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Young child, ex-husband, long distance relationship and career

(48 Posts)
DilemmaaEmma Tue 13-Nov-12 22:20:22

I want to keep this short so apologies if this comes across a little blunt and to the point but also a little disjointed as I dont want to drip feed.

I have a 5yr old DD and I'm no longer with her father. She spends weeknights and every third weekend with him, and the rest of the weekends (2 out of 3) with me. We also split school holidays 50/50.

I'm also in a long distance relationship and things are going well between us. We've been together just over a year and are now thinking that we'd like to live together. I can't uproot my DD to move nearer him, my exH would never allow it (we're talking about a 4 hour drive sort of distance). So we've been talking about the possibility of him moving here to be with me.

DP and I work in the same industry and where I live there are very, very few jobs. I was lucky to find the one I currently have. Whereas nearer DP career prospects are much much better. I know he's worried that he would effectively be limited to one company (where I work) or else he'd have to take a pay cut or retrain if he moved here.

Just yesterday I was headhunted for a very good job within a very good company, near to where DP works. I know I won't get that job, but it has really made me (and DP) start to think about the future and how things will pan out. I'm still young and I know that if I could move to where the jobs are I could do very well. I do enjoy my current job, but I'm underpaid and there's little scope for moving if my next payrise request is turned down.

The other issue is that I was young when I met my exH and had my daughter (in my teens). He was a little older and very controlling. We moved from where I grew up (where my DP lives and where all the jobs are) to where my exH's family all live. I feel trapped here now that we've split as although I understandably want to be near my DD, all my family are far away and I feel very alone.

I don't know what advice I'm asking for really but I feel very confused with conflicting emotions and very few people to talk this through with. My mother passed away so I can't ask her for advice, although I have a feeling she would want me to make the most of my life and be the best I can be. But whether that means focusing on my DD or my career, I'm not too sure.

Thank you for reading and if anyone has any advice (or just a friendly 'hi') I would be so so grateful.

NicknameTaken Mon 26-Nov-12 11:01:47

I don't understand the hostility, mamma. I don't see that women should just placidly accept that having dcs damages their career - there is a structural unfairness that women should be angry about.

The question to ask yourself, OP, is who needs you most - the potential employers or your DD. I think you know the answer. It's bloody unfair, and you're entitled to be angry and frustrated. But don't just sit there and fume. Make out a plan for the next 10 years. Each year, make sure you do at least one thing to make your CV look even better. It feels like forever and forever but it won't be.

And given that you are making a sacrifice to be with your DD, remind yourself to ENJOY your time with her. Don't grit your teeth and wait for it to pass. Enjoy the slower pace, and your weekends pottering with her. Think of you in 15 years time, rushed off your feet with your hectic career, being all nostalgic for the time you spent with your little girl and wishing you could go back for a bit. Pretend you have returned from the future to have this time again.

mammadiggingdeep Fri 23-Nov-12 21:34:56

Headstone??? Headship. Jeez I'm tired....bad typing! Sorry

mammadiggingdeep Fri 23-Nov-12 21:33:50

Ps- I'm also a mummy who wants a career again one day. I was at the point if applying for deputy headstone when I had my first dc. 3 years on Iim doing part time teaching, on less money and less responsibility. Once my kids are older I'll hopefully pick it back up again. What I'm saying is, I live with my children but my career is on hold. Yes, you're also stuck in an area you don't want to live in which us a pain but the career thing applies to most mummies in one way or another.

mammadiggingdeep Fri 23-Nov-12 21:30:26

I don't understand. Your ex told your daughter untruths ie "mummy has left you" instead of mummy has left me. You say she was hurt in the split.......and you're considering moving 4 hours away??? I know some women are slightly less maternal than others but I just cannot understand a mother who would even contemplate moving to a different area. Let's flip your situation around. Your the bloke and your ex is the woman, caring for the DD. If the dad had 2 out of 3 weekends, a night in week and 50/50 holidays and then announced he was moving 4 hours away from her......I know what we'd all be calling him!!!!!!!!! Rhymes with shunt!!!

DilemmaaEmma Fri 23-Nov-12 19:37:31

That's what I'm scared of NicknameTaken, he's already shown his true colours and if I moved he would take every possible opportunity to use it against me. If he were on board and supportive, I could keep my 2/3 weekends (albeit with a lot of travel) and skype or phone dd every wednesday instead. Although there would be added complications like school concerts, assemblies and classmates' parties to think about too, if I moved.

On the other hand, the thought of staying here another 6-8 years and the effect it might have on my (fledgling) career makes me feel very down. I know there is a lot more I could do to make a name for myself in the meantime like you said, and I will have to start being more proactive about this stuff.

