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.

How the hell can I keep 'amicable' for the sake of my son? - bit of a rant

(48 Posts)
SpiderManMum Fri 04-Jan-13 16:29:35

Hello, does anyone have advice on how I can keep things with my STBXH 'amicable' for the sake of my DS when he is screwing us over?

In a nutshell he left us March last year following the trusty MLC script. I am divorcing him and he is making life hell. We were lucky enough to enjoy a very good standard of living, 4 bed house, DS in independent school. I am self employed and made a good wage working flexibly around DS.

This wonderful man is doing his very best to break us (DS and I). I have to leave my home as it is too big for our needs, I have been told that I no longer can enjoy the benefits of being self employed and need to find a regular 9-5 job and now he is arguing that he cannot afford to support DS in independent school anymore. (Just some context, this man earns a london salary with good bonus each year).

He and his solicitor have agreed that renting a 2 bed flat for DS and I is more than adequate for our needs and that I can afford this without any support.

I am doing my best not to scream at him in front of our DS but I am really struggling. I read an interview with Dawn French in a mag over xmas and she writes that if you REALLY have your children's best interests at heart during divorce, then you will put aside your own issues and be on friendly terms with your ex no matter what. That made me feel like shit.

I honestly want to be the bigger person here and it goes without saying i do not want to cause any further distress for my son but I'm struggling to contain my anger even at handover time.

How am I ever going to manage this? I don't want to be angry forever and I don't want DS to feel like he couldn't have us both at his birthday/graduation/wedding etc but I don't think this is something I'm going to be able to forgive.

He texts me during the day with pathetic requests such as ' tell me what to give DS for dinner tonight' and if I ignore him I get threats of being reported to his solicitor for not passing on important info regarding DS! My blood pressure is off the scale as you can tell!

mcmooncup Fri 04-Jan-13 16:32:34

What does YOUR solicitor say about all of this?

On the amicable thing. It takes 2 to be truly amicable. You are allowed feelings you know sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Jan-13 16:36:37

Forget amicable. He's started a war so you have to respond in kind. Makes it more expensive but you can't take a sword to a gunfight... Dig in for a long haul.

Corygal Fri 04-Jan-13 16:44:13

Dont bring anything up with DS unless he asks. Then refer all DS's questions about his DF to, er, DF. Just say 'Daddy will explain' if he asks. You don't have to be nasty but equally it's not your job to whitewash the father to the son. It is the father's job to explain himself.

I think you need a better solicitor, too. Or put the screws on the one you've got to get the adequate deal the law exists to give you.

balia Fri 04-Jan-13 16:45:58

There's a big difference between amicable and passive. You can be polite and business-like whilst still making sure you get the best deal for DS and yourself. How can he possibly tell you what career path you have?

Anniegetyourgun Fri 04-Jan-13 16:47:33

Well, for one thing, if you will excuse me for pointing out the obvious, you are not Dawn French. Her qualifications for giving advice are that she has also been through a divorce, basically. Besides, it is more than likely that anything she actually said was edited within an inch of its life by a journalist with their own bias. For a third point, if I remember rightly her divorce was due to her ex being given to shagging around, rather than a controlling asshole like your ex. Thus, what she is putting aside in order to be friendly is her resentment about his infidelity. What you have to put aside is cruelty and interference. You can't be friendly with that because he isn't interested in being friendly. You actually need to fight for what DS needs, not for your own pride.

Who told you you can't afford to be self-employed any more? If it's your financial adviser, fair enough. If it's your ex - sod him!

As for reporting you to his solicitor, you can report him to yours for harassment if it comes to that. His solicitor can't do anything to you other than write a rude letter, which your ex will have to pay for.

DoubleYew Fri 04-Jan-13 16:52:34

Send that article to your ex as he clearly didn't read it. You can't be amicable on your own.

Yes contain yourself at handovers, that will be stressful for ds. Graduation, wedding are a way off, if you can get this sorted now you MIGHT be able to be amicable by then.

Important info is ds has this medication to take, not you managing ex's food shopping. He's trying to threaten you and make you accept as little from him as possible. He is probably enjoying the fact you are getting upset, that thought should help you keep cool as it will disappoint him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Jan-13 16:56:08

What is your solicitor's response to this? Do you have a solicitor?

Proudnscaryvirginmary Fri 04-Jan-13 17:01:48

Moreover Dawn French has, £10/£20 million pounds in the bank so even if one of them wanted to play siller buggers they know they are both more than comfortably off!

Your ex sounds selfish, unreasonable and spiteful. You have every right to feel furious and despairing.

