We have a newborn. He left and filed divorce when I was 5 months pregnant after I caught him on a hook-up site, probably several, with an HIV test and 25 condoms. Awesome! Anyway, we have a 17-year-old as well. We meet at sporting events, sometimes he just picks us up. He will pay for everything, open doors, you know the drill. Anyway, during these moments he seems to get caught up in the moment. He wants to take “family” pictures of us all and then he posts them to Facebook. What is that?
That is bullshit, is what that is. That is impression management. That is letting him disrespect you. That is cake. That is modeling dysfunction to your children. That is plastering a smile on abandonment.
The only person “caught up in the moment” here is you. I’m sorry, because I’m a chump and I understand the bargaining stage of grief, but you’ve got to own your choices here. You’re letting him play family with you. You’re not going all Sean Penn on his paparazzi ass, no you’re ALLOWING this.
STOP ALLOWING IT.
He knows EXACTLY what he is doing. Every time he whips out his diner’s card to pay, every open door, every “family” Facebook post is him broadcasting to the world What I Did Wasn’t So Bad. I am not an abuser! I’m a man who picks up the check. And they LET ME. So, how could I be the villain?
Stop colluding. Start resisting.
You are not hurting the children by enforcing a boundary. You are broadcasting to the world What You Did Was THAT Bad. Your actions say “We are not family.” And “we are not props.” And “there are consequences to your abandonment.”
He does NOT get to have it both ways — hook-up sites, endangering your health, playing the player — AND family guy.
Your 17-year-old can have their own relationship with “Dad” minus you. That’s your child’s cross to bear/relationship to figure out. You ARE an intact family without the asshole. You don’t need this game of charades.
Need a boundaries primer?
We meet at sporting events,
Don’t. Sit in opposite bleachers if it’s the 17-year-old’s sporting event. If it’s a professional team, decline the invitation or let the older kid go without you.
sometimes he just picks us up.
Uber. Taxi. Walking. Drive yourself. Public transport. Elephant parade. Anything else.
He will pay for everything,
Enforce child support. Get that paycheck docked by the state. Fuck his fake “benevolence.”
Do not share an entrance with him.
you know the drill.
I do know the drill. I endured a deadbeat, abandoning fuckwit “co-parent” (who had a penchant for lawsuits) for over a decade. I feel your pain. But let me tell you, chump to chump, boundaries feel a lot better than collusion in family faking.
Need a script? No need for rudeness, let your actions do the talking for you.
Keep all logistics around the kid brief and businesslike, and only by scheduling software, email, or text. DOCUMENTED forms of communication.
“No thank you.”
“Sorry, we’re busy that night.”
“17-year-old will ready for pick-up at 5 p.m.”
See how that works?
Baffled, you and your children deserve so much more than an open door and a bogus photo op. Stop being a party to his impression management. Know your worth. And may all his social media be singular selfies and dick pics to his paid-for admirers. Hope the lens breaks.