Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Urgent perspective needed - DP, his kids and weekends(75 Posts)
My partner of 8 months spends every weekend with his 3 young boys.
He split up with their mum about 15 months ago. For a while they did the every other weekend arrangement which is obviously most common, then about 2 months into our relationship he pretty much went back to being with them every weekend, at her house -not staying over but there from morning til bedtime. This was because his ex partner got to a point where she apparently could not cope with the kids being away from her any more , it was making her very depressed, which I can imagine must be terribly hard. She lost her job at the time around that time (has a new one now) and think it all got a bit much.
It's been six months since I saw him at all on a weekend, except for maybe the odd Sat or Sun eve from 9pm til 8am next day - even these are rare as its kind of pointless to drive 2 hours literally just to go to bed together.
I haven't met his children as I don't feel it's right to so early on in our relationship and so soon after their mum and dad split. Also, his ex knows of me but has made it very clear to him he must not introduce them. She often makes threats about taking them away altogether, which although probably completely untrue, scare my partner to death.
I won't go into details but I have absolutely no concerns about the nature of his relationship with his ex, none at all. If anyone is good enough to respond, you can certainly question this but that really isn't the point of my post.
The point is I am completely torn - after 6 months and no real weekend time (we live about 2 hours drive from each other by the way, but see each other in the week) , I've basically said he needs to bring himself away from there even once a month say on a Sat afternoon so we can have a proper evening together. This reduces him to tears, saying he cannot bear to miss out on anything with the kids. He says he wants to, for our sake, but it kills him.
I feel like a cow for essentially demanding he be apart from his kids who are so precious to him.
As mentioned, his ex will not let him take the kids away from her at weekends - their split wasn't acrimonious (but was more him than her by all accounts) so she's quite happy to have him around if it means she doesn't have to be apart from them.
Am I being unreasonable to ask a devoted dad to give up a little bit of weekend time once in a whole for me? He claims he loves me, talks of a future etc, but he really cannot deal with being away at weekends without breaking down.
He sees them about 3 nights in the week for bedtime, seems fine on the other 2, no meltdowns then. But says that's because he isn't missing out like he would at weekends.
Does he need to man up, get some backbone and stand up to his ex, or should I just live with and applaud him for wanting to see them a lot and for him and his ex partner managing a good co parenting relationship?
What do I do?
Also I don't know many single parents who would not want even 1 day a week away from their children to do the washing, see friends etc so I think this arrangement is very strange.
Sorry but this is all a bit odd.
A friend has recently split with her DH, she is forced to hand her DC over all weekend one fortnight and one weekend day the next. She doesn't have a choice. She also has no say where he takes them including out with his new 20yo girlfriend!
The point I'm making is that his ex cannot make demands like this and although it is unbearable for him to be away from his DC I think he should commit one weekend day a month to you.
It doesn't sound like he has time for a relationship with you.
What do you do at the weekend and on these weeknights that he's with his kids? I fear your life is on hold while you could be out enjoying yourself.
If you really feel strongly about him you could take a break and see how you feel in a few months.
Something about your post reads like you're the OW. I do not imply that he hasn't really split from his ex, just that you're only getting the crumbs.
I hope you can sort this out. Personally I think you may be better leaving him to it and moving on yourself.
I meant to add, 8 months into a relationship should be a fab time, weekends away, nights out and loads of fun.
So two months after you become his gf, ex decides she wants him seeing the DCs under their roof every weekend, he's round to tuck them in 3 week nights out of 5 and oh not forgetting, he's not allowed to introduce them to you anytime anyway? Let me guess, is his ex dating anyone?
There's being a good dad when 2 adults separate and all that entails, and there's cosy times excluding you. Good luck trying to change anything before Christmas, that won't happen! Sorry OP give up now.
Oh and you sound lovely
Do you think you may be putting his needs above yours?
However great he is, I think you could be happier without him.
Actually, he has a choice in this. He could apply through the courts for a shared care arrangement, giving him 50% of the time with the children. If it is decided in court that this is a good idea, and given his level of contact is as if they live together, it probably will be, then she has to make the children available for 50% of their lives. She has no right to stop him doing ANYTHING as long as it isn't damaging to the welfare of the children. She cannot say that you cannot meet them, she cannot say that he cannot take them out of the house.
