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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Does my Baby Need Him?

Tue, Nov 2nd 2010

The father of my baby dumped me when she was one month old. Two months later he announced he had been living with another woman for several months and that they were getting married in a month. Of course, all that broke my heart (I had been dating him for years) and I went into a crisis.

Before dumping me, he had been filling our relationship with lies and signs of disrespect towards me. He was going out to bars with friends even the day before I gave birth (I was at the hospital). He started doing this when I was about five months pregnant. I never confronted him because I was afraid the pain would affect my pregnancy. Indeed I went through a lot of pain, but now I am confident everything is in the past and I am much better without him (my baby is six months old now).

My life is peaceful and without lies. However, one question remains. I know there is a legal part because my baby has his last name, but my question regards my baby's wellness.

I cut all communication with my baby's father, for my own mental health. I wish I could keep it like that for good. He has not shown any signs of wanting to be responsible for the baby at any level (financial and emotional). I know I can file for child support, but that also would give him rights to visit my daughter (the law in my country would grant such rights). I am financially solvent. I have a good job and so I really don't need to ask for child support. And I know I can file to remove his paternity rights to keep him away.

However, I wonder then, will it hurt my daughter in some way if I keep the "zero contact" situation with her father forever? He is distant and uninterested now. He wanted to have only "phone contact," to which I refused. But I'm afraid later on, after a couple of years, he will try to have contact again.

Does she really need to have him in her life even though he has shown to not have good feelings for her? I don't want her to suffer for not having a father while growing up, but I am not sure if that kind of father would be good for her. I'm so sorry I did not give her a better father. Now I only want to do what's best for her.

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