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TherapistGale
TherapistGale, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 10
Experience:  30 years of experience providing mental health and psychotherapy services
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My son's first birthday is next week; the father is not in

Customer Question

my son's first birthday is ***** week; the father is not in the picture but now is paying child support. it kills me that my son wont know his father.
He is in another relationship and has hinted that that is reason he cannot be with us (he left prior to knowing about pregnancy). my question is, should i send him a pic of our son on his birthday? I waver back and forth- no, bc if he cared he would ask and yes- men are visual and the pic could maybe spark my son knowing his dad. i dont want to appear stupid or push him away, just want him to see he has a beautiful little boy out there in the world. please advise on your opinion.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you sort through this dilemma. From what you've said here, I think it's fine to send your son's father a picture of his son. Even though he is in another relationship now it doesn't necessarily mean he would not appreciate a photo. Is there anything else about the situation that gives you pause about sending the photo?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
everyone I talk to tells me he is already showing me he doesn't want me or the baby in his life by his inactivity...I did let him know when I was in labor and he never responded...I don't want to- 1. appear a fool like I'm chasing him 2. push him away further by sending a pic he didnt ask for 3. not sure I even want him in our lives.
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.
Ok. That gives me a clearer picture of your situation. I am away from my computer at the moment. I can respond more completely when I am at my computer in about 30 minutes. Is that ok?
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Hi Thank you for your patience. I can see that this is a delicate situation for you. You say you don't want to appear to be chasing him. I get that. If you want your son to have the opportunity to know his father, you may need to make it clear that having a relationship with your son doesn't constitute to two of you getting back together as a couple. His relationship to you and his relationship to your son are two distinct things. Of course, the two of you would need to be able to interact with each other about practical matters but that doesn't mean you are chasing him. It just means you're facilitating the relationship between him and your son. You say that you don't want to push him away by sending him a photo he didn't ask for. If you're concerned that this somehow seems too pushy, you might just ask him if he would like the picture before you send it. Finally, you say that you're not sure you want him in your and your son's lives. You can anticipate a likelihood that as your son gets older, he will want some contact with his father. Of course, you can't force that if the father is unwilling. But when a child grows up without both biological parents, it's very natural for him or her to be curious about the absent parent at some point. It's something for you to consider. I'm curious as to why you feel it might be better not to have her son's father in your son's life?

Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Sorry for the typo. I meant to say: I'm curious as to why you feel it might be better not to have your son's father in your son's life?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
because if he were a good man, he would have been there already. But at the same time, I want our son to be justified as a real person to him and men are so visual, only a pic could do it. I am really conflicted and feel like its a now or never situation, his first birthday is ***** a big life event.
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Your son's first birthday is ***** a big event. And ideally his father would take more of an interest than he has up to now. But I would ask you to consider that maybe it's not now or never as far as your son and his father are concerned. The father may have a change of heart down the road. I know the way he has behaved has been very hurtful to you. But people sometimes change. If he wanted a relationship with your son a couple of years from now, would you be open to it?

Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Do you still communicate with each other at all? Seems like he is hard to read since you are not sure about whether you should send the picture.

Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

If you still communicate even casually, you might just want to send him a text and ask him if he would like a picture. And for that matter, are his parents at all interested in or involved with your son?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
he is a secret; no one knows. he is in a relationship with the mother of his daughters. they were broken up when we dated and reconciled during my pregnancy
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Wow! That makes it even more complex. So at this point, he would have to sneak around to see his son because no one's supposed to know about him? I can certainly see why you are on the fence about all this. Have you talked with him straightforwardly about whether or not he is willing to be in your son's life at all? You mentioned he is paying child support. Does it seem to you like he would visit if he didn't have to sneak around to do it?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
no we don't talk at all; he seems to feel remorse but actions are nothing. I think he would visit if he could, it hurts that my son doesnt know his father to hide it from some woman. I could tell the woman, but chose to stay out of it.
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

This seems to be a situation that may not resolve itself anytime soon. The father has created a huge barrier to having a relationship with his son by pretending to his family and the woman he lives with that he doesn't have a son with you. I am sorry that you and your son are in this predicament. You certainly don't deserve this. I can't promise you that sending him a picture won't backfire in some way. But he has created this dilemma by being untruthful to those around him. If it were me, I would probably be inclined to send the picture with a casual note that says something like "thought you might like to have this". And then let the chips fall where they may. If he doesn't respond now or he responds negatively so be it. Some day the truth will likely come out--either because he can no longer live with the deception or someone else spills the beans. Do you have a sense of which way you are leaning now about the photo?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
i'm leaning towards not sending now, but hope I don't regret it later
Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Trust your gut. There will be other birthdays and occasions when you might feel like the timing is better. In other words, I would encourage you not to view this as your last chance to make a point with him about having a relationship with his son. If it feels more comfortable to let this one pass, there's probably a good reason for that feeling. It's a complex situation and that situation may very well change over time.

I hope I’ve provided the opportunity to process your thoughts and feelings and perhaps gain a little more clarity. If you are happy with my service, please provide a rating. If not, please let me know so l can continue to help you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service.

Expert:  TherapistGale replied 8 months ago.

Hi. Gale here. It's been a couple of days since we communicated and I've been wondering how you're doing. I know you're dealing with a difficult dilemma. Is there anything else I can do to help you?

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