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Manipulative and intrusive friend using our DC

(70 Posts)
LoveToReadAibu247 Sun 16-Apr-17 23:57:01

Background: My DH has a friend who's divorced and has a 6 year old son from that marriage. We have 3 DC, the older two are 6 and 4 and usually enjoy playing with most of our friends' children, including this boy. I get along with the boy's mum who DH and I have known for many years even before the breakup. My DH has been friends with this boy's dad for many years. The boy is obviously more attached to his mum as when the breakup happened he was still very young and the father was working abroad. Now that DH's friend is back in the country he is trying hard to spend time with his son and be involved in his life. All good and actually none of my business, neither do I want it to be.

We usually see this boy and his mum every couple of months for play dates, birthdays etc. However since his dad (DH's friend) has been back in the county my DH is getting phone calls very frequently (every other day sometimes) asking if our children can meet to play. His friend often suggests going out to a nearby fun fare which naturally gets young children very excited. The thing is sometimes it is not convenient for us to meet (we also have a 4month old baby now) or we may just want to stay in to relax rather than spend an afternoon and lots of money on electronic games at a loud fun fare . My DH ends up saying yes to him most of the times as friend has no other friends with children that age and DH feels sorry for the boy. I am however extremely annoyed that DH's friend seems to be using my DH's kindness and our DC to keep his son happy with him on the days he has contact with him (up to now his son would often refuse being with him as he finds it boring). I get that he is DH's friend and things must be difficult for him, but for me this is getting overbearing. Especially as DH finds it hard to say no. Instead of spending quality one to one time with his son building a much needed bond, DH's friend insists on meeting with us so our DC can play.

Today DH and I went as far as having an argument over the frequency of these meetings when his friend phoned to invite us again. I said I can't do this so frequently and DH said he is doing it for the boy's sake. I am very close to ringing the boy's mum (who I know well) and asking her how to tackle this. She may not know this is happening on the contact days of her DS with his dad and honestly I hate to tell on DH's friend in this way. I don't want to be rude or unfair to DH's friend. But he is manipulative and intrusive. I am hoping the mum can talk to her son and explain he doesn't need to go with his dad just because he is promising a fun time with our children. However if I do this I will risk being disliked by DH's friend if he finds out I talked with his ex about this. DH's friend will need to find a more honest way to inspire his son. AIBU? What would you suggest i do? My DH will never be firm or impolite to his friend so not really an option.

chastenedButStillSmiling Mon 17-Apr-17 00:02:40

Sometimes say yes, other times say no (depending on what suits you) but always make it clear that the funfair isn't an option unless it is.

Perhaps you and your DH can model some playing with all the children so the dad can learn to entertain his kid himself?

RedHelenB Mon 17-Apr-17 00:03:40

Yabu- no need to interfere andvinvokve mum if dh is happy to see him fine. Let him take the children and you have a rest

Birdsgottaf1y Mon 17-Apr-17 00:04:50

Well he isn't really 'doing it for the boys sake', because the Dad needs to bond properly and get to know the son better and work out what to do when he has him.

Put it to your DH that he's allowing him to get away with lazy Parenting. I bet his ex isn't fully happy. There's been quite a few threads on similar situations and they've wanted to stop contact over it.

If it's encroaching on your family time,then you've got to spell it out,that your DH needs to prioritise his family, over his friend.

Cherrysoup Mon 17-Apr-17 00:05:55

YABU to phone the mum. You need to talk to your dh and tell him his friend is using your DC. He should be coming up with some of his own ideas on how to entertain his own child, it's unfair to rely on you constantly.

ChristianGreysAnatomy Mon 17-Apr-17 00:10:24

If your DH feels sorry for the boy, but agrees that the requests are too frequent, perhaps you could suggest that your DH says No but makes other suggestions for his friend - "why don't you take your son to X activity/film/event/etc - we are busy but our kids have enjoyed that in the past." - that kinds of thing? Your DH has to start saying no somehow.
Personally I wouldn't call the mum except as the absolute last resort as you will get all tangled up in other people's business.

Witchend Mon 17-Apr-17 00:14:10

I don't think this is manipulative nor intrusive.
He probably thinks your dc enjoy it as much as his does.
Maybe he'd like to do it sometimes on his won, but thinks you'll be upset if he doesn't ask.

I am hoping the mum can talk to her son and explain he doesn't need to go with his dad just because he is promising a fun time with our children
I think what you're asking is actually quite nasty. You're telling the dm that the only reason the ds wants to go with his df is to meet up with your children. I think that's really overstepping any possible boundaries.

