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To refuse face to face meetings with EA ex?

(244 Posts)
GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 19:05:24

My ex is an emotionally abusive cunt.

He is very manipulative, good at leading conversations in the direction he wants them to go, an expert in stopping me dead in my tracks and leaving me completely muddled as to what I was trying to say, and talking me round to agreeing with him. I don't know how he does it, but he is very good at it. After conversations with him I am always left feeling that I am the bad person and that he is right, even though I may have been adamant before talking to him that I was right, or at lest that I had a valid point!

It has meant that I have agreed to a child living arrangement that I am not happy with but can't go back on (he would never agree), and am struggling to get divorced because he is stalling over and over again.

For everything that I email him about (kids starting after school clubs, Christmas arrangements etc etc) he emails back to say that it would be easier to discuss these things in person. Obviously he feels this because he knows he can manipulate me if I agree to meet him, so I don't want to meet him.

He thinks I am being completely unreasonable, and has a go at me saying I can't even be grown up enough to meet him to discuss things for the sake of our children.

Am I being unreasonable, or am I justified in continuing to communicate via email?

VioletCharlotte Tue 05-Sep-17 19:12:46

He sounds just like my ex. He always tried to use the 'lets sit down and discuss this face to face like adults' line as he knew this was an opportunity to intimidate me and try to control me. Don't give in. Keep everything on email, stick to the facts and ignore him if he starts getting nasty. It also means you've got a written record of anything he says. It took me a long time to get here, I'm for years I felt I should try and engage with him for the kids sake, but it does you no good whatsoever.

ChickenBhuna Tue 05-Sep-17 19:18:18

YANBU op.I refused mediation with my abusive ex.

I wanted all access arrangements put through court and finalised in a court order. I do not regret that decision one little bit! Everything was deat with very fairly for BOTH parents.

Didactylos Tue 05-Sep-17 19:22:53

You are not unreasonable at all
but dont bother try and explain why to him, as he will not accept the problem or your perceptions, and it will be more grist to his mill of twisting your emotions
Look up grey rock and think of it as a strategy
Your reasons for not meeting up and making arrangements are entirely valid

try this tack
our relationship is over and I am very happy to concentrate on being co parents for the benefit of the children but meeting up (outside of events we both attend for our children) is not necessary

It is much easier and clearer for everyone if we communicate via email
We can both raise and respond to issues and changes in a timely and considered manner, rather than waste time trying to arrange mutually convenient times and places to meet.
It also always have a record of what is agreed between us thus preventing any misunderstandings or miscommunications
I look forward to your thoughts on the following issues (stick a bullet pointed list in with Christmas, childcare etc)

How do you think he would react to a similar message - upbeat, practical, matter of fact, and no emotional involvement at all

GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 19:27:19

Didactylos would you suggest sending that in an email to him? TBH I was hoping someone might come up with something I could send because I wasn't sure whether to be clear and tell him I have no interest in ever meeting him to discuss things, or not broach it and just ignore his requests to meet.

His initial response to that would probably be very accusational and telling me I am completely unreasonable and pathetic. Whether he would engage thereafter I'm not sure. But if he doesn't, that's his problem.

Jammydodger81 Tue 05-Sep-17 19:38:21

Yep, had exactly the same here. I told him outright he was abusive so I had no interest in seeing him plus wanted everything agreed in writing so it was clear for both sides.

He'd pushed me to the point where I no longer cared about protecting his feelings so just told the truth.

If he does respond telling you you're unreasonable and pathetic respond with the line 'this is exactly what I'm talking about'.

Cut mine off dead smile

mummmy2017 Tue 05-Sep-17 19:50:10

Great idea.
Mine changed his tune the day I ripped of an email to tell him what I really thought of him.
Tell him you see no benefit in meeting him when all your concerns are brushed aside and feel email is the way forwards...

violetbunny Tue 05-Sep-17 20:09:29

I wouldn't put what Didactylos wrote in an email (even though it makes perfect sense) as it will come across that you are trying to reason with him. There is no reasoning with someone like this. You need to be firm and assertive. Just say no, and that you will only communicate with him via email.

category12 Tue 05-Sep-17 20:16:26

Practice saying "no". Practice "that won't work for me". Disengage from him emotionally - you do not need to explain yourself to him, make him see your point of view or please him.

You don't need to meet to discuss things, so don't. "That won't work for me. I will send you the details by email." End conversation.

Didactylos Tue 05-Sep-17 20:44:02

I think violet is probably right in that there are too many openings in that email suggestion for him to pick at you over

go shorter and simpler and get the message of I am not meeting with you but heres what needs doing
I am sure a few minds on this thread can thrash out a useful email

How about (much simpler)
I will not be meeting with you, and will continue to communicate regarding the children by email. (I dont think this gives a reason that could be argued against, its a simple statement)
We need to finalise arrangements for x, y and z. At present I have made A arrangement for holiday club, and suggest one of plans B or C for Christmas.
Please let me know any alterations to these arrangements you would suggest.

And sit back and wait for the storm

GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 21:27:41

You don't need to meet to discuss things, so don't. "That won't work for me. I will send you the details by email." End conversation.

I will definitely try and use this.

I'm not much good at saying no to him. He makes me feel terrible when I do. But at least if he sends the torrent of abuse in an email I can show it to my solicitor if required, and the written word tends to sting less than the spoken.

ChickenBhuna Tue 05-Sep-17 21:29:04

Op , you just have to be business like with him and learn to say no , you will not meet with him.

