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ExP giving me a hard time

(16 Posts)
WADA Mon 13-Dec-10 05:12:40

I don't really know where to start but I need a bit of a vent! My ExP and I split just over a month ago. As my youngest is a preschoolrt, he has agreed to continue to fund everything until he goes to school and I can return to work. The problem is that a month in his behaviour is starting to change. He's always been a punishing type. The sort of bloke who always needs someone to blame and sees the negative in everything. I think he may be narcissistic or at least have leaning towards narcissism because everything has to be about him - he's always done everything bigger and better than everyone else and he has turn every conversation back to him. Anyway bearing in mind technically he was the one who wanted to break up (I was actually relieved when he said it because with 2 kids and no job I never felt I had enough personal power to leave and put the kids in a position where they lost everything)I'm finding it very hard to take that he's saying things like he feels so calm since we broke up and he feels like he's wasted his time being with me. Although we made an agreement during couples counselling that he would fund the family for 12 months he is now talking about wanting to look at the budget and make cuts (including threatening to cancel Sky) despite earning a fortune. He seems to want to punish me for something although I don't seem to have done anything wrong! He works away during the week and of a weekend doesn't go out so I'm forced to find things to do with me and the kids or with my friends of an evening just to get out of the house and away from the atmosphere. The problem is he sees it that I'm spending 'his' money. I can't get together an argument in my head where I can fight him on this. When I point out our agreement and that it's not his money (I do all the childcare - on my own during the weekend and most of the weekend) he tells me actually it is his money. Any ideas on what I can do about that? He has me look after the monthly finances which I hate doing because I'm not brilliant with money, offers no help but then wants to control what gets cut. The only thought I had was that he give me and the kids an 'allowance' per month so that I have some say in what my portion of the money gets spent on because I can't face a year of feeling under threat whenever I spend a little money. As for his behaviour well I just don't know what to do. I try not to react but he's the sort of bloke who keeps chipping away until he gets a reaction. My sister died a year ago on Xmas eve and so it's a really hard month as it is but he just couldn't care about that. I tried talking to him about what we were going to say to the kids when we tell them in the new year. His response was that he wasn't going to over analyse it with me and that they will just have to get on with it. He doesn't want a discussion. For my part I think it's important to come up with a joint plan so that the kids see some consistency and see that we're there for them. Thankfully they're young and a simple explanation should suffice as a starting point but it's his attitude that worries me and quite frankly I feel quite intimidated by him at the moment. He says he won't be bullied by me but I have no power to bully him. He holds the cards because he has the money. If anything he is bullying me - right?

Snorbs Mon 13-Dec-10 08:03:13

He sounds like an arse. And I don't think it will make much difference even if you come up with the best argument in the world - he's going to continue being an arse. You can't negotiate away someone's inherent arsishness.

Mutual agreements thrashed out in counselling only work if both parties are reasonable and commit to sticking to the agreement. If one party decides to make threats to change the basis of the agreement then it all falls apart.

One thing I found that helped was to refuse to discuss this kind of thing face to face or by phone. Instead, do it via letter or email. That gives you time to think about a response before having to give it. It also means you can take all the emotion out of it and just deal with the facts.

If he insists on verbal communication then one tip that might help is the broken record technique. Eg, if he starts banging on about changing the budget, say "We made an agreement in counselling and I think we should stick to it" and then just keep saying the same thing.

But if he insists on changing the basis of the agreement then that frees you to do the same. And one thing I would strongly recommend you think about is going to the CSA. When I had a mutual agreement with my ex for maintenance then I felt responsible for chasing the payments every month and justifying why we needed the money. When I decided to simply go through the CSA it got much easier for me. Sure, the CSA's crap but then so's my ex grin and I just need to phone the CSA every couple of weeks to remind them to do something. They then have the responsibility of dealing with all the bullshit excuses and other bluster from my ex.

If your ex is self-employed then I'd not recommend this route as it would be too easy for him to hide income but if he's a PAYE employee then this might be a much better option for you.

You have more options for regaining control over your own life here than you think. It just takes a while for it to sink in that you are only beholden to him for things that you allow yourself to be. You can still break free.

WADA Mon 13-Dec-10 09:53:52

Snorbs your first para about arsishness had me in stitches!

I like the idea of dealing with him via email or letter but it's difficult because he lives here at the weekend which makes it hard. I try not to react but he is the sort of chap who just ups the ante until he gets the desired result and he's very good at finding your weakest spot and I mean weakest spot. He's the sort of bloke who found it acceptable to use the work 'spaca' in my presence despite my asking him not to as my sister (oh yes the very same one who died last Xmas)had a learning disability. Oh yeah, and this was about a week after she died! His reason for continuing??? It was unfair for me to ask him to curb his freedom of speech.

