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(80 Posts)
Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 16:38:00

Hi there folks, i'm sorry that this is going to be a wall of text. I'm at my wits end and am hoping this forum can perhaps shed some light, or at least benefit from you lovely people and your experiences. So...

Cut a long story short, i've been with my OH for nearly four years, we've came a long way in a short time and have went through hell and back. Unfortunately for me, I have PCOS and have been advised that in my case it is practically impossible for me to have kids, and if I do conceive it's a 99% chance of my miscarrying. He on the other hand has two children to a previous marriage, one in his third year of school, the other in first year of academy. I have not met either of these lovely boys as, shock horror, the ex wife is a rather bitter and poisonous woman.

Let me get this out here before I continue, I hate how women are slammed to be the bad one constantly in breakups, especially the whole 'bitter' role, however in this situation it is unfortunately very much the case. I strongly stand by the fact that i'm in no rush to meet these two children, do not wish to secretly force a situation where they accidentally meet me, or steal them from their mother and replace her. What is important to me is my man gets to see his kids on a regular occasion because he is an amazing father, and I believe wholeheartedly that kids need both parents no matter what the situation to have a healthy upbringing.

For the past three years she has put the stipulation down that he can only see the children in her house, to which he has declined. Now and again he has managed to arrange with them to meet in the town, take them for Mcdonalds and the like, but sadly all of these occasions could only be tallied up on two hands. What worries me most in the past year is he texts the kids on a daily basis, phones when they don't reply for a week at a time, and forever he can hear her in the background telling his kids what to say to the point that they are monotone and very awkward and uncomfortable during the conversation.

The only time he gets to contact the kids, to which he gets a reply, is if he phones/messages her, something that upsets him as they had a very venomous relationship which left him very angry. Thankfully though we've worked through this together and his mindset has changed to the more optimistic point, where he knows the kids comes first and yes she may try manipulate every situation but he must persist.

Recently though, he has stupidly messaged her on several occasions behind my back, worried that all the drama will pile on more stress to my already fragile state of mind, I have been diagnosed with BPD. Mercifully i've been blessed with that wonderful thing most women have, insight, that horrible feeling when you know something is wrong. So every time I have caught him out and of course felt betrayed as we should be working as a team, no woman wants to find out their partner is messaging their ex secretly no matter what the reason.

SO, my worry is, how the hell are we supposed to work around this bitter woman? It has gotten to the point where the youngest son has attempted to throw himself down the stairs, is seriously struggling to fit into the transition from primary to secondary school, and has constant panic attacks. This boy was once extremely confident and outgoing, what worries us most is that the only reason my OH found out about these issues was through his oldest son, NOT his ex-wife. My man is desperate to see his kids and I can see him struggling, this is weighing on him heavily and i'm worried for both his mental health and his children's.

Do you have any advice for this situation? I can only apologize if my ramblings haven't made any sense, this is the first time i've had the chance to be brutally honest and rant this out, if there are any questions please don't be afraid to ask. I just want these kids to have the benefit of seeing their dad and have a healthier lifestyle. The situation with his youngest child is what concerns me most, he has rapidly deteriorated and become withdrawn, although it has been commented that he is extremely happy after the occasions where he DOES get to see his dad.

sterlingcooper Tue 01-Nov-16 18:10:56

It sounds very difficult. The obvious question is: has he been through the courts to try to get contact sorted out properly?

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:27:26

Unfortunately not as technically she's never actually said outright he can't see the kids. It is a lot of manipulation on her part, the only hope we have is when he sees the kids they are genuinely happy to see their dad, but there is always a time scale where he only gets an hour max because she has "planned" something afterwards.

Bubblegum18 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:33:08

I'm really sorry you been with him four years and he's amazing dad but started no court proceedings? If he had anything about him he would of consulted a solicitor and got firm solid arrangements in place. I would take everything he says with a pinch of salt especially about his exw

NNChangeAgain Tue 01-Nov-16 18:35:33

He needs to apply to court. It is not reserved for parents who withhold contact. The fact that he hasn't done more is not consistent with what you say about his commitment to the DCs.

If you are in England and Wales, the process is clear. He finds a family mediation service, and attends a MIAM (mediation initial assessment meeting). The Mediation service will invite his ex to attend a MIAM separately. If they both agree to go ahead with mediation, then they will meet, with the mediation, and your DP can explain what he would like in the way of contact. His ex can agree or disagree, they negotiate and maybe, they come to an agreement.
If they don't, he can then apply to family court to ask the court to decide. He fills in an application form, the mediation service sign to say that mediation was not successful, and he pays a fee.

He needs to do more to address his ex's conduct.

Lunar1 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:38:15

I would try and look at this from the perspective that you are really in the dark about a lot of the real details here.

The solid facts you know is that he doesn't have significant contact and he has never made a proper effort to obtain it. What he is telling you is the bits he is choosing to tell you. What are you basing you brilliant dad statement on?

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:40:40

We've been friends for many years before we got together, i'm not the best at explaining things I need to apologize about that.

