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Stay at home dad - no longer at home

(83 Posts)
Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 13:56:14

Not sure what i want from this thread to be honest but am struggling a bit and i think getting it down can be a help in itself.

My husband walked out the day before New Year with no real warning. He says he no longer loves me but thinks I'm great and wants to remain friends. We have two DC; DD who is 3 and DS who turned 1 two days before he left sad I work FT and he was the SAHP - something he says he loves and wants to continue. This is where i am struggling so much.

I know it is me he has left (made that quite clear) but i am finding it so painful to be around him. I am signed off work until mid Feb as can't face returning at the moment so I am home too. He wants to basically pick up where he left off - so being with the children when i work but not living here or being with me. I feel this is unfair but obviously don't want him to not see his children (who adore him). He just gets the fun bit while i do the nights, bath time, bed time, the early mornings on any day off i have... H even had the balls to say 'that's what you get with kids though' when i had a bitch about it!

DS is oblivious of course but DD knows something isn't right and i think this could confuse her even more...

He has stayed with the children since DD was 6 months for which i will be eternally grateful but i think he needs to find some work so he can start to support himself - he is currently staying with MIL, the most passive woman who will just let him stay and do fuck all (her other DS was unemployed for 7 years whilst living with her!) I don't want him to use the kids as an excuse ('couldn't take that job as i was looking after the kids' kind of thing) but think him not working is all part of the problem!

We're going to regular counselling as of Monday but I don't know what i want from that anymore - have gone from desperately wanting him back to enjoying time one on one with my kids and realising how selfish he is being!

Sorry this is long and rambling... I'm just so unsure of everything!

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 14:01:56

"He says he no longer loves me but thinks I'm great and wants to remain friends"

So that's OK then... hmm That statement is what you call 'having your cake and eating it'. Time he got in the real world. You do not walk out on your family and then think everything is going to be tickety-boo and you're all staying big buddies.

Do not let him swan in and out of your home. He's now a 'NRP' (non resident parent) and not an au-pair. You are going to need legal advice because your ex seems to be living in la-la land.

NatashaBee Sat 26-Jan-13 14:05:37

I would definitely get legal advice. What do you both plan to do long term with regards to residency of the children? Since he has been their main carer, he may try and argue that they should live with him, and you should pay maintenance.

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:05:45

I think I would get legal advice fast. If he wants to leave you he needs to set up home himself, with space for the kids. then you each have the kids however much time you two deem is the appropriate split between you. Then maintenance flows from that. You have to sort child care for your days.

I don't think it is ok for him to basically opt out of some of it and not the bits he likes.

Why are you going to counselling if the relationship is over?

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 14:06:23

I don't usually like the 'what if the genders were reversed' arguments put across in some relationships posts, but as my ds also has a SAHD whilst I work f-t I can relate to the situation directly.

So all things being equal, he would be entitled to ask you to leave the family marital home whilst he (the children's primary carer) stayed in it with them. As they are only 3 and 1 childcare costs would prohibit him from being able to do much paid work just yet. You would pay child support (spousal support I think is now very unusual) and he would have to manage his finances.

Instead he has offered an alternative which means you get to continue to live with the children, whilst he comes in daily to care for them in their home. I appreciate that is emotionally difficult but it seems like the best option for your children from what you've described. Yes, it means you have the morning and evening shift - having children for the entire day in between is hardly the 'fun bit', though, unless they just play games and trash the house? - but the alternative is that he does the morning and evenings.

I'm guessing there must be more to the story given you've been signed off work til Feb, but on the face of it what he's proposing doesn't seem that selfish. How would you propose to have the children looked after?

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 14:07:08

Well, in most situations the children would stay with the primary carer (him) and the other parent would move out of the home after a split.

I don't think it would be in the children's best interests for him to get a job and them to go into childcare, would it?

So, what would be the better option - him staying in the family home and you moving out and having access, or him living with his mother but doing childcare when you are at work?

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 26-Jan-13 14:13:51

Take things one step at a time. Remember to breathe.

You have a few weeks to make a start on a plan for moving forward. You're doing well, this buys you that vital breathing space you need.

You talk a lot about him and his set up. He has had the upper hand because he's made his moves. You however, hold as many cards. You are also in a strong position because you're working.

