Threatening to remove a child from their father’s life is a heinous and all too common go-to for some females. This threat gets more cruel when the man is fearful of the courts and becoming entangled in the webs of child support, custody, and visitation issues. Racial bias in the legal system can also increase these fears in men of color. There are men who would put up with almost anything to avoid potential legal issues, including being manipulated and emotionally abused by their baby mama (BM).
In my “Baby Mama Drama” post, I described some of the issues that can arise when dating men with kids. In addition to men I’ve dated, some male friends have shared egregious acts of selfishness and control on the part of their BMs. Although the idea is that they are making the man suffer, the child is truly the one harmed in a toxic parenting relationship. And honestly, the BM cannot be happy herself if she wants her baby daddy to be miserable. The following are (unfortunately) true stories.
Man 1 lived with his girlfriend and had a child with her. When they broke up, and she moved out, they would still hook up on occasion. When he started to decline the hook-ups, however, there was a change in their personal and co-parenting relationship.
Suddenly, his child was unavailable at already agreed upon pick-up times. They eventually had to go to court to hash out visitation and custody, and the process was unnecessarily drawn-out and contentious. The BM accused him of being an unfit parent living in a home (that she used to live in) that was unsafe for children. The claims were found to be baseless.
In the end, the man prevailed— receiving primary custody of his child. It took years of fighting and unhealthy relations with his BM to get there, and they still don’t co-parent well.
Man 2 had stopped dating and hooking up with his BM, and everything was fine. He saw his child almost daily, and described his relationship with his BM as healthy. That is, until he got a girlfriend.
His daily routine of picking up his child from school became an unpredictable game based on his BM’s mood. Weekend plans with the child would be suddenly canceled, and there were arguments over minor things such as the child’s hair.
The situation did not get better until the BM got a boyfriend of her own. They returned to a healthy co-parenting relationship, although the negativity caused his relationship with his girlfriend to end. He is still single, so what will happen when he couples up again (or if the BM becomes single again) is TBD.
Man 3 was dating his BM while also dating other people. He did not hide this fact from her, and she even encouraged him to see other women to avoid being intimate with him. There were no serious issues until he told her that he was in love with someone else.
The BM threatened to move away with the child if he did not stop seeing the woman he loved. She became a constant source of stress and depression for him, and she would scream and cry in front of their child to upset him. Whenever they did have peace, she would revisit the situation, unwilling to move on or accept the fact that he had a girlfriend. Now, he is trying to figure out how he can continue to see his son without involving the court system (good luck with that).
I could go on and on with more ridiculous and damaging accounts of BMs behaving badly. I’ve also noticed that women rarely call other women out on this behavior, as if the actions are excusable because of real or perceived wrongs committed by the baby daddy. Unless the man is a threat, there really is no reason to keep him from seeing his child.
If someone is happier without you, let them be. Forcing someone to be with you, or making them miserable because they are with someone else, is no way to live. Concentrate on making yourself happy and whole, and then realize that you deserve better. A healthy co-parenting relationship is better than a bitter relationship with someone who doesn’t want you anymore.