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to be nice/stay friends with ex-DH

(20 Posts)
MrsMooo Wed 27-Jul-11 13:57:26

So a bit of background, ex and I were together 5 1/2 years, married nearly 4 and have DS who is almost 2.

We've been having problems and both our behaviour has been deteriorating over the last year, and really there has been trouble since we had DS. He has behaved in most peoples opinions quite badly (I think at least in part due to his depression) and left us almost a month ago

It's all been quite amicable, and despite the fact that I'm incredibly hurt and very angry I am trying to move on and maintain a friendship as we do have DS

He picks DS up from nursery 3 days a week and drops him home to me, and has him Friday night/Saturday afternoon whilst I'm at work so we see each other most days

Anyway, I do think he's a been bit of an emotionally abusive dick, but he chose to leave not work on our marriage so I do feel a bit like there's little point beating myself up for putting up with his unreasonable behaviour or being nasty. He even stayed for dinner with DS one night last week, and we are planning a day out as a family for DS's birthday

Everyone seems to think I am mad, because he is "cherry picking" the good time to spend with DS and isn't around for bedtime/the hard bits.

And I am devastated that I'm not going to get my husband back, but am I BU to think I can get my friend back and we can have a good relationship as parents? Should I be slamming the door in his face when he drops DS off rather than letting him in for half hour??

I keep being told that I should limit contact with him, but feel like that would be cutting my nose of to spite my face a bit, especially as I would need to get a CM to pick DS up from nursery, that I should basically say if you don't want to be with me and can't cope with DS, then you should have little or no contact and stay away...

Anyway, if I remain clear that we are just friends (and don't blur the lines/deal with my hurt about losing my partner in my own time and space away from DS) can we be good mates?
Or am I deluded as my friends seem to think and letting him "walk all over me even more" by letting have unlimited contact with DS even if I find it hard/painfull

worraliberty Wed 27-Jul-11 14:00:07

Lots of people remain good friends when they split up

Though what tends to put the cat amongst the pigeons is when either or both find new partners.

I hope you both continue to put your child first and not listen to anyone else.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 27-Jul-11 14:06:12

I think the phrase in there is 'emotionally abusive'. By that I would assume you mean manipulative or bullying in some way. That kind of ex I would probably want at a greater distance than someone I'd simply grown apart from. Whilst emotional abusers remain close, the risk that they will keep manipulating and hurting you is going to be very great. He's probably enjoying your discomfort...

stillstanding Wed 27-Jul-11 14:06:51

I think you know the answer to this really. What would the point of not being friends? You need to put your DS first and having two amicable parents must be the best thing for him. That said, don't let him walk all over you in any respect. But letting him help you with DS and having a good relationship with him can't be said to be that. Also depends on how hurt you are - if he stays for dinner etc - are you getting hurt? building up expectations etc?

Do what's right for you and DS and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

manicbmc Wed 27-Jul-11 14:10:18

Sounds like a mature and proper way to go about things. You're putting your hurt on the back burner so your child can have a good relationship with his dad.

I split from my husband (we'd been together for 21 years and married for 16) nearly 2 years ago and we manage to be amicable in front of the kids. We've even been out with friends and our new partners without there being an issue. I couldn't live with him. He's an emotionally abusive alcoholic but, with distance, I can be reasonable. He's looking after our cat when we go away for a weekend.

joric Wed 27-Jul-11 14:21:05

You sound like a lovely person smile Yes, you are doing brilliantly to stay on good terms with XDH and it will be good for your DS although hard for you I imagine- I'm fullof admiration because it sounds like you are putting DS relationship with XDH above yourself and that is rare not to meantion difficult.
A few things though, in your head set boundaries- your XDH shouldn't have things all his way and arrangements must suit you and DS first and foremost. Don't ever let him make you feel bad about yourself or your decisions- your relationship can be all about DS so be strong and look after yourself and your little boy smile

joric Wed 27-Jul-11 14:22:24

Sorry about spelling!