You need to focus on what you want and with him gone how you want your household to run.

Child care and access are obviously things very high up on your list of issues. Does your MIL live near by and is her house a suitable environment for your DC's some of the time in the day or even occasionally overnight?

There are so many ways you could choose to go but if you want him to keep access, he's unlikely to work and provide maintenance and you feel yourDC would be safe at our MIL's then could you treat him like a childminder and drop them off there on your way to work? It would make hand over less intrusive of your home.

Have you ever looked at childcare options in your area?

Have you thought about contacting a solicitor yet?

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 14:13:54

Yes potentially OP should leave but then the DH has to take on financial responsibility for the house, maybe work or on benefits, with the OP paying maintenance for the children depending on the time split. Not the OP moves out and still has to maintain his whole life for him because he is living in a fantasy world.

He has moved out. Get legal advice on that basis. Do not try to work with him or negotiate until you have had legal advice, as he sounds too flighty to be sensible.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 14:19:29

Thanks for the replies... and good to get different view points.

I am signed off so long because it was just so sudden. We were together 9 years and I'm just blindsided at the moment.

Those of you saying about it being a good solution - you are right but it just feels that he gets to just carry on with no real change whilst i have to accept his feelings for me have gone whilst mine are still strong! I also get that he is the main carer but i can't bear the thought of me being out of our home, looking in, when this was all hiatus decision. Maybe I'm the selfish one?

we're going to counselling as originally i wanted to save our marriage and try to restore his feelings but i just don't know anymore (there was a long waiting list which is why we're only just starting now)

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 14:20:00

Really sorry, OP, this is happening to you.

I was wondering half way down your opening post how on earth he was supporting himself, then I saw that he moved back in with his mum. What's the story, there? Sounds pretty immature on the face of it.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 14:40:28

He's very close to his family - all live locally and see each other a lot whereas my parents live abroad and i no longer speak with my DB (incident with DD and his dog).

MIL is lovely but firmly on his side, rightly so as he's her son, but seems to think i have PND (tough first year with DS as he was a bit of a non sleeper!) I went back to work when he was 7 months but continued to do all the night wakings which could be numerous, which just knackered me out. DS better now but haven't caught up and this is not helping.

Sorry if this feels like drip feeding, am just wallowing a bit.

i just wish he could've talked to me rather than leaving... He says he's been unhappy since March sad

arthriticfingers Sat 26-Jan-13 14:46:38

Might be worth asking H if he wants to move OW into the family home or set up a childfree life with OW when their love nest is ready.
Not Sorry to be blunt.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 14:56:10

OW? I don't think he has one.. presume you think he does? I really hope not sad

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 14:56:53

I'm sure you probably realise that the main reason for men to leave a relationship suddenly is someone else?

When parents separate, regardess of who was the primary carer it doesn't help children or the separating couple if both parents continue to care for them in what was the family home. If the separation is permanent, children need to get used to the idea that life has changed, whereas if family life is more or less unaltered (appreciating that the main change here is that he's not there in the evenings) they tend to harbour hopes that their parents will reconcile.

It's also very important to you as the person who has been left, that your home becomes your own private sanctuary that is not open to him coming or going any more.

My sense is that he has met someone else but is waiting to see whether that works out or not before making your split and any changes to family life, more permanent.

I therefore think there is a large bit of this picture that is hidden to you and that you need to bear that in mind before taking any big decisions.

But for now, work with what is in the open domain. He is saying that he wants out of your relationship, but he doesn't want his life to change drastically. His losses are therefore fewer than yours and psychologically, the greatest motivator for change is loss.

I'd hold on the counselling because I don't think he will give up his secrets and while a therapist might be suspicious, he or she can't make him tell the truth.

Instead I would tell him that he needs to get his own place and parent the children in the daytime there, or you will need to work out a new arrangement about work/finances/childcare that does not involve him parenting the children from the family home. Point out that you need to get on with your own single life now that you are separated and that this will require him to parent his children at night and at weekends as well as in the daytime.