Unfortunately he's self employed which makes things even harder and I have no idea at this stage how far he's willing to f*** me up. He says he won't see me destitute but I guess that will only be if I allow him to punish me for some unspecified crime for the next year and I'm not sure it's a good trade off!

It's interesting to hear you say I have more options than I think I have but I'm struggling at the moment to see them. My main concern is protecting my children and trying to get my son to school age without having to place him in childcare while I go out to work. Don't get me wrong I'd love to work but not until he's had the same start his sister had and this is what we agreed a month or so back.

It seems that for all his talk about being happy we're split up and the relief he feels he seems to be coming down on the side of bitter and angry which although is his general mode of being, is still a bit contradictory!

cestlavielife Mon 13-Dec-10 21:27:51

why does he live there at weekends?

you sau yu stil the one with teh kids - so why does he come?

and if he does come at weekends - why cant you go off somewhere and leave him with kids?

until you split properly adn lvie in separate houses it wnt get better.

anyway what would be so bad about not having Sky? freeview has plenty of channels...

evolucy7 Mon 13-Dec-10 21:34:42

As hard as it may be personally I think that it would be best to live separately. Could you take any steps to do this?

cestlavielife Mon 13-Dec-10 21:40:01

what i mean about the sky tv package is it is one example wehre you can calmly say: ys please cancel it. i have no need for it.

rise above it - yes of course please cancel sky package. I am very happy with freeview.

if you say "please dont cancel sky tv" then he has won.

why cant you go to work with a preschooler?
there are childminders and nurseries...

might not be what you wanted but needs must.

your freedom / self esteem / financial independence may just be worth getting a job and putting ds in childcare. amny of us have to do that.

you feel you lack power because he has all the money cards - you can get back that power by getting your financial independence, moving on and then applying to CSA for his appropriate share...

WADA Tue 14-Dec-10 07:44:37

Thanks for your response cestlavielife.

He lives there at weekends because he works away during the week so rents a room where his contract is. He can't afford the mortgage on the family home, rent plus another place just for weekends. As for going somewhere of a weekend when he is home - I try and get out either with the kids or on my own so as not to be around but I get asked where the money is coming from and where would I go for an entire weekend every other weekend? He is not making any effort to go out so it's quite stifling.

With regard to Sky, personally I couldn't give a monkeys. The difficulty is that it would be punishing the kids rather than me. He way earns enough not to be this petty. That said I think you make a good point and the best option would be to let him cancel if that's what he wants to do. Chances are he's just using it to to be an arse and if he had to write a letter or make a phone call it would be too much for him!!!

I hear what you say about returning to work but I think we're all very different and yes, of course I could put him into childcare but you must remember that it is early days for me here and I already feel guilty about the split for the damage it may do to the kids and the idea of uprooting my son from the preschool he loves and putting him into a new form of childcare makes me feel like crap. These solutions may appear obvious and ultimately, as you say, needs must but there is an emotional context which needs to be borne in mind. That said, on looking into our local schooling policy it would seem that my son will start reception next Sept rather than the following Jan. With this being the case there is little need to send him to the school's nursery so in theory I could change his hours at preschool and return to work a couple of days a week which for me is an absolute bonus because I'd love to return to work, earn my own money and forge my own identity again.

CSA is a problem because he's self employed. I'm not 100% sure that if I went the formal route that he wouldn't try and stuff me over money.

mamas12 Tue 14-Dec-10 10:10:33

Have you actually spoken to someone who know. e.g. CAB or had a free half hour consultation with a solicitor?
If not go and find out you will feel a lot more in control and powerful with a little knowledge behind you.
You will have to get it formalised sometime so why not get it done in the new year sraightaway.
He started it so to speak so he can't really be surprised that you want it formalised.
Be careful in beleiving what he says, he is only trying to get the best deal for himself. not you.
Be very aware. The things you say about him not being able to afford flats and mortgage etc. rings alarm bells
Get some advice.

WADA Tue 14-Dec-10 10:34:15

Hi mamas12

The CAB were pretty useless. They didn't tell me anything I hadn't already found on the internet. A free session with a Solicitor would be a good idea though, especially with regard to trying to hammer out something more formal although I doubt ExP would go for it.