MrsMooo Wed 27-Jul-11 14:38:32

Cogito, I think (and a few close family members of mine agree) that his behaviour stems from some very serious self esteem issues and depression as opposed to him being a sociopath. His motivation for leaving was partially that he could see he was being abusive and felt as he didn't love me anymore he needed to leave as he wasn't able to work through it/rekindle things/stop being nasty. He's always been very VERY good at never overstepping the line in front of DS, so all that behaviour is removed as we only see each other now in that context IYSWIM. I am also very VERY carefull not to show any negative emotions and to make sure it's clear that I am enjoying being on my own, because I am. TBH he did the right thing as if he hadn't called it a day now it was only a matter of time before I did

I have set boundries, he doesn't stay past 7.30pm so I have time to settle DS before his bedtime at 8pm, and he only stays for dinner (past 6.30) if he's invited to. I've also said that he needs to call and check if we're free on the days he's not picking DS up

I just want a bit of reassurance I'm not mental by putting DS's relationship with him over any need I may (but actually don't) have to punish him for leaving me by stopping him seeing his son.

I realise it's completely unfair that I have been left with the lion's share of childcare and no support in some respects (he's very local and on the end of the phone) but I just don't see the point of saying well if you don't want to live with DS then you can't see him at all... I can't make him come back or make him have DS more, and I don't really want to.

Or am I odd in thinking that actually whilst it's hard and painfull being alone with a good friend is better than being with a miserable moody grumpy man who verbally lashes out because he's unhappy in our home?

nocake Wed 27-Jul-11 14:42:38

Like it or not he is going to be part of your life for a long time because of your DS. It's far better to spend those years on good terms than to spend them arguing and being unpleasant to each other.

bubblesincoffee Wed 27-Jul-11 14:42:41

Your friends are probably just looking out for you and are biased towards you and resentful towards him because he hurt you.

Only you can decide if you can cope with the ongoing hurt from spending time with him.

These things are complicated, and as I have mentioned all over MN, I have been through very simelar. Ex dp and I split when our dc were 1 and 3. I was the one that wanted it to be over, he was the one who hoped we would get back together.

We spent Christmases, dc's bithdays together, some days out, we even went on a few summer holidays together after we split. It was all fine, until I met my now dh. Then ex dp realised we would never get back together and turned into an arse for a few months. Now it's fine again and we all get on very well, my ex and I are hugely important in eachothers lives, and will always be. We share children, and I am very very grateful that despite the hard times, I can still share parenting with the person I chose to have children with. We don't do much together anymore, but we do go to parents evening, school plays and that sort of thing together, and I speak to him most days on the phone if I'm not seeing him.

The way I see it, is nobody will ever love those two children as much as he and I do. Nobody will ever share our pride in their achievements or stress at their problems in quite the same way. As much as their GP's and step parents love them, it's not quite the same. They know that we will stick together with discipline and buying treats. They can't play us off against one another (although they tried) and that definately helps a lot.

If you can make it work with your ex, it is well well worth it, but believe me when I say it takes years and years of hard work, and heartache on both sides, even if one gets that more than the other. It is constant effort, and I only really feel that things are properly settled now that our oldest is about to start secondary.

I think you are doing a brilliant thing, for both you and your ds, just know that it's not always going to be easy.

Sorry, bit of an essay there, but this sort of thing is very close to home!

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 27-Jul-11 14:48:25

Sounds like an excellent arrangement as far as DS is concerned, and it will get easier as he gets older. Your relationship with your XDH will become less emotionally fraught, and as your DS gets bigger he'll need less hands-on looking-after (and can spend more time with his dad).
I've been through it twice, have tried to stay on good terms with XPs and made sure they got to spend plenty of time with the DCs. I now have three healthy happy secure DCs who have good relationships with both parents. My DSs are grown up and choose to spend equal amounts of time with me and their dad.
It will be tough on you at times but you're absolutely doing the right thing by putting your DS first and trying to stay civil.

