Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Not True Love: Now What?

Posted by Anonymous.

Let me say first that I am not perfect. I have a bipolar disorder and some severe anger issues. I have a tendency to be controlling, I have high standards (some would say too high), and I am incredibly stubborn. I can be very difficult to live with (it could be said hell to live with), although I am working so hard to change that, because the last thing I want is my son to inherit those *charming* qualities. That said, let me explain why I am writing this. I don't really know how to say this nicely, but I don't want to marry my fiancé. I don't want to spend the rest of my life with him, and to be quite honest, I don't really want him to be the one raising my son, although I know I really have very little choice in that particular matter.

I am completely not attracted to him. I think that the reason I was even remotely attracted to him at first was the fact that I had just been through several awful relationships in rapid succession, and he was so nice and gentle and unassuming. But I'm pretty resilient and I got over those pretty quickly. At which point, had the situation not been what it is, I most likely would have broken it off with him. It's not my intent to use him, but my judgment was severely impaired when we started dating. I can't stand the fact that he has absolutely no idea how to dress himself nicely, or the fact that he is so incredibly hairy, or that he doesn't take care of himself at all. He often looks like a homeless person (and I know, we know quite a few homeless people). He eats terrible food and doesn't exercise at all. He rarely bathes or shaves unless I tell him to, dresses in clothes that are unsuited to his body shape and are too tight, accentuating the fact that he is overweight and has horrible "thunder-thighs" and a gut that is much larger than my 6-month pregnant belly. He wears dirty clothes and just in general presents himself terribly.
On top of his lack of care with his personal appearance, he is incredibly lazy. In all aspects of his life, he does just barely enough to squeak by. He hates working at pretty much any job open to him given his level of education and expertise, instead only taking jobs as a caregiver for disabled adults. He works 15-20 hours per week, most of which are spent doing things like hanging out with some lonely old person watching TV, with the occasional hour or two spent cleaning up their house or running errands for them.

At home, he requires explicit instructions to do anything, and then acts like cleaning up around the house is some kind of favor to me. Um, I don't think so. If he lives here, he is just as responsible for making sure it stays clean as I am. He also gets angry when I give him specific instructions on how to do something, complaining I am treating him like an idiot, when the only reason I am doing it is because if I don't give step by step directions, he either doesn't do the entire job, or does it completely wrong ( i.e. when we are out of dishwasher soap, hand washing requires washing, rinsing, and putting away). He has no desire to go to school or get any kind of vocational training or to ever work a job beyond what he is doing now. The few times I have brought it up, he gets very irritated and complains that I am trying to force him into doing something he's just not cut out for ( i.e. school).

He says his only goal in life is to have a family. I have asked him many times how he planned to support that family, what he would do, where he might want to live, opinions on major issues like circumcision, discipline etc, and he never has an answer. He says he never really thought about it. And he gets very upset at me when I try and get him to think about it. In fact, pretty much any time he is required to do any kind of thinking about something, he doesn't want to do it.

I can't stand his laziness or his lack of self respect. I can't stand how he never thinks of anything even when pressed. I can't stand how he acts like taking care of his house is some sort of favor to me. He is so completely opposite of me in some ways. I think you should always do a job right and to the best of your ability the first time you do it, as this shows pride in your work and your self. I think you should always try and look your best and present yourself in the best light (those 3am runs to the convenience store for coffee and candy bars aside). I cannot even fathom not thinking about things and making informed decisions about things, especially regarding something as important as raising your children. And I absolutely do not understand not having any drive to better one's self. Isn't that an essential component of our humanity, the drive to do and be better than we presently are?

Most importantly, I don't want my kid to grow up thinking these things are ok.

