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Oh god. Why did I hit send?

(62 Posts)
chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 10:14:58

I've just sent an email to my ex calling him a useless self-interested prat and an utter dick of a non-resident parent.

WHY did I hit send? Usually I'm so considered and just let it roll off me like so much nonsense. He just makes my blood boil sometimes.

He doesn't want to contribute more than £25 for school uniform for a year, because it should all come from a supermarket and I should know how to budget better.

I don't even care about the money, I knew he wouldn't bother. It's just the selfish, pompous crap he spouts all the time about what a brilliant dad he is, but when it comes to anything that you might reasonably expect two parents to discuss, compromise or agree on, he treats me like a bloody servant/idiot/unpaid childminder of no consequence whatsoever.

I could happily never see him again in my life.

Only another 18 years to go sad

Vivacia Wed 10-Jul-13 10:19:48

Oh dear. I wouldn't worry, perhaps it won't do him any harm to read it?

Is there any way you can reduce contact with him? Get some formal arrangements in place for payments? In this situation I would have said, "great, I'll leave it with you to get everything for £25. Thank you".

MadBusLady Wed 10-Jul-13 10:20:40

Urgh, what a twat. brew

No harm in letting off a bit of steam sometimes though.

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 10:27:59

we have a regular contact arrangement and I made a CSA claim, so I guess I should probably not have even bothered asking. In fact, I know I shouldn't have bothered. He thinks he is a bloody saint wrt the kids. We're in the process of getting divorced, finally, and it all just feels shit.

Doesn't help that I am really pissed off with him this week because it's my birthday on Thurs, and while I realise it's not his problem, he's not helped the kids to do anything for me at all. They are too young to do it by themselves. I sorted out a present and card from them for his. It is just another stupid, petty thing that makes me feel like he's making a point - that I'm so inconsequential I don't even merit a card from my kids on my birthday.

He was EA, FA and SA during our marriage so I really am kicking myself for a) giving a flying eff what he does or says and b) giving him any ammunition whatsoever for kicking off.

He's decided to self-represent in our divorce, btw. Too cheap to pay a solicitor. Does anyone know if that's likely to affect things in his favour or not? sad I feel utterly crap today.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 10-Jul-13 10:32:37

One angry e-mail set against a sustained history of emotional, sexual and financial abuse?.... No. Won't go in his favour at all

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 10:41:01

I can't prove the abuse though, so it's a he said/she said situation on that front. I feel like I just handed him something with 'unreasonable vindictive ex-wife' written all over it to illustrate his poor, abused and pushed out ex husband display. So cross with myself.

I just feel wiped out and upset. I wish I could wind forwards the tape and it all be over and done with now. It just exhausts me having to deal with him at all.

Thanks for the replies

He IS a useless self interested prat and an utter dick of a non resident parent.

So you told him that- good for you. You're not wrong. Cheap shoes alone cost £20 so the idea that he's doing you a favour is ridiculous.

At least you don't have to live with the fella, now that would be beyond depressing.

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 10:43:08

grin thanks euphamism that cheered me up!

Upnotdown Wed 10-Jul-13 10:50:21

Maybe come to an arrangement where he buys shoes/lunch bags/PE kit and you get the rest. Can't squabble over pennies then smile

Walks like a dick, talks like a dick...I wouldn't worry about it.

Vivacia Wed 10-Jul-13 11:01:34

It sounds exhausting Choco. What legal advice have you received? Have you considered counselling to support you through the aftermath of the abuse?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 10-Jul-13 11:02:20

"I can't prove the abuse though"

When he said that 25.00 was enough for school uniform for a year was that in an e-mail? To me at least, that would be a little sliver of proof that he was very mean with money and support your case for financial abuse. You never know, he might rise to your angry e-mail and give you a bit more evidence. However, rather than worrying, do talk to your solicitor. I don't think any of this will materially affect the divorce.

If you have a solicitor and he is self repping it won't make a spot of difference to the divorce, it's not something you're going to be ' 'judged' on, like as not it will just go straight through, the Courts aren't interested in making people stay married if they don't want to be.

Honest opinion? (born from a long and protracted divorce and beyond bitter residency battle) who gives a flying fuck about his opinion of you? You certainly shouldn't be giving it headspace, he's done you enough damage already. If he wants to portray himself as a victim that's up to him but he won't earn the respect of anyone, much less his children by doing it instead of getting a grip on his life and his own priorities.

