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Do I have to let ex see his son on Christmas Day?

(63 Posts)
Marissa1984 Mon 01-Nov-10 17:48:04

I am on maternity leave but my exh is a chef working long shifts and with only one guaranteed day off each week - Saturday. I am keeping contact via text messages only and I agreed to decide on a pick up and drop off time at a neutral location as of next week and have given him a time slot for this saturday, but I pointed out we needed to make arrangements for Christmas.

He says Christmas Day (also his birthday) is his only day off and he wants to see our ds then, however as I was so looking forward to the 3 of us spending it as a family which now won't be happening I am reluctant to allow him this as I am finding his visits very upsetting as he only left 6 weeks ago when ds was just 4 weeks old and I don't want my day ruined by seeing him, and I don't want ds to pick up on my emotions and end up having his day ruined too. I know he is too young to realise what Christmas is but his first Christmas means a lot to me.

When I told him I had already said that Christmas day was a no no he got funny with me then involved his mother as he claimed I had told her he could see ds Christmas day, and I had explained to him that I had wanted to if we were getting back together, but not now as we're not. I explained his behaviour over the past 6 months to his mother and she backed off saying she will make him take responsibility and support both of us (ner ner!!!)

I have arranged for me and ds to stay with my mum from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day, and she has made it very clear my exh is not welcome, as have all of my family. We all live in the same town so it's not like we're far away, but I can't even contemplate seeing my exh's face over Christmas and there is not one person in my family who wants to answer the door to him either.

I know he'll think I'm doing this to hurt him but, even though I hope it might be a kick up the backside for him to make him realise what he's done, I'm not doing this to punish him. Every day I get to see my ds grow up whilst my exh misses out is hopefully enough punishment and caused totally by himself for leaving us.

Should I stick to my guns and risk upsetting my exh as his mother isn't pushing me to let him have his way, or should I give in just in case he tries to use it against me saying I'm stopping him from seeing his ds (especially as Christmas day falls on a Saturday)?

phipps Mon 01-Nov-10 17:51:21

I think your ex has as much right to see his son on his first Christmas and you should be able to be grown up enough to spend at least part of the day together. You have no more rights than your ex.

WhyHavePets Mon 01-Nov-10 17:55:18

If your ds is just 10weeks old then he is not going to have his day ruined, christmas day with dc this young is about you not htem - if we are honest!

Hard as it is your ex has as much right to see his child at christmas as you especially if it is his allocated day and he works they way you explain above.

Seperating is terribly hard and I assume there are "issues" around that which make it even harder but this is about your child and his father not you and your ex. To stay sane you do need to seperate the two out.

Sorry you are finding this hard, hope it gets easier for you with time smile

DontMakeAFuss Mon 01-Nov-10 18:09:25

It's unlikely the father would be able to do anything legally to ensure that he can see your child on Christmas Day. He certainly doesn't have the right to enter your mother's home.

Generally it's good for the child to see both their parents as much as possible, but as your son's so young I think he won't benefit much from having that contact. In fact, it would probably be damaging for him to have that disruption and negative atmosphere around him.

Is there any reason you have to stay in the same area? It will be much simpler for you to move away from the town and make a new start away from this man.

MsHighwater Mon 01-Nov-10 18:19:06

You've told him that you and he "make arrangements for Christmas" but you have already arranged to spend from Xmas Eve till Boxing Day somewhere where (presumably you knew) he is not welcome. What arrangements were you expecting to make?

In the long term, your son has a right to a relationship with his father (with few exceptions). How you handle this will set the tone for the years to come. You can't control how he behaves; you can only make sure that you do the right thing.

Hulababy Mon 01-Nov-10 18:24:04

Can he not come over in the afternoon to spend some time with DS?

Or you have him in the morning and EH collects him for a couple of hours int he afternoon.

gillybean2 Mon 01-Nov-10 18:39:38

I think given the age of your child, the rawness of everything, and the fact you are going to your mum's for xmas, it is unrealistic of your ex to expect to have time with the baby at yours or his mum's house for Christmas this year. It just happens to fall on a saturday this year which makes it an issue for him.

The fact it is his birthday isn't particularly relevant. It will always be his birthday on xmas day and he can't expect to have your ds every christmas because of that fact.

Plenty of separated parents alternate the day or share it. And plenty go away to stay with family on their year with the children, or on their year without them too.

It's not compulsory you have to do it in any particular way unless ordered by a court, and given the amount of distress it will cause you and your family with things so new and raw it seems reasonable for him to leave you in peace this year. His mother can clearly see that too. He of course wants it all his way; I'll come to that in a moment.

