Inconsistent Father....Allow him in my daughters life or cut him out completely

by MEL
(Pittsburgh, PA USA)

My 8 month old daughter's father has hardly been around since she was born. He has 2 other children, sons, his oldest is 9 and the middle is 18 months. He can be very involved and consistent with his oldest son, not so much with the youngest (all 3 have different mothers).

I dated this man off and on for a number of years, and even though our daughter is 8 months old, only his immediate family is aware of her, and only a few of them have met her one time, WHEN they found out about her at 2 months old.

He bounces from woman to woman, never having his own home, never working, doesn't have a car, etc., none of his girlfriends know about our daughter, so it makes it even harder for him to ever see her or spend any time with her.

He has gone longer than a month at a time without seeing her b/c he doesn't have access to a car, or when he still had his car, he didn't have money for gas to see her. Or he was too busy with his girlfriends. He would make plans to come see her, and then something more important would come up with one of them and he just wouldn't show up.

He has social media and will post pictures of his boys, his girlfriends and their children, but none of our daughter. He has money to "smoke" and get places to get that but can't manage to get to our daughter?

When I dated this man, things were a lot different, but I saw how he would blow off his oldest son or make up excuses as to why he just didn't show up for things or why we couldn't get him for the weekend. And at that time, being that I wasn't a parent, it didn't really occur to me the kind of man or parent he was.

I grew up with an amazing father, who I could always count on and was always there for me and is still always there for me, and that is what I want for my daughter!

So my question is, is it better to allow him to show up whenever he wants, for however long he can, 15 minutes here and hour there, 1x/month, maybe 2 or 3x/mo, then not see her for a few more weeks. Or is it better to keep him away until he is able to have a positive, consistent relationship with her?

I know he loves her and misses her, but his priorities are messed up b/c he has a severe addiction. And the fact that he has his children in and out of multiple women's lives constantly, and will blow off his kids for different women all the time, I feel like allowing him in my daughter's life is setting her up for a life time of disappointment and/or him teaching her that this is what to expect from men. PLEASE HELP!

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Keeping dad out, or letting him in
by: Sara

Dear Mel,

Thanks so much for writing. This is absolutely a tough one. Your daughter has a right to know her dad, but she shouldn't have to deal with the pain of constant let downs in order to know him.

My son's father was absent until my son was 10. When he called, I almost hung up. I didn't, because I didn't want to be the reason my son didn't have a relationship with his father.

It is very difficult to gauge the parent/child relationship when the child is 8 months old. This is his first daughter, and she is still very, very young. It is highly likely he has no idea what do with/for her; and the excuse he gives you, might not be the real problem. He may be in no shape to see his baby girl, and doesn't want to tell you.

As an addict, with no car and very few dollars, he is struggling terribly, and is probably embarrassed. He knows he isn't being a good father to anyone. This is a heavy burden for a man who loves his children.

I know he's driving you nuts, but you don't have to make a permanent decision today. In fact, you never have to make a permanent decision.

She's quite young, so the current situation is not causing her any trauma. It is ok to keep doing what you are doing, and allow the situation to unfold. If the time comes such that it is in the best interest of your daughter to sever ties, you'll know it.


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