Are You Stuck in a Relationship with Your Kids Father?

Updated on October 31, 2013
S.F. asks from Miami, FL
23 answers

I have two children with my boyfriend of 6 years. I was never really head over heels in love with him but when I got pregnant with my first daughter I decided to give the whole family thing a sincere effort. When I met him I had never had a boyfriend before or a serious relationship I figured that I would grow to love him over time but it just has not happened. He is a good father but he we are simply not compatible in anyway not sexually, emotionally or mentally. I feel hollow inside and depressed because I wish that I could love him and marry the father of my children but I know that I would be unhappy and just settling.

I do believe that love is possible and I want to be able to have real love in my life. I can't see breaking up our family yet because our children are so young and I can't afford to live on my own right now. I want to be free to meet other people and see what it feels like to be really connected to someone but I don't want to cheat on him. My dream is that we can end our relationship amicably and find a way to share raising our kids as friends instead of lovers.

Has any one ever been in the same situation? I am just curious to hear about other moms experiences with this type of relationship where you are just staying together because you have kids and it seems easier than being a single mom.

In my defense, I thought he could not have children so my first pregnancy was a bit of a surprise.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Dang, there is a lot of stone throwing in these comments. So let me clarify.

I am curious to know if other women have been in a similar situation and what was the outcome. That is it, that is all.

If you actually read what I said you will see that I was not asking to be analyzed, judged or told what to do next or whether or not I should stay. That is something I have to work out on my own. I am fully aware of all of my flaws, issues and past mistakes. And please don't make any assumptions.

All you who felt the need to throw out pointless accusations and wrong assumptions are just pathetic and you should really ask yourself why you feel the need to click or even answer a question like this if you are so happy and "content" in your relationships.

Quite simply the details of my relationship are too much to explain here.

I would like to thank everyone who gave sincere answers whether you could sympathize with my situation or not. (Elliebird’s Mom, AV, Mamabird and Debbie F. in particular)

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I wish you had at least said the sex was amazing because then I could muster some compassion for you. Nope, nothing was ever good except his home and his paycheck. Now you want more but you still need his home and paycheck so you are here asking us how do I find a better home and paycheck without cheating on the old home and paycheck because that will make me feel bad.

You should feel bad!! You have used this guy from the beginning. Learn to support yourself or this is going to become a pattern. Men have emotions too, they have needs, plans for the future, just like women.

Tell him the truth! Yes he is going to kick you out but you are a grown woman, you should be able to support yourself by now.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I'm sorry, but what in the world?!

Have you been reading a lot of romance novels?

If you spent HALF as much time WORKING on your relationship with him as you do in LaLaLand.....

And here's a thought: Perhaps he'd like to KNOW he's wasting his life with someone who was "never really head over heels in love with him"? Perhaps, HE'D like the opportunity to find a good woman who will love him the way he deserves to be loved. Why is it only you who gets a "dream"?

Sorry, but you can't be a martyr when your suffering doesn't actually benefit anyone. Piss, or get off the pot, as my mother says.


10 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Dear Shara,

I am married to the father of my two children. We went to premarital counseling before getting married as it is required in our church. Our pastor told us that "love" is an action word - a verb. You either chose to do it or not do it. We chose to do it and keep making that choice.

I don't know why you were having unprotected sex with this man if you didn't love him. (Even if he was sterile you can still get diseases. Ever hear of AIDS???) I don't know why you had a second child after having your first if you were "just not into him". However, before you go breaking up your family I think you should really think about this. You aren't supposed to be head over heals in love with your partner every day of your life. That is a story made up by Hollywood! You are supposed to love your partner daily by making a conscious choice to see the good in him.

Your dream is just that - a fantasy. Children are not meant to be shared - it is tough on them. It is hard to not have one home that is yours and have to constantly move and always miss one parent.

Is it easier to raise children with a willing partner than alone? Yes. What a dumb question.

Now that you have the benefit of my premarital counseling - think about your situation. I feel sorry for your partner and super sorry for your children. I hope you can fix things.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Kids from divorced parent often manage to survive and have happy childhoods, but only if the adults in their lives put the kids first.

