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Am I being unfair?

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Q: From the U.S: I was dating a guy for almost a year when i got pregnant, we had a very fun relationship but I was really the support system, financially and emotionally. When i got pregnant he wanted me to abort and i said no. I told him if he wasn’t ready to be a dad i could respect that but i was ready to be a mom. He said he would take responsibility if having the baby was what i was going to do. I worked 2 jobs and went to school during my pregnancy and helped him finish his degree. He worked a part time job but spent much of his time out drinking with friends.

Distance between us grew and grew leading to our breakup. He did not help me financially then or now, not with the pregnancy nor after. He has seen our child only a handful of times but on my initiation. He always states that today he is different and ready to be a father and i should give him that chance.

Most recently he indicated he would like to get back together and be a stay at home dad since my earning potential would always be greater than his. I have to admit i was angry, offended, and hurt. I am a single mom doing it all and my child is happy, healthy, creative, and advanced for her age. Every day is spent at the zoo or library or park learning about flowers and animals and colors and shapes, we do everything together and my parents babysit when I work third shift or am at school.

It seems to me that he has not matured at all, he still works one job that pays poorly and has no aspirations for any type of future career save being a stay at home dad. Given that he has never worked very hard at anything, especially education, i certainly do not feel he would provide my child with the level of patience and stimulation that i do every day. He said that I am insulting him and being demeaning to him, and that I need to give him a chance before I determine he isnt a good father.

Our child is 2 1/2 years old…hasn’t he had a chance all along??? I will not support him and I really do not believe he would be an acceptable primary caregiver for our child, i would like for him to be involved and i would love for him to grow up and become a real father, but is it me that is being too judgemental? am i being too hard on him? My main fear is that i give him a chance and after a few months he decides this is too hard and leaves again only now our child has bonded with him. I am so torn about what is the right thing to do. Right now my child’s life is stable and filled with love and support, will giving him a chance ruin that?

Am I being unfair?

Answered by on -

A.

It seems to me that this young man wants you to judge him only on his good intentions, not on what he does. After disappointing you repeatedly, he still expects you to believe he is a changed man on the basis of his words alone. You would be foolish to believe him. More important, you would be risking your child’s welfare.

If he truly wants to be a father, he needs to start acting like one. That means getting a real job, providing regular and fair child support, and regularly spending time with you and the child until you have been reassured that she is safe and well cared for when she is with him. It could well take many months for you to relax enough to let him do solo childcare.

If he really wants to grow up and assume his responsibilities, he will rise to the occasion. If he is merely looking for what he thinks is an easy meal ticket by being a stay at home dad, he’ll probably have some kind of tantrum. Don’t fall for it. It is absolutely reasonable for you to request that he put some actions around his words.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Am I being unfair?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Am I being unfair?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/24/am-i-being-unfair/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.