Help! DP's ex won't let him go to DSS's football practice

(42 Posts)
kkas Thu 25-Oct-12 19:35:46

DP and his ex have a shared residence order that stipulates care on alternate weekends. DSS is 6 and has recently joined a football club, which practices and plays games every Saturday.

DP's ex has indicated that she does not want DP to attend the practice or any games on the Saturdays that DSS is in her care. She thinks it will be "confusing" for him to have both parents there and she does not want him to have to choose between the two . We have tried to reason with her to say that there is no need for DSS to feel like he has to choose - it will remain clear whose care he is in each Saturday, and it will actually show him that both parents are working together to support their child. She doesn't seem to get that point.

Last week it came to a head when DSS asked DP to come watch the game when it wasn't "our" weekend. DP said he would go but then ex emailed DP to say if he didn't confirm he would not go by 6pm the night before, then she wouldn't let DSS play in the game at all. Manipulative, much?!

We emailed her back, calling her out on her manipulative behaviour, but DP agreed he would not go this time, as of course he wanted DSS to be able to play. DP was forced to explain to DSS that he was no longer able to go, and when DSS asked why, he said that "mummy doesn't want me to be there". We have had another email from ex this week indicating that DSS lashed out at ex about her not letting DP go to the game and is now very upset about the whole thing and blaming this all on DP! Can't she see that this could all be prevented if both parents just attended?

DP has asked ex if they can discuss and set some ground rules for attending the children's activities when they are in the care of the other parent, as we are worried this may start happening more frequently. And whilst it may only be weekly practice/games now, what would happen if this were a big cup match or something else very special? We also don't want DSS to think that DP doesn't care or want to attend, but it's difficult to convey what is really happening to a 6 year old without undermining the ex in DSS's eyes, which again, we would like to avoid, if possible.

We have suggested mediation or Relate to try to involve a neutral third party (who will hopefully help ex to see how unreasonable she is being). She hasn't said no yet, but I'm doubtful it will get off the ground.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation? What worked for you?

missymoomoomee Thu 25-Oct-12 19:48:35

DP's ex has indicated that she does not want DP to attend the practice or any games on the Saturdays that DSS is in her care.

Last week it came to a head when DSS asked DP to come watch the game when it wasn't "our" weekend. DP said he would go

he said that "mummy doesn't want me to be there

And you call her manipulative? She is well within her rights to request that he doesn't intrude on her time with their son. As he has every right to expect his time with their son isn't intruded on by her.

He was totally in the wrong for saying yes when his ex had already made it clear that she didn't want that to happen and then tell his DS that its his Mums fault.

Sorry if its not what you want to hear but you will just have to stick to the arrangements in place already.

kkas Thu 25-Oct-12 20:22:07

Thanks Missy. I agree that DP's behaviour has been very unhelpful and it actually caused a bit of an argument between us two as well as I am constantly trying to get him to work together with her rather than undermine her.

However, DSS and DSD live with ex for 10 nights out of 14 (including EOW), so I'm not sure I agree with you about ex feeling like this is intruding on her time with DSS. Particularly where DP would have no problem with her coming to the games when it was "his" weekend. Wouldn't it be best for DSS if he saw both parents there supporting him?

ivykaty44 Thu 25-Oct-12 20:25:38

how sad, no advise I am afraid.

I asked dd2 to get her dad to come and watch her, as he can do stuff that I can't so it makes sense regardless of who is in care at the time. I aslo ask if he can take her sometimes in the week when it is difficult for me or if I have felt ill - he does if he can.

perhaps remind her that if she feels cik will her dc have to miss out as it is her weekend and getting your dh to take her would be confussing?

ivykaty44 Thu 25-Oct-12 20:25:50

cik = sick

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 20:29:33

I am with you, OP. I don't think it intrudes on the ex's time at all. It's a game of football - it's not like OP's partner is basically going to run over to his son and steal him away. The son is playing football and the parents are watching. How, exactly, is that intruding (like the son is a possession to be fought over) on her time with her son? I don't think she has any right to tell your partner that he can't attend a public game of football in a public place where his son is. If the ex has issues with OP's DP, then that's HER problem, and the child shouldn't suffer. It would be different if she was taking her son somewhere special and OP's partner barged in, but this isn't the case. And, in addition, if his son has ASKED him to be there, why shouldn't he? I agree that OP's partner could have dealt with it better, but I get tired of hearing what the mum's rights are with flagrant disregard of what the child's wishes are.

