AIBU to stop contact?(126 Posts)
Please, I need advice...
I have a DD who is 5, and I split from her biological Dad when she was 2. EXDP was very emotionally abusive towards me, and DD suffered until he left.
EXDP wanted to keep in contact with DD and would see her for on average for about a 24 hour period a week which would include an overnight stay. DD's behaviour would always be terrible when she came back, and EXDP gives no input to parenting and would generally buy toys to in a sense buy DD's love.
Fast forward a few years, I am now in a brilliant relationship and expecting another baby (which DD is thrilled about), and my now DP has lived with us for about 10 months. Both DD and DP get on brilliantly, and DD has begun calling DP Dad (all of this has been of her own accord, not encouraged by me or DP).
In the meantime, DD has continued to see EXDP, but this has been very erratic on his part - changing dates, or cancelling. However, in March DD went for her usual overnight stay and I had to go and pick her up after an hour as she was hysterically crying that she didn't want to stop overnight with him. Eventually I got DD to tell me the reason (this took days), and she said that EXDP had really shouted at her, and she didn't know what she had done wrong. EXDP denied all knowledge.
Now DD refuses to sleep over with him (NB EXDP has/d DD at his Mum's house, as he refuses to tell me where he lives, he doesn't drive so if he wants to see DD I have to take her to meet him either at a pre arranged spot or his Mum's house), and is now down to seeing him for about 45 mins one afternoon after school and 6 hours on a Saturday. 8 times out of 10 DD says she never wants to go, unless EXDP is taking her shopping for toys
unless crap that she doesn't need DD never wants to talk to him if he calls, and is generally very happy whenever EXDP isn't on the scene. Sometimes, DD will ask very strange questions such as 'Don't you love me?' (A classic EXDP line), or most recently 'Am I a boring little girl?' She will never tell me who says such things to her, but she will open up to DP, who then finds out that EXDP says these things to her and she's not to tell her Mum.
Now, DD saw EXDP on Thursday for their usual walk about Tesco for 45 mins, and when I picked her up she announced that she had bought 'Dad' (A name she hasn't used for him since way before my DP was on the scene) a Father's Day card. In short, he had bought himself a card (to my knowledge he's never done this before) and got her to write on it.
Saturday morning rolls around, and she's quite certain that she didn't want to go see him, so I let him know, he demanded to know why, and I just said that she didn't give me a reason (which she didn't). I then asked if he wanted to see her on Sunday instead (Fathers' Day), but I had no reply.
Yesterday DD was very excited to see if EXDP had opened her card, and asked if she could call him, so off she went (I put the phone on speaker so I can intervene if needed) and she asked if she could see him to which the reply was 'NO, I'm too busy. You didn't want to see me yesterday'. DD then asked him 4 times if he loved her, (I was trying to get her to end the conversation as she was getting upset) and then she began to cry and I mean a real heartbroken cry.
I cuddled her for about half an hour afterwards and she was asking why doesn't he want to do things with me, he's always texting on his phone or shouts at me etc. Eventually I cheered her up, DP finished work and and we enjoyed the rest of the day without EXDP being mentioned.
I don't want DD to have anything to do with EXDP as I really don't think that he's good for DD. ABIU to ignore his calls and not to arrange the 6 hour 45 minute visits?
My DD is a very happy bright girl, who loves to sleep over at my parents and DP's parent's house, and she has lots of friends and loves school. Put her with EXDP and she becomes very unhappy and withdrawn.
Also, I forgot to add, DP and I get married next April, and DD's surname has been changed by deedpoll to DP's when it used to be EXDP. EXDP didn't fight to keep her name the same.
ABIU to tell the abusive C*NT to do one for the sake of my DD??
Before I even got to the last bit about the name change, I was thinking it's quite obvious here that you're trying to 'replace' her father with your new partner.
I know lots of parents who try to do this, and they tend to insist that the child decided to call them 'Dad' or 'Mum' off their own backs. It's rarely 100% true though.