Could you clarify what alarm bells about the flats and mortgage thing rings for you? I may not have been too clear perhaps. At the moment we jointly own the family home. During the week he works away as a contractor so rents a room in a family home during the week and then returns to the family home at weekends to see the kids. We've agreed that it would be sensible to keep the family home for a number of reasons (a) so the kids have stability and (b) as an investment for both of us since the housing market isn't great. Also I would never be able to afford another mortgage on my own and he would be unlikely to being self employed, at least for a while anyway. The idea is that we each pay for half the mortgage and then at whatever point we decide to sell the home we would each take a 50% split - effectively a savings plan for each of us. Also the 50% I would be paying is a lot cheaper than any rental property in the area which means I money to be able to continue my studies which is my key to being ultimately able to afford to raise my family.

The biggest problem is that he's a punishing type. He needs to have power and control and he's like a wounded dog when he feels powerless, hence his behaviour at the moment I believe is a reaction to my not being 'upset' enough at the split. He wants me to suffer despite him being the one to effectively call for the split - bonkers isn't it?!

mamas12 Tue 14-Dec-10 11:33:53

The half hour free consult would be for you and you alone he doesn't have to agree to that, he need not even know.
The alarm bells were from you saying about your agreement, it seems all one sided - his side. Please go and see a sol. as the starting point at divorce and financial hearings is 50/50 the normal amount is usually 70/30 as you are the resident parent.

WADA Tue 14-Dec-10 11:49:32

If only we were married mamas12! Unfortunately when you're not married you're not entitled to diddly. The house will remain 50/50 with ExP required to pay maintenance for the children only. If he pays what the CSA recommend then we should be OK but being self employed all he needs to do is pay himself minimum wage and take a dividend and me and the kids are screwed.

I will go and see a Solicitor though to see what they recommend in terms of formalising any agreement. I have a horrible fear it is going to descend into acrimony despite my best endeavours.

mamas12 Tue 14-Dec-10 11:54:53

Well you might get a nice surprise.
I know of someone in your not married but co owned, situation who managed to secure more than 50/50 because of the children.
Always best to get profesional advice though.

If you know it's going to be horrid best get it over with sooner.

Just make sure you know what you need from this situation. The minimium money, whether you want to stay in the house and sell when kids leave home or whther you reserve the right to sell when you want to, (you might meet someone)

cestlavielife Tue 14-Dec-10 16:37:27

i wasnt married either - you need to ask solicitor about TOLATA (sets out who owns what and split) and childrens act (where you seek share for the children's needs) applications with regard to the property.

you need to consider if you go back to work would you be better off renting and claiming housing benefit etc?

or have him buy you out so you have a lump sum to start off.

fact is keeping the property together will just grind you down over the long term because he wil always use it to control you. you need a clear split financially and emotionally - that will take time, review all scenarios. you dont know if prices will go up/down / whatever.

right now - you arent split are you - so long as he comes back to family home each weekend he is controlling you. and you dont feel comfortable in your own home. i knew that feeling... what you say about him jsut says he will always have a hold on you so long as you tied fianncially - yes ties anyway over the children - but even more so when you at his beck and call financially...

get informed as mamas12 said, find out your rights and review all different scenarios.

QueenofWhatever Wed 15-Dec-10 10:36:46

I have to agree - you are not really separated at the moment. Regardless of being married, the law acts in the interest of the children. I wasn't married either and, yes my ex pays maintenance for my daughter. I also work.

If you are not working, you would be eligible for benefits but not if you are still living with your husband. He needs to move out or you need to move out and I would expect the law would expect it to fall in your favour if you are the residetn parent.

I know it seems hard to believe at the moment, but once you are away from your ex and your kids are at school, working is a much more attractive and realistic prospect. There is also the harsh reality that you do not necessarily have the choice to stay not working until your son starts school.

You need to see a solicitor asap. On a personal level, I woudl strongly suggest you read the Lundy Bancroft book and as mamas12 says, start working out what you want and need from the situation. This man is controlling and bullying you.

My ex was self-employed and his behaviour was similar to your ex's. The arsishness is not going to go away (it will probably escalate in the near future, I'm afraid). He will probably minimise his income to reduce his maintenace - my ex has already started doing this and, as I can sort our house, I'm turning him over to the CSA. Just too many games.

<*cestlavie> hope my comments on your other thread haven't put you off>

cestlavielife Wed 15-Dec-10 12:01:51

queen - not at all ;)

evolucy7 Wed 15-Dec-10 12:35:04

If you want to stay in the house without him, you may well be eligible for Income Support Mortgage Interest payments. These theoretically cover just the interest, however I believe that the rate is set quite high at the moment in comparison to actual interest rates, I claimed this for a while and the amount received per month was about £50 less than the mortgage. If you have a good mortgage rate it is good.

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