To be sceptical over DP seeing estranged children?

(83 Posts)
JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:24:38

DP hasn't seen his children from first wife for two years, they are just turned 6 and 7. His ex told him to take her to court for contact after a minor disagreement which followed months of her cancelling contact as and when she fancied. He didn't do so, which I think is downright wrong. He got a call from her solicitor on Friday offering that they call him this week and see him at the weekend. So effectively, he's still done nothing to try and see them, his ex has offered them up as she probably needs help with them and he could enter their lives again only to leave if he falls out with his ex again. I'd say it was his choice and keep out of it but I have children to consider too. AIBU to be sceptical about it all?

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 13:30:51

I would be very concerned about my future with a man who couldn't be bothered to take up this offer to see his very young children. And two years with no contact? that's a really really long time at their ages - heartbreaking.

Does he think he's punishing his ex? - Is he too stupid to see what he's doing to his children?

It would be curtains for our relationship if it were me, - I don't know how you could justify what he's doing.

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:31:37

I would be sceptical of any man that hadn't done all they could to see their kids. I certainly wouldn't be with a man who had those values.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:34:57

He will take up the offer to see them but my point is that his ex shouldn't have had to offer. He shouldn't have left it two weeks let alone two years. He doesn't know where they live or go to school or anything. He's done nothing, he barely even talks about them. I've just found out I'm pregnant and he doesn't know yet. I'm seriously reconsidering our future.

basgetti Mon 07-Oct-13 13:35:03

Did you witness for yourself why contact broke down in the first place? If not I would be sceptical of his explanations for this, and disgusted with his lack of action now.

NotYoMomma Mon 07-Oct-13 13:36:45

I wouldn't be skeptical because I wouldnt be with him

they are both dickheads by the sound of it

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:38:43

Yes I witnessed it basgetti, she is a nightmare. But not enough that she would stop me seeing my kids.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:41:01

Please dont judge him.

If the ex is dropping contact as and when she likes causing hurt all round, its much more painful for everyone if he was involved in their lives only for them to see him one day but not the next.

Going to court etc with solicitors involved is very expensive and some people just dont have that kind of money. Besides if he did get a court order, whos to say nothing will change?

A waste of time, money and hurt for everyone.

If exs are very difficult and think they can play god with childrens lives and are only amicable if the man is doing as she says then the best thing is to walk away rather than cause years of upset for the children.

You have no idea of the hurt he has gone through to make the decision to not see his children.

SpiritOfTheBuskersCat Mon 07-Oct-13 13:43:35

I would not be with someone who cared so little about his children.

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 13:44:01

I get the 'nightmare ex' scenario, I get how painful it is, but I don't get how someone doesn't put up enough of a fight to then let it go on for two years.

Okay he can't stand his ex (and may well have good reason) but how can you stand not to see your children for weeks, months, years?

ashleysilver Mon 07-Oct-13 13:44:08

YANBU I would be reconsidering the future relationship too.

If you have a child with this man, he is likely to have the same lack of concern for your child, I'm afraid.

Tuonz Mon 07-Oct-13 13:45:13

I see your point Tiggy. But a waste of time? He could have tried, then if nothing else when the children are older he could show that he cared enough to try.

I think you should consider your future with him Jeremy, have you anyone to talk to about this? The relationships board is very helpful if there's no one in RL.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:45:15

With respect Tiger, I've seen him everyday since and he isn't dying inside, as I know I would be in his position. He could self represent in court, I have a legal background and could help, it would be more settled for the kids or if the worst happened then at least they'd know he'd tried.

FreakinRexManningDay Mon 07-Oct-13 13:46:40

Has he been paying maintenance for the last two years?

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:46:52

There's no one in real life besides his family who think he's a poor man deprived of his children rather than considering the children deprived of their father.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:47:13

Yes he pays maintenance.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:47:56

Op

If you didnt approve of what he was doing then why did you continue to see him?

He may have mentally blocked it out the fact he hasnt seen his children to help him cope

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 13:48:44

You can tell from your posts how disappointed you are in him. Do you talk to him about it, or does it end up in a shut down situation?

What is he like otherwise?

sorry you are in this position.

KirjavaTheCorpse Mon 07-Oct-13 13:50:13

2 years is an incredibly long time in a small child's life. They will have no idea who he is. That's awful.

Does he make an effort with your children, or are they background noise to him?

