i'm probably being completely unreasonable but i'm SO ANGRY

(25 Posts)
fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 17:13:40

DSD lives here full time. over the years we've had various arrangements regarding contact with mum

few hours on a sat, one night every 3 weeks, once a week - basically, whenever mum wants to see her, she texts, she has DSD.

this usually 24 hours max before.

over half term i had made plans for DSD to go to stay with her granny and grandpa.

DSD mum texts us - telling us she is having DSD on tues overnight of half term. no other date. no movement. 'if I can't have her I won't see her for weeks'.

She has already told DSD that she is having her - so DSD will be let down if she can't go, but it now means all plans are ruined.

She has also said that she wants her this Sunday - we already have a family meal planned.

She will not budge on this.

It is bloody ridiculous. I hate that she swans in whenever she feels like it and we all have to just change our plans. I hate that DH wont put his foot down and make her commit to regular contact so that we can all bloody well make plans.

She constantly lets her down. She doesn't pay. She makes promises she can't and wont keep, but gets to dictate whenever she likes and we all just have to jump to her fucking tune.

And DH bends. everytime.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 15-Oct-13 17:32:43

Who are you angry with - your DH or his ex?
How old is your dsd? Will she be making he own arrangements re contact soon?

I guess you are ranting on here - because you can't actually DO anything about it.
Must be crap for your dsd.
And not much fun for you.

gamerchick Tue 15-Oct-13 17:33:52

Sounds like my ex apart he doesn't promise money .. just laughs when I ask and I don't pander to him.

Unfortunately it's your dude who needs to sort this out as frustrating as it is sad the mother will reap what she has sown with the bairn eventually though. Kids don't forget how they are treated.

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 17:40:17

I'm angry at them both.

I know, I can't do anything. That's part of the problem I guess - I have no power. I do everything for DSD - I am her main carer, and yet I have to lump it and accept that that woman gets to do whatever the fuck she likes, when she likes.

I'm sick of DH being so fucking spineless. If I had my way I wouldn't fucking stand for it.

somersethouse Tue 15-Oct-13 17:44:04

It is dreadful and the mother sounds dreadful. You need to get DH to put something much more 'routine' in place. Have you seen a lawyer...

You sound lovely by the way, you are not BU. Not surprised you are fuming.

ChasingSquirrels Tue 15-Oct-13 17:44:33

I can't say anything constructive - but do feel for you.

LIZS Tue 15-Oct-13 17:45:44

Also you need him to get her to give at least a week's notice. Can she not go to gp's Wednesday onwards ? Who is family dinner with ?

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:02:54

GPs are going away themselves as of Thursday - they were going to have her Sunday to Wednesday - they had day trips planned etc. I know it's only giving her up really a day early but it's the principle isn't it?!

Family dinner is with my parents.

We have asked that she brings her back at 12 - she won't. She would have to get an earlier bus and she isn't prepared to do it.

I agree about the weeks notice - it used to be worse - before I was off on MAT leave and working full time and childcare was a NIGHTMARE, she used to swan in the day before (once all childcare was booked) and ask to have her. It used to drive me nuts.

She is a big fan of the threats to take her back and so DH doesn't want to upset her, even though I've told him that she has no chance - he has had her full time virtually since day 1, she'snever been involved in any meaningful sense and for a while didn't see her at all.

It is just crap. I like to be organised, and I don't like letting people down, but DSD needs to see her mum (repeat repeat repeat)

louby44 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:08:13

Ooo so annoying. How old is your DSD? is there no 'official' access in place?

Could her mum reasonably care for her fulltime or are her threats half hearted and unfeasible.

Your DH must get annoyed by this. I don't think it's unreasonable to have a weeks notice, but they key word here is 'reasonable'

Sympathy coming your way....

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:14:35

I don't think she could reasonably care for her - she has no clothes at her house, no pants, no toothbrush. She is living with the last in a string of boyfriends - and has only recently upgraded from her brothers sofa.