You said your boyfriend is a good father, so I suggest you leave and give him custody of the kids. It will be much easier for you to support only yourself, and, of course, it will give you time to cultivate this fantasy of yours.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sorry--blissfully "stuck". We were together for 5 years before we got pregnant, so I knew who I was getting involved with in making a family.

That said, if I had ended up having a child with my ex-husband, there would have been no amount of convenience that would have kept us together. Being a single mom would have at least allowed me to keep my own sense of integrity. Staying together, not so much.

I think you should go talk to someone, Shara. Find out why you got into this relationship in the first place. Figure out what you were wanting/needing from him (and needing in yourself) that you were willing to make a baby without truly loving that person. Why you are willing to play such a passive role in your own life. It sounds like you were waiting for something to happen *to* you instead of being seeking to make something happen for yourself. Your first pregnancy was a surprise, but you did continue on in the relationship, for whatever the reasons were that worked for you at the time. Get this settled with yourself, so that you can go forward with a sense of your own integrity. When I look back at my own parents, THAT is what I would want to see-- a strong sense of personal values and ethics. Only through uncovering *how* you got to this place will you be able to determine what you want to do for a healthy future. Good luck.

ETA: and I'll just add one thing-- don't end up being one of the stories we read about here, who stays with someone just until Mr Better comes along. That, in my book, is nothing more than using people. Period. My mother put us through 4 Mr Betters and I can tell you-- the void is in herself, it was nothing even the most perfect man could fill. None of her children respect her. Please spare everyone the heartbreak of that sort of behavior.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

The first baby might have been a surprise, but after you knew the two of you were fertile together, why did you make another baby with a man you didn't love?
If you're that miserable, so is he, and your kids will be soon. Do all of you a favor and leave.
When I left my ex, I moved into a two-room apartment in the ghetto with my toddler because it was what I could afford. I didn't have health insurance or a phone. Sure as hell didn't have cable tv. And we did just fine.
Do you have a job? Then you can find a place to live, even if it's not in the nicest part of town.
If you don't have a job, get a job. Any job. Two jobs, if need be.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

So you came for the sex, stayed for the "family thing" and now, 2 kids, 6 yrs later, wonder what it's like without him? You never loved him. You stay because of money.

Wow. He picked a winner.

How's this going to effect your kids, if you just "settle". They will have a two parent family. Oh, how terrible.

I've got dibs on, there's a new guy in your life and you are doing the comparison thing. Grass is not greener over there.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Wow!! I'm going to give this to you honestly and it may seem brutal as well and for that I am truly sorry. But I'm coming at this from your kids perspective. My parents Never married stayed together 20 years both unhappy they never really loved each other either. Both the first for each. Pregnant with me they decided to stay together and do the "family" thing, mom was always unhappy dad was always finding ways to be away from home "work". 3 more kids mom became more depressed, dad gone more. She started drinking by the time I was 13 she was a full blown alcoholic now with a newborn. She couldn't take care of all the time so it fell on me. I loved my little sister but also resented her. Now I was having adult responsibilities and missing out on being a teenager. She once in a drunken moment said to me "I'm stuck in this miserable life because of you". I know I wasn't responsible for her misery. She was because she chose to stay for the comfort of things. But if you were to talk to any of my siblings. They all sensed something missing growing, togetherness, and strong sense of respect for the other person. You need to end this now or get counseling for the both of you now. Weather you entend to or not kids are very perceptive and will figure things out. Maybe if they had ended it earlier they would have found true love, happiness and my brothers and sister and I would have seen how 2 grown adults should act. I came out of it ok, some trust issues but my siblings were Very skeptical of marriage. You owe this not only to your children but to yourself to be happy. Please don't cheat, just be frank and do what needs to be don. Take care of yourself because in all honesty the only way for your children to find true happiness and love is to know what it looks like when they see it. And that no one should ever settle for less.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Shara, I am with Christine on this one. I am all for seeking what is in your best interest but this sounds stunningly immature. I know I sound harsh but there are children involved. Love is a verb and a choice. Try actually loving the good things about the person in front of you. List all of his good qualities and think of things about him (they may all relate to the kids at first) that are good and make you smile. If you have HONESTLY done that for a few months and you are still - not that in to him - what are you in 7th grade? Then by all means you OWE him the information that you don't love him. Then do not be shocked if he decides he deserves better and moves on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Listen, don't stay together because of the children. They are not dumb, they will soon figure it out and start to resent both of you. They know when mom and dad don't love each other. Especially if there is no touching, compassion, kissing or affection between to the two people that gave them life. If you are truly not happy, then leave. That is very selfish of you to not want to leave because you don't want to break up the family, that is such a cop out! People use that all the time! You are using your children as a tool to keep the family together. Do you think that is fair to them? And what do you mean you cannot afford to live on your own? Sure you can! You probably won't be able to spend extra money like you would if you lived in a house with two incomes, but you made this bed honey! I would be so totally devastated if my DH didn't really love me but just stayed because of the kids. I cannot even imagine that! That just breaks my heart thinking of it. Please do the right thing and get out of this relationship. You are not going to magically fall in love with him overnight, if the love wasn't there in the beginning, it certainly won't be there in two years. Not all marriages/relationships have sparks flying all the time, but when you sit back and look at the big picture, that is what matters. My DH and I have to work at our marriage most of the time, why? Because we have a special needs child that DEMANDS so much of our time and it takes a toll on our marriage and causes so much stress, but..... the bottom line is he loves me and I love him, my DH, my kids and my marriage are my priority! Oh sweetheart, good luck on this one! What a miserable place to be.

