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Can someone tell me honestly if i am?

(12 Posts)
sofrustrated Sat 13-Jun-09 11:56:47

Am right in the middle of a horrible horrible divorce. Soon to be ExH is being VILE.
He has not seen DD for over six weeks as apparently he has been too busy.
There is a wildlife thing on at the local park that she wanted to go to. I told him about it and he said he would take her. It started at 11am. he said he would arrive by 10.30. I only told dd about it this morning as hes not really very reliable. Got her up, dressed, packed her bag, sun cream and hat on ready waiting by 10.30. By 10.40 me hadnt turned up so i phoned him and he said he would be there in a min. DD was getting upset asking where he was and didnt he like her anymore. At 10.50 i gave up. Put my shoes on locked up the house and walked down to the park with her myself.
He phones at 10.55 shouting at me that he has been banging on my door for 10 mins and im a bitch. I explained that he coldnt have as i had only just left the house. But if he wanted to come and meet DD in the park i would then go home.
I tried to explain to him that it was for reasons like this that he cant have DD overnight at the momment and he just told me, in front of DD to fuck off.

AIBU to expect that if he is running late he could just call? 20 mins late, to him might not seem a lot, but to a 3 year old its ages and she starts getting upset.
AIBU to expect that when he hasnt seen his DD for 6 weeks that he would at least arrive on time?
AIBU if in the future if hes more than 10 mins late, i pack us all up on the car and go out.

Its just all so frustrating.

CarGirl Sat 13-Jun-09 11:59:49

Completely understand how you feel and where you're coming from, however you need to be the bigger person, keep calm and ultra reasonable to getting a working relationship going.

Sometimes it's best to put stuff like this in writing when you are a calm about it all and always explain why x y z is in dds best interests and that m n o p is not in her best interests.

Sorry he's being so selfish and you're bearing the brunt o it.

posieparker Sat 13-Jun-09 12:01:58

Of course you're not being unreasonable.
However being right is not going to get DD to see her Dad. As hard as it is you have to remain super flexible and positive about exh for your dd's sake just to preserve their relationship.
Perhaps a little mediation would be good?

Disclaimer: I am not and have never been seperated from DH.
I could not follow my own advice and would be terrible about the situation and would have no patience for a man that told me to Fuck off in front of my DCs.

curiositykilled Sat 13-Jun-09 12:16:14

Have you tried mediation? It's so good for things like this. Clearly you are not being unreasonable because you are thinking about what is best for your daughter and not you. I think after the breakdown of a relationship it is very, very common for the absent parent to express their upset in this way - by trying to fight with you. You, unfortunately, have to try and stay calm and take it on the chin whilst protecting your daughter as musch as you can from these situations where she is being let down and sworn at. She needs to see you and her father being nice to each other and you have to try hard to protect her from the bad things.

I found it best to be as impartial and honest with my children as I could and to explain to them that their father loves them as often as I could. It can help her to know that he is just angry with you at the moment and that you are both trying to sort it out but that you don't always get it right and might both be sad and/or cross with each other while this is going on but that it is normal to be sad and cross when something difficult is happening.

It can help to make a decision that you are all going to have some space until you go to mediation as it'll give you both time to think. I would explain this to dd though as best you can so that she at least knows what is happening. My advice would be to send a letter or a text to the ex (so it doesn't decsend into a fight) saying that the current situation is clearly hard for all of you and that you feel you need someone impartial to help sort it out. That you feel it is best that you had space from each other until you had been to mediation as you really wanted both of you to maintain a good relationship with dd and that this was not happening with you trying to sort it out between you.

It is likely that he would see this as a threat and try to cause a fight but it is a perfectly reasonable action to take at this stage and you need to just ignore him pestering you and book in with a mediator for an appointment.

curiositykilled Sat 13-Jun-09 12:19:05

i.e. It's better to sacrific some time with her dad at the beginning so that you can proactively build a positive relationship between you all in the long term.

sofrustrated Sat 13-Jun-09 12:53:41

Its just so difficult. I wear myself out trying to do whats best.
As i said he hasnt seen her in ages, then he manically tried phoning her everyday and she didnt want to talk to him. But he doesnt see that its his fault she wont talk to him.. it is apparently my fault.
Ive stopped overnight visits at the momment, that has made him angry. But i feel until he shows he is trustworth and is a bit more stable and consistant with her then its not fair on her and just addes to the hurt/upset/confusion she feels.
Ive arranged a last ditch meeting with him in a public place next week. Im hoping that i can try face to face ( have done emails and phone calls but he just ignores me) to get him to understand that his actions effect how dd is feeling. That it is not my fault and that i also wont allow him to hurt her over and over again.
If it doesnt go well i will have to say about mediation

CarGirl Sat 13-Jun-09 13:06:16

If you are perceived as dictating to him whether or not he can have his dd overnight that is probably fuelling his attitude. I would strongly recommend asking for mediation now as the situation just seems to be escalating?

chegirl Sat 13-Jun-09 18:02:55

He is clearly and utterly in the wrong.

