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.

Am I being completely selfish and cruel?

(52 Posts)
sipofwine Mon 12-Nov-12 22:39:14

OK - my DP and I have been round and round in circles for many years trying to sort out our relationship but essentially we are incompatible. I have always felt optimistic that we can sort things out until about a year ago when something snapped inside me. He is incredibly hurtful and cruel in rows, he also has a terrible temper (verbal not physical). There again - I'm sure I'm not easy and he says I am controlling/arrogant/ etc so he certainly doesn't find me 'easy'. Anyway, the point is that I really feel we can't carry on like this. I want to know what people think about whether I'm being totally unfair re: finances/living if and when we do split up.

DP moved in to my house 5 years ago. We have three small children. I have approx £20k savings which we've been chipping in to over the last 18 months whilst I've been a SAHM but we have also spent all his salary on all house and living costs. Essentially we've contributed roughly an equal amount over the past year and a half.

Having seen a solicitor I'm told that he is not entitled to the house (mortgage in my name only) or savings but that i could give him a portion of money to make up for things he's contributed to over the years - nothing big just small furniture etc but then I always earned a lot more than him so he couldn't afford to.

He would want children to live with him 50% of time which I would contest but, ultimately, I do want what's best for the children so I guess I may have to go with that once he is sorted.

SO - basically what I'm asking is - does this sound incredibly selfish and brutal of me to keep house and most of savings for me and children? House has no equity but obviously mortgage has reduced since he has been paying towards our costs. I feel desperate to keep as much of savings as poss as not currently working so need a safety net until get a job.
Thanks for reading.

joblot Mon 12-Nov-12 22:44:11

Sounds reasonable from what you've said, esp as you've done majority of childcare and contributed financially. And I'm scrupulously fair as a rule.

ImperialBlether Mon 12-Nov-12 22:45:40

Sorry, I wouldn't let anyone have my children for 50% of the time. I know I'll get flamed for this but I just couldn't.

sipofwine Mon 12-Nov-12 22:49:11

I know, Imperial, I'm brushing over that as if it's no problem. I am utterly heartbroken at the prospect and absolutely hate the idea - which is what's kept me here for so long. However, I just feel that I don't have the right to stop him in the end - he is the father and an equal parent to me. I'm trying to be logical about it but it's absolutely eating me up inside.

MyLittleFireBird Mon 12-Nov-12 23:35:51

Sorry, I wouldn't let anyone have my children for 50% of the time
So what percentage of your children's relationship with one of their parents would you force them to give up to spare your own feelings? Going to 50% is brutal, I won't lie about that. But I am nearly 40, not a child who is going through a trauma of losing a significant amount of time with their parents. If it hurts me to lose 50% of my time with them, how many more times would it hurt them to lose 60/70/80% of their time with someone who is their world? Sorry, but I couldn't do that to my children.

Teabagtights Mon 12-Nov-12 23:42:02

If you were the man posting you would have got a different response. If I was you I'd give him 10k to start again. He needs a decent home for the children to go to. This isn't about just what you want it's about the kids too,

mrkidd85 Tue 13-Nov-12 00:53:21

I have recently seen a thread about pretty much exactly the same thing but the gender was reversed and people were siding with the woman.

Why can't he see the kids 50% of the time? Is he a bad dad in any way? If not then stop being so selfish.

sonofzod Tue 13-Nov-12 05:01:11

think of it in another way, if the house was in his name and you knew he had 20k stashed away and you were about to seperate would you be happy to not be entitled to any of the savings or house and then refused access to YOUR child for 50% of the time..

what would you expect in his shoes?

TheFallenNinja Tue 13-Nov-12 06:02:37

I think your solicitor may have sold you a kipper, there is a difference between entitlement and claim.

He may get nothing but he may choose to challenge that legally, in court and send all the money to the Solicitors.

Nothing is black and white, everything can be challenged and that doesn't come cheap.

ettiketti Tue 13-Nov-12 06:22:19

My brother has his son 50% of the time. It's what my nephew wanted too been going on for 5 years and works very well.