I wish I could trust my own judgement and decisions but I don't have the confidence to sad

NicknameTaken Fri 23-Nov-12 14:41:05

I'm not against mothers pursuing their careers, of course not, but I think in your circumstances, your ex has already demonstrated that he will capitalize on any absence of yours to try to undermine your relationship with your dd. For me, that is too big a risk to take.

I agree that 5 years is a long time in career terms, so if you do stay where you are, can you find ways to keep topping up your skills and stay up-to-date? Is there any half-way solution, any part-time consultancy work you can do that would bring you to London for a day or two per week? Could you teach a night class or do some writing for trade magazines or something along those lines so you can keep polishing your name in your preferred field?

DilemmaaEmma Fri 23-Nov-12 14:33:41

Would I regret it in 5 years if I didn't make the move and missed out on these great opportunities? 5 years is a very long time in this field.

Would I regret it in 5 years if I made the move and my relationship with dd suffered?

I think I can probably answer yes to both sad

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 12:02:48

Inamechangedalright - unfortunately I can't afford to take him back to court as I'm still in debt from the last time and I was ill from the stress. Representing myself is also not an option I would consider having been through it once WITH representation.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 11:57:51

The new man isn't the catalyst, it was actually the sudden influx of recruitment emails from some very big companies that started me seriously thinking about this. Coupled with the recent redundancy process at my current company and having a payrise request turned down.

NameTaken thank you for taking the time to post. I'm trying to remind myself of the fact that by the time dd is almost grown up I will stil be in my thirties and will be able to move if I need/want to. I don't see myself ever having any more children, although I cant be sure I wouldn't change my mind some day. Dp is fully aware that I feel this way.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 22-Nov-12 11:40:05

Sod off Inamechanged, no we aren't all the same where it comes to mothering, sweetheart is not at all partronising neither is maternal tigress unless you want to make them so. alright.

Inamechangedalright Thu 22-Nov-12 11:31:51

clippedphoenix- you're using really unneccesary, patronising and emotive language. 'sweetheart', 'maternal tigress'. Bollocks to that, we're all women and much of a muchness when it comes to mothering really.

OP, what do you really want? Your daughter or a career? Sorry that you have to choose, it's really shit, but that is unfortunately the situation you've found yourself in for now.

I'm going to be really blunt.

Why has a new man been the catalyst for you wanting to move? I'm sure the job market hasn't changed dramatically or at all recently, so why the sudden urge to move now? Because your new boyfriend wants you to? hmm

In years to come, you run the risk of your daughter blaming you of moving away to be with a boyfriend over her. It sounds like there's every possibility your ex will portray it that way too.

I would give exactly the same advice to a man- stay to be near your children. For now, at least.

And take your ex DP back to court for fairer access arrangements. Stop letting yourself be controlled by men. Don't just give up when it comes to your dd- she needs you to fight for her, because she can't stand up for herself. You can

NicknameTaken Thu 22-Nov-12 11:12:14

Btw, I'm 38, so when you're my age your dd will be 18 or so - there is still lots of career-building time left at this age (or so I hope!)

NicknameTaken Thu 22-Nov-12 11:10:46

I sympathize, because I'm stuck in a place with very limited work prospects so DD (also aged 5) has access to exH. I'm the residential parent, but attempting to move would cause a lot of upheaval and expensive court action. Luckily I do really love where I live, despite the work thing.

Given your ex's spite against you, I think the big risk would be him making use of you moving away to limit your time as much as he can, plus giving spiteful messages to your dd about you choosing your career over her.

Your dd won't be this small for very long. Give it a few years. When she is 10 or 12 she will have much more say in where she lives, and she may be in a position to choose to live with you, and be thrilled at the idea of living in London.

It's hard, but you're still young and you have many more years to build a career than you do to enjoy your dd's childhood.

What helps me is that I am also quietly building up my experience and qualifications on the side. When I am free to go elsewhere, I hope to be an even more attractive prospect to employers.

It's not all or nothing - you might have to turn down opportunities now, but it doesn't mean you'll never get them again.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 10:24:12

Also as I had just started my first job and he was the one taking dd to school and collecting, he told me that I wouldnt be able to cope and would lose my job if I took her and had to request flexible working.

I don't have any concerns about her care, just concerns that he may try to turn her against me somehow longterm, especially if she starts to express a wish to live with me. In his words - she is all he's got since I left him.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 01:25:39

I wasn't physically scared of him, but he told me in no uncertain terms that I would not be taking his daughter away from him. After years of being so dependent on him I'd finally got the strength to leave. But he still managed to convince me that I would be harming dd to take her, I wouldn't be able to afford to feed her and pay rent and he would fight me through the courts if I did. So I don't know if that counts as being forced or not. It definitely wasn't amicable.

