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Young child, ex-husband, long distance relationship and career

(48 Posts)
DilemmaaEmma Tue 13-Nov-12 22:20:22

I want to keep this short so apologies if this comes across a little blunt and to the point but also a little disjointed as I dont want to drip feed.

I have a 5yr old DD and I'm no longer with her father. She spends weeknights and every third weekend with him, and the rest of the weekends (2 out of 3) with me. We also split school holidays 50/50.

I'm also in a long distance relationship and things are going well between us. We've been together just over a year and are now thinking that we'd like to live together. I can't uproot my DD to move nearer him, my exH would never allow it (we're talking about a 4 hour drive sort of distance). So we've been talking about the possibility of him moving here to be with me.

DP and I work in the same industry and where I live there are very, very few jobs. I was lucky to find the one I currently have. Whereas nearer DP career prospects are much much better. I know he's worried that he would effectively be limited to one company (where I work) or else he'd have to take a pay cut or retrain if he moved here.

Just yesterday I was headhunted for a very good job within a very good company, near to where DP works. I know I won't get that job, but it has really made me (and DP) start to think about the future and how things will pan out. I'm still young and I know that if I could move to where the jobs are I could do very well. I do enjoy my current job, but I'm underpaid and there's little scope for moving if my next payrise request is turned down.

The other issue is that I was young when I met my exH and had my daughter (in my teens). He was a little older and very controlling. We moved from where I grew up (where my DP lives and where all the jobs are) to where my exH's family all live. I feel trapped here now that we've split as although I understandably want to be near my DD, all my family are far away and I feel very alone.

I don't know what advice I'm asking for really but I feel very confused with conflicting emotions and very few people to talk this through with. My mother passed away so I can't ask her for advice, although I have a feeling she would want me to make the most of my life and be the best I can be. But whether that means focusing on my DD or my career, I'm not too sure.

Thank you for reading and if anyone has any advice (or just a friendly 'hi') I would be so so grateful.

maleview70 Tue 13-Nov-12 22:49:24

Moving a 5 year old who sees her dad regularly 4 hours away from him is not a great idea in my opinion.

Personally I think that any decent new man would understand the need for your daughter to be close to her father and he would make the sacrifice.

Dont underestimate the effect that taking a child away from a parent can have and also think of how you would feel if the roles were reversed.

It's a devastating blow losing contact with your child when you split never mind having to travel 4 hours to see them. Your dp has nothing to give up other than a job and he can move in with you when he finds the right one. No rush to move in is there?

annh Tue 13-Nov-12 22:59:37

Can you clarify who your dd actually lives with? From your post it seems that she lives with your ex and only spends two weekends out of three with you? Maleview seems to think that you are proposing that your daughter move with you? Is that the case?

HoolioHallio Tue 13-Nov-12 23:00:25

You are perfectly entitled to build a life for yourself and your daughter post divorce. Assuming that every third weekend is still doable and you would do all that you can to facilitate that, the difficulty will be addressing the reduction in mid week contact. It might be worth considering contact every other weekend - with a share of travelling? My kids contact with their dad has reduced significantly since he moved away (complicated by court and SS involvement as well) but they are still maintaining a close relationship with him. There are lots of options for contact using Skpye/Facetime etc.
You really have to balance the quality of life that you and your daughter would have if you move and that includes your ability to support her financially and also function as a human being who has the right not to be trapped living somewhere she doesn't want to be.
Good luck smile

DilemmaaEmma Tue 13-Nov-12 23:18:21

Sorry if my post was confusing, annh you are right she lives with my exH and spends 2 out of 3 weekends with me plus one midweek evening but not overnight. I wanted 50/50 when we split but as he was the main carer at the time and had more flexibility, the court decided the current arrangements were the best option.

I am not considering moving her away with me, it would be futile to even think of it as I know that 1) it wouldn't necessarily be in her best interests as she's settled here, 2) my exH would never let it happen.

I know I'm being selfish even considering it tbh and I should just make do with the life I have here. I am not desperate to move in with my DP, if he lived closer I would happily stay living apart for some time yet, its just the distance that makes things difficult. I also know that I would be having the same thoughts re the career situation whether I was with my DP or not, as I would still feel trapped with the lack of jobs in this area and all my family over the other side of the country.

In reality I know the move would never happen for me, I could just about handle being apart from my daughter but I know it's not fair on her. I do feel like I have never really started living my own life though.