The only difference it makes in Court by the way is that the Judge is likely to overlook slight breaches of etiquette if he makes any, you having a solicitor means that you'll have on the spot legal advice about anything that happens.

oh an euphamism is right, as are you in that he clearly IS a useless self interested prat and an utter dick of a non resident parent.

Thyeternalsummer Wed 10-Jul-13 11:28:02

How old is your kid?

£50 (i.e £25 each) doesn't seem an unreasonably low amount if they're primary school aged and go to a state school.

Probably will need top ups throughout the year to allow for growth spurts, loss, damage etc but you could probably get away with a September outlay of about £60 including Clarks school shoes and supermarket deals on uniform.

Kaluki Wed 10-Jul-13 11:42:04

Our primary school used to insist on regulation jumpers at £10 each and PE kit with the school logo on which was twice the price of supermarket clothes.
If you can do it all for £60 you are lucky.

PostBellumBugsy Wed 10-Jul-13 11:47:30

Sympathy Choco - I have a very similar ex-H. Doesn't do any harm to vent every now and then. Although, don't be surprised to get some sanctimonious email back, saying your irrational email is exactly the reason he finds you so hard to deal with. This completely side swipes the actual issue of him being a useless tight arse and pushes you on the defensive. I've been there so many times, in the 10 years since ex-H bailed out.

£25 is really tight. One pair of proper school shoes is £30+. Even if you do get all their stuff in the value range at a supermarket, you'd struggle to get everything for £25. You might just about be able to get the essential uniform items, but then you've got sports kit and a coat as well. Quite often you have to get the jumper or tie from the school & that comes at a set price.

Please stop preparing stuff for the DCs to give him on his birthday, Christmas or fathers day. They can do it themselves (if they want to) when they are older.

jayho Wed 10-Jul-13 11:58:05

Choco it's my birthday on Thursday too, I won't get anything either, let's celebrate together grin

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 12:05:13

To be honest, I think it's not really about uniform, it's about me having to suffer for my materialism (his opinion is that I am a materialistic grabby woman who can't just make do with whatever the cheapest, crappest thing he can find is. When we were together, these included a broken cot, a car that failed it's MOT for me to drive when out with newborn DS etc etc). So if something could be bought cheaper, he wants to force me to have to choose that one.

Our DS1 is going to a private school this year, the fees (which I can manage) will be entirely up to me as his dad doesn't want anything to do with the costs associated with the school (although before I was able to apply for DS1 to go, he went to see it, had a tour from the head teacher etc and decreed I was 'allowed' to send DS1 there). Even if I get everything from thrift shop it'll be more than his guestimate. I specifically only asked him to contribute to things that would be a cost irrespective of whether DS1 goes to state or private school. I suggested he might like to buy actual items if he doesn't want to give me money, eg shoes.

To be honest, I knew it was a shot in the dark asking him to contribute. It's just bloody exhausting sometimes. I do everything, all the sleepless nights, all the cooking, cleaning, washing, bill paying etc on my own. He has them 2 nights a month and never, ever on his own, always with his gf or mum or sister on hand. But he's a hero if he gets up in the night once blah blah.

So I've had a typical email about how he's not going to contribute anything to school expenses, not even if his salary increases x3, and I shouldn't have asked him because on my head be it that DS1 goes there.

Then he signs off with an extra dose of weird... 'We need to make arrangements in the event of our demise. It would be useful to know who you think should look after the boys if we pop our clogs?'

I mean, wtaf do you even reply to that?

<sighs>

MadBusLady Wed 10-Jul-13 12:09:17

hmm Well, that's half-easy, in the event of his demise doesn't sound like much would change at all.

MadBusLady Wed 10-Jul-13 12:09:40

NB. Don't say that. grin

PoppyField Wed 10-Jul-13 12:12:01

More sympathy from here Choco my EA controlling arse of a STBXH is still moaning about what I spend and continually accusing me of being a lazy, self-centred unfit mother even though he moved abroad a few months ago! The hypocrisy beggars belief, but he still thinks he is a devoted dad. He's turning into a cliche and still being abusive, albeit from a long way away. I picture him sitting a thousand miles away with a very large megaphone trying to call the shots. I would be fine - like you - if I never saw the twat ever again. And yes, mine has also sacked his solicitor and has been stalling over the divorce for two endless, grinding years now. Everytime we have been near an agreement he has opened up a new battle front or moved goalposts or refused to disclose finances. It goes on and on and sometimes I am just so fed up and exhausted by it. It pisses me off because I know that is how he wants me to feel of course.

