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Help pls - ex using kids for contact and control

(36 Posts)
Meeeh Tue 14-Apr-20 23:12:54

My ex cannot leave me alone. He has kids every two weeks and half holidays. He constantly finds reasons to p contact me “about the kids” bit it’s generally either a) to tell me what I’ve done wrong or b) tell me how great he is.
I’ve told him repeatedly there is no need to talk unless it is urgent and he keeps doing it.
He is now also demanding more time with the kids as he has. I thing left to threaten me with. Says he’ll take me to court if I don’t go half and half. This would mean constant contact about bills and clubs etc. We have had a routine in place for over five years - surely he can’t just take me to court like that?!

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Meeeh Tue 14-Apr-20 23:13:23

Typos for miles .... sorry 😐

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Poppinjay Tue 14-Apr-20 23:20:05

It sounds like the grey rock technique is what you need. Stop reacting to him. Communicate at the bare minimum level about contact arrangements and to keep him informed of things he should know. Nothing else.

Don't ever express emotion or your own wishes. Give him nothing in the way of reactions to his behaviour.

Keep screenshots of any unpleasant messages and make sure all of yours are polite and constructive.

How would the children feel about increased contact?

RandomMess Tue 14-Apr-20 23:21:08

Block him apart from when the DC are at his.

Meeeh Tue 14-Apr-20 23:30:35

DC love him but there is always something wrong. They’ve tweaked he’s often critical of me and he’s a moaner in general. They have no immediate desire to be there more and the oldest (teenager) is getting annoyed that they have to answer questions about if they want to or not.

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Meeeh Tue 14-Apr-20 23:33:36

@Poppinjay I am familiar that’s what I aim for but with contact every two weeks he always finds out causes to contact me about the kids.

Does it not look bad if I ignore or block his messages and also can anyone clarify this notion that he can just ask me to change the child arrangement because he has changed his mind after five years and now wants to be the greatest dad ever?!

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RandomMess Wed 15-Apr-20 07:46:12

No it doesn't look bad if you ignore him. You can answer his questions once per fortnight or similar.

If contact has been EOW for 5 years and the DC aren't wanting more he has little chance of it drastically changing.

What kind of nonsense is he messaging you about?

Poppinjay Wed 15-Apr-20 08:58:04

I don’t think the courts would view his desired increase in contact unfavourably, especially if the children feel positively about it. I would come from the angle that he is too controlling and obstructive for 50/50 to work and the children would suffer because he wouldn’t cooperate properly.
Could you offer an evening during the week instead?

Meeeh Wed 15-Apr-20 09:32:20

That doesn’t work. He works shifts. This is half the point. He’s had no interest until now and the expectation is the rest of us follow to suit his schedule. I’ve lost count of the number of times he has missed school appointments or forgotten he needs to be somewhere.

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Meeeh Wed 15-Apr-20 09:47:17

@RandomMess it varies and ranges from drivel to hostile shit about what a bad mother he thinks I am (I am not btw) but he insists on a weekly email and then on top of that will ask random questions in the week. For example, “Has DD done her history homework???? The school app says no????”

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RandomMess Wed 15-Apr-20 09:50:45

Just ignore the emails and random shit, block his phone number and filter the emails to "dick head folded"

Can you get someone else to read the emails and tell you anything that actually needs your response.

Presumably he gets his rota in advance by x weeks, so he should be notifying you when he can have contact well in advance as per the court order?

Poppinjay Wed 15-Apr-20 10:03:14

I would suggest he directs questions about their homework to them. It's up to them then to decide whether to respond. Alternatively, you could just always respond with 'Thanks. I'll remind her' and nothing else.

I think you need to be seen to be open to considering additional contact if he's asking for it but also to be led by the children's needs and wishes. Be clear that contact is for their benefit, not his.

If he works shifts, how would 50/50 work? Be clear about what the negative impact would be on the children. You could offer a flexible one evening a week instead if the children are agreeable to it. You could offer to support it but they can choose whether to go, depending on homework, time with friends, etc. That makes you look reasonable and flexible without the children being forced into something they don't want.

The courts probably wouldn't be interested in his history of missing appointments. You're expected to put things like that behind you and work towards finding a solution that works for everybody.

I know it's irritating and unfair that he suddenly wants to rock the boat but you needs to be seen to be doing the right thing.

Meeeh Wed 15-Apr-20 16:17:22

I’ve given him more holiday already so he has quality time. He isn’t even always there when he had the kids at weekends as he’s working and the girls spend time with his new partner.