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 14:59:03

t just feels that he gets to just carry on with no real change whilst i have to accept his feelings for me have gone

Which, unfortunately, is how it goes when one partner falls out of love. He may have already grieved for the end of the relationship. It sounds as it is irreparable, which is very sad. It also sounds like he hasn't been, and continues not to be, honest about his feelings if he's prepared to go to counselling when he clearly sees no future in it.

However, all that aside, the priority is to find an arrangement that makes family life tolerable for all concerned. Your feelings about your marriage need to be separated from your feelings about him as a co-parent - and of course I do appreciate this is easier said than done! If the counselling could be a safe space for you to talk about how to separate your lives with least impact on your children's wellbeing, that sounds helpful. If it prolongs the agony of uncertainty about the state of your marriage, that probably isn't.

Him coming to the house each day may not be fair but it's probably the least worst solution for now.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 15:02:10

By the way, IME when departing spouses are that specific about a month or date when they first felt unhappy, this usually coincides with a convenient point in time before they started an affair. However, further investigating usually reveals that by that month/date, they had already met the other person and had started to check out of their relationship in order to have an affair.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 15:19:41

I really hope there is no-one else although I guess, looking back, there are a few signs - staying up later than me every night, no matter how late I left it.. being on the internet a LOT, going out for an hour to go to the local shop for a couple of bits...? I put it down to needing a break from looking after two small children as I do realise that the 'day shift' isn't all fun and games!

Re the date - due to his snoring and DS's night wakings, we agreed he'd sleep on the sofa for a while as I was already feeling very sleep deprived and this seemed like a good solution at the time. This is when he said things started to change for him - so I feel guilty that he felt shoved out but I honestly didn't know what else to suggest (DS wake, I feed, take 45 mins to get back to sleep, DS wakes about half hour after that, and on and on) As soon as DS was in his own room, he moved back in but i guess the damage was already done.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 15:24:05

Some really good points about the counselling - I do think he is going just because he thinks he should rather than because he wants to repair things. I am now leaning towards using it as a way to understand what went wrong as I just feel so clueless right now and as a way to help keep things friendly for the children.

We have been to the introductory session which explained how it all works and I do realise it isn't a fix it solution but as he can't seem to talk to me normally, this seems like a good place for him to tell me what he does feel!

It's just so hideous!

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 26-Jan-13 15:29:05

Your poor thing. It must have been an awful shock for you.

When did you notice things starting to change? I'm wondering why he didnt give you the chance to fix things before he walked out? OW maybe sad

tribpot Sat 26-Jan-13 15:29:39

Interesting that he's chosen a date where the 'blame' can accrue to you, then, OP. What you did was perfectly sensible for your circumstances at the time, and not a valid reason to check out of a marriage. But well chosen to give you the 'if only' factor of wondering what would have happened and thus distracting you from the rather obvious signs that something was a bit off, whether an OW or something like online flirting, perhaps.

You're in limbo waiting to try and see if the relationship can be salvaged. But he says he doesn't love you and he walked away. What does he think the counselling is for?

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 15:33:16

Skillbo My ExH lied about the OW even to his own parents for some time after he left. He wanted mediation but but was a sham, it was just to look good.

He met her at work but your H has plenty of time to meet someone online during the day as well as at night.

I think he needs to set up home on his own and then you would be wise to require him to parent his children 50-50 (care and finances) so you can have a life. Life with him (and his mum) currently sounds very flat.

I would get counselling just for yourself, if you would like to. Look after yourself. Good luck smile

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 15:33:46

Puds - I didn't really notice things changing. It's only now, looking back, I wonder at some bits. One of the things I am most angry about is the fact that I had no opportunity to try and salvage things before they got to the point where he felt his only option was to leave. I am not a monster, honestly, and don't think I am that hard to talk to but he obviously thinks I am.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 15:40:55

Get legal advice. His status as SAHD is muddying the waters here. These are very, very young children, he has walked out on the family leaving them behind and he is not offering to look after them at his new premises but to keep popping in and out of your home. How are you meant to move on from this emotionally if your ex is hanging around like a bad smell?