So here's my problem. I'm sure you are saying by now "so leave him! Obviously you aren't right for each other and this kind of relationship can't be healthy for your child to be born into!" and I understand that and completely agree. However, I simply can't afford it. I have no money, no relatives to fall back on, and I already work 30+ hours per week, which is killing me as it is. I live in California, so if you're familiar with the U.S., you know that it is an incredibly expensive state. On top of this, I have one more problem: a few months after my son is born I will be going into a vocational program funded by the government. Now, this program is fantastic. It is paid for by the state, you live on campus and get 3 squares a day, paid training, job placement, a clothing allowance and even an allowance for things like entertainment or toiletries or whatever little incidentals you might need. The problem is that I can't take my baby with me. It's in a major city 2 hours from here, and you can go home on weekends. So while I'm gone, I'm going to need someone to take care of the baby. My mom has offered to help as much as possible, but she is currently going through a divorce and by that time will be working many, many hours a week just to provide for herself and my brother, so her time to help will be limited. I am afraid that if I leave now, my fiancé will not be willing to take care of the baby for the 6-8 months the program lasts.

I'm sorry, but I am not going to give up my life and my goals to break out of the poverty that has marked my entire life. I refuse to let my kid grow up as poor as I did. I do feel guilty that I will be leaving my little baby to get an education for much of his first year, but my life shouldn't and can't be ruined because I was stupid and got pregnant. So I'm not really sure what I'm asking for. Or if I am asking anything. I just wanted to be able to tell someone how I felt. Please, don't judge me or say I'm a horrible person for this. I just want my son to have the best life possible, regardless of the fact that for a while, I'm going to have to sacrifice seeing all the little milestones he'll reach while I'm away at school. I don't see any other way. I can't handle more than one major thing at once: I crash and burn. I've done it time and time again, and the last thing I want to crash and burn at is being a mother. That's a whole lot less fixable than many of my other mistakes.

I am sorry this is so long... I just feel as if there was a lot to get off my chest.


Annie, The Evil Queen said...

It doesn't sound like this is a person who is capable of caring for a child on his own. If he can't get the dishes properly washed without explicit instructions, how will he handle the many responsiblities of parenting without supervision? It sounds like a dangerous ennvironment in which to leave a child.

Unfortunately, I don't really have a better suggestion. Could you try to make it work with your Mom and see how far that gets you? Is it even possible to put a child into foster care temporarily? I don't know the legalities involved. I hope you can find a better solution because your desire to build the best life possible for your child is admirable. I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Now this may sound incredibly insensitive... and I'm so sorry. I don't in any way want to insult or offend you. You are in a horrible spot.

But, have you considered letting a family adopt your son after you give birth? He could be placed in a loving, two parent house. You would be able to better yourself through the job training, and won't be bound to your fiance.

Again, I'm not intending to offend you, and pray for the best situation to work out.

Good luck!

Lara said...

you know, you might be able to find people to help you out in the area. i mean, i'm not going to guarantee anything, but if you post about your situation in some sort of childcare forum (like craigslist maybe?), you might be able to find a few stay-at-home moms or nannies who would be willing to help out with cheap (or free) childcare for the short time you're in your program. i know i'd be willing to help if i could. i don't know - just something to think about.

i do think you should do whatever you can to get out of your relationship with your fiance, though, even though it will be extremely difficult.

best of luck to you and your son.

Anonymous said...

I'm going anonymous, because I'm going to also suggest what the above 'anonymous' suggested:

I think you should seriously consider adoption.

Not only do you and your fiance sound complete unsuited for each other, it doesn't sound like either one of you is ready for parenthood. I also think you should give serious thought to getting some counselling to find out how and why you got yourself into this situation so it doesn't happen again.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm sorry you're in such a bad spot. It sounds like the vocational training is an excellent opportunity for you, but the timing is bad.

Fist off, don't marry your fiance. That doesn't mean leave him right now, but marriage sounds like a mistake. If his lack of motivation bothers you now, it's going to be 10x worse when you're caring for a newborn, working, and pretty much acting as a mom for him, too.