She has not had her since she was 1 and she is now 8.
She doesn't know where her school is since we moved. She has never taken her to the doctors, dentist, never been to parents evening.

She is not a parent, as far as I'm concerned.
She has never paid a penny.

Honestly I think she would be laughed out of court asking for full custody. She has had so many chances to have her more - when we went on honeymoon we asked her to have DSD during the week (she lived round the corner from school at this point) she agreed until the week before we went, then said she was working and couldn't have her.

She is useless.

Oh - and she has a great habit of attempting to claim our child benefit about once a year too.

DH won't do anything about it.

louby44 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:27:33

Oh dear! Doubt she would get full custody then. Can you not take this further and take it to court so that access was more stable?

How does you DSD view the quick change to arrangements? Is she ok with it?

Does she enjoy being with her mum?

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:33:46

She adores her mum. To be honest she wouldn't care about any plans being cancelled, anything, if it meant seeing mummy.

It must be extremely painful for her, never knowing if and when she will see her so she jumps on every opportunity.
At the beginning of the year we didn't see her, hear from her or anything for three months. DSD would phone her and leave messages, nothing. maybe a quick text back a few days later.

DH won't take it to court - he is terrified that they will grant her full custody. To be honest I'm not sure she even actually wants it - it is just something to say, you know? I remember once, in the holidays, she had her for 4 days - she said, 'I couldn't afford to have her more - she's a greedy little pig and she eats me out of house and home'

The woman makes me sick.
But then, at present, so does DH.

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 18:39:38

p.s thanks for the support - I realise I'm am being a grumpy moo and it must be very boring but I'm sick of it and I can't winge in RL as have to be a grown up!!

Aroundtheworldandback Tue 15-Oct-13 19:54:05

Are there actually 'mothers' like this? Sorry that's not helpful at all. I have exactly the same in reverse, whereby my ex calls children at a moment's notice to say he's collecting them for dinner, whether or not I have prepared dinner for them already.

I understand the position of your dh, because my kids also adore and miss their dad and would do anything to see him. He feels guilty that his child has a mother who doesn't care. It really is heartbreaking. Nevertheless, your dh's ex gets away with it because she CAN, and because she can smell your dh's fear. Of course she wont get custody. You can't make her be part of dsd's life though. Does she contact dsd directly? If not, and all arrangements are made via u/dh, I would not even mention to dsd when a visit is planned, in case anything goes wrong so she can't be disappointed. But I would certainly demand more respect from ex of your

Aroundtheworldandback Tue 15-Oct-13 19:56:04

Sorry posted too soon- of your plans, and none of you are gaining anything from letting her get away with it- not even dsd.

purpleroses Tue 15-Oct-13 20:21:05

Do you think you could do anything to help your DP feel more confident that he is the resident parent, and nobody can threaten this? Would a group such as Gingerbread be able to advise him? Or a solicitor even? Seems from what you say that he doesn't have the confidence that he ought to have in his role as the main parent to his DD, and that's one of the reasons he's resisting court, or simply being strict with his ex and saying no. Does he really imagine the courts are that sexist these days to take a child away from the parent (and stepparent) who's cared for her the past 7 years just because he's a man?

The other issue of course is that if he says no to his ex, and insists on a proper rota, she may just flake out altogether and see her DD hardly ever. That's harder to know what to do about as no court order can make her a decent parent. Though on the plus side, if it worked, and his ex realised she needed to get her act together in order to see her DD, that would be good for everyone.

fairy1303 Tue 15-Oct-13 22:06:47

DH and I have just had massive row - he says I'm being completely unreasonable and I need to grow up - we should be thankful that she is seeing DSD and all is 'calm' at present.

He cannot see what the issue is and says his mum wouldn't have agreed to give up some of the time they had planned together if she wasn't ok with it (MIL is very very upset, she phoned me about it but didn't want to deprive DSD of time with her mum as it is rare.)