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 16:20:22

Do you have enough money for a deposit for him to move into a rented flat with the children and claim housing benefit and income support? Then maybe you can work out an arrangement for you having them one or two overnights during the week and some time at the weekends.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Sat 26-Jan-13 16:33:19

sad Skillbo, he is obviously an utter wanker if he didn't even give you a chance to fix things.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 16:35:57

Now you've added further detail about the errands in the evenings, staggered bedtimes, sleeping on the sofa and attachment to a laptop, I'd be even more sure of an affair.

If your objective for the counselling is to find out what went wrong, if he's still denying there's someone else I think it will be a waste of time and money, although I agree that counselling for you on your own might be very helpful. When someone is harbouring secrets and telling lies, couples counselling can actually be harmful to the person left behind, because they are left with a false story about how their behaviour eroded the departing spouse's love. This causes people to blame themselves.

If you are going to rebuild your life, it is vital that your exh parents during 'unsocial hours' so that you can get out with friends and possibly meet new people. But he needs to parent from his own home, just as you will be doing in the future.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:00:26

Meant to add, if he has a contract phone tariff, do his bills still come to the house? Or if he does online billing, can you access his account from your own device?

I honestly think that when someone suddenly leaves a relationship with children, giving the partner no chance to work on any (probably imaginary) problems, all the kid gloves should come off, especially if the abandoned spouse is torturing themselves with wondering what they've done wrong and how come they missed the signs of unhappiness. This is why people who leave and keep secret the real reason are incredibly cruel and don't deserve privacy rights any longer.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 17:09:22

Charbon It was the phone bill arriving that finally uncovered my ExH's lies.

He also left unexpectedly.

He also didn't give me a chance to 'fix' things, despite our 2 DCs being very young.

He lied and lied and lied. Probably including to himself, his OW and subsequent GFs. The man's a mess and hardly even sees the DCs now.

I think I was meant to beg him to come back under any circumstances. I didn't. Best call I ever made.

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 17:14:16

Get legal advice because I strongly suspect there is someone else.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:26:08

Yes LineRunner. Thankfully I've now seen so many people liberated from unnecessary angst and self-blaming in these circumstances, by going against their nature and playing detective. There are some really unhelpful messages about 'nice' people not snooping, or that they are degrading themselves by doing so. When someone's mental health is being threatened wondering what the hell has just happened to them, trying to find out as much information as possible is eminently sensible and I've never met anyone yet who has regretted doing so. The sight of a phone bill with hundreds of texts or calls to the same number is a visceral image for many women in this situation and it really does help the necessary anger to come through. It also stops all the wondering, hoping and worse still - pleading. In fairness, the discovery of an affair also sometimes brings things to a head, the affair is ended and a couple can rebuild their marriage. Discovery therefore either fast-tracks the recovery as an individual or as a couple.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 17:27:02

Sam - I certainly don't have the money, I am not in a well paid job particularly and money is a struggle so this would not be an option. I am probably naive but surely if he wants out, it is his responsibility to set himself up? Not sure why this would be my responsiblity?

Our house is in joint names though so am guessing that he could, legally, move back in and make me move out? Am going to call my work assistance as they offer legal advice just so I can get my head round this as am now worrying that he will do this and I will end up without my husband, home and children sad

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 17:29:33

He has a PAYG phone and I have already tried to access his side of the laptop but other than a few wrestling sites, there's nothing in the browser history although I would like to be able to see his FB account.. can't get in there though!

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:32:06

Why, did he keep the password secret to you? Do you still have the laptop?

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 17:36:29

OP, I doubt he could move you out, or would want to move you out, to be the full-time carer and mortgage-payer.

It sounds like you were doing more of the 'shared care' anyway if you were in charge of wifework and childwork all the time you were home, which is a lot more than the hours that you were at work.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 17:36:43

I don't know which is odd.. all my onine accounts, you start to type in my email or whatever and everything automatically slots, so he'd have no problems getting into mine. But then, I have nothing to hide!

And yes, do still have it as I got it through a work scheme and we both used it.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 17:44:38

Depending on your browser, you might have a list on the laptop of saved passwords. Go to the tools menu and have a dig around.

If you co-own the house, he cannot force you to move out any more than you could have forced him to move out.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 17:55:37

BTW.... have you checked your accounts? Does he still have access to family money?

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 26-Jan-13 17:56:41

Financially have you frozen him out of all your accounts,particularly bank accounts?

Have you notified tax credits?

