Should my partner allow child's father into house for access?

(164 Posts)
Domitianus Tue 02-Feb-16 14:27:28

Hello all.

I hope you don't mind a father joining your site to get a female perspective on a thorny issue.

My partner of 6 years had an affair at a difficult and stressful point in our relationship and became pregnant by him. She was devastated and was planning a termination but I found out before she went through with it, forgave her and assured her that I would support her in raising the child as if my own as we had always wanted a child. She accepted this offer but sank nonetheless into a deep and near suicidal depression due to her involvement with this man that I had to nurse her through at considerable cost to myself.

My partner had broken off contact with this man (who lives with his own partner who is still completely oblivious to what has happened) and when she told him she was experiencing a breakdown his response was "You never told me you were a loon!"

After my partner's mood stabilised she decided she had to tell this man about the pregnancy simply because he had a right to know. I and at least one of her male friends were unsure about the wisdom of this (due to us seeing with hindsight that the man appeared to be ruthlessly predatory and dishonest) but we agreed to her decision.

From that point on this man has been relentless in pursuing my partner once again and in harassing me and attempting to undermine our relationship. He has repeatedly emailed and called my partner to insist that she resume their relationship and that he move into our home to raise the child together. He has sent me abusive and inflammatory emails and then denied to my partner that his behaviour was at all confrontational. His behaviour became so troublesome that I had to warn him that we would take legal action. He ignored this warning and we had to have the police serve a harassment warning on him that kept him quiet for a while. Then he started up again and the police took him in and cautioned him.

The baby was born 8 months ago and my partner and I have been raising her in a loving and stable environment. We have offered the biological father repeated opportunities to have a relationship with her. We originally did this in a face to face meeting before the police involvement in which we told him we would be happy to facilitate a relationship between him and the child and would place no unreasonable barriers in the way - we merely wanted him to respect our relationship and our boundaries. He agreed to that at the time and said the meeting had been productive.

Since the baby was born we emailed him and said that if he wanted to discuss access we would be happy to receive a solicitor's letter from him to start the ball rolling. A solicitor wrote to us on his behalf (clearly unaware of the actual history of affairs) and said her client wanted my partner to reply directly to him. The letter was full of unreasonable demands. We wrote back to the solicitor, set out the full fa ts of the case and said we were happy to commence access discussions but that his other demands were unreasonable at this time. We heard no more from the solicitor but he subsequently claimed he could not continue to pay for a solicitor out of his joint bank account without his partner finding out. This is despite the fact that he had previously told my partner he had lots of money saved to buy land for a house.

We have offered to engage in mediation twice and on both occasions he has backed out at the very last minute with utterly implausible reasons (one of his reasons we found out was a barefaced lie).

His goal seems to have been to skirt around the issues until my partner engaged with him directly without anyone else being involved in the communication. He has achieved this and is back to the relentless pressure on my partner that caused him to be cautioned by the police in the first place.

To show that I was willing to be reasonable and go the extra mile I even drove my partner and baby to a meeting with this man and left them to talk for an hour or so before retuning to pick them up. My partner was very pleased as the man had told her he was happy just to have occasional access when convenient and was looking for nothing more. I had my doubts as to how long he would keep to that position and indeed within about three days he was emailing my partner again saying he would accept nothing less than me out of the way and them living together in her house! It seems to me that this man is simply engaging in a controlling pattern of lifting her expectations and then dashing them again within days to break her down and destablisise her.

He can't see the baby at his home as his partner doesn't know about the affair but we have offered him access elsewhere. A friend who lives just down the road made her home available so he could meet my partner and the baby there and that seemed to go well. That venue is still available for access visits. Now, however, he is back to saying that he is unwilling to continue to see the child unless it is in our home, under our roof. I find this utterly unacceptable.

We have set out months ago, and this was made clear by the police and in the letter that we sent to his solicitor that our home is an absolute no-go area for him - yet he is now attempting to emotionally blackmail my partner into allowing him into the home he desecrated with his affair by giving my partner ultimatums that if she doesn't let him have access here he will walk away from the child. He knows how important it is to my partner for the child to know her biological father and he seems to be manipulating this desire mercilessly.

