mom for a year after my daughter was born. My husband (at the time) was in the Navy stationed across the country and was getting ready to be deployed. I didn’t want to move there just to have him leave us four months later with the closest family a ten hour drive away. Trust me – the only time I wasn’t physically taking care of my daughter was when I was in night classes. There was no going out and partying with my friends (we had all just graduated HS.) I gave my mom rent and utility money every month and babysat for extra money.

        Obviously we don’t know if LWs mom was the same, but just because you live at home with a baby doesn’t automatically mean you get to go out all the time, have your parents take care of your kid and not “grow up that much.”

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 9:29 am

        That is true. I just find that more often than not, that’s not the case. There certainly are exceptions to every rule.But given what this LW has told us, it does sound like she was going out a lot, having parents take care of her kid, etc.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 9:43 am

        Perhaps she went out only after the kiddo was asleep and made sure she was back before the sun came up. All she said was she stayed at his place a lot. That could’ve been a few times a week. I agree that there are exceptions to every rule, but your example isn’t necessarily “the rule.”

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 9:49 am

        Seriously? So that would make it ok if Mom was out partying every night, but coming home at dawn? I think you’re very much grasping at straws here.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:00 am

        Not grasping at straws – just saying that what you think is going on may not be the case. And there is a difference between partying every night and taking advantage of the time her daughter is asleep to spend some time with her boyfriend a few nights a week. If the latter is the case, I wouldn’t see a huge problem with it.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 10:06 am

        And your not seeing a problem with a mother abandoning her child almost every night to sleep with her boyfriend…ugh, forget it.

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        OverIT March 27, 2013, 8:01 am

        she never even said she went out every night. She simply said…..” I was living at my mom’s and he was living with his friends for a whole year. I stayed over there a lot, but now he lives at his own house and my daughter has a room set up over there and everything is at his new house including my stuff. We stay there every night”………. Just because she said she stayed over there alot doesn’t actually mean she left her kid behind while she went there. No need to be so harsh…. You didn’t even ask her any questions about the when’s, where’s, who’s & what’s. AND come on 1 year & 2 years is a long time to be in a relationship with someone…… I don’t call that jumping from guy to guy. Who cares if she met the guy the same night her other relationship ended….

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      • JK

        JK May 22, 2012, 10:03 am

        We all know that 3 year olds NEVER wake up during the night, calling for their mum. 😉

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 10:05 am

        Yea, exactly. Thank you JK. Started to think I was being the crazy one.

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      • JK

        JK May 22, 2012, 10:07 am

        I´ve got your back, lbh.

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        Addie Pray May 22, 2012, 12:00 pm

        3-year olds in the States call for their moms, not mums, silly.

        I’m really late to this debate. I’m glad I’m here now to offer my insight.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:07 am

        And a three-year-old isn’t going to be traumatized if it’s grandma that puts her back to sleep on occasion.

        Not everyone can be a martyr like our LBH here.

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      • JK

        JK May 22, 2012, 10:09 am

        My eldest is 4, and I know full well that if I put her to bed, then she woke up during the night (something she still does) and someone else was there she´d be very upset.

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      • JK

        JK May 22, 2012, 10:11 am

        And I don´t think lbh is a martyr (or considers herself one), but that she did what she had to do to provide a stable environment for her daughter. And I think that´s what every parent should strive for.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 10:13 am

        If being in the same home as your toddler most nights = being a martyr, I guess I am.

        Also, it wouldn’t be grandma doing it “on occasion,” it’d be grandma doing it practically every night. That’s really not being a good parent. That’s having your parents do your job.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:22 am

        Again, if it’s a couple nights a week, I wouldn’t see a problem with it. And yes, when someone says you are not allowed to have a night of fun EVER and that if anything happened to their child they would LITERALLY kill themselves for they have nothing else in thier life to live for, I would say that is a martyr. Or crazy. Whatever.

        I had my daughter 2 months before I graduated HS. My mom babysat so I could go to my senior prom and for about 3 hours on grad night (albiet those were thos only nights she sat for me when I wasn’t in class) There is obviously little doubt my child is now traumatized FOR LIFE. I should probably seek counseling for her. Come to think of it, I was living with my mom, taking college classes (altho married, raised her on my own for a year), I guess that does indeed make me less of a parent in LBH’s eyes. Aww – that’s a shame.

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      • JK

        JK May 22, 2012, 10:24 am

        @something more: you yourself are saying that it was only 2 nights that your mother babysat your kid. Not several nights every week like LW did.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 10:40 am

        Never, ever said a parent can’t have a night of fun. Nope. Never said that. Actually, somewhere on this thread I mentioned that just last weekend I was celebrating a friend’s birthday and my daughter slept over her grandparents. Continue on with your ridiculous statements.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:41 am

        Yes, I only stayed out two nights because that’s what I agreed on with my mom, whom I was living with. If this LW and HER mother agreed on something else, who are we to say she’s being a horrible mother for it? I only got three hours on grad night. That was a stipulation for going out that night. Maybe LW’s mom’s is that she has to be home before her kid wakes up. WE DON”T KNOW.

        *That’s* my point.

        And lbh DID say (multiple times) that you shouldn’t have a night of fun EVER if you are a single parent. I don’t agree with that.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 10:48 am

        lbh: “You will be much better off and she will too if you focus all your energy on being the best for her and putting yourself second for a while.”
        lbh: “In an emergent situation, no, going out and treating yourself to things is not appropriate.”
        lbh: “You are a mother. Your parents should not be taking over that role so you can still go have fun.”

        I’m sorry – you were saying…?

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 10:59 am

        You do realize you are the only person on this thread that doesn’t agree with those statements, right? Right?

        Listen, I get you feel like this all applies to you and you have to defend yourself, but you don’t. Everyone is allowed to live their life however they see fit. Most parents like to raise their own children. Most parents wish for the most ideal co-parent. Most parents like to put their kids before themselves. If others don’t, that’s certainly their choice and I wish those people and their children luck.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 11:22 am

        I’m not defending my situation at all, maybe I am defending LW some. All I’m saying is that just because you chose one way to raise your child by yourself doesn’t mean you get to shit on someone else’s way to do it. That is the gist of all my comments.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 11:24 am

        Also, my annoyance stemmed mostly from you saying multiple times that by not agreeing wth your comments, you are automatically partying every night and a bad parent.

        Again, I disagree with that. I think you can be a great parent and still be able to have some time to yourself with your friends. It’s not the end of the world as you seem to think it would be.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 11:28 am

        Also, my annoyance stemmed mostly from you saying multiple times that , you are automatically partying every night and a bad parent.

