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Forbids Me to Attend Her Daughter's Special Day -- Should I Just Drop It?


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I recently ended a close relationship with my girlfriend after two years. During the relationship I developed a very special bond with her foster child, who was about one year old when we met.

 

Our parting was amicable, although my ex probably still feels hurt. I've offered to do whatever she wants regarding the child, though my preference is to stay in the child's life to some extent, which is what my ex originally wanted.

 

At long last, my ex is going to adopt the child, which is great. But this leads me to my dilemma. It is a day that we both looked forward to for a long time, but now my ex doesn't want me to attend the adoption ceremony, even though I have been a greater presence in the child's young life than anyone other than my ex. My ex's reasoning is that it will confuse her daughter if I am there -- her daughter wants me to be her dad, and my ex thinks that the daughter may interpret the ceremony as meaning that she has a new dad and not just a new mom.

 

This really breaks my heart. Also, my ex is letting her child think that I abandoned them, rather than trying to explain that I'm not part of their family anymore.

 

I am going to respect my ex's wishes, no matter what. I also realize that I have no right to force my way into this special event, and that my ex is only doing what she feels is best. However, I have put countless hours in babysitting, changing diapers, feeding, comforting, loving this little girl. I have assured my ex that I don't need to have the role in the ceremony that was once envisioned -- I just want to be there and let her daughter know that I still care. Yes, I am very concerned about the distress to her young mind, but I think that she is precocious enough to know, if she is told, why I am there. I've discussed all of this with my ex via long emails, but she still insists that I don't attend. I think that she is still hurt and angry at me, though she says otherwise, and I strongly suspect that that is why she changed her mind about me participating in any way.

 

SO...My question to all of you is, should I call her to force the issue any further (she said she would speak with me) or should I just drop it? I'm not sure what to do. I love this little girl and I want so badly to be there, but I don't want to make things harder for the child. Maybe I am also making too much of the importance of attending the event.

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I'm really sorry to hear this. This is such a tricky situation. I can totally see your side of this. But on the other hand, you aren't actually this child's adoptive father. So I do understand why your ex is no longer comfortable having you at that ceremony.

 

Has she said she no longer wants you in the child's life at all? Or just not at this ceremony?

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How long have you been together?

 

I would not force the issue. It is up to her as an adoptive parent who she wants in her child's life. Being broken up, your ex has to move life and life decisions forward without you or your input. If you have a relationship with the daughter, it keeps pulling you back into her life. She may be giving herself time to heal, too and the ceremony may feel like a new beginning. if you say it was "amicable, but your ex may still be very hurt," it leads me to believe that she was the dumpee. If that were true, its kind of hypocritical to not want the mother but want the daughter, so to speak.

 

I would let her go. It won't be confusing to her as you think as she never called you daddy or didn't live with them I assume, especially if she is very young. The adoption ceremony may be seen as the point in time where everything changed.

 

Maybe in the future, your ex's position will change, but this is what it is for now.

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Thanks, Avman. That is a good question, and maybe that is what I need to focus on, rather than this event. After the breakup, she told me that she wants me in the child's life. Later she told me that she wants to let her daughter guide how we proceed. Now, she is saying that although her daughter wants to see me, she thinks it is unhealthy, and she has left it open whether I might re-enter their lives at some point after the ceremony. All of this makes sense to me, and I am trying to be understanding, but it is hard to keep resetting my expectations.

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I see. I would honestly drop the request to attend the ceremony. I think that is probably asking too much. With you not in your ex's life as a significant other it probably is just not something your ex is comfortable with.

 

But as for continuing to try to be a part of her daughters life that might still be possible. Just try to be reasonable and understanding about things. Maybe after the rawness of the breakup passes then your ex may be more flexible about you continuing to see her daughter.

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Why is your ex hurt and angry? I don't want to make assumptions here.

 

Regardless the child does not belong to you and her mother gets to make the final decision whether it be right or wrong.

 

You have said your piece so yes you should drop it.

 

She may be feeling hurt and angry sometimes, because I was the one who broke up, even though since then she has agreed that it was the right thing to do.

