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worried about letting my 4 year old stay overnight at ex's as he shares a flat

(11 Posts)
Didi6 Tue 13-Sep-11 23:34:26

Hi there
Any advice / reassurance appreciated.... my ex left me when I was pregnant and I have spent the last four years pouring my heart and soul into giving my daughter a secure, safe upbringing.I am a single working Mum and have finally got into a stride with a good job, daughter in a good school and she is an extremely happy, beautiful girl. My ex's contact was inconsistent for first few years, and his behaviour sometimes aggressive. He has always paid the minimal - I mean MINIMAL amount of maintenance (£100) a month. I do not ask for more as I don't want to rely on him and I've managed to make it work.

To get to the point... he is now trying to get more access with my daughter. It's hard for me to let go, but think it would be good for her to develop her relationship with him and good for me to have some 'time off'. The problem is he shares a flat with his girlfriend (this is ok) but also another girl. Now they are I understand ok people, but I am uncomfortable with her staying in a flat where friends of this girl could come and go. There is also no room for my daughter so she would stay in the tv room.

Also, she has said (with no influence from me) that she doesn't want to stay the night until she's 6. That she has no room and that she would miss me.

My problem is that he is now pressurizing me to make this happen and I don't know what to do. I guess I am resentful that I have brought her up with little help from him and now he wants to be more involved now that it suits him. But really my heart just breaks at the thought of forcing her to go, plus the fact she doesn't have her own room and that it's a shared flat.

I want him to wait until she's 6 and that bit more 'robust' but can he force the issue through the courts?

The last time she stayed for the day at his, she came home and said she didn't want to go back as he fell asleep in his room and left her with the dog.

He is a good Dad most of the time and only wants to improve his relationship, but can I stop him rushing things?

I just want things to stay as they are. I'm not sure I can cope with this pressure. I lost my father recently and it's a constant juggle to keep our head above water. I don't want him to create acrimony and break her bright happy spirit.

Pang Wed 14-Sep-11 14:26:23

Oh I feel for you. This is a really difficult situation, but you must put your daughter's needs before you ex-dps wants. If you do not feel comfortable with her staying overnight and she doesn't want to go then don't do it.

Let him know that you do want him to see his daughter but she needs time to get to know him better before doing any sleepovers. This could take weeks, months or years.

My ex's contact was inconsistent for first few years, and his behaviour sometimes aggressive. He shares a flat. No room for daughter

I don't think any court would force you to allow her to stay overnight in the above circumstances. They would probably even recommend supervised visits if he has a history of aggression.

SenoritaViva Wed 14-Sep-11 14:34:28

You sound lovely and a really thoughtful person, thinking about what might be best for your daughter. You should be really proud of that.

I don't have any experience so am really bumping but I wonder whether you could seek some advice? Is your ex reasonable enough for him to understand that this might not be the best time? Can you explain that you support her visiting and staying overnight when your DD is ready? Perhaps you could make some suggestions to him to make her feel more 'safe' e.g. to recommend on the night she's there that there aren't further strangers, especially as she will have to sleep in the TV room - where would visitors go when she wants to sleep? Maybe he could buy her a little tent or wigwam that would be her 'space' in the living room. When we stayed with in laws for a week + they did this for our DD (age 4) and she loved it. She had a little bed inside etc.

I'm sure someone will come along with actual experience and the legalities soon.

Didi6 Wed 14-Sep-11 17:32:34

Thank you Pang. Those words are very reassuring and I just hope he puts his ego aside and lets this develop slowly. Ultimately I have to put what I think is best for her first. Let's just hope he doesn't challenge it. He has one day a week and every other weekend (full day) with her, plus Fridays taking her swimming so I think I have been reasonable. Thank you so much for your reply, dx

Didi6 Wed 14-Sep-11 17:37:08

And thank you SeboritaViva! Lovely kind words! That's a good idea about the 'space' and I think I am going to say that he should work towards creating a safe, fun area for her to sleep in and start to drip-feed the idea to her and see how that goes.
She said today that she doesn't want to go 'in case I wake up in the night and want Mummy' so I have to stick to my guns.
It's so hard! As all mums out there know, especially single ones, every ounce of energy is spent juggling and sorting and I feel like a have no room left in me for dealing with any kind of legal process. . It would definately have a detrimental affect on her as I would be super stressed out!
We are having a chat about it tomorrow, wish me luck. D.

WhoWhoWhoWho Wed 14-Sep-11 17:37:48

Could they (dad and gf) use a sofa bed/ blow up bed in the living room and your dd use their bedroom?

Didi6 Wed 14-Sep-11 17:52:35

that's an idea, thank you.

WhoWhoWhoWho Wed 14-Sep-11 17:58:42

I was just thinking it's not really feasible for a child this age to fall asleep in the main room is it, the adults will still be awake and chatting. Your DD needs to be able to go to bed.

I really sympathise as my ex is a bit of a rotter and I'd love it if he decided to emigrate or something but as things stand I encourage DS to have regular contact with him as it is something he needs. They will make their own minds up about their parents as they get older.

Didi6 Wed 14-Sep-11 18:14:50

I agree about the emigrating thing! He moans about wanting to travel abroad... but really be my guest! It sounds harsh, but I just think when she's 6 or 7 she will be able to communicate her needs and fears more. right now, she puts on a brave face with him and breaks down with me. But yes, I do want her to have a relationship with him. But I don't!

The sleeping arrangement just doesn't seem right so I need to try and be brave and say no... he always reacts so defensively.

WhoWhoWhoWho Wed 14-Sep-11 19:13:24

I would say to him you are not ruling it out forever, but that you just feel that she is too young / sensitive at the moment and you would like them to continue spending days together for now until your DD is more confident.

Didi6 Wed 14-Sep-11 23:28:50

Thank you....

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