How much contact is reasonable(12 Posts)
I have posted in other areas of the site about my situation before, but briefly. I left STBXH 11 weeks ago, he assaulted me, so I had him arrested and I moved with the DC to my parents, 300 miles away.
I have a restraining order, so I can't speak to him direct. Through my solicitor I have arranged a contact schedule for him to see the DC on alternate weekends (1 near to him, the other near to us - so that the DC don't have to do too much travelling). He is not happy about it, but so far has agreed.
He has until now been having skype conversations with them every evening. These last for around and hour, and he would go on longer if he could. These have been becoming very onerous for DD1 (7). She doesn't want to do them and begs to finish them because she wants to go to sleep or just do other things before bed.
My solicitor has written to him that from now on he can only have skype for 30 mins per week. He is very upset and is texting DD saying how he can't talk to her at all any more in the evenings, and how they were the only good bit of his day etc.
She is fine about it, but I am in bits. Because of the EA aspect of our relationship, I don't know what is reasonable and what is not. 30 mins per week seems too little, but my solicitor insisted that it was reasonable. I don't want to damage his relationship with the DC, but they really resent having to give up so much time to speak to him.
So, in short, can anyone tell me what sort of contact is reasonable/expected in a long distance split?
I have my very own STBXH. He texts my 2 before bed some days and thats it. He's seen them for less than 15 hours in last 50 days, complained about the cost of petrol to visit them ( he walked out on us btw to live an hour and a half away with a mutual'friend') He only wants to see them for a couple of hours once a week on his way home( not using any fuel, annual leave..or effort...) Claims to want them to stay over but has been too busy moving house, going to weddings and beer festivals ( all on fb for all to see)in the last 10 weeks and has used all his annual leave on a holiday for himself after he walked out, so knew he had no leave left to have the kids during hols etc.
Why do I mention all this? Well, no matter how crap human beings the STBXH are, no matter what poor excuse of a parent they are, children are loyal and love them unconditionally ( and this in itself feels mighty unfair...)
It helps to seperate my feelings about him, and be judged by my kids feelings about him. I'd rather he saw much much less of them, because he's a terrible role model but they want to see more of him. Whilst it cuts me in two to see him talking to them laughing and having fun ( how dare he be f##cking happy - why dont they hate him for what he has done?) they need him during this time .
Sounds like your dd doesnt need such long contact and is running out of time/steam.
You hold the power here ( literally). Tell him when he can skype to fit in with her schedule. Tell him it will be ( 10mins/ whatever suits) and that she is not available every night, it is too emotinally distressing for her, and as her resident parent it is up to you to decide when and how long. If she wants more time, she will ask you for it.
In time she might cherish the effort he made and ( a long time from now) you might see he at least was making the effort to maintain the relationship with her.
It is nigh on impossible in the early angry days, to acknowledge the good that contact does- I am still too sad and angry to see any good come from contact with my STBXH... but I know the kids need it.
Have you asked your children how much skype time they want? It is hard to argue if the kids say " once a week is fine thanks' and he knows the schedule is droven by them and you are not controlling access to him...rather you are following their requests...putting their needs forwards first.
I cant tell you what contact is'reasonable'.. Only your children in your situation can decide that. It is the hardest thing to do, good luck. You are not alone in this sh#t.
Listen to your solicitor. She is quite right, it's what I would be saying if you were my client.
Contact is there to meet the child's needs, not his needs.
He is very upset and is texting DD saying how he can't talk to her at all any more in the evenings, and how they were the only good bit of his day etc
That is unbelievably manipulative behaviour, she's a child ffs. It's not about what he wants, it's about what's best for the child and if the child is having to be forced into hour long conversations then it's not best for her. Your solicitor is right.
Please monitor her phone for emotionally blackmailing texts. . Def not acceptable. Not your dd fault he has nothing going on in his life!!
Follow solicitor advice - or why have one??
Thanks everyone. I am following the solicitor's advice, it is just that everyone else I know who is divorced with DC don't have the distance factor and therefore are more able to have the "regular" set up of 50:50 or EOW and 1 night in the week etc. I think the distance combined with the EA history is completely skewing my perspective on this.
Alice DD1 was bought the phone in the aftermath of the split, and after very careful consideration. It stays with me, and only leaves the house if she is on a contact visit. She is allowed to check it first thing in the morning, after school and before bed. Most of the time though she doesn't actually bother to do so. flapjack I check all messages (sent and received), and consequently she doesn't know about some of the ones he sent last night.
I'd ditch the phone if he's using it in this way tbh.
I have a similar situation, STBXH who lives 100 miles away, he was also EA and physically abusive.
He speaks to DC for 10-15 mins per week, skips them once in a blue moon etc, and he sees them for half of the holidays. This seems to be plenty to meet the DCs needs - it's been this way for 2.5 years now - if anything I think half of the holidays is far too much exposure to his manipulations, but I am going with this for now unless kids show signs of it being too much for them.
I'd recommend counselling, e.g. the Freedom Programme to help you to process the EA.
I live 250 miles from my exh, he was face timing the dc every night, it got ridiculous when one night i didnt answer so we had 3 missed face times, my mobile had 5 missed calls and he rang the home phone twice! Massive argument later were it was my fault for not letting him talk to his children and it was his favourite part of the day too. Now the dc who see him eow because of the distance face time him twice a week, this was under my insistence but if they want to talk to him outside of these times then they can, it is now evident to exh that this works well, the calls usually last 5/10 mins tops because the dc end them and i still get the "do i have to talk to daddy today" line and the huffing and puffing.
My ex was living in Dubai and returned to the UK 18 months ago and chose to live 200 miles away from the DC. He saw them twice in the past 18 months and never calls them however he is taking me to court to see them because apparently this is all my fault somehow.
MY DC have said they will agree to see him every other month and trying to get them to call him is murder. He never calls them or once in a blue moon.
this is why I wouldn't allow my stbxh to give a phone to dc, no direct line to his manipulation. his calls have to be on speaker phone as he has used the opportunity for some low and abusive behaviour
mine lives outside uk and initially insisted he had a right to speak to his dc every day... he refuses to communicate with me directly so he has no idea of dc routines and when is convenient time to call. he always prefers bedtime, no care if this isn't what the dc want or need
if we don't answer when he calls he will often become abusive, even if i text that i was driving or dc are busy/ not with me. he refuses to arrange time in advance.
so i have just left it that if the dc are with me and able to speak when he calls i'll hand the phone to them and they know they can call him anytime they wish.
he now calls about once a week and if he doesn't get an answer it can take him a few days to remember to call again.
it's not ideal but my focus is on my dc and helping them build themselves up again. they need some protection too
for your situation demanding an hour of your dc evening is very unreasonable!
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