Hmm, thanks for sharing your awesome story. I can feel everything you're going through. I've read your story carefully and the other answers. Here's my thoughts. Even if you only walk away with one of them helping you, that would make me so happy. First, my gut instincts go like this: you love him (that's for sure!); ur bf says he'll stand by you. I say at least give him a chance....for 2 reasons (maybe many more): 1. It's critical to your child; 2. some guys (no matter how messed up they are) just need something like this to "rock their world" and wake'em up. Sometimes the guy/girl even says (precisely because of their f'd-up past, "Not only can I do this but I'm gonna show the world I'm a real man! and I'm gonna show all you guys that I'm no loser". You'll be surprised how much this psychology plays in, ESP if they've been beaten down so many times in their young life AND they had an abusive dad. These guys especially want to show those who are dear to them "Look. I'm gonna be a really loving dad. I'm gonna show what it's like to be a great, loving dad." Sometimes they do it just to prove to themselves that they can make a difference and break the cycle (i'm not commenting on whether or not he can---no one here can say). Another point I'd like to share is that the history of young mistakes on the female side of your family is obviously self-perpetuating. I don't mean that as a "sentence" or judgement, but I mean, you're right, it's a pattern of learned behavior probably at some subconscious level. We look around us. We see what's "normal" or "acceptable" or "doable", and, while it may not be "intelligent" or "best for the kid" (or for you or him), you just step into it.
Now there's a flip side to this whole story and tha'ts this: It MAY not be the best thing to have ur bf become the dad (ultimately), because of 2 whoppers: his own personal history of demonstrated irresponsibility (examples you gave) combined with his family history (more learned behavior--important). A woman learns how to become a mom by watching her mom. You can try to "imagine" what that would be like if you didn't have a great one (i don't know about her), but it's really, really hard to do it that way. The same thing goes for guys: It's SO much easier (and therefore natural) when a guy's own dad was great, because he automatically knows "what to do" and, just as importantly, what NOT to do, in little situations. All this said, my point is I would STILL give him (being the biological father and the fact that he said he'd be there for you) a chance to "step up to the plate" (notice I don't say "and do the right thing" because...i can't read the future... because it may NOT be "the right thing" for him to be involved (but give him the chance to try). The key recipe would be: you BOTH really love each other; you're both dedicated (deep down) to this child (whether or not you decide to all raise the child together), etc. Some would say that it's NOT the right thing to expose your son to TWO underaged parents etc. There's also the idea of (just an option please) raising the child with your mom until both you and the child are much older and then either: a) finding a guy who loves you (and ur child too of course) and will be a great INFLUENCE (that's an important concept often lost on this entire culture) on the child; or b) allowing ur bf to move in, one-to-several years from now after he's proven that he can hold down a job, is ambitious, can be a loving, stable provider, and ....has had time to really think about "should I stay?" without feeling like he "has" to. Anyway, these are some (not that well-organized i'm afraid) thoughts that I genuinely hope will touch your heart and make a big difference in your life, the child's life, and his life. Remember, him doing the 'right thing' and sticking it out, is often "the worst thing" for everyone. As you may or may not know, these cycles you describe are common in (this may not be you) lower income and/or lower education-type families. What happens is early pregnancy ==> incomplete education ===> lower paying jobs ==> racing to survive ===> bad mom ===> same thing happens to her. I know this won't happen to you because you want to break this cycle. As you know, this cycle has to end. It begins with education (one or preferably both parents), getting a solid job, and learning new behaviors by associating yourself with people you can provide incredible examples. Good luck. I feel you'll do well if you can take some of these ideas and incorporate them into what can only ultimately be your decision. Sometimes love (esp 2 ways) can overcome all. It's impressive he's been with you 8 months relative to his past. There may be something there, but he's going to have to prove to you: a) he's responsible; b) he's turned his life around; c) he's no longer doing drugs; d) he'll finish school (and at least, jesus, finish high school---which i don't call "an education"--that' college); and e) love you always; and f) be dedicated to his child. It's tough, because even if his heart's in the right place, all he's been receiving is negatives (school says he's a loser; dad says he's a loser; EVEN if these are not true (they're not); but he's also hanging out with losers (drugs/whoever's supplying etc). So even if his heart's in the right place, he's gonna need to drastically change his immediate world (those people who surround him) and he's going to need positive, UPLIFTING, reinforcing influences (people who tell him (not just you) frequently, "Man, you're awesome!". That sense of feeling awesome will reverb throughout other aspects of his life and will translate to confidence in his role as a husband and a certainly as a dad. All the best for you.