She is playing him like a harp, he is playing you like a harp, they don't parent as if they have split up at all and he won't have time for anyone but her until he sorts his act out. Him using tears, and blarting and snotting to shut down your discussion, won't solve this, taking it to court will.
Charbon - the voice of reason. So true.
cold, yes in theory but how many mothers are jailed for not making children available at all for years? Virtually none. Many just totally ignore those court orders and suffer no consequence so he needs to tread carefully.
Wow thanks all for your replies they have been really helpful. Will try to answer your questions and sorry for not coming back to this sooner.
We do see each other several nights a week, I'll sometimes travel to him after work and let myself in to his on the nights he s round there with the kids and wait til he gets back around 9, work means i can base myself over there a couple of days a week, or he ll come over to mine. We seem to make it work fine in the week, although we never have much time together.
As for his ex, from what I've been told (I know, I know) , she really doesn't relish a day off here and there, she feels like she's being punished if she has to be without them.
I can't help but think the reason he won't leave at say even 5pm on a Saturday eve having had all day there, then go back Sunday for example, meaning he doesn't miss out on too much with the kids, is that it'd loom suspicious to his ex. I've been thinking about this all day since I posted and I can't help but think she may think they are in fact working on things. He says he's told her about me, but I only have his word for that, it could be she thinks reconcilliation is on the cards and she doesn't actually know he's seeing someone?
Or maybe I'm being paranoid?
Whoever said they haven't let go of the family side of being a couple is spot on, so looks like I am a bit of a third wheel.
I'm going to talk to him tonight and pretty much say I need to see some changes or that's that. I also think I need to press a bit harder for the truth about their set up.
He's only left there at 10pm.
I feel a fool
Don't feel a fool- he's a fool. He's neither a husband, nor a boyfriend. His fickleness isn't going to make him happy in the long run.
This is a non-starter. No 'I need to see changes' or any of that. He's made his choice and it's his kids and not you.
It's only been 8 months, you don't have kids right now yourself, this is a long-distance relationship as well. Do yourself a favour and find someone who's less attached.
Get on with your life OP. The only reason things are the way they are is because that is what he's happy with. Believe me, if he wasn't happy with these arrangements he'd have done something about it by now.
This isn't about her - it's about him.
I know I need to end it and try to move on.
I have tried to do this before but he is so incredibly persistent in trying to convince me otherwise, that its all going to change, and he wears me down every time. Have to admit I have fallen for him very hard and the thought of not speaking to him every day and seeing him again makes me feel positively ill.
I know I'm being pathetic and there are people with real issues on here so I'll stop bleating! I guess I've just always been torn between thinking I was selfish to expect some of his time, versus thinking I deserve so much more than he can give me. If he really wanted to change things, he would do.
Yes, you really need to move on. This is not a healthy relationship for you. This guy has too much baggage and isn't ready for a workable relationship.
Hey you're not pathetic roller. You're a good person, kind - and you deserve more than this. He's having his cake and eating it by the sound of it.
I'd cut it and move on, for sure. Sad for you though. But you'll look back one day and feel no regret whatsoever. You really don't need this.
It doesn't sound as he is ready for a relationship. He is obliously not ready to make time for a new woman in his life. And you owe it to yourself to find your happiness. Tell him how you feel and do the right thing for you.
My personal experience is that my partner's ex used to push the kids towards us as much as she could when she heard he had started a relationship with me (another woman). It was challenging at times, and we nearly broke up, but at the end we made the most of it, and when his ex realised he brought us closer and the children were having a great time with us, she changed completely and now does the oppposite: trying to break the relationship the children have with their dad and me... but it was not as bad as what you describe. I hope you'll find your happiness.
I'm always very wary about believing negative stories about another person when there has been absolutely no corroboration, especially when the tale doesn't stack up.
It's my hunch though that his exW doesn't know he's in another relationship at all, hence despite a 'separation' of 15 months you haven't met the children and have been told that his wife won't allow an introduction. I wonder whether the children actually think their parents are separated? Or whether his wife does?