I am so upset.

catsmother Wed 16-Oct-13 10:39:51

You're definitely not being unreasonable to feel the way you do. While contact with her mum is important, a reasonable person would appreciate that you can't just rock up whenever you feel like it and expect to have your own way regardless of other plans and considerations. A reasonable person would either largely stick to regular contact times - and be prepared to discuss/swap/compromise as appropriate when clashes occur - or, if they couldn't (wouldn't) commit to that then they at least would show some consideration and understand that if you demand contact at very short notice then chances are that you are going to have to alter your expectations as it's highly likely other plans would have been made - like this trip to the grandparents.

And of course, if she was reasonable she'd also be paying child maintenance. It's so common to hear of feckless absent dads, well, what about feckless absent mums like her ?

Fairy, your DH is being completely unreasonable - not you. How he can expect you to feel happy about this situation where you're one of the main carers for this little girl yet have no say in what happens when her mum starts making her demands ? It must impact upon your whole household - emotionally and financially (if for example paid for stuff is cancelled because mum says so) and you must find it impossible to relax never knowing for sure what's going to happen. It's bloody ridiculous and Purpleroses is right - it seems your DH is paralysed with fear of losing custody and therefore rolls over regardless of the impact upon the rest of the family.

What should happen of course, is that all such requests from mum are discussed with you, and anyone else affected, like the grandparents this week and he then goes back to her to say either her proposal is fine (if it genuinely is), or, that it's not - and that she can only have 2 days this time for x reason, but how about she "books" 2 more mutually agreeable days and so on. That's how reasonable people behave. They negotiate, they give and take.

I have to say that I don't think taking her to court would solve anything. I'm pretty sure an absent parent can't be ordered to have contact - court orders are more for absent parents who've been denied contact by the parent with care. So the only way a custody issue would come about would be if she started a case - which sounds very unlikely as it sounds as if she treats her daughter like a dolly to play with when she feels like it - and not as a child for whom she feels a committed responsibility. I can't see, that despite her threats, she'd actually want a child full time - and more to the point, given the history and her pattern of very erratic and spread out contact it's very unlikely a judge would think SD would be better off with her mum. Why would a judge change the status quo after all ? ..... only if they felt SD would be better off elsewhere, and there's no reason for them to think that.

Don't know if you do already but I'd keep a contact diary and list all the times contact has been offered by you - and refused by the mum - and all the times she's demanded contact (note the notice given) and how she's refused to compromise or negotiate one little bit. Note how long it's been between contact requests - would that pattern demonstrate a parent desperate to see their child - no I didn't think so. Note how long passes between the mum calling, texting, or writing to her daughter - again, this should demonstrate just how little she's really bothered. All of this would be additional evidence in support of retaining the current custody arrangement should the mum ever go through with her threats to "take her back".

She sounds an appalling creature but your DH is enabling her behaviour as I'm sure you know. So long as he has reasonable grounds for refusing a last minute contact demand - like the GP trip - and so long as he always shows willing to offer alternative contact then him not always automatically agreeing to her demands would not be held against him. Any sensible person would see exactly who was reasonable and who was not. He wouldn't be stopping his daughter seeing her mum - he'd just be stopping the mum taking the piss and causing chaos.

And why the hell hasn't he put in a CSA claim yet ? ......

.... presumably, he's "scared" of "upsetting" the mum in case she follows through on her threat again. This woman must think he's an absolute doormat and she's well and truly walking all over him. Your DH is actually letting down his daughter by NOT persuing a CSA claim as she's missing the money she's morally and legally entitled to. Money which even if you've managed without so far could either be used to improve SD's standard or living, or, saved for uni etc. His pathetic roll over and die approach to this is making me really angry on your behaldf OP - god knows how you must feel having to live with this.

Purpleroses makes a very good suggestion about maybe speaking to Gingerbread or similar. There are obviously other dads who are the resident parent and some of them must have encountered similar problems and threats from a crap mother. Another man who's experienced something similar might be able to persuade him that he should have far far more confidence in his role as parent with care, and that for the sake of his daughter, let alone his marriage, he needs to do the right thing and stand up to the ex - which means not letting her take advantage of his whole family, AND, making the bitch (I'm sorry but she is if she's never paid a penny for her child) start supporting her daughter properly.

