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How do I manage my ex wife? Wind up issues..

(17 Posts)
treadpattern Mon 11-Nov-13 16:15:15

My ex and I split up 5 yrs ago. We had 2 DD's now 9 and 11.

The problem is she (in my mind) always takes the piss, manipulates pick up times and drop off times to suit her. She's always late/changes plans and generally only gives me a "this is what I decided" type call, the kind where I am left feeling like its me who objects, has to say no or is causing the problem.

I find it hard to reason with her because of her past record and so am probably defensive from the off, but even after I calm down and try to respond rationally, by email or text or phone call, I start to get wound up as I feel I am pacifying her.

She seems to think we ought to be friends but IME she does this to everyone so I don't see how being friends or not has anything to do with it.

CailinDana Mon 11-Nov-13 16:22:40

Would it help to send her an email saying "I would like us to reach an agreement about regular pick up and drop off times to suit both of us"? Get it in writing and then you have more of a leg to stand on?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Nov-13 16:32:08

Was a contact schedule agreed at the time of the divorce and was it drawn up legally? If not, that could be the route to take now. Manipulative, attention-seeking or bullying behaviour is very wearing. Wanting to be friends is not on the cards. Best to engage purely on a factual level and avoid anything that says 'you are getting to me' as that is precisely the point i.e to make you suffer. Nothing cuts head-fuckery down like the words 'talk to my solicitor'.

Mignonette Mon 11-Nov-13 16:35:05

I agree with Cogito and Cailin.

Keep it in writing, keep it formal and keep a sensible distance. Hard to be 'friends' when somebody isn't acting like one.

OneMoreChap Mon 11-Nov-13 16:52:17

In writing.

All of it.
XW used to change appointments and lie to DS/DD about what I'd said/she said.

In the end, it went to her as open letters, which I let the kids read themselves.

treadpattern Mon 11-Nov-13 16:56:43

Ok so I've just sent a text, in response to 3 very lengthy "lectures" saying, sorry we argued let's move on.

The thing is it's not like I dont get the result I want at times, it's just that she makes me fight for every inch. I can't afford lawyers letters tbh and that seems like very final step.

I wrote her an email last week saying that she is not to phone me and tell me she misses the kids when they are with me, and can I bring them back early, as she is the one that caused the split in the first place.
I have come to really dislike her so I need a coping strategy on how to stay cool, not feel like I'm getting ripped off.

treadpattern Mon 11-Nov-13 16:58:32

A contact schedule was agreed in the Divorce although she is under the impression that the "minimum" is the same as "allocated". She doesn't stop me seeing them it's just constant pissing around.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Nov-13 17:01:00

It's worth spending on a few lawyers' letters than carrying on in the mistaken belief that you can reason with an unreasonable person. She sounds like she wants to believe she can click her fingers and you'll still come running. No more texts.... e-mails that you can print out and keep.

CailinDana Mon 11-Nov-13 17:01:32

She sounds like a chore. You are right about her asking for the children back early. Just ignore texts like that.

treadpattern Mon 11-Nov-13 17:10:45

thanks for the advice, I'm just sat here feeling utterly miserable about it. The last thing I need to to be falling ut with people evern her. She never seems to accept that she does anything wrong just that it's my fault for arguing with her and then has a go at me because "she gave in" but I think she needn't have asked in the first place.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Nov-13 17:38:36

It is miserable. What's even more miserable is that this has gone on for five years already. That's why you have to step back, stop engaging, keep careful records and, if she caries on regardless, pay for someone else to do your arguing on your behalf.

Tell me... have you managed to move on since your divorce? Got a new partner? Has this behaviour escalated coinciding with any positive changes in your life? Or are you still stuck exactly where you were five years ago because you're hamstrung by this behaviour?

MoldieOldNaiceHam Mon 11-Nov-13 17:48:58

Oh god you're really playing the who caused the split card after 5 years?!

What is the contact arrangement? If she looks after them most of the time and you have a weekend a fortnight then I would expect there to be an element of telling you about decisions because she is the one making them. If it is 50/50 then it should be more collaborative.

You don't have to be friends, contact should be agreed and stuck to ideally with a bit of mutual flexibility but if that is not possible then stuck to religiously.

Don't answer you phone on your contact time, keep things in writing where possible and make sure you're whiter than white when it comes to punctuality and behaviour.

Mumbrage Mon 11-Nov-13 17:57:18

Your use of the word 'manage' is ill-chosen I think.

I think it's your own behaviour that you have the power to manage.

My xh is very difficult, very self-pitying, very controlling, but I can't attempt to manage him. It's not possible. All I can do is behave well myself, not react to his petty digs, not let his lack of respect for me upset or affect me. I keep communication to the absolute minimum. The Where. The When. I don't push unimportant stuff just to make a point but I fought him like a fleet of tanks in court

We are so distanced from each other now that he has become like a stranger. That is a result of years of not communicating. It takes work, but there's freedom in it. I have forgiven more than most people will experience in a nightmare.

Mignonette Mon 11-Nov-13 18:00:50

Yes you can manage your reaction to it. Don't get into those discussions. Your answer to her saying she misses them (if you have to give one) "Of course you do. I can understand that, see you at X o clock" End of.

dunfightin Mon 11-Nov-13 18:43:47

Do the factual stuff, try to compartmentalise the bits that get to you, work out whether any changes are for your DDs benefit or for hers. If they are for the DDs then be the bigger person or offer to do what is required i.e. parties, play dates.
No point in endless letters via solicitors, but a mediated conversation may help.
In a couple of years time the DDs will be calling the shots to a greater extent

treadpattern Mon 11-Nov-13 22:23:18

Yes I realise the word manage ought to read "cope with" it just that I "manage" people the whole live long day so force of habit.

Thanks for the advice, I haven't asked on here before as I read other peoples' issues and mine seem quite small in comparison. I've just had a shit time recently and today's repeat engagement really got to me.

passedgo Tue 12-Nov-13 01:16:34

I think she is engaging you in battle, not deliberately, it's just the way she wants your relationship to be. No doubt other posters have told you to disengage. She needs someone to ruffle up. She can't let you go. She needs to do this for all your sakes. I wonder if it's worth pursuing a counselling course for separated parents?

Beware of feeling 'ripped off'. I'm sure you do feel like that, but remember you're not just a spare parent to dds, you are their Dad and vital to the whole family. Learn to let exw's comments wash, be businesslike about arrangements, save email copies and tell her that you have this information if ever a court case is required. She needs to take responsibility for her actions.

Good luck.

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