So the day has come....please talk me down!(13 Posts)
Technically not a lone parent anymore but thought here would provide the best answers!
Dd is 4 and hasn't had contact with her dad since last July. Before that, contact was unreliable and sporadic-all the usual useless ex stuff. Minimal effort on his part, maximum effort on mine.
The last time he had her he returned her in an appalling state, she's not eaten, hadn't been changed after an accident etc etc and understandably she was very upset when she came back. This is the only memory of her dad she verbalises.
He has form for being unreliable and unstable- he officially left our family home when dd was 6 months old and was married with a baby on the way by then time she was 9 months old (they have since divorced and he has little contact with the now 3 year old dd from that relationship). His life is a constant stream of burying his head in the sand and making excuses- he's a typical pathetic excuse of a man.
HOWEVER, after 10 months of no contact he wrote to me demanding mediation as he feels his and dds rights to contact were not being upheld. I replied and agreed with him but refused to be held accountable for this and listed the previous opportunities he had had to contact where he had let dd down without notice.
He has now replied to this accepting responsibility but stating a list of demands including over night stays, alternate Christmases and special occasion and minimum twice weekly calls as well as a monthly letter outlining dds personal, academic and social progress. There are deadlines for when these need to begin.
Now I know how important dads are and I will never stop contact between them as long as dd is willing. But I am so bloody angry with him! Why is it all about him? Why is none of this effort on his part?
We now live 100 miles away, I am 6 months pregnant and a year into a degree, dd will be starting school in September. I don't have time for this shit!
Why can't he just fuck off? shes fine without him and she's got enough going on in her little head without throwing him into the mix? How can he expect overnight visits and Christmases when he contributes nothing? Why can he not see that she is a person with feelings and not just something he can demand? What happens when he lets her down again?
I'm thinking of replying and saying that I will allow a weekly phone call for the time being as long as dd is willing however any progress with go at her pace with her say so rather than to his deadlines? The first letter came on her birthday acompaying a birthday card. I read it to her and she got really upset by it. I think maybe a gentle introduction might be good for her but overnight visits are a step too far.
I dont know how to deal with him letting her down again. He's had so many 'last chances' and blown them. i feel like contact is the right thing but it's like leading a lamb to slaughter!
I'm a bit lost and overwhelmed
Weekly phone call sounds best in this situation, he sounds like a right twat!
Why is he not paying. How is he able to demand without contributing?
I would take him to court because your dd may not be ready even for his phonecalls for a very long time.
I would not let my child to be traumatised by such an excuse of a father!
I bet he met someone who is behind this sudden outburst of interest.
He is paying, sorry I should've clarified that. He pays £35 per week for both his children after his ex and I both went through the CSA. He could afford an awful lot more but because a large chunk of his pay is overtime he can get away with paying less.
He has someone he has met online who lives abroad, he has spent over £10,000 in the last 6 months traveling to see her. Most of these visits have coincided with our visits to his home town where we stay with friends and members of his family.
He just cannot see past what he wants and what his rights are. He doesn't see that there's a little girl in the middle who is effected by it all
Reply briefly, saying that any schedule to reinstate contact after such an extended period will be at DD's pace. Suggest a period for weekly phone calls to see if he can manage to provide any kind of reliable contact and after that he is welcome to arrange a contact centre so that DD's welfare can be guaranteed whilst he builds up a relationship with her. Ignore the whole 'monthly update' nonsense - he will be able to see for himself how she is doing if he bothers to come and see her, and when she starts school he can communicate directly with them.
He'll probably get bored and wander off again.
I have an ex like this and 'good intentions' rarely last IMO. He used to see ds for an hour or 2 every 18 months, very little contact in between. He did used to email but it wasn't regularly, 1 letter in 13 years, sporadic birthday cards/money for Christmas. Pretty much killed their relationship.
Start off by phone calls and letters. If he keeps it up then increase it slowly, go at DD's pace. Contact is always for the benefit of the child, never the NRP. Go at her pace, not his. Don't agree to overnights/holidays/Christmas, he has to earn these.
I have replied.
I have specified that before any contact can begin he must write to dd with an apology and an age apropriage explanation as to why he has been absent for so long. It is bridges with her that me needs to build, not me. A letter will give men chance to vet what she hears (not to turn her against him, I mean so he can't promise anything he can't/wont keep to etc) and will give her a tangible connection to her dad that she can revisit and hang on to.
If this letter goes down well and she wants to persue contact then see will start with 1 phone or Skype call per week, she can decide which. These calls will happen on a regular day at a regular but flexible time.
Should they get to the point where their relationship has progressed to the point where over night visits are the next natural step then i will allow them to happen.
Alternate Christmases etc will not happen as I specified before she was born that whilst I was raising her alone I would reap the benefits of special occasions until she was old enough to express a desire to spend them with him. Until that point he will be welcome to visit her at her home on or around the occasion.
There will be no deadlines and there will be no expectations, she is her own person with her own feelings and has a very stressful year ahead of her as it is. Contact will go at her pace and I will support her if at any point she wants to increase, decrease or stop contact and expect him to do the same.
I'm still so angry with him. I kept it as calm and removed from my emotions as much as I could because it's in print and saying the wrong thing will reflect badly on me should it go further but it all feels so bloody unfair. Why am I being made to feel unreasonable?? I HATE this and I hate what he does to me and what inevitably he will do to dd
Thankyou everyone for your replies, it's awful but reassuring that others have experience of this
I think going at her pace is absolutely right, but I'd be against making a 4 year old take responsibility for this sort of decision. She's far too young to understand what she is choosing.
Balia, I hear what youre saying and you're right but in this case it would be a decision which will only effect the short term. Just because she turns down the offer today does not mean she cannot change her mind and ring him tomorrow for example. It'll depend very much on her mood, I won't force her into anything she doesn't want to do. I have seen first hand how that can damage relationships and don't want to put her in that position.
I want her to be free to chose and for the process to evolve as naturally as it can without her feeling pressured.
Good for you op don't take any of his shit.
Thanks watsits ive not had a reply yet but I'm not expecting one for a while. His girlfriend is staying with him this week so I doubt I'll get even an acknowledgement til she's gone
I assume no reply yet.
I would just take your time replying to anything.. write it and keep it for at least a day before replying. If he is so keen on his rights it is possible you will end up in court. just put everything in the view of your DD
I can clearly see you have your DD best interests at heart my DS didn't see his Dad from 3 and we ended up in mediation in the August before he started school in September. It would of been the worst possible timing for my DS however he was so unreasonable that I didn't ever see him again...
No, no reply yet.
I doubt very much it'll end in court as it means he'll have to fork out for it. Same goes for mediation, I doubt he's conisdered the cost of it all and would use it an an excuse not to go for it and arrange something ourselves which he can then wiggle his way out of. You can write the script yourself, you really can.
Sorry about all the upheaval for you and your ds, it's so frustrating isn't it? Probably a good outcome for now though. If he was that pig ignorant and unreasonable I doubt he could bring anything positive to ds's life.
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