Is there any way you could stay a while at your mom's or with friends? Or get roomates? So you wouldn't be financially dependent on your fiance.

Have you talked to the state or county services to see if they can help you with childcare? What about local non-profits or churches?

The vocational course sounds like your ticket to a better life, but I'm wondering if you can manage it with a little baby. You said your baby will only be a few months old when you start. Babies that small still require a lot of care and often aren't sleeping through the night. Your fiance may not be able to handle all that. Six to 8 months is a long time to be away from your child. Would it be possible to postpone your school program?

I'm worried about you, too. Are you getting help for your illness? Can you talk to your therapist or doctor about the situation - they might know of programs that can help with childcare and affordable housing.

NAMI www.nami.org (national alliance on mental illness) might be a place to look. Our local chapter provides various community services.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'm sorry for the situation you're in. I also grew up in poverty and I understand your desire to get out of it and provide a better life for your son.

That said, I'm not sure this situation would be providing a better life for him. I completely agree with the concern that your fiance won't be able to care for the baby by himself. Also, if you truly want the best for your baby, I would reconsider being separated from him for so much of his first year. As someone who went through prolonged separations from both parents in my infancy and early childhood, I can tell you that the trauma lasts a lifetime and is taking me years of therapy to overcome. I don't think it's going to be best for your son to be away from you for huge chunks of time, particularly if his other caregiver isn't great.

I love someone's suggestion to look on Craigslist or somewhere to see if you can find childcare in the city where you'll be studying. Ideally it would be a situation where you could stay with the baby at night. Failing that, could your fiance move to the other city so you could be with the baby at night? I don't think you should marry him, but it could be a stopgap solution until you've completed your training.

If you can find any cheap or free therapy, I would also recommend that. You sound very angry and confused and therapy might help you straighten things out in your mind. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I feel for your situation. That being said, I would not leave a newborn in his first year of life. Your finace sounds so irresponsible now that it will be impossible for him to look after a newborn. They take an incredible amount of work.
I would take a look at temporary foster care, or adoption, if you feel that is right for you.
Under the circumstances maybe see if your course could be postponed for a year. I would definetely look into it.
If you decide to leave your baby, for eight months, you will regret it down the line.
Best of luck in whatever you decide. The baby should be your number 1 factor.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the posters who think you're not ready to be a parent. If you can't postpone your education until you find suitable childcare or find a program that allows more flexibility, or move to a place that is cheaper or any of the myriad things that you have to choose from, you are really the problem.

The other question remains though, I'm taking it that this is the biodad? Does he not have a say or his he going to just quietly leave when you give him the boot because he's lazy, fat and dresses badly?

And now that you are a parent (or will be), you should step up and act like it. Of course that doesn't mean sacrificing EVERYTHING, but it does mean making better choices.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this is true or not, but if you married him and later divorce him, would you as the money earner have to pay alimony to him since has very little work (or by then possibly no work)? That might be something else to look into before marriage. I hope you can find some other way to help yourself and get the education you want. I agree that he won't be able to take care of your baby.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one that posted this. I have seriously considered adoption and it just feels completely wrong for me. It feels like a long term solution for a short term problem. As for the therapy and treatment for my issues, I am currently working on that and taking a medication that has helped me be able to cope with things without resorting to anger. The difference is absolutely incredible. As for the temporary foster care, that might be a solution and I'll look into it. I've thought about postponing the vocational training, but I'm afraid that if I wait until after he's a year old he'll be old enough to remember that his mommy was gone for a long time and I don't know if maybe that would be worse. Thank you all for your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that your fiance is acting like such a boor in part because he is scared and in denial about being a father?

Regardless of whether you stay with him or leave him, your fiance is going to be a part of your life and your son's life for many years to come. That's just a fact. So I think it might be important to try one last shot at confronting him about his behavior.

