So down, is it him or me

(33 Posts)
skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:04:14

Background: I have a 3 year old DD, split with her dad 2 years ago. It was difficult but very amicable now.

I feel hurt because Ex refuses to acknowledge anything I do with DD. Just recently he got annoyed because I wasn't excited when he he took her to the pool and 'taught her how to swim'. This is despite me having been swimming with I her on a very regular basis since the split. I've seen her do what he 'taught' her many times but he was angry because I dismiss him and his parenting because I didn't get excited enough

Second thing is that I've noticed many mild put downs that he keeps delivering even in the short time when he drops her off. Eg today I was cleaning all day and I have to admit things have been a bit slovenly because I have been working ft and just finished masters on top of parenting alone. But he came in with her and said 'it actually smells nice in here for a change' which was really hurtful because even though I've been busy I hardly think the place was condemned.

Finally my daughter does seem to show a preference for him over me a lot. The rational part of me thinks this is cause he has her one night a week and one day and it's super fun and I suppose she gets bored of me but he seems to play on this all the time in my presence. Eg asking who she loves more mommy or daddy and she always says daddy and then we laugh. I don't find it funny tough. I'm exhausted and I find it really really sad that she prefers him.

complexnumber Sat 11-Jan-14 22:18:22

^ I just feel like the dull rule-enforcing person.^

I bet you will reap what you have sown.

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:23:53

God I don't find her ungrateful in the slightest, she's 3. I'd just love to see her face light up like that for me sometimes that's all. I don't think id care at all but for how much he highlights her reaction to him vs me.

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:41:41

The whole thing is ridiculous. I need to find a way to not let it get to me. But it does

JackNoneReacher Sat 11-Jan-14 22:47:22

Don't let it get to you by not giving him the opportunity to do it.

Don't let him in. Have a reason ready why he needs to drop/pick up and leave. Say you're just on your way out, going to a friends, expecting visitors/exhausted.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 22:55:29

Hmm - my dd screeches when dd gets home from work. She is much less enthusiastic to see me when I collect her from school. It doesn't mean anything at all. If anything, it is a thing of routine, of acceptance, of normality, of comfort. I arrived late once - dd was distraught and crying. She doesn't get like that when dh has gone to the pub after work or is travelling somewhere.

Bettercallsaul1 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:55:47

It's so easy being the "fun" parent when you only have the child one day a week - everything's much more intense and exciting. I bet it would be a different story if he ever had your daughter for weeks, or months, on end.

He's definitely using your daughter to get at you, and he must be very insecure to set up all these competitive "choices" to invite her to "prefer" him. Part of his attitude will stem from resentment that your daughter spends most of her time with you, while he has been relegated to the "weekend Dad".

Not allowing him over the threshold, as other people have suggested, robs him of the chance for prolonged conversations and jibes about the house and, just as importantly, gives you back a sense of control.

Well done for completing your Master's while coping with your daughter on your own -that is no mean achievement.

JapaneseMargaret Sat 11-Jan-14 23:20:09

His behaviour is grim.

I would have loathed being asked that question by one of my parents as a child. And I know for a fact it would not make either of my own DC happy to be asked it.

He needs to stop it. Not because it upsets your, it because it's an awful way to be around his child.

wouldbemedic Sun 12-Jan-14 00:48:39

Your ex sounds passive aggressive/clueless/cocky. The relationship doesn't sound amicable at all. It sounds like you're putting up with a lot for the sake of your daughter having parents who are united. Which I massively respect smile However, you're making a mistake in putting up with 'games' that are going to spell difficulty for your child in the long run. At some point - you don't know when - this game of asking for her preference is going to start making her feel caught in the middle. So your ex has to wise up. There are no comparisons. There is no better. There is only difference. He should have the maturity to recognise that if one of you is 'down', it can only wind up spelling hurt or a less stable environment for your child. Perhaps you could put this to him (if his ego really is overly large and couldn't cope with the idea that he's being hurtful) by pointing out that children are simplistic and it will come across to the child as if she's being caught in the middle by being asked to betray one of you. Also, point out that little girls are incredibly perceptive and she might well pick up on the hurt you personally feel at never being chosen as 'favourite', even though you know, rationally, that dads are usually the superhero parents, especially if they have a slumber party once a week! Regarding the comments about your house smelling unpleasant etc., that doesn't need to be happening. There are choices - your ex could stop entering the house and having conversations on that level, or you could ask him not to say things that hurt you. Up to you what you think he will respond best to. Armchair speculation but could he be playing a cocky role because he feels deeply insecure about his role as a parent, evidenced by the importance of the preference game and his need for you to give him a round of applause for 'teaching her to swim'. If so, I would feel that the approach described above could backfire unless you surround it with words of affirmation. He sounds like he loves his girl and in a different life, that would have deepened your love for him. It's a loss, for all of you, in that sense. Surely it wouldn't hurt to let him know you can see how hard he's trying.

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