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Disagreement over contact arrangements who IBU?

(27 Posts)
BobTheDuvet Thu 07-Mar-19 23:23:03

Ex lives 50 miles away, I moved with the children partly to get away from him due to DV. This was some time ago.

He sees dc every fortnight. There are 4dc. Dc1 has ASD and refuses to go to his dads flat at all because he can't cope with the small size of it (it's a studio flat, he has claustrophobia as well as sensory issues). The others go and sleepover there.

Because dc1 won't go and sleep over it makes contact arrangements a bit complicated. Dc1 also struggles with long car journeys due to his issues.

Younger dc go and sleepover fri/sat and then ex sees all dc on the Sunday. I do one of the journeys and ex does the other. I have a car and ex does not.

Ex wants to come and collect younger children from their village school on Friday and take them back to his place (a 3hr journey on several buses and a train) and for me to drive dc1 to him on Sunday so he can take dc out in his town and then me to drive them home again on Sunday evening.

I want to drop them off to him on Friday in the car (a 2hr car journey) and for him to bring younger dc back to our town on Sunday morning when they're fresh and take them out in our town with dc1.

My logic is that the young ones are exhausted on Fri night so a car journey then is easier for them, they would not have to do a long journey on Sunday night when they have school he next day, and dc1 could avoid the car journey altogether.

His logic is that they need to spend time at his flat, and that I just want to arrange things around my own weekend plans.

Dc1 will have a meltdown if I/we try to persuade him to spend time in his dads flat, and will likely refuse to do so (he did this last time).

Obv it is Friday tomorrow, and it is problematic for all the dc, especially so for dc1 that plans are not agreed for this weekend.

Ex asked me on weds if I would drop younger dc at his on Friday which I agreed to do, then later on weds evening said actually I should drop them on sat morning which I agreed to do, now today he wants to collect them as per above, which I think is madness.

Who IBU?

Eatmycheese Thu 07-Mar-19 23:37:13

A three hour journey on public transport after school On aFriday is bloody awful.

Shelby2010 Thu 07-Mar-19 23:45:59

What does he expect you to do on Sunday after you’ve dropped the DC off? Do you have to do the round trip again to pick them up or hang around all day waiting for them?

Your journey sounds more efficient, one round trip for you & one round trip for him. Unless he will bring them back on Sunday evening?

sweeneytoddsrazor Thu 07-Mar-19 23:58:47

Well what is public transport like on a Sunday would be the first question. Its nit uncommon for buses and trains to run far less frequently on a Sunday. They would have to be up relatively early to be with you by Sunday lunch time and this wouldn't give him a long visit with DC1 before he has to make the 3 hour journey home.

icouldwriteabook Fri 08-Mar-19 00:03:43

I think a new agreement needs to be made. You moved away so yes you should be prepared to make some journeys or if not most, especially as he doesn’t drive and you chose to move 50 miles away knowing this. however maybe just talk to him about DC1 feelings or even all 3 of you sit and talk this weekend if that’s possible so your DC1 can speak for himself and your ex doesn’t feel like you’re being awkward about it. It is unfair to want him to do everything in ‘your town’ when he likes the children to spend time at his place, and he may not be able to afford anything but a flat, doesn’t mean the children can’t enjoy their time there. If he’s willing to be in their lives and see them often then it’s a small comprise for twice a month?

Sounds very confusing and hope you get it sorted smile

BobTheDuvet Fri 08-Mar-19 06:06:19

Sadly sitting and talking in a reasonable manner is not possible with ex. He is volatile and abusive and it would not be a positive or beneficial experience for anyone.

The 3 hours includes an hour to get from the children's school to the train station (they go to a village school with an infrequent bus service), and traffic on the buses at the other end since he lives in a large city and traffic on a Friday rush hour is horrific.
The bus service in his city is outstanding and they are frequent throughout the week including Sunday, so the journey on a Sunday morning would be more like 1.5hrs and the children would not be tired then like they would be on Friday night.

If dc1 were able to cope with going to ex's flat then I would be willing to take him there to do so, but he is not and trying to persuade him would result in meltdown.

I strongly suspect that ex's motive is to try to get me to give him a lift from school to the station on Friday and then to orchestrate a situation where I take he younger children and leave him with just dc1 for the day on Sunday. I cannot be in a car with ex and I don't want that fact to be shoved in the dcs faces. I don't feel safe around him unless in a public place. sad

Mistigri Fri 08-Mar-19 07:25:33

Why not let him try the 3 hour journey by public transport? Kids will probably think it's an adventure if it's a one off - with a bit of luck it'll put him off doing it again. Especially with return trip on a Sunday when buses will be less frequent.

Easterbunnyiscomingsoon Fri 08-Mar-19 07:29:29

Ex could rent an air B&B in the middle of both homes? Prob cheaper than travel costs!