Have you been introduced to his extended family and his friends OP? Or is that out of bounds too?
Everyone's issues are real, honey. It's your life. You're as entitled to ask for support as anyone else.
It really shouldn't be this hard, OP. I'd forget about trying to find out the real truth, issuing ultimatums, letting him wear you down and just be really clear.
You deserve someone more available.
Can you set a date for change. The problem is that often in this sort of discussion you cannot demand instant change. So promises are made....
And not kept ...and time passes ....and you go through same mental gymnastics ....but talking about it seems pointless because you've done it before. Ongoing sadness but with the hope of change... (Which doesn't occur)
If I was the man here I'd feel massively drawn to time with my DC. What I'd need to understand is that time with DC is not being questioned but that time should be with you and DC not the ex. Focusing his thoughts on the fact that he cannot expect another partner to be excluded at weekends is important so he makes the choice about where his life is going.
I know people say don't introduce DC to we partners too early etc but quite frankly the biggest most important test in a relationship for me is how my DC view that person. It's a non starter if they are not bloody brilliant with them. So meeting is important.
How'd it go Roller?
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that possibly his wife thinks they are giving it another go. Why on earth would he need to stay there at her house until 10pm on a Saturday night? Surely the children aren't up that late.
If you don't mind me asking - Have you met any of his friends and family? When you go to where he lives, do you go out in the local area or does he keep you tucked away at his place? Is any part of his life open and accessible to you?
Doesn't the mum want a bit of a breather from her kids? Or is she working full time? (Sorry missed whether you've said that or not).
God I'm with my kids 24/7, if me and my DP ever split I'd throw a small party if he were to take them away for the weekend!
And looking further down the line, what if you got pregnant with him, how would that work with the current arrangements?
Most kids should be in bed between 7-8 so don't see why he needs to be there til 10.
I don't think what you're asking is unreasonable, sounds like hes seeing them pretty regular, whats one saturday afternoon a month? Thats nothing.
This all sounds very suss.
8 years ago, I was going out with someone in the same situation. He had twins with a DW from whom he was separated. However, they still lived in the same house (albeit in separate bedrooms - allegedly).
He had to spend every weekend at home with the children and DW - apart from the odd random few. I suspect she was away those weekends.....we had to see each other during the week etc.
After 3 months, I got totally fucked off and dumped him. He did move out shortly after that but I'm still not 100% convinced that they had truly separated when we were going out.
I was 25 and, maybe selfishly, didn't want a boyfriend who I couldnt see at weekends. He also lived about 90 mins away which made it even harder
I don't actually think that the guy I was going out with was actively lying to me. However, I do think when people have children and want to spend a lot of time with them, there can be a blurring of the boundaries with husband and wife. It's pretty normal for couples who have split up to have a bit if to-ing and fro-ing before the final split.
The fact that he has to stay til 10pm makes me think that there is something similar going on here too. But, in any event, even if not, he's just not free to have the type of relationship with you that you want
I know that people may think this is selfish but I decided after that not to go out with anyone with children and whose life was as similar as mine as possible - single, no children, professional (so understood long hours etc). I don't believe actually that opposites do attract and build sustainable relationships. I met DH a few years later and I think our relationship works on that basis. I know that lots of people think differently to that however but just sticking my 2p in.
Please dont waste anymore time on this guy - you'll always be second best and you deserve more.
Look, you live a 2-hour drive from this guy, and you have no kids or attachments and he has 3 kids and an ex.
Get friggin' real. You don't need all this.
Whatever the reasons or the truth. He's with those kids every weekend and whatever the reason, those kids should and always will be his no. 1 priority.
Don't you think you deserve someone without all this baggage?
I used to run a mile from guys who had kids when I was single and didn't have any, because I knew I was too selfish for such a set up (I was fairly young, too, 30).
There are plenty out there who don't havet this or who are years on from their divorce and have custody set-ups that don't change.
Honestly, you need to get shot of this. It shouldn't be this hard.
Join the discussion
Please login first.