I actually think he owes you a huge apology. Whether you'll get it or not I don't know but there's no justification for what he said at all. Maybe if MIL was truthful with him and admitted stuff like this really upsets her it might also hit a nerve. Perhaps couples counselling might also be something to consider - issues like this aren't black and white and they can severely affect your relationship if you feel your opinions don't matter, if you feel your DH favours his ex over you, if you feel your DH is being selfish by protecting his own interests (for want of a better phrase) regardless of the impact upon the whole household and even though in reality his fears are pretty groundless, if you feel you have no control over your own home/family and so on. Stuff like that can cause huge resentment because it makes you feel bottom of the pecking order and it's so terribly frustrating to see your partner condoning something which is so obviously unjust again and again and again.

So sorry he's being so blinkered and unfair OP. He needs a huge kick up the backside IMO, and he's not doing his daughter any favours at all by allowing the ex to be so flaky. If he started to call her on her arrogance and selfishness, started to show some assertiveness, then maybe the ex might click she's got to get her act together. SD never knowing when she's going to see her mum must cause a huge amount of anxiety and while, as I said before, you can't force her to maintain a regular contact pattern, DH should at least be trying to improve the current situation - by appealing to her better nature however futile that might seem, or at least by not allowing her to waft in and out as she pleases. If though, this woman is never going to change - which is tragic for SD and sooner or later she'll start to realise the real measure of her mum - then he must stop agreeing to stuff if and when it has negative knock on effects.

I don't know how you've stood this all these years TBH. Being "grown up" does NOT mean you have to put up and shut up when things are blatantly unfair. I'd insist he must attend some sort of counselling with you if he values your marriage and I'd also be insisting that he starts properly looking into custody issues etc before using that as an excuse to let ex do whatever she wants every single time. It's not fair to keep throwing that one out at you when you object to him rolling over - it's effectively emotionally blackmailing you ..... as in, if you push him, he'll lose his daughter and that'll be your fault. I really do think his fears are ungrounded.

fairy1303 Thu 17-Oct-13 08:43:42

She has just said she wants Christmas. If we don't give her Christmas she will 'kick off'.

This is the first Christmas in our new house, with DS. DSD was looking forward to it.

Maybe this will give DH the kick up the bum he needs?!

gamerchick Thu 17-Oct-13 09:38:43

Has anybody asked the bairn what she wants to do? She's 8 her feelings in the matter can be counted.

BurberryQ Thu 17-Oct-13 09:43:12

take her to CSA and put a proper access timetable in place, if this was an absent dad......what would people be saying then?

catsmother Thu 17-Oct-13 12:13:55

Thing is, I don't think you can get a court ordered schedule of contact set up when it's the non resident parent messing about with either intermittent contact (or none at all). In other words I'm pretty sure an NRP can't be forced to see a child more, and/or at set times. I think court orders are only granted when it's the NRP being denied contact with the child by the resident parent - and then it's the resident parent who's ordered to "relinquish" the child so to speak.

So - in a situation like this, the RP has to depend on the goodwill, responsibility and co-operation of the NRP .... and this woman seems to be lacking all of that. Obviously, ideas about a contact schedule so everyone - including the child - knows where they stand can be put to her and negotiated but that's not going to work when one of the parties is so firmly entrenched in selfishness and irresponsibility (though of course it's perfectly possible to negotiate - and stick to - a fair contact schedule when both parties are honest, fair and truly have the best interests of the child at heart).

Unless this woman suddenly sees the light about real parental responsibility there really is unfortunately very little you can do to bring about a timetable which is fair and can be relied upon (barring unforeseen emergencies). What the DH should be doing however is protecting his wife and child as much as possible from any demands which are disruptive to previously made plans - which means saying no when the ex's ideas are too short notice, and suggesting alternative dates instead. In short, not letting her call all the shots and walk over everyone.

