Single Dad Seeking…. advice about reconciling with his child’s mother

by singlemomseeking on September 5, 2008

This single dad‘s story might ring true for many of you. It sure does for me.

A 40-year-old dad whom I’ll call “Karl” fell in love with a woman last year, and within six months they were expecting a baby. Although becoming parents so soon was rushed, they were so into each other that it didn’t seem to matter.

But not longer after their son was born, they were arguing. All the time. Maybe this wasn’t so surprising: they’d become mom and dad before having any real foundation as a couple.

So now what?

“We can’t seem to agree on anything,” Karl says, adding that she moved out a few months ago. “I want to stay with her for our son, for whom I’d do anything. If I love my son as much as I say I do, it should be easy to stay, right?”

But it doesn’t feel easy. They see each other every week, to split time with their son. Whenever they communicate, they can’t seem to agree about anything.

“I wonder who many of the parents who read your blog try to stay in relationships despite their problems?” he asks.

“How long do they think someone should stay…because there is a kid involved?”

~~~
Hey, single parents — what advice do you have for this dad? Please chime in.

My advice for him?

Push the “pause” button on romance — and sex — for now. It’s time to focus on co-parenting with your son’s mother. Try to let go of any expectations you might have about your future with her — and focus on parenting. This is what matters right now.

I’m sure that you two have so many feelings — anger, resentment, disappointment. You might consider getting the help of a good counselor/therapist. If your relationship is really tense, this could be a good first step.

Your turn! Please help him out

Photo from Vivek

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

T September 5, 2008 at 12:44 pm

I agree with you! It sounds like both he and the mother need to find out who they are first. So, instead of forcing the relationship, I’d do some therapy, soul searching, find happiness within yourself so that you can be a better daddy. She should do the same. Try to works things out, co-parenting-wise, for the sake of the baby. Think of his needs right now. You never know, you guys might end up finding that you’re perfect together after all. Or not. Keep your options open, let go of expectations and focus on that little boy. He needs you.

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dadshouse September 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Yes, focus on co-parenting. That’s great advice. As for whether they have a future as a couple or not – that’s something only they can decide. Couples therapy can help two people communicate, but it won’t help individuals look at themselves, if that’s an issue (which it almost always is)

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GLSD September 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm

I agree with you. Sounds like they have to stay focused on the child for now and co-parenting. They need to find balance and have a civil relationship for the sake of the child, but not have to be in a relationship for the sake of the child. You don’t want to raise a child in an angry environment.Once they can get through that on an amicable level, then “maybe” they can see if they click or not!

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The Exception September 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Agree with all of the above. The child needs them to focus on being good parents right now and accepting themselves and the situation. There are so many feelings involved when a child is born – whether married or to two single people. It takes time to get through it all.

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Legal Editor Mom September 5, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Absolutely make every attempt to co-parent. A child deserves the benefit of both parents, if possible, whether they’re together or not. So getting along for the sake of your children is crucial, even if you truly can’t stand each other.

I also want to add that while parent-child relationships are key to children’s mental health and social adjustment, it’s just as important for children to feel good about their parents’ relationship with each other. Parents don’t always realize that children are sensitive to how they relate to each other. Even babies are aware to some degree and can be affected. So it’s important to keep conflicts away from children and not let them see you arguing or fighting.

I went through hell with my ex, but did a very good job of protecting my daughter from it all. Even though I was often sad, hurt, and in pain, I managed not to cry around her. The one time she saw me, it hurt her deeply and I vowed not to let it happen again, at least until she is much older and can understand things better. Now I’m a lot stronger and while I’m a lot less tolerant of my ex and his issues since we’re divorced and he’s no longer my “problem,” I do find that I’m a lot nicer to him than I should be, for her sake. In her eyes we are amicable and friendly towards each other, and that’s how I plan to keep it.

Finally, regarding reconciling for the kid’s sake, don’t push it or even worry about it right now. Focus on being a parent and the rest will fall into place. If that relationship is meant to be, it will be. But remember, it takes TWO to make a relationship work. Once you’re at that point and if it’s what you really want, you both have to be willing to work at it, or it will never work!

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Crazy Computer Dad September 5, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Therapy and an open mind. Within the mix of hormones there is also the real possibility of post-partem depression which can manifest in many forms depending on the person.

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Andrea September 5, 2008 at 7:12 pm

I’m not single, but…I think first you should try to separate your romantic relationship and try to develop a co-parent relationship. Work on making that healthy. No matter what happens romantically between you two, you will always be the parents of your child and need to be able to function well together on that level.

Then once that is established, begin to consider if you want to be together romantically. You adn she both deserve to be with someone you are happy with and enjoy being with, not just someone you created a child with. You can have a fantastic parental relationship without being together in any other sense.

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laurakim123 September 6, 2008 at 7:59 am

I was going to say exactly what T said!

They first need to be ok with who they are and know what they want from themselves and their r/ships.

And I would recommend getting help – just to kick start the process! It helps!

Co-parenting is hard in the begining when emotions are so raw and so confusing – but as hard as it is try focus on the CHILD and what he needs – not what you feel for each other!

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Melissa LaMunyon September 8, 2008 at 11:42 am

Counselling is wonderful!!

I wish Karl, his baby and his baby’s mother all of the best—I mean, this may sound simplistic–but at least they’re both *there*.

I have too many friends in situations where the father bailed on them and the baby.

So at the very least, this child’s parents both want to be around.

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Casey September 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

I speak from experience when I say, unequivocally, that staying together for the kids is BADDD! The epxerience I come with us from being the kid of people who made that decision. My husband is a by-product of same and will vouch for me on this one.

It is NOT the right thing to do. Kids are intuitive and will quickly figure out that mom and dad aren’t happy. And don’t think for a minute that small children and infants can’t be stressed, too.

Staying together only serves to set an example for your children on how to be unhappily married/attached. It gives them the wrong idea of what a relationship is about, and it is true that they are more likely to grow up and enter into the same type of unhappy setting themselves.

It is MUCH better to have two parents who are apart but happy, as opposed to two people together who are miserable.

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