Ask Demetria: My Ex Won't Visit Our Daughter Unless I Have Sex With Him

Black Mother and child.

Dear Demetria:

I am currently single and dealing with the father of my daughter. We were never in a formal relationship, but he refuses to see our daughter unless there is sex involved. He also has other children, with multiple women, whom he sees and acknowledges. I don’t want anything to do with him, but my daughter needs her father. What do I do? —Anonymous 

The father of your child has opted not to play a role in your daughter’s life unless he can get something out of it—namely, sex with you. That’s a really unfortunate stance that he’s taken. But no, you should not have sex with a man you “don’t want anything to do with” in exchange for him fulfilling his responsibilities as a father. Mothers make sacrifices for their kids, of course. But this is asking entirely too much.

He should be present because he’s her father, period, not because there’s quid pro quo where he gets a treat for doing what he’s supposed to. Tell him flatly that sex with him is no longer an option. He may choose not to come around anymore; and as sorry as that will make him as a man and father, and as sad as it may make your daughter, do know that his absence in your daughter’s life will not be your fault. You’re not telling him not to come around; you’re telling him that he no longer has sexual access to you. His absence will be solely on him. He will be making the choice not to be a part of her life, not you.

What your daughter needs is a father who is actually invested in her well-being and who genuinely cares about her. Her current father isn’t demonstrating this if he will spend time with her only when he is enticed with sex from you. Even though he may be present in her life now, present isn’t enough.

Your daughter doesn’t just need a father; she needs a good father. And by no one’s definition would her biological father’s current actions count as being a good father. Also know that what your daughter needs, too, is a mom who respects herself.

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