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13 year Relationship Ended and one confused Dad

(65 Posts)
DarthDad Wed 31-Jul-13 05:54:08

Hello all, first post so I'll try and keep it brief but I would love for some advice and perspective about my recent problem.
Myself and OH have been together for 13 years, married for 7 and have a wonderful 3 year old DS.
When DS was one there were significant strains happening in our relationship, arguments, tension and general ill feeling. We were living in Yorkshire with our respective families from Manchester and the Midlands. OH was so desperately unhappy and wanted to move back to the midlands.
We put the house up for sale in 2011 and I began looking for a new job. As things progressed the tension grew worse and we decided that she and DS should move down to the midlands and I would follow.
We got her setup in a tiny house in the same village as her Mum and I would work up North during the week and stay with them from Friday until Monday and obviously when I had any holidays. It was difficult but the changes soon made themselves apparent and OH was a lot happier and was getting back to her normal self, we got DS into a fabulous nursery and all I had to do was keep looking for that elusive job.
5 weeks ago I started my dream job, it let me work from home, pick DS up from nursery and spend more time with OH. Life was finally getting back on track.
Last Sunday after a family day out she announced that she didn't love me, wanted to be on her own and wanted me out of the house.
That has been all the explanation I've had, we spoke about seeing a councillor when I moved back in order to address any previous problems but now she will not entertain the idea. So I find myself in pieces, in a town where I only know her family and back to square one.
So much for keeping it brief, I'm lost and broken and would love for your thoughts and advice, you seem to be a friendly bunch on the whole.

Lackedpunchesforever Fri 02-Aug-13 20:40:36

Who diagnosed her post natal depression ? What treatment has she had for it?

givvusaclue Fri 02-Aug-13 22:08:40

Tell her that since she is the one who wants to end the relationship that she should move out and you should keep custody.

I want to end my relationship and I expect to be the one that moves out.

Had you been female and writing this certain people would have been suggesting your partner is having an affair. Of course since you are a man they will stay clear from this thread.

Good luck with it all.

DarthDad Fri 02-Aug-13 23:16:07

I am at loss right now, the "amicable" arrangement where she said that I could use her house until I sort things out (I've stayed away during the week for 2 weeks now) means nothing,
She has asked me to take DS to a friends house on Saturday when I have him rather than staying in the house with him. I asked why she couldn't stay at her mothers or one of her many friends but got no response. I thought I had a handle on all this but am am feeling utter contempt for her and completely isolated, I really am at a loss as to what to do next. I feel like I have no energy to take the next step and look for a flat or house.
I know this will get easier with time but right now I am at an utter low and I'm so tired, I'm sorry for going on but I don't know what else to do.

tightfortime Fri 02-Aug-13 23:23:03

Time for legal advice I'm afraid if she is refusing mediation. Your relationship is over, time to prioritise the child and your relationship going forward with both child and ex, re money, access etc.

You want to be a good dad...protect DS's future, be dignified, calm but no pushover.

Harryhairypig Sat 03-Aug-13 00:01:22

Is the house she is living in jointly owned by you and her or just rented by he her. If you own it then you can stay there anyway. You need to get some legal advice quickly tbh.

WafflyVersatile Sat 03-Aug-13 00:03:08

Get some legal advice.

Her financial plans do not sound very fair. Just because she thinks it should be that way doesn't make it so. Sounds like the compromise is all to be on your side at the moment.

50/50 custody arrangements are more common now and with you working from home a lot I see no reason why that shouldn't be the case here.

WafflyVersatile Sat 03-Aug-13 00:04:51

Are the debts still in her name? If you need to rent a third property then you can't afford to be servicing those as you are currently.

That said don't play silly power games.

legal advice, legal advice, legal advice.

DarthDad Sat 03-Aug-13 00:18:35

All the debt is in my name, she was a year into self employment when she was pregnant with DS and during the pregnancy told me about the debt. I took out the loan to clear it as we couldn't get a joint loan.

Is relate a good place to start when looking for legal advice, I must sound pathetic but I don't know where to start?

QuintessentiallyOhDear Sat 03-Aug-13 00:21:45

Sorry to hear what you are going through.

I think you need to look a few years back to the time you started having problems. I think your OH opted for a soft end to your relationship where she maneuvered you out of her life before you even realized your relationship was over. I imagine for her the relationship has been over for a good few years, but this is news for you. I dont think you can stop it from getting ugly. This woman has moved on, she has no feelings for you, and is willing to bleed you dry, for the sake of her child and herself, giving nothing back. She is home, with her friends, her network, her family, her job, and her child is settled, without you. This is what she was aiming for all along, I suspect. She played the long game, and is about to hit her jack pot, while you are all confused and wretched.