As for your finances I do think its very mean spirited to send him on.his way with nothing when you've used his money for years to run and upkeep your property, enabling you to stay home with the children. I realise you've dipped into your savings, but it doesn't sound like a huge amount. I'd give him £10k and some furniture if he needed it to help him build a second home to take the children to.

cronullansw Tue 13-Nov-12 06:48:32

So assuming it's a 25 year mortgage, he has solely contributed around 20% of it, and aided you toward savings of 20k.

And he wants access to YOUR children?

How dare the bastard want anything off you Grrr.

You keep everything, send him off with a flea in his ear, go for 100% custody, or at worst, 1 hour supervised visits. After all, something has snapped inside you. Don't worry about the kids, they'll love not seeing him and they'll be just fine being brought up without a father, ignore what all those male orientated reports say to the contrary.

Oh. You've realised I'm being sarcastic have you?

Girl, if this were the other way around, MN would be in uproar about how shockingly behaved he is being toward you. He's lucky you want to leave him IMHO, if he's double lucky, he might find a nice person after this.

Snog Tue 13-Nov-12 06:53:15

If as you say there is no equity in the house then there is nothing to give. However if your dh needs a helping hand financially to rent somewhere eg deposit etc i would definitely give him this so hehas somewhere to live.

ledkr Tue 13-Nov-12 07:03:32

You need to be fairer tbh especially as its a mutual break and he's not cheated or anything. As for the children they are fifty percent his too and in the long run you will be glad. I was a lone parent for years and was glad the times dh had dc.
Don't forget you will need him for child care at some point as well.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 13-Nov-12 07:16:56

"you will need him for child care"??!! How about "he's entitled to be part of their lives and bring them up"?

So essentially you want to keep all the assets and the kids? Poor bloke. I hope he gets his own legal advice as that is not fair by any stretch of the imagination.

Hyperballad Tue 13-Nov-12 07:29:03

Bloody hell Cron! Bit harsh!

I agree with the couple of posters who say 10k as a start up.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 07:32:58

You should keep all of your assets.

I can't believe people are suggesting a SAHM with no job should give her earning partner £10K.

You would be out of your mind to do that.

And as the primary carer there is no reason why you must agree to 50% shared care.

That's not what the children are used to.

Offred Tue 13-Nov-12 07:34:17

I have four children with two men. If we split up I'd happily share care down the middle with dh, I wouldn't even be worried if it worked out he had a little bit more than me, xp is a different matter though. I'm on pins when he has the older two even for 1 hour - it is based on actual fathering. Xp had dc for 1/2 hour once and managed to tell ds about some fight he had with someone in a pub that was meant to be education about being a man... It depends on what the reason for being reluctant to share care is.

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 13-Nov-12 07:34:24

Its very hard about the children....but ultimately I would far rather mine were spending a good amount of time with both parents. It's not something one can say "I couldn't do that" about. It's very important for a child.

OP think about offering him something like 30% of time and think of 40% as being your limit.

The money....he needs to be given about 15k imo.

Offred Tue 13-Nov-12 07:36:32

I don't think I would give him any savings either in this situation actually. With no job how will she live? 20k is only 2 years in a low wage job.

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 13-Nov-12 07:42:49

Good point Offred. If he has no money at all, I would give him a couple of thousand towards setting up in rented accommodation though.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 07:46:28

He has a job. He can save/borrow money to set himself up in his own place.

MoreBeta Tue 13-Nov-12 07:50:00

As he has less earning power than you - could he not try and succesfully argue it would be better for him to stop working to become SAHP and have them 100% of time with you having access? In essence exactly the reverse of what you are arguing for.

Careful what you wish for.

ThereGoesTheYear Tue 13-Nov-12 07:50:58

Over the last 18 months you've been at home with 3 small children and he's been working? Sounds fair. And on top of that you've contributed from your own savings?
How will the new arrangement look? Will he work pt to allow him to have the small DC 50% of the time? And will you do the same? Or will he continue to work ft but have some evenings/overnights and hand the DC back to you when he goes to work?
I'm trying to establish whether you're going to be more e onomically disadvantaged by child-rearing. If so, it makes no sense whatsoever to gift him any of your savings.

AitchDee Tue 13-Nov-12 08:04:43

If over the last 18 months you have contributed roughly the same - him from wages, you from savings - does that mean you started with around 50k in savings? You said he doesn't earn a lot so I am working on the basis of his salary being 20k per year.