        EDIT: by not staying home every. single. night.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 11:32 am

        OK – that edit didn’t work – what I meant was:

        Also, my annoyance stemmed mostly from you saying multiple times that by not staying home every. single. night, you are automatically partying every night and a bad parent.

        Again, I disagree with that. I think you can be a great parent and still be able to have some time to yourself with your friends. It’s not the end of the world as you seem to think it would be.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 11:38 am

        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012 at 10:40 am
        Never, ever said a parent can’t have a night of fun. Nope. Never said that. Actually, somewhere on this thread I mentioned that just last weekend I was celebrating a friend’s birthday and my daughter slept over her grandparents. Continue on with your ridiculous statements.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 11:45 am

        Something More May 22, 2012 at 10:48 am
        lbh: “You will be much better off and she will too if you focus all your energy on being the best for her and putting yourself second for a while.”
        lbh: “In an emergent situation, no, going out and treating yourself to things is not appropriate.”
        lbh: “You are a mother. Your parents should not be taking over that role so you can still go have fun.”

        I’m sorry – you were saying…?

        *** I can CTRL+C, CTRL+V too!! My point is you DID say those things. If now, that you are in a somewhat two-parent household, your daughter is spending the night at her grandparents, it is a completely different situation than the one we are talking about here.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2012, 11:56 am

        WOAH WOAH WOAH. Seriously somethingmore? I have mostly stayed out of this because I felt like everyone else had it covered. You really think it’s okay for a parent to leave THEIR kid with their parents multiple times a week to stay at their boyfriends house? REALLY?????

        That’s fucking terrible. If you don’t want to be a parent, which means being there for your kid instead of banging your boyfriend, you (the you here being the LW) should have considered adoption.

        I am once again shocked at the shitty parents that exist in this world. I’m sure the grandparents love waking up in the middle of the night so their kid can continue to act their age and put their boyfriend and sex life first. Really mature.

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        Addie Pray May 22, 2012, 11:56 am

        I’m a martyr.

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        Addie Pray May 22, 2012, 11:57 am

        Deep thought: “martyr” is spelled so weird. Has anyone else noticed that?

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2012, 12:07 pm

        This whole thread is just gross to me. If I had my choice parents that leave their kids 3 nights of the week to party would have their parental rights terminated. There I said it. If it makes you a martyr to actually spend the night in the same house as your kid every night so be it. We can all be martyr’s (slash good parents) together, and the world will be a much better place.

        Also AP we need to chat about life soon.

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        Addie Pray May 22, 2012, 12:07 pm

        I *really* don’t think single parents should be staying out all night and sneaking home before dawn. But I’m not a mom, what do I know.

        I do know that when I was in the 9th grade or so, I used to babysit these kids next door. Sometimes if the mom was planning on staying out really late, she’d “let me” just fall asleep and I’d wake up in the morning and walk home. This was great for me, because I hated staying up late, and preferred to just fall asleep on the couch after the kids went to bed. Well, one time I slept over, but when I woke up the next morning around 7 or so, the mom wasn’t home yet! I was really scared. (Maybe I was naive, but, at that age, I didn’t understand that maybe the mom was sleeping over at her boyfriends — really naive of me.) I panicked and called 911 thinking she was dead in a ditch somewhere. A few minutes later the mom came sneaking in the front door with her hair all messy and in an over-sized sweat shirt… it was all REALLY EMBARRASSING when the cops came too.

        I’m not sure what the point of this story is. But I like to share.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 12:08 pm

        thx Iwanna. Some of the mentality out there when it comes to parenting is beyond sad.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 12:13 pm

        Oh for fuck’s sake. If LW lives with her mom and it’s what they discussed beforehand, who are you to say she’s horrible? Again – THAT”S my point. Did I do that as a “single” parent living with my mom? No. Am I proclimating to the world this is how it should be? No. If it’s agreed upon all around, no, I don’t see a problem with it UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES which I have (obviously uselessly) reiterated many times.

        AP: And yes, martyr is spelled funny. I typed it twice to make sure because it looked weird. “Weird” looks weird, too. Just saying.

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 12:15 pm

        And one more time – going to spend some time with your boyfriend a couple nights a week while your child is sleeping is not the same and going and partying every night – to me – in this particular situation. I am apparently the only one who can distinguish the two.

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        Addie Pray May 22, 2012, 12:21 pm

        But what about me and how traumatized I was as a big, naive 15 year old babysitter who didn’t even consider that maybe the mom was shacking up somewhere?! What about me, Jan Brady!

        I need attention.

        Iwanna, all me anytime! You will have the privilege of listening to my sultry va-va-voom voice! (Or, actually my “I gotta sore throat” voice, because I have a sore throat).

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 12:25 pm

        “all me, anytime”

        Damn Addie. Hot.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2012, 12:33 pm

        Okay well then lets really flesh this out. When you are a parent – by definition you are supposed to be the primary caretaker of your child. Meaning that unless you are working or going out for the occasional (and certainly not overnight) date, you are watching your child. Occasional date is either something you do with the child or maybe once a month for a few hours without the child. Have you ever heard the Chris Rock stand up that says something like, “if your kid calls their grandma mama and their mama Pam, they’re going to jail!” How do young children know who their mom is? It’s not by using the word mom. By the person they go to to comfort them and the person that is always there for them. So if they’re waking up in the middle of the night and it’s just as often the grandma comforting them – who is their mom?

        And yes – I consider staying at the boyfriends house and partying the exact same thing – because either one is time away from the child. And why can’t the boyfriend come hang out at the mother’s house? Do you think it’s maybe because HER parents – the babies grandparents won’t allow it? Or maybe they just want to have sex and don’t want to do it under the grandparents roof? So yes, I completely believe in that case the mom is choosing sex over her child, and that is horrible. Frankly she shouldn’t be having sex anyway, she got accidentally pregnant once, what’s to say she won’t do it again and give another kid for her parents to raise? When does the cycle end?

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        Something More May 22, 2012, 1:04 pm

        First, I’m saying that her mom who is at home with the kid might see the difference between partying all night, every night and going over to her bf’s place. If LW was doing it then it was OK with her mom. Why the fuck do you care so much?

        Second, I never said anything about the grandma raising the kid and confusing her as her mother. Never. To imply that completely disregards all of my comments on here and frankly is bullshit. My comments were that if the kid happened to wake up at night, it isn’t going to traumatize her for life if it’s grandma, who she also lives with, that puts her back to sleep.

