This article is based on the interviews of nine young, socially disadvantaged fathers from the UK. Young fathers are more likely to experience socioeconomic deprivation and disrupted pathways towards parenthood, which affect their participation in socially accepted trajectories of ‘father involvement’. Whilst this has received some attention in research, studies have largely neglected to examine the lived experiences of such fathers directly. The current article aims to address this gap, building upon the limited body of research that exists exploring the impact of socioeconomic and relational barriers on father involvement. In this study, three interrelated themes demonstrate the cyclical nature of generational disadvantage, reduced socioeconomic circumstances and disrupted relationships, providing a different perspective on the decreased levels of involvement exhibited by young fathers in prior research. The findings also enlighten our understanding of how these fathers can be better supported in policy and practice, thereby contributing to current academic debate.