I think you are being selfish, and if I were him I'd be getting myself a solicitor pronto. You'll be waving goodbye to 'your' savings pretty sharpest in legal fees I should think.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 08:04:46

"As he has less earning power than you - could he not try and succesfully argue it would be better for him to stop working to become SAHP and have them 100% of time with you having access?"

confused

Argue to whom?

Do you really think the family courts would entertain an argument like that?

They will deal with the status quo, which is that one parent is a SAHM and the other works full time.

The potential earning power of each person is not a matter for them.

And also entirely a matter of conjecture at this point.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 08:07:53

I'm utterly baffled as to why the OP owes him anything.

They didn't marry and combine assets.

He never stopped working to look after the children.

Is the opinion that if you hook up with someone richer than you they have to pay you off to get rid of you?

What has he lost through being in the relationship that he needs to be paid for now?

Hyperballad Tue 13-Nov-12 08:17:08

Yes Athing, I agree with your points.

When I agreed with giving the 10k I had somehow missed she was still a SAHM!

MoreBeta Tue 13-Nov-12 08:24:13

Reverse the situation and look at the question as if the OP was a man in exactly the same situation.

I can bet that the thread would have kicked off and people would be telling him that he was being totally unreasonable and he should be happy to give his house and his savings and a portion of his future income to his female partner while she stayed at home and looked after the children.

sipofwine - you are setting yourself up for an expensive fight and it wil hurt your children. I know several people that very successfully split and shared 50:50 the childcre after their partner moved out.

My advice is go for a mediated settlement and ditch the solicitor. They love to stir up a pitched battle as it means more fees. Agree 50:50 but you stay in the house, go back to work, give your partner some money to set up home fairly close nearby and in return he pays a fair proportion of his salary in maintenence as per what you would get from the CSA.

Why make your partner an enemy and spend a pile of money on a solicitor when you could get something positive out of it yourself as well as for your children?

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 13-Nov-12 08:26:07

She doesn't owe him anything...but a decent human, might for the sake of the peace offer him a small sum to get him into different accommodation with the least upset possible.

I know I would if it were me.....it's in everyones interests that he move out sooner and with as little bother as possible.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 08:33:54

MoreBeta - that's not the reverse confused

The "reverse the genders" saw is always pretty stupid, but here (as so often) it is not a true reverse.

Here's the reverse:

Low earning woman moves into home entirely owned by higher earning man.

They have children using a surrogate, so woman loses no time at work on maternity leave, is never pregnant.

Man gives up job to care for children and uses his savings to pay his share of household costs.

Relationship breaks down and the unemployed man is supposed to gift his working partner half his savings.

For what exactly?

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 08:42:34

Sure, give him his deposit and the furniture he bought.

But don't put yourself in a financially risky position to compensate him for the end of your relationship.

It's entirely unnecessary.

sipofwine Tue 13-Nov-12 09:41:12

Thanks for comments - very varied! I feel like some people have misconstrued what I've said though. Sonofzod and CronullanSW- I'm definitely not refusing him access to his kids. In the past I asked him if he wanted to work part-time and for me to continue full (for financial reasons) and he has never wanted to be a SAHF, even for one day a week. He loves the children dearly but doesn't like having them on his own at weekends and gets annoyed if I have to do some domestic stuff which would involve him having to take them out for an hour or two alone.

I must stress that he does absolutely love them, though, and so as I say, in the end I guess it would be a 50/50 split because they idolize him and I want what's best for them.

I was actually going to post as a man in the same situation as I genuinely wanted to know if people thought that I was being unfair financially with just the facts, not based on me being the 'mother'.

Thanks to most people for what seem to be fair responses. I agree I should give him a portion of the savings -I would never 'send him off' with nothing.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 09:59:30

"He loves the children dearly but doesn't like having them on his own at weekends and gets annoyed if I have to do some domestic stuff which would involve him having to take them out for an hour or two alone."

hmm

But he wants 50-50 shared care?

Sure he does.

There's no way he's threatening that to keep you from asking him to leave.

You have no job and small children. If you must give him a portion of your savings, make sure it's a small one.