And another thing that i just thought of is you say you didn't think he could have children but yet you went on and had another child clearly knowing you have not loved him since the beginning??? wow!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If you do decide to leave, then make a plan and make things legal. Get it all out there to protect all of you. My nephew has never formalized visitation and CS with is sometimes ex-gf and she does things like deny him his weekend per verbal agreement only. She uses their child as a pawn. A court order can be achieved in mediation regarding child support and custody. It will lay out what is fair and expected in your state. It will provide him the legal tools he needs if a child should need to be hospitalized or if a school needs to contact a parent. The two of you can look for a co-parenting class (often required in a divorce) to help you with the new normal.

It will not be easy, but really think about what you want to do and what you should do. You may want to seek counseling to help yourself navigate this time. Even children can benefit from counseling at young ages. Be honest and be fair. Know that there is NO guarantee that Prince Charming is out there, so if you bottom line do not want to be in this relationship, then that is your task. I am not saying you will never find a new boyfriend. But I am saying that you can't make that your goal. I know people who remarried...and people who never did. You have to find how to be happy with yourself. Since you stayed for the first baby and never experienced dating other people, counseling can also help you find out what you are really looking for. You don't know what you don't know yet.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

No, I am not stuck in a relationship with my kid's father. He picked me...I picked him. We got married knowing we wanted to make a family together. Best decision of my life😊

Good luck. I hope it works out for you but especially your kids.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

No I am not "stuck" in a relationship with my kids' father. We chose to have sex AFTER we got married for many reasons...your situation being one of them. But...I would like to turn the table on you.

Your children are so blessed to be "stuck" in the same home with their father and mother. You say he is a good father. That is wonderful. At least you chose a nice man. Did you ever think that maybe he is so nice that he believes he is just "stuck" with you as well, but so nice that he stays for the children??

Please stay "stuck" with eachother. Give your children the gift of love and security in a house with both their parents. You brought these children into the world and they deserve better than a mom looking for "love" somewhere else...and a dad looking for "love" somewhere else. Once you brought these children into your family, your desire for love elsewhere goes on the back burner.

You do deserve love,happiness,joy..the whole kittenkaboodle. BUT...not at the expense of your children's joy,happiness,security etc. This is one of the consequences you pay for doing "family" backwards. You chose the very situation you are "stuck" in. I am sorry...

You did not mention that your boyfriend is beating you,cheating on you or has addictions. Those are the only reasons I would suggest divorcing and ripping your children's world apart.

Stop dreaming of the life that could have been. You had sex with this man..that means you CHOSE the possible "result". I understand you said you didn't think he could have children. Oops once! But then you went ahead and had another with him. I am sorry Shara B. You chose this life!! Make it the best life for your children while they are in your home. Then in 18 years you part your ways amicably and continue to love your children in separate homes. But don't break up their world now or especially when they are teenagers.

