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Is this separation too amicable? Am I doing the right thing or being a mug?

(26 Posts)
myownperson Wed 13-Jul-16 13:14:13

We're trying to be really reasonable with each other for DC's benefit.

Realistically, how amicable have people managed to keep things?

DH has been around a fair bit as we've literally just split. Which is good for the kids. So far I have made him breakfast and dinner. He didn't even clear plates. Say thanks etc. I'm trying to do the right thing for DC but dont want to confuse that with being a mug.

In fairness he fixed washing machine but I don't want that sort of help anyway. I want to be independent. (I know how ungrateful that sounds but it really matters)

He's also babysitting for an hour tonight while I see counsellor. So is being helpful.

He's apparently devastated to lose DC but having been here for 2 out of 4 bedtimes wouldn't put youngest to bed because it takes too long. I had an hour of DC2 screaming Get Daddy back. Really sad.

I know he's trying but well, I'm starting to think I'm trying too hard to be accommodating - or do you think it's best to put up to help kids adjust?

I love being by myself but am trying to consider DC. I am having my in-laws today (while DH at work) for continuity for DC as they always come. Not sure I want to do this long term.

I'm so relieved that he's not being really difficult that I can't judge how to manage this.

Partly I don't care much at the moment because I'm happy to be by myself at the end of each day. But I'm starting to wonder if it's confusing for the children or good?

Do I just ride this out until we settle into a routine? (which I can then make sure works for me)

Muddlingalongalone Wed 13-Jul-16 13:31:13

It's hard to say because everyone's circumstances are different.
I think it depends how old the dc are, what the longer term contact plan is, where he's going to be living & reason for separation.
For me ExH moved away & Dd2 was only 4 months old so it was better to let him come to the house when he visits because the children are in their own environment. He visits once a fortnight and they go out for lunch/to the park etc but also play at home.

I think the key is boundaries so that the children have routine & do not get confused but that will depend on their ages.

ravenmum Wed 13-Jul-16 13:38:03

Why wait to set up a routine, rather than sorting one out now? That way you can arrange meetings with the counsellor etc. on days when he is due to look after his children. (What's with the "babysitting"? When you look after them, are you babysitting his children to help him out?)

myownperson Wed 13-Jul-16 14:05:57

Because the children see more of him this way. If I push him for a routine/commitment they wouldn't have seen him this week until the weekend.
And at least this is agreeable. It might not be when we try and set a routine.
No it's not babysitting but I suppose I think if it like that when it inconveniences his work routine.
Off to entertain PIL for now!

RedMapleLeaf Wed 13-Jul-16 15:37:43

His children inconvenience his routine? confused

aginghippy Wed 13-Jul-16 15:49:24

Doesn't sound amicable (meaning characterised by friendliness) sounds like you are doing what he wants and he is doing what he wants. Your needs and desires are being sidelined.

How do you imagine things 'settling' into a routine? How would that happen? Why can't it happen now?

At the very least, stop cooking for him.

mrsbrightside3 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:58:01

I think the early days bit is tough. it can take a while for a routine to settle. From my experience of an amicable divorce (compared of of people who did not split amicably) it can be harder as often its clearer cut when its amicable.

me and my exdh have been split for 4 years, divorced for 2 years. We actually lived together for 4 months separated until my house sale came through (I moved out of marital home. for the first few months after i'd moved out things were very fluid between the two homes, as we wanted the kids to settle. We made sure we both saw them every day for a bit - if anything me and exdh needed to adjust to not seeing them every day - we have a 60(me) 40(him) childcare split.

My exdh helped decorate my new place for me!

Over time we have settled into a routine whereby we are both very accomodating. but its still an on-going thing to navigate.

I don't think me or my exdh would have been accomodating if we begrudged it, which it sounds a little like you are OP. it makes it harder to move on in a way though.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 13-Jul-16 16:07:22

If he's moved out, then you need to get a routine in place. I don't think it's fair on the children to have this weird mix of "Mummy and daddy aren't together anymore but daddy will still come over and do bedtime and have meals here" - it's confusing for them.