My husband has a similar contact arrangement and his son is in a band. If his son plays in a band on a weeknight, are you saying he shouldn't attend missymoomoomee because he is going on a night where he won't be taking his son home? Because, he does go, so I suppose you'd say he was manipulative too, rather than supporting his son in an interest that he has?

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 20:32:18

Just to add - I think mediation is a good idea to see if a third party can help here. This whole situation could escalate and mediation may help with that.

I'm sure experienced stepmums will be along to give you advice - just wanted to give you some support over this.

ProphetOfDoom Thu 25-Oct-12 20:33:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

missymoomoomee Thu 25-Oct-12 20:34:56

It won't work if both parties aren't willing. I have 2 now grown up stepsons, their Mum hated DH and, by default, hated me. I wanted us to all get along, I was thinking about the long term, weddings, grandkids etc that we would all share.

I made a huge effort when I had my children with her to let her know the boys weren't going to be pushed out just because DH and I had a child, and still we got slagged off, she told them we weren't paying support, we would call and she would lie and say we hadn't etc.

We just kept doing everything we could, took them when we had access, paid every month and I never once uttered a bad word about her or blamed her for anything. Now they are in their 20s they see what we did and how their mother was, it was hard at the time, but they come to realise in the end who has their best interests at heart. As a result they no longer speak to their Mum and I have been Mum since they were in their late teens.

Being a SP is really hard, as is being a NRP but you just have to bite the bullet, accept that you will miss some things and make a bigger deal out of things when they are with you.

It will all come good in the end. Just please be careful about blaming 'Mummy' it puts the child in a position of having to take sides whether intentional or not.

NatashaBee Thu 25-Oct-12 20:35:14

I think you need to pick your battles, tbh - try and get some agreement from the ex that she will be OK with him attending if it's a final or important game or something. Hopefully the medation will bring her to her senses and she'll see that it's not worth making an issue over. Frankly, she sounds a little silly - but if it does put your DSS in an awkward position then maybe it would be better to just alternate weekends. DSD really didn't know where to put herself when both her parents were at something like that, she didn't want to upset either of them by picking one to hug first sad

I think its terrible behaviour by both parents tbh.

Do those who think that the dad should basically stay away from the football matches also think that dad should not be involved with things like parents evening or school plays, just becasue they don't fall into his contact time?

Its selfish and manipulative behavoiur by both parents from the sounds of the OP.
I feel sorry for the child in the middle of it sad

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 20:41:59

hmm. i'm a parent with care. my dcs see their dad and STBstepmum whenever EXp is on leave. i let EXp know dates and times for sporting/scouting events so that he can choose to attend or not. we are very far from having an amicable relationship but i wont play tug of war with my children. IMO it is up to the children who attends their football practise in a public place. this isn't like him coming into the mother's home during her weekend with care so he can play with him. of course there will be occasions when it isn't appropriate for the other parent to be there, like birthday parties at home or with family etc but for things like football i think it's really selfish for one parent to say that the child cannot have their other parent there every other weekend. unless of course there has been violence, which of course i understand why it wouldn't be acceptable, but in that situation wouldn't the parent get a restraining order?

Poor you and dp

How long have they been split- is there still a lot of animosity?

When ex-dp used to turn up at footy matches (when DS was about 7) I must say I would groan inwardly. It wasn't logical- it was just I felt precious about 'our time'. Nowadays tho, 4 yrs later, we sometimes pick each other up - or ask the other one to go instead if it's cold...

I don't really know what to suggest because I think it is just insecurity and jealousy on her part. She might mellow, she might not...