Setting aside any issues of pride or male ego, the very thought of this man coming into our home for any reason or any length of time fills me with utter dread. He has shown no respect for any boundary we, or the police, have set. He seems relentlessly focused on destroying our relationship in order to usurp me and move into my partner's home and he shows no concern whatsoever for anyone else's views on this. I work as a therapist so have some knowledge of personality disorder and I see in this man clear and persistent signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder which is bad, bad news. He is utterly devious, manipulative, dishonest and boundaries are simply things to be ignored for him. My partner understands my concerns about personality disorder but thinks he is more likely on the autistic spectrum and struggling with all this. Her father is on the spectrum and wasn't diagnosed until his sixties so she has seen the struggles that those on the autistic spectrum can face and she doesn't want to penalise this guy of he is on the spectrum. I don't for one moment think he is and he was a lance-corporal in the Parachute regiment (and is a Falklands vet) so I can't really imagine he is too debilitated by any autistic condition.

My concern is that if he gains access to our home under this emotional duress it will simply be the start of a new cycle of Hell for us. We will have made it clear to him that no boundary we set has any meaning whatsoever and that he can break it down through pester power and emotional blackmail. He will simply use access to disrupt our home and push further and further into our lives with his clear agenda of forcing me out and moving in with my partner.

He claims to be devastated at not being able to see his child and that there is nothing more he wants in the world. Yet we have bent over backwards since the baby was born to arrange access and all he has done is dick about and manipulate. It was almost six months until he arranged to see her at all and he has seen her by arrangement a tool of three times in 8 months despite being offered easy access within basic boundaries. He hasn't contributed a single penny in maintenance (he should have paid over £1000 by now) and all he has given is a couple of new small toy gifts and some second-hand toys from the Barnardos shop he volunteers in. This is despite the fact that he receives £750 in pensions a month and was working in a job until a couple of months ago when he chose to leave it because he didn't like his boss.

In the meantime I am doing the feeds, the baths, the nappy changes, the driving of my partner and her baby to necessary appointments, the playing with the baby, helping with the housework etc, all at great cost of time and energy which I should really be devoting to rebuilding my work which has suffered hugely.

There is not a day goes by when I don't feel under siege from this man who I feel is like Voldermort lurking outside Hogwarts trying to charm his way in. I lose sleep, worry endlessly and am probably depressed, yet I keep going. My partner owns our house so at the end of the day she can invite into it whoever she wants and my partner is so keen for him to have a relationship with the child (which I see as him using as nothing but a pawn to manipulate my partner) that I fear she will do anything to appease his demands. To me, him coming into the house, however, is just a make-or-break boundary that is unacceptable. Everything he wants in terms of access can be achieved without that if he is really interested.

I have spoken with a number of male friends about this (including one who is estranged from his own daughter and says this man is being offered everything he dreams of having) and they are unanimous that this man must not be allowed into our home under any circumstances. I realise, however, that they are all male and friends of mine so perhaps their judgment is not universal. I welcome a female perspective.

My position is simple:

1. If my partner wants to explore further this man having a relationship with the baby, I think she is unwise but I will not stand in her way and will facilitate anything productive as I have already bent over to do.
2. Despite that there have to be some absolute boundaries for us, our home and our relationship to be safe and respected and the most important thing is that the man does not set foot over our threshold.

Is my position unreasonable?

EatShitDerek Tue 02-Feb-16 14:35:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gazelda Tue 02-Feb-16 14:35:38

I think you are entirely reasonable in making it clear to your DP that her ex must not come to the house. For me, if he did it would be a deal breaker.
I think you have been patient and tolerant.
Do you think some couples counselling might help you and your DP to agree on the level of involvement her ex should have and how this could be achieved?

Cardboxed Tue 02-Feb-16 14:36:55

I don't think the baby's father has any right to demand access in your home.