        My whole point of commenting on this was to say that one does not have to sacrifice Every. Single. Part. of her life to be considered a perfect parent. Some do it and it works. Some don’t and it works. Those who HAVE done that don’t have the right to berate those who don’t. That’s it. That’s all. My opposition was to lbh saying that it’s NEVER OK to go on a date, which you obviously disagree with based on your comments. She later said that’s not what she said, even there it’s sprinkled throughout this entire thread, as I pointed out.

        I’m done now before something else I write gets completely ignored and/or misconstrued in some random way. Looking forward to regular, normal convos in the future. *sigh*

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson May 22, 2012, 1:19 pm

        I don’t think the kid will be traumatized either – but I do think that makes her less of a parent. I also don’t think you have to sacrifice EVERY. SINGLE. THING. to be a parent either. But I don’t consider it a huge sacrifice to not spend the night at your boyfriends house multiple times a week to be EVERY. SINGLE. THING. So maybe that’s where we differ. I think that is a small sacrifice to be a parent. To actually be home at night to take care of your kid.

        Why should you have a kid if your parents are going to be the primary caretaker? There’s adoption for a reason. I don’t think you’re giving up everything to meet the basic qualification of being home at night when your kid wakes up. Why can’t the boyfriend come to her house when the kid is asleep and watch a movie and then go home? They still get a date night and she’s still acting like a parent. Win win. I’m saying it’s RIDICULOUS to spend multiple nights a week away from your kid.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph May 21, 2012, 4:13 pm

      Whoa people. I was trying not to tear the poor girl a new one.
      I am sure in some aspects of her life she is mature. And I’m sure it’s hard for her to understand that a man a few years older than her wouldn’t be ready to raise a child since she had the role forced upon her 3 years ago.
      Anyways, I didn’t read her letter as “I am looking for my daughter to have a father” so much as “If I’m going to be with a man he also has to be a father to my daughter.” Either way, it won’t help her if you jump down her throat.

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG May 22, 2012, 8:47 am

        I agree Spacey.

        While maybe her dating decisions weren’t the BEST for her daughter, I think her intentions were good. Did my parents do everything perfect? No, of course not. And I’m okay. I think the LW is giving it her best shot. And, she is only human. I can’t really fault her for striving for that perfect image of “family”… it’s a nice thing to try to find.

        But, I do think that maybe she should take a breather from that for a while and just focus on giving her daughter stability on their own for now.

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        DMR May 22, 2012, 9:02 am

        I kind of agree.
        It’s good to be understanding, but let’s not lose the sight of the fact that there’s a three year old girl in this story. The LW clearly loves her daughter but is being immature – jumping from one guy to the next, moving in quickly, chasing bohemian types who have no interest in settling down.

        She’s in denial about being a parent. And with a small child involved, it’s okay, I think, to be blunt. It’s not just about the LW.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 11:56 am

        I have a question. How does a single Mom truly date and find a good man? I said man, not Father to her child. LBH clearly was able too, but how did that come about? Was it through mutual friends? My friends with kids, spend the bulk of their free time with other couples that also have kids, so I’m not seeing how it’s feesible for a single Mother to even have a fighting chance of finding a good guy, outside of online dating.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 12:03 pm

        I had a few very good friends who stayed close with me after I had the baby. One of those friends eventually became my now SO. We laugh about the fact that we never really went on a “real” date until several years into our relationship. My daughter knew him as a friend of her mom’s for a long, long time. Aside of having a friend turn romance situation, I imagine its very hard to meet, vet and continue forward in a relationship.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 12:16 pm

        LBH, it’s very possible she may not have that option. I’m a single guy with no kids, living on my own and paying all my own bills. I’ve asked my friends with kids to set me up with their friends, who had kids or didn’t, and they all said sorry, we can’t help you. I think that’s the situation of the LW. She has no options, so she see’s that whatever she can get is the best that she can have. I hardly know anyone that was setup by mutual friends anymore. I miss those days and really wish they would come back. It seems like they died between the ages I was 21-25.

        Plus, in my area, the more single and independent you are, the pickier you are as well. The single parents really get a bad wrap. I’m not saying the LW did everything right, but I’d feel for her in her situation. She really needs to focus that energy she has “wasted” on two men and put that into living on her own and making a life for her and her child.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 12:20 pm

        I think the problem then is LW not realizing that being alone is OK. Settling, whether as a single parent or anyone, is never the best idea. I hope she takes some time alone and realizes its not all that bad. She may end up liking it.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 12:38 pm

        I couldn’t do it. I’m just spoiled in my free time. I’ve been blessed and lucky to not have a child out of wedlock either. I don’t see anything wrong with that, but I’m still terrified of being a full-time parent.

        I think the LW spending some time at home alone, will do her some good. It’s hard to tell a 23 year old that, that has friends going out and partrying all the time, while she’s at home with her child.

        In the grand scheme of things, it’s super sad that she ended up with a guy long-term that was doing nothing but sleeping on couches. When I was living at home, and my girlfriends in the past were independent, it caused a huge strain on our relationship. I was still in that growing up phase, but they were on to that next level, mentally and emotionally.

        For the LW, she could find that guy of her dreams, but she’s going to need to crawl before she can walk. Get herself situated and find a home for just the two of them. She will find some liberation in that as well. I found a lot of liberation by just moving out on my own. I haven’t had a lot of relationship luck living on my own, but I feel much more worthy and put together when I’m paying all my own bills. It truly is a different kind of feeling.

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      • katie

        katie May 22, 2012, 12:43 pm

        im so with you will- being a parent scares me so bad!

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 12:55 pm

        It’s tough. You really do get lonely and you miss out on a lot of your 20’s, which is likely why so many women tend to cling on to any guy that comes around. It’s a sick cycle.

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        lets_be_honest May 22, 2012, 1:04 pm

        Loved your comment, and agree with what you’re saying. I think, like with anything, it helps to have good friends. For me, that was so important. Granted, they would stop by early (which was late for me) before their night even began, but it was huge for me. Even if it was just a short walk on a Saturday pushing a stroller, it made a world of difference. Life for anyone is tough, but hopefully its still good.

        I was pregnant on my 21st, which I had looked forward to forever like most teenagers do. It was a really depressing day for me. Well, my friends of course knew that. So as I sat alone at home, bored, my friend knocks at the door with a martini shaker thing and shot glasses. I must’ve had a very confused look on my face, like, you do realize I’m pregnant right? It was filled with a Shirley Temple, so I actually did get to do a “shot” on my 21st thanks to my awesome friend.

