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DP, EXH and Christmas

(156 Posts)
NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 08:42:05

This could be long and I am in work so I may not reply quickly so I will put in as much as I can to cover any questions...

EXH and I seperated almost 3 years ago just before christmas. This coming christmas will be the forth since we split. We were together seven years but it was a stormy relationship due to domestic violence from him to me. Regardless the state of our relationship at the time we always managed to spend christmas together with the kids, including the first one after we split.

I moved DP in with us very quickly so the second christmas after EXH and I seperated DP was there. He refused point blank to let EXH come round on christmas day as it was the first time he had had his DD overnight on christmas eve. This caused a lot of problems between EXH and I, he was not happy that he didnt see the kids untill boxing day.

Last year EXH put his foot down and said since I had the kids the previous year he was taking them for dinner and over night. I still had christmas morning with them until 11am but the rest of the day was terrible for me. I missed them so much. we also only had DSD for an hour or two last year.

This year EXH has said that he would like to come round on christmas morning and watch the kids open their presents and spend an hour or two with them before leaving us to get on with the day.

I don't think that is unreasonable, I think the kids would love it (8 & 5) and that as grown ups we should be able to manage a couple of hours in each others company for their sake.

We don't know when we will be having DSD this year as her mum hasn't decided yet.

I have spent lots of time with DP's ex for the sake of keeping relations easy. we have many times eaten a meal together at MILs etc.

Would I be unreasonable to expect DP to allow EXH a couple of hours with his kids on christmas morning?

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 10:30:56

PorkPieandPickle I admit it would benefit me too as it means for the sake of an hour, two at most I can spend christmas with my kids the way I want to. It is for Exh benefit too, as he can see his children on christmas morning, boxing day just isn't the same. But the fact that we benefit doesn't detract from the fact that it would make the kids happy.

I have spent many many hours with dp's ex to keep the peace. She is not my favourite person by a long shot but I manage to be friendly and not make things uncomfortable because it is best for dsd. She would often turn up at MILs when we are there, eat a meal together, celebrate occassions etc. I don't know why I can't expect the same from DP to do what is best for my DC.

I respect that it is his home too which is why I didn't cause a fuss the first year as it was his first time spending christmas morning with his DD. This year it seems unlikely that DSD will be with us on christmas morning but even if she is why should my childrens wants/needs be sacrificed for the sake of DP's, who is a grown up.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Wed 11-Sep-13 10:35:04

Isn't the bigger issue here that you went instantly from one controlling man to another?

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Wed 11-Sep-13 10:41:22

PorkPieandPickle I completely disagree.

My ex spends every christmas with myself, dp and dc. He will stay for christmas dinner and will often sleep on the sofa christmas night after sinking a few beers.

My dp would not dream of saying he couldn't come. Its about the kids and what they want, They love their Dad and I wouldn't make them choose who to spend christmas with.

YANBU op smile

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 10:43:31

DP is generally great but no one is perfect and there are issues we disagree on, as I am sure all couples do. Relations between ex's is one of our sticking points.

I don't think him not wanting to spend christmas with my ex automatically makes him controlling. There are lots of things I would refuse to do and depending how important it is to dp he may or may not ask me to compromise.

AmberLeaf Wed 11-Sep-13 10:44:03

I think its nice if people can have this sort of arrangement, if it suits everyone. But I don't think I could do that with someone who had been violent towards me.

I agree with whoever it was that said about blurred boundaries and better to have the two seperate homes thing.

Your DP could possibly be a bit controlling, but is there a possibility that he doesn't like your EX because he was violent to you? I think that would put me off someone.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 10:53:31

I would think it certainly doesn't make him any more inclined to be pally with him but if I can get over it then I don't see why he can't. We will always have children together and they will always love their Dad.

Can I ask about the blurred boundaries thing, what exactly do you mean by that? Why is it better to just have two seperate homes than to see their parents getting along (step parents included). We are after all, their family and I wouldnt want them to ever have to choose between us etc. There are occassions such as graduations, weddings, christenings that we will all have to be there, better to be on good, civil footing before then.

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 10:55:53

I disagree, and I personally wouldn't do it. I also grew up with divorced parents and two seperate Christmases was very much the norm and did not traumatise me in any way. Furthermore given the abusive nature of your relationship drawing clear and firm boundaries which keep your lives as seperate as you can would be my main aim. If he lives so close it will be no hardship to organise your own Christmas celebrations. My parents lived 3 hours apart and we still managed it.

However...the precedent has kind of been set with his ex. It is hypocritical of him to demand you send your ex away when you frequently have to socialise with his against your wishes.

Tl;dr - I wouldn't, but you have an in to argue your case if you're insistent on going ahead.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 11:04:43

How did the two christmas thing work, did the parent who didn't have you on christmas day celebrate christmas twice of just ignore it on christmas day and have one on boxing day?

