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need men advise on a man

(13 Posts)
sekeci Mon 27-Jun-11 19:58:43

my xh only takes the kids every second weekend, 1 week at xmas and 2 during the summer. He had all access he wanted but only chose that very little time because he could not handle them. My life depends on his decisions and can't make any plans in advance due to his unpredictability, and communication does not exist on his side. How can I make him understand that his kids need him as much as me and to communicate with me?

Truckrelented Mon 27-Jun-11 20:04:53

You can't, you had children with an idiot.

Fairly common on MN apparently.

BertieBotts Mon 27-Jun-11 20:09:47

I'm not a man, but have had a similar situation with my ex. First thing to remember is you can't make him understand - either he already understands and is being awkward to mess you around, or he's so self-centred he will never understand. (And I don't think it's a man thing either - just a self-centred tosser thing sad)

What you have to do is get really tough, don't be reasonable, don't let him mess you around. Agree set contact times in advance, then be really strict about not changing them. Make alternate plans, if he's more than 30 minutes late, go out with the kids and tell him you were busy and couldn't wait. Get him to agree any changes to his usual contact 2 weeks in advance, if he tries to arrange something last minute, tell him he hasn't given you enough notice and it isn't convenient. If he wants to drop them home early, don't be home (if you're sure he wouldn't just leave them there alone!)

sekeci Mon 27-Jun-11 20:27:33

Obviously i didn't know what an idiot he is at the time, that is why i left him.

I have tried the "don't be home" and left them non the less. I even left the kids in school for him to pick up, knowing He wouldn't and warned the teachers ( i was actually nearby), who called him very confused and worried. Then we (teachers and I) had a laugh and he learned a lesson.

Truckrelented Mon 27-Jun-11 20:39:25

Was he involved from the start?
Did you stay at home and he carry on working?
Have you done everything? And let him do nothing?

Honestly, what I think is you have to give him the responsibility and let him get on with it, and let him do it his way and let him make mistakes.

Did you and the teachers really have a laugh at him?

Treat someone like an idiot and they'll act like one.

BertieBotts Mon 27-Jun-11 22:08:50

WTH, Truckulent, where has OP ever implied she hasn't given this guy the chance to be responsible? Sounds to me like he's had loads of chances and not stepped up to the mark. The working question is irrelevant, parenting happens outside of 9-5 monday to friday as well. Neglecting to pick your own children up from school is a little more than a mistake, don't you think?

GiveMeSomeSpace Mon 27-Jun-11 23:24:44

Bertie he may well be an idiot, but what Truck says is bang on the nose - treat somone like an idiot and they will continue to act like one.

OP - Clearly him not being organised enough to pick up your child from school is an issue, but if you continue to be his crutch, he will never take responsibility because he knows you will be there to pick up the pieces.

If he is given proper responsibilty and fails to come up to scratch then he clearly shouldn't be involved in the childs upbringing.

If you really can't depend on him, then you'll need to find other support. You won't be able to make him change unless he wants to himself. If he is really that unpredictable and useless, then I disagree with your sentiment - the children really don't need him at all.

Good luck smile

BertieBotts Tue 28-Jun-11 00:15:52

Yes I agree that if you treat someone like an idiot they will act like one. I just didn't read into OP's post that she had. With the school situation I read it that the teacher phoned up the ex confused and worried, and he then went to pick them up, not knowing that OP was nearby just in case. I assumed the "laugh" she had with the teacher was private, not to his face.

I do agree though OP that if you know he's unreliable, don't count on it as guaranteed child-free time, I made that mistake and kept ending up disappointed. Funnily enough when I got a new boyfriend, XP stepped up the amount he was letting me down. I had to stop replying on those weekends as child-free time, because otherwise it would have put a real strain on a new relationship, to keep cancelling all the time. Anyway, XP has completely stopped bothering with DS now and while I think it's sad for DS, I'm not chasing him, he has my number, email address, he could facebook message, even turn up at the house if he wanted to make contact. Screw him. If he doesn't want to see DS then maybe DS doesn't need a lousy role model like him anyway.

timehealsall Tue 28-Jun-11 13:46:06

Couple of things:

Agree with posters saying the laugh with teachers thing wasn't ideal. Understand why other posters are sticking up for it, but I'll give you an example where the tables are turned to put into context.

I'm divorced Dad and kind of have opposite problem to OP - I can and would like to see more of DS (ideally 50 / 50) but my ex doesn't want me to for various reasons. As a result I feel she is a little controlling over him and his time (not here to talk about that, know there are arguments from her side, just putting things in context). DS goes to nursery and has recently transferred from nappies into pants. As part of this process the girls at nursery were asking me (and ex) for ages if we could move him on to pants. I was asking my ex but she seemed a bit reluctant. So one time when the girls were saying "we really think it is time", I replied to them by saying "yeah, I really don't disagree, but you know what ex is like, have talked to her but she'll be making that decision when she wants to not when someone else suggests it". Reaction - knowing looks and some giggles.