Vent on here and to your friends and family.

You really, really must try not to let it show in front of son.

All you can do is keep putting your son's interest first, and know you are doing the right thing by him, and accept your ex is a twat and you can't do much about that.

It's a bit like that serenity prayer - God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

You can change your response to him, but not him.

financialwizard Fri 04-Jan-13 18:01:39

Your ex is a controlling moron.

You do not say whether you have legal representation or not but if you don't get your bottom parked in front of a good one who is not frightened to bare their teeth ASAP. If you do I suggest you make an appointment with them and sit down and tell them exactly what your ex has told you because they will be able to allay any fears you have.

If the property is in joint names your ex would have to force by court order the house to be sold or have your permission. If in his alone I would advise asking your solicitor about a matrimonial home rights charge on the property to stop him selling/borrowing extra/etc without you being made aware.

Your ex is so far blustering because he has just realised how much he stands to lose financially. Being 'amicable' at this stage does not sound like an option I am afraid and in your shoes (having been there) I would be tempted to go for the jugular.

By the way as long as your dc have adequate care whilst you are out at work your ex can have zero say in the matter.

SpiderManMum Fri 04-Jan-13 18:03:19

Thank you. I do need to change how i react to him, it's almost as though he wants the constant bickering and if I do not indulge him, then the legal threats come again. I really, honestly and truthfully do not want this to mess my son up, I put up with ex being in my home whist I go out so that he can see ds mid week so I am seriously trying to do what is best for him.

I'm bloody worried about running up massive solicitors fees though. We only bought this house a few years ago so there isn't lots of equity especially now. I do have a solicitor although I'm not sure she is a fair match for his big city law firm.

I argued that if we sold up, then being self employed I wouldn't get another mortgage (my share of equity will only just cover a deposit if I was lucky). Their response was that if I want a mortgage, i need to go back into regular employment and that millions of children live happily in rented accommodation. Funnily enough his reason for not wanting to keep his name on our mortgage was that he needs a mortgage of his own for a new house.

What a shitty thing divorce is. If the emotional side wasn't bad enough (it was), the fighting over money is just beyond awful. You have a good point, i guess Dawn French didn't have that to worry about though.

I really hoped that I would be able to have a 'successful' divorce after not managing a successful marriage but it appears not. To think I'm going to have this man in my life for many years to come, I think I'm going to need Valium.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Jan-13 18:32:35

He's bullying you because he knows you don't have the cash for fancy lawyers, want to keep the peace for your DS and so forth. It's not enough that he broke up the family with his infidelity, he's actually trying to destroy you as well. He's a very spiteful man and I can't think what you've done to deserve such treatment.

I think you have to take a different approach for your own sanity and for your DS's happiness. Namely, that you are going to stop being a pushover, stop trying to keep on his good side and that you will insist on fair treatment, no matter how much it costs or how much he tries to bully you into giving up or compromising

To that end I'd suggest you start by not allowing him to invade your space at home any more but make it that he sees DS elsewhere. Children cope better if the boundaries are clear than when things are so blurred and unsettling.

Hanikam Fri 04-Jan-13 18:42:03

I think you need to record all of these incidents for your own solicitor as it boils down to harassment. And nail down the mortgage issue. Why does he need his own house while expecting his ds to live in rented accommodation? Don't the majority of single men live in rented homes, or with their mothers?

And reacting angrily to him is not necessarily a bad thing! He might not expect it.
Good luck!

SpiderManMum Sat 05-Jan-13 09:31:10

Well, things have gone from bad to worse already..

Totally horrific evening yesterday, I took DS to the meeting point for handover to dh and he (DS) had a major melt down almost like a panic attack. Screaming 'don't make me go, please don't let me go there'. It lasted 45 mins in a public car park am I am amazed that no one called the police.

Throughout this dh stood with his hands on hips, car door open shouting back at him that its tough, he does as he's told and doesn't have a choice which rapidly escalated into threats that if he didn't do as he is told he would in exact words 'pull his trousers down and smack his fucking arse'.

DS was beside himself. I sat in the back of the car hugging him and trying to reassure him that it was all ok and managed to get him into dh car with the promise that if I called at 8.30pm and he still wanted to come home then I would come and get him.

Dh threatened not to answer the phone but must have thought better of it because at 8.30pm he did answer and DS was still inconsolable screaming for me. Needless to say I collected him immediately. I woke this morning to a txt sent early hours saying ' I am very sorry for ruining your evening, let me know if DS wants to do something with him tomorrow!'

