I am a single mother of a beautiful baby boy whom I love very much, and want the best for him. The father was very supportive at first, but this was while I was far away. When I moved back things became very distant between us. He rarely comes to see his son, but is providing money and insurance for him. He does seem to really love his son also. He and I have been pretty close in the past, and he has been the one in the past that has pursued me in this relationship. Now he acts as if he would rather not see me. I am so confused about this. I really do care for him, but I don’t want to run him off by scaring him. Do you have any advice? I can’t really wait around forever for him, but his mother keeps telling me how much he cares about me and wants us to be a family…what do you think???Dazed and Confused
This man is practically abandoning you and the baby. How awful for you.When you speak of fearing that your pressure for more time and attention will run him off, I assume you are afraid to lose his financial support. I say this because he isn’t giving you anything but financial support at this point.Before you say or do anything, you need to be certain that you are able to bear the consequences of your words or actions. If you are afraid that your pressure would lead him to withdraw his financial support, then you must be sure that you can make it without him before you make a move.Being financially dependent on him must make you feel endangered and tongue tied, always fearing that if you say or do the wrong thing, he will pull the financial plug on you. Feeling so dependent that you can’t say what’s on your mind is an awful place to be.Before you speak, be clear on what you risk and make sure that you are willing to bear that risk before you say a word. If you think that he is the type of person who will take away the support if he becomes upset, and you need that money, then you may not be able to speak to him.My thinking is that you must do whatever needs to be done so that you feel independent of this man. You need to know that you and your boy can live without his crumbs. Then, you come to him from a position of strength, as opposed to feeling like a beggar who can’t live without him.If you can work yourself into a position of strength, then you can talk to him about his behavior without fear of the outcome. Then, if he pitches a fit, you won’t be up the creek.How you speak to him depends upon what you want to accomplish. Do you want him to come around more? Do you want him to become more aware of how his lack of attention makes you feel?A middle of the road approach might be to start with a general observation like the following: You seemed eager to have us move back, but as soon as we did, you avoided coming around. Ask him what caused the change? Then, tell him that you aren’t sure what he’s trying to say to you. He must translate his actions into words. Ask him what he was feeling and thinking when he asked you back and what is he feeling and thinking now that you’re back. Is he afraid to lose his freedom? Is he afraid of intimacy? Is he recreating a scenario of abandonment that he suffered as a kid? We need to find out and help him to talk about the issues if we ever hope to move past this impasse.You could also ask him if he is not coming around because he doesn’t want a relationship with you, or because he doesn’t want this child? Or both? Make him put his thoughts and feelings into words. This is the goal of the talk. If he is open to talking, you can move into deeper waters. For example, you could ask him if he wants his son to grow up without a father in his life?If I had to guess, I would bet that this man was abandoned by his father. And, if I am right, he is recreating what he suffered. If this is true, you may be able to work this into the conversation by saying,’Why would you want our son to suffer the way you did?’ It so happens that many people arrange to deposit (technically called projection) their unbearable pain onto others, in order to free themselves from the bad feelings that live inside them. If I am right, he suffered the pain of abandonment as a child, and now he is purging himself of this pain by giving the suffering to your son. Becoming aware of this dynamic may help him to stop behaving in such an abandoning way toward your boy.As long as you get this man talking and help him to translate his actions into words, you will know where you stand, and you can plan accordingly. If your talks prove that he isn’t capable or willing to work toward greater connection, it will be a painful realization, but at least you will be clear and you can get on with your life. There are other men who would love being a father to your baby. And, if this man is not interested or willing, then we must move the driftwood aside and make room for another man.If he is willing to talk and work on resolving his blocks to forming a family with you, then contact me again in my private consulting section and we can devise a plan to help him heal. We want to do whatever we can to help this man become the father that your son needs. If he can’t be that person, then we need to know now.Let me know and good luck.