Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rock. Meet hard place.

I feel like I’m stuck. I don’t know which way will be better for Avery. Better for our family.

A bit of backstory: “Ben” has seen Avery 4 times in her 2 years of life. Once at 4 months old, twice right before she turned 1, and the last time in November of this year. Ben has not helped financially at all and emotionally even less. The way things stand now he can come see Avery whenever he wants to. I will answer the phone whenever he wants to call and talk to her and she can call him whenever she wants.

Let me outline the last couple days for you.

December 13th: She called him 2 times. Left voicemails both times. He answered the phone when I called him (3rd phone call that day) and we spoke for 2 minutes about her Christmas present, Avery was napping at the time.

December 14th: She called him 2 times. Left voicemails both times. He did not return her call. He did text me about her Christmas present again.

Today (December 15th): She has called him 1 time thus far. No answer and no return call.

I’m absolutely infuriated. She wants to speak to her father. “Call daddy. Call daddy.” And when she says, to his voicemail, “I love you daddy, call me later.” It kills me. She has a relationship with his voicemail, not him.

And he could care less because he is busy wherever he is doing whatever it is that he’s doing. He still hasn’t 100% been honest about his life. I caught him in another HUGE lie recently. And he is STILL denying it happened. Every time he calls he says “Let me take her for a week”. Hell to the no! We were both of the understanding when we ended things a few weeks ago that he can come whenever he wants and call whenever he wants but I was not comfortable with him being alone with her. WE WERE BOTH of the understanding. Why is he trying to change things already? And if he really wanted to see her why doesn’t he RETURN HER PHONE CALLS? It makes me believe she is merely a pawn for him.

He didn’t even get her a birthday present. He didn’t even SHOW UP for her birthday. He says “I’ll bring it when I come down”. We are still waiting on her 1st birthday present. I know I’ve said it before but I still can’t believe that he has missed every birthday and every holiday. He missed her first words, her first steps, and even her birth.

I know I have to do something. I just don’t know what.

Option 1: We continue things like they are now. With me knowing that eventually his calls and texts will become less and less, again. And he might disappear for a few weeks or a few months, but he will come back. Next time with another lie or excuse. Avery will grow up with this being her normal. A dad that she sees maybe a couple times a year. That will or won’t return her phone calls. Knowing that she can’t depend on him.

Option 2: Take him to court. This involves establishing paternity (he obviously isn’t on her birth certificate). Make him provide child support, which I doubt he will pay. But at least he will be held responsible for his actions. I am sure he will ask for visitations and I will fight for supervised at least. I also think that even if awarded visitations, he will not show for them. Because, more than likely, he will have to come to her. Which will also set a precedence with the courts. My biggest fear with this option: he will be able to take her, because of her age, back to wherever he lives with him for periods of time. I do not know who he associates with and where he lives. I’m terrified I wouldn’t be awarded supervised visitations.

Option 3: Disappear. Change my number and move. Trusting this house sells before he decides to venture this way. I have already planned on not giving him my new address when I move out of state. Simply what city I live in and if he wants to see her we can meet in a public place. But, disappearing would mean we simply fall off the map to him. Could he find me? I have no doubt. He had my phone records accessed while we were “together” last month. Would he act on any information he found? I’m not sure.

What I do know is that he thinks he has me figured out. Whatever it is he is up to wherever it is that he lives he is banking on the fact that I want things to stay like they are now. He doesn’t get her alone and he doesn’t help financially. This makes me mad as hell. Which makes me want to make things difficult for him and take his LYING ASS to court. And then everything will be laid out and every lie will be uncovered.

But, maybe I should just let him think he’s won. Maybe we should just disappear and he can go on doing whatever sneaky things he’s doing and know that karma will be paying him a visit. I have the child, I’ve really already won. And those times I get mad and wish there was someone here to help me? I’ll rest a little easier knowing it’s not him and he can’t just come and go as he pleases.

And if I do disappear? I’ll rest easier knowing I did everything in MY power to get him to change his ways. *I* took her halfway to see him. *I* let her call him when she wanted. *I* comfort her when she cries because she couldn’t talk to daddy on the phone. *I* never changed my phone number in the 2.5 years since I’ve known him. *I* was honest about my name and my background from the start. *I* wasn’t the one that didn’t contact her/us from beginning of June to middle of October because he was “somewhere without cell phones”. He tells me I’m the only one of his “baby mammas” that gives him any trouble. Well maybe the other four (yes 4. F.O.U.R. That I know about.) just don’t care? Maybe they know who you really are? Maybe they believe your poor attempts at lies. Maybe they are in on it? Whatever it is, I don’t care. I have a gut feeling my child is not safe with you and I will do anything in my power to protect her. I’ve learned more than once in the past that you should always follow your gut.

(UPDATE: He did call her back on December 15th, 1.5 hours later. He talked to her for 2.08 minutes then tried to start an argument with me while she was listening. I simply asked Avery to give daddy a kiss and tell him she loved him and she hung up the phone. I will also mention, for the sake of argument, that she told him she went to time out this morning. I told him it was because she hit me. He laughed and told her it was ok to hit mommy, mommy deserved it. Parenting at its finest.)