Joiyuk Wed 14-Nov-12 03:18:59

I have to be brutally honest here, so apologies in advance. I could never be separated from my ds, let alone to be 4 hours away from him. It goes against all maternal instincts. Could you DP not move up to you? Don't sacrifice your relationship with your daughter for a relationship with a man. You will never be able to go back on that. I'm sorry, no matter how loved up you are you need to stay close to your daughter.

Lueji Wed 14-Nov-12 06:37:36

Here you have to chose between two long distance relationships.
At least your dp can drive the 4 hours. Your DD can't and you wouldn't expect ex to drive her there or pick her up, because it would have been your choice to move.

I don't think anyone should or can tell you what to do or how to feel. Just perhaps point out aspects that you may have not considered before.

As a long term plan, could you dp look for a job nearer you, with a view to eventually move?

maleview70 Wed 14-Nov-12 06:46:30

Sorry I misunderstood

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 12:19:57

Had a recruiter from another big company contact me today. These jobs are in London and I'm in the IT industry. There really is no comparison career-wise around here. My DP is also being headhunted and I have a strong feeling he will move to one of these big companies.

There may be an option to live half way between the 2 locations, but I would still miss out on a lot of time with DD if I did this. I just don't think I can do it. DP doesn't want to carry on long-distance, he doesn't drive so the journey is actually more like 6 hours than 4.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 13:29:50

I think you have your answer in your last post OP. Your boyfriend saying he doesn't want to carry on long-distance. Whilst this is obviously his perrogative but it doesn't bode well does it?

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 14:04:19

It doesn't bode well. It would be a shame because the relationship itself is good, including between him and dd. I dont want to pressure him to move here if its going to make him unhappy and unfulfilled at work. But equally I don't want to just give up when things are otherwise going well.

OneMoreGo Wed 21-Nov-12 16:13:46

Been there, both in terms of having a child myself and also once dating someone long distance who also had a kid.

Basically in your case, you only have two realistic options sad Your DP needs to move closer to you, or you need to split up. He isn't happy as things are (although you are) and you wouldn't be happy being so far away from your DD so you can't really move as that would just be so distressing for her. Personally in your DP's position I would be delighted to be able to move closer - he in unencumbered by any offspring of his own I take it, so relatively free to do so. If he is unwilling to do this, well, that says it all sadly.

Long distance relationships are a pisser like that and it's worth considering this situation at the beginning (for anyone else reading) before you embark on one.

OneMoreGo Wed 21-Nov-12 16:15:56

I meant to add that I have pretty much resigned myself to living in the area I am now in til DS is 18 or so (he is 4 now) so that he can have access to his Dad. Unemployment is high here but we are in the countryside and near beaches so at least there is that plus. I am the main carer so could technically uproot him and feck off anywhere in the UK but it would kill me to do that as he benefits from having a good relationship with his father.

CremeEggThief Wed 21-Nov-12 16:26:36

Would your XH agree to every weekend or every other weekend, if you did take the job? Could you live halfway between the cities?

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 18:19:15

Thanks for the input OneMoreGo. He doesn't have kids himself so the only practical issue for him is work. But it is a pretty big issue considering he works in the city and the job prospects round here are so pathetic in comparison. I know that if I didn't have dd I would move there in a heartbeat for this very reason.

I had dd very young and worked hard at uni while she was small to get where I am now, so its frustrating to know that I'm sacrificing a lot to be here. I just hope that she isn't still somehow poisoned against me by my exH over the years. He is still very bitter that I had the courage and audacity to leave him when I did.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 18:22:36

CremeEgg - dp has suggested moving halfway between the two locations, but in effect I would still lose some time with dd as I wouldn't be able collect her from school on 'my' days as I currently do. ExH is not going to entertain any discussion over changing contact either. I took him to court to get the amount of contact I currently have as he refused to talk about it or go to mediation.

CremeEggThief Wed 21-Nov-12 18:36:26

Oh that's a shame, OP sad. I really hope you work out the best option for you all. You have some very tough decisions to make. <Hugs>.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 18:40:11

Thanks CremeEgg. Dp is supposed to be coming to stay with me for a few weeks in December and over xmas as he has time off (i'll be working). I know these discussions will really come to a head in Jan tho sad

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 18:53:00

Could you not take him back to court OP? or would that be far too harrowing?

What about if you moved somewhere with easy commutes to London and took him back to court to get every other weekend and half the holidays?

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 20:00:03

ClippedPhoenix I could take him back to court, but there is not much point as I would be effectively asking to reduce contact if I did - I actually have 2 out of every 3 weekends (so exH has 1 in 3), 1 midweek evening and half of all holidays.