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 20:50:34

and whilst i agree that i dont think parents blaming each other for why they cant be there at certain times. i think it's not on at all that the mum in the OP is lashing out at her EX instead of standing by what she said and being honest with her son about why she doesn't want his dad there. if she honestly believes she is doing the right thing for her son by preventing his dad being there then what's the problem with her explaining it to her son? does she expect the dad to make up an excuse and lie to his son about why he wont be there just so she doesn't have to deal with the fallout from her decision?

kkas Thu 25-Oct-12 20:54:24

Thanks for all the comments, guys. Really helpful.

Missy - your views sound a lot like how I am trying to deal with it, although I am still very new to the whole situation (have been with DP for almost 18 months now and have been in the children's lives for a year). I also am trying to see the long term and I totally agree it will be best if we try work with the ex and that blaming mummy is a no no. Believe me, DP gets stick from me any time I hear something vaguely negative about her (and the children will never hear it from me - quite the opposite!).

In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up like your situation though, as I don't think ex does herself any favours and I suspect the children will figure it out soon enough.

Natasha - Great idea re agreeing beforehand as to when it is appropriate for the other parent to attend - i.e. really important/special occasions. Or perhaps if either parent is ill, etc. I can see what you mean about putting the child in an awkward position after the game and who to hug first. But I would hope if the parents show they are working together to support the child and they genuinely want what's best for them and there's no competition involved, then it really doesn't matter who gets the first hug and the child will know that. Isn't that how it works when the parents are still together anyway?

Personally, I think the novelty of the football club will soon wear off and ex will get sick of standing by the side of a cold, muddy field on a Saturday morning so it's just a matter of time before she starts calling up to ask DP to take him anyway! grin

AThingInYourLife Thu 25-Oct-12 20:55:21

Your DP shouldn't have told his son that his mother didn't want him to attend, but ultimately he could only tell the child that because it was the truth.

Whatever he said was going to upset the boy, because he had promised to go and was now letting him down. The child was going to think that one of them didn't want the father there. I can see why he thought he might as well be honest.

It is entirely unreasonable of her to think that this is about her time.

A little boy wants his Dad as his football match.

It is wrong for anyone (including the child's mother) to think that it is in the child's best interests for the Dad to refuse to go when he is willing and able to go.

I can't get my head around why she was OK to have her son upset by being let down by his father entirely at her behest.

The idea that she gets to ban her son's father from a public place despite her son's clearly expressed wishes is really sad.

Sassybeast Thu 25-Oct-12 21:02:42

Your partner is out of order. and you are creating issues when there are none. My kids know that on weekends with me, I take them to their sporting activities. On weekends with their dad, HE takes them. Kids need consistency and thay adapt readily when situations and circumstances are explained to them.
And as a lone parent with sole care of the kids for 10 days out of 14, you need to remember that the majority of that time is spent cooking,cleaning, running around, nagging to get homeworks done and making sure they wash behind their ears! Watching sport is down time for both parents - I would feel really uncomfortable if my Ex was there because unlike parents evenings or hospital apps etc, there is NO NEED for him to be there. It would be completely unreasonable of him to expect that he can just override her wishes. it's only an issue because you and your partner are MAKING it an issue. He knew his Exs feeling, he chose to ignore them and then he had the nerve to blame her and you are acting as his cheer leader.

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 21:20:39

"He knew his Exs feeling, he chose to ignore them and then he had the nerve to blame her "

how did he ignore her feelings? he told the boy he wouldn't be going. and as for blaming her? well it was her that said he cant go. was it not? if it hadn't been for her threat to not allow the child to play then the dad would have been going. so yes, the blame falls with her. who else would you pin it on in this situation? confused

missymoomoomee Thu 25-Oct-12 21:27:39

My husband has a similar contact arrangement and his son is in a band. If his son plays in a band on a weeknight, are you saying he shouldn't attend missymoomoomee because he is going on a night where he won't be taking his son home? Because, he does go, so I suppose you'd say he was manipulative too, rather than supporting his son in an interest that he has?

The Mum in kkas situation has said that she doesn't want him there on the weekends that he doesn't have contact, and he was being manipulative by saying yes when he knew she didn't agree and then telling his son its Mummys fault.