I am a child of divorce. Divorce SUCKS for kids. Sure we learn to "deal" and "cope" with it. But it leaves lasting scars and sometimes the kids learn to hide their sadness by getting involved in not so safe coping mechanisms. and dad found love somewhere else so that is all that matters eh?!?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Finding love should be on the back burner you have small children to raise. When they are grown maybe consider dating. Cut this man loose and move forward as civilly as possible.... Good luck

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I've been with my daughter's dad 6 years but we do plan on getting married and having other kids but we love each other 100% not 100% of the time but for the most part we are pretty good together. I couldn't imagine being with someone else forever. IMHO if you know you don't love him romantically do him and yourself a favor and leave the relationship. Talk to him. It's not fair to th the kids to be in a family unit and when you know you don't want to be with their father. It will be hard no matter the age and yes you may be blamed for them losing out especially if they are older and know what happened. Heck the longer you hold off your boyfriend may resent you for leading him on which is what your doing

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well - you have kids together - you will always be connected to him through them.
Because you have 2 young kids - you need to put them first - before your desire to find Mr Perfect For You.
That doesn't mean you have to stay with your boyfriend.
You need to prepare to be able to live without the support of a boyfriend.
That means getting a job, becoming self supporting, having your own apartment and raising your kids.
The look for Mr Right can be a long search - it can take years and even then there are no guarantees you will find the right guy.
In the mean time your soon to be ex-boyfriend will be looking for Miss Right-For-Him.
Between the two of you I hope you both won't be parading a long series of boyfriends/girlfriends through your kids lives.
You / he had these kids.
You / he are obliged to give them as stable a home/life as you can give them even if you don't do that together anymore.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I am sorry that you are so unhappy. I've not been in this type of situation, but would like to suggest that you go to counseling to figure out if you are just having unrealistic expectations. That happens when we tend to want something so badly and it's not coming together like we want. You could be suffering from depression also. I don't agree that staying just because of the kids is always the best choice because the kids end up suffering. And definitely don't have any more kids with him. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The thing that sticks out for me is that you got together young and you want to know what dating someone else feels like. Honey, the grass is always greener on the other side. What may seem awesome and hearts and flowers with a new guy will eventually settle into the boring day to day.

Sure, sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if I hadn't met my husband and settled down with him in a town so far from my family, but I love our family and I know it probably wouldn't have been better.

I usually don't advocate for splitting up just because the romance is gone, you can always work to put the romance back in. I have friends and relatives who stay together just for the kids. My grandparents got divorced as soon as my aunt graduated high school and it really effected her badly. She felt terrible for her parents being so miserable just to be together for her. One of my friends is too scared to leave because she can't afford it on her own. Both of these things are dumb. If you're truly miserable, leave. But don't go expecting that you will meet someone else and suddenly your life will be unicorns and rainbows.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I commend you for giving the family life a try, but you sound miserable and you deserve to be happy. You say you don't want to break up your family because your children are young. But divorce/separation is h*** o* kids no matter what their age. The sooner you separate, the more time your children will have to adjust to their new life. Also, remember that unhappy/depressed mom isn't exactly healthy for kids either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not stuck.
We chose each other above all others and we choose to be together.
That said, at 49, married 17 years, I know that relationships have peaks and valleys.
Giddy, giddy, joy, joy, stomach butterflies aren't realistic to expect every moment of the day.
Make sure you're not confusing live with the idea if love.
You have kids. I've said it before, but I'll repeat it. If neither mate is abusive, adulterous or addicted, I think you do owe it to the family to try, stick it out and make it work.
LOTS of people doubt their choice of mate.
Here's the thing,stop letting him know this is how you feel! Talk about self defeating.
TRY treating him like he IS the O.. Because he might be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I was in a similar situation, except I only had 1 child. I discovered later in the marriage that he was volatile and suffered from mental illness, had a bad credit history, and on occasion, he'd also be under the influence of drugs. We constantly argued and I was always crying and miserable. Like you, I did not feel love. I even tried strong anti-depression medication to end my suffering, but I still felt dead inside.

Everyone kept telling me to stop being selfish and put my child first, even if it meant staying in an unhappy marriage. I tried that twice, and both times, I realized I was unhappy and my daughter perceived that. Maybe those people mean well, but I don't think it's a good idea to stay in a marriage in which your stress levels are always sky-rocketing. Don't judge unless you've been there, I'd say, and the funny thing is, some of these women were in abusive relationships with addicts, and they still said staying is the only way. I totally disagree.