Vaginaaa Tue 02-Feb-16 14:41:10

You can't charm your way into hogwarts.

But in seriousness, obviously he shouldn't be allowed in your home. He's using the baby to try to control and manipulate your partner. It's not about seeing the baby, it's about getting access to your partner.

mickeysminnie Tue 02-Feb-16 14:44:40

I think your partner needs counselling. Why on earth would she wants to bring a person like that into her life?
I think the best thing you could do would be to move out and give her space to take control of her own life.

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Tue 02-Feb-16 14:45:44

Never let him into your house. There is no need for him to be there in order to have contact. His demand for this demonstrates he has no respect for your partner, you or the child-he just wants your partner to remain available to him while he keeps his own partner in the dark.

Why is your partner so determined to persist in keeping contact going with an abusive man whose interest in his own child is disingenuous and highly conditional? He has already made his own child into a pawn in his game.

Does she really think there can be a successful, ongoing parental relationship in these circumstances?

Think carefully about what your boundaries are. If your partner is going to continue her naive and inconsistent efforts to give her abuser contact (including with her-why not a contact centre, for heaven's sake?), are you prepared to stay with her?

If you and your partner do agree about the need to keep him away then:-

In your shoes, I would end all contact with him immediately. Don't bother saying you are going to do it or explaining conditions to him. Just do it.

If he wants to see his child he can get a solicitor to contact you about access. Access should be at a contact centre with a friend or relative dealing with handovers.

If he continues his harassment, complain to police. If they don't act, get yourselves a solicitor and see what civil action you can take.

momb Tue 02-Feb-16 14:50:00

Contact via a contact centre or at a neutral venue. Your DW is trying to do what is theoretically right but must be aware of the risks.

If he was really coming after her for a relationship (if that is your fear) then he wouldn't be keeping everything so quiet from his wife.

The whole situation is bizarre and although it will work itself out in time (and I suspect he will melt out of the picture) for now all you and your wife can do is continue to make contact via your solicitor, avoid direct contact, anmd see if any arrangements can be agreed for neutral venues.

LaurieFairyCake Tue 02-Feb-16 14:50:36

You're in a relationship with someone who wants to be with someone else.

That is literally the bottom line.

If you're a therapist, seek therapy. You could do with a top up as you're failing to see something really obvious and your boundaries are all over the place.

ridemesideways Tue 02-Feb-16 14:51:49

I hope she was not so stupid to have put this man's identity on the birth certificate... If not, he has absolutely no rights to access and it would be a fair demand that he is cut out of your lives completely.

0christmastree5 Tue 02-Feb-16 14:53:41

Move out of what you seem to indicate is her house. Give her some space to work out what she wants. I sense she has some unfinished emotional attachment with the baby's bio father. The longer you stay, bond with the baby, the harder it will be. You have no say, not really, or legal standing, despite doing the Daddy role.

ridemesideways Tue 02-Feb-16 14:54:10

Your problem is with your wife, I'm afraid.

BillSykesDog Tue 02-Feb-16 14:55:05

No, but I think you are an absolute mug. He had an affair with your wife you're paying for, bringing up his child, driving your wife and baby around to see him, facilitating him keeping the child secret from his father, and you're wondering if you're being unreasonable? If he wants to see the child he would do it wherever possible. He's not interested in the child, he's interested in manipulating your wife. He doesn't even sound safe to be alone with the child. Your wife is also taking advantage of your good nature to continue some sort of attachment.

Have you got any sort of legal responsibility for this child? Has it occurred to you that she could walk out tomorrow and shack up with this man and you'd have no right to see the child you'd bought up, bathed, cared for, supported?

You also need to face up to the fact that your wife has and continues to treat you very, very badly. She needs to take some responsibility for the chaos she has unleashed in your lives and take a firm line with this man. She needs to make an absolute clean break and not have any contact. He can go to court for contact. But she won't because she's enjoying this.

You sound like a total doormat.

acasualobserver Tue 02-Feb-16 14:55:21

Why is this man allowed to conceal the baby from his partner?

