Hi, Carolyn: I was with my partner for three years, made a cross-country move for him, was VERY close to his family (sisters, parents, nieces, nephew), and we often discussed marriage and children. We began to renovate our house with plans for, “Where will the future kids sleep?”

Then I got pregnant — a surprise!

And “Dad” said either get an abortion or I’m out. We are both in our mid-30s, have excellent careers, etc. There was no world where I could get an abortion. I’ve always wanted to be a mom.

I moved to my hometown to have the love and support of my family. Dad’s family stayed in close contact, came to my baby shower and expressed their support for me.

Our beautiful daughter is turning 1 next week. Dad hasn’t visited in 11 months, refuses to look at photos of her and often calls to berate me because I filed for child support. It sucks, but I’m moving forward.

However, Dad’s life seems … unchanged except for the child support he’s paying. He still has all his close friends, he flies to visit them (and their kids!) often, and they visit him. All his college friends (and their kids!) are getting together next weekend at his family vacation home. It happens to be the weekend after our daughter’s birthday, but he can’t visit her because of his plans with his friends. His parents see him often.

Have they come to meet their grandchild the numerous times I’ve extended the invite? No. His sisters FaceTime with me and my daughter weekly, which is so sweet. And then they take their deadbeat dad brother out to dinner and buy him sake bombs and post it all over Instagram. They have dinner parties at their house with their friends (and their kids!), and their deadbeat dad brother is there drinking their wine and laughing it up. And posting it all over Instagram.

I have gotten off Instagram!

I don’t really know what I thought would happen when he chose not to be involved in his child’s life, but it definitely wasn’t this. I don’t know many uninvolved dads who are 36, are well-educated and come from a financially well-off family.

I know I can’t change anyone else but me. How do I let go of this anger that his friends and family don’t seem to care about his horrible life choices? How do I stop feeling how unfair it is? How?

Anonymous: You get off Instagram, yep. Then you wait a little longer than you’ve waited so far for that move to have its intended effect.

I agree that for an educated 30-something man of means, whose bio at the time included a large, close, supportive family; a years-long, stable romantic relationship; and conversations about future children, his was a mystifying and even shocking choice.

A dishonorable choice, too, since he continues to “berate” you instead of accepting his legal, moral and parental responsibility with the bare minimum of grace.

So feeling mystified and disgusted seems about right.

Will you only stop dwelling on this when you have a good answer in hand? Will you only find peace when his family shuns him? Will you bean-count unaccepted invitations to meet this child’s children?

Would you rather your ex had married you before skipping out for sake bombs and yelling at you about money?

He made his choice. It sucked, but he made it.

Who knows what he and his family actually feel about each other, since you’re just seeing photos. But they’ve made their choices, too.

Now you need to get on with making your choices.

The wanted child, the move near family, the propping open of doors for his family to know your child — all great. The Instagram fast, smart. Keep it going: Learn to quit the idea completely of him as an involved dad. If it’s ever his idea, then you’ll know it. Plus, every minute you burn on him and his family is a minute you don’t spend on your little family.

He also just proved in arrears that he’d have been a terrible father. So, whew.

Your path as a mother is forward. Especially if you’re feeling stuck, your path to a supportive environment for your child is some combination of your people, professional resources (counseling, pediatrician, parents’ support group, schools, etc.) and your own starch. Meaning, not the person or persons who helped you get stuck in the first place.

Your ex and/or members of his family may come to you in time with a serious interest in being part of your child’s life. You can decide then what to do about that.

Now, please, put your whole heart into the family you have, not the one a rational world would have given you. I can’t think of a better example for your kid.



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