Have you notified your local council you may qualify for a single person council tax discount?

Have you checked the benefit checker to see if you might be entitled to any other assistance?. try turn to us for a quick check

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 18:00:26

You need to think about what situation you want here though OP.

Do you want to stay in the house with the children and he do the childcare while you work?
Or him live with the children and you have some kind of access arrangement? Should he live with them in the family home, or they all move to his mum's, or into another place?
Or you stay in the family home with the children and organise childcare for while you work and the children visit him for contact at his mum's?

It's unusual for children not to stay with the primary carer in the family home after a split so I think you need to consider how this will work. If you don't want to leave, don't want the children to leave, but don't want him to look after them in the family home, then what option have you got left?

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 26-Jan-13 18:08:36

With 168 hours in a week looking after children for the 40ish working hours in a typical week doesn't make him the primary carer.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 18:10:49

OP could still be considered the primary carer if the husband does just the 5 x 8 or 9 hours a week, and she does everything else. He sounds so flaky I'd advise she gets daycare anyway if she is able to go back to work in Feb.

He needs to get a job and a flat.

SamSmalaidh Sat 26-Jan-13 18:11:16

I haven't read anything to suggest that the dad does no childcare outside working hours, other than the OP feeding the baby in the night?

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 18:12:26

There are several other options Sam.

They could co-parent 50-50 from separate homes.

The husband could care for the children during the day from his own place, but still care for the children some evenings and weekdays. It's normal for a woman non-working parent to care for the children most evenings in fact, with her exH seeing the children one or two nights a week and alternate weekends.

The current arrangement where he gets his evenings and weekends free doesn't benefit the OP at all. When is she meant to have a social life?

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 18:13:37

I haven't started to sort out the finances but I think that I will definitely do that. Talking on here has made me realise that even if we were to sort things out (which is looking less and less likely), it is going to take a long time and I need all the help I can get.

And you're right Sam, I think the best choice is to continue as is with him watching the children in the home whilst I work as this is what I can afford, he has offered to do and means the children get a sense of normality back. Can't forget what one earlier poster said (Cogito?) though about children thinking the parents will get back together if we continue to share the family home?

I know he is the primary carer but I can't face the thought of not being in the same house as my children at night and not being there for them when they wake up. DS is only just 1 and still bf and I can't imagine him not having me when he needs me... It's just not something I can even consider! I know it must be this hard for him too but IT WAS HIS CHOICE! I am just not willing to have my children live elsewhere and will fight that forever... which is probably not fair on them but I just cannot bear any other option sad no matter what the practicalities might be... I don't work out of choice, I do it as a neccesity and I don't feel I should be punished for trying to provide for my family by losing them.. I know this is probably unfair but it's how I feel.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 18:15:49

The OP has said:

"i do the nights, bath time, bed time, the early mornings on any day off i have..."

which means it's reasonable to assume that she's caring for the children every night after work and at the weekends too.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 18:18:23

No it was me who said that him caring for them in the family home bewilders children and gives them false hope. It's also an invasion of your privacy and leads to blurred boundaries. I really wouldn't recommend it.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 18:27:51

To be fair (hmm) to him, my husband didn't completely check out when I got home but I pretty much always cooked and didn't stop until the kids were down. I also did all the night wakings but did get lie ins at the weekend - although we normally did one day each even though I left him in bed every morning and he wouldn't come to bed until hours after me...

I am finding thought that the reality of being by myself isn't half as scary as I thought I would be which is one thing I have seen repeated a lot on this topic but is sooooooo true! As hard as this is, spending time with my children despite the circumstances, has been amazing and whatever happens, I think I need to concentrate on my family more. I just need to get through this bit first, I guess.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 18:29:13

My ExH used to come and go at first, as he felt like it. I must have been insane. He'd left us; lied to us; cleverly threatened me; started withdrawing money; and I still felt his access to the house was in the DC's best interests.

He was lying to everyone of course so I had no back-up.

If I could turn the clock back.....

StripiestSocks Sat 26-Jan-13 18:33:29

No, what you feel is not unfair and is natural to feel. You need to grieve but also try to get your practical head on. Seriously, legal advice as soon as possible and in the meantime just do everything you can to care for yourself.

