This is a VERY long post, but please bear with me and hopefully you’ll understand why.
I’ve posted this on mumsnet and have had mostly (but not exclusively) nasty replies from people who only seem to have read the first paragraph before typing out their reply, so I’m hoping for some more constructive answers from people who may have been in a similar situation.
I’m due to be a first time dad (due in a few months) and my ex left me a few weeks after finding out she was pregnant. I’m not here to slate my ex, but I’m very hurt, upset, confused and anxious and I really feel like I need some help. I’ve been suffering in silence for the past few months and I’ve reached out to her and her family, but I don’t feel like my feelings matter to them in the slightest, so I’ve decided to reach out to you hoping that you can offer some advice. I can’t seem to find many similar threads online to my situation as it always seems in threads like it’s the man that doesn’t want to be involved, but I so desperately do and I just feel like I’m being cut out. I’ve tried speaking with families need fathers, and although I’ve heard they’re great in some situations, I just keep being told to wait and be patient but I’m really struggling to do that because right now I feel like I’m getting the s**tty end of the stick.
My ex and I were like best friends while we were together. I thought I was going to marry this girl, and now she’s being so utterly cold with me it’s almost beyond belief. I’ve never raised a hand to her or anything like that. My biggest mistake seems to be that I asked her to move in with me, as I always had a vision in my head of two people that love each other raising a child under the same roof. Is that unreasonable? I wanted her to move in with me before the pregnancy anyway, but upon finding out the good news it just seemed like the perfect time to approach the subject as we were going to be a family, and in my eyes loved each other more than words could express.
I’m self employed and have a good income, I own my house, and though I know money is always a struggle when you have a baby, I feel like I would have been comfortable enough to support the three of us. Alas, she wanted to stay living with her mum and because I asked more than once about the living situation I’ve been accused of bullying her in to living with me, which I feel is a totally unfair reflection of how I approached the situation. I should also mention that I’m on the autistic spectrum, so when I have an idea of how things would normally be (again an idea that I feel most people would consider relatively normal) I tend to struggle to let it go.
She claims I changed, but I honestly don’t feel like I did. I’ve shown my family the messages we’ve exchanged, and they’ve all said I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong. I’m sure they’re biased to some degree, and naturally her family are the same toward her, though I must give her mum credit in the fact that she’s keeping me in the loop with big updates as and when they come, but they’re very few and far between - and by that I mean the last update was 2 months ago. I don’t want to stress my ex or the baby out so I’ve respected her wishes and kept away, except for a handful of texts since we split up just to check everything is ok. I don’t know what I’m expecting update wise, but surely I should be getting more than this?
Even before conceiving I expressed my hesitation at buying everything brand new; it’s just how I was raised. If something second hand is in excellent condition, why spend a small fortune unnecessarily on things that can be bought second hand? Apparently that means I’m a cheapskate and our baby will only get tat, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. I feel like I’m being accused of putting our child’s safety at risk for the sake of a few quid, and it really upsets me because I’m just trying to be sensible and I’m making sure everything I buy for my house is perfectly safe.. I just didn’t see the point in spending £1,250 on a push chair when you can get them at places like mothercare for half the price with 5 star reviews.
She claims she isn’t attending any antenatal classes, even though she was insistent on attending them while we were together because of how important they apparently are (again I have no idea because I haven’t attended/been invited to any). I’ve attended both of the scans, which I’m very grateful for (though gratefulness should have nothing to do with it as I’m the baby’s father and feel like I have a right to be there anyway as I desperately want to be involved and she knows this - is that selfish of me?) but I’ve not been invited to any midwife appointments, and even while we were together she outright said that if she had a cesarian section that she’d choose her mum over me as her birthing partner, which means I wouldn’t get to experience the birth of my child. I get it’s not a spectator sport, but my argument is that her mum isn’t the parent of the baby and why should I have to miss out on the birth of my child? Regardless of the fact men often weren’t around for the births of their children way back when, they are these days, and it kills me inside that there’s a chance I may not get to see our child being brought in to the world.