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      • avatar

        Cks April 26, 2013, 2:48 pm

        Nicely said. I stumbled upon this blog out of curiosity and don’t know why I continued to read down this far and am surprised to find such wisdom.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph May 22, 2012, 1:02 pm

        Most of the divorcees and single mothers I know that remarried/found a good man either met him online or met another parent through kid activities.
        One of my mom’s good friends was active in Boy Scouts with her son and met a divorced guy with a similarly aged son through scouts.
        I imagine it’s hard to date with a kid, but I think you meet people the same way you would without a kid. Through mutual interests/shared activities… it just happens that those activities are activities for your kids when you’re a parent.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 1:17 pm

        One thing I’ve noticed from online dating, is how women word their profile. I’ll see it one week where it mentions they have no kids. Then a couple weeks later, it mentions that they have two or three kids. Women know that a child is their quickest way to end up “single and alone.” Online dating promotes more of the “perfect spicemen” for that person, so I’ve seen a lot of lying from both sides. This is where a lot of single Mom’s end up, because they can’t get away long enough to experience a real date. And if a single Mom gets no help from her family, it’s even worse. I think it’s healthy to date while being a parent, but you need to be able to take care of yourself. A lot of single Mom’s just can’t do that, that are out in the world dating.

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        SpaceySteph May 22, 2012, 1:59 pm

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen an online dating profile without a lie. Although I do think hiding that you have 2 kids is much worse than subtracting a few years from your age.
        It seems like lying is the name of the game out there on internet dating. It’s a shame really, because it makes internet dating a constant battle to wade through the bullshit, instead of an easy way to meet people you have things in common with.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 1:20 pm

        My area just doesn’t offer enough stimulation for single people. There’s plenty to do for single parents, since the town is practically made to raise a family, which is one reason why I do love it so much. For singles, especially single in their early 20s, it has absolutely nothing to offer.

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  • avatar

    Sleepy May 21, 2012, 4:28 pm

    It is not his kid, and you are not married. He doesn’t want to play house. Whether or not you agree with his level of maturity, it is his choice to make. You got pregnant by someone who is not around. The daughter is your responsibility only. Sorry. He doesn’t have to be tied down by your mistake. If you want someone to take care of you and your daughter, move on and find someone who really wants to do that.

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  • avatar

    amy May 21, 2012, 4:38 pm

    I’m sorry, but this is a total MOA situation. You have a child to look after. You also are more mature than him because of that fact. It doesn’t matter that his family loves your daughter, etc. etc. He needs to be ready to be a parent for that child (there would be no future for the two of you if he didn’t accept your daughter as a part of his life), and he’s not.

    Your only choice is to MOA.

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    • avatar

      Marie May 21, 2012, 11:37 pm

      No one becomes mature just by having a child to look after. And I’d argue that Frank is more mature than LW, by far. He’s living the life he wants to live right now, and he’s been more than clear with LW that he’s not going to be the daddy to her child. LW is the one who’s dragging her daughter from man to man in search of a husband/daddy.

      LW, your child is your priority. Not your love life. Stop dating for awhile, and focus on creating a good, stable life for you and for her, on your own.

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  • avatar

    Tracey May 21, 2012, 3:39 pm

    You may not want the relationship to end, but it sounds like it already has. You have a career, a child, and want to settle down. He is in school, wants to be in a band, and has said he is not ready to be a father to your child.

    It may and must hurt a great deal, but this is where things are. You have to put your child and your life first, and he’s said he can’t do that right now. Move on, and maybe someday you two can find a way to be together again. I’m with call-me-hobo – take a break from the dating scene and spend that time and energy with your daughter. It will also give you time to get over the end of this relationship and give you a chance to really focus on making yourself better. Know that everything will work out and be well.

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  • avatar

    Krissy May 21, 2012, 5:19 pm

    As the child of a single mother, I could not be more grateful for the decision my mom made when we were young that she would not get involved with men until we were older. I was saved from a lot of heartbreak over the years. Instead of working on finding us a father, my mother focused on creating a safe and stable home where we would always feel secure. I never had men in and out of my life and thankfully never had to deal with my mother going through relationship drama that effected her ability to provide for us. We were always a happy and close knit family unit, and I definitely never felt like anything was lacking in my life. My mother taught me how to be an independent person, secure in myself and able to thrive in the presence of or absence of men. I am sure that what she did was incredibly difficult (and probably very lonely sometimes!) but she eventually did find someone to share her life with when were were older. LW, if the idea of completely giving up on dating for a while just doesn’t seem doable for you, please consider limiting potential boyfriends interactions with your children. This definitely means not moving your children in with them until serious commitment has been discussed and agreed upon. If kids need just one thing its consistency. They can’t afford to have people in and out of their lives like adults can. Good luck and I hope you are able to move on from this bad experience and learn something valuable about interactions between boyfriends and your daughter.

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    • avatar

      niki May 21, 2012, 6:24 pm

      I totally understand where you are coming from. My parents divorced when I was 4. My mother waited a couple years to begin dating and only dated the man she eventually married, my stepfather. My bio-dad decided to date every woman he came across and would immediately start having sleepovers and breakfast-in-bed weekends with us and these women. I would grow attached to his girlfriends and then be heart-broken when they “moved away.”

      As an adult I dated a divorced father of two, and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to meet his children right away. I told him I would love to meet them when we were sure that I would be in their life permanently. That relationship didn’t work out and his daughters didn’t have to suffer the heartbreak of me “moving away.”

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    • avatar

      Rachel May 21, 2012, 9:30 pm

      I, too, am the daughter of a single, hard-working mother who grew up without my biological father or others drifting in and out. I never missed what I never had; but plenty of my friends whose “dads” have been in and out of their lives struggle with issues regarding self-worth and relationships. I hope the LW takes your words of wisdom and experience to heart. She had the opportunity to worry about only herself and her prospects, now she needs to focus on the stability and security of her little one.

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  • avatar

    *HmC* May 21, 2012, 5:30 pm

    I’m sorry this happened to you LW, relationships are all a risk and sometimes we get our hearts broken. But what’s your question exactly? He dumped you. He told you he doesnt want to be a dad. There’s your answer. You can’t force him to be in a relationship with you or your daughter, no matter what the circumstances may be or how much of a mistake you think he’s making. When someone dumps you, your only choice is to move on.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ May 21, 2012, 4:33 pm

    *headdesk*

    Let’s look at things here. The father of your child isn’t in the picture and in the three years she has been out of your womb, she has had two father figures (so far). One you have admitted to pretty much living with, who has told you he isn’t ready to be a father to your daughter and you are asking us for ways to make him ready. Uh… to me, you’re a serial monogamist and a nester.