AThingInYourLife Tue 13-Nov-12 10:15:31

It's a pretty weird definition of "equal parent" that includes people who don't like being alone with their own children.

sipofwine Tue 13-Nov-12 10:24:38

AThing - I know, I know! TBH if we separated I think he would (and he does actually enjoy being with them, I've probably been a bit unfair there) - he just gets very annoyed with me for having other things to do. I am trying to give a very open view of things here but I do know where you're coming from only too well. I can, on the other hand, understand a father's panic at the thought of his children being 'taken away from him' and his feeling that he doesn't have as much control over the outcome of the separation as the mother. Thank you for your advice, though - it is really hard to explain everything properly without 'outing' myself but basically he can get very, very nasty in rows and the children have seen this. I want out but I want them to feel as secure and loved by both of us as possible.

ThereGoesTheYear Tue 13-Nov-12 10:49:34

In the face of your latest posts, I would advise you to think a bit more carefully. If he can be cruel and nasty, resents spending time alone with his own children, is he asking for 50% care because its the thing that would cause you most pain?
I'm getting a bad feeling about this - more about what you're not saying IYSWIM. Maybe you don't want to say on this thread; if so why don't you NC and ask elsewhere whether his other behaviour is abusive. That would help you see things a bit more clearly.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 13-Nov-12 10:55:54

The 50-50 care is a red herring: he's trying to punish you and prevent you from binning his spiteful arse. How soon before he's being 'very very nasty' to them because they won't obey him or grovel to him?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 13-Nov-12 11:00:21

I think you've had good advice from the solicitor and you were wise to keep the property in your name, not marry this man etc., precisely because it puts you in the driving seat. Can't help thinking that there must have been something that held you back from making that commitment all these years.

I think this comes down to how generous you're feeling really. Legally he's entitled to very little of yours. Legally he's still obliged to provide for his children. What's morally fair rather than legally binding ..... that's a 'how long is a piece of string?' question that you have to work out between you.

sipofwine Tue 13-Nov-12 11:08:45

OK ThereGoes and SolidGold - Yes, I think he is abusive and have done for some years. I also find myself to be at fault because I have had children with him- reasons being the usual - mainly that he is not nasty/angry all the time, obviously - and it is only from MN that I have actually been able to spot a pattern in his behaviour. I thought for a long time that it must be my fault because he clearly dislikes me so much sometimes. ANYHOW - I'm rambling but I didn't want to put all this in my original thread because despite my feelings that he's emotionally abusive and manipulative, I do not want to fleece him financially because he is actually very submissive here and leaves all money matters up to me - to the point where I feel controlling about money and genuinely don't want to (but he does accuse me of this in rows, of course).

He can snap at the children and shout but he really is very affectionate and hands-on with them - he just gets annoyed with me if I leave child-care to him at the weekend (we do do it 50/50 at weekends and he plays with them a lot in the house, just doesn't particularly like me doing my own thing, IFYSWIM, even if that involves cleaning the bloody house!! But he does go along with it and usually takes them to his parents instead when this happens). It is so hard to explain in a post like this - he is NOT abusive to the kids at all - he is a loving father. I sometimes shout but he rises to their tantrums like a child himself, IYKWIM, and I just ignore them and then cuddle when calmed down. I'm not trying to sound perfect - I just do not have an angry temper. He does shout at them sometimes but he is also lovely with them and they love him dearly.

Your man is an abusive cocklodger who to my mind is certainly not above using the children to get back at you. Also such men actively enjoy taking previously seemingly strong and together women like yourself down with them. He cares not a jot for these children if he treats you with such contempt. You seem nice and he is taking you for a ride; he is entitled to zip. Basically what is his is his and what is yours is yours. He also projects i.e it is he who is controlling and arrogant but blames you for him being like that.

If an abusive man was horrid all the time no self respecting woman would want to be with them. They can do nice/nasty very well but its a continuous cycle.

Children love any parent, no matter how shite they actually are. They are perhaps more afraid of him than anything else but they also want your approval re him; they see you with him and how you are around him. He is neither a truly loving father and certainly not a decent partner to you. He goes to his parents with them and doubtless palms them off onto them too.

Think carefully about what you want to teach your children about relationships; both of you are teaching them damaging lessons about relationships. This is not a relationship model really fit for purpose is it?.
Time to end this charade and asap; the children won't thank you ultimately for staying with such a man if you were to choose to. You have a choice re him, they do not.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 13-Nov-12 11:41:48

I'd give him the deposit to rent another property and a few bits of furniture.

