So, I got a new job last year. I met a lot of cool people, including a girl that I started to like. We were roughly the same age (mid 20s), had a few mutual friends, ended up at the same parties. I asked around a little, and she was single. Great. Her friends seemed to like me, and one of them said very openly one day that the girl had a kid. At the time, he was a year-and-a-half old, and his dad was in jail for beating her up repeatedly. OK, that sucks, but I wasn’t worried. I like kids a lot; I helped raise my younger brother. I asked her out. We started hanging out, eventually ended up dating, and after a couple of months, she introduced me to him.
The next six months were great. I spent most nights at her house; we got really close, acted like a family. I let my lease run out, helped her with rent and bills, started watching the kid when she was at work and on some nights so she could get out with her friends. We were like a family, and I was head over heels. Never during this time did the boy call me anything but my name. He said “daddy” a couple times and was corrected, and it was fine. Then things started to get rough between me and the girl. (Iâ€™m sorry for sounding like a jerk, but I donâ€™t want to use names.) She got bored, wanted to go out more. I agreed at first, but then felt like she was taking advantage of me because I thought she was losing interest and just kept me around to watch him. She finally admitted that she was over it, and I moved out.
Now it has been almost a year, and I have gotten pretty close to the kid, so I keep helping her out and hanging out with him sometimes. And before you say anything, yes, I was hoping she would change her mind at first, but I realized a month or so after I left that it was not going to happen. I still wanted to spend time with him because I really liked him and I thought it was good for him that we were hanging out, too. There are no other men in his life at all.
So, anyway, that situation seemed like it was OK until a week ago. I was with the kid, and she was out, and he called me daddy. I said, “No, Iâ€™m not daddy. Iâ€™m your friend…” And he said, â€œNo! Daddy!â€ like he was really pissed about it. He is two and a half, and I donâ€™t know where this came from, but I was not about to start trying to reason with him or whatever, so I just told him that I wasnâ€™t daddy and we were friends and that it was OK.
So, next thing I knew, she was telling me that I am not allowed to see the kid anymore. I asked her why, and she wouldnâ€™t say, but I know he must have said something like that to her. I am sure she thinks I made him say it, or that I am fucking with him somehow. I feel like shit, not only for me, because I am going to miss that kid, but for him, because I know that I was good and stable for him and now thatâ€™s just one less person in his life he can count on. Her family is out of the picture, and her friends are kind of a mess, even though they are mostly nice people.
What should I do? I donâ€™t want to make things any worse for the kid, and I have a feeling she is going to be looking for a babysitter and will call me in a couple weeks. I am trying to decide what to do if she calls, or if I should call her and just try to talk to her about it.
I know this is crappy, ND, but I think for both your sake and the sake of that kid, you just need to stay away. In a way, I can see why his calling you daddy might freak her out, and I donâ€™t necessarily think she is wrong for wanting to cut the ties. What if she starts dating somebody else? I mean, what if she really gets into another serious relationship? How will that play out with the kid being so attached to you when you arenâ€™t even related? And for that matter, how far do you let this go? What if you meet another girl and start dating? Wonâ€™t that be weird for her? And, of course, this must be totally confusing for a two-year-old. As painful as it is, I think you know what you need to do. I hope she doesnâ€™t call you, but if she does, for your own sake and the sake of that kid, you need to tell her no.
Not Confidential to Everybody: Have you all noticed lately that there are arguments going on in the political sphere about birth control? I say â€œpoliticalâ€ because I havenâ€™t heard a single regular person on either side of the political aisle arguing that women should not have access to birth control. This is a fake argument. A non-issue. Birth control has been around for a long time. Women from all across the political spectrum have been using it for decades, much to the relief of their husbands and boyfriends and partners, who also get to enjoy adult relationships without the worry of unwanted children thanks to the miracle of modern medicine. This is a ridiculous argument, and I am urging everyone not to fall for it.
Please write to your representatives and tell them to stop wasting time and energy on this. This is especially important if you are conservative, because a lot of Republican politicians will assume that because you are conservative that you agree with them about everything. Maybe Iâ€™m being presumptuous, but I assume if you are reading this column you must at least have relatively open views about sex. If you do, please make your voice heard. And I know I have said this before, but you should really think twice about sleeping with anybody who doesnâ€™t believe in your right to choose whether and when to have a child. That is all. I am relinquishing the soapbox.
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