I guess my issue is that this level of contact wouldn't actually be physically possible if I moved sad I wouldnt be able to get to the school for 3:30pm like I do now if it involved an hour's journey for example. At the moment I work 20 minutes from the school which makes it possible (with flexi-time). I know people face these sorts of issues every day (and worse of course on this board), but it really does feel like such a mess at the moment and it's hard to see the wood for the trees and work out what's best for everyone.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 20:07:30

It's still early days with the new partner though isn't it dilema.

Half of me says if he's not ready for the longhaul with this then he's not right for you and your child.

The other half of me is saying that its ok for you to progress your career and see your daughter less at the moment.

What I'm sort of saying I guess is in order for you to reach your full potential career wise you would have to move anyway and it's ok to do this, men do it all the time.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 20:28:20

ClippedPhoenix - yes it is early days still, if it wasn't for the distance I would be happy to continue living apart for some time yet but still be together.

Your point that in order to reach my full potential career wise I would have to move anyway is exactly what I was trying to articulate but failing. It's not so much the dilemma of whether to move to be with a man (and I told myself never again after exH!) but more the dilemma of whether to move for my career. I get lots of recruitment emails for jobs I'm qualified for every week but all of them are in London. I could add about 40% onto my salary if I made the move, plus work in the particular field that I love. If I stay, I would be looking at staying at my current company forever (or for the forseeable) or retraining, but neither option lead to anything near my full potential (imo).

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 20:33:35

Well sweetheart not everyone is mother earth and if you feel in all honesty that your child is safe and secure with her dad and very well cared for then it's ok to follow a career path.

Anskabel Wed 21-Nov-12 20:39:20

There's no easy answer here, I don't envy you.

I've been in a situation where my career remained stagnant because of the limited job opportunities in the area and the effect was so demoralising and frustrating because like yourself, I worked so hard to gain my qualifications, wasn't fulfilling my potential, yet couldn't move for a variety of reasons. I spent 40 hours a week bored to tears, had no outlet for my creative energy and subsequently developed depression.

I've also been in a long distance relationship where neither of us drove at the time, so for 2.5 years, 7 hours of our weekends were spent on public transport - ultimately the relationship died because neither of us were able to move because of our situations and both of us were exhausted from the travelling. It was a very sad time for both of us.

I've never been married and don't have any children, so don't feel qualified to comment on the other side of your dilemma, but I do wish you the best of luck - personally I don't think it's as cut and dried as "stick with the DD", but then I don't have kids, do I?

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 20:46:49

At the end of the day your ex is practically the full time carer, you are stuck in limbo if you stay there. Not all mothers (bearers of children) have the lioness instinct, that's not wrong either and if the dad is more qualified in that area then it's ok honey, it really is.

Role swapping where the two parents are happy in what they bring to the childs life at at the end of the day is very allowed in my book.

ImperialBlether Wed 21-Nov-12 20:57:43

It's such a difficult situation. Is there any way you could go for 3/4 weekends instead? Can you see a way (physically) where that could happen? Forget your ex for a moment. Would it be possible for you?

I would hate the idea of having to live somewhere just because that's where an ex chose to live, knowing he could actually choose to live somewhere else and there's not a thing you could do about it.

How was he the main carer when you were at university? Did he work? Does he work now? Do you have to pay maintenance? Is he with someone else now? Sorry to ask so many questions.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 21:03:59

I agree Imperial this is an awful situation where I feel the OP can't win (the wrong word but can't think of another). I feel her life will be wrecked by having to stay in what she's in at the moment even where a child is concerned. The best situation under the circumstances would be for her to go get her career and explain when the child is older.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 21:15:00

Anskabel - I can see why your relationship ultimately died, it is very tough to make it work long-term with that amount of travelling. We've managed well over a year now but we're both feeling the strain. I can understand why DP has pretty much said if neither of us can move we'll have to split.

ImperialBlether I do hate living somewhere just because its where my ex chose to live. In fact when we were together we moved around a fair bit for his work but it was always his decision and being young and dependent on him I felt I had no choice in it. Now even after I'm free from him I still feel like I have no choice.

He wasn't the main carer while I was at uni - it was a mixture of me and nursery. But as soon as I graduated and started working he reluctantly took over due to my hours. He was (and still is) a student himself. He'll need to start working in the next year or so I imagine though. He's still single and fairly bitter towards me. I do pay maintenance every month and he gets all the tax credits etc.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 21:26:35

OP, do you think that your child would be better off with his dad. I'm saying that whilst you're the mother you don't have the maternal tigeress in you that I and most have? That's ok you know. But recognise that in yourself and take the path that will be best for your child in the long run.