But you have also been given some very good advice about mediation, being the bigger person etc.

Its so bloody hard and its not fair.

Try and see it like this, you are not doing it for him, you are not making his stupid life easier, you are not giving in to his selfishness

You are doing it for DD, you are doing it to make her life easier, you are protecting her from his selfishness.

She will make her own mind up one day and she will pretty soon realise who is the reasonable parent.

Feel for you. A lot of us have had to deal with this at some point.

sofrustrated Sat 13-Jun-09 19:14:27

so - he dropped her off on time then said he would have to drop her off earlier tomorrow as he needed to get home to cook a chicken for his new gf. I mean he hasnt seen his dd for 6 weeks and a chicken is more important???
then he said he wanted to take DD on holiday with his new GF and his parents. Ive stopped overnight visits for the momment on the advice of gingerbread and my solicitor so said that it was unlikely, but maybe next year... and they the agruments start. I just cant do this anymore. He really does not see how his actions affect DD at all and how hurt he makes her. He just says that she was fine with him and had a nice time. But he doesnt see her when she is crying about it, or confused, or sad, or has nightmares.. or comes into my bed and crys.
I cant make him understand... and i dont know what to do.
He was meant to be seeing her tomorrow. And im know im slightly in the wrong, but have no said that he cant see her then. Apparently his solicitor has told him that it was ok he didnt see DD on several occassions in the 6 weeks as he was angry at me. So it was better to not see me or DD than cause an argument. So ive phoned him and said the same thing to him. That i am too angry to see him and that means he cant see DD. I know its wrong, but i just cant take any more of it.
It feels like he can just do and say what he wants.. trat his DD how he wants and i have to lump it and pick up the pieces.
I said about mediation and he said no way. So im going to try to see my solicitor next week and in the meantime probably withdraw contact. ( wrong i know, but i just dont know what else i can do.....)

curiositykilled Sun 14-Jun-09 10:32:20

I don't think you are wrong to withdraw contact in this situation or that it's wrong his solicitor is telling him it is ok not to see dd for 6 weeks cos he's angry. Clearly you don't want him to see her when he's angry! I think a lot of the things he will do will seem (and will be) unreasonable but you have to get away from thinking about this and try to stay calm.

The problem is that you have no way of communicating civily at the moment so you can't communicate with each other effectively about what you are feeling and what you feel needs to happen. This is very understandable, everyone's feelings are running high. You need to be able to find a way of doing this, the best way is through mediation.

I think maybe you should try not to worry about dd so much, she is being hurt by the situation and may be having a nice time with her dad but could just be struggling with the change, she needs your support but not for you to be more angry with her dad - she loves him just as much as you. You will never be able to know whether she does have a good time or not as children are often manipulative in this situation as they hope it will make everything go back to normal. Just get her to talk about her feelings at regular intervals and try to sympathise without making her feel worse about you or her dad (don't worry about feeling hugely smug and proud once you have successfully managed to be the bigger person - this is the upside).

What I would do (and did in the same situation) was:

1. Give up talking in person, talk through solicitors ONLY - this might seem inflammatory behaviour to him but is necessary so that all your personal feelings are taken out of the communications which will help things to be more easily resolved. You have to make it very clear that him contacting you personally in any way is not allowed and you make it clear to him that you will not contact him (you can do this yourself but have it supported by a letter from your solicitor). If he persists in attempting to contact you (through friends of his or himself) then don't be afraid to warn him that you will contact police and then contact them if he persists (he won't get in trouble if you don't want but they will warn him to stop).

2. INSIST on mediation, just communicating through solicitors will only resolve the situation if both solicitors act on the best interests of the child rather than their clients which is unlikely. It is reasonable to say "we have no current arrangement regards contact and need to attend mediation before I am willing to make any further arrangements as I feel our own attempts to do this personally have not been working due to feelings naturally running high on both sides" This is not witholding contact as such, just trying to arrange a contact arrangement that works well for dd.