You need a contact agreement. Generally this is one midweek night and EOW although it depends on your work patterns and how close he'll be living to you. But it needs to be consistent for the children. He can either take them out to tea/the park/softplay and bring them home, or he can have them overnight and take them to school the next day.

The sad fact is you'll both see your children less if you're not together. If he wants more contact, he needs to change his work hours so that he can do more with them. Contact shouldn't be at your house either - he needs his own place to take them if possible. I think it's too confusing for small children otherwise.

Placeinthesun Wed 13-Jul-16 16:43:24

Me and ex split xmas 2013 but he remained in the family home for another year. That kind of forced us to be amicable.

We are now both happy in new relationships but get along well, he came camping with me for one night last year as it was father's day. We have keys to each others places and the logistics of our childcare split means we see each other briefly most days. He will do things like feed the cats (who remained wth me) if I'm away and helps out with stuff relating to the camper van that we share use of. I've leant him my car when his Gf's was being fixed (she used his), if i have cooked too much I sometimes pass him a tub of food or he will give me half loaves of bread etc if he's going away, last week I got a box of cat food disliked by his Gf's cat!

I now regard him as a good friend and we are in some ways still a family cos of the dc's... We just have other lives as well. We were never a close couple though so perhaps it's easier on us.

We both attend school and sporting events for the kids together sometimes.

It works for us and we hope like hell we're doing the best in the circumstances for our kids. Our split of childcare is roughly 60(me), 40(him )with extras to him in school hols as he's a teacher. It is a constant negotiation and calendar juggle but we have a regular routine.

Do whatever works for you. Good luck.

myownperson Wed 13-Jul-16 16:57:40

I was aiming for more contact for him and DC for the initial period rather than a shock adjustment for DC. But I had wanted this to be carefully planned.

Also EOW and 1 weeknight doesn't sound enough for a meaningful relationship.

I think what we are doing might be confusing for DC though. Might be getting this wrong.

I do sound begrudging rather than amicable dont I? I'm trying though. It's more than I want to see him but it's for DC not me.

We couldn't have any constructive conversations before, he was very pessimistic that he'd never see them, then he suddenly changed. So I'm not quite sure what I'm doing.

I feel bad for DC to stop him coming.

Right now I'm lurking upstairs to avoid PIL in my new house. This is not the plan!

And STBX isn't going to make it home for my counselling. Which isn't that big an issue as I'm feeling really good this week but not ideal.

Going to have to tackle a more formal arrangement.

myownperson Wed 13-Jul-16 17:02:25

Cross post Placeinthesun. That sounds like a fantastic set up. I just don't know if I can do it.

smilingeyes11 Wed 13-Jul-16 17:03:55

I am afraid you are being far too accomodating. Doorstep handovers, he takes them away. EOW and 1 night in the week is normal. Him being in and out of the house really is not the best thing for the children are for you. And do stop cooking for him. It is like you are doing the pick me dance.

myownperson Wed 13-Jul-16 17:09:36

Oh it's really not a pick me dance! I am very very happy to be apart. I'm just trying to make it as best I can for DC. And actually i suppose still feeling a bit of guilt towards him. But I'm not getting this right. 7.15am bacon butties must be confusing everyone blush

Placeinthesun Wed 13-Jul-16 17:17:54

The living together for a year after agreeing to split kind of forced us to be amicable, there were awful times - with pleasant facade for kids - but we survived it.

FWIW they go to him 2 week nights and eow but we both help out wth drop off and pick ups to allow kids to facilitate regular activities and clubs... And save on costs of things like breakfast club. I actually think he spends more time wth the kids and doing stuff with them than he did when I was around as the default parent.