I very much doubt he'll go for shared custody.

janelikesjam Tue 13-Nov-12 11:53:37

Personally I don't really get the 50:50 parenting split-thing. I think its confusing and pointless for children to have two homes. I think one parent should have residential care and that doesn't prevent the other parent having a full and active role if thats what they want.

nocakeformeplease Tue 13-Nov-12 14:41:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Tue 13-Nov-12 16:07:45

ALso, don't feel too guilty about leaving him in an adverse financial position. If he hadn't been a shit to you, it wouldn't be happening, after all.

sipofwine Tue 13-Nov-12 19:51:24

Nocake - it is uncanny but our situations are incredibly similar. My DP had a large debt when we met so after he moved in with me I paid off his debt - I had savings at the time and they were just sitting in a building society and he had been paying a stupid amount of interest and was never going to pay it off! He then paid me back in monthly installments at a rate that he felt able to each month. Therefore - he actually hasn't been paying towards the mortgage and our living expenses for more than about 4 years.

I am confused now because comments have been quite far-ranging! I am currently looking for work but obviously this takes time and I guess I feel the money is a security blanket in case I do need to use it for a year or so. However, I will and was always going to give him some of the money.

As with nocake's situation - the mortgage payments are a lot less than an equivalent house's rent would be.

Hmm - I don't know why I'm still posting, really. I have found everyone's responses really helpful and useful (apart from a few where I felt they had completely misunderstood what I was saying and that I was trying to refuse access/not give DP anything. To suggest I've been 'living off his money' is quite far from the truth really....)

MyLittleFireBird Tue 13-Nov-12 20:45:26

Personally I don't really get the 50:50 parenting split-thing. I think its confusing and pointless for children to have two homes. I think one parent should have residential care and that doesn't prevent the other parent having a full and active role if thats what they want.
What is there to not 'get'? Low conflict shared parenting has the best outcomes for children, which is why it's becoming more popular and known about and why it's supported by the courts. Surely it's a no-brainer to decide to do what is shown to best for children if it is possible and practical for that family?

MyLittleFireBird Tue 13-Nov-12 20:48:32

By the way, my last comment was directed specifically to that poster's comment. OP, I don't know whether 50/50 is right for your family, it isn't for everyone, and shared parenting can by different ratios too.

nocakeformeplease Tue 13-Nov-12 20:53:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Tue 13-Nov-12 21:35:54

I don't think you are being selfish at all.
You, not he, is a stay at home mum. He is earning. You are not earning!
With 3 children and a mortgage to pay, you are going to need every penny you have.
Do not let anyone make you feel guilty.

CinnabarRed Wed 14-Nov-12 16:15:09

In your place, I think it would depend in part on whether, all things being equal, I was planning to go back to work in the short, medium or long term (and what my earning ability would be like when I returned to work).

If I were planning to return to work in 6 months time then I would probably want to give him more financially than if I were planning to be at home for the next 5 years. It don't think I would feel comfortable keeping all the savings if I knew I could replace them through my own earnings in a reasonable time frame.

I say this as someone who, when I split with XH (no children), was the higher earner by a decent margin. I offered to give him all of the equity in our house (around £50k) and took on our joint debts (around £30k) - because I wanted him to be able to put down a decent deposit on a house in a good area. The split was my choice and I didn't want his standard of living to drop any more than I could avoid because I wanted out.

sipofwine Wed 14-Nov-12 21:15:07

Thanks everyone for advice.
Nocake, our situations are so similar. We haven't actually had this conversation but have previously had it many times. I feel like a fog has been lifted though as, whereas before I was always asking myself whether I was just being stupid wanting a more happy and stable family life, now I KNOW this is not how it should be.

Like your partner, he just seems so unhappy to be with me and yet won't consider separation. Anyway - we are going to have to separate soon now. The atmosphere is awful and the kids are definitely noticing things. I don't want them to think this is how you should treat those you 'love'. My eldest asked me once, after DP had been shouting at me in front of him, if daddy loved him. I said that of course daddy loves him and his sisters. My little boy looked at me really closely then and said 'but he doesn't love you does he, mummy?' That really upset me that in his young mind he was trying to work out these upsetting and confusing relationships! I feel so incredibly guilty that my children have seen and heard so much anger.

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