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XP has got in touch after 2.5 years

(19 Posts)
BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 10:59:31

Since the last time he saw DS. He's sent me a facebook message, just a general "How are you" type thing.

Background info is that we (DS, me and DP) moved abroad about 3 months ago. XP did get in contact about 6 months before this and I explained the situation and we never heard from him again.

We think he's twigged that we're back for Christmas and wants to see DS. DP is vehemently against this as he's worried it will be too much unsettlement for DS in a time which is unsettling for him anyway, with the move etc. He's settling in well but obviously there are some issues with adjusting etc. He doesn't really remember his dad and although we have tried to explain it to him and talk about him he doesn't really understand. The last time he saw him he was 2.5, but the last time he was seeing him regularly was when he was about 2. The last time he saw him DS didn't recognise him at first because it had been 4 months.

DP reckons that if XP wants to see DS then he should build up contact more slowly by writing letters and maybe having a skype conversation first before seeing him in person, I'm just finding it hard to stomach the idea of saying "No, you can't see your son at Christmas even though we will be in the country and probably won't be back for 6-8 months." But then DP has pointed out that if XP wanted to see him at Christmas it doesn't take much for him to figure out that we might be there and have got into contact earlier, not 3 weeks before. He doesn't like the idea that XP only wants to see him to show him off as a trophy to his latest girlfriend, which is probably exactly the reason that he DOES want to see him.

What do you think? I'll obviously make whichever decision I think is best but would appreciate any thoughts on the situation which might help me untangle my feelings about it. We'll be back for about 3 weeks if that makes any difference.

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 09-Dec-13 11:12:35

Hmm, there is obviously a lot of background here, but fwiw I would arrange to see him myself and decide after that meeting what to do next iyswim?

Don't let your current partner make decisions on yours or your sons behalf though. That way madness lies.

Also you say you've not had contact for 2.5 years but then go on to say he contacted you 6 months before you left confused

Also, I don't think the fact he's left it until 3 weeks beforehand is relevant in anyway at all. It's still in advance as opposed to simply turning up and expecting to see him.

Is there literally no contact/maintenance paid/ nothing whatsoever usually?

If so its odd, but he may have decided he would like to rebuild a relationship with his ds and I think your ds would probably prefer you gave him that opportunity (if you asked him and he was old enough to express an opinion.)

There is a lot of supposition in your post, why is that? Does he have form for being a crap parent?

moldingsunbeams Mon 09-Dec-13 11:21:15

To be honest I think this needs to be your decision not your dps and I would be upset with my dp for putting me in a difficult position by putting so much stress into it. I am in a very similar situation in regards to lack of contact.

If this went to court he would get a short visit maybe with you present, short visits unsupervised, longer visit unsupervised, overnight unsupervised providing there is no risk of abuse.

If your ds is older and you are in another country he may even eventually get school holidays.

bestsonever Mon 09-Dec-13 11:25:09

Son's Dad, hopeless case, never paid any maintenance either. I still allow him to see my son though as I see that it's better for his self-esteem in the long run. No matter how annoying or crap they can be, having memories that your Dad cared enough to see you at least sometimes growing up does help children to value themselves. They will realise themselves about the shortcomings of their Dads as they become older. Best not to hide contact wishes.

moldingsunbeams Mon 09-Dec-13 11:28:18

I agree best, my exh is the same but I have always made dd available.
She is nearly 11 now and noticing what a twat he is all on her very own.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 11:30:55

Thanks all, leaning towards what I was thinking. DP would always want me to have the final say, he doesn't think that he can override anything in this area, but I did ask his opinion!

I meant that XP hasn't seen DS for 2.5 years. He contacted me by text about 9 months ago. YY no maintenance, contact, not even letters/photos/phone calls. He is a bit up and down and tends to swing from a disastrous relationship/life crisis/alcoholism to being on top of the world and amazing and everything going great but then it all crashes down again. He's on and off benefits and I never bothered getting the CSA in the end because you have to pay for it now and at the time he had another child and step-child to support and it was estimated I'd get about £1 a week. Really not worth annoying him over.

He has the AWARD for being a crap parent. He was barely involved with DS when we were together and had to be asked to even hold him when we were sitting together at the weekends etc. He had crappy ideas about discipline which involved physically hurting a 10 month old who was "being naughty". He never graduated to seeing DS for more than a 5-hour stretch when we first split up in 18 months of living in that situation. I didn't stop him, he never asked.

He has another child who was taken into care after he split up with the mother and she couldn't care for the children adequately. He actively let this child be adopted rather than care for <the child> himself, even though he knew it would mean that he wouldn't be allowed contact with them until the child is 18.

To be fair and present the positive side, he did always seem fairly warm towards DS when he did want to interact with him but it was always quite awkward and clumsy, like he doesn't know how to interact with children. Which I know if it is the case, that isn't his fault.

I would be supportive of him building up a relationship but I am inclined to agree that it won't last. However he has just said "Thanks for responding" to my message so perhaps he did just want to know how DS is doing and wasn't angling for anything. We'll see. I definitely don't want to hide him from DS or have DS turn around in years to come and say "Why didn't you let me see my real Dad?" - I mean, OK, he might say that anyway but I'd like to know that if he does I haven't actually prevented anything.

