To think mediation might not be helpful?(19 Posts)
I'd appreciate some honest opinions on this.
Me and ex-P split up a few months ago, he moved out about a month ago, and things are just horrific. He says that he has nothing, whilst I have everything (our 2 DDs live with me, I have stayed in the house as I can afford the mortgage, and he can't, I get that's difficult for him but better than uprooting DDs. I also pay for everything, apart from a very small amount he gives me for maintenance). I am buying him out of the mortgage, giving him more than I need to, but he was so concerned about finances that he was saying he was not going to go, so this was a way of encouraging him to move out (both our names are on the mortgage). In terms of the girls, I have said that I want him to be involved as much as possible, so am trying to be as flexible as possible (within reason) to mean that he can be with them as much as he wants to be.
He suffers from depression and anxiety, and I know this is really difficult for him, but he just seems to be hurling abuse at me. All the time. He comes round, spends maybe half hour to an hour with the DDs, then leaves. He's checked my texts, come round and woken me up at night, told me on several occasions that he'll kill himself if I don't get back together with him, and still almost 5 months after us splitting up, keeps questioning me about why we split up, pretty much every time we see each other.
Because of the depression (I think, though he's always been like this) his moods are very up and down, so he's not consistent with DDs and can't cope if either of them have tantrums (they're 3.5 and 2). For that reason, I don't feel like them going to his is a good idea, as at least if they're here I can go out for a short while to walk the dog to give them some space, but be back within enough time if anyone is kicking off. Also, he's a really heavy sleeper, and when we together, he never woke up when either of them woke up in the night, or first thing in the morning, so I don't feel like it would be safe for them to stay over at his (to be honest, he's not pushing for this, or to have them round to his, he brings it every now and again and I say 'ok, let's talk about it', but then he doesn't mention it again). He complains about seeing DDs here, but doesn't take them out anywhere (and because I don't know how it's going to work out for them, I don't suggest it either).
He says we split up because of his depression. I say that made it worse (because of how he was with the DDs) but the issues that we split up over were there before the depression.
My question is, in these circumstances would mediation be useful, or am I setting myself up for (even more) problems because he'd be expected to have DDs a couple of nights a week? I'm scared about going down that road because of what I've said here, but not sure how it works. I just don't know what to do for the best.
If he was more rational, put DDs needs first, and was able to meet their needs, I'd be more than happy for them to go to his/sleep over etc. Then again, if that was the case, we wouldn't have split up.
Sorry for the long post, thanks in advance for any suggestions.
- Mediation is rarely useful in and of itself in relationship breakdown situations unless there is something to mediate over.
- Mediation can be useful indirectly. A lot of the issues in relationship breakdown involve one (or both) (ex-)partners being unable to conceptualise a different separate existence. Mediation can create a space that allows for this conceptualisation and lets the relevant partner(s) think about the future existence.
I have DDs that are just a fraction older than yours so I am very much identifying with your situation.
Thanks, though sorry you're in a similar situation. Have you used mediation then? If so, did it help at all?
Sorry - I was not clear. (Fortunately), I do not have relationship issues myself. However, I do have children a fraction older than yours.
Ah, got you - I misread your message. Relieved for you.
hmm OP does he use his MH problems as an excuse for his behaviour? As from what you have written there are elements which are manipulative/abusive- checking your texts, hurling abuse at you, saying he'll kill himself if you don't get back together with him. Him saying that you split up because of his depression absolves him of responsibility- e.g. "it's not my fault we split up- I'm ill". I say this as someone recovering from severe depression myself- there are things you say that he is doing that are simply inexcusable.
I've not done mediation yet (probably will end up doing this as Ex being a pain in the proverbial), but from what my solicitor told me it was more to sort out the practicalities of separation rather than going to court- e.g. who was going to have kids when, who was going to have what financially.
Are you wanting to sort out the practicalities, or are you wanting him to come to terms with the fact that you have broken up and why? If it is about him coming to terms Relate might be useful….we went to them when we first split up- one of the things they said they could do is support people to have a 'good' break up. It would be less expensive than mediation, and would not produce anything legally binding. Your situation sounds very unpleasant and must be very difficult for all of you. Does your ex get any support from anyone? Has he been on any parenting courses etc at all- is this something that he would entertain?
I really don't know. Mediation can provide both of you with the oportunity to see which issues are affecting each other and try to reach a middle ground or an agreement that is fair in consideration of each other's needs.
Some people confuse mediation with marriage counselling, if he is one of them, I would only go to mediation if he was fully aware and accepting that by going you are NOT opening the door to a possible reconciliation, but that you will be there for both of you to agree the best way forward.
If he is trying to blackmailing you into getting back, perhaps this is not the time to go to mediation yet, but... If he is experiencing hardship as a result of leaving the house to you and the children, it may be a good idea not to leave him hanging there for long with no resources to take care of himself.
Although it is often thought that the fairer thing is for the mum and the children to keep/stay in the house, courts will take the view that if the pot of money is not enough to house both of you, then the house might need to be sold that neither of you is unfairly treated, at the end of the day, the courts will take the view that he needs a place where his children can visit/stay over.
There are two issues here and I think you need to view them separately:-
Firstly, stop allowing him to see the children in your house. He can take them out for an hour or so and build up from there. He's using being in your home to abuse and control you.
Secondly, what do you want to get out of mediation? If it's to discuss your separation and talk about how you can co-parent, then that may be worthwhile. But, if you're considering it to appease him, then don't. And, IME men who are controlling use mediation to try and justify themselves and you end up getting nowhere.