    Give your daughter a role model here and be independent. Yes, you work and support yourself, but REALLY be independent and stop acting like a guy is necessary for your survival. They aren’t.

    You have pushed for a hard and heavy FAMILY relationship so much that this guy is reverting to “I want to join a band and cut ties” kind of mentality because he can’t cope. AFTER he said he didn’t want to be daddy and play house. Telling you this was his way of letting you down gently so you two could calmly and rationally discuss your relationship level and ease off a bit. Instead, you wrapped your legs around his waist and clung like a limpet (or a teenager to Beiber, glitter to Katy Perry, a sex-deprived mother to a poster of Robert Pattinson/Hugh Jackman). Back off a bit (or a lot) and re-evaluate the message you’re sending to your impressionable daughter.

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    • SweetsAndBeats

      SweetsAndBeats May 21, 2012, 4:35 pm

      You really don’t beat around the bush.

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      • avatar

        rangerchic May 21, 2012, 4:45 pm

        I agree with AKchic. LW it sounds to me like you are searching for a daddy for your little girl. You need to take a break and focus on yourself and your daughter for a while. I was a single mom before I met my husband. He knew I had a daughter when we started dating and he was fine with that. That didn’t mean he had to take on the entire roll of being her father. Eventually he did and he even adopted her (her bio-donor-dad side is not in the picture). So it takes time. And if the guy isn’t ready – he isn’t ready. Maybe you are too pushy without realizing it. So MOA and focus on what really matters and make yourself happy first. If you are happy and stable, your daughter will be happy and eventually you will meet Mr. right.

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ May 21, 2012, 5:29 pm

        It gets irritating because all of us “single moms” or “teen moms” get lumped under some version of this stereotype and I’d love to smack some sense into all of them. They so badly want to prove that they aren’t damaging their child by being a single parent that they will stay in bad relationships with guys to prove that a “father figure” is there for their little tyke and that is usually what ends up doing the most damage to the child. Either the yo-yo-ing between relationships, the multiple father-figures (so they never get close to ANY male figures and the females especially repeat the cycle in their own adulthood), the numerous moves (which can make them feel unsafe or ungrounded in life and with a constant need to move around so they never have much of a career unless they pick something in travel), and the guys themselves – immature (the majority), poor decision-makers, some with criminal histories (that they bring the aftermath around the kids), and general bad behavior. All so Mommy can prove she’s a good Mommy and has a “Daddy”-type to replace the “idiot who left” her or “who was too lazy to be a real Daddy in the first place”. Most can’t even take responsibility for the fact that they were just as much involved in the idiocy that created the life of the child, and their own immaturity played a role in the breakdown of the relationship (if there was one to begin with).

        Some of these women will grow up and take ownership of their mistakes. Some won’t and will continue to villify their “baby daddy” (or baby-daddies, if the case warrants) far and wide for the child’s entire life, making that child feel like a failure by proxy, simply for being half of their father’s DNA.

        These girls had 9 months to grow the fuck up fast. And the majority didn’t. And they seem to stall out in some sort of post-adolecent, semi-adult yet overly-adult funk where they are doing the adult thing in many respects, but somehow, some part of them didn’t age, because it got interrupted by the pregnancy and real life.

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        rangerchic May 21, 2012, 5:41 pm

        Nothing much to add except totally agree!! I see it a lot where I live. The cycle just continues. I thought my youngest sister was headed that route but she finally grew up…is in school to be a paralegal and on the right track – she was always a good mom but since she started taking life by the horns and doing something with it she is much happier and I can tell a difference in her kids too – they are so much happier and she is a much better mom.

        I think some of it depends on the support system these women either have or don’t have. My sister has a good support system (and I don’t mean an enabling support system either). But some of these women do not have support or good role models and really I don’t think some know any other way. It is unfortunate and I wish there was something I could do to help them find their way.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 11:16 am

        This is true. If the parents are poor role models, it’s very easy that the single mom is looking for an “escape” and to be “rescued” by whatever guy that will pay her attention.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy May 21, 2012, 6:21 pm

        Realistically not many 26 year olds with prospects are going to be interested in raising someone else’s 3 year old. At least this guy is being honest, and not keeping her around for his entertainment.

        Like you’ve noticed, the ones who are willing to assume this role often have something to make up for.

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      • SweetsAndBeats

        SweetsAndBeats May 21, 2012, 6:42 pm

        Though harsh and overly generalized, your point is a good one. If this LW is dead set on finding a man within her age range to father her child, she should be looking for someone who probably already is a father.

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      • SweetsAndBeats

        SweetsAndBeats May 21, 2012, 6:43 pm

        and by father her child, I mean raise it.

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      • Leroy

        Leroy May 21, 2012, 7:44 pm

        I don’t think that I’m over-generalizing, or being especially harsh, but that’s subjective.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 11:24 am

        I think it’s true. Dating a single mom is hard and you really have to ask yourself a lot of questions. If you even want to be a Father to the child or if you rather just play “house” with the child’s Mom. Also, a lot falls back on the Mother as well. How good of a parent she is and what role models she has surrounding herself and child.

        Where LBH really hit home, is being able to take care of yourself as a single Mother, really does allow you the better pick of men. Those years of getting yourself to that point will be lonely and very exhausting, but you will have a lifetime of rewards after it. There’s something that is very attractive about a woman who can take care of herself and her child(ren). Even if she gets help from time to time by her family, she still does the bulk of it on her own.

        Sadly, in my area, a lot of single Mom’s continue to keep having kids by Dad’s. Getting coerced into unprotected sex, because he said he “loves you”, but is out of the picture the moment he finds out you are pregnant. Heard this same thing time and time again and it really does make you think about the women that continue to have kids in an unstabled environment.

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  • avatar

    Meredith May 21, 2012, 6:25 pm

    He’s already told you he wants his freedom and to be single. You need to listen to what he’s telling you and not hear what you want to. It stinks and it’s a hurtful situation, and I know you want to protect your daughter, but the best way to do that is to go ahead and move out and try to move on. The longer you drag it out the more confusing and hurtful it will get for your daughter. She’s at an age now where she is really understanding what goes on around her and you have to keep that in mind. You need to draw your strength from the fact that leaving him is going to be best for her in the long run, even if it means having to nurse a broken heart. With your next relationship it would be best to really get to know the guy away from your daughter and gauge how serious he is about being both your boyfriend and a father figure before you introduce them. The less guys you have in and out of her life the better. Good luck.