So no you don't have to let him see your ds on Christmas day just because it's his only day off and his birthday too.

Yes in the future you should be looking at sharing things for your ds's sake. He has a right to a relationship with his dad. But at this point I think you need to be a little bit selfish for your sanity and well being.

Normal contact arrangements are generally suspended during school holidays and for Xmas and Easter even when children are not of school age. So you don't have to agree to it just because he's been coming to your place the last few saturdays. The reality is you won't be at home that day and it is a special day and things are different as a result.

Have you discussed with your ex's mother about an alternative day she (as grandmother) can see her grandchild? If your ex has promised her then maybe he is upset on her behalf. Perhaps you should try and come to an arrangement with her so that she can have a relationship with her grandchild despite her son and your relationship breaking down.

However you must bear in mind how your ex will be feeling. Are you simply punishing him for the pain he has and is caused you? Do you think he should stay with you because of the baby and because it's what you want and need regardless of the fact he may be miserable and unhappy by doing so? That's unrealistic and you need to accept it is over.

You have to let go of your relationship and move on for the sake of your child. It is not easy and it will take you a long time (we're talking years) before you realise this was probably a good thing and you are better off without him.

OK so firstly is your ex absolutely guaranteed to have Christmas day off even? A lot of restuarants insist that staff work on one of their busiest days of the year regardless of it being their day off. This may actually be a non issue if that is the case.

You also need to think about the fact that 2021 (I think) is the next time Xmas day falls on a Saturday. So you'll get every xmas day from now till then if your ex stays in the same job under the same conditions.

SO bearing that in mind is there no possibility at all that your ex could take the baby for a walk in his pram for half an hour perhaps? YOu could arrange to meet him slightly away from your parents house to avoid confrontation there.
Even if you are breastfeeding your baby can be away from you for half an hour. If you feel he may not bring the baby back then you could ask his mother to come with him.

A compromise like that could mean the world to him and may pave the way to a smoother parenting relationship in the future. YOu need your ex to establish that bond with his child that is so very important and that can only be done with time spent together.

Think about how you would feel if it was you not being allowed to see your ds your birthday or on Christmas day. Because if he takes you to court and the court orders alternate Christmases it could well be that you only see your ds on Christmas day every other year. How devastating would that be to you...? After all you are setting the precedent here by having the whole day yourself this year.

A very tough decision and I can understand completely why you may feel he doesn't deserveto see his ds and you can't handle it. However this is about your ds's right to see his dad, that is more important than what either you or his dad want or feel.

Best wishes, I know you are going through hell right now. It does get easier in time. A lot of time though

Marissa1984 Mon 01-Nov-10 18:39:45

Phipps - that's just the problem - he is a very immature man who deliberately goes out of his way to hurt and upset me as he feels I drove him away by shouting at him, because during my pregnancy he behaved like a teenager going out drinking and partying and not coming home all the time and ended up losing 2 jobs because of it and I was obviously very angry and upset by this behaviour! I cannot bear to spend any time with him anymore, I have tried during several visits, but it just isn't working as he doesn't want to be amicable. He even got his best friend/flatmate to send me abusive texts just to upset me because his family asked me to take ds and stay with them for a week as we live so far away from them and they wanted to meet him.

DontMakeAFuss - the negative atmosphere is what I'm concerned about, I don't want my ds to get caught up in it which is why I have decided to have my exh meet in a neutral location for his visits and I intend to let the 2 of them to go off together without me. I don't want to move as all my family live here and if I go back to work I have a job here, and friends, this is my home and exh moved here to be with me. I have already discussed moving with my mum but she thinks exh will just follow me as he's made it very clear he doesn't want me to move our ds away from him.

Ms Highwater - I was assuming we would arrange for a day such as 23rd or 27th for his visit. If he's not welcome with my family what was I supposed to do - spend Christmas at home just me and ds to suit my exh? He chose to leave and behave appallingly and has upset a lot of people with his actions, including his own family. And I didn't know he'd only get one day off over Christmas which is why I have asked him if he could book another day off. My parents are divorced, my dad never saw me Christmas day but would see me boxing day or the day after, I thought we could do this.

I have let him see ds every time he's asked to visit and have not stopped them from seeing each other. I had hoped we would sort things out and get back together and would be spending Christmas together, although I have been questioned as to why I would want him back!

Hulababy I was just thinking that might be an option, only he said he can't take ds to his flat so that only leaves the option of him going for a walk and taking him in the pram, it's not much but at least he'll get to see him and will hopefully get off my case.