About 30 seconds after I walked out of the nursery room I knew that had been wrong. In essence I'd let my personal feelings and frustrations spill out in front of carers who look after our DS and whether she was there or not, being derogatory about her to DS's carers was wrong - however much I feel what was actually said wasn't all that unreasonable.

And that's what's happened here. Yes OP's ex is clearly a toss pot in many ways, but he is still the child's fahter and encouraging influential people in his development to think less of him, however justified, isn't going to be helping any quest to try and get him to realise his responsibilities. Much more likely to drive him away because if he does ever turn up at the school he may sense those feelings from the teachers and not exactly feel encouraged - and let me tell you as a single Dad those traditional areas of "mums" (nurserys, schools) can be intimidating enough as it is.

Plus isn't the golden rule of a parental split to try and keep the children away from the personal feelings because if they pick up on them it gets damaging for them.

So, lots of words, but do feel quite strongly here that just saying "he's a toss pot he deserves it" is too simplistic.

Having said all that, getting back to OP's original problem, which is unreliability and lack of responsibility I'd consider some form of escalation if it's causing problems. Essentially he's messing you around OP and that's not fair, so don't think anyone could argue with you escalating to a situation where expectations are clearly defined and set out.

Think it would be good to go through steps as part of that escalation to give him every chance, i.e:

1. If you keep being unreliable I'd like to define your contact more formally, 2. You are continuing to be unrealiable after I've aksed you not to be so now would like to formalise contact through mediation
3. Court if mediation isn't forthcoming

In that process it's possible he'll either reveal he really isn't that bothered (sad, but good to know and then you can stop kicking yourself) or he'll realise he does need to step up and stop messing about.

Essentially he's messing you around OP and that's not fair, so don't think anyone could argue with you escalating to a situation where expectations are clearly defined and set out.

Some will say avoid legal processes because it's "bad" and causes "conflict" (which it often does), but if nothings changing what are the other options other than keep on putting up with erratic behaviour - and that's not fair on you or your child. And responsible parents will always put conflict behind them because ultimately they'll realise it's damaging for the child (i.e. if he does feel upset eventally he should calm down and realise it's not about "him" - that's the theory anyway!!!)

sekeci Wed 29-Jun-11 20:00:58

hi, everyone. Just checking i'm working fine. Tried yesterday but no luck.

sekeci Wed 29-Jun-11 20:27:11

Maybe i should explain the teacher-me laughs. No is was not to his face (would never do that!!). It was well deserved as he got himself in trouble with the tax office (very responsible) and he decided to use me as a free sitter while he was sorting it out. I obviously said no and that it was his duty to provide care for the kids while with him, so even thou i was on stand-by needed to teach him a lesson on responsibilities. He's never done it again.
I never talk about him to people who might know him so there's no a bad atmosphere when he collects them and i tend no to mix with "mums" areas as I don't like the usual gossip, so no one knows him in the school and does not get to see the teachers. The important thing is that he has not let down his kids since in that area.
As Time says in the last few sentences, I just have no choice but to put up with his behaviour for the kids sake and, yes i cry myself to sleep a lot, but need to be as calm as possible.
The difficult part is that they still ask, after over 5 years since the split, every two weeks if they are going with him that weekend.


timehealsall Thu 30-Jun-11 23:58:45


First up - apologies with the teacher thing - typical example of me reading something, taking it to heart for personal reasons and then getting all judgemental. V admiring of your general attitude considering how much distress he's causing.

Second - I really wasn't trying to say you have no choice but to put up with the behaviour - was thinking of actions to take to escalate, but I suppose that might come at the cost of him just doing one completely which leads on to...

Third - I think it's amazing that you are giving him so many chances for the sake of your kids and letting him get away with so much - imho shows how much you put their needs ahead of yours. He clearly doesn't appreciate that and he is really taking advantage of you.

I really don't know enough, but still wonder if mediation could be a good way of opening up that communication to make him realise you're still living you're life around him because of his lack of reliability and how much uncertainty / pain that's causing. But you might have already tried that. If not it might be worth phoning them to chat through the problems and find out what help they could offer.

sekeci Fri 01-Jul-11 14:14:38

hi, time.

By all means I didn't take your comment bad, quite the opposite. Its not very often that a man shares feelings in general. I thank you for your support.

As for mediation, you are right. It has been tried with more distress for me as he made very clear that was not willing to talk about visiting arrangements. My only hope is that in the future the kids will let him know what they have already told me.

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