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iLove's avatar

How can I peacefully end a relationship with the father of my child?

Asked by iLove (2339 points ) December 19th, 2009

My husband and I separated in September. This is not the first time. Over the 4 years we were together, I was miserable. The reason we stayed together so long was because I got pregnant and had our daughter after only knowing him for 8 months. We got married when I was 5 months pregnant. After my daughter was born, he became unbearable to be with. We lived 1 mile from the beach yet he refused to go outside because he worked outside. He was miserable about EVERYTHING. Strangers were his favorite target of his cynical and mean comments. I asked him to stop time and time again.

I am a spiritualist with some childhood wounds that I have realized I play out in my relationships. But I drew the line when his insensitivity spilled over into denying me help with physical pain (my wisdom tooth that was severely impacted) on New Year’s Eve 2008. He convinced me that he HAD to go out with his friend whose mother died. By noon on January 1, I was pissed to still not hear from him and was alone with our 1 year old. To me, this situation displayed several acts of selfishness and lack of respect for our relationship.

Obviously, this selfishness and insensitivity was more than I could handle, and we separated. 7 months later, he made an effort to be a better person and out of guilt, I took him back. It was the most miserable year of my life.

I left him with half my furniture and allowed him to buy the house we were going to buy together. I JUST WANTED TO BE HAPPY.

Granted, we have a child together and I want him to see her as much as possible. I moved only a mile from our home to show my dedication to preserving this connection.

However, he is a severely unconscious (in the spiritual sense) person. He lashes out at me constantly, and when I try to keep our interactions to just those involving our child, he freaks out. I want to maintain a peaceful environment for her well-being as well as mine.

When I talk calmly and softly, he becomes more enraged and insulted. I have advised him to get counseling, as I am doing, but he becomes defensive at my suggestions because he feels nothing is wrong with him.

The more healed I become, the more I realize that we cannot be in a relationship together and we must raise our child in separate households.

No matter how many times I tell him I do not want to EVER get back together, he continues to try. No matter how many times I tell him his words are hurting me, he does not hear.

I support myself and our child on 3/5 the salary that he makes, and he contributes less than $500 a month to help with the expenses. I sometimes work 2 jobs when I have the clients.

This week, I started having panic attacks because I realized his energy is draining me. I have seldom had these, and I exercise and meditate regularly. However, with all my “spiritual” tools, I am still affected by his behavior.

I know it could be worse, he could be abusive or not want to see his child at all. But this is my issue, so it is the worst it could be for me.

I don’t know what to do. I would love feedback.

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12 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It seems like it’s time for some legal action. Talk to both a counsellor for yourself and a lawyer. You didn’t mention whether or not you are divorced. While this is unpleasant, in the long run, it may be what’s best. It certainly sets up a strict list of responsibilities for him to follow.

Whatever you decide, may peace be yours.

Buttonstc's avatar

Unfortunately for you, the two of you will be forever be linked as parents of the child. But it will take the establishment of very firm and consistent boundaries to keep this from bleeding over into any other part of your life.

Obviously you have gotten enough insight from your therapy to realize that you do have a habit of choosing this type of person.

Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries is a skill that can be learned just like any other, but obviously more difficult than physical skills such as piano playing. But just because it will be difficult and require great practice, does not make it impossible.

And learning this skill in relation to dealing with him will provide you with the skill to do the same in your future relationships. You’ve Bern way too much of a people-pleaser, frequently to your detriment.

Learn how to say NO. How do you do that? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall-practice, practice, practice. It can definitely be done. This is not just for your own sake, but also to keep your child from falling into the same unhealthy patterns. Use that for motivation on the days when you are feeling discouraged.

The first step is a divorce obviously. That established things firmly. After that you can set up a visitation schedule which involves you minimally.

Ask your therapist to recommend a support group of folks with the same issues. There is strength and wisdom in numbers. I guarantee you there are plenty others facing the same issues as you.