The main reason I posted on AIBU is because when EX suggested it I thought yes that would be nice for the kids, makes my life easier, it's a good idea. But I didn't trust my instincts to not be coloured by who it is easier to disagree with if that makes sense.

Basically I would find it really difficult to not let Exh have his own way. It is much easier to try and ask DP to compromise. If everyone had said oh yes that is ridiculous I would have realised that Exh still had control of me and I couldn't see the wood for the trees so to speak but because lots of people have said oh no your not being unreasonable I think my instincts were right and it is the right thing to do for the children.

I don't know if any of that makes sense?

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 11:11:44

I do see what you mean and I can see how it colours your thinking. Personally I think that the fact you'll appease your ex to the detriment of your partner because it's 'easier' shows he still has control over you anyway.

I don't actually know what she did and she's dead now so I can't ask. I think she probably went to my grandmother/uncles house (we alternated who hosted Christmas) on the day and we had a 'second' Christmas Day on Boxing Day. We loved having
two Christmases but obviously everyone's different. My father also did two Christmases because he remarried and I had step siblings who lived there.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 11:16:52

So did the step siblings get two christmases?

I am thinking logistically how it could work. Did you alternate years on who had you on the actual christmas?

I don't see it as appeasing the ex to the detriment of DP though, thats why I posted, in my eyes I am doing what is best for the kids and sometimes as grown ups we have to do things we don't want. I spend time with dp's ex and he should return the favour. I just wasn't sure if I was kidding myself....

AmberLeaf Wed 11-Sep-13 11:23:29

Can I ask about the blurred boundaries thing, what exactly do you mean by that? Why is it better to just have two seperate homes than to see their parents getting along (step parents included). We are after all, their family and I wouldnt want them to ever have to choose between us etc. There are occassions such as graduations, weddings, christenings that we will all have to be there, better to be on good, civil footing before then

Its possible to be on good terms but still have defined boundaries.

yes, given the DV history, even more important to have very clear boundaries.

My parents were divorced, we had christmas day on christmas day at Mums and then boxing day was christmas day part two at my Dads. It worked well and I have nothing but good memories of it.

This is what I have seen some people do: one partner has the kids christmas eve, christmas day morning through lunch. Then the other partner picks up the kids around 4 or 5, has them for christmas dinner and boxing day. Each year they rotate who has which day.

This seems pretty fair to me, and I think is less confusing for the kids. Yes it means you won't have the kids for christmas evening but it's only a few hours really and you could see if your DSD could come over then, or just have a relaxing evening with your DP.

I think it's good to have some kind of plan like this, otherwise every year you will be discussing and arguing.

Tbh I would not expect my DH to be pally with a man who used to beat me. Strained smiles and civility for a few minutes, yes, but spending christmas morning with him? No way. But then I don't think I could manage doing that myself. Putting the kids first does not have to extend that far.

medhandthekiddiesvtheworld Wed 11-Sep-13 11:40:44

Ive spent the last 13 years having my exh over for dinner, I have since had 3 child with DH and exh still comes, I cannot believe DP insisted on what suited him and his Dd best.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 11:41:48

dreamingbohemian I think that could possibly work, the only problem with that plan being that our children have all of their presents at my house, bought by me and only one or two presents at their dads house which he buys them, but his step children would have lots of presents and presumably just a few at their dads but I have no idea.

I know there is more to life than who gets the most presents but the dc would feel left out if there was an obvious imbalance. The way he gets round it at the moment is by telling them that santa leaves their presents at their mums house. Obviously he is going to have to rethink when they stop believing in santa!

I obviously know that it's not fair and we don't do this with dsd but I can't control what goes on in other people homes, I can only make sure that in my home all children are treated equally. I wouldnt want them to not have a proper christmas and be the poor relations.

disclaimer I know christmas is about more than presents but they are young children!

WilsonFrickett Wed 11-Sep-13 11:45:38

Your Ex used to be violent towards you, that I think is what people mean by blurred boundaries. I don't think my H could play happy families with someone who used to beat me, tbh (and he is not controlling, he just loves me). I know the standard line here is 'think of the kids' but what message are you really sending to your kids? Your dad used to hurt me, but hey, we all get on fine now? That doesn't sit right with me.

Surely you could work out the presents? If your ex had the kids on christmas morning, would he not buy them more presents? It would only be every other year.

I think the kids would be less upset about geting less presents at your ex if they know they have a whole other round of presents waiting for them at yours.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 11-Sep-13 12:16:26

I think I would struggle to play happy families with someone who had been violent towards someone I loved.

I also would not be keen to let my dc be exposed to them.

I also don't think that Xmas day has to be December 25th. When you think about leap days etc dates are pretty meaningless. We generally have Xmas with each family (ie my parents and ILs) on either 25th and 26th or 25th and 27th and it seems to work pretty well. On years when we are not at my parents for Xmas day usually my mum cooks the turkey and does the trimmings for my dad (and brother and his girlfriend if they are there). They have a few presents and then we all turn up on Boxing day and we all wear silly hats pull crackers, have all the trimmings, play Xmas music and generally behave Xmassy. More than once we have gone to turn on the Queens speech before realising that it was on the day before! (Yahoo!)

