It takes two people to make a child and they have to work together to raise it. But sometimes exes blur the lines and are involved in more than parenting. They’ve allegedly moved on, but in reality they’re still clinging to the past, to those days when they were in a relationship. And their behavior shows they’re not ready to let go.
If you’re involved with a guy who has a baby with another woman (his baby mama aka his BM) and you suspect he’s concerned about more than his you child, you may be right.
- Excessive co-parenting. Yes, parents need to discuss things: medical decisions, child care arrangements, grades and behavior. And there are some moments they want share with each other: the first step, first word, an award or an upcoming event. But be very aware when every move the baby mama makes requires input from your man. If she’s calling every time the child draws a picture or he has to rush over for every scrape, cut and whimper, there’s a problem. When people aren’t ready to let go they’ll often use children to stay in constant contact.
- She plays the middle man. Once a child reaches a certain age, there’s little for parents to talk about on a daily basis. Sure, your man may need to talk to his BM here and there. But for the most part, school-age children can communicate directly with their fathers, no middle man required. And at some point it becomes ridiculous for all calls to be routed through her. A father who really wants to stay in touch with his child should be willing to invest in a cellphone or landline. If not, you have to wonder: who does he really want to talk to?
- He’s concerned about her dating (or vice versa). The thing about breaking up is you lose the right and any valid reason to have say-so about what your ex does, even when children are involved. You don’t get to say when they date, who they date or how often they can go out. In custody cases, courts don’t even generally allow one parent to dictate who the other associates with, even when the child is around. And you shouldn’t accept your man trying to regulate his baby mama’s private life or him having to justify his to her. And it’s definitely a red flag if they’ve reached an agreement where she forbids you being around “her child” and he’s agreed to respect her wishes. No man should make an agreement to bar the woman he loves from his child’s life.
- Visitation includes her. Unless your man is physically or mentally challenged he can learn to care for his child on his own at every age, including infancy. He doesn’t need his baby mama around monitoring every visit. Don’t accept them playing family because they’re not. They may both need to be present on certain occasions—medical visits, parent-teacher conferences, school plays —but they don’t need to be posing as a couple.