I think you should tell him that you are absolutely miserable in your current situation, and you feel like he can't possibly truly want to be a father, no matter what he says about having always wanted a family, if he is entirely unwilling to help you make plans concerning your child's future, or to help you with the family's finances. Tell him, too, that his lack of attention to hygiene and housework is making you fear he will not be able to care for a baby. Maybe it would help if you got him to talk to some other parents about the huge amount of effort it takes to care for an infant. (Trust me-- neither one of you has never worked so hard in your life before as you will during the first three months of your son's life.)

I know you are unhappy in this relationship, and it is quite possible that you will feel at some point that you have to leave, but, I think it's important that your baby's father take responsibility for his role as a dad no matter what happens.

Do you have any alternatives to this vocational program? It really does sound like a good program, but, as a mother I can tell you that you might well find after your child is born that you really can't bear to be apart from him for that long.

Anonymous said...

I always thought being away from my son after his first year would bug me more because he might start to remember it. All in all, it's about YOU remembering being away and losing that time. I hated being away from my baby that first year... it got easier after 12 months.

Kids are resilient, but bigger problems happen because of inconsistant parenting... whoever your caregiver ends up being, they need to use the same techniques you do for daily care. I wouldn't trust your boyfriend to do that.

I think the temporary foster care is a great idea if adoption isn't for you. I hope everything works out in a way that you don't have to be stuck to your boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

2 things. well, my definition of washing dishes isn't the same as yours so maybe you and your fiance need to actually define things since you seem to be operating under different assumptions than he is.

however, i think you've already made up your mind that he can do nothing right and isn't worth it as a human being.

so, in that case, i'd also say you aren't meant to be together and you shouldn't abandon your baby to people who may or may not take care of him to the high standards that you expect. if i were you, and i didn't trust my baby's father to take good care of my son, i certainly wouldn't trust someone random from craig's list or even my mom. i also think that adoption might be best for your baby. i don't think that it ever "feels right," except when you put yourself in the baby's shoes (or booties). i imagine the hardest thing to do is what's best for your child.

good luck!

Anonymous said...

Question: Does this state program include or offer child care?

Surely there are many single parents who would find themselves in a similar and equally difficult position.

How do kids factor into this program? There must be some measure in place to help them as their parents try to help themselves...???

Anonymous said...

This is the poster again. The state program does have a daycare on campus. The problem is that you can't live on campus if you have your child with you, you have to find your own housing and be able to pay for it and all the associated costs. And I can't live off campus and attend the program because I would have to have a job to pay for the apartment. The only program in the system that allows you to live on campus with your children is in Alaska, and I can't go there because I believe that a) there's a waiting list and b) I wouldn't want to move that far away from my family.

As far as the idea that my fiance "can do nothing right and is worth nothing as a human being," that's not what I am saying. I have tried talking to him, having people he trusts talk to him, counseling, absolutely everything I can think of. No matter what anyone says, he doesn't want to expend the effort to do anything more than the bare minimum. And I totally agree that I don't think that he is the best candidate to take care of my baby while I'm in school. As for my mom, I would trust her because I do have a very close relationship with her and she respects my wishes and ideas, regardless of whether or not she agrees with them, and if she were to help, she has said that she would offer her advice and if I still wanted to do things my way, then she would honor my request.

I've even thought of having him move with me to the city and we can stay there while I'm in the program, still have access to the childcare, and still be able to be with my son in the evening, but I don't think he would move with me and I don't think it would be right to ask him to considering my feelings towards him.

As for how he takes care of himself, I have told him in as many nice ways as I can think of that he would be more attractive if he would take better care of himself. He doesn't care. That would require work. When he eats crap food all day I try and suggest something better to eat and he says something to the effect "but I like this. It tastes good. I don't like (insert healthier food here)." or "I don't want to cook. I'm hungry now and this is easier."