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 13:37:39

I think having two separate Christmases could work if ex is prepared to make the effort to treat the dc equal to his dsc, eve if that means me helping him out in someway but I think I need to sit down with dp and decide what works best for all of us. We could do with knowing what dsd is doing too.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 13:58:56

Lots of different issues here...

- The fact that your Ex was violent would make me very wary. Are you 100 % sure that he is safe to be around the children? To be honest I can see why your DP is reluctant to spend time being hospitable to Ex, knowing that he was violent to you- and I can certainly understand why he wouldn't want him around his own child. How has the issue of his violence been resolved- or has it just been brushed under the carpet?

-Your comment that it's easier to accommodate Ex's wishes and get DP to compromise strikes me as odd. You don't have to accede to your Ex's demands. You can try to fit him into the plans that best suit your children, but your Ex's feelings are not the prime concern here.

-Your DP doesn't get to have control over you either. Do you spend time with his Ex at his insistence, or is it because you feel it's the right thing to do, or because he values your support when Ex is around? It shouldn't feel like a tit-for-tat deal.

- Many children of divorced parents celebrate Christmas twice- we did. We alternated which parent we spent Christmas with, and had a second celebration with presents on Boxing Day with the other parent. It can work as long as you are all willing to co-ordinate things.

I don't think there is a single right answer here.Maybe one solution would be to take the children to meet their dad somewhere neutral (his parents maybe?) for an hour at say midday, once the children have opened presents with you and DP. The children could then come back with you for the rest of the day, Ex could spend time with the dc and the rest of christmas with his SC (not sure how he gets away with treating his SC better than his bio children, but still avoids the presents issue), DP could look into visiting / collecting his DC then, and Ex doesn't have to come into your home.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 11-Sep-13 14:03:07

YANBU.

My ex always spent Christmas with us while I was single, and now that I'm married we share the day, but ex is always at our house for a while so the dc get some time with both of their parents together.

It's your children's home as much as it is your DPs, maybe more so.

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 14:05:00

This was how it worked at ours: Christmas Eve/Christmas Day at one parents, then the other would pick us up around tea time and we'd spend the evening and Boxing Day there. Then alternate the next year. It wasn't done for the parents, but for the sake of the children so we always got a chance to wake up on Christmas morning with both parents, albeit alternate years.

Presents ended up being divided, so half each (i.e. mum and maternal family presents at mum's, dad and paternal family presents at dad's). We would do the big main Christmas lunch at whoever's house we were at on Christmas Day; Boxing Day my family do big buffets anyway so no second Christmas lunch as such, but still a big party with family.

It worked very well and all the children were happy with the arrangement. I'm sure it was much harder for my parents who had to alternate Christmas mornings without their children but I'm glad they put us first.

Given the abusive background I don't find it appropriate to bring him into your home and expect your partner to play happy families with him, so I would be keen to keep him away from the celebrations themselves. I don't think it's wrong of your partner to be angry at and dislike a man who used to regularly beat up the woman he loves. I wouldn't want him in my house either.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 14:08:52

The violence was never really dealt with, we separated and it was just not really mentioned again. Hr has always been ok with the kids.

the easier comment just meant it is easier to deal with dp who doesn't get his own way than exh who doesn't get his own way. If exh doesn't get to come for Christmas morning he will kick off.

I spend time with dp's ec because she turns up when we are there. If I demanded to leave it would be uncomfortable and cause problems.

I don't let him get away with treating his sc differently, more that I don't see what I can di about it. I cant dictate how they spend their money. I don't like it of course.

What would his kicking off entail?

I agree it's not really fair to ask DP to do something he doesn't want to, simply because he's a nicer guy than your ex and won't kick off. That's kind of backwards, rewarding the guy who's difficult.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 14:24:14

Well I'm clearly going against the grain here, but I actually don't think you should be inviting your Ex round because he will kick off otherwise. If you had all got together and decided that was the best way forward for the DC, then fair enough. However, it seems to me (and I appreciate that I seem to be at odds with everyone) that Ex has decided it suits him to rock up at yours, control what you do at Christmas by telling you when he's coming to your house, play at being loving dad watching his children open presents that you and DP have bought, and throw his weight around a bit by sidelining your DP in his own home- all the while suffering no consequences for that fact that he violently abused you.

Sorry but I don't see how this benefits the children or indeed anyone except Ex. There are solutions, including what you've actually planned if done for the right reasons- but none of them should be based on having to tread on eggshells to stop Ex kicking off. What would he do? Is he likely to be violent again? You don't have to appease a violent criminal, and you don't have to use your children's happiness to cover for him.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 14:24:55

YY Dreaming*

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