Cleverything Wed 27-Jul-11 14:56:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SirGin Wed 27-Jul-11 15:04:00

I am on pretty good terms with my XP, we have a dd who is 2.7

It makes a big difference I think for the better. And especially for dd as she see's us getting on and has no reason to be insecure about any unpleasantness. If it makes dd happy it works for me.

I always go into her flat for a chat when I drop off / pick up dd, occasionally I have a meal there with the two of them, I try to arrange holidays to suit XP's erratic work schedule, I help take stuff to the dump, pick up from airports when asked, we talk on the phone a few times a week, she texts me about dd at the end of everyday etc etc.

There was certainly a rocky road to start with, verging on courts, but as has been said, we are in each others lives now so better to work on a friendship that get into conflict.

But situations like this do require forgiveness, compromise and tongue biting so some people are bound to say you're being walked over, but at the end of the day it's better for everyone to have a positive relationship.

ZZZenAgain Wed 27-Jul-11 15:06:50

can get messy when you or he has someone else IYSWIM if he is comingi nto your home and having family meals. At some point that might get awkward.

I think generally try to stayo n good terms with everyone unless they've crossed boundaries and thus made it impossible for you. You can be goodish friends on the whole but depends on his maturity a bit too

porcamiseria Wed 27-Jul-11 15:10:42

i think your son comes first and this approach is good, but I do agree that once one of other starts dating.....then the gloves will be off! but maybe keep quiet to people that criticise, what they dont know, they cant comment on

ReindeerBollocks Wed 27-Jul-11 15:12:42

It is good if you can be friends, it will make things a lot easier in the long run.

However, you have to remember that you haven't been separated very long and from your posts, you seem to still be very hurt by your Exs actions (understandably too).

For the friendship to properly be established you will need to get past your feelings. But if you can do this, especially when either of you are ready to move on, then yes, it would be wonderful if you could get your friend back and it would help your DS too.

It took me nearly three years to get a true friendship from my ex - he helped me shop for my wedding dress not long ago - so it is possible to gain a friendship, even if a relationship is no longer sustainable.

ruledbyheart Wed 27-Jul-11 15:17:30

My ex-DH and I are still good friends after our split, although admittedly it was touch and go for a while, we both have new partners but they both understand that although my ex and I are split we still co-parent, My ex will still come round most days to spend time with the DC's and we do still have family days out just now with his and my new partner as well, we get comments all the time on how its not normal but it works for us and the children don't end up missing out, after all it wasn't their fault we split so why should they be punished.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 27-Jul-11 15:18:28

I don't think this is something anyone can answer. If you and your dc are happy with this arrangement, I don't see why anyone should tell you otherwise.

Personally I would begin legal proceedings to divorce & try & maintain a civil relationship while not engaging emotionally. Especially as it is such early days, I wouldnt want to be emotionally hung up on him, but there's a lot to be recommended for maintaining cordial relationship with the mother/father of your child.

cestlavielife Wed 27-Jul-11 15:19:16

it's only been a month - it is early days - but if its working so far and will continue to work like this for the coming months then go for it.

there is no reason to retrict access to DS unless welfare issues regarding dad/DS etc - otherwise it makes sense to go for as much 50/50 as is practicable.

dont be swayed by others - do what is right for you.

but watch out for when you or he gets new partner.

i tried to be amicable pleasant despite his abusive and controlling behviours (along with MH issues) etc but had to set boundaries - ex even now after 3 yers cant accept that we are not together - so spending any time around him and DC just doesnt work. because he thinks it means we can be back together again (he has serious MH issues tho - one of them being delusional thinking) eg after no contact for few months due to his serious MH problems he attended dd's end of term gymnastics display - on basisi was in public place so "safe" - then came to cafe - then yet again started saying "we could be together and be fine" - it freaks me out.

but if he could be accepting of the separation and understand that - then yes it makes sense to do as you are doing.

MovingAndScared Wed 27-Jul-11 15:23:30

as people say its only been a month - from what I have seen things get tricky when sorting out finances and legal side -ie when actually divorcing and when people get new partners. how is the finances? Is he supporting DS that way? but its so worth keeping it as civilised as you can

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