I couldn't be with a man who could care so little. Yanbu to be reconsidering your future with him at all.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:50:25

It's his choice not to see them if that's what he decides. Not my pace to judge. However, I strongly disagree with him dipping in and out of their lives, causing stress for everyone, my children being disrupted when he doesn't have the backbone to formalise contact for his children's best interests.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:51:41

How has he been with your children up to now?

RescueCack Mon 07-Oct-13 13:52:47

Hmm. I would have said 'alarm bells' but I've recently seen a dear friend go through nightmare access scenarios. He may well end up without contact, and hasn't seen DC for a couple of months now despite constant attempts to arrange it. I can see him retreating soon if something doesn't change because it's destroying him. If 2 yrs down the line someone was to suggest that this was a deal breaker in a newer relationship, it wouldn't be particularly indicative of his character - just his situation at this time.

Having said that, I can't imagine backing off personally and I don't think I know any mothers who would. It seems to be the preserve of fathers exclusively to protect their own hearts...

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:52:50

Fenton he just apologises and clams up. He does make an effort with my children and wants more; I think that makes it worse for me. His children deserve his time, how can he contemplate more when he hasn't resolved things with his existing children?

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 13:53:17

Of course it's your place to judge him! You do judge him.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 13:55:58

I do judge, but I shouldn't. Not seeing them at all is fairer on them than dipping in and out of their lives IMO. That's not what I want him to do; when she stopped contact I'd have loved if he'd taken her to court and we had continued to have them 50/50.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:57:09

Op

I dont think you understand his situation at the time.

Some fathers who have had alot of hurt over their first children and have decided to cut contact for everyones sake have gone on to have another child and been a great dad.

Just because he has had to cut contact with his other children, that doesnt mean hes going to be a terrible father to any children you have together.

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 13:57:27

Sorry x-posted with you.

It's a huge sticking point though isn't it? Perhaps he is/has been burying his head, a lot of men do walk away because it just becomes too painful. But he's got an opportunity to build bridges - he should be snapping it up.

Do yo think if he did resume contact and stick to it that would fix it, with how you feel about him for it, I mean?

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:59:25

Hes got the opportunity now on his exs say so. Again he has to jump when she says so.

What happens when she changes her mind or he doesnt do as she asks?

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:00:23

Tiger I know he wouldn't be a bad dad to mine. But you shouldn't only be prepared to be a good dad to children whose mother you're in a relationship with IMO. Fenton he will take up the contact but if his ex stops it again, he doesn't have it in him to fight to reinstate it. So it's the children who are hurt again.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:02:03

Tiger - precisely my point. It'll stop again and the children will be hurt. It's all (get it formalised in court) or nothing IMO as his ex has such history of being obstructive.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 14:02:29

Hes got no fight left poor bloke.

Im sure that if your and your dp wasnt in a relationship and you wasnt a nightmare then of course he would keep in contact.

He doesnt see his previous children because things are not nice with his ex, not because hes not in a relationship with her

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 14:03:32

I wonder if there's any way he can get on better terms with the ex, so that she plays nice this time? Have they ever tried any kind of mediation to settle on a contact agreement?

He sounds like he's a bit frightened of her.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:04:04

But tiger that isn't being a parent, let alone a good one. You put your own feelings aside and fight for your children if the need arises.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 14:04:06

Just because you have a court order, that doesnt mean the contact is set in stone.

The ex could still stop contact and then you have to go back to court again and again spending more money, time and again stress and hurt for everyone

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:05:45

He isn't frightened of her! They're always going to disagree because she wants him to have them 50/50, his job doesn't allow that and he wants to see them once a month and extra in holidays.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:06:11

He has the money Tiger.

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 14:09:29

Okay frightened of what she'll do then.

and once a month? That's a rather poor offering of his time.

He's not sounding any better as this thread goes on.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 14:14:53

I think you have come on here for people to clarify your judgement on him.

You dont need clarification, if you dont agree with a decision he has made on a massive part of his like and you feel its changed the way you see him then i dont understand why you are with him.

In your op, you mention you are pregnant but he does not yet know. What are your plans for this pregnancy?

And if you dont feel he would be a good father due to his former actions, then why have you allowed this pregnancy to happen?

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:15:57

What can be worse than stopping him seeing the kids? Sorry to sound confrontational, I just feel fed up of everyone excusing him. He's a grown man, these are his children, he is the only father they have - he needs to step up.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 14:17:34

But he isnt going to op

He needs a partner whos going to be supportive of his decision.

You are never going to be supportive of him. Therefore the relationship isnt going to work as resentment will form.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:19:57

I don't care about what he needs, I care about what the children need

AmberLeaf Mon 07-Oct-13 14:20:35

He needs a partner whos going to be supportive of his decision

Supportive of his decision not to bother with his children? or at best see them once a month?