DilemmaaEmma Wed 21-Nov-12 22:45:35

ExH was a rubbish partner, but he is mostly a good dad. He fought to restrict my access when we split as he knew it would hurt me, but he also hurt dd in the process. I was always the main carer until I started working, but I must admit I was desperate to feel like I had a life of my own. I think that was partly down to having her when I was so young and being totally isolated from my family. When I think back, my first reaction when I did that pregnancy test was to burst into tears, while his was "wow, I'm gonna be a dad". Not that that really means anything now.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 21-Nov-12 23:52:18

So OP what you're saying is he's a controlling bastard and she's not better off with him then. How old is he and how old are you? You said he's still in uni doing a course. The courts would not give him parental control unless there was another blip in all this that you're not saying. It's not making sense now.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 01:05:38

He was controlling, yes. When I said he hurt dd in the process - one example was that when she missed me he told her that I had left her. Not that I had left him, or some other age-appropriate statement.

I'm mid twenties, he's mid thirties. During the court hearing, the judge openly admitted he was against shared residence (I was asking for 50/50 time) and in his closing statement stated he had debated whether she should reside with me or with him most of the time. In the end the judge chose him, on the basis that it was less disruption for dd sad there were no welfare concerns raised on either side, but I did bring up in my statement how controlling he had been towards me over the years and that he was now using access to my dd to continue the control. Oh he's doing a postgraduate (doctorate) course by the way.

Sorry for the blunt reply but its late and I should really be in bed! smile

ClippedPhoenix Thu 22-Nov-12 01:11:56

So you felt you had to leave the house without your child in order to get away from him? I'm asking this because my sister did the same.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 01:25:39

I wasn't physically scared of him, but he told me in no uncertain terms that I would not be taking his daughter away from him. After years of being so dependent on him I'd finally got the strength to leave. But he still managed to convince me that I would be harming dd to take her, I wouldn't be able to afford to feed her and pay rent and he would fight me through the courts if I did. So I don't know if that counts as being forced or not. It definitely wasn't amicable.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 10:24:12

Also as I had just started my first job and he was the one taking dd to school and collecting, he told me that I wouldnt be able to cope and would lose my job if I took her and had to request flexible working.

I don't have any concerns about her care, just concerns that he may try to turn her against me somehow longterm, especially if she starts to express a wish to live with me. In his words - she is all he's got since I left him.

NicknameTaken Thu 22-Nov-12 11:10:46

I sympathize, because I'm stuck in a place with very limited work prospects so DD (also aged 5) has access to exH. I'm the residential parent, but attempting to move would cause a lot of upheaval and expensive court action. Luckily I do really love where I live, despite the work thing.

Given your ex's spite against you, I think the big risk would be him making use of you moving away to limit your time as much as he can, plus giving spiteful messages to your dd about you choosing your career over her.

Your dd won't be this small for very long. Give it a few years. When she is 10 or 12 she will have much more say in where she lives, and she may be in a position to choose to live with you, and be thrilled at the idea of living in London.

It's hard, but you're still young and you have many more years to build a career than you do to enjoy your dd's childhood.

What helps me is that I am also quietly building up my experience and qualifications on the side. When I am free to go elsewhere, I hope to be an even more attractive prospect to employers.

It's not all or nothing - you might have to turn down opportunities now, but it doesn't mean you'll never get them again.

NicknameTaken Thu 22-Nov-12 11:12:14

Btw, I'm 38, so when you're my age your dd will be 18 or so - there is still lots of career-building time left at this age (or so I hope!)

Inamechangedalright Thu 22-Nov-12 11:31:51

clippedphoenix- you're using really unneccesary, patronising and emotive language. 'sweetheart', 'maternal tigress'. Bollocks to that, we're all women and much of a muchness when it comes to mothering really.

OP, what do you really want? Your daughter or a career? Sorry that you have to choose, it's really shit, but that is unfortunately the situation you've found yourself in for now.

I'm going to be really blunt.

Why has a new man been the catalyst for you wanting to move? I'm sure the job market hasn't changed dramatically or at all recently, so why the sudden urge to move now? Because your new boyfriend wants you to? hmm

In years to come, you run the risk of your daughter blaming you of moving away to be with a boyfriend over her. It sounds like there's every possibility your ex will portray it that way too.

I would give exactly the same advice to a man- stay to be near your children. For now, at least.

