New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. Read some of the most popular Dear Wendy posts here. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), do a search in the search bar, or submit a question for advice at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.
I understand we have a child together, whom I love with all my heart even though she looks just like her father, but I don’t like that he calls me every day from jail. The majority of the time I don’t pick up, but that doesn’t stop him from calling. He asked me if I could come visit him by myself and then afterwards bring our daughter, but if my daughter’s not going to see him with me, then I don’t see the point in going to see him at all because we are not together.
It’s hard being a single mother, and I love my ex, but I’m trying to move on from him. I know I can’t because I have a kid with him, and now that he knows that, he’s going to want to see the child. What should I do? — Baby Mama
You’ve made your daughter’s potential relationship with her father all about you since you discovered your were pregnant. You didn’t tell your ex you were expecting. You didn’t tell him about his daughter once he was born, and you say you don’t want him in her life. That could all be understandable if you had reason to believe his presence in her life would be detrimental to her well-being. And maybe you do (he IS in jail, after all). But you don’t mention that. All you say is that you don’t want your ex in your daughter’s life because of how he treated YOU and because YOU need to move on. What about your daughter?
You’re a mother now. It’s time to think of your child and what’s best for her. Could you ex potentially be a good father to her? If he has any interest at all in being a dad, doesn’t your daughter deserve the chance to have that? Don’t her needs trump your own? (They do.).
Your ex wants you to come visit him by yourself so that you can talk one-on-one without distraction about, oh, I don’t know, how you kept the pregnancy from him and didn’t bother to let him know he had a daughter. He probably wants a chance to appeal to you and fight for a chance to be in her life. And if you love your daughter, you’ll at least go and listen to what he has to say. You’ll put your own selfish needs aside for two hours and talk to your ex about the daughter you have together and show him some photos and share your hopes for her and find out what your ex has to say.
Frankly, if you’re friends with your ex’s family, I don’t know how you thought you’d keep your daughter a secret from him at all, let alone forever. You knew eventually you’d have to discuss the situation with him. Now is that time. Answer his phone calls, go see him, talk about the role he wants in your daughter’s life. You can’t avoid him forever, and if there’s a chance this man could be a positive role in your daughter’s life, she deserves the minimal amount of effort on your part to help make that happen.
You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.