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  • avatar

    GertietheDino May 21, 2012, 6:27 pm

    LW – You seem to jump from one relationship to the next. Why not take some time for self-reflection and serious mommy-daughter time and just find out who you are outside of relationships.

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  • avatar

    temperance May 21, 2012, 7:55 pm

    It’ll be worse for your daughter to keep meeting and bonding with random dudes as her “daddy”. You need to date men who are ready to be part of her life, and you need to keep her isolated from these men until you are ready to settle down. Period. SHe’s only 3, and probably royally confused.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie May 21, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Many decades ago I was dating a really wonderful woman that had 2 young boys. We did a lot of fun things together like a regular family at the beach, amusement park etc. The boys were very active and fun to be with, well behaved, focused at school and all the good stuff. Their Mom was lovely, over sexed (my favorite part of her), educated, good job, and madly in love with me. As the relationship progressed it became time to shit or get off the pot. The ONLY problem was I just didn’t want to be a pseudo daddy. Perhaps it was my fear of that particular responsibility that left me with breaking up to be the only option. It was devastating to her and hard for me.

    Time passed, she married a mutual friend and was happy. Now I realize that the opportunity was golden and I regret not hanging in there and at least trying. (sigh)

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    • Will.i.am

      Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 11:38 am

      Regrets are hard. But sometimes, your heart is really telling you the truth, even though your brain is telling you something else. Even though you weren’t ready to commit, you are seeing the situation, of what it could have been, through hindsight. You two could have gotten married and it could have been a disaster, or it could have been marital bliss. You will only know if you two were married, but you decided to take an opposite step in your life.

      Pseudo dad is a tough job to take on, because you are being that kids Father. Even if their Dad is in the picture, you are still very involved in that childs life. Especially since you said the kids were active, you were taking them to their sports after school, bike rides, or whatever. You are still playing the role of “Dad” and that’s a tough pill for a lot of non Dad’s to take on. I think you thought this situation out well, even though you regret it some years later.

      I know very few men and women that have successfully dated an SO that didn’t have kids. I know of no men or women who have done it. I only know the blended families that have worked so far. Don’t regret the decision that you made, but look at it as something you cherished and forever was just not there for you at that time.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie May 23, 2012, 10:22 am

        Your right on Will, but it isn’t fair to any and all involved to not be “into” parenting when the kids are young and deserve the attention that’s required. I’ve never had kids and got clipped early on. It was the right decision for me but now with the luxury of hindsight and freedom of time I wish there were some kids in my life. Fortunately my goddaughter has 2 wonderful little girls and she generously lets me take part in their lives.

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  • avatar

    jubietta May 21, 2012, 9:22 pm

    “…so now Frank wants to join this little band. He has been practicing guitar. I think he needs to grow up.”

    This phrasing is so full of judgement (unless the band in truly little, like made up of only 2 people or everyone involved is short). That judgement is coming from someplace negative and I think the LW would be well-served to look at the belief she’s got stuck sideways in her craw that lead to it.

    What if, instead, her belief was that BF’s an incredible musician and a one-of-a-kind human being — and that the best possible outcome for him, LW, the daughter and the world-at-large would be if he developed his talent and rocked his ass off until he was 85 years old when he could no longer remember the chords? I don’t think she’d be calling it a “little” band, and that the time he devotes is just “practicing” and maybe the focus would be that he needs to expand his mentor-base so he could “grow deep” instead of “growing up.”

    Yes, the odds are against it. But they’re better now that he’s 23 and is unbridled by the choices he’s already made in life than the chances might be if he “listens to her” and “grows up” and doesn’t touch the guitar again until he’s 65. Maybe Boyfriend has a calling for music. Unless she’s got a crystal ball, I don’t think that’s a judgement she’s best suited to make.

    The world is full of people who “grow up” even if they don’t “have to.” Wouldn’t it be more amazing if some of those people took a different path in life. Just because those pathways are no longer available to the LW (because she has parental responsibilies) that doesn’t mean Boyfriend has to abandon them.

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    • avatar

      MarieDC May 21, 2012, 9:35 pm

      I love this.

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    • avatar

      MarieDC May 21, 2012, 9:37 pm

      I mean seriously…the guy should not give up his dreams just to keep the LW happy. He doesn’t want to be a father, at least not now. Maybe never. That doesn’t make him a bad guy.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG May 22, 2012, 9:01 am

      I understand what you’re saying… and I mostly agree.

      My only thought (and I don’t know without more details) is maybe her bitterness regarding his “little” band is that this guy lead her on in some way prior to stating he wasn’t ready to be a father. Maybe he did fill her head with ideas of a happy family and maybe he THOUGHT he was ready for that kind of life. I mean… who among us haven’t been filled with pretty words from people, who in the long run, didn’t mean it?

      Of course, it is absolutely his prerogative to change his mind. To pursue the things in life that he wants to pursue! To rock his ass off until he is 85! And this child is NOT his responsibility.

      But, I can’t blame the LW for being slightly bitter when something she really wanted didn’t work out. If I step into her shoes for a moment… yea, I do make fun of his “little band”. She’s hurt, so I’ll give her that.

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    • avatar

      Temperance May 22, 2012, 11:56 am

      I love the romantic notions in everything you’ve said here. That being said, most of the guys I know in smaller bands are Peter Pans. One I know is 35 and has a long-term girlfriend that he hasn’t married yet because he thinks he might hit is big. He hasn’t ever had a real job and works part-time doing food prep and makes minimum cash on the musical jobs he picks up.

      The way that the letter was worded made “band” sound like a code word for “party”. There is nothing wrong with that, either – he’s not hte child’s father, he can do as he pleases.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 12:08 pm

        I just feel a single Mom who is steady should be looking for an equal. No one is guaranteed that they will find that equal either, but it’s not in the LW’s best interest to be with a guy that is still finding himself. At 23, she’s ready to be a pseudo family, and this guy clearly isn’t.

        Two people who get together, who have no kids, have this same problem. You end up going in two different directions and you grow apart. I think this woman is dealing with an issue that some areas just have. The ability to find a good guy that is willing to give you what you want is few and far between, so you are “stuck” with the best you can get. Much like the single girls that go after the douchebag guys, hoping she can chnage him into the sweetheart she always wanted. The more and more I read on this thread and think, the more I would hate to be a single parent. I’d feel I’d value myself so much and did all the steps to secure my life for me and my child, but what if no one ever views me in that light?