Marissa1984 Mon 01-Nov-10 18:53:55

gillybean2 that's my issue, it is still so raw. His family live 100 miles , and obviously I would rather be with my family over Christmas. I do get on with my in-laws, I have just got back from staying with them for a week, and my mil knows I won't be able to bring my ds to see her on Christmas day, I did tell her I would try to make arrangements to visit just before or just after Christmas.

From what I understand the only reason he would be unhappy for us to stay together is that I don't believe a 40 yr old man should be out drinking and partying and not coming home all the time and he thinks it's normal behaviour. It isn't the first time he's left, and each time he's come back so I'm expecting him to try to return somewhere down the line, although he is apparently "dating" his best friend/flatmate.

I am thinking the idea of him going for a walk with the pram might be the best one, I can meet him at the end of the street to drop off ds and pick him up and avoid confrontation at my mum's house.

I'm not trying to punish him, I'm trying to retain my sanity and not end up spending another day crying hysterically and feeling like I'm a huge failure and have made terrible decisions and wasted time and opportunities by sticking with someone who inevitably leaves me because he can't handle responsibility and thinks he's Peter frigging Pan.

phipps Mon 01-Nov-10 18:58:53

hmm Don'tMakeAFuss.

WhyHavePets Mon 01-Nov-10 19:00:46

Don'tMakeAFuss, what a terrible thing to advise someone! You had no idea what the op's ex had done - but there was no suggestion that it was anything that would affect the child yet you think she should move away to avoid her childs father shock

I wonder why lone mothers get a bad name hmm

gillybean2 Mon 01-Nov-10 19:08:42

Marissa it sounds like you've assumed quite a lot of things without actually saying it. Your ex isn't a mind reader and can't know that you're thinking he can have boxing day every year like you used to with your dad.

Perhaps if you could explain to him how you see things working out, possibly with the help of mediation if you can't be ciliv to each other.

Unfortunately there are people who think it's ok to go out drinking and partying despite having other responsibilities. You can't change him and you are driving yourself mad trying. Leave him to get on with it and stop taking him back. He will NOT change and you're kidding yourself if you think you or your baby will make that happen.

It is sometimes said that it takes a divorce for a man to realise just what he has lost and the pain he has caused before he will grown up. Maybe your ex will be one of those men. Or maybe he will never grow up.

Either way you need to move on for the sake of your ds. Try amnd find a way to communicate with him which may help resolve some of the misunderstandings and anger. Mediation, third party (maybe via you mil), or perhaps write out what you want to say re contact arrangements.

Marissa1984 Mon 01-Nov-10 19:20:33

I did ask him if he could book a day off work, he then got his mother to text me asking about the arrangements. He makes demands as to what he wants and even if I said no because it just wasn't possible he is not willing to compromise. Then he just goes running to his mother without explaining the situation.

I am giving up on him as I can't deal with him any more. I want to get on with my life and concentrate on bringing up my son but he is trying his hardest to rub my face in all the mess and trouble he's causing, which makes me very upset and depressed and stresses me out.

I want my ds to know who his father is and if one day he decides he's an unsavoury character to say the least perhaps he will choose not to see him, I won't stop his from seeing his dad or turn him against his dad, he will manage to do that by himself.

piscesmoon Mon 01-Nov-10 19:27:48

I think that you have to leave yourself and your ex and emotions out of it and put your DS first. He has 2 equal parents and as such they will need equal rights over Christmas in years to come.

piscesmoon Mon 01-Nov-10 19:28:54

I think that you are making huge assumptions for your DS-he gets 50% of his make up from his father.

mathanxiety Mon 01-Nov-10 19:35:02

I really advise you to get a schedule of visits sorted as soon as possible with no wiggle room at all any weekend of the year, any holiday or birthday, and Mother's Day, Father's day and the baby's birthday all covered.

Take a calendar and see what you want, then if you can, hire a solicitor to get the arrangement set in stone. There's no way a man like this can be left with any room to manoeuvre because he will just take advantage of loopholes to fight with you. You should not assume that he has the same idea as you or that he has the best interest of the baby in mind or that he wants to be fair. You really need a solicitor or he will make a career of getting under your skin. You will be surprised how dedicated and single minded he will be to this task.

