Single father in need of some advice.

Jonas - posted on 04/25/2016 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am a single father with a 21 month old son. His mother and I have been separated for a year now and I have done everything in my power to participate and be active in my son's life. I see my son 2 days, sometimes 3 times a week and she hasn't taken me to court yet, thank God, but this is besides the point. My son's mother is currently dating her highschool bf that she's had a friendship with since then, she's 28 years old now. When we parted ways last year she told me, and I quote "before you bring my son around another woman, I hope that's the woman you're going to marry". I've been single ever since because I want to focus on my son and getting my life together. We told eachother that we would give eachother a heads up if we were getting serious with anyone and thought of introducing our son to our new partner. I personally think it'll be a long time before I would do such a thing but I found out in the beginning of the year that my son's mother has been dating her new bf, of course she did the complete opposite of what we vowed and I was bothered that she kept it from me. She has been bringing our son around the new bf after dating him for several months but is completely fine with her decision because she feels she's known him for so long. I've been pretty upset that she was bringing another man around my son so soon. I could care less about how long she has known him as I don't want my son getting confused. I met him for the first time in a brief encounter and felt that he is a good, positive guy. Just the other day she picked up my son and brought her bf to my house, which got me upset because I don't want him knowing where I live. Why would she bring him to my house? I confronted her about it and she thought that there was no problem with it and that to her, it's no big deal. I'm clearly seeing that she is allowing this man to be around my son more often and so I spoke to her about it. She feels that she is doing nothing wrong and that our son is too young to know anything. I think otherwise. I feel that he is a sponge at this point of his life and can easily get confused. I also came to find out that she has been sleeping over his house with my son more often. I can care less who she dates as my main concern is my son. She says that I should stop focusing on that fact that she is bringing my son around another man and focus more on providing for him and seeing him when I see him. Am I wrong for feeling that she's bringing my son around this man too soon after dating him for several months, even tho she's known him since high school? I want to confront her to see if she's been bringing my son to sleep in the same bed with them but I feel she will lie about it as she avoids any confrontation with me because she feels that she just wants to "move on with her life". I keep telling her that she can move on with her new relationship, but we have a son together. It's not like she can just shut me out and not deal with me at all. How can I deal with this situation? It's been hard for me as I love my son deeply and want the best for him.

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Sarah - posted on 04/25/2016

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You have only been separated for a year. Hardly enough time to determine a new life partner.
Your ex does not have the authority to dictate when you do or do not see your son. She also has no say over you choosing to introduce a new partner to your child. All of the verbal you agreements you have made with her are just that; verbal agreements. They hold no weight in court. So get this whole mess settled in court; it doesn't have to be a huge ugly battle. The two of you can arrange child support, visitation and rules on cohabitation together; go to a judge; get is signed and then you have a living legal document to fall back upon.

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Jonas - posted on 04/25/2016

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Jodi, Thank you for your reply! To answer your question, as a Marine Corps Vet, I've had no issues with feeling safe, but I am a very privite person and I just don't want anyone knowing where I live. I guess I just felt it was rude to not even give me the decency to give me a heads up that she would be bringing him to my house. I am definitely not naive to the fact that she would eventually move on with her life. She's entitled to that, it's her life. I just felt that it was too soon to be bringing my son to stay over her bf's house after dating him several months. I just hope she's not bringing my son in bed with her and her bf, that would bother me and I just think it's wrong. I could be over thinking it but if you were in the situation of having your son sleepover your bf's partner's house, would you be fine with it? Like you said, I will continue to be the best dad I can be for my son. I definitely don't want to get caught up in the BS, but what do I do if my son starts calling him dad. You said I shouldn't verbalize my concerns or tell him how to interact with her bf, but if my son refers to him as dad I'll have to stop it right there and tell my son that he is not his father. He could be a father figure in his life when I'm not around, but I won't let my son call him dad and let it slide. In the past, I dated a woman with a child and after dating 4-5 months she called me dad she was 20 months old. I told her daughter that I am not her father and quickly went to a photo of her dad that she had in her house and pointed to it and said, "that's daddy". I can only hope that my son's mother does the same with my son. It's just respectful.

In regards to your question about court ordered custody/visitation, we haven't gone to court. For now we compromise and schedule our days around our work schedule. For example, if I'm off Monday and tues, I'll pick him up Sunday night and drop him off tues night. She'll have off weds and thurs, here mom or grand mother watches over our son until the cycle starts over the following week. We've successfully worked things out between us, which I'm thankful for, but I have friends and family tell me that she will eventually end up taking me to court. Which is something I'm pretty scared about, if she does.

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2016

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I want to start by saying I totally admire that you are making choices and decisions to put your son first in your life. If only every parent made choices at this level.

However (and you knew that was coming), we can't prevent our ex-partner from dating, being involved with another person, and then eventually bringing that person into our child's life (and even MORE painfully, having our child becoming attached to that person). It just isn't possible. You can't control one another's personal lives to that extent. Several months is not unreasonable with regard to timing in introducing another person into a child's life. I get that you originally agreed to discuss it, but really, that's just not really feasible following a relationship breakdown.

With her bringing the boyfriend to your house.....I think you could be nitpicking there. If he was just in the car while she was picking your child up, I'm not seeing the big deal. I do have to ask the question, is there a greater history with regard to your ability to feel safe? You already said you thought he seemed like a nice guy, your ex has been seeing him several months, is there a particular reason you have a concern with him knowing where you live?

Your son will NOT get confused between you - his dad - and the boyfriend - another male who may be significant in his life. Children may be sponges, but if you are in his life enough, he won't be confused. Your ex is right. Focus on spending time with your son, being a father, being the BEST father you can be under the circumstances, and it shouldn't be an issue. Are you really naive enough to believe that your ex would never be in a relationship with a man who your son MAY consider a "father figure"? Of course it happens. But you are dad. You can't be replaced unless you choose not to step up and BE dad. Just be dad. Love your son. Spend time with your son. Don't get caught up in the rest of it. Whatever you do, do NOT verbalise your concerns to your son, OR tell him how to interact with the BF. That is what will confuse your son more than anything.

Now, having said all that.....I am going to ask - do you have court ordered custody/visitation? If you don't, book an appointment with a lawyer. I know you say you are concerned she will take you to court, but I don't understand why you are concerned. These days, most places acknowledge 50/50 custody.

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