When a partner decides to walk away from their pregnant significant other, there are laws that determine what rights they do or don't have regarding any children born after they left.
But what about morally?
Can a partner walk away then return and make demands? A new mother wondered just that, so she turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor CommunicationKey6247 asked:
"AITA for not agreeing to a name change for my daughter, despite her father wanting one?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"My ex and I were engaged, living together, and planning on trying for kids after the wedding. The wedding got delayed and I found out I was pregnant shortly after."
"My ex freaked out."
"Insisted it couldn't be his baby because he wasn't ready to be a dad, that this was all happening too fast and wasn't how we planned it, and said he needed some time to think everything over. He then moved out, blocked me, and didn't answer any kind of attempted contact for 10 months."
"Our child was born without him there and I named our daughter, 'Elizabeth Laura Smith' without his input. Elizabeth because I like it and it reminds me of my favourite book character (I work in literature), Laura after my grandmother, and Smith is my surname."
"My ex has reached out."
"He said he waited this long because he wasn't sure how far along I was when we were together but he figured the baby had to have been born by now. I said that his timing was a little off, because she's 5 months old."
"Ex has said he's planning to sort out custody. We've not discussed logistics yet, but he's unlikely to get anything before she turns 1."
"He asked if I'd named her yet, and I told him what I'd named her. Ex then said he hates that name."
"He thinks it sounds old and stuffy. He says that as his mother, 'Mary', has recently (November 2019) passed away, he wants to name our daughter Mary."
"He says Mary must be the first name and that I can have either Elizabeth or Laura as the middle name. I made clear, in no uncertain terms, that I will not change her name."
"I hate the name Mary. I hate how it sounds, both alone and with 'Elizabeth/Laura Smith' on the end of it."
"Plus I didn't like his mother, either (though I didn't remind him of that)."
"Ex said that if we're going to co-parent then I have to learn to compromise and this is the place to start, and that it's unfair that I got to choose both her first and middle name. I said that if he hadn't blocked me for the better part of a year, he'd have been able to say all of this when she was born."
"Ex said that the above is proof that I'm being petty and that he can't undo the past, but I can prevent any feelings of dislike/resentment from him over this name in future, and that as the father he should have a say in his daughter's name."
"He also says that he's willing to let her be a 'Smith' and not force me to use his surname, which he feels is proof he has already negotiated."
The OP added:
"Sure, he wasn't there for the first few months, but he's here now, and I don't want to potentially f'k up his relationship with our daughter before it even begins, and I feel petty citing him not being there as the reason for me sticking to the name."
"I chose the name of our daughter entirely without him, and a name is such a huge part of who someone is that I feel like I should be allowing this and the only reason I'm not is that I hate the name Mary."
"Am I the A-hole?"
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP was definitely not the a**hole.
"NTA. You're so far from being the asshole."
"Don't give him anything. If he wants visitation, he needs to get a lawyer and file a legal petition for paternity."
"And you hire a lawyer and your lawyers (and a judge, if necessary) iron out his visitation and child support."
"Your and your lawyer's side should be that your Ex fled when he knew you were pregnant and shouldn't have custody. His visitation should be supervised for a significant length of time so he can demonstrate his ability to parent."
"And he needs to pay child support."
"There's a good chance he'll ghost you again when you tell him to have his lawyer call your lawyer."
"But definitely do not just hand this man your baby, nor change her name because he wants it changed." ~ teresajs
"NTA. If he had wanted to have naming privileges, he should have been there for the pregnancy and birth." ~ Laramila
"Exactly this. If you want to be a parent, you be a parent. If you want to name your child, be there when the child is born to name said child."
"Leaving for half a year and coming back making demands is the most ridiculous behavior only to be expected from someone who has the audacity to leave their pregnant fiancée to begin with."
"Stay far away from this guy OP. You are not being petty."
"Also imagine having this guy as a father figure for your daughter. Imagine her growing up thinking it's ok for the husband/father of her future children to leave for months and expect to be welcomed back with open arms."
"This is not stable, she doesn't deserve to grow up in a household where instability is the norm."
"You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders, OP. Don't let this guy make any decisions and how about you block him considering he made it very clear how important you and your daughter were when you needed him."
"For months. NTA but that ex sure as heck is." ~ SassyPikachuu
"NTA. Pretty f'king ballsy of him to get a hold of you when your daughter is 5 g*d damn months old and the first thing he does is start making demands." ~ Twallot
"Please for your own sake and your child's, don't negotiate with this guy. HE broke his relationship with your daughter on day 1 when he DENIED her because she couldn't be his because he wasn't ready."
"I mean Holy cr*p. Game was over then."
"Get a lawyer. Get a counselor who knows family practice."
"Tell him it is all going through the authorities. Heck, tell him you want a paternity test because you don't want him ever to be able to question it again!"
"Be clear: this guy is going to disappoint your daughter throughout her life. He is going to hurt her."
"He's not going to treat her any different than he treated you. That's who he is."
"Protect both of you." ~ fizzwitz
Reddit feels this woman needs to put her daughter first and her ex-fiancé's wants and needs last.
If her ex can prove he's in it for the long haul, his feelings could be considered. But right now he's just the man who ignored, discarded and abandoned his child because he wasn't ready.