The Ex returned with his excuse, and said all the right things, and wants to get to know his daughter!

I recently posted about this in another thread, but the long and short of it is that after coming into some money, my ex boyfriend of the time panicked at the 'pressure' and left me. I discovered I was pregnant and could never tell him.
Now I'm in a new city with a new life and career, and my lovely little daughter and he's come back... and wants back in again.

Last time I asked advice I hadn't told him about our daughter, I could barely speak to him and had no idea why he's left. Now he's told me his reasons, I've taken everyone's advice and confronted him about his child and our life, and I'm just trying to work out where to go from here!

Really sorry this is so long! I need somewhere to vent, and try to figure this all out! Advice is welcome and needed!

So, details: I contacted my own business laywer and he put me in touch with a family practice lawyer, who advised me about how I should notify my daughter's father, and what my options were re: childsupport, custody etc. I set up a meeting with my ex for a lunch meeting at a cafe in a business district, which was really NOT cosy/romantic and arranged for my lawyer to be in the cafe, and to join us after I had a chance to talk with my ex.

I began by telling me ex that regardless of our romantic situation, I was there to discuss something far more serious. I told him very factually of the events after he left, and my attempts to contact him. He kept trying to interrupt to explain his side, and I asked him to hear me out, and he did. I told him about the time after he left, and that after 3 months I realised I was pregnant, and hadn't been able to tell him. He looked upset, and tried to hold my hands and apologise. I told him I kept the baby, and that he had met her the other day.
He was horrified, and thrilled, and angry. But not at me. He was furious with his parents.

He then told me his story, starting from before I came into any money.
His parents had been putting pressure on him to join their family business (a cut-throat corporation he had no interest in) and 'settle down' with girls they kept presenting to him. They ignored that he had a long-term girlfriend (me) and kept telling him to stop being silly. I knew all this, but had forgotten it vaguely. We used to laugh about it, or try to when he came home from one of their dinners or lunches or brunches.
They had always been contemptuous of his career and job, and belittled the amount of money he made. While we had been dating they 'remembered' a large sum of money he owed them (things bought for him as a teenager, family trips taken etc) and hounded him to pay back this money because 'they were worried he couldn't be financially responsible'. I remembered this well, as we had sold our car to get them off our backs. They were... difficult people. And arguing with them was often not worth the trouble the would raise.

Anyway, after I had come into money their tune changed. They were pushing him to marry me, to 'tie us together', so that I would be legally sharing my finances with him. He says that things got too much, unitl I (with my happy thoughts of settling down and buying a house) seemed like the enemy as well, and he eventually took off.

I remember what it was like back then, the effect his family had on him. I remember how stressed, and worried, and betrayed he constantly felt after seeing them, and I can remember his attitude towards me changing in a way that fits his story. I don't think it excuses him. I wasn't the enemy, and his own inability to stand up to and deal with his own family ruined our own relationship.
But his family never passed on any of the messages I had left for him. He got in contact with them a few months after everything happened, and they said I had moved on. He had no job and he'd burnt his bridges so he went to work for them.

He told me that 2 months ago he had finally told them to fuck off, quit their job, moved out of the apartment he rented from one of their companies, and started tracking me down. I asked him why, and he said "but what else would I do? of course I had to find you". My facebook page is private, but apparently he contacted someone in my friends list (which he could see) who was in the same 'network' as me, and told her his story. It turns out that was my best friend, my babysitter, and the woman he had met at my door. He'd told her everything ages ago, and she'd gone along with it because she thought he was good for me, and he deserved a chance to know his daughter. So I guess she was holding back important information from both of us :P

(I had the hugest argument with her over this, which ended up with us both laughing hysterically on the floor. Her reasoning was that I had never gotten over him, and I had his damn daughter. There were things I needed to deal with, not hide from. I guess she was right.)

So... he found me. I told him about his daughter and he in no way acted badly towards me, just apologised over and over for not being there for me. He said he wanted to know his daughter, and if it was ok with me he'd like to start visiting her. He said however matters stood between us, and whether I could forgive him or not, it shouldn't effect that. Which is exactly what I had been going to say to him. He said something like, how this should have been his life, and he couldn't believe he'd screwed everything up so badly, that he was proud of me for putting everything back together. Said he'd understand if he didn't fit into my new life.

At this point my lawyer joined us, to talk about custody arrangements etc. I had been all prepared to forbid custody and be a snarky bitch, but me ex said upfront to my lawyer that he (ex) had no right to waltz in and start making demands. He said he wanted to be in my daughters life, but that he understood how difficult this was going to be and that he'd like to get to know his daughter and me again, before turning our lives upside-down.
Now, my lawyer had warned me that as he had never known he had a child, he had a right to demand partial custody now that he knew. But he didn't demand, and offered on his own to pay child support. I said that I'd prefer to sort out whether or not child support was necessary when we'd all had time to adjust. He was just so... understanding, and eager, and reasonable! I know he's on best behaviour, but he's still the same old guy and I think I can tell whats going on with him.

We (ex, me, lawyer) drove to me house at that point and he hung around for the afternoon, played with his daughter, we all had lunch etc while the lawyer sorted out some forms for him, about supervised visits. I can't help relaxing with him, and we were moving around the place, getting plates for sandwiches, him setting our daughter up in her chair as if we did it every day of the week.
Arg! I can tell I could so easily fall right back into old ways with him, and I have no idea whether I should. He mentioned, at some point that day, that he had no right to expect it but he hoped we could be friends, because he missed me.
My daughter loved him, and asked me if he could be her daddy. What do you say to that?! I said maybe, we'll see :P She's really too little to understand, but she certainly does on some level!

What do I do when he's being so reasonable, and humble, and nice?! He left me because of a freak-out his parents caused. I can remember exactly what effect they had on him back then, to the point that at times I HAD been worried the pressure would cause him to just take off. Which it eventually did.
But he seems free-er now, and told me (and my lawyer!) that he had severed contact with his family, and would not be informing his parents of their grandchild. He said they were poison, and he didn't want them anywhere near her.

Now, advice people? On the one hand, it would be so easy, and natural, and everything I've wanted these past few years to just take him back.
On the other, I should probably continue what I've set up for AT LEAST 6 months and keep things platonic with him, and let him develop a relationship with his daughter.
On the OTHER hand, apart from my own feelings and instincts (which support his story), I have no proof he is telling the entire truth. His refusal to contact (or have me contact) his family could either be entirely healthy, or it could be hiding something more...
By mAudlin 14 years ago :: Parenting
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