I hate that this feels like a pissing match. I hate that I feel like I have to keep track of when he calls and when he says he will visit and doesn’t. And that every time she speaks to him on the phone he asks her to come see him (just did this again today) and when I tell him our agreement was he comes here he is too busy, or too broke, or I’m not being fair. I hate that time and time again I have to argue that not fair would be me delivering her to him AND getting no help AND dealing with his constant lies AND him not answering the phone to her and calling back hours later. That isn’t fair to ME. Or her. My life shouldn’t revolve around building HER relationship with HIM. *I* have a great relationship with her, that should be all I’m worried about. I hate that he is so selfish and only thinks of himself that he would actually suggest that and then make ME feel guilty and say I’m a terrible mother when I don’t do it.

So, I’m stuck. I’m in a damned if I do and damned if I don’t situation. I’m in a scar my child for life situation either way I go. But do I let him do the scarring or do I trust that when she is older she will believe me when I tell her what a toxic person he is? Do I let him continue to tell her bad things about me all the while I bite my tongue about him when she is present?

I have the paperwork printed and filled out to start court proceedings. I need to call the phone company anyway, changing the number would be easily added into the call, or just do nothing (what I’m doing now). Dear sweet readers, you are a smart bunch. am I supposed to do?


Sara B said...

I don't envy you in this situation at all. First of all, he's not going to get visitation at this point. To do so would require him hiring and paying for a lawyer and I don't think he has the perserverance (or money) for that.

My best friend's daughter has the same sketchiness with her dad. She's 14 now and seen her dad maybe 3 times in her life. He actually hired a lawyer, went to court asking for visitation. The judge said at this point, no way. He said he had to first call her at the same time at least once a week for 6 months to build a relationship with her and then they would revisit the issue. That happened for a few weeks and then, forget it. Too much work, he stopped calling.

And you can request child support without establishing paternity. My husband has a 10 year old son that he pays child support for and my husband is not on the birth certificate and never took a paternity test (he also never fought paying child support or denied that it was his child). I think he should be paying you child support and even if it doesn't happen, he should legally be held accountable for providing her with financial support.

BTW - I can't believe he has 4 baby mamas!!

Jen said...

5. He has 5. Myself included. I just learned this information a few weeks ago. But I think there is another or something. This has to do with the huge lie I just caught him in.

I really question my own judgement. How did I find such a winner? How did he cover up SO much?

By Word of Mouth said...

What a mess!
My two cents ... disappearing will have you looking over your shoulder for the rest of your days. If you don't want to acknowledge him as her Dad, then cut contact. If you want to have him involved, sounds like you need it all documented and cut and dried - whether you get anything from him sounds doubtful.
What is your gut feel? Do you want him involved, doesn't sound like it ... maybe just let it slowly slip away ...
Thinking of you, you are doing a great job being Avery's Mom, you will work out what is best for her, but don't forget about what is best for you too {{}}}

Eileen said...

Running isn't a good idea--I agree, you will be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life. I would suggest that you stay away from the creep, make no efforts at contact and don't put yourself out at all for him. Also--have noooo expectations that he will EVER change.
I don't know all the back story, but he has proven that he ISN'T trustworthy, and isn't willing/worthy of being a father. Stay away...move if you have to and change ur number. My biological father never paid us a penny in child support--my mother just ran. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.
I'm assuming that you'd never have gotten involved with creepo if he had been upfront with who he was, and how many other 'baby mamma's' he had.
The court wouldn't give him visitation if your evidence of his being nothing more than a sperm donor. Also all courts still side with mothers, especially when the father has shown no interest or effort to keep in contact.
You're a good mom...keep up the awesome work.

Mom/Grandma said...

Move if that is what is best for you and Avery, but do not run from him!!!! You would indeed be looking over your shoulder all the time. Changing your number is something I have suggested several times and still think it is a good idea. If he wants to talk to you or see Avery he knows where you are living right now. If/when you move, to improve your life, your address is something that you can withhold and meet in public place.
You don't owe him anything, you do owe Avery a happy healthy childhood which you are already providing!! Do not let him make you feel guilty!! You have not lied or deceived him.
Him taking Avery anywhere scares the hell out of me. He has disappeared before. Would he decide to do that, if he were lucky enough to get any time alone with her?!? I think he would. Is the name he gave you most recently really his lawful name?? Who knows.
You are a tough, smart woman. Go with your gut. What do you feel good in doing?? court(which could include visitation without you, support he wouldn't pay) no court(guidelines you set and inforce, no finanial support)
Right now you hold all the cards and decision making power.
Regardless, what you choose to do or not to do, you will paint a picture of him for Avery that he really does not deserve, but that is the person you are. He's the lucky one there.
Pray about it, talk to you pastor about it. Then just do what feels right. Love you both

Mom/Grandma said...

oh BTW *67 blocks your phone number when calling out. Just dial it before number you are calling.

Sara B said...

Oh gets worse and worse, huh?

I wanted to say, too, that I don't think he wants the responsibility of caring for a child (he doesn't have custody of any of his other kids does he?) - it seems like he uses Avery at least as a pawn to keep you in his life and to keep you feeling obligated to him in some way. This is not a man who wants to be tied down with caring for a child.

I've mentioned before that I dated some real winners before I met my husband. I once had a boyfriend for 11 months, who slept over 3-4 times a week, took me on vacation, etc, until his WIFE called me. Ugh. There are some worse exes too, including one currently in prison for a very scary crime. At some point I just stopped settling. I am sure you will find someone deserving soon...just keep an open mind - he may not be the person you are expecting.

BTW...someday you have to share with us what you liked about Ben...and why so many women have overlooked his sketchiness!