Yeah I think I'd judge that too tbh.

lunar1 Mon 07-Oct-13 14:23:04

Why on earth are people excusing him? I would walk through fire to see my boys.

I think once someone abandons their first children they should be bloody sterilised, and not continue to procreate. It's not something where you can just keep on trying till you have the children you want to keep fgs.

Seems there are a lot of nightmare ex's on mn

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 14:26:43

I said 'frightened of what she'll do' meaning pissing about with contact again.

This was before I realised she wants him to have them more and he only wants once a month.

I haven't defended him at all - what he's been doing is inexcusable.

I think a very small minority of posters may have sympathised with him.

JeremySmile Mon 07-Oct-13 14:26:50

Thank you, lunar1! Sense at last.

It's all very well him graciously accepting this offer of contact, it's my children who will be hated and resented for keeping their daddy from them which is what his ex tells them. It's my children who will be pushed aside by him as he focuses on them. I'm not saying he shouldn't focus on them, I'm saying he shouldn't have stopped focussing in the first place then we wouldn't be in this situation

Fenton Mon 07-Oct-13 14:31:54

You seem to be tying yourself up in knots there OP grin

I think LTB in this case, and I don't usually say that.

Step-parenting and being with a NRP is very erm, challenging, - he doesn't sound like he's equipped to take it and your relationship doesn't appear strong enough to take it.

I think I would bail out now.

Gingersstuff Mon 07-Oct-13 14:35:42

He only wants to see his kids once a month??! Yet he wants more with you hmm
I think you should leave.
And with all due respect, your partner sounds like the kind of knobend who needs marching to the hospital so that he can't reproduce any more.

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 14:43:14

But he has produced more.

The op is pregnant by him

froken Mon 07-Oct-13 14:45:22

What a mess!

Ya-all-bu why won't he have them 50/50? He is their father, he shouldn't just be able to opt out of half the responsibility for his children just because his job doesn't fit in with being a parent, he should change jobs.

You are being unreasonable worrying about your children being resented when the much larger issue is your dp's children who havn't seen him for years. Could you take your dc away for the day whilst your dp gets to spend time with his dc alone?

Poor children sad

PeppiNephrine Mon 07-Oct-13 14:46:34

How can you think of having a child with a man who so casually tossed aside his children?
You should have more respect for yourself.

Flufflie Mon 07-Oct-13 15:09:08

Jeremysmile, do you know why he has never sought contact? He may have had his reasons. Perhaps it was just too hard for him, perhaps he isn't much of a fighter, or maybe he thought the kids were better of if he didn't make a fuss?
Whatever the reason for him not seeking contact, it doesn't mean that he doesn't care or doesn't love them. It also doesn't mean he is a bad person or even a bad father.

It's bad for young kids to miss out on contact with one of their parents, but it isn't necessarily better for them to have to put up with animosity between separated parents and with court cases and having to visit a parent while the other parent is reluctant to allow/accept these visits.

If this is the first time his ex has offered visits, your partner isn't yet 'dipping in and out' of those children's lives. There has been a breakdown in communication once, but if his ex has genuinely calmed down, perhaps there is now a chance to re-establish contact with the children in a more relaxed manner.

As for your worries about your own relationship: look at the bright side. If you two ever split up, you already know that he is not the type to drag you into long, stressful court cases, so you two should then be able to arrange your after-separation parenting activities in a relaxed and civilized manner.wink Much better for everyone!

ElleMorte Mon 07-Oct-13 15:23:48

After two years of a brutally nasty split, my xh1 lost his shit completely and didn't see the kids for two years. Two blissfully peaceful years.

Then, he sorted his head out and requested contact. I was all for him never darkening my doorstep again. Happily resettled with a new partner, kids all settled. Solicitor said we could fight but would probably lose. I agreed to give it a shot.

That was 14 years ago. Once contact was re-established, he barely missed a date even when he moved miles away, gradually built his relationship with the kids back up and we even managed to build a civil relationship. The kids are adults now. We're still in touch socially. It can work out.

lunar1 Mon 07-Oct-13 17:59:21

After two years of not seeing their dad your worry is for your children being pushed aside? Are they also his?

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 07-Oct-13 19:49:18

Some friends of mine

1/ single spent every penny to see his children, now, no money, no house, still isn't allowed to see his children.

2/ Now married, spent a huge amount to see his children had to stop as it was destroying his marriage and his ability to look after his "new" family".