LizaTarbucksAuntie you are top. I am so glad there are people like you who know what it's like and have come out the other end, coz when you're in it like me and OP, it feels fucking relentless. And I'm pissed off some more that it takes up so much of my headspace, two years down the effing track. I need that headspace for other stuff now! And it is impossible to be reasonable or civilised when you are dealing with someone who refuses to be either. Vent away OP. Do it here. It's healthier. See? I feel better now.

PoppyField Wed 10-Jul-13 12:14:52

Happy Birthday for Thursday OP. Ha ha ha MadBusLady you are very funny.

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 12:17:01

Thank you everyone for your replies - it definitely does make me feel better to vent on here, and I will solemnly promise only to do it here in the future! I would reply to all of you individually but it might get a bit boring, so I'll sum up with yy to sanctimonious reply, and yy to him being a tight arse whose opinion should mean nothing to me.

And jayho yes lets to a MN birthday exchange of wine and thanks tomorrow! x

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 12:17:35

oh, and madbuslady you are absolutely right!! tempting to say it, but I won't! grin

PoppyField Wed 10-Jul-13 12:18:48

Btw - I love the idea that he talks about 'if WE pop our clogs'... like you're ever going to do anything with him ever again... let alone dying.

I think using that 'we' pronoun is pretty cloying. Does he do that a lot...it sort of drags you in mentally. It's all 'you, you, you' when it comes to coping and paying for stuff, but suddenly its 'we' when it comes to dying. Does he want you to get the violin out. Is this his last card? 'Just imagine if I died? Ooh you'd be sad then wouldn't you?' Er, nope!

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 12:20:24

Ugh. yep, sanctimonious reply about how he's capable of keeping his opinion to himself.

Well, he doesn't keep it to himself does he? His disrespect for me shows in every little thing that he does.

I feel like I need a cleansing shower when he comes even slightly near me.

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 12:22:42

he uses 'we' a lot when he's trying to tell me how to behave, and he uses 'we' when he feels the need to tell me what great co-parent's we (him and OW) are when they spend time with the boys. How the two of them are able to agree on all the important decisions such as discipline etc 6 days a month

I wonder how much she agrees with frankly, and how much she accepts because she's 'just' the 'step mum' now, and he's in charge?

GladbagsGold Wed 10-Jul-13 12:23:33

He is clearly unhinged and I don't blame you for telling him.

But much more importantly

winewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewine
thanks HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR TOMORROW thanks
winewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewinewine

PostBellumBugsy Wed 10-Jul-13 12:26:26

PBB ladles out truck loads of sympathy. You could be me Choco! I could have written your posts almost verbatim. Makes my blood boil too. I know that 8 years on from the divorce ex-H is underpaying massively - but just trying to summon the energy to do battle with him again.
Ignore the stupid clog popping thing. Suspect it is an attempt to look involved & caring - but actually another diversionary tactic. He has no intention of doing anything but wants you to sweat buckets sorting it all out.

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 12:28:59

Thank you Gold! and PBB the sympathy is very welcome today. I suspect it's too early to open a bottle of something so I am going to have a sneaky emergency fag breath of fresh air to clear my head

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

SO hard to do isn't it?

ImperialBlether Wed 10-Jul-13 12:37:47

I'd say "I don't think you can get a life assurance policy that would cover you for as little as £25 per year."

Oh and don't do anything for Father's Day, birthday or Christmas for him from now on. He's got a gf (poor sod) - she can organise anything like that.

nickymanchester Wed 10-Jul-13 12:40:36

chocoreturns

''we have a regular contact arrangement and I made a CSA claim''

I'm a bit confused here. Is stbxh paying you the CSA rate? If so, then that is to cover clothes as well.

So, he is paying you the CSA rate and then paying for extra things on top of this and you are complaining about that? hmm

Leaving aside whether the CSA rates are equitable or not - which is a different argument - he appears to be offering you more than he legally has to. If this is the situation, would you mind explaining what the problem is?

bobbywash Wed 10-Jul-13 12:40:59

Just an aside and one for which I expect a flaming, but....

If (and from your post it's an if) he is paying maintenance at an amount assessed by the CSA, then under their crap structure, that is all he is obliged to pay. He may therefore see you asking for more money as your failure to budget. Laughably the money is meant to go towards the childrens living costs, including clothing, uniform etc.