I agree about home boundaries point but I think it can wait til after legal advice, it is common to have a few weeks like this, it is if it continues long term that it muddles the kids, surely? But long term, it needs sorting so clear spaces defined I think.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 18:33:40

Funnily enough my ExH started up with the OW when I said I was wanting to take on a new (better) job, and left when I started it.

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 18:34:48

Yes but by the sounds of things, he's completely checked out of evenings and weekends now hasn't he?

That's not reasonable or fair and while it might be a novelty now, at some point you will need a break to get out and socialise with other adults.

Please listen to the advice about formalising things and getting legal advice. My guess is that your husband has been planning this for a long time and he is not in your corner or thinking of your best interests, or even the best interests of the children.

TalkativeJim Sat 26-Jan-13 18:39:53

Um, from where I'm sitting he doesn't look like the primary carer at all!

You went back to work at 7 months, but still did ALL the night duties? While he was going to be at home the next day, you were the one waking? And still are? And are still bfing at a year? I'm sorry but that fact alone would totally undermine any claim he might have to get you to move out as NRP.

Sounds like he's had a pretty cushy time- SAHD for the 9-5, but the nights, and the rest of the time, you've been primary carer as well as chief cook and bottle washer. So much so that you're knackered, disengaged from him (unsurprisingly) and as a result HE'S decided he's had enough.

Sure he's primary carer hmm

I'd lay bets on there being an OW.

OP, get legal advice and explain that although he does 9-5 childcare you are very much the primary overall carer and in fact are still breast feeding. See what a solicitor thinks. He simply can't argue in the normal way that he's primary carer /SAHP and should therefore have residency, when what that would mean is the REAL pattern of care - night feeding etc - being completely overturned.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 18:44:37

The apologists for this man should know that no court is going to separate a just turned 1yo baby from its mother...

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 18:49:18

Bet you OW is feeding him lines on how to fleece you.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 19:23:53

And thank you to everyone who has posted - it makes such a difference to just get views, even if they open up some unpleasant ideas. I had asked him if there was anyone else and he's denied it but he was with someone when I met him, so I know he has previous here...

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 19:24:20

Does he pay for much?

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 19:27:04

When you met him, how did he end the relationship he was in. Honestly? Honourably? Can you think back and be candid about he behaved. That might give you an insight.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 19:44:40

He doesn't pay for anything other than a few bits for the kids during the week like a drink when out or a magazine - he receives the child benefit money but that's it really. He doesn't have any debt or anything though (I've helped him pay this off)

I guess he might feel a bit trapped... I'm not controlling with money but I don't have a great deal left after bills, rent, food etc so would say we probably have about the same disposable income. Except, I pay for any unexpected costs or for brithday presents or for trips etc so really the CB is just for him.

That sounds dreadful now I've written it down - like he's some sort of 50s housewife. I have always encouraged him to find work though we did agree it would probably need to slot around the DC but he was always keen to do that and if he had found something that didn't, we'd have worked it out. He's been looking for work but am not sure how applied he's been.

I also need to get the CB back, don't I? Not sure how to do that if he's still looking after the children although when I mentioned this to my friend, she said leave him money for day to day bits and pieces but get the lions share back, It would help (DD in pre-school and she goes for a couple more sessions than we get paid for and the CB would cover this!)

And I'm not sure how he ended the other relationship, but it was definitely after we were intimate blush Not very proud of that!

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 26-Jan-13 19:55:15

You just phone child benefit say he's left and you are now the resident parent. I emailed them when ExH left. He was a SAHD and our DS's were 1 and 3. He wanted to be friends. Turned out another women was involved. My mum, an avid daily mail reader, likes to quote 90% of men leave after they've started an intimate relationship with other women.

Have you checked your tax credit situation. You can potentially get upto 70% childcare fees and this could obviously make a big difference.

My MIL isn't local. She is onher DS's side but she's also an aly. Would she enjoy babysitting. So you could have 1 night a fourtnight/ month out?

KitchenandJumble Sat 26-Jan-13 20:22:47

Loads of sympathy to you, OP. You must be absolutely reeling. He left less than a month ago, is that right? I'm impressed you are able to function at all under those circumstances.