I get that you're happy, I get that you're having a baby, I get that you want your own little family that doesn't involve your ex.
But I very much doubt your DD will 'get' it as she grows up. You could be opening a massive can of worms for you all in the future.
What Worra said
I do think you and your DP should discourage calling DP Daddy. It's too confusing. Call him Jim or Tom or whatever his name is.
Sorry your ex is a plonker.
Also, if I have the right poster (and I'm sure I have)
You haven't even been dating for a year yet have you? Yet he's been living in your DD's home for 10 months and here you are pregnant too.
It's all been a bit of a whirlwind for your DD and when things settle down, or when the baby arrives you may find she wants more contact with her Dad, not less.
Having had an EA ex husband I see where you're coming from, I had something similar. Its utterly heartbreaking when you hear their voice come out of the mouth of your children. And I know that you want to erase a shit dad with a great dad & model adulthood & relationships to your DD in a positive way, but that's not your choice, sorry.
I don't think you have the right to cut off all contact with him based on your OP but there's things you can do to limit the impact on your DD.
Have you considered a contact centre?
Have you considered set access times to stop all the to-ing & fro-ing by texts? If he misses the set time then he cannot see her until the next, barring exceptional circs?
he might be a bit of a twat but your ex is still be father, it's not really for you to pay god in their relationship unless there are very good reasons for him not to see her and that has not shown itself here. dd is young and paying one parent off against the other, of course she wants to be with ex when is buying her things, and if he tells her off she going to feel slighted and whinge to mummy.
the fact that the contact has gone pear shaped isn't strictly helping, he might not drive but what is wrong catching a bus or train to collect her even if you pick up ?
with the best will in the world and preparation, mum is pregnant, newish step father no wonder her life is up in the air, plus if she has overheard either of you slagging off ex [kids WILL always over hear stuff - they make great spies], that is going to confuse her too.
i'd start by sorting out the contact first and take it from there, it's not easy, been there, done it. hope it works out for you all.
sorry pay god didn't know he was in the mediation service !!
I have huge sympathy for you and your daughter, it sounds like a horrible situation.
But I don't actually think you can stop your ex seeing her, can you?
Sorry but I think if your DD wants to call your DP dad, you should let her. My lovely step dad asked us not to call him dad even though we wanted to because it would 'upset your real dad'. Him and my mum didn't have any other children but if they did i would just start calling him dad anyway.
Her dad sounds mean, and he is already EA, like my dad was.
I wouldn't cut contact completely, but consider supervised access. I wish my mum would have done this, then my dad wouldn't have been able to get to us with his passive aggressiveness and nasty comments. He called us names, slagged my mum off and let us down so.many times.
Contrary to popular belief, I don't believe that being a biological parent gives you the right to no hole barred access to your child if you are a total shit.
Protect your DD, go through a contact centre or something.
She will grow up being let down by him and upset by the things he says, trust me.
I think at 5 she's too young to be insisting on not seeing her father.
At that age, I'd be making her go and doing a massively hard sell on how wonderful it will be.
I think she has picked up on your negativity and that could be the reason she is refusing to go.
What does your ex say she's like when she's there? Can you ask his mum what goes on if he always sees her at his mum's house? Does DD not want to see her Granny?
I think you need to be really careful that you are not unduly influencing her against her dad. He is her dad, not your DP.
Sounds like your DD is very confused by the many changes happening in her life. I think the important thing is to encourage some sort of regular contact agreement that works for every one. The constant changing of planned visits is upsetting causes extra conflict so some firm boundaries are needed. Hope it all gets sorted out.
How emotionally traumatized do you allow a child to become before you say 'enough'?
From the OP it does sound as though this little girl has a father and then a daddy. Why not call him Daddy? It will make her feel more included in the family when the new baby arrives. As someone who was in a fairly similar position as a kid - it's not confusing at all. No-one worries whether their children will understand having 2 granddads! And I know that's a trite comparison! Ideally children should be surrounded by people who love them, not cruel emotional abusers. I would cut down contact as much as you possibly can.
