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WWYD? Petty Christmas Card issue with ex H

(80 Posts)
EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 09:41:04

Just to say up front, it is probably me who is being petty! Long, so as not to drop feed.

Background is that STBEX H left me last Sept for an OW, with whom he'd been having a six month affair, and who he now lives with. We have 3 DSs, DS2 has SN, ASD. Our separation has been civil but not amicable. I am still very hurt and shocked that my 'decent and honourable' ex H could have left us after 22 years together, 16 of which we were married, under such difficult circumstances. I found out about the affair, (with the help of MN) and he'd been spinning me a story about having fallen out of love with me and wanting to separate without there ever being any mention of an OW, despite me asking him several times if he was having an affair.

He has the boys every other long weekend, Thursday to Sunday and alternate Tuesdays for tea. He is keen to stay in contact with his DC and is reliable about this contact, except when he goes away for holidays with his OW, about 6 times in the last 16 months, and even then he does inform me that he will be 'unavailable.' So he's trying to be a good dad, I suppose.

He was never one for keeping in contact with people and it was always my job to send Christmas cards to his old work colleagues and family.

This year my DS3's school made some fund raising Christmas cards, where the child's design is printed on a pack of cards which you can buy. I bought a set of 12 and sent them out with other cards to friends and family, only those who know DS3, which included my ex FIL. I don't contact my in laws much, as I feel they have to be loyal to ex H, so don't want to step on his toes, but I do send birthday and Christmas cards. Ex H doesn't keep in contact with my family at all, but that's his way.

Ex H has sent me a 'very disappointed' email because he's seen his dad's card from me and that it was designed by DS3. He feels I should have let him know these cards were made and given him the opportunity to have bought some himself. And he's probably right. But, TBH, it never even crossed my mind that he'd be that interested as he's never sent a Christmas card to anyone that I know of, off his own back. I suppose he has to send them himself, now, but his current work colleagues don't send cards, he's not kept in contact with any old friends from school, university, work or any of our more recent mutual friends, according to them, so I'm not sure who he'd send them to.

To me, this was one of the many, many little details of my DSs' lives that ex H isn't closely involved in, anymore. Like who comes around for a play date, what badges DS3 has got in Cubs, whose birthday party they are invited to, what school trips they go on, what after school clubs they do. If anything is happening on 'his' weekend or 'his' Thursday night, I let him know about it, eg party invitation or school trip. If it's anything I consider important, like a doctor's visit or school photos being available during their time with me, I let him know. (And buy school photos for him as he doesn't have a cheque account, which he reimburses me for.)

If we had parted under more amicable terms, I would probably share more of these little details with him, but I find it very difficult to talk to him, I'm still very raw about it all and discuss most matters by email, or text if more urgent.

How do I respond to his email? I want to say, 'Tough, them's the breaks, Karma, I'm disappointed that you chose to have an affair and break up our family, but I've got to suck it up, etc etc. It's not like this has affected his relationship with his DC at all, it's just a 'nice' extra, and I don't feel like I have to be 'nice' to him, just civil.

But I probably should have just let him have some of these fucking cards, shouldn't I?

How can I respond to his email without just sounding petty and bitter? And without admitting that I might have been in the wrong, as I don't think I should have to.

<fully admit to being petty and bitter on here>

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 09:41:51

Drop feed? Drip feed. smile

dexter73 Fri 21-Dec-12 09:44:24

I would just keep it very light and say 'sorry didn't think you sent out cards. I will let you know next year if they do some.'

UC Fri 21-Dec-12 09:45:12

Keep it short, don't enter into long discussion. Just say "sorry, next time I will let you know". Leave it at that. It isn't worth getting into long discussions/arguments about it. I've learnt this the hard way...

carabos Fri 21-Dec-12 09:46:09

Oh I think just this once you can be petty and bitter, it is Xmas after all, season of pettiness and bitterness.

Give him both barrels, he deserves it and its not going to impact the bigger picture. Make sure you mention that you assumed that since he always relied on you to do cards in the past, he would be getting OW to do it now. grin.

HECTheHallsWithRowsAndFolly Fri 21-Dec-12 09:46:36

does he not have anything to do with his son's school? Do the school run at all? Get the newsletters?

I'd probably just feign surprise.

Oh, didn't you buy any? The school were publicising them. Did you not read the newsletter online?

or whatever fits.