Time for you to see a solicitor and fight back.

NatashaBee Sat 03-Aug-13 00:29:36

I agree. Time for solicitors, don't let her screw you over, and push for as much access as possible before a pattern of weekends only becomes established. Make sure you get to know your childs friends parents and go to school events as much as possible. If you move forward with divorce proceedings then assets/ debts will be looked at during that.

perfectstorm Sat 03-Aug-13 00:32:54

I'm afraid I do think she's probably met someone else. That's usually the cause when someone suddenly says they don't love someone and won't entertain counselling. I'm so incredibly sorry. You sound as though you have done everything imaginable to support her, and this must be unspeakably painful. But... you need to get your practical head on now.

You need legal advice, and asap. Can you prove the credit card debts were run up by her, yet being paid off by yourself? If so, take that along when you see the solicitor. But from what you've said, she has said all she wants is some of the house equity when sold, and you to repay the debts, and her CSA level maintenance, while she herself pays nursery fees, and all the expenses of her own home - is that right? As long as the debts are taken into account when the equity is calculated, that doesn't seem too terrible. And frankly I don't think you staying in her home when caring for your little one is ideal for anyone - too many boundaries crossed. Is there any way the house up north could be rented out - would that cover the costs? That way you might be able to rent locally and have your son every other weekend, Fri-Mon, and, with luck, at least one or two nights in the week. As things are deteriorating, and courts like to go with existing contact arrangements in case of dispute, I really, really do think you need to make having him regularly, and overnight, your absolute first priority. Start as you hope to go on, so any variation would be changing the status quo.

Solicitor, solicitor, solicitor. (And a family law one - not the local chap who does wills and contracts. One who specialises in arrangements on relationship breakdown. Resolution is a good place to start.)

I would also post on Legal. Free help from some family law solicitors is never to be sniffed at.

AdoraBell Chile Sat 03-Aug-13 00:37:36

You really do need to see a solicitor and in the meantime keep any payments you make in terms of support traceable, as in write a cheque or do a transfer from your bank to her bank and print a record of it.

When my OH's ex left she used the DC to manipulate him and he paid all her living costs, she insisted on cash, then claimed he hadn't paid a penny in the two years it took to settle the divorce, sell the house etc. She got 97 per cent of the assets and her legal fees paid.

Be careful, get legal advice and be kind to yourself.

perfectstorm Sat 03-Aug-13 00:45:49

Just reread - her wanting to opt out of any share of the mortgage, while you're both having to run other homes down south, is grossly inequitable. Ask your solicitor what can be done there, but I do think renting the old house out, if you can, could be a temporary solution. The focus so, so needs to be setting up a schedule of having your child under your own roof as often and regularly as possible. And to do that, you need a suitable roof.

skyeskyeskye Sat 03-Aug-13 00:53:41

Yes, see a solicitor and soon. Google Family Law firms in your area and get some initial advice. Women are always advised on here not to let their ex's in the house for contact, to make the father take them elsewhere so in reality it should be the same advice to you, that you need to see your child outside of her home.

Get advice on equity split, debt etc. if you have statements that prove it was her debt not joint debt, keep it all safe. It may be useful.

Look up the CSA calculator and see how much you should be paying her per month. Stop paying her rent and pay the CSA money instead.

Go for 50/50 custody if that's what you want. Stick to agreed contact, don't be late or rearrange for no reason. Things like that really annoy and cause problems.

This is about what you want from now on, not about what she wants. I honestly do think that there is somebody else in the scene. You do need to keep that in mind.

Look after yourself, take one day at a time. It's not easy but it does get better with time.

ofmiceandmen Sat 03-Aug-13 01:35:41

Ok, I know it was hard to understand it when I first responded but I think now you're getting it. This is the reality of where you are.

Once the love has gone and they have moved on you are as significant as a bug on the road.

I said it earlier - get your head out of the sand.
This is now an all out war- hand to hand combat.
You need to feel angry - that was the advise that helped the most.
You need to understand what has happened.
You've already lost! Now pick up the pieces and fight back. Don't stay stuck in the past.

The first word you need to learn is - No

She is now just some person trying to ruin you.
I struggled to understand how the mother of our children could suddenly become this person.

It's not sudden, she's been working on it since 2011.