He may just be too thick to realise it costs more than that

flippinada Wed 10-Jul-13 12:59:08

Completely understand where you are coming from choco. That is all. And happy birthday for tomorrow.

As a veteran single parent who has been through the mill, can I just point out that a) twenty five quid is not going to cover school uniform for a year, even if you get everything second hand and b)csa claim doesn't necessarily mean you will get any money?

cls77 Wed 10-Jul-13 13:10:39

Choco - I only arrived here yesterday (and wished I had 11 months ago!) my ex is identical to how yours is behaving. Especially the EA and FA history, and the fact that he always has to have another adult nearby (usually his Gran!) to feel that he is doing his bit. My dd starts secondary in september and her uniform which had to be bought directly from the school last week cost £145 - including PE kit. This doesnt even include shoes, coat, stationary etc, let alone usual costs! I wish I didnt have to ask him for anything at all, but like you I pay for everything and try my bloody hardest!
Have a fab day tomorrow and know that your children love you dearly more than any card could show, and when they are old enough, they will make the most beautiful and amazing pictures, cards and memories that the total arse of an ex couldnt ever come close to!

EldritchCleavage Wed 10-Jul-13 13:26:15

Ok, listen. He is obviously arsewipe supreme.

Judges are more canny than people like him think. The facts: you pay all school fees and expenses. He would not give more than £25 towards it all, an offer later withdrawn.

That shouts verrrryyy loudly to any outsider that he is a mean, petty, selfish shit who lets you do all the hard work of parenting while he blathers.

Print all those emails out now.

nickymanchester Wed 10-Jul-13 13:32:35

I think that you will also have to face the fact that he obviously disagrees with you intending to pay to send DS to a private school.

Budgeting for sending DCs to a private school means being aware that uniforms cost considerably more than in the state sector on average.

Of course, you are quite right to send DS to a fee paying school if you can afford it and want to.

But, I would suggest, that you have chosen to take on all these extra fees yourself and that, then going to stbxh and being annoyed that he only wishes to contribute an extra 25 quid when he doesn't appear to agree with sending DS to a fee paying school anyway does seems a bit much to me.

PoppyField Wed 10-Jul-13 13:54:35

Oh give it a rest nickymanchester - the woman can vent. Of course he disagrees! He disagrees with everything.

This is Mumsnet - not a magistrates' court and, I would suggest, he is an abusive arse. That is the key thing here.

Ah yes, because he didn't chose the school, he can now opt out of all matters to do with it.

Whether its state or private, a school uniform costs more than £50 a year. He just won't contribute because she wants him too.

Keep your head up choco. He is still full of anger and resentment despite everything going his way - funny that!

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 14:33:08

I hear what people are saying about CSA = paying what he is legally due.

That's why I acknowledged that I shouldn't have bothered to ask for more. I do think that there is something wrong with seeing the legal minimum of support that a NRP is obliged to provide for their children as somehow representing exactly what their children need, all of the time, in all circumstances.

I accept that he disagrees with paying for the school, but he is still delighted with our DS going there. As long as I pay for it, which I have agreed to do and accepted 100% is simply the way it's going to be. I guess I made the fatal mistake of thinking he would appreciate something about how hard I'm working to give our kids a decent start, and in some small way he might want to contribute.

There is never going to be anything fair or equitable about the way my family has separated. We aren't ever going to share parenting, or residence or finances wrt our kids. I think my biggest mistake today was forgetting that for long enough to remember how utterly unjust it all feels, resulting in a pretty harsh reminder that this is a 'suck it up' situation.

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive and reminded me that the kids will thanks me later, because I did need reminding and they are worth it. I would work twice as hard to give them a good start - so that's what I'll focus on. Channel my frustration into being even more determined to show them what they mean to me, and stick two fingers up to him in the process!

bloody twunt.

hevak Wed 10-Jul-13 14:48:16

Hello Choco, I've been following your threads. Hope the divorce goes through quickly for you smile

My mum's friend paid for her two girls to go to private school (on a teacher's wage) while her arsehole, abusive, cheated on her and left her for the OW XH claimed he couldn't afford to contribute to the school fees (even though he was a financial planner hmm ) - her bloody XH used to boast to people about the top school his DDs were attending, while omitting the fact that he wasn't paying a penny for it! angry

You can bet everyone else knew that their Mum was paying for it all out of her own pocket possibly because my mother told absolutely everyone about this example of his shitty behaviour even though her friend was too dignified to mention it and now the girls are grown up they have very little to do with their father (who can't understand why his DDs don't dote on their "wonderful" father hmm ) - it will all be okay in the end. You have been a star throughout and your boys will always know it! smile

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 14:59:24

thank you hevak smile

lazarusb Wed 10-Jul-13 17:02:05

Him representing himself won't go in his favour unless he is trained legally. The law is complex and he may find out in court that he doesn't understand it as well as he thinks he does grin Enjoy that!

akaWisey Wed 10-Jul-13 19:44:42

yeah, I had all that kind of thing and more post separation choc.