And I should add, (I don't know if it works the same way now), but when I was in the process of getting divorced (and having been to Relate which was a total waste of time), I was expected to attend mediation. I attended the first session which was on my own, and stated that I didn't want to have mediation as XH was abusive - the matter was then dropped.
Honestly, I do think he uses it as an excuse - he takes no responsibility at all for what's happened, and tonight has send me several texts to say that I'm responsible for all of this, nobody else.
When we've been on better terms I've tried to get him to speak to a counsellor, as I think he needs help with processing all of this - the anger if nothing else, but he won't. Parenting classes would be a massive help, but I think this is really about him, not about DDs at all so he'd think I was calling him a shit dad, which he'd then use as another thing I've done to hurt him.
Hmm, from what you're saying then, mediation might not help. We went to couples counselling when we first split up, and I've explained again (and again and again) why we're not together - to the point where I've said that its not helpful for me to do that anymore, for either of us.
Good luck for your situation.
I don't know about mediation, waitingforinspiratio
MemysonandI, I gave him some of the money just before he moved out so that he could pay the rental deposit on his new place, and give him a bit of a buffer in case he needed it. I've said I'll give him the rest of the money when the house is transferred into my name. So I think the only hardship he's feeling is emotional to be honest.
I don't honestly know what I'd hope to achieve from mediation, I just feel like there's nothing I can say/do to make the situation any better, and thought that a 3rd party might help. That said, mineofuselessinforma
I'm also bothered that making things more formal would work out in his benefit as if it went to court, my understanding is that the judge would give him overnights etc. i don't know if he would genuinely want it, or if he sometimes just sees them as a way to get at/to me. E.g. we've had a row so now he's decided that he's staying away for a while, as being near me is making him unwell. Ffs.
Kallyno, thanks. I think I do need to keep reminding myself that this is him not his MH, I think sometimes even I'm buying into the story he's telling.
what a horrible situation waitingforinspiratio
As another poster said, the ideal would be that you do not have him in the house, or any contact except sorting things out practicalities with regards children etc. However, it sounds like you have real concerns about his parenting. Have you had any legal advice? I'm just thinking about the mantra that my solicitor kept on with- that the courts would rule in whatever would best serve the interests of the children. And from what you've described, it sounds like your ex is not competent to look after children on his own. The suggestion of parenting classes was because I went to general normal ones voluntarily but they really made me a more confident parent- but, as you say, you ex would see it as a personal insult. Do you have concerns that he may harm the children, or threaten to harm them if he was alone with them? If so there are things that could be put in place to protect the children, and indeed yourself.
I know you've already split, but I found "should I stay or should I go" by Lundy Bancroft useful in just really spelling out what is wrong behaviour, as far as I remember that book has a chapter on mental illness/abuse as in abusive partners with MH problems. Also, have you contacted your local Women's Aid at all? Just having a chat with them might help.
I really hope that things get better for you soon as the way your ex is acting must be making what is already a difficult situation even more so.
Well, that is the thing isn't it, some people will feel taken advantage of even if you are the one carrying with the lion's share of the responsibility.
I don't think mediation is for you considering his threats of killing himself, it is still to raw for him to be able to sit, discuss and decide things with a cool head.
But if you decide to go, don't forget that It is just mediation, not court. A mediator is not a judge, they cannot take sides or decide who gets what. You don't need to convince them of anything, and even if they seem to be taking the side of the ex, it doesn't matter as they are not there to dictate what happens next. You are free to stop mediation at any point.
The only role of the mediator is to moderate the conversation so everyone has a chance to put their points of view forward
and to stop you getting into a fight-
I've been going through similar. Hope your OK, you sound very strong and very brave.
I found talking to a good family solicitor immensely helpful. She wrote a letter which laid out what was reasonable behaviour. It has cut an awful lot of crap. We are also doing mediation, it's a process really but also helpful in terms of laying down reasonable expectations of behaviour. If you feel he is not equipped to deal with overnight visits at the moment, come up with your ideal scenario and talk to a solicitor about it. Pm me if you want any more information or recommendations. All the best
I think mediation might eventually be useful to you both but I think he needs help in moving on first. Could he seek counselling? Presently it seems he thinks it's the end of the world - and he's taking it out on you. If counselling can help him think otherwise he may then be ready to deal with the practical effects of separation via mediation.
My father had mental issues. It made our childhood a misery. You are supposed to have sympathy for the person with MH issues but not so much for those that have to live with them. I would do what's best for you and your daughter's. You are not responsible for your ex's behaviour, only for the well-being and safety of you and your kids. X
Thanks all for the messages, really appreciate it and feel really supported
I've spoken to my solicitor today and laid out my concerns to him - he's suggested writing a letter as well so may well go with that, especially if it can help him realise that he can't keep doing what he's doing.
He's been round and let himself in the last couple of days without me knowing he was coming - makes me wonder if he also comes when I'm not here. It really unnerves me, but solicitor said I can't really change the locks until the house is mine, so his advice was pretty much for me to suck it up until then.
I don't think he'd be violent towards them, or me, but it does really bother me that he is unable to deal with their moods/tantrums other than by blanking them/getting angry with them, and how that's going to pan out for them if I'm not there to diffuse the situation. People have said to me that they'll have to sort it out between them, but I don't want to put my kids into a situation that im uncertain of, and not confident that they'll be (emotionally) ok in.
I wish he'd go for counselling, and parenting classes, and whatever else he can. And maybe an evaluation for a personality disorder - that crossed my mind as well dangermouse. But I don't think he will - he thinks he can do all of this by himself and at the moment takes anything else as a criticism.
Hmmm, don't know what to think.
I'd move to terminate his parental rights, tbh.
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