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Meeeh Wed 15-Apr-20 16:23:20

There’s also a money issue. He has previously asked me for a “report and accounts” of everything I have spent on the children as he felt entitled to this as he pays child maintenance..... I did not provide this of course. Doing 50/50 he wants to discuss all bills. No thank you. In ty e past his partner has complained that one of the girls does a lot of clubs - even though all that comes out of my money. He pays me child maintenance and not a penny more for anything so don’t know why she’d be annoyed about club fees. Unless he’s lying to her. I don’t know and don’t care.

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RandomMess Wed 15-Apr-20 17:04:02

I think it's all about the money tbh...

Can you offer more flexibility with which nights they go so they are with him rather than his partner? Basically he now has free childcare so she can have them 50:50 and save him money...

Do the DC want to spend more time there?

You could offer 50:50 but insist on first refusal meaning if he isn't going to be there then you have the choice to have them before his partner does.

Meeeh Wed 15-Apr-20 18:07:21

No the kids are fine with the way things are. If they miss him they phone him but this rarely happens. There are no issues as such, they’re just fine as they are. The youngest does not want to be away from me more.

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Walkingtohealth Wed 15-Apr-20 18:14:11

I’d be listing rent, heating costs, food etc for costs...fucking arsehole.

And the teenager is quite old enough to tell a court they are fed up with the questioning and that they don’t want to go more often.

PanamaPattie Wed 15-Apr-20 18:31:36

As PP says - it’s all about the money. He probably wants 50/50 because the girlfriend will do the childcare so he saves cash and doesn’t even have to spend time with the DC.

Poppinjay Wed 15-Apr-20 19:46:37

He has previously asked me for a “report and accounts” of everything I have spent on the children as he felt entitled to this as he pays child maintenance.....

He's deluded!

AcrossthePond55 Wed 15-Apr-20 20:04:04

We have had a routine in place for over five years - surely he can’t just take me to court like that?!

Sure he can. And the correct answer to such a threat is 'See you in court'.

One person can take another to court over just about anything. But it doesn't mean they'll get their way. It's a pretty common threat because no one wants to have to pay money to fight a legal battle. So the person making the threat expects the other to capitulate.

As far as his 'demands', you don't have to respond to anything if you don't want too unless there is some legal order saying you have to. Nor do you have to listen to his criticisms. Put the phone down on him. Delete the email or text. Take back your 'headspace'.

Meeeh Fri 17-Apr-20 09:18:41

I’m trying...

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slipperywhensparticus Fri 17-Apr-20 09:28:44

Do the kids have phones? When he sends messages like dd homework tell him to ask dd and repeat

Talk to your kids tell them dad wants them at his house more often if they are old enough tell them he wants to take it to court if they want to spend 50/50 with him there is no need for court

Make him aware 50/50 means he pays 50% of the costs you wont be subbing him he hasnt paid a penny over his obligations 50/50 will stop that yes but he will now need to pay for clothing clubs shoes activities in "his" time etc etc

he will be expected to actually see his children not dump them on the girlfriend because she wont like that neither will the kids

And you want set days too none of this spend all day at your moms then sleep at mine because it's my time bullshit either

AcrossthePond55 Fri 17-Apr-20 17:48:11

I’m trying...

I know, and it's so hard. But often it's a case of 'fake it til you make it' where you have to tell yourself what you want to feel instead of feeling the way you are.

I had a nasty, heartbreaking breakup with a man. He used me and threw me out like garbage. And I had to see him AND deal with him every day at work as we worked in the same open plan office. It was killing me but I repeatedly told myself 'I don't care, I don't care, I don't care' repeating it over and over like a litany. And then one day I realize I really DIDN'T care.

Find your 'words' and repeat them, be they "I don't care", "I don't have to respond", or "Fuck off you nasty bawbag". You are stronger than you know and those words WILL become your reality!

Meeeh Fri 17-Apr-20 22:00:39

@slipperywhensparticus you’ve just described my worst nightmare. The point here is that he is using this to have an excuse to have constant contact and control. I want him out of my life and ZERO contact other than the most important stuff about the kids.
My friend suggested finding a third party who is willing to be a go between and saying outright to him I will not communicate with him directly, only via this person. Even if we do it for the rest of the year, it’ll break the cycle and he might be more likely to temper himself if he knows the emails are being read by another person.

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Nat6999 Fri 17-Apr-20 22:16:28

Do what I do with my ex, direct all emails & messages to a folder that you have to make an effort to look at, look at it once a month & other times ignore it, phone calls, stick on speaker & do something else while he drones on, just make appropriate noises sometimes, scrubbing the toilet is preferable to listening to him & how brilliant a dad he is.

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