I just ignore his texts, his emails go straight to the trash can, and I still managed to get divorced and a financial settlement without talking to him unless I wanted to - his wants just weren't important.

Agree with the grubby feeling though - the mere thought makes me want to get the bleach out grin.

GeekLove Wed 10-Jul-13 20:49:29

If he is representing himself then you don't even have to hand him the rope!

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 20:53:35

akaWisey, that sounds great - I will take a leaf!

skyeskyeskye Wed 10-Jul-13 21:11:35

hi Choco.. your Twunt doesn't get any better does he.... and never will... One thing that came out of my counselling was to accept that you cannot change the way that somebody else behaves

i.e. I cannot make my XH see his DD more than once a fortnight, or make him ring once a week.... It is hard, but when you accept that they are never going to change it removes a bit of stress.

My twunt pays around the CSA mark, and he did agree to pay for half of the school uniform, although he did try to backtrack on it.

What I did was to list everything that I bought, all from supermarkets apart from Clarks school shoes. The shoes alone were £32. You may not be able to get any more out of him, but maybe you could list everything that you buy and send him a copy, just for his information, although it probably won't get you anywhere. I emailed my twunt the spreadsheet and he did cough up half of it. I am going to do the same again this year, as he recently cut his money by £10 a week.

Yes you can get it cheap from supermarkets, but when they need 3 or 4 of everything, it does add up. Add to that PE kit, a decent winter coat, winter boots, trainers, wellies, socks, vests, pants etc and it does all soon mount up. I spent £180 on kitting her out with everything for the whole term, all as cheaply as I could. Since then she has grown like hell and I have had to spend more, which I have not asked him for.

as for your Twunt trying to represent himself in court, well he could make a fatal mistake that would cost him thousands, wouldn't that be a shame grin

regarding guardians etc for the DC, I must admit, that I have appointed my cousin as guardian for my DD and asked that XH do the same if I go before him. He said he would consider it, but never got back to me on it. The guardian has no rights as the NRP would presumably have the DC to bring up, but you can appoint a guardian as somebody to consult over things.

Poppyfield - thank you, but you wouldn't say that if you were here right now as 6 years down the line I'm finally facing the prospect of being in Court for maintenance tomorrow morning.

My ex-cocknose is an arsewipe though, he always will be and he has no bloody idea what happens here on a daily basis and I've learnt that until he bothers to find out he doesn't deserve me sweating over his opinion of me.

PoppyField Wed 10-Jul-13 21:33:13

Good luck Liza. Keep on going, be strong, be relentless. He is obviously a total shit and not worthy of licking your boots. You are running uphill. Makes me cross. Stay strong is all you can do.

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 21:37:45

I think you've hit the nail on the head Liza... they don't ask, they don't deserve to know, and we are the ones who are here on a daily basis. I have bent over backwards for a year and a half to include him on a personal daily basis with our children. He's out, he's been out for a long, long time - by his own choice I might add. And now I am over it. Time to accept that the only parent the kids can rely on is me. Anything extra is a bonus for them, and inconsequential for me.

Bang on Choco, and you have the kids, you are the one they want when they are poorly or sad, YOU are the one that can give them the comfort they need. Bollocks to him. YOU are the one being the parent here.

Hope you have a fab birthday, find a way to celebrate your new dawn as part of your day. I'll be thinking of you x

chocoreturns Wed 10-Jul-13 22:27:55

thanks guys - have asked a couple of other single and fabulous mummies to have a picnic with all the kids in the park for lunch tomorrow, so I'll have a mini party with them smile I know they will all get it as well, and we'll have a great day. I am incredibly lucky to have some amazing RL friends too. I'll raise a glass to MN while I'm there! x

Scarletohello Wed 10-Jul-13 22:49:18

Oh choco, he sounds like an entitled, selfish arse. Give me your address and I'lll send you a lovely little b day pressie, sounds like you need a treat after dealing with someone like that..!

laeiou Wed 10-Jul-13 23:18:53

About the card- why not help your DC yourself to make one? Personally I prefer that to one that ex has been involved with.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 10-Jul-13 23:36:51

wine tonight, best wishes for tomorrow. His Twuntship still dicking about, then? You are so well rid.