I'm not sure how you have taken my comments about a particular situation and applied them to your DHs situation I didn't say all NRPs are manipulative if they go to events outwith contact arrangements at all. confused

Sassybeast Thu 25-Oct-12 21:51:21

Beingbooyhoo - he originally told the little boy that he WOULD be going, despite knowing that it wasn't his contact weekend, despite knowing that his Ex didn't want him to go on HER weekend with the child, and despite the fact that he could simply have said 'Ah sorry son - won't be able to go this weekend cos mummy is going to take you, but I'll see you practice next weekend and you can score an extra goal or two just for me. Now lets get an ice cream.....'

It's not rocket science, the OPs partner created the situation and then blamed the childs mum when he didn't get his own way. Manipulative and out of order.

AThingInYourLife Thu 25-Oct-12 21:51:49

"it's only an issue because you and your partner are MAKING it an issue."

No, the little boy is the one making it an "issue" by asking his Dad to go and watch him play football.

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 22:09:57

"It's not rocket science, the OPs partner created the situation and then blamed the childs mum when he didn't get his own way. Manipulative and out of order."

i disagree. the mother created the situation by going against her son's wishes (to have both his parents at his practise sessions- natural enough for a 6 year old to want that IMO) and telling her EXP that he wasn't to attend on her weekends with their ds. she created the situation. she is the one who is going against the wishes of her child. and has the nerve to lash out at her ex when she's found out by her child.

Sassybeast Thu 25-Oct-12 22:24:56

The little boy is 6 years old. No doubt he'd like to eat sweets all day and stay up til midnight hmm It's the parents who are supposed to be the grown ups. And it's his dad who has created the issue in this case. When there was absolutely NO need to do so. Poor little lad.

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 22:29:59

"No doubt he'd like to eat sweets all day and stay up til midnight "

ok so tell me why he shouldn't eat sweets all day and stay up to midnight?

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 22:33:07

The little boy is 6 years old. No doubt he'd like to eat sweets all day and stay up til midnight

You're comparing that to a boy's very natural wish to have his Dad at a football game? Really? I don't think the two compare at all. Sometimes their wishes are reasonable, other times not. Surely as the adult, it's the parent's role to distinguish between the two, and perhaps put their issues aside? This is an instance where his wish seems totally reasonable, and where the mum created the issue by making the request in the first place. I wonder if the response would have been the same if Dad had made the request, and Mum had posted on here, outraged that she couldn't see her son play a game of football.

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 22:33:33

Missymoomoomee – I was applying my situation to what you had said, because my husband goes to events that his son is at. Now, my stepson’s mother hasn’t said he can’t go, but she’s not said he can either. However, it’s my husband’s view that he would like to support his son as much as he can, and that’s what he acts on. And, it’s outside contact time so, by your logic, DH shouldn’t be there and is intruding so his mum should be the only one who gets to see most of his band performances because they are outside his contact times. From what you had written, it was implied that intruding on contact time was manipulative, so apologies if I got that wrong.

Sassybeast Thu 25-Oct-12 23:14:08

Beingbooyhoo - if that's the best counter 'argument' then you can come up with, then there really is no point wink

The very fact that there is a court mandated contact order in place is clear enough evidence that this has not been an amicable split. Of COURSE a 6 year old would like both mummy and daddy to be there. But's it clear that mummy isn't comfortable with that arrangement and it's also well evidenced that kids do pick up on their parents anxieties and concerns and if mum isn't comfortable with Ex being there, then it may impact on the child. Daddy sticks to HIS contact weekends, and mummy sticks to hers. For 'cup' matches (and there won't be many aged 6 wink ) try and reach a compromise.

But it's very obvious that dad is using this as an opportunity to get one over on his Ex. Again, manipulative behaviour and absolutely no need for it to have become such a huge issue. And possibly suggestive of a man who really doesn't give a shit about the feelings of the mother of his child.

