It seems like you are making the right decision. The road that you are going down seems less fearful. Difficulty is certain heading along the other path. We know that this choice is best. There are so many ways to justify this decision. In your mind, it is the right thing to do for your child. Of only you had the foresight to see the peril in your decision.
I write these words from experience. There was a time when I stood at the same crossroad. My choices were identical: to stay or to go. Being young and immature, my rationalization led me to leave. Her mother did not have the luxury of a choice. Although I justified it in my own mind, there is no reason to abandon a child. Succumbing to fear will never lead to a healthy conclusion. It is the utmost in selfish behavior.
All around me I see men making the same choice. It saddens me deeply, because I know the results of their choice. Today, I have the insight I lacked so many years ago. Hindsight is indeed 20/20. If I had to do it all over again, I would choose the other path. The one I selected turned out to be the more difficult one. It is wrought with pain and frustration. Once you walk out that door, it is extremely treacherous to get back in. We can make up for a lot in life; time is not one of those things.
I see so many that believe they are doing the right thing by leaving. The most common argument is that I cannot make enough money here. Another is about not being able to get along with the mother. Both those situations may be true. However, they do not apply to one’s relationship with his child. Your child cares little about the money you make. Nor does that child really care about the toys-his/hers or yours. And once you leave the house, the relationship with the mother is secondary. What matters is being there for your offspring. That is paramount.
Children are resilient. They adapt to the circumstances around them. Whatever form the family dynamics take, they will adjust. The question is how well will you be able to adjust? Do not be surprised if you learn that your decision created a host of other factors you never envisioned. Are your ready to live with the pain of those factors? Since it is likely you are unaware of the potential pitfalls of your choice, the odds of you being prepared for them is minimal.
My experience is that you need to forgo the money. Also, do what is necessary to get along with the mother. Stop hanging with your buddies and be responsible. Get off the alcohol/drugs so that you can be a father. This is the most reasonable option you have. If you choose to continue as you are doing, your road ahead will be a lot bumpier.
There was a time when I chose to leave my child’s life. That single choice removed me from my daughter for the first 5 years. She did not even know that I existed. During that time, another man walked into her life who became “dad” to her. To this day, he is still referred to as that even though she understands my biological connection to her. It is something that I live with everyday of my life. My choice led me to give up my position as my child’s father.
After I garnered enough courage to try to resolve the situation with my daughter, it was too late. Stepping in after 5 years is an impossibility. Although I had the courts approving my re-emergence, I did not have my child’s. Her entire world was shook to it’s foundation. Someone of that age has a tough time understanding what is transpiring. In her mind, I was a disruption to the only world she knew. This instilled a lot of fear which manifested as anger. We are often unaware of how deeply our decisions can affect out children.
If you think the path back in was easy, think again. It took another 5-6 years before my daughter was somewhat tolerant of me. As mentioned, I am still not “dad” to her. And I never will be. That role was sacrificed by my decision. I also had to accept that I have no hope of ever having the type of relationship with her that my father does with my sister. That is reserved for the one who chose to be in her life even though this child was not biologically his.
The only hope that I have is to be a friend to her. My job now is to love her in whatever capacity she allows me. I offer my support for her with the expectation of nothing in return. I am entitled to nothing in this relationship. It was me that chose to leave. I am a guest in her life and am relegated to behaving as such. My rights went out the window the day I made that ill-fated decision. The courts may say one thing, but the mind of a jilted child will say something totally different. In the end, it is only her viewpoint that matters.
So you have the decision to stay or go. I know how much easier the road of going looks. Do not be fooled. It truly is the tougher route to take. This one decision will affect you the rest of your days. Learn from my experience and be sure to get it right. It matters little what your relationship with your child’s mother is like. The best I hope for is amicable in that department. Money is no substitute for the love of a father regardless of how much it is. All your present selfish wants and desires might satisfy you now, but they will leave a big hole in you in the future. That, I can guarantee you.
There is only one choice here; that is to remain. Be a part of that child’s life. This is not to say that you should stay with the mother. Some people simply do not belong together. Two people who are at each other’s throats fail to create a proper home for a child. Often it is best for all involved to part ways. However, being a part of that child(ren)’s life is always the best choice.
I say all this not so much for his/her sake, but for yours. I can only speak as one who abandoned my child and the pain is caused in my life. It is not something that I would wish upon another man. Not only do I feel the suffering within me but it is doubled when I consider the pain that I inflicted upon her. My decision affected someone who was completely innocent in the situation. I can assure you this is not something that you want to live with.
Learn from my mistake. It will save you an untold amount of suffering. You fail to realize the catastrophic consequences of your decision to leave. It is easy to do; I fell prey to it also. However, hindsight led me to write this for your sake. My bed is made. I accept the lifelong consequences of my horrific decision so many years ago. Yet I hope you choose the opposite track. If this can help just one person avoid this perilous state, then my experience didn’t go for naught. Give yourself and your child a tremendous gift by choosing to be a part of his/her life. I can tell you from experience that you will regret not doing so.