His kids - AIBU(51 Posts)
I am struggling to understand and agree with my partners attitude to his children. We have been together for a nearly a year and we have talked about marrying and having children next year. However, I cannot relate to his relationship with his kids nor am I sure I can have children with someone whose values differ so far from mine.
The background is that he and his wife split over 2 years ago. He claims that she would not let him see the kids despite him trying - he couldn't really explain to me how he had tried aside from going to her parents house to try and find her address. He did not seek legal advice.
When we met I said that I sympathised with his situation but I could not see myself with someone that had not exhausted every angle to retain a relationship with their kids. He eventually emailed her to ask to visit and thus fortnightly visits of about 5hrs were established.
I told him how pleased I was that he had starting seeing children again and after a couple of months, asked him if he thought about either ringing them during the week or on the weekends that he doesn't see them for a chat and he said 'they don't need that'. I asked him if he had any plans to see them over their half term and he said 'no-one's said anything to me'; he's off over the half term week.
When I ask him how he feels about the level of involvement he has in the lives of his kids he just says that he wasn't the one that took them away. I understand this but try and talk to him from the angle that it wasn't the kids choice to be taken away either.
From the day we met he told me how much he misses his children and even now still gets upset when he thinks about his kids. I know that he found the break up of his marriage difficult, especially as his wife did not and has not given him a reason for why she left. I feel that he cannot separate the children from the situation with his ex and the hurt that he still feels.
My children are my life. I'd walk over hot coals, sell my house/body/car to fund legal fees for access if needs be. I just find his ability to be satisfied with 5hrs every two weeks just bizarre and rather selfish. A couple of my friends say that this is just how men are but the only other man I have been in a relationship with that had kids, called his child daily, had her to stay every other weekend and met her after school for dinner one night a week.
I'm just interested in other people's views as I wonder if I am being unreasonable in my expectations.
No I couldn't respect someone who was so unbothered about contact with his kids. And I certainly wouldn't want a relationship with them and definitely not start a family. Does he pay for them?
It's easy to say you miss your kids to gain sympathy....but unless you follow that up with actual effort then it means fuck all.
He doesn't sound like a very good catch for a long term partner you want to have kids with.
Do not marry this man or have children with this man. If you are already this incompatible it will not work out long term
So when he emailed to ask to see them, did the ex put up a fight or try to prevent it in any way? i get the impression she didn't stop him seeing them, he just couldn't be bothered. I do have sympathy for parents who are genuinely prevented from seeing their kids and who cannot afford to fight or feel that it would hurt the children more to do so. But it doesn't sound like that's his situation.
Does he live a long way from his dc? Trying to understand why only 5 hours every fortnight. Dh wrangled over regular access and had it written into his divorce agreement: every Sunday and once a month for an overnight stop. As time went on he wasn't 100% happy with this and over the years has taken issue lots of times to improve his holiday access etc. He has never taken it through the courts but has often discussed things with his ex without any cajoling from me. On the face of it, he sounds like a bit of a loser op, sorry. What's he like with paying maintenance?
OP your instincts are right.
I'd be very, very, wary of any man who seemed so removed from his DCs lives. It sounds as if contact was instigating because of you and if you hadn't encouraged it, it probably wouldn't happen. Overall a selfish and worrying attitude.
How much contact did he have with his children before the split?
I only ask because I know some fathers in jobs with long hours that barely have anything to do with their children, despite them being in perfectly stable marriages. I can see that if they were to split with their wives they'd barely know what to do with their children for five hours at a time, especially if the visits coincided with a lot of past hurt resurfacing because of having to see the ex.
I'm not making excuses for him at all, just trying to understand. In your position I'd be very wary of having children with a man who has proved he's not a great Dad.
Yanbu, I could never be with a man who readily accepted not seeing his children. Please do not have kids with him.
My ex is not perfect but he'd do everything in his power to stop me taking DS away from him (not that I ever would). Your friends sound like idiots and it's depressing that women are so ready to accept this kind of behaviour. A good parent wouldn't rest until they got to have a relationship with their child.