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback about dropping it.

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Thanks, Avman. That is a good question, and maybe that is what I need to focus on, rather than this event. After the breakup, she told me that she wants me in the child's life. Later she told me that she wants to let her daughter guide how we proceed. Now, she is saying that although her daughter wants to see me, she thinks it is unhealthy, and she has left it open whether I might re-enter their lives at some point after the ceremony. All of this makes sense to me, and I am trying to be understanding, but it is hard to keep resetting my expectations.

 

This seems like a good idea.

 

Although I understand you wanting to be in this child's life, it can be a really sticky situation since the child is so young. She could confuse you for her father. What happens when her mother starts dating again and she meets a new man? Will she feel abandoned or confused?

 

Also, your ex probably feels a lot of mixed feelings due to not being over you. Having you hang around and make a connection with her daughter makes it that much harder for her to emotionally heal.

 

It's good that she's being reasonable and open to opens. Don't push it or she may harshly close you off.

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It won't be confusing to her as you think as she never called you daddy or didn't live with them I assume, especially if she is very young.

 

She did call me daddy, though we always discouraged it and corrected her, and I did live with them for a time. Not disagreeing, though -- another reason why it might make it hard if I go.

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Thanks, Avman. That is a good question, and maybe that is what I need to focus on, rather than this event. After the breakup, she told me that she wants me in the child's life. Later she told me that she wants to let her daughter guide how we proceed. Now, she is saying that although her daughter wants to see me, she thinks it is unhealthy, and she has left it open whether I might re-enter their lives at some point after the ceremony. All of this makes sense to me, and I am trying to be understanding, but it is hard to keep resetting my expectations.

 

I think she wants to remove you from your daughter's day to day life. So she gets used to you not being around and also her getting used to it just being her and her mom rather than expecting you to be there.

 

She may be feeling hurt and angry sometimes, because I was the one who broke up, even though since then she has agreed that it was the right thing to do.

 

Thanks everyone for the feedback about dropping it.

 

Well...sometimes people "agree" as a way to save face. I wouldn't bank on her "agreement" to point to "she is okay with it." It was probably a blow to her if she had originally planned for you to play a larger role. I guess it puzzles me how you broke up - yet you are insisting on "being there."

 

Hang in there. I would probably not contact her in the immediate future to give you both space.

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Thanks, everyone. I am open to further feedback and advice, but you have already helped me decide. I will just drop it and give her more time. It is very sad for me but I am convinced that is the best thing to do for the child and for my ex I am so grateful for ENA at times like this.

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I can see exactly how you feel. you developed this bond with this girl and now you want to be in the cermeony. It seems like your ex is being sensitive on this Ceremony in particular, but she did say you can be in this child's life now which is good. So try to not focus on this one day. Just go see her after the ceremony and bring her some kind of toy something to show that things hasn't changed yer and your still for her as her father. (P.s I am taking your advise about dating that girl with the 2 year old daughter.. and things are ok,, i haven't met the daughter yet but she is acting weird at points.. very moody and snappy. short tempered i don't think i can take it)

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Just go see her after the ceremony and bring her some kind of toy something to show that things hasn't changed yer and your still for her as her father. (P.s I am taking your advise about dating that girl with the 2 year old daughter.. and things are ok,, i haven't met the daughter yet but she is acting weird at points.. very moody and snappy. short tempered i don't think i can take it)

 

I wouldn't. I think that the ceremony includes anything attached to that special day - ceremony, any sort of meal or get together. Things HAVE changed - don't try to reinforce to the girl that they haven't. Wait for the mother to decide the pace. If you pop in when guests are over with a toy, you are going against her wishes. Divorced parents tend to fall in the trap of giving gifts to win a child over - don't fall into the trap - even though you are not a parent the idea still applies. The key is to remove yourself from the fatherly role - not to reinforce it. That role is for however your ex marries in the future, etc. If your ex invites you back in the child's life, find ways to be a "friend" and not a father and reinforce that clear boundary.

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