There should be no day out of the 365 days of the year when you and he can equally claim your DS. Your agreement should cover every single day of the year. And there should be a financial component too just so the ex knows it's not all fun and delightfulness and some sort of ego trip to be a father.

mathanxiety Mon 01-Nov-10 19:37:25

I have Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day always with the DCs. Ex always gets Christmas Eve day and another holiday that's important in his family. We alternate Easters.

SMummyS Mon 01-Nov-10 19:38:48

You should let your DS see his dad on xmas day. My DSD always says 'why didnt i see my daddy on my 1st xmas?' the simple answer is 'your mummy wouldnt let me see you.

My DSD is now 5 and is growing to resent her mum for not letting her see her dad as much as she should over the past 5 years.

It doesnt matter what has gone on between you (the parents) your child is entitled to see BOTH their parents at xmas, whether he is 10 weeks old or 4 years old!!

I did notice ther is alot of my son in your replies... he's both of your sons!! as PP said he gets 50% of his make up from his father.

If he did take you to court over contact he would be entitled to part of the xmas break, and regular weekly contact.

piscesmoon Mon 01-Nov-10 19:43:42

' one day he decides he's an unsavoury character to say the least perhaps he will choose not to see him, I won't stop his from seeing his dad or turn him against his dad, he will manage to do that by himself.

This is a terrible thing to wish on your DS-I would suggest counselling-you need to get rid of the anger and both concentrate on being good parents to your DS.

MsHighwater Mon 01-Nov-10 20:48:06

"I won't stop his from seeing his dad or turn him against his dad, he will manage to do that by himselfI won't stop his from seeing his dad or turn him against his dad, he will manage to do that by himself"

Just make sure you are not counting on this happening, OP.

As others have said, it is important for you to recognise the need to deal with your son's relationship with his dad separately from how you deal with him as your ex and with your feelings over the end of your relationship. You're angry and hurt, understandably, but that is not part of your son's future relationship with his dad. For all sorts of reasons, it is a good ide a for you - in the absence of strong reasons for doing otherwise - to facilitate reasonable contact between your ds and his dad. That is bound to involve a certain amount of inconvenience and sacrifice for you - that is as inevitable as is the fact that your ex is missing out on loads of your ds's life as a result of your split.

justonemorethen Mon 01-Nov-10 21:50:48

Even the Germans and British stopped shooting each other one year didn't they.

Think about Christmas in the true sense - the only day of the year when we expect peace and goodwill.

Blame it on Christmas spirit and be kind (even if it's just an hour). You can both go back to business as usual on boxing day.

mathanxiety Mon 01-Nov-10 22:01:45

How did your DSD know she didn't see her dad on her first Christmas unless some adult told her, SMummyS? A baby under one year old would have no memory of Christmas, dad or no dad.

If this is a man who enjoys the role of fly in the ointment, then the only way to go is to have a written and binding agreement about visitation.

You can have all the counseling in the world, but unless you get it all agreed to you will be dragged through petty squabbles over visitation again and again. Good fences make good exes.

I think for now you need to sit down with your mum and talk her into issuing an invitation to the ex and maybe his mother too to visit for a few hours on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. His mum sounds like a decent person and I think your mum should issue the invitation since you're going to be at her house. If his mum can make the trip he might behave better. I don't think you should rearrange your plans to go to your mum's for Christmas, but he needs an invitation, which he can decline if he wants to or if he thinks it would be too much driving or whatever. But it will look much better if he has been invited.

If this man caused you a lot of grief, then I recommend some counselling to deal with the stress that he has caused you on top of the stress of having the baby. He sounds like a piece of work. Therapy to help you de-stress and learn techniques to cope with him might be a good idea.

houseproject Mon 01-Nov-10 22:07:07

Hope you're doing OK. The comments here are helpful but you might not want to hear it. You and your ex have separated, he may not be the most grown up dad in the world BUT he is the child's father. Nothing can change that - your ex might be demanding but you should recognise that you have custody of your son and therefore he has to ask/demand contact.

I would recommend couselling to help you get through this - I've found that taking some responsibility for your part in the relationship really can help to move you forward. It really is about closure, no longer feeling angry with your ex and getting to a stage where you can accept his right to be involved in your son's life.
Once you get to this stage you wil feel so relieved and much happier.

Trilobiteontoast Mon 01-Nov-10 22:18:41

Haha wtf is with all the people saying he is an 'equal parent'? How is someone who goes out drinking and leaves his family an 'equal parent' to the one who does all the childcare and acts like an adult? If he wants to be equal, he should be taking on equal responsibilities as well as demanding equal rights.

mathanxiety Mon 01-Nov-10 22:25:47

I agree Trilobiteontoast.

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