I grew up with parents who constantly argued and it suddenly dawned on me how much I hated it, how nervous I'd get every time I'd hear doors slam, and how even now, loud noises and banging makes me jumpy. At that point, I realized it wasn't just about ME, it was also about my kid. I did not want her to grow up listening to shouting match arguments like I did. When she told me once to please stop arguing with him with tears in her eyes, I knew that I was done trying. He was coming home at 3-4 a.m., in case you're wondering why we'd argue at times. Unlike you though, I was also financially supporting him. I was always budgeting, he was always spending all the money he had and in debt.

I have been alone for many years. I tried dating during that time, though I never sought men, I'd just meet them at a museum tour or what have you, but I could not find anyone mature enough to want to try a relationship, so I gave up on that. Never during that time would I introduce these people to my child. My self-imposed rule was that we'd have to date at least 6 months before that happened, but I never made it to that point. I am comfortable and okay with thing as they are. I am very much at peace with myself, my stress levels have gone down, I am a happier person all around, and love having time for myself at home to read or catch up on a movie. My daughter loves spending time snuggling on the couch watching a movie, just the 2 of us. Finding love, as you can see, is not my priority nor does it matter. I hope that your main priority isn't finding love because some people never even find it in their lifetime, so you have to be prepared for that. In the meantime, you can always have great friends you click with, laugh with, and feel that connection that you feel you lack.

Is it easy being a single mom? Heck no, you're expected to be both mom AND dad and have the same amount of time to do homework, cook, etc., as a two-parent household that splits the chores. It won't be easy. Some people will judge you, including a lot of men that may avoid you like the plague because of a stereotype that if you're a single mom, you must be looking for a sugar daddy to support you and your kids. You are responsible for more than one person financially, so that is a lot of burden to carry because if you lose your job, no one is going to assist you, so you have to be very responsible at your job.

You mentioned you're unable to support yourself. An option you may want to look into is trying to find someone who is renting an apartment and is seeking a roommate. Try craigslist. There are responsible women out there who have a lease, but may feel lonely and want a roommate, or they need help with paying the rent/mortgage, and they want to find someone responsible and mature that won't try to gyp them. Some of them are college grads in grad school, and some may be single moms. Who knows, if you find a single mom, your kids might like playing with her kids. I have seen apartments that look clean and in good areas where the person looking for a a roommate asks as little as $600 a month in rent. I don't know if you work or not, so I don't know if that's even feasible.

All you can do is think this through and take into account that perhaps you may not find Mr. Right, and if you still feel that you want to end things, do it now before it's too late. After 18 years, I feel it will affect everyone even more that you carried a lie for so long and suddenly dropped a huge bomb. I don't think it is wise to do this, although everyone may have a different opinion on that. Realize that your kids may be upset that they lived a lie for so long, or feel they grew up not seeing love because you two thought prolonging the inevitable would be the best option.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Don't listen to anyone out there who found the perfect mate and is judging you now. Meeting Mr Right is SHEER LUCK- some people go decades without meeting a good mate and they can't be expected to remain celibate and not procreate in the meantime, especially if they have what seems to be love for a while.

On another note: Sounds like if you had money, you'd leave. No judgement here, I took FOREVER divorcing because I was being supported too-though my ex was a massive cheater and the relationship was not by any means able to survive....

Get yourself on your own two feet so you are independent, but stay in the relationship and RESPECT it in the meantime. Good job not cheating. Don't cheat. Appreciate the good in your kids' dad and once you CAN support yourself in a couple of years after hard work, then do it if you are still miserable. Find true love later. It does exist out there. But don't cheat. Any relationship you find while you are still being in a family with your children's dad is NOT going to be with a good man.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Wow, people are mean. You deserve to be happy. And your children deserve the opportunity to see what a couple who loves each other looks like. You will be doing yourself, your boyfriend and your kids the best thing you can do by acknowledging the truth and starting over. Since bf is a good dad, you should share custody.

Having a real love in your life should not be a 'fantasy you are cultivating', it should be your life. And your boyfriend's as well. Not some spiteful answer on Mamapedia.

1 mom found this helpful
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