But make sure he gets the message that it's not your job to keep him up to date with everything the school is doing. He is responsible for getting that information too.

greenfolder Fri 21-Dec-12 09:48:14

i would drop him an email, saying something like "the school have all the information available on their website about such things or you can ask them to send you copies of all letters that come home. This will avoid you missing out on any information you feel might be relevant to you."

btw, this is true of my dds school/

dexter73 Fri 21-Dec-12 09:48:17

Actually I have changed my mind and agree with HEC - it isn't your job to let him know.

giantpurplepeopleeater Fri 21-Dec-12 09:50:54

HECTheHalls has it right! Definitely send something like that.

Why is it your responsibility to inform him of these things??

My DP has a 5yo by his Ex and is regularly checking the school website and does pick ups from school and often tries to chat with the teachers to see how things are going. He has made sure the school understand the situation and that he is on the mailing list for everything.

Don't know why your Ex should be any different. If he wants to be involved he should make sure he is and not rely on you to do it for him.

You are not responsible for him anymore!!

DoubleYew Fri 21-Dec-12 09:52:24

Type out that email being sarcastic and calling him on everything that has upset you. Don't send it. But the writing it out can help to get it out of your system.

Agree he needs to get the school to communicate with him although it depends how you found out about the cards. Quick line saying you will let him know next year.

It was nice of you to send one to ex FIL so his family could see them.

SugaricePlumFairy Fri 21-Dec-12 09:53:59

Agree that he has to start taking responsibility for these kinds of things, not your job to give him a heads up.

He'll know the next time.

He's an arse for the 'very disappointed ' email by the way!

PurpleRayne Fri 21-Dec-12 09:54:33

He's 'very disappointed'?!

Here's a powerful thought for you: you don't have to reply at all to his email.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 09:57:51

I have told him before to ask the schools himself for copies of letters. He's done that eventually with the secondary, but this is DS3's last year in the primary school so I'm not sure he's bothered. Hmm. The primary school is very leafy and suburban and doesn't 'do' problem families very well. It kind of assumes that we are all in nuclear Christain families. This Christmas card thing was sent back in the bookbag for me to order. It included the original design etc, so I don't think they could have done two lots of it. Perhaps I'll go with the, I'll let you know if it happens again, line (as it won't happen again! He's in Y6!) grin

amistillsexy Fri 21-Dec-12 10:01:28

I'm sure you were a bit peeved when he decided to break up your family and shack up with someone else, leaving you to do all the hard work bringing up his children.

He created this situation, not you.

If he had ever, during the time you were together, looked anxiously in DS's bookbags every Christmas for the Hallowed Child-Drawn cards, bought stacks and then reverently posted them to everyone he knew, then maybe, maybe, he would have a point.

As it is, he is an arse. Ignore, and hope he chokes on his pudding and she gets holly stuck up her fanjo.

sarahseashell Fri 21-Dec-12 10:03:17

I'd just delete and ignore the email on the basis this will wind him up the most wink

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 10:05:44

I have written a couple of replies and deleted them. I thought, maybe,

'To be honest, I never gave it a thought, I didn't realise you were big on Christmas cards. I hope your Dad is doing well.'

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 10:06:36

How did you know that dickhead is my name for him of choice! hmm grin

Pancakeflipper Fri 21-Dec-12 10:07:21

I would not respond.
If he mentioned it face to face I would smile sweetly and say "will try to remember to get DS to ask you next year. Did a lovely design didn't he?"

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 10:08:03

Ooh, holly up her fanjo! Love it.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 21-Dec-12 10:08:56

How about you reply with,

I'm surprised that you are disappointed with me because you chose to negate your responsibility to be aware of home/school information.

It is your responsibility to be aware of this sort of thing,but for future information in December Christmas happens during this time schools often do Christmas based activities these may or may not include Carol services/ Christmas plays/ or craft making such as cards or decorations as well as many other possibilities, it is my responsibility to find out these things for myself it is yours to do the same. I am not your PA.

FestiveWench Fri 21-Dec-12 10:09:47


sarahseashell Fri 21-Dec-12 10:10:05

we all know his name wink

have to confess I have one of my own grin hates to be ignored hence my advice. I'm a few years further down the line and just want to say life gets better and better, it really does

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Fri 21-Dec-12 10:15:23

I'm too much of a wuss to go in aggressively. But I love this,

but for future information in December Christmas happens

Maybe ignore, ignore, ignore.

And thanks sarah

sarahseashell Fri 21-Dec-12 10:21:53


Soopermum1 Fri 21-Dec-12 10:28:56

OP, from your description of the scenario you're doing a fantastic job in a bad situation. Keep it up and don't let him trip you up over the details.

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