BobTheDuvet Fri 08-Mar-19 07:41:00

Well, I still don't know who IBU, but I've said that I'm not willing to distress dc1 by taking him to his dads flat, when we both know from experience that dc1 will not go in and will likely meltdown. The effects from his distress and meltdown will negatively affect him and the other dc, and will likely negatively affect him at school the following day - which he struggles with hugely in any case.

Basically I will not rock the boat for the hell of it, and so if ex wants to collect them that is fine but he will still have to bring them back on Sunday so that he can see dc1 in a way that dc1 can cope with.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 08-Mar-19 07:48:49

Neither suggestion is unreasonable given the set of circumstances. Would it not be possible to do his way one contact weekend and then your way the next. Then continue alternating.

CoolJule43 Fri 08-Mar-19 08:41:31

If think you are being a bit unreasonable.

You moved 50 miles away from your ex some time ago due to not wanting to be near him due to the DV you experienced.

My thoughts:
1) Are your children safe with him? (He isn't violent towards them is he?).
2) If safe to be with them then you need to facilitate him seeing them as you are the one that moved away (albeit with good reason).
3) Although travelling by bus & train on Fridays EOW may make them tired, it is also good for DC to not always be ferried around by car. It will help them to be more independent later on and,as someone else said, it will probably be an adventure.
4) They will get to be part of the real world where they see others on the buses & trains and they will learn about others rather than be insulated. It will be a great learning ground for them.
5) It is a shame you couldn't give ex and your DC a lift to the station every other Friday as this would cut down your DC's journey time and perhaps make them less tired. Could you not do this to help your DC? What if he was in back of the car with sone of them?
6) But, if there's no way you can do this due to your fear then just make sure he knows in advance that it is never going to happen.
6) Why can"t he have the DCs Friday evening to Sunday morning with him picking them up and you collecting them and dropping off DC1 to spend the day with him? He then brings DC1 home.
Better for him to see all of them and he could dedicate his time better to DC1 if alone.

I can see it is problematic and don't envy you this situation but YABU to expect him to bring DCs home to spend Sunday in your town.

Travis1 Fri 08-Mar-19 08:54:08

@cooljule43 did you miss the son with ASD who struggles with long car journeys and meltsdown at the prospect of entering his Dads property?

OP I think you are doing the right thing. Your son needs his routine and consistency and it's not worth screwing his week up just to appease some need of your ex husband.

flitwit99 Fri 08-Mar-19 10:15:14

I would let ex pick them up from school this time. Maybe (trying to think the best of him) he wants to be involved a bit in their school life and I think that's fair. They might enjoy the journey. Ex might find the journey a nightmare and not want to do it again. You won't know until you try.

As for dc1, how old is he? Is he old enough that his opinion carries weight? I don't think it's unreasonable of ex to want to have all his kids at his place, and if he's already willingly compromised on not having dc1 overnight you should really try to facilitate a day in his dad's town (obviously saying this with no idea how badly dc1 would react).

Lemond1fficult Fri 08-Mar-19 13:32:28

I can't believe some of the answers on here. If OP moved away for her own convenience (new job, partner, on a whim) that would be one thing. But she was forced to move because he is violent and aggressive and she is scared of him. In what realm of ridiculousness does she owe him a flipping thing? It's HIS fault she can't share a car because she is too frightened to be alone with him.

OP - I think you are doing a great job. Children first, then self, then everyone else, THEN your violent ex-H who doesn't deserve a thing.

BobTheDuvet Fri 08-Mar-19 16:24:24

I hear what you all are saying (apart from I should be a car with him for the dc sake - that would not benefit the dc, really it wouldn't)

I offered to do his suggestion next contact weekend but said for this weekend it's now too late to change what he said was fine in Tuesday.

He has responded that yes - he did say I should drop them off tonight on Tuesday but he didn't confirm it and then he realised that I wanted it that way to suit my social schedule, so he had to change it since I was manipulating him. He said if only I'd been honest and told him what I was doing then he might have agreed, but he now has no choice but to cancel this weekends contact.

I'm afraid that having received an email (before the latest) that reduced me to tears because it was basically like living with him again, with him telling me how selfish and awful I am and how contact must be how he says just because - I realised that I have to stick to my boundaries. One of my boundaries is that I won't be kept hanging until the last second for him to dictate the details of contact and if I keep letting that happen it will keep happening. It's not good for the dc, particularly dc1 and the other dc suffer when he has a major meltdown.

So maybe IABU, but I feel like it is important for the dc that I maintain my own mental health. I believe that I am putting them first - purely for their own best interests and also for their secondary interests of not seeing me being walked all over by ex. I left, I got away, and I need to keep getting away while he continues to try to control me.