He went to the solicitors and I was there during his telephone conversation to his ex afterwards. She told him he was selfish, and it would destroy the kids if he forced them to see him through court order, it was a long angry conversation. His lawyer also advised him by her behavior it is likely she will try and force set days, to which he couldnt attend because his work is shift pattern and there is mandatory overtime to which she could protest and win if he couldnt keep the agreement.

He doesnt want to put the boys in this situation, and has never said she is a bad mum and always trys to think posititve that she isnt manipulating them against him.

Bubblegum18 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:43:15

In sorry op but again it's all excuses, courts are aware that people do work shifts so contact can be taken into consideration. My ex has alternate weekends due to work.

Bubblegum18 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:44:22

I would suggest a new solicitor he should be moving heaven and earth to see his kids

NNChangeAgain Tue 01-Nov-16 18:48:38

I agree with bubble - if your DP was motivated to parent his DCs he'd go into court and present his case; arguing that he CAN be a good dad despite work commitments.

He needs to step up - and he doesn't have long left, based on the ages you describe, it won't be took long before the courts leave it to the DCs to decide on contact arrangements and given what you have said, they will be bullied by their mum into refusing to see him.

I know you love him, but you don't have to condone his behaviour regarding this. Give his head a wobble, tell him to get his act together and support him to fight to parent his DCs in the way they deserve.

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 18:49:12

I appreciate all your comments and help here folks, but I will ask you be a little less harsh on judgement, as I said in my last post i'm not the best as putting my thoughts into words and will try my hardest to explain the full situation in my next reply.

A lot more has went on and unfortunately it is not as clear cut as some of you may think. He is a good father, i wouldnt stand by him otherwise especially considering my rough childhood and my strong beliefs when it comes to children. Please be patient with me, I am sorry that I havent explained properly.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 01-Nov-16 18:54:33

He has seen his kids less than 10 times in 3 years?? shock shit dad.

My man is desperate to see his kids

Bull. Shit.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 01-Nov-16 18:55:21

He is a good father

How? He isn't doing any fathering.

Bubblegum18 Tue 01-Nov-16 19:09:59

Sorry but any decent man would have set out contact arrangements that accomadated his working pattern he's made excuses and out blame on his exw maybe his is why his scare acting out so much?

sterlingcooper Tue 01-Nov-16 19:13:07

The way I see it he has 2 real choices other tgan muddling along as things are or giving up completely:

- he starts legal proceedings

- he agrees to her terms to see them in her house in order to gain more regular contact.

Lunar1 Tue 01-Nov-16 19:18:07

He has had years, he could have gone to court and he could have sort out a job with more regular hours. Maybe the change in the children is because they have a dad who isn't there for them, and they are struggling with the reality that he doesn't give a shit.

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 19:44:14

OK, i'm quite disappointed and hurt that you've all went down the extremely judgemental route when as i've already listed that i'm really not the best at explaining myself, unfortunately I panic and don't realize what i'm writing or that i've missed out information. As i've also put down this is the first time i've had the chance to honestly open up and speak to someone about the situation. I had hoped coming to this site i'd be able to get advice and a friendly ear from people who have been in a similar situation.

I was on my phone before and didn't realize that i'd written one part completely wrong, he got to see them almost weekly for the first three years, and they adore him, he constantly took them out to buy clothes and take them swimming etc. This year though it took the turn for the worse, and YES, I agree with NNChangeAgain that he hasn't fully done everything he can. Understand though he has Asperger syndrome and struggles when it comes to things on this level, which is why he tends to adopt the 'head in the sand' method. He worries that if he goes down the court route that they will feel 'forced' into going to meet him, which she can twist and manipulate in their mind, but thankfully due to your advice I sat down and had a conversation with him about going through the courts as he had let her rule this situation for far too long, he struggled a bit but agreed. I do feel that it is my fault on one part because I felt that I had no right to have a say on the situation, they are not my children and never will be, but now I feel as though I could because you all agreed that it is the route he should take.

Like I said guys, I struggle to write things down and explain things, please understand I wouldn't for one second stand by or condone such behavior if it had went on the way you all believe it to have went because of my shoddy explanation. Please if i've still not explained properly, ask questions and i'll answer directly and elaborate to my full potential.

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 19:47:20

I can understand why you all thought as badly as you did of him after reading through my first full post, please be a little patient as I need this support, am desperate to be able to listen to somebody who is unbiased and appreciates that i'm just trying to support him and help the boys out at the same time.

I've taken the advice and we're going to sit and research for the next week about the safest steps to take court wise before taking action. We live in Scotland, does anyone have any advice on the matter and what route to take? Thank you so much for taking the time to read and give your opinions guys, I just feel like i'm at the end of my tether.

PoppyPicklesPenguin Tue 01-Nov-16 20:11:10

I think most people have made fair comments based upon what has been written. I'm sure there is a massive back story and it's not always as black and white as it seems on an Internet forum. I think the comments have been fair. I've joined in a little later and read your updates.