This is a learning process and you will get better at it as time goes on but don’t try to go it alone. Keep seeing the therapist and keep trying to learn HOW to maintain appropriate and healthy boundaries, not just with him but with all the people you encounter in your life. People pleasing is a hard habit to break.

Mavericksjustdoinganotherflyby's avatar

Whether you realize it or not abuse comes in many forms. And it sounds like what you are going through is your ex trying to beat you up with guilt. “He lashes out at you constantly” and “freaks out” these are not the actions of a stable person. I hope for your sake it never escalates. You do not need to put up with any of this. Stop having contact with him, I’m sure you can work out something in the way of visitation with your child through friends or family with as little personal contact as possible.

iLove's avatar

Thanks for these responses. @Mavericksjustdoinganotherflyby, interesting that you say that because my primary doctor kept asking me, is he abusing you? Even though I kept saying no, she kept saying, is he being abusive to you? Maybe not so much a question, but a statement.

@Buttonstc – absolutely agree with what you say! Your insight was very dead-on. I AM a people pleaser, and this is the perfect practice to help me change that behavior that is hurting me sometimes.

Thank you, thank you. Sometimes just writing the words gives me strength.

john65pennington's avatar

First, you must realize that he will always be in your life, in some form, simply because of the child you two have together. learn to accept this fact. second, you can obtain a restraining order that will keep him away from you(no contact), but he can see his child by supervised court order. this appears to be the best situation for you. restraining orders are very strict and are set by law now, rather than just a piece of paper in the past. you sound as though you have made a great effort to make it work, but thats a lost cause now for you and your child. you are seeking counseling and that is great. your best bet is the restraining order for your peace of mind. its ten days to serve for each separate violation. have no more contact with him.

iLove's avatar

@john65pennington. Thanks. It’s just so hard for a tree hugger like me to take measures such as these, but when one’s peace of mind and well-being is involved, I guess this is what has to happen.

Thank you.

velvetmelody's avatar

Well you will definitely have to go to court and file for child support and if you are worried about the situation just tell the judge that the reason you did leave was his anger and that you wanted your child to be in a better home. That you have no intention of keeping her away from him but do ask him to take anger management classes and parenting classes. I think the best way for you to end it with him is to calmly tell him that this is it. Make sure you are a step ahead of him and do all the things you need to do to make sure that you will not need his income even thou it is so tempting. I hope everything works out for you.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

On amicable terms, for the sake of your child. Always think of your kid. You may not want to have a relationship with him anymore, but you picked him, and he should continue to be a part of your child’s life. You may not like him, but don’t let your relationship with him interfere with his relationship with the child. Your child has every right to have a good relationship with his/her father, irrespective of what happens between the two of you.

john65pennington's avatar

I must say you did write us a book about your situation. bottom line is he is always going to be in your life, because of the children. once you understand this, then work around all the other problems involved. you are miserable and he is not going to change, so seek an attorney and file for divorce. you will be happier and he can find his own way. just remember that your children belong to both of you, so work out your differences with visitation. john

Aster's avatar

Such a sad story. I can only tell you what my sister did long ago:
She would let the kids walk down to the corner to meet their father.
She never talked to him. Then she flew to Mexico for a divorce. Next, she and her new BF moved a thousand miles away from him and got married; had a son, my nephew, who is wonderful. When she died young, the kids from #1 flew back to their father and he raised them. All are successful and happy. I wish happiness for you also and hope you find the strength and the means to avoid contact with this difficult man. A.

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snowberry's avatar

Here’s one thing you can do. Write down on a piece of paper these words: “When you want to create a great life for our kid, let me know. Until then, I have nothing to say to you.” Then hang up, walk out, or otherwise remove yourself from the situation. Do this every time he speaks to you. Be a broken record. Don’t be the drama queen, but just read those two sentences to him, and hang up or leave.

The truth is, you teach people how to treat you. That goes for even a guy like this. I know people who have done it, and eventually they come around.

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