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      • katie

        katie May 22, 2012, 12:16 pm

        i think the hardest part of it is that there is really little to no room for change in the single parent’s situation. the partner has to fit their already-created situation (ie family life) and anything beyond or outside of that wont work… so there has to be some sort of want already on the partners side to be a family, maybe to have kids of their own, ect. that definitely happens- my boyfriends brother just married a lady who already had a three year old girl, and they are having their first child together in august. they basically made a honeymoon baby, and they apparently both wanted to have kids right after getting married- it worked. so it can and does happen, but the right people have to find each other… which is hard enough as it is, and then with the rigid lines of parenthood, it gets even harder.

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      • Will.i.am

        Will.i.am May 22, 2012, 1:05 pm

        Your last sentence nailed my point. Dating with the round peg fitting in the round hole is already hard as is. I will always stand behind dating as you get older is harder and harder, because you have less and less time to waste. Funny, but I think the dating speed actually speeds up as we age. I want to move faster, but I move super slow with any Mom’s, just due to the scrutiny of the situation.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark May 21, 2012, 10:03 pm

    He’s not ready to be a parent.

    And why should he be?

    YOU had this baby…not him. This letter is a textbook example of WHAT NOT TO DO in my opinion. And so things aren’t working out just swell. Surprise, surprise….

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  • avatar

    DMR May 22, 2012, 4:41 am

    Look, he’s a “student” and he wants to join the band. He’s not a keeper. This boy does not yet understand responsibility and adulthood. Plus, he’s come right out and told you, he doesn’t want to be a father to your daughter!!!! LW, he is correct! He’s not ready.

    And as others said, moving in with him with your daughter was irresponsible.

    You need a stable, boring (if you want to use that word), responsible guy who will be a good father to your daughter and a good ‘husband’, whether or not you officially get hitched. You had that. But you got bored. You wanted to hang out with the cool dudes and party boys on campus who have friends in bands.

    LW, that is not your life. Grieve for your lost youth, if you need to. It sucks, sure. You don’t get to hang out and just be a young chick flirting with the boys. But don’t pretend that your daughter didn’t happen. She did, and you need to grow the hell up, for her sake.

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    • avatar

      DMR May 22, 2012, 9:06 am

      By the way, I speak as a single parent myself. But you have one priority (count ’em) and that’s your daughter. Having fun, or hanging with sexy dudes that play guitar, runs a distant second.

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  • avatar

    Sunshine Brite May 22, 2012, 6:49 am

    Woah, they are not on the same page right now. He doesn’t have to grow up because he is not going to be a parent to this child and made that abundantly clear. He has communicated his unmovable position in this relationship. Time to let it go.

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG May 22, 2012, 8:36 am

    There are MANY men out there that want to “live their life” and join bands. I’ve dated and have encountered many guys that are just that type. That are even older than your boyfriend and want to do nothing more than be in their little hardcore punk rock bands and never do their laundry.

    However, there are also men who could love both you and your daughter- that will make that commitment. It hurts because you really like this guy- but, you can’t force a man to be a grown up (and let’s face it, he has that right to be a kid if he wants to). And you don’t have the luxury to wait for him. What you CAN do is go live your own life and maybe someday find a man who already is a grown up.

    Good luck!

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  • Lyra

    L May 22, 2012, 9:15 am

    LW I have a friend who was a single mom before she got married a few years ago. Her daughter was about 4 when my friend married her now husband. During the wedding ceremony, he walked up to her daughter and put a bracelet around her wrist to signify that he didn’t just want to marry her mom, he wanted to marry into their family. He wanted to show the daughter that he cares deeply for her and wants her in his life.

    THAT is the kind of man you want to settle down with.

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  • avatar

    Michelle.Lea May 22, 2012, 10:32 am

    the worst thing you can do is try to force it. unfortunately you need to move on and find someone who will accept you and your daughter. those men are out there.

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    • avatar

      joel May 25, 2012, 7:32 pm

      Yes, those men are out there. They get rejected by women constantly, including this woman.

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  • Budj

    Budj May 22, 2012, 11:21 am

    Get your own place, live your life with your daughter, when you meet the right guy keep him at bay and don’t move in with that guy until you have had the discussion about becoming a family unit aka marriage or he is ready for the father responsibilities…and even then don’t move in until all the kinks have been worked out and you are sure he is going to stick around.

    Your daughter is going to be very confused if you keep your status quo going.

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  • avatar

    Jenny May 22, 2012, 1:23 pm

    If he was the father of this child, I’d agree he needs to grow up and not focus on a “little band”. But he’s not. He’s 26 years old. I know that may not sound young to you because you’re 23 with a 3 year old, but that’s very young. He’s 26 years old, he’s a fucking veteran…he’s entitled to have some fun and not want to settle down yet.

    I know we’re often told actions speak louder than words, but in this case…LISTEN to the words he’s saying. He is not ready to be a father. There’s a big difference between playing house and being an actual father. I know you are probably worried about your daughter growing up without a father figure. But trust me, she’ll be much better off having an awesome, attentive mother and no father figure than she will be with a mother who is distracted and heartbroken, trying to force relationships on men who aren’t ready. Show your daughter that a woman can stand on her own two feet without relying on a man. You are still quite young yourself, you have plenty of time to find love. But these early years are so crucial for your daughter, and what kind of mother you are now will mold who she is for the rest of her life. She will thrive if you show her SHE is the love of your life — not some 26 year old dude who is still getting his shit together.

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  • avatar

    Pete May 25, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Guess what? He’s not the father of that little girl. No matter how much you want to “choose” him.

    It’s time for you to grow up, young lady – the child has a father already, and you chose him about 4 or so years ago when you let him impregnate you. If he has skipped out on his responsibilities, he’s scum – but it still remains that YOU. Chose. Poorly. Period. End of story.

    No. End of story.

    (And if he is not in her life at all – barring some clear and documentable unfitness – by your choice – Shame on you. Just – shame on you. You child is entitled to her father. That is her right, and not yours to play God with.)

    So yourt whole “looking for a father” game needs to stop. Nobody but the man who fathered that child has any obligation or responsibility to “be a father” to her. If anyone does – it’s to his credit. But if he doesn’t – it’s no slam on him.

    He did not knock you up. Keep repeating that until you get it.

    You have a role in that child not having a father in her life, and you need to own that. Your angst comes solely from “Someone won’t let me pass the buck to them!” Once you stop that kind of irresponsible thinking, your options will come into focus. And until you get that into your head, it’s pointless to go further.