Put your children first - You're not a weekend baby sitter and cach machine. Say no!

Advise - private message me - I can get a chap to help and advise.
I realised too late what was happening - playing the nice guy and trying to do the right thing will get you screwed.
She will lie again and again and they will believe her. They want to believe her. File for divorce before she starts down a path of claiming Emotional abuse or worse.
Once she sets that ball in action you'll be labelled that through out.
Initiate proceedings. File for custody.

Nb family court has different rules. Evidence is less important, it's as much about who they believe more.
A crying mum or a bloke who hardly sees his kids (regardless of how it came about).
You need to live within 2 miles of her home to get 50/50 due to your DS's age.
That means hence forth you will have to live and be near her - tethered to her every action.

Your DS needs you to fight for him now. After this it's going to be playing catch up. Act now.

Sadly all the A holes that have treated their wives badly have made the family courts a hard place for dads that have done the right thing. You will be the umpteenth man infront of them and chucked in with all the bad ones.

Man up! She's gone forever! It's now soley about your DS.

ofmiceandmen Sat 03-Aug-13 01:47:50

Ps - being angry is not about being violent or verbal - it's about holding your nerve, understanding that its war, not being surprised by any lies or omissions, being clear headed about your final goal.
It's no longer being the pushover.
One word No.

If you're to see DS outside her home - that means week days are now permissible. So request them via email (hence forth keep a record of all requests- no more verbal agreements). Make an excuse - phone dead, can't talk right now, I'll email later.
Now push for maximum contact, mid week, weekend and do it when it's right for you and Ds.

Be civil, be respectful but this is now business .
Until and unless she starts to act more reasonably and with some compassion.

luvmy4kids Sat 03-Aug-13 08:32:24

Why have you moved out? Why hasn't your wife moved out? The person wanting to walk out and hurt their child and husband in the process should surely do the right thing and walk away. I would refuse, after an "access" visit just say you're not going and don't let your child go either.

perfectstorm Sat 03-Aug-13 12:11:18

luv4mykids - he's never lived there. It was the home of his ex, he visited at weekends. She pays all the rent and all the bills for it - she's telling him he needs to pay for another place AND their jointly owned house up north without her input, which is not fair, but she's also been clear that she will pay all the expenses of her current home. If he does as you suggest, she will be able to portray him as an aggressive, angry dad and his contact with his son will in all likelihood be reduced.

There's also the fact that courts don't care who left/had an affair/was Satan. They want the primary carer before the split to remain the primary carer. Fighting over anything else plays into any exes hands. At this point worrying about who's right and who's wrong is pointless. All that matters, in terms of outcome, is trying to keep things as courteous as possible while increasing massively his time with his son, especially overnights.

The saying "speak softly and carry a big stick" applies here. Basically, be as friendly and tolerant as possible, while taking damn good legal advice and doing everything you possibly can to secure a generous split of time with the child. Upping the anger and aggression can only end badly when one person has basically been a single mother for two years, there's been no midweek contact, and she is therefore in pole position to play silly buggers if things get nasty.

Having said that, it's reasonable not to want an ex in your home all weekend, I think. After a split EVERYONE needs boundaries redrawn. What isn't reasonable is to think she should benefit from the house they own up north, while expecting him to pay every penny of the expenses of that house plus rent a new one - not to mention pay the loan taken out solely to defray all her credit card debts. That's where good legal advice matters financially - but long term, the welfare of the child matters most, and that means at least an attempt to be civil, and a really increased contact schedule. A siege mentality is not going to help that happen in the least.

DarthDad Sat 03-Aug-13 19:19:58

Well, I spent the day with DS and took him to his friends bday party which was a welcome relief.
And then she arrived home from work. Now I did something I've never done before and am not proud of this. She nipped out to the shop and left her Facebook account unlocked on her phone. And there in glorious black and white were all the sex messages between her and another fella.
And now although I feel sick to the pit of my stomach I'm not angry, I know what I need to do now. Play the long game and not let on I know. Which is going to be really difficult. I'm gutted she let it drag on this long, I doubt I would have moved if she had been honest in the first place. But hindsights a great thing and its done and now I have to get on with it.
Thanks all for your advice, I'll keep you updated.

WafflyVersatile Sat 03-Aug-13 19:38:05

If you can keep it under your hat, I'd agree with not saying anything.

I wonder if she was so careless deliberately?

Get legal advice asap.