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 09-Dec-13 11:32:33

Oh yes, it doesn't take kids long until they just know, does it?

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 11:34:41

DS is 5 so getting to the age where XP could have non-face-to-face contact fairly successfully if he wanted it. He hasn't asked about his dad and doesn't really know how his "dad from when I was a baby" fits into the equation at all really despite talking about it. Maybe we'll have another chat about it today and get out some old pictures to refresh his memory just in case.

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 09-Dec-13 11:40:08

oops, x-post! That was before your response and was to molding smile

I think you should arrange a meeting then tbh. If you are leaving again after 3 weeks - "what harm can it do?" would be my response to my own fears I think.

I know how hard it is, but when all is said and done we can't change our dc's other parent, and as you said, you wouldn't want to be the one that denied him a chance to get to know his 'dad' at some point iyswim?

My dd has her own on/off relationship with her dad these days (she's 13) and she is well aware that he is a useless chump, but she still loves him. I am always here to listen, chat and support as needed. I'm sure she loves me more wink.

Good luck with it all!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 11:44:34

grin

I think I agree. It can't do much harm seeing him once or a couple of times, he wouldn't see him alone, DP is worried that XP might say something to DS to make him want to leave Germany and go back to England and it might confuse him more. I think this is unlikely because I don't think XP DOES want to care for him full time and I would hope he's past the point where he wants to use DS to hurt me. Plus I don't think DS in a million years would want to go and live with, essentially, a stranger over his Mum, he's five years old and still very much needs me there.

cloudskitchen Mon 09-Dec-13 11:57:48

It doesn't sound to me like your XP wants to do more than just check in occasionally. Would it be enough to just meet for a coffee with him and your ds so that he's seen him but in a very neutral environment, and a fairly limited time. Even at a soft play so it's not intense for your son. That might put him off asking ever to see him again grin wink

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 12:05:37

Oh god, last time was at soft play, it was awkward as hell! He brought an entourage of about five people and then spent the time boasting about how drunk he'd been the night before and trying to swing his way oh-so-casually through the entire play structure. I had to follow him and he stunk of BO <boak> You'd never guess he was 30 because he acts like he's still 18.

He hasn't actually asked to see him so perhaps he does just want to check in which is I suppose nice in a way although a bit sad for DS, even if it does mean it's less complicated. If he does ask to see him I think I'll arrange to go for a coffee at his mum's house (DS has a relationship with her) but not for too long.

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 09-Dec-13 12:15:58

Your dps position in ds's affection may be what is troubling him tbh. He might not even realise this himself, but I would think its pretty normal smile

He to will come to realise eventually that your ds will see for himself who is and isn't the most important in his life.

Time really does help with all this. As the years go on you all become more confident and secure with the dynamics, whether his dad has much involvement or not.

I remember agonising over these sorts of emotions when dd was little and it really does all just magically clear up when they start to make their own minds up about things. As long as you are supportive of ds and don't make it difficult for him to make his own mind up about his dad then you won't go far wrong imo.

I think the soft play idea is grrrrrrrreat grin

TheGirlFromIpanema Mon 09-Dec-13 12:17:58

D'oh x-post again (damned work interfering with my mn-ing grin)

Ok forget soft play then shock

Sounds like you juts need to keep on doing what you already are!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 12:26:07

I think if his mum is around he might behave himself a little bit more grin Who knows?!

I think you might be right Ipanema that DP might be feeling a bit worried and potentially jealous even though he knows in himself that DS will be able to see who is really there for him. He's not really used to divorced families and he did worry a lot when we first got together that I secretly wanted to be back with XP so that we could "be a family" which, really, could not have been further from my desires.

cloudskitchen Mon 09-Dec-13 13:03:52

oh dear. Perhaps not the soft olay then confused coffee at his mums sounds like a good plan if he asks. Nicer for your son to.

ALittleStranger Mon 09-Dec-13 13:08:48

It's interesting you say that Bertie. I was concerned reading your OP that it's almost all about your current DP, his feelings, wants and most importantly his assumptions. It's great that you've built a new family and are respectful of your DP's opinions, but you really cannot let him or any unreasonable and incorrect assumptions shape your son's contact with his father. They have a right to see each other, this has no implications for where your son lives (seriously, he is not going to announce he wants to live with daddy), and overtime your son will be able to form his own balanced view of your ex. But you cannot manipulate that by refusing contact.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 16:31:42

Yeah, I do think any fear that DS will be offered to go and live with XP is unfounded, and I think it's unlikely to be unsettling in as much that DS will probably see loads of people he probably doesn't remember that well over Christmas. I don't want to refuse contact, just wasn't sure if I was being really soft and ridiculous by having this view. The assumption that XP will bugger off again is as much mine as DP's, BTW, so that part is not about him. I didn't mean to make it all about him as it's not, it's between me, DS and XP.

ccsays Mon 09-Dec-13 16:55:05

Has he actually asked to see DS at any point? If not, I think your DP raises a lot of good points. There doesn't seem much point in introducing this unpredictable force into DS's life, especially if XP has no actual interest in being there. If he did, I think the idea of building up gradually, rather than chucking 'dad' into his life all of a sudden might be a better idea. If he wants to be there, you should sit down and discuss regular contact with DS, so as to be fair to him.

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