That is what he should be doing about Christmas. I'd never say that a non-resident parent should be denied ever seeing their child(ren) at Christmas (have seen 1st hand how upsetting that is year after year for my partner whose ex simply won't negotiate) but again, it shouldn't be the same parent calling the shots all the time. It'd be perfectly reasonable to suggest some contact time over the Christmas period, but given her past attitude, this really should be when it's largely convenient for you - and to be absolutely fair, suggest taking it in turns for the day itself so she can spend it with SD next year if she wants, and maybe say she can "have" Boxing Day this year or whatever.

So what if she "kicks off". What does that mean in reality ? .... her making a load of noise about taking SD back ? As already discussed, I'd be incredulous if a judge agreed SD should go back full time to a mother who's never supported her financially, and who has gone months without seeing her for no good reason whatsoever. There's nothing in 7 years of her being a so-called mother to suggest she could offer SD a stable and secure home with a parent she could depend upon. Why has she been so flaky all this time ? ....... presumably, because she has stuff she'd prefer to be doing rather than spending time with her daughter, like her social life. She's not going to want to give up whatever "lifestyle" she's leading is she ? Judges aren't stupid (all the time) - they'd see through any custody claim (if it got as far as court) as pure spite.

Your DH really needs to stop this now by being assertive. So long as he shows himself to be fair and willing to negotiate contact he has nothing to fear. And he certainly should get on to the CSA straight away - he's complicit in effectively short changing his daughter if he doesn't - that's not a comment on how well he/you provide for her, but about both her parents doing the right thing. The mother shouldn't be allowed to absolve herself of her financial responsibility.

fairy1303 Thu 17-Oct-13 15:43:32

DSD has told her mum she wants to spend christmas with her, and us she wants to spend it at home.
I think that's natural though.

DH has suggested she picks her up at 3pm on xmas day, has her overnight and brings her back the day after boxing day.

She says absolutely no fucking way, she is having her fucking child for xmas eve whether we like it or not.

What I don't understand is, why not have this attitude for the rest of the year? Of course, I understand that she wants christmas with her child, but why that one day, when the other 364 she does fuck all???

she did have her overnight on her birthday morning this year, and bought her back two hours late...
So DH is saying he is sticking to his guns over this.

catsmother Thu 17-Oct-13 16:02:15

Well, that's a start. What he's suggested isn't at all unreasonable - with both parents having SD for a decent part of Xmas Day.

*" ...... she is having her fucking child for xmas eve whether we like it or not.

What I don't understand is, why not have this attitude for the rest of the year? Of course, I understand that she wants christmas with her child, but why that one day, when the other 364 she does fuck all???"*

How absolutely charming she sounds - NOT.

I bet you anything that having her on Xmas Day is more to do about either putting on a show of what a wonderful mother she is to other people (maybe her family?) or, she's doing it to be spiteful and to upset your DH. Or both. That might sound very hard and cynical, and if a normal, and committed NRP was asking to see their child on Xmas Day I wouldn't question it as it's perfectly understandable. But in this case ...... naawwwww ....... don't buy it. If she's capable of ignoring her own small child for months on end when it suits her I agree that Xmas Day doesn't suddenly make her mother of the year. It really does seem as if she views SD as a possession - her "fucking" child indeed - who she "plays" with when the fancy takes her.

I really hope your DH does stick to his guns over this - if he's already said no, then he'd look very foolish if he then gives in and that bitch will think she can get away with anything. It is of course entirely natural that SD wants to please both her parents - she must feel pulled in two - and if her mother does regard her as some sort of possession (which she surely does) then chances are she's also more likely the sort of person who wouldn't hesitate to pressurise SD, and/or worry her by saying mummy will be upset etc if she doesn't see her for all of Xmas Day.

MrsTomHardy Sat 19-Oct-13 11:25:03

Oh she sounds lovely, the ex!!

I know these things are easier said than done but I would go down the Csa route and also court. Surely if everything was in a court order she wouldn't then demand anything or kick off when not getting her own way!
You've got years of all this to put up with OP....think your DH needs to find his backbone

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