3/ Single, if he gets in to a relationship the access stops, if he doesn't pay for his ex's holidays the access stops, if he doesn't do what the ex wants the access stops.

4/ Divorced (again), got court ordered contacted Ex 1 started and stopped contact as she saw fit, children weren't in, children had a party, would take children to grandparents on his weekend. Ex 2 couldn't take the drama of it all. He is an emotional wreck.

Two haven't seen their children for years, one will never get away form his ex and the third lives in hope.

before the man is condemned it might be nice to find out all of the details.

PeppiNephrine Mon 07-Oct-13 19:57:39

OP is his wife. I'd say she knows the details. And has given them here, so the poor man spiel is misapplied here.

Periwonkle Mon 07-Oct-13 20:00:06

Are they divorced?

TigerBabyyy Mon 07-Oct-13 20:00:19

How do you know they are married?

TheHouseCleaner Mon 07-Oct-13 20:06:01

I couldn't respect, have children with or introduce into my existing family a man who didn't care enough about his own children to bother seeing them.

What happens when your mutual child is 5 years old and Daddy walks out, OP?

YANBU to be sceptical. You'd be very foolish to continue a relationship with this man.

Mama1980 Mon 07-Oct-13 20:15:29

I'm with lunar. Nothing on earth could stop me fighting for my children no matter what physically, emotionally or otherwise it cost me. They are his children!
Op I have to say this would be untenable for me, I couldn't live with or respect someone who acted in this way.

AmberLeaf Mon 07-Oct-13 20:27:59

After two years of a brutally nasty split, my xh1 lost his shit completely and didn't see the kids for two years. Two blissfully peaceful years

Then, he sorted his head out and requested contact

The man in the OP hasn't requested contact though, he also only wanted to see them once a month in the first place.

I agree that things/people can change, but this man is not the one instigating contact.

Same as Boney I have a friend who has been through hell with his Ex. Spent a fortune on solicitors. Granted access. Ex so horrific - would turn up at the wrong place/time/day with the DCs and hang around for ages - then say "Daddy doesn't care he hasn't turned up". Would photograph and video it. Send DCs on holiday with their father with nothing. No clothes, not their favourite bedtime toy. Nothing. Hide presents/letters. Refuse phonecalls. Even the family councillor/psychologist warned that the Ex could and probably was trying to poison her DCs against their father she was still given majority custody.

He tried so, so much. But Ex's manipulation made it impossible and was hurting his DCs. He has stopped trying to protect his children. He is heartbroken. He writes monthly emails. They are never answered but he hopes it may show in the future how he tried and why he stopped.

He never discusses them anymore. It hurts too much.

Not all non-contact fathers are lacking moral fibre or do not care.

PeppiNephrine Tue 08-Oct-13 09:36:20

Married, living together, why would that make a difference? She knows better than you anyway. hmm

Mumsyblouse Tue 08-Oct-13 09:43:17

I completely agree with the OP's line of argument on this thread and can't believe anyone is excusing the father in this situation. I have a female friend who lost custody (long story, different country) and she travelled every weekend of that missing time period to be with her children, it took hours, but she did it and eventually got back custody as well. Most mothers or indeed fathers don't just drop their children because the fight has gone out of them- I cannot imagine what this even means for me personally.

Op, I don't know what you should do but I share your reservations. I would lay it on the line for your partner that he steps up and steps up permanently. I would encourage contact and then encourage legal contact arrangements as a minimum before proceeding to build a life with this person.

Mumsyblouse Tue 08-Oct-13 09:47:20

Boney and Fishfingers- the whole point is that the OP's husband hasn't fought with every fibre of his being for his kids. He hasn't exhausted every avenue, he just gave up when the ex got a bit shitty. Sorry, but nothing would prevent me seeing my children (and I would abduct them back if someone took them from me).

And Boney only some of your examples tug at my heart. The one about the person whose present marriage was so damaged he had to cut the old children, sorry, no sympathy there, again, there isn't a man or a marriage on the planet that could lead me to stop seeing my own bloody children. FGS!

shewhowines Tue 08-Oct-13 09:57:13

I think mumsy speaks a lot of sense.

I am a bit concerned that you haven't pushed dp to fight for them before. They need their father to step up to the plate, but they need it more than once a month. I would be concerned about the reasons he only wants once a month.

OptimisticPessimist Tue 08-Oct-13 10:00:14

Have you posted about this before? It sounds familiar.

YANBU to be sceptical - a parent who has made no effort in two years to see his children is unlikely to keep up contact when it is no longer being managed by the other parent (or new partner).