I know nothing about the legal side of things in the UK, so bear that in mind. I would absolutely not want the man who had walked out on me to have free access to my home. It would be soul-destroying to come home from work every day to see him there. And as others have said, it could confuse the children if they saw Daddy at home every day, especially if he hung around into the evenings. Much better to make a clean break, especially with children this young. They would easily adapt to the idea of Dad's house/Mom's house. He could continue caring for the children during the day but in his new residence, if that was ageeable to you.

However, now that your family situation has altered so completely, I don't think I would be comfortable supporting him while he looked after the children. I completely disagree with a previous poster who said that it wouldn't be in the best interests of the children to be in paid childcare. If I were in this situation, that is exactly what I would want. I'd arrange for paid childcare of some sort, with the expectation that the (ex-)husband would find employment and eventually help pay for that expense (among other household expenses related to the children). This is no longer the case of a SAHD but of a dad who walked out with no warning. It would make my blood boil to think that I was working all the hours God sends in order to fund his living expenses. He should be supporting himself financially.

Lest anyone accuse me of sexism, this would be exactly my advice if the genders were reversed and the SAH parent were the mother. I'd still advise finding paid employment ASAP.

Good luck to you, OP. It is such a dreadful situation and I wish you all the very best.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 20:31:44

My advice would be the same if the genders were reversed also.

Daddelion Sat 26-Jan-13 21:01:54

I had the child benefit switched to my name.
I had to fill in a form and send it off, my ex had to fill in and sign forms and I think I had to fill in and sign another one after that

This was last year, at the moment as far as the CSA are concerned he's the resident parent.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 22:01:12

OP, you just need to contact the Child Benefit office and explain that your DH has moved out, and explain that he lives at your MIL's address, and ask for the CB to be put in your name.

Then stop this farce of letting him half-live in your home.

Have pm'ed you Skillbo <hugs>

katykuns Sat 26-Jan-13 23:48:29


Skillbo Sun 27-Jan-13 00:21:36

I am so scared he could take my children away from me sad

LineRunner Sun 27-Jan-13 00:24:21

Well he can't, Skillbo.

Be strong and calm, come back tomorrow, and sleep well.

expatinscotland Sun 27-Jan-13 09:53:52

'I am so scared he could take my children away from me'

He can't. He left and is a 9-5 childminder. He left. And when he was there, he was . . . a 9-5 childminder.

Skillbo Sun 27-Jan-13 13:10:52

Thank you - i just got panicky after reading the thread where even though the man was abusive, because he was the primary carer the poster couldn't be guaranteed to keep their son. My husband has never been like that so i just got scared that my babies would be taken... maudlin and mushy, sorry about that!

Skillbo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:35:15

We went to our first counselling session tonight and he admitted he doesn't even want to try and salvage anything - it is completely over in his mind which i think means i need to get completely over it too sad Pretty soul destroying hearing your 'partner' of 9 years saying they don't want to even see if there's even just a small spark remaining!

So I have some time booked in for some legal advice in the morning to find out my status with the house and the children - am pretty worried but i need to know where i stand. I'm also sorting out the child benefit, speaking to the council and the tax credit people... there seems little point in flogging this dead horse and whilst i am devastated, i have to recognise that my life will go on. Just alone for now sad

I think for now, it will be in both our interests for him to continue being the SAHP without living here so i can return to work but i'm not sure this is a realistic long term thing. But for now, and pending legal advice, seems the best option.

I'm still not convinced of an OW but who knows - at least that won't be as much of a shock as it once might have been if it does turn out to be true.

Thank you as always - some good advice here and will always be grateful for the support.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 22:45:19

It might not be an OW as such; it might be looking at dating sites and 'the grass is greener' kind of shit that some people naively get in their minds.

At counselling did you look at you, look you in the eye?

Anyway, glad you are ok and definitely get that legal advice. Glad you have found support on MN and it's always here.

Charbon Mon 28-Jan-13 22:48:29

Hmmm...I bet the therapist was as suspicious as us. Because they know that when a couple has children, they don't just walk out without discussing any problems or attempting counselling unless something else major is going on in the shape of an alternative and secret life.