I agree with Gatorade.
Just because he is her father doesn't mean he can keep having contact if he is going to make her unhappy.
The point I was trying to make was that even before I met DP, DD would come back upset and generally unhappy.
It is EXDP who has cut down his contact time, not me. I would love nothing more than for her to have a good relationship with him. But, i'm not sending her off to see someone who makes her miserable wether I have a DP or not!
At that age, I'd be making her go and doing a massively hard sell on how wonderful it will be
And when it isn't wonderful and she is manipulated and shouted at, Mummy starts to look like a liar. And will her dd learn to just keep her feelings to herself and say she had a lovely time so as to not hurt anyone's feelings? You can be diplomatic with children, but you shouldn't present false realities to them. If the only thing that's pleasant for her to do with her F is buy toys, he's presenting as a very unhealthy role model and at the least it needs careful monitoring.
I'm horrified that you're not only allowing your daughter to call your boyfriend 'Dad' but you've changed her name to his (I assume you had her actual dad's consent otherwise you're breaking the law) and now you want to write her dad out of her life completely. Has it crossed your mind that the reason she's messed up over her relationship with her dad is because her mum is expecting her to play happy families with a bloke she's known less than a year?
Her dad seriously sounds like my dad, in every way. Cut his contact down, started upsetting us very early on. Mum always tried to stick up for him.
He is still around but I've had to have therapy because of the fatherly role he played on my childhood.
Phase him out, and please don't stop your DD from calling your dp dad. Its like saying 'no he cant be your daddy, you have to stick with the horrible man you were born with'
Ummm when have I said that i've been with DP under a year?
He's lived with us for 10 months and we've been together a hell of a lot longer than a year! My concern is my DD not my bloody relationship!!!!
My ex was physically and emotionally abusive, and was given a 2 year suspended sentence for assaulting me when we broke up. Generally we are civil for the sake of my DD1 who is 6, but at times he can still try to manipulate and bully me. Though he is a good father to DD, sees her regularly, is reliable and pays maintenance.
It would have been very easy for me to cut him out of her life. My SW wanted me to cease contact while they assessed him, but I refused as there were no grounds on which to do that, and the SW agreed. SS closed the case soon after. That was 5 years ago now.
In the years that have followed, I have married my current partner and had a baby with him. Having contact with my ex has, at times, severely affected my mental health. So I really do understand where you are coming from.
But this is unacceptable. Your DD is too young to know what a a nrp "should" do, and I fear that the negativity she is displaying is actually happening because she thinks that it is what YOU want her to feel towards her dad. Regardless of his flakeyness or any history between you two, he has a right to a relationship with her, and more importantly, she has a right to a relationship with him. If he turns out to be an arsehole, she needs to learn that for herself, and you need to give her the chance to do that.
You need to seriously look at your behaviour to make sure you are not bad mouthing him to her, it can be subtle and you may be doing it unintentionally.
You have no right to phase him out. If you think contact is bad go to family court for it to changed but you have no right to do it.
I think you sound very manipulative
Its the ex that is manipulative.. 'No I'm too busy, you didn't want to see me yesterday' ...to a 5 year old.girl?
Ummm when have I said that i've been with DP under a year?
It's an assumption based on the fact you were posting about being single and various dating issues on the relationships board last year. Now, less than 12 months later, you're living happily ever after and your exdp is now surplus to requirements.
And maybe this little girl is seeing how a parent 'should' be from living with her step father? Not from what the mum might say to her. That's what happened with us, ee realised (at 4 and 6) that our step dad never said mean things or made us feel guilty or bad. So something was wrong with our dad, my mum never bad mouthed him.
I'd be worried about a DP who is happy to allow/encourage use of the word "dad" when there is a real dad, and he himself has known her for less than a year. Let her dad be her dad, it doesn't do anyone any favours to try and replace him.
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