Allalonenow Thu 11-Jul-13 08:49:16

thanks wine
Sending you best wishes for a Happy Birthday choco hope you have a lovely day!

theoriginalandbestrookie Thu 11-Jul-13 09:04:12

I know it's not the Mumsnet way but - Happy Birthday Choco.

As an aside, DS is at private school and they have a fabulous thrift shop with very low prices - dispatched DH off there last night to restock for next term. May be something similar at your DCs school.

lazarusb Thu 11-Jul-13 09:52:55

Happy Birthday flowers

PoppyField Thu 11-Jul-13 11:10:20

Happy Birthday Choco. And have a lovely picnic.xx

chocoreturns Thu 11-Jul-13 12:56:26

thank you all! We're back a bit early from our picnic due to melting in the midday sun. But it was gorgeous. And my amazing neighbour arrived this morning at 10am with flowers and homemade chocolate cake - which almost made me cry! I really am well rid and I'm feeling very loved and lucky today. We're going to hide inside now for a few hours then I may take the kids swimming to cool down, happy days! And happy birthday to you too jayho!

TheTitleSaysItAllReally Thu 11-Jul-13 13:41:26

Choco I can sympathise (and empathise) more than I'm willing to say on here. Every damn morning I wake up and congratulate myself on getting up the gumption to get him to sling his hook smile

Happy birthday. And to you too jayho thanks

captainmummy Thu 11-Jul-13 13:56:50

Happy Birthday Choco!

And to jayho

flowers

cheeseandpineapple Thu 18-Jul-13 00:31:15

Hi Choco, belated Happy Birthday! Been out of the loop, had to search for your latest thread.

Twunt is still being a Twunt by the looks of things. No change there. You're expecting him to show a glimmer of reasonableness and appreciation. It's impossible for him to do that. He's delusional, a complete sociopathic narcissist and a cheapskate! You've been way up high, in terms of moral high ground, you need to come down from time to time and kick his proverbial arse! Don't make things any easier for him than you need to. I know you try to keep things on an even keel for the boys but sometimes you need to push back and get fired up to make someone back off and realise they need you more than you need them. He needs you. You don't need him. He could drop dead and whilst that would be tough for your boys emotionally because they must love him for being their dad, it would probably make your life a lot easier from a practical perspective. But if something happens to you (touching lots of wood), he's fucked.

It's a horrible morbid subject but have you made a will and arrangements in case something happens to you? Since he's raised it, can you influence him to agree on a guardian if anything happens to you both and get him to put it in his will as that might be in the boys' and your interests? Ultimately neither of you can impose anything on the other so if you think it could get political having the discussion, don't bother addressing with him and just make your own arrangements. Then make a voodoo doll of him and stick pins in it..

You mentioned cards/presents from the kids on your birthday. Not all blokes think of that even if "happily" married. Am surprised at how crap some of them are, kids are more likely to learn about giving if they have a role model. If your children's dad, ex or other won't take on that role then it's something I think mums should actively instil in their kids, particularly for boys to be great future boyfriends/partners at the very least! And I don't mean you encouraging the boys to buy presents for Twunt but they need help buying or making presents for you!

Unfortunately, you can't expect Twunt to help you raise your children as thoughtful, considerate, generous individuals. It's beyond his capability otherwise you wouldn't be in this situation in the first place if he had a shred of decency. Going forward could you enlist the help of your mum and ask her to take the boys shopping to choose gifts for you in future eg for Xmas? You could give her the money and she should tell them what their budget is and let them choose as far as possible, little one may need more direction! It's a good way for them to learn about adding up and budgets. Might also help them get into a ritual which they can keep up for themselves as they get older.

Kids can get so excited about you opening presents which they've chosen or made themselves. As much as we might want a bit of spoiling, it can be lovely for them to go through the preparation stage and get a buzz from it too. I don't think many blokes do this for their wives off their own bat, I've shamelessly had to encourage my lot! But it's paid off, my kids are so excited about what they've given me, really thoughtful simple presents which have made my heart melt.

Straying off course now, dare I ask what happened in the end with TOTGA? Have you been able to maintain the friendship? Anything interesting happening on the personal front generally? I'm being very nosy, feel free to tell me to mind my own beeswax but you've not been updating your blog!

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