ClippedPhoenix Thu 22-Nov-12 01:11:56

So you felt you had to leave the house without your child in order to get away from him? I'm asking this because my sister did the same.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 01:05:38

He was controlling, yes. When I said he hurt dd in the process - one example was that when she missed me he told her that I had left her. Not that I had left him, or some other age-appropriate statement.

I'm mid twenties, he's mid thirties. During the court hearing, the judge openly admitted he was against shared residence (I was asking for 50/50 time) and in his closing statement stated he had debated whether she should reside with me or with him most of the time. In the end the judge chose him, on the basis that it was less disruption for dd sad there were no welfare concerns raised on either side, but I did bring up in my statement how controlling he had been towards me over the years and that he was now using access to my dd to continue the control. Oh he's doing a postgraduate (doctorate) course by the way.

Sorry for the blunt reply but its late and I should really be in bed! smile

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 23:52:18

So OP what you're saying is he's a controlling bastard and she's not better off with him then. How old is he and how old are you? You said he's still in uni doing a course. The courts would not give him parental control unless there was another blip in all this that you're not saying. It's not making sense now.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 22:45:35

ExH was a rubbish partner, but he is mostly a good dad. He fought to restrict my access when we split as he knew it would hurt me, but he also hurt dd in the process. I was always the main carer until I started working, but I must admit I was desperate to feel like I had a life of my own. I think that was partly down to having her when I was so young and being totally isolated from my family. When I think back, my first reaction when I did that pregnancy test was to burst into tears, while his was "wow, I'm gonna be a dad". Not that that really means anything now.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 21:26:35

OP, do you think that your child would be better off with his dad. I'm saying that whilst you're the mother you don't have the maternal tigeress in you that I and most have? That's ok you know. But recognise that in yourself and take the path that will be best for your child in the long run.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 21:15:00

Anskabel - I can see why your relationship ultimately died, it is very tough to make it work long-term with that amount of travelling. We've managed well over a year now but we're both feeling the strain. I can understand why DP has pretty much said if neither of us can move we'll have to split.

ImperialBlether I do hate living somewhere just because its where my ex chose to live. In fact when we were together we moved around a fair bit for his work but it was always his decision and being young and dependent on him I felt I had no choice in it. Now even after I'm free from him I still feel like I have no choice.

He wasn't the main carer while I was at uni - it was a mixture of me and nursery. But as soon as I graduated and started working he reluctantly took over due to my hours. He was (and still is) a student himself. He'll need to start working in the next year or so I imagine though. He's still single and fairly bitter towards me. I do pay maintenance every month and he gets all the tax credits etc.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 21:03:59

I agree Imperial this is an awful situation where I feel the OP can't win (the wrong word but can't think of another). I feel her life will be wrecked by having to stay in what she's in at the moment even where a child is concerned. The best situation under the circumstances would be for her to go get her career and explain when the child is older.

ImperialBlether Wed 21-Nov-12 20:57:43

It's such a difficult situation. Is there any way you could go for 3/4 weekends instead? Can you see a way (physically) where that could happen? Forget your ex for a moment. Would it be possible for you?

I would hate the idea of having to live somewhere just because that's where an ex chose to live, knowing he could actually choose to live somewhere else and there's not a thing you could do about it.

How was he the main carer when you were at university? Did he work? Does he work now? Do you have to pay maintenance? Is he with someone else now? Sorry to ask so many questions.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 20:46:49

At the end of the day your ex is practically the full time carer, you are stuck in limbo if you stay there. Not all mothers (bearers of children) have the lioness instinct, that's not wrong either and if the dad is more qualified in that area then it's ok honey, it really is.

Role swapping where the two parents are happy in what they bring to the childs life at at the end of the day is very allowed in my book.

Anskabel Wed 21-Nov-12 20:39:20

There's no easy answer here, I don't envy you.

I've been in a situation where my career remained stagnant because of the limited job opportunities in the area and the effect was so demoralising and frustrating because like yourself, I worked so hard to gain my qualifications, wasn't fulfilling my potential, yet couldn't move for a variety of reasons. I spent 40 hours a week bored to tears, had no outlet for my creative energy and subsequently developed depression.

I've also been in a long distance relationship where neither of us drove at the time, so for 2.5 years, 7 hours of our weekends were spent on public transport - ultimately the relationship died because neither of us were able to move because of our situations and both of us were exhausted from the travelling. It was a very sad time for both of us.

I've never been married and don't have any children, so don't feel qualified to comment on the other side of your dilemma, but I do wish you the best of luck - personally I don't think it's as cut and dried as "stick with the DD", but then I don't have kids, do I?

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