So providing it can be agreed well in advance I am willing to alternate between his suggestion and mine on alternating contact weekends, but not to agree to last minute plan changes, and I won't get into a situation where I feel I have to run my weekend plans past him for his approval.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 08-Mar-19 18:34:05

I think what you offered was very fair considering the originally arrangements were made earlier in the week, you had tried to compromise by offering his suggestion next time.
He is angry, because he asked you to jump and you didn't ask how high.
Keep all the emails.

endofthelinefinally Fri 08-Mar-19 18:43:10

He is abusive and controlling.
You need professional support.
Do you have proof of his violence?
Speak to Womens' Aid.
Post on the relationships board where you will get advice from women who have been through similar.
He is manipulating you and nothing you do will be good enough. Your dc's mental health must come first.

BobTheDuvet Fri 08-Mar-19 18:45:43

Thanks. This whole week he has been attempting to gaslight me by email. The trouble with that (for him) is that I can look back over the emails, as can others who have sense checked it for me, and it is clearly there is black and white that he is lying and telling me that I have said things and he has said things that have simply not been said.

Abuse thrives in darkness, keeping all contact written shines a lovely light over it all. smile

BobTheDuvet Fri 08-Mar-19 18:48:34

No proof of violence - he was charged but acquitted. He's a very convincing liar. But I do have support, thanks.

10IAR Fri 08-Mar-19 18:53:14

So maybe IABU, but I feel like it is important for the dc that I maintain my own mental health. I believe that I am putting them first - purely for their own best interests and also for their secondary interests of not seeing me being walked all over by ex. I left, I got away, and I need to keep getting away while he continues to try to control me

I think you ought to print this off and read it every time you feel this way.

YANBU, at all, it is clear that you have considered what will be best for your children. It also sounds like he is using contact and the conversation around it to continue abusing you. That is pretty standard but in no way acceptable.

Your mental health matters, absolutely it does. Your children need you to be ok, so taking care of your mental health is really important. For you too!

YANBU AT ALL.

RandomMess Fri 08-Mar-19 19:03:08

Keep those boundaries!!!

If there is no CO you are going above and beyond by doing anything more than making DC available for contact thanks

Lemond1fficult Fri 08-Mar-19 19:15:26

** '*and then he realised that I wanted it that way to suit my social schedule, so he had to change it since I was manipulating him. He said if only I'd been honest and told him what I was doing then he might have agreed, but he now has no choice but to cancel this weekends contact.*'

This bit ^^ shows his main desire is to control you from afar, not to see his children. In a normal co-parenting arrangement, it would be none of his damn business what you do when he has contact. I respect that you want to keep normality for your dc, but don't know a single abusive partner who was also a good parent.

You should make him get CO contact to sort this out once and for all, and cut off all other contact. It might not fix the problem, but you'll start to be in more control.

BobTheDuvet Fri 08-Mar-19 19:35:49

Thanks, I'm glad I've articulated some of my thoughts/feelings on this thread, it's helpful. It was also helpful that I met with professionals involved - impartial professionals - and they independently expressed their view that he is demonstrably still trying to control me.

I don't actually feel like a CO would help to make things more manageable since it would oblige me to do things but not him. He would still be free to chop and change as he wishes and mess us around. So I will behave as if one were in place, maintain my boundaries carefully and not agree to chopping and changing.

DeathyMcDeathStarFace Sat 09-Mar-19 00:03:25

Can you pick the 3 children who will be staying overnight up from school on a Friday and take them to the train station? Ex can meet you and them there and take them to his house by public transport. This way it is a quicker trip for the children (so better for them) and you don't have ex in the car, he just comes to the station to meet rather than getting them from school (so no ex in the car to make problems for you and the children, better for you and them.)

You could also do a meet half way on the return journey on Sunday, then all contact between you and ex will be in public places - train or bus stations. Not how how dc1 seeing dad will fit in though.

How old is dc1? Are they old enough to choose whether or not to see their dad, if they don't want to go to his flat they might ultimately decide not to see him if there is nowhere they feel comfortable doing so. Would ex be more amenable to altering plans if he thought he was not going to see dc1 if he wasn't more flexible, or would he try to use it against you?

ReanimatedSGB Sat 09-Mar-19 00:11:24

YANBU, you are dealing with a manipulative prick and, TBH, the less contact the DC have with him, the better. As to the car journeys, would it be possible to have a friend or family member travel with you so that Dickface can't hurt or harass you while you're driving? They would probably only need to do it a few times before Dickhead realises that he isn't going to be able to use 'needing you to drive' as an opportunity to bother you.

Also, the thing with a court order is that it obliges you to make DC available on the agreed dates, but you are not obliged to run around obeying when your abusive XP keeps changing things. Please get support from WA, your family and friends in order to block and stonewall this man as much as possible. As DC get older, their views get taken more into account and there will come a point where they can refuse to have anything to do with him.

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