The other thing I'd say is dont' agree to anything on the spot. Always say you will take time to think it over and get back to her.

drasticpark Sat 03-Aug-13 19:38:44

Sorry, Darth Dad. Hurts like hell but you will be ok. Hopefully, this will help you detach. Then you can start to heal. You don't deserve this.

welshharpy Sat 03-Aug-13 19:48:58

Sorry Darth, personally it sounds to me like she let you see the messages deliberately to let you know that is an end to your relationship, she didnt want to tell you face to face and this was her second 'best' option. Promise us you will get some proper legal advice and do not let youself get screwed over, you really do sound like a very caring and lovely dad. Take care of yourself and ds.

perfectstorm Sat 03-Aug-13 20:34:20

I'm so sorry, DarthDad. I'm afraid there is pretty well a script you see over and over on MN when someone cheats, and ends the marriage as a result, and she is following it.

You need to focus above all else now on getting even a small one bed place where you can have DS overnight, and I think you need to as helpfully as possible suggest you have him from Tuesday after nursery to Thursday drop-off at nursery and every other weekend, to ensure she isn't doing all the grunt work of parenting - the tiring evenings and mornings as opposed to just weekends. Phrase it along those lines. It's true, after all. If she agrees and you establish that as the status quo, you then have two nights every week. You could also suggest you make it Fri pick up to Mon collection on the weekends you do have. That way, you have 5 nights one week and 2 the next, which is actually shared, 50/50 care, but stealthily asked for so she may not realise at first that that's what it in fact is. (But be prepared to negotiate over the Sunday night, especially - a good agreement is a lot more valuable than an angry one, because she's likelier to actually keep to it.) If she agrees now, when things aren't hostile, she will have a hard time arguing against it later - which is also why it needs to be via email.

In the same email I would explain that these days courts like people to use mediation instead, that the mediator listens to both and helps them work out an agreement over the kids that is fair to everyone, and then if both are happy, it gets stamped by a judge and becomes a court order. Would she be willing to attend a mediation session with that in mind, because you think certainty for everyone can only help DS, and help the two of you to move forward as friends and co-parents, blah blah blah? And that when the house is sold you can work out an agreement on the equity, hopefully with the same mediator. I would also take a look at the CSA website to see what you'd have to pay, and then offer a little more if you can possibly, by hook or by crook, afford that, straight away. It puts you in a strong moral position and unless and until in a financial order isn't something she can enforce - if she does go to the CSA they will actually award her less. And it will improve your son's quality of life.

She's been horrible, but the chances are as soon as money is involved she will start to be a lot less generous over contact with your son. Horribly, she is in a massively strong position there and negotiating contact patterns now, when she isn't anticipating you standing up to her over money, is likely to result in a lot better than you will get in a few months from now.

If you have paperwork that proves the loans were used to pay off credit cards in her name, and she's working, then ask the solicitor if they can be deducted from her share of the equity. Same with an income-proportionate (i.e if you earn double what she does, maybe suggest you should be paying 66%) of the bills and mortgage repayments from the point of separation.

I don't think you need to worry about a divorce as you're currently separated anyway and the only way to divorce is via either adultery or unreasonable behaviour, both of which require reasons and both of which will make her angry and hostile. The main thing is an agreed status quo of contact you can rely on later, preferably in the form of a contact schedule and shared residence order. (A sol will explain that that doesn't mean you have to have 50/50 care, it just means the courts recognise the child has two homes.)

Sorry to sound cold and pragmatic. You are in hell and I am so deeply sorry. Her behaviour is horrible. But the priority obviously needs to be protecting your relationship with your son, and then your financial interests, and you are so right in saying you need to play the long game in order to achieve both.

perfectstorm Sat 03-Aug-13 20:37:51

Oh, and I doubt she left the phone out deliberately. It sounds to me as though DarthDad always trusted her completely and would never have looked at her phone/emails etc before, and as she won't like to examine her own behaviour, she won't see any reason for him to do otherwise now. I doubt getting caught out ever crossed her mind.

I think we should be more grateful to facebook and mobiles than people realise. They didn't cause cheating, they just make getting caught a lot easier!

Lazyjaney Sat 03-Aug-13 22:47:14

She seems to have structured the whole separation process very well to her advantage so far OP, and is still probably a few steps ahead of you, especially if she can drag out all these informal agreements that all play to her advantage.

I think you need professional help asap, and you must assume it will get unpleasant when you start wanting your way, and that her family will take her side.

Btw I am surprised at how few of the usually so active posters on this board have come to the OP's aid here.

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