It's not the dm's issue to deal with, and certainly not your job to tell her to deal with it.

If you don't want to go, then stay at home with the baby. Suggest other places you can go that you prefer-if he's not often been around young children then he may not know of places around, or realise that children would like them. I know we used to pour over the internet to find things for dc1 and not really have a clue. Dc2/3 we know enough places that suited us and them not to do that.
Or you can say no, you're busy, or needing a quiet day before school etc.

Just don't make it the other mum's business. that's not going to end well.

VimFuego101 Mon 17-Apr-17 00:18:29

I wouldn't want to go to the fun fair that regularly either. Can you find something else for them to do that would cost less and wear them all out (soft play)?

OwlOfBrown Mon 17-Apr-17 00:20:12

It sounds as though he's struggling to know what to do with a 6 year old. However, YWBU to contact the boy's mum about this. It's not her fault that her exDH doesn't know what to do and it certainly isn't her fault that you and your DH can't stand up for yourselves.

If your DH is happy with the arrangement you could just let it continue and have some time to yourself. Or you could help this guy find other things to do to entertain his child, which would really be the kindest and most helpful option. Either suggest other things you could do together or, next time he asks why not say "Sorry, we have other plans. Have you thought about taking him to x or y?" Or, maybe even better, sit down with him (or get DH to) and ask him whether he's struggling to find things to entertain his son and then talk him through a whole range of suggestions.

HowSmug Mon 17-Apr-17 00:26:39

Don't involve the Mum - it's nothing to do with her and you would look like a trouble maker.

I don't think it's rude or intrusive. If your DH keeps going then why would the friend think there was a problem. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Does you DH like going? If he doesn't then it's up to him to sort it out.

SpareASquare Mon 17-Apr-17 00:35:01

I am hoping the mum can talk to her son and explain he doesn't need to go with his dad just because he is promising a fun time with our children.
That's just nasty.
Go, or don't go but interfering that way is not ok.

I am hoping the mum can talk to her son and explain he doesn't need to go with his dad just because he is promising a fun time with our children. This is one of the most spiteful things I've read on mn, if your husband doesn't want to go on days out with his friend then he needs to decline the invite, if you feel its becoming too frequent and is stopping you having time as a family then once again your husband needs to decline the invite.

The friend is extending an invitation which is being accepted in his mind everyone is having a nice time. If you have a problem say so but don't do something so underhand.

Hidingtonothing Mon 17-Apr-17 00:47:17

Would your DH be any more likely to say no to him if you approached it from the perspective that you're concerned the friend and his son aren't getting the opportunity to build a proper relationship because they spend no time on their own? It might make him reconsider whether having your DC to play with is really such a good thing if it's preventing the LB from bonding properly with his dad.

If it's more that DH is the type who really just can't say no would he allow you to pick up any calls from his friend on the days you know he has his son (say DH is in the shower or something) and you tell him no?

Sprinklestar Mon 17-Apr-17 00:48:22

YABU. Your DH could easily say no.

nokidshere Mon 17-Apr-17 00:55:32

Sometimes it's easier and more fun to do things with other people. If your DH doesn't want to go then all he has to do is says he can't make it.

It's sounds more though like you don't want your DH to go? Speaking to the other parent is nasty and vindictive, and sounds just like you want to cause trouble.

Italiangreyhound Mon 17-Apr-17 01:05:41

LoveToRead what exactly are you asking?

AIBU to not want my kids to go to a funfair so often? YANBU

AIBU to wish my husband had the ability to say no when the situation is not convenient for us? YANBU

AIBU to be "...very close to ringing the boy's mum (who I know well) and asking her how to tackle this? YADBVVU

Do not use your friendship with this woman to stick a spanner in the works. The dad is doing (presumably) his best to make contact and remain in good contact with his son. Sadly, he is taking what he sees as the best route to do this, which is understandably inconvenient for you.

IMHO you should tell your dh that since he cannot say no then you think the best thing is to invite this guy round for a family day at home. Since your DH's inability to say no has precipotated this I think he should do the catering, from a nice spag bol lunch or a teatime of cake and sandwiches, play games and have fun as a family modelling for this guy what is possible.

At the same time I would facilitate a conversation with this man , with my dh present, while kids played elsewhere, explaining that the current situation of frequent calls and fair ground trips is not working for you as a family and he will need to change his attitude to the contact in relation to you.