0christmastree5 Tue 02-Feb-16 14:56:06

The issue is not the ex per se. It's your dp, she isn't tell Him the conditions are x, y and z. Not him wearing her down.

ElderlyKoreanLady Tue 02-Feb-16 14:58:43

Your partner needs to start to respond to all of his demands with something along the lines of "Access to DD can be arranged in a controlled setting through mediation. Please feel free to arrange this." This should be her stock answer unless his emails become threatening, in which case she should involve the police.

I commend that you've stepped up for the child and seen your partner through some hard times. But please remember, how this is dealt with is ultimately her choice. If I were you and she was doing anything other than what was suggested above, I have to admit I'd leave.

FWIW, I tried facilitating access to my DD in my home for my unreasonable ex. It was horrendous. I've now made it clear that mediation is the only way forward and he appears to have crawled back into the woodwork.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 02-Feb-16 15:03:51

Why is she pushing this man into access? If she didn't offer would he still be chasing? Unlikely!!

She needs to prove she hasn't stood in his way - not trying to make it happen!!

Stop communicating with him other than via an agency/solicitor

One thing he doesn't want is his partner knowing - you have some leverage

iknowimcoming Tue 02-Feb-16 15:06:18

I agree with previous comments. Restrict all communication with this man to indirect through solicitors and only arrange contact at a contact centre, if he genuinely wants contact with his child he will agree to this. However as you say he seems more interested in causing chaos than in the child. Your dw is either oddly misguided about the benefits of her child having contact with this man or she secretly wants to get back with him. It seems very odd to me that he is wielding all the power in this situation, particularly when he has a huge secret that he doesn't want his wife to know about! Your wife needs to put herself, yours and the child's needs above this idiots or rethink who she wants to be with, sorry!

Katenka Tue 02-Feb-16 15:07:43

Your problem is your partner.

She was no forced into having an affair. She had an affair.

This bloke sounds like a dick, but she chose to have the affair.

I don't think she particularly wants it to be over either.

All of you agreeing to conceal this from his partner is deeply unhealthy.

She needs to maintain contact through solicitors. Visitation through a contact centre.

If she keeps pushing to allow herself to have this man in your house rather than contact away from your house, then you know she isn't over him.

Why you and your dp are allowing him to have control over your lives is beyond me. Especially since he is trying to keep this all secret.

BillSykesDog Tue 02-Feb-16 15:11:16

Oh come on. Think of a thread where a man had got another woman pregnant, expected their wife to deal with them sinking into self pitying jag when their girlfriend wasn't interested, then had the wife ferrying them around to contact, paying to support the child, bathing iher, caring for her, looking after her (all while the baby mother indulged in appalling behaviour he tolerated). Do you honestly think you would be congratulating the wife for helping him through a tough time?

Ridiculous.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Tue 02-Feb-16 15:14:52

Why the hell is she pursuing him having contact with the baby? What a weird thing to do.
Stop responding to anything other than legal communications. His relationship is his own responsibility. Wouldn't it be better for all of you if he dropped the idea of contact?

donadumaurier Tue 02-Feb-16 15:23:28

To me, the fact that he doesn't want his partner to know about the baby suggests he's thinking long term he and your partner are getting together properly. Sorry. I would be extremely cautious of your partner's motives here. How do you know she doesn't still have feelings for this man?

fidel1ne Tue 02-Feb-16 15:28:30

Who is the contact supposed to benefit?

It won't benefit the child unless it is consistent, open and positive. And the 'dad' is a nice guy

So if he wants contact, the MINIMUM he has to do is tell everyone significant in his life about her and agree to a REGULAR schedule. If he won't do those two things, he'll be no good to her as any kind of parent.

You ARE being a tiny bit of a mug here.

x2boys Tue 02-Feb-16 15:30:30

i,m with Derek i would walk away and let them get on with it.

whattodowiththepoo Tue 02-Feb-16 15:31:40

You sound like a fucking Saint.
Good luck to you and your partner and you absolutely have every right to refuse letting him in to your house.

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