Anonymous said...

all i keep thinking is that you're going to be tied to this guy as long as the kid is alive and you are taking care of it. it isn't right for a kid to be cut off from his dad because his mom doesn't like him or his ways anymore (unless they're somehow damaging to the kid), so you have to ask yourself if you want to be connected to this guy for all the rest of your life. i can see how it might be unfair for him to not be able to see his kid anymore if you give it up for adoption, and i haven't quite figured that one out yet. However the benefits of the kid not having to suffer through a life of you not liking his dad, might not outweigh him being adopted and living with another family.

there is also the whole other possibility that your judgement is very clouded by pregnancy hormones and things might look very different on the other side after the baby is born (well, not right after the baby is born but when your hormones calm down which took me a few months after delivery). also, you might be surprised and the father might step up. sometimes fathers don't really get the whole picutre of the level of responsibility required until after the baby arrives, at least that happened in my case.

again, good luck sorting through all this.

The City Gal said...

The reason I am writing this comment is that I think I understand you.

I am controlling, a clean-freak and a self-made woman and often end up with men that either cheat on me, or are lazy-ass filthy stupid.

For this reason, I know that I cannot get pregnant. There have been times that I have promised myself to get an abortion if I ever get pregnant with these idiots!

I understand how difficult your situation is.

Is it possible that you might be able to find a cheap baby-sitter on campus?

would your mother be able to raise the baby during that time?

This man that you described is in no way,shape or form capable of raising an infant.

They say that once kids come into your life, your priorities change that you can no longer go after your dreams. You might have to reconsider the whole vocational program and look for another job and leave the fiance.

jess said...

Have you considered open adoption? I have a friend who adopted a baby whose mom was in similar circumstances to you. The two families have a good relationship and the biological mom and her family are able to have a relationship with the baby (who is now 18 months old).

This would still be incredibly difficult, of course, but it seems like it would be just as hard for you to raise a child at this time. It might seem like a better option to leave an infant since he won't remember, but just because he's young doesn't mean he won't be aware of or affected by your absence just as much and possibly more than if he was older.

If you are interested in open adoption and would like to read the blog my friend starting keeping at the start of her adoption journey, please email me and I will give you the address.

Anonymous said...

What about the father's family? Can they help care for the baby?

Have you looked into any grants or student loan programs that could help support you while you're in school so you could live off-campus? Is there a counselor at your school that could guide your through some of these types of things? There just HAS to be some kind of help for people with kids.

Good luck :)

Mary said...

In my humble opinion, I think adoption is the way to go too. The problem is that you would have to get your fiance to agree with it...

The open adoption that was suggested sounds like a better alternative to me if you want to be actively involved in his life.

I know it will be a hard decision for you to make, and you are trying to do what you can to make sure your son has a good life. But honestly, I have to agree with everyone for saying that it sounds dangerous to leave the baby with him. Babies need routines and lots of , well, everything. Tome, love money, selflessness... it just doesn't sound like your fiance is capable.

I agree too that you should end it with this guy... it sounds like besides the baby you have nothing in common. I wish you the best and hope you can find a solution that is good for both you and your baby. i'll keep you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

First, much light and love to you. I appreciate how challenging this situation is for you.

For a mother, or whomever plays that mothering role, to leave an infant for a significant period of time can be devastating for the child. I am not saying will be, I am saying can be. This can be compounded if the person they are being left with (in your case the father) is incapable of being active and present in their life, even if they are physically present. If this man can't get off the couch to make himself something nutritious then will he able to do that when the baby is hungry or fussy or needs his diaper changed for the 4th time that day. I hate to say it, but leaving your child with this man--as you have described him--could very possibly lead to serious neglect. Children do develop attachment issues and disorder. Google attachment theory.
In my work I have seen many kids and adults who struggle with attachment issues. I urge you to consider this before choosing to leave your child with this man and do the training course. I see the need for the course, but perhaps you can do it in a year...when your baby is older, things are settled with the babies father and your mother is past her divorce and able to assist you in better ways.

You are in my prayers.