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 23:24:00

if what is the best counter argument? confused i asked a question. i haven't stated my counter argument yet. i note you haven't answered my question. i'm guessing that's because you know what point i was going to make. wink

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 23:25:11

and i dont think it's very obvious at all. you're just guessing what both parties' motivations for doing what they have done are.

follyfoot Thu 25-Oct-12 23:32:06

My DH went to all of my DSS's football matches whoever's weekend it was. His son really wanted his Dad there and thats what really mattered surely? I'm fairly sure that his XW didnt want him there, but it was about what was right for DSS.

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 23:38:41

Exactly, follyfoot Surely discomfort can be borne if it's what the child wants, and is what's right for the child? The idea that the child's rights in this instance should be subjugated due to mum's feelings is wrong, IMO. There'll be enough instances where he has to do without one or the other parent - why add more unnecessarily?

There have been threads on here where the children's feelings are put second to mum's, and this can lead to all kinds of issues. For that reason, I'd want to try and get a resolution to this asap. It may seem a small issue, but I wonder if mum's requests will grow and become more demanding.

missymoomoomee Fri 26-Oct-12 00:44:22

Dizzy thats not what I was implying at all. I'm not even sure how you jumped to that conclusion tbh. My 'logic' is that kkas DH has contact every other weekend, his ex has said she didn't want him at the matches on the weekends she has him as she is there watching him, he said yes anyway, knowing it would be a problem, and then told his DS it was Mummys fault. It doesn't apply to your situation in any way.

In an ideal world parents would get along for the sake of the kids, in reality, it may be better for parents to stay seperate to save them arguing in front of their child which would be far more damaging imo.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Oct-12 08:58:54

I think that if the little boy wanted both parents there, then the parents (in this case the mother) should bl**dy well just get over themselves and their own anxieties and makle the occasion as nice for the child as possible.

Yes children do pick up on a parent's anxieties. If the mother gets anxious with seeing the father at theses sort of occasions then she needs to find a way to sort this out, fast. It is not the father's role to compensate for the mother's anxieties by letting the child down, or by putting the child's needs last.

DH's ex still (11 year on) gets highly stressed (and angry with the DCs, now teenagers) when DH has the "audacity" to turn up at, for example, school events his children want him to attend. That is entirely her problem, not DH's, and not the childrens'.

Attilathehun Fri 26-Oct-12 09:51:14

If a mother posted in AIBU that she wasn't allowed to watch her son play football because the father didn't want her to, he'd be labelled a controlling, abusive bully.

We have lots of separated parents at our football matches, you can stand miles away from each other if you want.

What's in the best interests of the child?

zanywany Fri 26-Oct-12 12:25:03

My DS (12) plays in football match's every weekend and both myself and my XH attend whether it 'our contact' time with the children or not. We do this as our son would like both of us to be there supporting him in something that is important to him. Personally I don't like my HX and his girlfriend being there because she takes over my 'Mum' role whilst she is there, all over my daughter calling her darling/babes and chatting to all my friends. I bite my lip and smile because it is better that she is taking such an interest in my children than not.

SelfishCrocodile Wed 31-Oct-12 12:15:29

I'm sorry but all of you who are saying that the OP's DP shouldn't see his son on his XP's weekends are talking shit. Put the child at the centre of this for one minute and surely you can see that. If a child wants both parents at something as innocuous as a football match then surely it is beholden on the adults, I repeat ADULTS, to try to support their child. This is not bowing to the demands of a child, this is supporting their child in the best way possible, by letting them know that their love for him over-rides any bitterness between them. My XH and I regularly go to kids events together for just this reason and our, repeat OUR (as in both of us being equally responsible for the happiness and security of OUR DCs) children are not confused by it, don't believe that mum and dad are getting back together because they see us together and are reasonably accepting of new partners. This, I believe is due to the fact they are 100% confident that we both put them first and because both XH and I talk to them about the things that bother them.

When one party has residency as in this case it is a ridiculous notion to make their time exclusive. As people have said before, what are you going to do when it comes to events held on weeknights? Also, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will come a time when the XP wants her child's father to take him somewhere on a weekday, then I'll bet the OP's DP would be villified by exactly the same group of people for refusing- nothing like only seeing things from your own POV. Routines are great in their place but become ridiculous when there is no room for flexibility or for putting the emotional needs of a small child first.

