When you have a child with someone, you have a bond for life, but it isn’t always a healthy one. If the father of your child gives you false hope by making promises he doesn’t keep, face reality. He won’t change, no matter what you do unless he wants to change. Clarify the relationship and enforce healthy boundaries for the benefit of your child.
Holding on to False Hope
Holding on to broken promises your baby’s father has made only hurts you and your child. Realize that under most situations, you cannot compel him to make good on the promises, except where there is a court order that requires child support or other legal responsibility. Face facts and decide to let him go, suggests psychologist Seth Meyers in “The Ex Ghost: Four Reasons Talking to Your Ex Is Bad for You” for eHarmony. Don’t let him control your life or slip back in your bed. Look for someone who will love you and your child and treat you well.
Mixed Signals Confuse Everyone
End the negative aspects of the relationship, such as romantic enmeshment or co-dependent behaviors. Let him know that your only contact with him will include the co-parenting of your child where his legal rights are established. Your friends won’t know how to behave if your relationship appears too close to your old romantic relationship, according to eHarmony staff in “Ten Reasons You Can’t Be Friends When the Relationship Is Over.” If he drifts in and out of your life and bed, it will ultimately confuse your child, too. Anyone you date after the breakup might also be confused, and he might end the relationship because it appears you’re still involved with your ex. A clean break ends the confusion and enables you to connect with a new and healthy partner.
Set boundaries with your child’s father and enforce them, advises psychologist George Sachs in “How to Set Boundaries With Ex” for the Huffington Post. Honor any co-parenting agreements with him, but limit your interactions to parenting issues. Enlist friends who can support and hold you accountable to your commitment to distance your romantic interests from him. Refuse to let him manipulate you into changing visitation, borrow money or otherwise take advantage of your past relationship.
Best Interests of the Child
Always consider the best interests of your child when interacting with the father, advises Dr. Phil McGraw in “Co-Parenting With Your Ex" on DrPhil.com. Avoid conflict that puts your child in the middle or could inspire the father to behave negatively toward the child. Use self-control when necessary to avoid an ugly fight over broken promises. State what you will do, such as notifying the court if child support payments are in arrears or refusing to provide transportation so he can see the child.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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