Terrifiedandregretful Wed 13-Jul-16 21:39:43

I agree with you that one weeknight and eow seems way too little to keep a strong bond. Xp and I are newly split and he has dd every weekend Friday to Sunday, but on a Sunday I join them and we all do something together. We often have meals together and share cooking and washing up whichever house we are in. I think it's good for dd to see us getting along and spend time with both of us together. It does make it harder for us to move on though and I don't know how potential new partners would fit into the mix.

smilingeyes11 Wed 13-Jul-16 22:06:03

And the children seeing you together then apart then together - it must be awfully confusing for them too. That won't help them adjust to anything. If you aren't together then you aren't together - the no man's land doesn't really help anyone and tbh I don't think it assuages any misplaced guilt you may have either. He doesn't even seem that grateful for meals at all which is plain entitled and rude. And to refuse to do a bedtime, well that is selfish and entitled too!

myownperson Wed 13-Jul-16 22:18:09

No I am not managing this at all.

Lilacpink40 Wed 13-Jul-16 22:27:48

Firstly sorry this happened to you flowers

I tried this 7 mths and it didn't work within a fortnight. My STBXH thought he'd keep control of the house, coming in to put kids to bed and looking for me to thank him.

WTF thank him as though him doing something with the kids wasn't his responsibility, but that he was being put out?

I think he was hoping I'd be so grateful a 'friends with benefits' friendship would evolve and no other man could enter the house.

Your DC will pick up on confusing signals so no, I don't think this works in the longterm for anyone but your ex who wants to eat his cake and keep it

Lilacpink40 Wed 13-Jul-16 22:29:21

PS. My STBXH cheated with OW, hence I found his controlling behavior after very unbearable.

smilingeyes11 Thu 14-Jul-16 00:14:20

Yup I did the same Lilac - it also utterly wrecks what little self esteem you have left remaining dancing to his tune. Threshold only - no exceptions. He can go and lord and blooming master elsewhere.

SolidGoldBrass Thu 14-Jul-16 00:25:18

It depends quite a bit on why you split up. If he has another partner who isn't yet ready to share a home with him, then he doesn't get to use you as backup/'mum'/housekeeper and do what he likes. If he has been abusive or controlling, you need him out of the house and formal structures in place to keep him at a reasonable distance. If it's genuinely amicable ie the two of you both feel that you don't dislike each other but just don't want to be partners any more, you still need to set some boundaries, but you can thrash them out together.

myownperson Thu 14-Jul-16 11:35:53

Thanks for replies. I did feel very much like I had no control so it probably is unrealistic to have a flexible close co-parenting relationship. Actually it now seems like a nonsense for us to be trying to achieve that.

Ticklethosetoes Thu 14-Jul-16 11:48:30

I think the complications come when theres other people involved, i don't mean affairs i just mean when you both meet someone else.
E.g he might get the hump as theres another man in your house, its also all a bit awkward when your cooking them both bacon butties and ones in their boxers and its not your STBX.
Theres also when he meets someone new and suddenly daddy isn't around as much as she's cooking his bacon butties in the morning. Or worse, your cooking them for her as well!! Im not meaning he will dump his kids for a new girlfriend, but obviously its another pressure on time.

If you both set it out now, yes be amicable, he's going to be in your life for a long time still. But it will make it easier for everyone to know where they stand, including the kids.

Newbienew Thu 14-Jul-16 19:55:07

I think you're being accommodating because you feel guilty about separating and how it affects the children. Routine will come over time. Just remember kids are happy if their parents are happy not if they are just together.

Toddlertoy Thu 14-Jul-16 20:51:09

OP, I'm in a very similar situation: certain about the separation but finding myself being very accommodating due to feeling guilty and wanting the kids to see us getting on - but also caring about him as a person still. Making him meals, clearing up after him and letting him do the bits of parenting that suit him sounds so familiar. It's only at the weekend for us as he (as has always been the case) is never available during the week due to work commitments, so the kids have only ever really seen him at the weekend. I'm telling myself it's a transition and hoping that things will move on when he gets a place big enough to have the kids over. PM me if you'd like to chat about it with someone going through the same thing.

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