Go and get some legal advice, but now he has made it crystal clear it's over, aim to make your interactions very businesslike and confined to the children and division of assets. Put up a wall about your private thoughts and your private life from now on - he's lost the right to know them.

This is as you know one of the reasons why I think it's a bad idea that he will continue to treat the family house as his home. I can see no real reason why he can't parent the children from his mum's for now until he gets his own place. Have you thought about speaking to work to see if you could negotiate later starts for a short while in order to drop the children to MILs and he drops them back on your return from work?

Eventually too, please organise a regime where he cares for them some evenings and weekends so that you get a break if you need it - but that can come in slower time. I have to say I think it's no coincidence that he's fixed it so that he's got his evenings and weekends free now.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 22:49:39

Sorry did he look at you (at counselling)

Skillbo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:56:37

The reason for the care to.remain at ours is that DD is at pre-school about 5 minutes walk from here, 3.5 days a week. MIL lives about 45 minutes walk away and H doesn't drive... so it makes little sense to trundle them all that way etc to just come back. i will say that i think on the day DD doesn't go and for when he only has DS that they should go over there but for ease of school run, it just makes more sense - for now!

Good advice about protecting my privacy, feelings wise - i already feel quite vulnerable and raw (and a bit foolish) for saying i would try again after everything so think will just be nice when the DC are around but no more!

Skillbo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:58:18

and linerunner - no, nite really. I think he's just ashamed but whether this is because of lack of feelings or feelings for someone else, i just don't know.

Onwards & upwards!

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 23:39:03

I moved my DS from pre-school to nursery near my work after my EXH walked out. My DS was absolutely fine. It was hard work but I was happier with the flexibility and independence.

Skillbo Fri 01-Feb-13 14:20:31

I know I'm doing the right thing but i just need a bit of support.

I told him about the child benefit today - as in, it now comes to me, and he got quite upset. I explained that as he's no longer here, there isn't any reason for him to have it, it's for the children. He did say he is still there for the children and will now have nothing to spend with them.

I have said i can leave him some money for a few bits but DD is in pre-school 3 and a half days and all the local groups he goes to are free (good old Sure Start!) There will always be food for them and i will cover his monthly bus pass so he can get here but that's all i want to do! It's actually quite a bit of money which i never realised.

I'm not being unfair, am i? He admits he's treated me like shit and so doesn't expect anything from me but for some reason i feel guilty as i know he has NO money! I have suggested he goes to the job centre, not just to find a job but to see if he is entitled to some support.

I just feel like the bad one here - that's not right, is it?

badtime Fri 01-Feb-13 14:38:36

He would now be entitled to income-related benefits, I think. Your income would not be taken into account. All he has to do is sort out his claim.

You are not being unfair and you should not feel guilty.

Skillbo Fri 01-Feb-13 14:46:22

Thank you - i just still feel so responsible which is stupid but he's not a bad man and he's the father or my kids... argh, wish i didn't feel like this sad

badtime Fri 01-Feb-13 14:59:23

I will say, though, if he does claim Jobseekers, he will have to seek a job. That may actually be the best way of sorting stuff out. He should claim Jobseekers, and apply for jobs, and when he gets a job, he would have to stop his SAHP fantasy, but not because you were stopping him.

Remember, he chose to leave. He needs to live in the real world, and that includes dealing with his finances like an adult. Wanting to be a SAHP in his situation makes it seem like he just doesn't want to get a job, like all the other NRPs.

btw, I immediatedly assumed OW too.

Skillbo Fri 01-Feb-13 15:04:05

Not sure if he's able to apply for job seekers as he hasn't been paying NI for the last 3 years, for obvious reasons!

And you're right, his choice and all that. It just feels like he's now my unpaid childminder which seems unfair - but must see past that and keep remembering he left me.

badtime Fri 01-Feb-13 16:30:30

Income-based JSA isn't related to NI contributions.
Also, I thought getting child benefit meant that a SAHP's NI contributions were kept up?

Skillbo Fri 01-Feb-13 18:40:29

Ah ok - and the CB was always in my name, just went to his bank account. I did tell him he needed to change this (and got the forms at least twice) but he never did... hasn't helped himself there at all!

Thanks again - am feeling a bit better about things... Helps when kids don't play up smile

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