Please do not go to this woman and include her in this complicated situation unless you have any genuine concerns about the parenting. I think the fact that you are considering this shows either a very nasty streak or perhaps a sense of desperation at your own dh's inability to handle this. I do hope it is the later.

This man is clearly wrong to enmesh your family in with his but if you were to carry out your plan to complain to his ex you would be doing both this man, you, and the most of all the child, a massive disservice.

Italiangreyhound Mon 17-Apr-17 01:08:20

PS, your dh is perfectly capable of saying no, he is saying no to you when you ask him to refuse these invitations.

You need to talk to him about this, and get him to do the right thing for his own family and this boy! The other dad building a big fun fair family experience with his son won't work long term, help your dh to see this.

KoalaDownUnder Mon 17-Apr-17 01:18:17

Your problem is that your DH doesn't respect your wishes re: family time, and/or that he has no spine.

Don't go stirring up trouble between this separated couple, ffs.

nursy1 Mon 17-Apr-17 01:22:32

YABU to involve this mans former wife. What will that achieve but stir up trouble.?
Agree with Italians approach.
Could you involve them in a bigger outing with other families. Could be if his son makes other friends the play dates could be shared around a bit more.

NotCarylChurchill Mon 17-Apr-17 01:37:17

I'm sorry but I'm not seeing anything manipulative or strange at all in the father's behaviour. Quite the contrary, it's very sweet and thoughtful that he's recognising how hard the transition is got his son and trying to help him by allowing him a friend around. Plus he probably sees how eager your DH is for him to have your child. It's quite possible he thinks he's doing you a big favour.

2-3 times a week max is not that much for friends of that age uk see each other.

Is there some reason you can't simply say "sorry DS can't come to play today?" Why do you need your DH to say it? If you can't, then I agree the problem is with your husband and him putting his mate ahead of you. You need to sit down with your DH and talk about this, because that level of disrespect in a marriage is not healthy.

Trying to manipulate a small child in order to interfere in a custody arrangement purely because it's inconvenient for you that your son spends time with a mate is shocking. What are you going to say anyway, "friend, I have shocking news: your ex lets his son play with a friend"? And if there is a contact order or custody agreement then yes the child does "have to go."

Italiangreyhound Mon 17-Apr-17 01:52:19

I agree with KoalaDownUnder "Your problem is that your DH doesn't respect your wishes re: family time, and/or that he has no spine."

I think you are angry with your husband and if you do speak to this other woman you could do massive damage in this boy's family, plus damage to your own relationship with your dh. Better to speak to your dh about the issues that this is throwing up.

FeralBeryl Mon 17-Apr-17 02:00:38

I'm nodding along with the always sage advice of ItalianGreyhound

Kids love other kids - fact.
Especially if there are a couple to play with. This man is clearly wanting to please his child and has the means to do so. I don't see that as manipulative?
If he remains unchallenged about frequency etc, how will he possibly know he's a fucking nuisance coming too often?

Your problem is DH but his spinelessness does not give you the right to chuck a spanner in the works of a couple who are seemingly rubbing along quite well to raise their child.
It's spiteful because you know it will cause a problem and maybe an argument between them. It has nothing at all to do with the child's mother.

kali110 Mon 17-Apr-17 02:10:20

i am hoping the mum can talk to her son and explain he doesn't need to go with his dad just because he is promising a fun time with our children
This is horrible. You want to stop him seeing his child because your dh can't say no hmm
None of what you said makes this guy sound manipulate at all.
He sounds like he wants his kid to have fun and havr his friend there to have a bit of confidence.
Just because it is inconvient to you does not mean you can try to mess this up.
How can you think that this is ok?
If you want more family time, or to meet up with less that's fine, speak to your dh.
That is your problem! Not this guy.
Your dh is capable of saying no.

kali110 Mon 17-Apr-17 02:11:34

I really hope that if you do say anything to the ex she says that it's uo to him what he does on his days with his child ( because it is!)

TheMysteriousJackelope Mon 17-Apr-17 02:33:04

Please don't call the mother.

As previous posters suggested, get your DH to tell his friend you're busy and give him some ideas on things he can do with his child. If he was abroad for much of the child's life, he may be a bit clueless on how to entertain him. Don't go out with him so frequently and he'll learn what does and doesn't work. At the very least, tell him you don't want to go to the fun fair and suggest somewhere else like the park or a museum that is free.

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