And take your ex DP back to court for fairer access arrangements. Stop letting yourself be controlled by men. Don't just give up when it comes to your dd- she needs you to fight for her, because she can't stand up for herself. You can

ClippedPhoenix Thu 22-Nov-12 11:40:05

Sod off Inamechanged, no we aren't all the same where it comes to mothering, sweetheart is not at all partronising neither is maternal tigress unless you want to make them so. alright.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 11:57:51

The new man isn't the catalyst, it was actually the sudden influx of recruitment emails from some very big companies that started me seriously thinking about this. Coupled with the recent redundancy process at my current company and having a payrise request turned down.

NameTaken thank you for taking the time to post. I'm trying to remind myself of the fact that by the time dd is almost grown up I will stil be in my thirties and will be able to move if I need/want to. I don't see myself ever having any more children, although I cant be sure I wouldn't change my mind some day. Dp is fully aware that I feel this way.

DilemmaaEmma Thu 22-Nov-12 12:02:48

Inamechangedalright - unfortunately I can't afford to take him back to court as I'm still in debt from the last time and I was ill from the stress. Representing myself is also not an option I would consider having been through it once WITH representation.

DilemmaaEmma Fri 23-Nov-12 14:33:41

Would I regret it in 5 years if I didn't make the move and missed out on these great opportunities? 5 years is a very long time in this field.

Would I regret it in 5 years if I made the move and my relationship with dd suffered?

I think I can probably answer yes to both sad

NicknameTaken Fri 23-Nov-12 14:41:05

I'm not against mothers pursuing their careers, of course not, but I think in your circumstances, your ex has already demonstrated that he will capitalize on any absence of yours to try to undermine your relationship with your dd. For me, that is too big a risk to take.

I agree that 5 years is a long time in career terms, so if you do stay where you are, can you find ways to keep topping up your skills and stay up-to-date? Is there any half-way solution, any part-time consultancy work you can do that would bring you to London for a day or two per week? Could you teach a night class or do some writing for trade magazines or something along those lines so you can keep polishing your name in your preferred field?

DilemmaaEmma Fri 23-Nov-12 19:37:31

That's what I'm scared of NicknameTaken, he's already shown his true colours and if I moved he would take every possible opportunity to use it against me. If he were on board and supportive, I could keep my 2/3 weekends (albeit with a lot of travel) and skype or phone dd every wednesday instead. Although there would be added complications like school concerts, assemblies and classmates' parties to think about too, if I moved.

On the other hand, the thought of staying here another 6-8 years and the effect it might have on my (fledgling) career makes me feel very down. I know there is a lot more I could do to make a name for myself in the meantime like you said, and I will have to start being more proactive about this stuff.

I wish I could trust my own judgement and decisions but I don't have the confidence to sad

mammadiggingdeep Fri 23-Nov-12 21:30:26

I don't understand. Your ex told your daughter untruths ie "mummy has left you" instead of mummy has left me. You say she was hurt in the split.......and you're considering moving 4 hours away??? I know some women are slightly less maternal than others but I just cannot understand a mother who would even contemplate moving to a different area. Let's flip your situation around. Your the bloke and your ex is the woman, caring for the DD. If the dad had 2 out of 3 weekends, a night in week and 50/50 holidays and then announced he was moving 4 hours away from her......I know what we'd all be calling him!!!!!!!!! Rhymes with shunt!!!

mammadiggingdeep Fri 23-Nov-12 21:33:50

Ps- I'm also a mummy who wants a career again one day. I was at the point if applying for deputy headstone when I had my first dc. 3 years on Iim doing part time teaching, on less money and less responsibility. Once my kids are older I'll hopefully pick it back up again. What I'm saying is, I live with my children but my career is on hold. Yes, you're also stuck in an area you don't want to live in which us a pain but the career thing applies to most mummies in one way or another.

mammadiggingdeep Fri 23-Nov-12 21:34:56

Headstone??? Headship. Jeez I'm tired....bad typing! Sorry

NicknameTaken Mon 26-Nov-12 11:01:47

I don't understand the hostility, mamma. I don't see that women should just placidly accept that having dcs damages their career - there is a structural unfairness that women should be angry about.

The question to ask yourself, OP, is who needs you most - the potential employers or your DD. I think you know the answer. It's bloody unfair, and you're entitled to be angry and frustrated. But don't just sit there and fume. Make out a plan for the next 10 years. Each year, make sure you do at least one thing to make your CV look even better. It feels like forever and forever but it won't be.

And given that you are making a sacrifice to be with your DD, remind yourself to ENJOY your time with her. Don't grit your teeth and wait for it to pass. Enjoy the slower pace, and your weekends pottering with her. Think of you in 15 years time, rushed off your feet with your hectic career, being all nostalgic for the time you spent with your little girl and wishing you could go back for a bit. Pretend you have returned from the future to have this time again.

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