I've had to put up with him telling me last night iin the car in front of ds that I have made DS soft by giving in to him all the time and this so called 'tantrum' is all my fault and that his father would have given him a bloody good belting if he'd dared disobey him.

So today I've got a distressed little boy on my hands and I strongly suspect he will be on the phone to his solicitor Monday morning claiming that i have refused him his access rights. This is all such a mess sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 09:35:29

Your poor son. Can you talk to him now that he's calm about why he didn't want to go with Dad? Although a man prepared to threaten smacking in public presumably doesn't hesitate to carry it out in private... How old is your son? I could be wrong but I think, once children get past a certain age, access is only with their consent. Maybe someone can confirm that or correct me?

mcmooncup Sat 05-Jan-13 09:36:55

You must listen to your son. He is clearly suffering when he sees his father.
Stop all contact and let him take you to court.

It is not your fault your son does not want to go there. It is because his father is a twat.

You must stop thinking what is right for your stbx first.

mcmooncup Sat 05-Jan-13 09:39:44

Was your marriage abusive?

readysteady Sat 05-Jan-13 09:42:10

I am so sorry to hear all this sad your poor boy and you! I hope you have lots of real life support too. Thinking of you today x

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 09:43:04

I was wrong.... But I found this paragraph on Q&A site referring to access and children

If you suspect abuse or neglect at the other household, contact child protective services, and they may set up a supervised visitation schedule, if that is necessary to protect the child. It would be a very extreme circumstance that the courts would decide to terminate a non-custodial parent's rights altogether, which means that they'd have to think that even supervised visitation would be harmful to the child.

So, if it turns out your exH has been smacking your DS to 'man him up' or some nonsense, then you would be able to contact Social Services and report your concerns.

MsSavingPennies Sat 05-Jan-13 09:47:04

I feel for you. I have constant grief from my ex. As another poster said it takes 2 to be amicable. I don't think men with this sort of mentality ever change. He is hurting you and your dc. Just document everything, no matter how small. Stay strong!

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sat 05-Jan-13 09:48:49

Oh gosh :0( poor you and your poor little boy.
Ring your solicitor first thing tell them what happened. He may have a fancy London lawyer but the law is the law. Yes you get better and worse representation, but ultimately the laws the law.

As for thinking renting for the next 15 years is beneficial for your son- clearly wasting all that money when it could be going into a property for him! Top idea. I'm guessing that's a way of adjusting his payments to you over time????

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 05-Jan-13 09:52:14

The 'renting' thing is pretty obvious to me. He's a competitive man motivated by money and material goods and he thinks he can buy your DS. By consigning Mum to lower-grade accommodation but having a fancy place himself he thinks that will win DS over to his side. Ditto the threat to his private education.... he'll play it that Mum is letting him down by not providing that but Dad can.

SpiderManMum Sat 05-Jan-13 09:53:35

sad no, he wasn't abusive before in fact quite passive but the past year he has transformed into someone I don't recognise anymore.

DS and I have been playing with scooby doo characters this morning and I've asked him why he didn't want go but he's only said that he doesn't want to keep going there all the time as sometimes it boring. He is only 6 and not shy in speaking his mind so I seriously hope he would be able to tell me if there was something going on.

My sister is coming over shortly so I will have some support should things kick off again later.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 05-Jan-13 10:08:45

Hi Spider it really is very difficult to maintain an amicable relationship with someone who is a total twat. My Ex really grinds my gears, but luckily i have good friends i can rant to about it smile

Use MN as a place to come and rant, in the hopes of not exploding.

I do believe that an amicable split is better for the children, but in a lot of cases it is much easier said than done. Especially when the man you are supposed to act nicely towards is trying to kick you out of your home.

My parents split was absolutely not amicable, and i do think it had a very negative effect on everyone involved. When my Ex and I split up, I was certain that it was going to be amicable. I would say that so far (7 months on) we are doing very well, but i have to ignore/forget the irritating things he does, and how dreadfully he treated me in the past.

I do believe it will be worth it in the long run if you can be amicable, but remember, being amicable doesn't mean being friends and chummy etc. it just means not tearing out his eyes when he is being a petulant arse.

I really hope you get some good advice on here to help you and your son through what is always going to be a difficult transition.

Is your son normally anxious about going to his dads?

Viviennemary Sat 05-Jan-13 10:20:03

Well I wouldn't feel very amicable in your circumstances I'm afraid. And it does take two two people to be fair in order things remain amicable. You seem to be the one losing out massively. I think you should inform your solicitor about what happened with your son. In a matter of fact way without getting over emotional although it would be hard in the circumstances. I think I would forget amicable for the time being.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now