Your partner needs to go via the court, ignore the children's mother about how his will "damage" the children, quite honestly they could and possibly should be oblivious to what is going on at mediation/court. This will of course depend on their age, my only experience is with under 10's and the DC as far as they are concerned just had a nice chat with a lady for when the CAFCAS report was completed

He needs to get himself a solicitor and discuss his options. NNChange gives the details surrounding the first steps which is mediation, I don't know what it's like in Scotland. but you have to go through this process first now in England and only once going through this (if no agreement is reached) do you go to court. It can take years, it is very expensive but you can also represent yourself ask the solicitor to give you all the facts. The courts don't really want to make the final decision so they do push for an agreement at mediation.

Hopefully the mediation will work for your partner, but after four years I can't help but think that he has been a bit naive to let the children's mother dictate everything, but then I can actually see how a man thinks he is doing the best thing by seeing his children regularly (not as much he may like) but at the request of their mother doesn't push it. Then his ex takes unbridge to the fact he meets someone new and uses the children against him, it happens a lot it isn't fair on the children at all, but it does happen.

See a solicitor, research information and start moving forward with mediation I think it's the only thing you as a couple can do to ensue he has access to his children on a regular basis and you can also have a full life together.

It is a really tough situation to be in, you will find good advise here. Stick with it.

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 21:00:47

Thank you for your reply Poppy, I agree that majority of the replies were helpful and fair, I was just hopeless at explaining the situation and got frustrated with myself.

After speaking we've decided that he's going to phone and text her later this week to arrange that she makes a point of asking the kids twice a week if they've heard from their dad and to promote light hearted conversations so they know it's acceptable to talk about their contact with him. We will let this go on for a month in hope that she does as suggested, then if the lack of contact continues from the kids, contact her after a month to ask why she hasn't kept to her side of the bargain. Then again for another month, so that it's been seen for three months consistently that he has tried and she hasn't complied, to which at the end he will tell her that he is going to the courts as it has went on too long.

He is in hope that this last attempt will work and she will actually see the kids are better with regularly contacting their dad, i'm doubtful, but at least he has agreed that yes, he needs to go the official route for the benefit of the kids in the long run.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 01-Nov-16 21:01:34

For the past three years she has put the stipulation down that he can only see the children in her house, to which he has declined. Now and again he has managed to arrange with them to meet in the town, take them for Mcdonalds and the like, but sadly all of these occasions could only be tallied up on two hands.

So this was a lie? He didn't decline her terms? He went to see them and took them swimming and clothes shopping in her house?

*he got to see them almost weekly for the first three years, and they adore him, he constantly took them out to buy clothes and take them swimming etc.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 01-Nov-16 21:04:24

he's going to phone and text her later this week to arrange that she makes a point of asking the kids twice a week if they've heard from their dad and to promote light hearted conversations so they know it's acceptable to talk about their contact with him. We will let this go on for a month in hope that she does as suggested, then if the lack of contact continues from the kids, contact her after a month to ask why she hasn't kept to her side of the bargain. Then again for another month, so that it's been seen for three months consistently that he has tried and she hasn't complied,

I think that is the most pathetic, half assed faux attempt at effort I have ever heard from a so called "desperate" father. If he is even slightly serious he would be at a solicitor in the morning.

Scottishlass89 Tue 01-Nov-16 21:13:31

So this was a lie? He didn't decline her terms? He went to see them and took them swimming and clothes shopping in her house?

No, it was not a lie, why would that even be an option? She wouldn't let the kids come to our house, even though i'd never be there, nor his dads house or any neutral places. In the summer it was fine for him to take them down town and do those things, but in the winter the kids weren't too keen because we have harsh winters.

I think that is the most pathetic, half assed faux attempt at effort I have ever heard from a so called "desperate" father. If he is even slightly serious he would be at a solicitor in the morning.

I'm sorry, but again this is such an aggressive opinion, especially when you don't know the full details and background. His eldest child has autism, he freaks out at dramatic change, three months of attempting a last stand, especially when his youngest is so fragile at the moment. I accept that he wants to give her one last chance to do the right thing, and it gives him a stronger case when we go to the solicitors. It's actually taking time to do something and not rush in half arsed and aggressive.

You are being extremely judgmental, and that saddens me, don't judge something when you're not aware of the full facts, it is impossible for me to explain all these years of issues over a forum through the internet, if you have advice i'm more than willing to listen, but do not verbally attack my partner, it is disgusting behavior. I have agreed that yes, head in the sand was his approach and things haven't been perfect, but he has worked his backside off for his kids and I shouldn't have to defend him against some angry person behind a computer screen.

AyeAmarok Tue 01-Nov-16 21:21:46

He sounds extremely passive. Like he just lets everything 'happen' to him and then complains it's not fair.

If he wants to see his DC, he needs to lawyer up, get a court order, and actually do some parenting.

satinthedark Tue 01-Nov-16 21:24:17

Got to ask - you have known him for years - were you the OW.

It would explain much of the EXs attitude but he has made the sum total of fuck all effort. There are mechanisms to improve this situation - he has done none and his solicitors advice sounds crap

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