I always imagine I'm having a discussion with a difficult parent (I work with kids) when I do have to converse with him. It tends to go something like this -
"...because you're such a proactive parent I thought you'd like to know that dd has taken up cello lessons , they take place on Wednesdays and she'd really love it if you could take her/pick her up. I just know you'll enjoy meeting her new music teacher and taking an active role! Shall I tell dd you're happy to support her?" Or something like that.

If he's pushing for anything he wants (that genuinely doesn't work for me or dd) I become fake busy and offer to contact him later. I thank him for his patience. My contact is always in writing if I feel the conversation has been designed to back me into a corner.

In short op , he's given up trying to push me because I won't have it and I'm wasting too much of his time by not being a yes person anymore.

ferriswheel Tue 05-Sep-17 21:30:45

I inadvertently achieved this by seeking support from Women's Aid.

Maelstrop Tue 05-Sep-17 21:40:36

Short as possible so he has no answer. Something like ' I do not wish to continue any sort of contact with you so will only be using email to communicate'. Don't let him drag you into meeting, all he's doing is trying to control you and annoy you.

If you aren't happy with the childcare arrangements, then switch them back. When he wants to rearrange this, email with 'I will not be changing the new arrangement, it is better for the children'. Keep telling him no to my demands for meetings.

Maelstrop Tue 05-Sep-17 21:41:33

*any, not my! Ffs.

Butterymuffin Tue 05-Sep-17 21:44:30

Has the childcare arrangement you're not happy with gone through court?

Goldmandra Tue 05-Sep-17 21:54:08

You don't owe him any explanation. You don't need him to understand.

Nothing you say will make him see your point of view because he has no interest in making anything right for you.

Every explanation you offer is just an opportunity for him to abuse you further.

Give him what he is entitled to in terms of information and communication about the children and nothing more.

No matter what he says or how angry he makes you, don't react or lash out because that just tells him that he needs to do more of that thing to get to you.

Booboobooboo84 Tue 05-Sep-17 21:57:07

'I have made the decision that it is the best interest of the children that we communicate via email from now on. This means we will both have a written agreement with regards to their care and welfare and will allow us both to take advice and consider everything before agreeing to anything. Please stop asking to meet face to face or speak by phone as it simply won't be happening. I have made the decision and will not be discussing it further'

GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 22:04:09

booboo I like that. I'll take out he first hit about it being in the best interests of the children, because no doubt he would disagree.

Booboobooboo84 Tue 05-Sep-17 22:07:45

That's up to you and he can disagree as much as he likes. Because you will send the message once and then you won't engage in a discussion on it. Seriously he suggests meeting again you ignore it.


To dexh carol concert on the 4th will you be attending.
Reply dexh can't we talk face to face. Grow up blah blah bollucks.
To dexh as you haven't said you need a ticket I haven't booked you one but you can contact the school direct.

Don't respond to the bullshit. And he will break and fall into line

GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 22:09:12

Before we split we went to mediation twice to sort out living arrangements for the children. There was a time pressure to come up with an agreement because I was moving out of the house and I (stupidly) thought we had to agree something before I moved. I didn't realise that as resident parent I could basically set the contact and if he wanted to change it and I disagreed, he would need to take me to court. Nobody told me that. So I agreed to something I wasn't happy with. And then in the January, still not knowing my rights as resident parent, the contact with him increased. The split now is about 60:40 with 50:50 in the holidays. He still wants a 50:50 split. I would prefer to change it so the children have a firm, main base with me and visit him, because at the moment they are 2 days here and 2 days there and as one DC has likely ASD I don't think our current arrangement is best for him. I would have to go to court to change it as there is no way ex would reduce contact, and the danger of taking it to court is that they might award 50;50 or some other settlement I am not happy with. So at the moment it stays as it is, even though it's not what I want. So no, it's not a court decision.

SummerHols2017 Tue 05-Sep-17 22:13:36

Hi, have to say couldn't read all messages as I got a bit wound up on op behalf, but agree with Category12. My exh was/is exactly the same, wont go into detail but, from my experience, do not entertain "meet ups" they are for his benefit only (to manipulate, intimidate and belittle i.e continue the abuse). All correspondence via e-mail NO EMOTION EVER (very important) if you must, just say loosely, email works better as you are tied up with the dc and very busy. Very short sharp emotionless interactions. (I learned the hard way.) Also, I would ask my solicitor to send a very strongly worded letter to his, regarding him trying to stall divorce proceedings (i.e controlling you again). Look after yourself and the dc, be strong, you've got this.

RaincloudOfDoom Tue 05-Sep-17 22:51:12

if he can't articulate his thoughts over email, that's his problem. If you aren't civil, there is no benefit to your children whatsoever in face to face meetings. You're right - he's good at thinking on his feet, so that's how he wants to deal with you. Email gives you time to breathe and think things through, no keeping you on your toes. Stick to your guns. It's not normal for an acrimoniously split couple to meet about their children.

GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 22:56:58

Jammydodger did you not find that telling him he was abusive inflamed things more? I think my ex would be appalled if I said he was abusive (he wouldn't consider himself to be)

goldmandra yes you are completely right that he doesn't have any interest in making anything right for me, and he enjoys meeting in person because he always manages to make me angry, or get some sort of emotional response from me. I can see now that he would enjoy that. I almost emailed him straight back today when he asked to talk face to face, but it would have been in anger and he would have known he had got to me. I haven't yet replied, but when I will I will make sure it is calm and unemotional.

GoldenOrb Tue 05-Sep-17 22:59:47

SummerHols thank you, and I'm sorry your ex is the same. The last contact my solicitor had with his was a letter with a deadline about sorting the house out. If he doesn't stick to the deadline I am taking him to court. It's been going on for over a year now, and I've had enough.

Raincloud he thinks that we can be best friends at the end of this, and have family days together. He is in a fucking dream World!

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