I suspect his ex thought that by holding out, he would agree to increased contact and when he hasn't she's backed down in the hope of any contact at all. I did similar, with the difference being that I wouldn't re-instigate contact because my kids are perfectly fine with the situation as it stands. Your DP is very lucky that his ex has changed her tack - he should grab this opportunity with both hands. Sadly I doubt he will, especially if you are the same poster I remember.

WaitMonkey Tue 08-Oct-13 10:17:02

I thought this was familiar, optimistic, but I don't know. I was reminded of the thread where the op's dp spotted his estranged dc in a swimming pool and hid from them. Anyone remember that thread ? The op in that thread also hated her husbands actions towards his dc yet remained in a relationship with him. It's probably not the same op, situations like this probably aren't that rate.sad

OptimisticPessimist Tue 08-Oct-13 10:23:39

Yes, that's the same one I was thinking of WaitMonkey. The situation was similar, the DP had a job that meant he only wanted a really odd and irregular contact arrangement that the ex wouldn't agree too, because she wanted him to have more frequent and regular contact - apparently this job was so special and unique that it was more important than his relationship with his children. Very sad.

ImThinkingBoutMyDoorbell Tue 08-Oct-13 10:26:30

I think it is the same OP, the detail in the swimming pool one was that the ex was tired of him only having ad hoc custody and wanted to formalise it to certain days and weekends, the father worked irregular shifts that wouldn't dovetail neatly with a fixed arrangement so the exw got pissed off and said the ad hoc contact wasn't good enough, it was a permanent fixture or nothing. And the father chose nothing.

I share the OP's disapproval. There's no way I would give up seeing my child and play happy families with someone else's.

WaitMonkey Tue 08-Oct-13 13:47:28

Come back op You asked for support. You will get it. Are you the poster we remember ? I think you're dp needs to sort himself out and start a relationship with his children. Hope things work out.

I'd say he might be the nightmare ex. Only wants to see his DC once a month but wants holidays? Refuses 50:50. DH and I have jobs, we still look after DD. People with jobs don't give their DC away, they pay for childcare while they are working. I'd want to know why he didn't do that from the beginning. I certainly wouldn't have a child with him. Sorry OP.

JeremySmile Tue 08-Oct-13 14:45:11

Hi, no the swimming pool situation wasn't me. I have pushed him to try earlier but he's made excuses. Even if he does start contact again now his ex has backed down I have no doubt it'll go wrong in a few months, causing more upset for his children. She wants him to take responsibility, he won't because of his job (yet will blame her) and so when she realises its once a month full stop, not once a month minimum she won't want to know.

TigerBabyyy Tue 08-Oct-13 15:06:36

So what happens now op?

WorraLiberty Tue 08-Oct-13 15:42:12

Why does his job mean he can only see his kids once a month?

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 08-Oct-13 16:02:38

I have people in my life who love me,they love me enough to tell me when I'm acting like a giant cock and am wrong.

That's what decent people do,they do not support and excuse piss poor behaviour

Op yanbu

PeppiNephrine Tue 08-Oct-13 16:24:50

Unless he's on an oil rig offshore the job thing is likely bullshit.
He doesn't see them because he doesn't particularly want to, thats clear enough to see.

JeremySmile Wed 09-Oct-13 12:12:59

He works shifts which means he's often off on school days rather than weekends. They live 40 miles away which he thinks is too far/expensive to travel just for tea hmm

tippytap Wed 09-Oct-13 12:39:50

Have you posted about this before?

JeremySmile Wed 09-Oct-13 12:47:23

Nope, am at the end of my tether now though.

Onebuddhaisnotenough Wed 09-Oct-13 13:01:17

OP you are right to have serious misgivings. My ex is an abusive arse and we have been through a long court process and built up to a contact agreement.
So please ignore all the second wives club members who bleat on about their 'poor' 'D' hs whose evil exs can stop contact with children on a whim. Trust me. It 's not that easy.
I don't know what you can do now if you're already pregnant though ? He's a classic deadbeat dad and your instincts are totally spot on.

BeScarefulWhatYouWitchFor Wed 09-Oct-13 14:07:29

This situation sounded familiar to me too. OP your DP sounds like a deadbeat dad who only wants to see his DC when it's convenient to him/he can be bothered to. That's no good for his DC who need stability of knowing when they'll see their father.

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 09-Oct-13 17:53:24

Does his ex dangle the carrot of contact and then withdraw?

WaitMonkey Fri 11-Oct-13 12:13:27

Any progress op ?

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