Same here. Mmy ex hardly sees them and I cannot understand how his ex girl friend or his new wife would want anything to do with a man who pays nothing and doesn't see them. May be these women just like the convenience of not having children around and the extra money they have because their new man isn't supporting his children but it amazes me any woman would want a man who was like that with his children.
I would be as concerned in your position.
But just to play devil's advocate - maybe he just finds it too painful to only be a small part of his children's lives and has dealt with it by detaching.
I think it's a bit of a worry that he's only got in touch when his new girlfriend has persuaded him to.
I know someone who was unfortunately married to someone like this. She believed his protestations about not seeing his children from his first marriage because it was all his ex-wife's fault/she'd make it difficult for their own kids/he'd tried and tried and now it was for the best to walk away etc.
Guess how much he's seen the children from that second marriage now they're divorced too?
Yeah. Leopards...spots etc.
From the day we met he told me how much he misses his children and even now still gets upset when he thinks about his kids. I know that he found the break up of his marriage difficult, especially as his wife did not and has not given him a reason for why she left.
That's what he's SAID. But it's not how he's ACTED, is it? I couldn't trust him, OP.
My dp has a huge amount of paperwork where he fought through the courts for years to see his eldest. Every time things looked like they might progress dsds mum would move house again. It took nearly four years of courts, contact centres and driving miles for a few hours contact until he finally got her for weekends and holidays. This is a man who made the effort and now she is 19 and they have a good relationship. She doesn't speak to her mum at all.
Your partner sounds apathetic. Much like my ex who has turned down offer of a contact centre and now hasn't seen dd for a year.
When I first got with partner, I was young and he had children from his previous relationship. He always without fail saw his kids at the weekend , if there was plans to be made for us over that time then he'd cancel as he would never cancel seeing his children. He'd even pop in during the week to see them. When I had our son he still had his children over the following night , and when I had our daughter he still went and had lunch with his children that day like he usually does on a Saturday.
Some woman would see this as a problem but I never have as it gives me the confidence that should we ever split the kids won't have to deal with a father who they see irregularly or cancels.
This is what you've got to consider ,do you feel confident that he'll be a good father to your children ?
My ex is a total pain in the butt- he always wanting to see/speak to/pick up our DCs...I wouldn't change it for the world!
I agree that you need to speak with him- it might be the rejection he fears.
*a good father to your children if you were ever to split?
Yanbu. But ywbu to stay with him when it became obvious he hadn't tried everything he could. And Yabu to discuss marriage and kids.
You have always known he is a tit and a failure as a father.
My Dad was (is) like this. I finally went NC this year (age 37). It has screwed me up a bit to be honest. I would not have children with a man like this. For years I excused his behaviour with "oh he's just a bit weak", "he didn't know how to handle the situation" etc. As a parent myself now, I now know that nothing should stop you wanting to see your kids. My sympathy has been all used up.
YANBU and I would end the relationship over it.
Words are cheap. I get this with my inlaws. They can talk the talk but dont actually do anything.
Regardless of what you think about him not seeing his kids, how do you feel about your kids not seeing their siblings?
Its not about him at the end of the day - its about how his kids are missing out and how your kids would miss out on important relationships.
It would always be in the back of my mind what would happen if you split up too.
Don't do it.
My ex hasn't seen our son for 11 years. Although he will tell anyone who will listen how it's all my fault and that I kept our son from him and went back on promise after promise. Bollocks. I told him to see his son as soon as we split- he refused unless I was coming home. No- We are done, however you are still his father. Nothing. He doesn't call (even though I've offered to pay for a phone card for him), doesn't e-mail or send cards on birthdays or christmases.. Doesn't send support. He's a bum.
Don't fall for his words- look at his actions. The only reason he has the contact with is kids atm is because you pushed him into it. Now he makes every excuse not to do anything but the bare minimum. Don't have kids with him, don't marry him.
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