Also, as silly as it sounds, I’m very worried about our child not getting my last name. It’s just a big thing for me, and she said many times while we were together that she hates her last name and would change her last name to mine because she still wants a connection with our child in that respect, and I get that, but I can’t see her changing her last name to that of her ex (me) when we aren’t together. I mentioned the possibility of getting married and her response was “I think this is going to be a big enough shock for my family so maybe we should hang off on that”. We both wanted a baby, and we’re both young so I wasn’t going to push for marriage if it’s not what she wanted. I’ve asked a couple of times about making plans, and every time I’ve asked I’m told it’s too early to make plans. We have 12 weeks until the due date and still no plans have been made or even discussions taken place about how things will go.
I never knew my dad growing up, and I always swore that I’d be damned if I had children and they didn’t have their dad in their life as a permanent fixture. A worry of mine is that I won’t get to see our child as often as I’d like. I can’t stand the thought of just seeing my child at the weekend, or god forbid every other weekend. I’m also worried I’m not going to get overnight visits for the first six months of our child’s life and not having the opportunity to develop the bond I would like with our child. Having not had my own father in my life, I know how this can affect a child and a lot of people don’t seem to appreciate that.
Hopefully you can appreciate how difficult this is for me and that I’m not just a bitter ex as I really want the best for our child and still want to support her fully as I’ll always love her as the mother of our child, but it just seems like it’s all about her and what she wants, and my feelings don’t get a second thought. I don’t seem to have any leg to stand on legally, and the last thing I want to do is drag anything through the legal system because it’s ultimately our child that will suffer, and even after how I feel I’ve been treated, I don’t want to do that to her either.
Am I being totally selfish?
What can I/should I do?
I can’t tell you how grateful I’d be for any advice or experience you can offer, because right now I need it!!
My first bit of advice is to try and keep contact with her to a minimum. She could easily turn this round as harassment and try an get you in trouble. Keep all messages in case she claims you have threatened her.
Have you tried speaking to her family. Try and get across to them (calmly) that you want to be involved and this is not your decision. Hopefully they can have a chat with her.
By the sounds of things as they are, you will most likely have to go through the courts to get any sort of access.
I would really stay off mumsnet, the impression I get from other stories is that they are anti father (I'm sure there are some who aren't but they'll get drowned out) and this attitude seems to take precedence over giving unbiased advice, Certainly do go to Families Need fathers meetings though, as you'll meet other dads who have been through similar situations.
i can relate to a lot of this and know your pain. once it became clear ex was not interested in me, i waited until after baby was born to decide what to do with the marriage. then took the legal route to get arrangements in place for seeing kids. its a nasty experience. if it becomes clear that she wants nothing to do with you, chasing after her may cause you more hurt. you should focus on getting arrangements to the see child after birth. if legal option becomes only avenue, then so be it.
court ordered my ex to give me a private room at her place, so i can sit there on saturdays with baby lol.
I had the same thing happen to my self at 5 months pregnant so I know how your feeling and it's not a nice place to be in but I agree keep contact to a minimum or they do some times try and throw the harassment card which is what my ex did to me and I recieved a non molustation order for this best thing I could recommend is have a solicitor ready just incase or a barrister even my ex promised me that our child would have my second name but didnt happen I missed out on the birth and also had to have a DNA in the end as I was told I wasnt the babys father after attending every scan up to 20 weeks. Just try keep your self focused I agree it's hard but you'll get there in the end if things are still messy when the baby arrives cut contact and and go straight through the court process that's what I am now doing as I feel its the only way I will get things sorted for the future it's terrible how dads get treated as it's so easy for us to be pushed aside but dont give up and just focus on your self and your new baby when he/she arrives thats all you can do I know its pricey but I've been through direct access barrister and I've now got one o represent me for 6000 for my court hearings yours could be cheaper if your situation is more straight forward
Thank you for being so open about your situation. Have you considered mediation counselling? It may help for you both to talk with someone from outside of the family. Break each point you have mentioned down into smaller areas. It may help you both to see each others point of view.
It can be an overwhelming time for parents to be, and the idea of having to have a possible c-section can be very scary. You don't mention how old you both are? I think communication is the key, but perhaps not too much at once. Are there any organisations connected with Autism that may help?
Build on the positives that you have - i.e. the communication between you and your ex-partners mum.
I wish you all the best and hope that the situation works out for all concerned and that you can be part of your baby's life.