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DS ‘can’t be happy because Dad isn’t happy’

(9 Posts)
captainflash Tue 10-Apr-18 09:38:59

Any advice on how I can deal with this gladly welcomed.
STBXH and I separated a year and a half ago after 6 months of angst (and a fair few years before that to be honest).
There wasn’t anything catastrophic with the break up- no affairs or abuse. More that STBXH was a man-child who contributed very little financially, emotionally and practically. It was the same as having a third child and I could no longer cope with it.

He never would’ve instigated the split so I did and he was heartbroken. Telling our children was the hardest thing ever as I couldn’t really explain why or shatter their vision of their dad. I stayed with the children in our rented home (I am the highest earner. I earn double what he does) and STBXH moved into the spare room of one of my relatives. It was supposed to be a temporary measure so he could save some money. He’s still there. A year and a half on. He pays me very little maintenance in order to save and also pays no rent. This was supposed to be so he could save but he’s always ‘out’ on social media and I know he’s pissed a fair bit of money up the wall.

This is why my DS (aged 11) is so sad. He says it’s not fair we have a home and Dad doesn’t and he can’t be happy as he knows his Dad isn’t. STBXH lives in one room with his things all piled up in bin bags around him. He has to come to our home to look after the children and so I have to leave. DS says this makes him sad too.

I’m going to have to talk to him aren’t I? And tell him to pull himself together for his son’s sake and start acting like a grown up. He’ll think I’m having a go at him. But this is partly why we split, he takes no responsibility for himself whatsoever. My elderly relative runs round after him doing his washing and changing his bed, cooking for him too, got better broadband for him... he’s pretty comfortable there!
But he needs to see his son needs him act like a grown up. Doesn’t he??

OP’s posts: |
SleepFreeZone Tue 10-Apr-18 09:41:01

Sounds like you son is effectively blaming you and seeing his Dad as the victim.

ClareB83 Tue 10-Apr-18 09:48:56

I think your relative needs to evict him and make him stand on his own two feet. If you feel generous give him a long enough notice period to put together a rental deposit, but with a set date he has to get out (no more than three months or he'll think it's an empty threat). A chat is not going to do it.

captainflash Tue 10-Apr-18 11:13:05

I think STBXH would quite happily see himself as the victim too. I don’t think DS blames me per se, but he doesn’t understand why it happened and sees STBXH moping around all ‘woe is me’ whilst I’ve had no choice but to get on with our lives. Their lives (I also have a DD of 5) haven’t stopped. The bills need paying, they need to get to school, do homework, eat, etc. I do all of that. I guess DS sees me coping but doesn’t know why his dad can’t.

I hate sticking up for him too. He won’t see them for days and I have to lie to the children as to why he doesn’t. I’m sick of still being the strong one in some ways. He had years of behaving like a sulky teenager and he’s still doing it. It’s exhausting.

I will get one of my family members to talk to STBXH. I agree we need to set a date and stick to it in order to all move on. My family have started to see what he’s like and agree he’s taking the piss now.
Thanks for your replies

OP’s posts: |
Aprilmightmemynewname Tue 10-Apr-18 11:17:23

I think gradually letting df slip off his pedestal would do the dc a favour.
They should not have guilt at his life choices.
Stop protecting exh and suggest to dc their df can grow up and be an adult /not but it's not a reflection on them - or you - if he won't.

fuzzywuzzy Tue 10-Apr-18 11:23:33

Stop lying to your dc to protect your ex. Just matter of factly tell your son the truth.

Painting a heroic picture of your ex will make our children see him as a victim and you as evil and then you’ll end up having angry teens on your hands who will think everything is you’re fault and you will have no idea how it happened.

Get your ex out of your mothers house he’ll find somewhere to live if he has to, stop lying to your children.
Stop managing and taking care of your ex. You can be polite to him but stop trying to save him from himself.

Your dc need to see he’s not perfect with a terrible mother who has made their dear dad unhappy for no reason.

ClareB83 Tue 10-Apr-18 11:24:01

You don't need to criticise your ex but you can stop lying to cover for him. He doesn't deserve it and your children should gradually get an accurate view of who he is so it isn't a huge surprise at some later date.

captainflash Tue 10-Apr-18 11:36:50

You’re all right. And I do know that what you said is what I need to do.
I’ve just had so many years (we were together for 17 years and from a very young age on my part) of sorting him out, covering for him, managing his stupid life choices... it’s mainly the reason split and I’m still doing it now! It’s crazy!

He’s not at my mother’s fuzzywuzzy, she’d have kicked him out! Part of the problem is that all his family are abroad and he has no relatives anywhere near. My family feel very close to him and wanted to help. I honestly have no idea where he’d go if we evicted him. He has barely any friends. I guess it’s part of why we’ve protected him for so long.
But, it’s got stop.
What you said about my children turning on me struck a nerve and I don’t want that to happen.

OP’s posts: |
fuzzywuzzy Tue 10-Apr-18 11:39:57

Sorry for some odd reason I read that as he was staying at your mums.

Give him a deadline and evict him from your relatives.

He’s a grown man, you’ll be amazed at how well he does without you there to take care of him. He’s living like a spoilt teenager because you all are enabling him.

He has money to go out drinking he will have money to house himself.

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