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Dealing with ex-H about contact with DS

(10 Posts)
Pippinlongsocks Sat 15-Feb-14 12:23:26

My DS and I moved into our own home last September. ExH was abusive, emotionally and financially. He drank, is monumentally selfish and narcissistic regularly gas lighting me and towards the end our DS too.

My DS and I are much happier, we have a great routine and he is very loving. He is doing really well at school, organising himself, getting the bus there and back. He's a little forgetful but he is a boy(!) and school is very full on, homework every night etc. He is high achieving at school and a bit of a perfectionist.

He has struggled to have a relationship with his dad. Ex didn't engage with him on an individual level and was jealous of him. He distanced himself as soon as DS was born and I struggled to keep it all together for 12 years until it became unbearable. My DS asked me 3 times if we could leave him. We were together over 20 years before we had DS. He was the one who wanted a family.

Since we have left DS is his seeing his dad once a week staying over. He seems to enjoy it. ExH makes arrangements directly with DS and leaves me out of the loop despite me asking him to let me know a week advance what their plans are.

ExH last night texted me to say that he thought DS was unable to think for himself (DS forgot to tell me that he would need dinner before he went to his dads). ExH likes to undermine me as a parent particularly implying that I do too much for him and then contradicting himself with the fact I don't do enough with him. I didn't respond recognising he was trying to get me to react.

I know I need to man up but I am still unnerved by the ExH. It takes one little comment from him for me to doubt myself. Am I being unreasonable expecting to be in the loop re the time they are spending together or is my DS old enough to do this directly? He is 13 in a couple of months time. My son wants to see his dad and I want him to have a relationship with him providing it makes him happy.

The ExH and I only communicate by text as to protect my sanity I had to go NC. He hated that I instigated leaving even though he didn't want to be with me/us anymore. I know he sees my vulnerability where my son is concerned. We are not yet divorced, we agreed to wait two years. We formally agreed how to split our assets and the joint custody of DS. Ex works shifts so for this reason we agreed that we would plan a week in advance when they would see each other but this element is not subject to any formal agreement through a solicitor. I half expected ExH just to disappear tbh and the priority was just getting out.

Sorry this has been so long but I felt the background was needed. Thanks for sticking with it if you have! Any help about manning up would be great. I know I need to grow some but my confidence has not fully recovered yet.

Handywoman Sun 16-Feb-14 12:14:01

Am in not dissimilar circs just wanted to say no need for the 'man up' you are doing fine. The most important thing is that you left him. The rest is just minute detail. Pat yourself in the back and carry on.


Pippinlongsocks Sun 16-Feb-14 20:36:20

Thanks handywoman. I appreciate the vote of confidence. As you are in a not dissimilar situ then congrats to you and I hope that you feel as happy as I do. This is the best (survivors) club I have ever belonged to. I will remind myself how far I have managed to come so far at the dodgy moments with the ex!

JALG Mon 17-Feb-14 07:46:13

You ARE doing a fantastic job, and if you and your DS are happy (and clearly he is judging by his school and home life) then you have created a happy and stable environment that is vital for a healthy happy child. I am in a similar situation. My husband , whom I was with since 15 and very emotionally dependant on, emotionally abused me and had two affairs (one lasting ten years on and off). I thought I knew this man, but clearly didn't. He wanted very little to do with either of his children (10 and 21) but now he has left to be with a women 17 years his junior, suddenly wants to become the doting dad. He even marched into school last term and demanded he go on a school trip with my DDs class - this was a first in 21 years. It is no surprise that he wants to be in your DD's life now. Money will be a motivator and if he has nothing to do with your DD will have to pay you more maintenance. But also he will be feeling insecure himself at this point and will want to try to retain some control over you and your DS. It is important, of course that your DS try to have a relationship with him. But I am in the situation where we are about to go to court and my ex is being vile, so therefore I only email him. I want as little contact as possible with him. BUT he now texts my DS daily, telling her how much he misses her and what he is doing. This just makes her feel bad.

Its a fine line, I think you need to take control so that he doesn't end up in control. You can turn this around - say something like " I understand your concern re DS but he is 13, and there are some desicions he needs to be involved in and some which are OUR responsibility as adults to ensure happen". Email him a list of dates when he can see your DS and have him overnight. Tell him it is important for his DS that there is consistency. Also tell him that if he is having him overnight it is HIS responsibility to provide supper. Don't get into texting back and fourth - this will damage your self esteem. You set the rules now girl…. good luckX

Pippinlongsocks Mon 17-Feb-14 15:01:25

Thanks JALG for the advice and for sharing your experience. I feel for you as like you I was with my ex for a long time 30 plus years. He had a very unhealthy emotional hold on me and I forget that this will take time to get past. He is and has been vile to me over the years. My worry is that without me as his audience he will start to undermine my son and treat him to the same emotional abuse if I am not there to see it happening. I think the email option is a good one as the texting to and fro is the type of exchange he would love. I am going to compile that now, keeping it factual and unemotional. Good luck to you too, thank you for replying

JALG Mon 17-Feb-14 15:59:46

You are very welcome and i am happy to/would like to message you privately to keep in touch and maybe offer moral support to each other should you be interested. It is hard to explain your feelings to anyone who is not going through/been through similar and sometimes impossible to not sound like you are ranting or going off the rails. Good for you , I think taking time to compose an email that is not emotive will make you feel more in control of your own situation. Best of luck.

complexnumber Tue 18-Feb-14 07:33:36

Am I being unreasonable expecting to be in the loop re the time they are spending together

I'm not sure you need to know what they will be doing a week in advance.

Or have I got this wrong and you are really only asking to know exactly when he will be seeing your DS?

Pippinlongsocks Tue 18-Feb-14 17:57:04

I would just like to know for,planning purposes really. Ex only sees his father once a week overnight. It would be nice sometimes if I could go out on the night he is not here. I suspect this might be the reason he refuses to tell me what they are doing. Interestingly he is not seeing him at all this week even though it is half term. He does not participate in any efforts to see him if he is on holiday as he works full time blah blah and it would cut in to his drinking time. He can't see him this weekend as he is celebrating his birthday. Nice.

twosquared Fri 21-Feb-14 15:41:41

It is totally reasonable for you to know which dates your son won't be with you!!! And a week is totally reasonable notice if the dates shift around. You deserve a life too!
Is it workable to have an agreed day that he makes a request to you via email for access? Then it could become a routine with merely a routine follow up.
It would be all well and good for them to make plans directly but that leaves it open for problems. It's some time off but imagine in a few years time if your son could pretend to go to his dads house but instead head off on a night out and you would be none the wiser shock! So no - 13, 16 or 17 is not too old for plans to need to be made with your knowledge.
Well done for leaving and getting your life back together!
And I agree you don't need to man up. Your ex does but he won't. All we can do is ignore them and talk to our children openly so if they do start having problems during access they have the tools to deal with it and other adults to turn to for advice.

Pippinlongsocks Fri 21-Feb-14 17:31:35

Thanks twosquared that's really sound advice. The irony is the ex is OCD about routine and arrangements. We were so closely "managed" when we lived in the family home that it was suffocating. Now suddenly he doesn't want to be like that anymore now that it suits him and he puts a spanner in the works being a dick.

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