All you single mums out there who deliberately restrict your child's contact with their fathers without good reason, and by this I mean the belief of potential child protection issues, should be throroughly ashamed of yourselves!

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 13:09:25

If the child had an uncle on his father's side would it be reasonable for the child's mother to say he couldn't come and watch his nephew playing in a match?

OP, your dp was wrong to say that he couldn't go because "mummy doesn't want me to"

I think he should just go and watch. He can stand at the other end of the pitch. Why shouldn't he?

theredhen Wed 31-Oct-12 13:53:30

I've seen this happen. Dss mum didn't want dp there at football.

Dp went along anyway. Dss completely ignored his dad even when spoken to directly by his dad out of, I suspect loyalty to his mums wishes.

That's what a terrible relationship can do to the kids and in that case I think dp was wrong to continue going because apart from anything else it taught dss that its ok to blank his dad and there will be no consequence.

Dss no longer sees his dad.

pixiestix Sun 04-Nov-12 14:39:06

<waves> to Kkas. Hello lovely! All the old Frolickers were wondering how you were getting on. We are mostly over on FB nowadays. I hope everything is good with you (despite the unreasonable ex!) grin

wannaBe Sun 04-Nov-12 15:06:05

wtf is this notion of his time, her time? This is a child we're talking about here, not some toy that everyone gets to have a turn with. angry

I am currently going through a split and where possible we are going to parent our ds 50/50, however there are going to be instances where ds for instance wants to go to football games with dh (they are season ticket holders) which will involve being out of the house on a Saturday. Should I prevent ds from going on some of the weekends that fall on my weekends because it's my time? Who's that about then? my child whose best interests I should have in mind? or me me me me me... hmm

If the woman has issues with her child's father being present for a two hour football game which falls on her weekend, to the extent she would prevent him from playing then she clearly has massive insecurities and is making her child suffer for them, and that's not on.

I don't get it - really I don't. Surely having divorced parents is hard enough for a child without starting to demand that you each get a piece of that child on your terms without the child having an input in any way even when it's something as important to the child as a football game.

It wouldn't even occur to me to say that DS couldn't go and watch his beloved football team just because it's my time. Instead I'd like to think that we could compromise and that there will be other times when I want to do things with ds/him with me and so we make the time work for us that way.

But instead we have these parents who use their children in their power games and fight over whose turn it is. angry

The pair of them need to grow the hell up.

ProcrastinatingPanda Sun 04-Nov-12 15:16:46

Why cause all this trouble, I really don't understand it. Why is your partner insisting so much on going every weekend, would it really be that difficult to go just on his weekends? You can discuss big matches and come to an agreement but to insist so much that your partner has to be there every weekend despite his mother making it clear she'd rather you just stuck to your own weekend is strange, I'm not so sure that she's the manipulative one in this situation.

Pick your battles, let her have her weekend with her son and just stick to your own weekend, making allowances for big games. And please don't in the future tell the poor boy "mummy doesn't want me there." He's only 6, he doesn't need to be involved in the disputes.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 04-Nov-12 15:49:55

wanna and panda I agree with both of you!

In an ideal world, parents wouldn't "fight" over the time the DC's spend with each of them, or try and divide it up like a DVD collection, but when one parent does do that, the other has a choice.

The rational parent can ignore the irrationality of the other parent (in the OP's case, Dad can go along to the football match anyway, regardless of Mums opinion, because his DS wants him there) or the rational parent can change their behaviour in order to protect the DC from the irrational behaviour of the other.

Yes, in an ideal world, both parents should be able to attend events that a DC takes part in. But if tension between the parents will have a greater negative affect on the DC than the absence of one of the parents, then the best thing for the DC is for the rational parent to bow out gracefully and share other special moments with the DC's.

You can't reason with the unreasonable - but you can minimise the affect that unreasonable behaviour by one parent has on the DC's.

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