    Or you can get with your equally immature girlfriends and talk about what an immature pig he is, all men are scum, etc, etc, ad nauseum – and keep chasing this frivolous pipe dream.

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  • avatar

    TeeJaw May 25, 2012, 5:57 pm

    There aren’t many men who want to assume the role of father to a child that’s not theirs. Men are just made that way, blame Darwin and selfish genes. There probably once were such men, maybe a 100,000 years ago, but they left no offspring and the line died out.

    If you find a man who really wants to be your daughter’s father you should be a little suspicious until it’s clear that his intentions are honorable.

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  • avatar

    CatoRenasci May 25, 2012, 6:05 pm

    Credit the BF with the honesty to tell you he’s not ready to be daddy. Many guys aren’t and it would be only cause heartache for everyone — especially including your daughter — to push him into a role he doesn’t want.

    It’s hard hard one. I once had to break up with an otherwise great girl because she was adamant she didn’t want kids (either natural or adopted). To be fair to her, she’d had very psychologically abusive parents and I can’t blame her feeling as she did. But it wasn’t what I wanted. And I respected her enough to accept that she meant what she said. So there it was.

    So in your situation, it’s time to move on. To find the guy who’ll love you and your daughter. He’s out there somewhere. Just be open to it when it happens, and in the meantime focus on your daughter and your own life.♦

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  • avatar

    joel May 25, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Being a single mother by choice in the 21th century is unpardonable. Completely irresponsible.

    So, why would any man who intends to be a responsible husband and parent ever team up with you, or your daughter, whose biological mother and father are both highly irresponsible people.

    Why don’t you start demanding the biological father pay child support?

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  • avatar

    Greg May 25, 2012, 7:54 pm

    Here’s my advice. Go to the bank and tell them they have to give you $1 million because you and your daughter need it. That’s just as reasonable as insisting that this guy simply HAS to be a daddy to your daughter because you need him to, and the results will be similar.

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  • avatar

    Roger May 25, 2012, 9:04 pm

    I hate to be harsh, but you deserve it. I’m guessing you don’t have an older brother or father (or anyone for that matter) who can set you straight about the confusion and doubt you are inflicting on your daughter.

    For your daughter’s sake, don’t move in with a guy until you have a long-term commitment from him. That quaint little thing called ‘marriage’ might be a good start. Otherwise, you’re inviting your daughter to experience unnecessary abandonment and confusion about the role models and people she bonds to in her life. If you think that you have difficulty dealing with the loss of this guy, imagine what an emotionally undeveloped little girl is going through. This is so obvious to most people that it’s frustrating to see a daughter raised by someone who appears to have no clue. At least you have realized that your daughter needs a father who is active in her life, which is leagues better than many of the wisdom-lacking dopes who comment here.

    I truly wish you the best and hope you find the clarity and strength to shield your daughter from unnecessary emotional traumas. Being a father of a newborn myself, it’s frustrating to see a child subject to such confusion and listlessness. Friggin Democrats – zero wisdom.

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  • avatar

    amy May 25, 2012, 9:12 pm

    signed…………” Looking for a Father for My Daughter” Where to start?

    Hey, your daughter has a father. Remember “Carl”…the “wonderful guy for my daughter but not for me, so we split up”…? Any key words there that would have made your daughter’s life better?

    Your boyfriend, really, sweetie, owes your kid nothing….no childcare payments, no investment past his superficial relationship with you, nada!

    Grow up.

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  • avatar

    Andrew - Des Moines May 25, 2012, 10:18 pm

    What you are doing right: Focus on your daughter’s needs but not settling for someone who is incompatible with you.

    What you are doing wrong: Dating guys in their mid twenties, expecting people to change who they are.

    What you need to know: The father is crucially important in a child’s life, even more so than the mother statistically speaking. The younger your daughter when you do finally settle down the better, but take your time to find the right man for both of you. If you choose a man that can not make you happy in the long run, you will face inevitable problems with your daughter living in a home without love.

    My experience: I took on my wife’s daughters at 8 and 12. They are now 15 and 19 and we are a very close family. To make it work though, I had to be ready to make them more important than myself; I was ready, but not everyone is.

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  • avatar

    bitsnbytes May 25, 2012, 10:43 pm

    #1: Love means the willingness to make sacrifices for the good of the other person. You love your daughter.
    #2: Therefore, as a mother, your job (and it is a very satisfying job) is to put your daughter’s interests ahead of your personal preferences.
    #3: The best arrangement you can offer your daughter (in general) is a stable classic family, or as close as you can get to that — to be married and provide her a permanent stepfather or adoptive father.
    #4: Your bf/gf relationship with Frank is an impediment to that. Say goodbye to Frank and his family.
    #5: If you have male relatives who can provide some fatherly presence in your daughter’s life, that would be a good thing. Move near your family if it will help to facilitate that.
    #6: When you date: no sex until marriage. Sex before marriage is a con job: it’s living a lie. The body says “I’m all yours”, but the lack of a ring says “I’m not all yours.” Don’t live a lie; don’t let the man live a lie. Instead, you want a man with integrity, and you want to provide the role model of a mother with integrity.
    #7: For now, seek child support from the dad, if possible. It could make a difference in your daughter’s life: maybe pay for better schooling or a college fund, or maybe just help you cover the rent.

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  • avatar

    Mike V. May 25, 2012, 10:43 pm

    My stepsons were 4 and 5 when their Mom and I married. I thought long and hard about it beacuse I knew it was a package deal. Raising them wasn’t easy (their birth Dad was rarely in the picture) but I don’t think we faced anything other families haven’t. If he says he isn’t ready, all the wishing and crying in the world won’t change it. Raise your daughter and don’t be in a rush to find her a father. The right guy is out there somewhere. Be patient.

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  • avatar

    Chris G May 26, 2012, 5:05 am

    The guy’s going to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which means that he spent some amount of time in either Iraq or Afghanistan. He just came out of the most regimented environment you can possibly imagine, one where he almost certainly dealt with responsibilities greater than you can meaningfully wrap your head around. It’s great that /you/ want to settle down, but he wants to live it up, which is his right. He deferred his partying years and gave up his freedom to serve his country. He has earned some fun, whether or not you want him to grow up, and it’s honestly kind of selfish of you to complain about his desire to kick back in his “little” band.

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  • avatar

    tiffany July 16, 2012, 5:07 pm

    You all are crazy he needs to grow up

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  • avatar

    someone October 11, 2012, 3:28 pm

    ummmmmmmmm, she already HAS a father. Why not just concentrate on your child until she finishes high school? Then you can date. Or, you can date a single father.

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