3. Log any incidents were he is swearing at you or harrassing you with the police and your solicitor (go in and ask the guy at the desk in the police station to log an incident for you). I found this hugely unpleasant but ex partners can often drag you through all sorts of systems in order to delay things and mess you around and none of them communicate with each other so you will have to build a new case each time. It helps if you have these stupid petty things logged with an outside agency like the police.

4. Don't worry too much about withdrawing contact if the circumstances of the contact are too difficult for DD and need sorting out. Children in this situation need, at least the arrangements, to be secure and it is important to try and attain this from the start. It can be counter productive to try and accommodate your ex too much as really what dd needs is to know she's going to see him regularly for the same length of time at the same time each week - especially when everything else that's happening in her life is changing.

5. INSIST that he sees DD on her own and doesn't bring his girlfriend or family into the contact at the start. This is important for dd and his relationship. She'll be missing him living in the family home and, whilst it's important she sees her paternal grandparents, they should have their own time made for them. She needs time to build a new relationship with her dad. His girlfriend can wait to meet her until they've built their relationship.

6. Keep it in your mind that he is her father, he is hurting and things are difficult for him (even if they are of his own making) and try to forgive him for hurting you and dd even if he is being REALLY horrible.

7. Keep it in your mind that you are the parent with care and your feelings are important. You are the one who is responsible for making the decisions about dd at the moment, he is too but not so much. If you think he is wrong don't be afraid to say but don't be afraid to listen to his reasons or your mediator or solicitor either but don't let them guilt trip you into things. Think about how difficult realising this will be for him - he will be feeling powerless in a way too because he has to ask you to see his child (this is probably why he's being horrible). You and him have to get used to this idea.

8. I would not let my ex take my children on holiday full stop (he'd never ask any way though as can't commit/cope with them for that long). Absent parents often fall into the trap of doing big exciting things and showering their children with gifts during the times they have them. This is not so good for the child, they are more in need of normality and calm, relaxed quality time with the parent that doesn't live with them. I have compromised with my ex and don't argue with him giving the children loads of sweets and presents (no-one can afford to sustain huge presents regularly) but he doesn't take them on trips (unless it's arranged a long time in advance and is for a birthday or something) or holidays at all. Once my ex understood why this was he felt better about it because he could see I was saying it to try and improve his relationship with the children (this happened in mediation).

This whole process will likely be a long one as you all have to work through all your feelings before things can settle down. You will be accused of all kinds of horrible things and feel like you are being attacked from every corner for a while but keep focusing on the end goal and trying to be reasonable, forgiving and have confidence in your decisions (don't go back on them unless they are unreasonable). It took me 3 years (probably quite a short time) but we now have a situation which works for all of us (ex included) and my children have been hurt occasionally but understand this was part of the process and have not been damaged by it. This time is the hardest, things will get better and better from here and whilst they'll likely never be stress-free they will be mostly happy if you do things right at this stage.

curiositykilled Sun 14-Jun-09 10:39:53

so frustrated - please e-mail me if you'd like to chat or anything.

monkeyfacegrace Sun 14-Jun-09 10:52:00

It sounds like you are in a similar situation to me, no amount of talking or reasoning gets through to them, and its driving me insane too. Ive got to the point where I dont tell my daughter he is coming, so if he does, its a lovely suprise, if he doesn't, she's none the wiser. I always get her excited if I see his car ' ohh look look daddy's coming etc etc' (yes it makes me wanna hurl but hey-she's happy Im happy).
My ex is sometimes on time picking her up, but usually 45 mins or so late dropping her off, which has, on one occasion at least, caused huge probs as we are meant to be somewhere else etc. Funnily enough, when he owes me money he dissapears and we dont hear from him....
I think the key is to remember long term they have to have a relationship, so while I totally 100% understand why you want to stop contact, it is ultimatley going to be resumed at some point, which is going to lead to questions along the lines of 'wheres he been for the last ....' when Im afraid the only answer will lay the buck with you.
I have to tell myself during the hard times, that Im responsible for the way my daughter has turned out, not him, and Im mighty proud of myself for that. Its my hard work and tears that put food in her tummy and clothes on her back, and that makes her happy and secure. He can do the bits he chooses, buy her love with copious amounts of chocolate, but he wont ever give her that stability that we do.
I know its hard (and read my first post re.a holiday my ex wants to take her on!) to keep calm and rational, but congratulate yourself on the job you have already done and keep smiling x
(oh, and if he is 10 mins late on a day he is 'defo' coming, I always pack up and go out if I have things to do. Then when the abusive phonecall comes, I nice as pie offer to drop her off at his on my way back. It shocks him so much that Im being nice he rarely carries on the row!)

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