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Missing exh suddenly re appeared

(15 Posts)
nicknametalreadytaken Tue 23-Oct-12 10:18:24

Forgive me if I get this all wrong, I've never posted before.

I've been raising my 3dcs alone for the last 7yrs since I found out that their dad was having multiple affairs. We are divorced now and he still lives with one of the women he had an affair with, she has a child but not with him.
Right from the start, exh visits with the dcs were very sparodic.

They went to his house a few times until the gf put a stop to it, she hasnt let exh have the dcs there for years now. I used to let him come to my house to see them but he spent too much time flirting with me and not being with the dcs so I told him that he had to take them out to do things. He usually takes them to the park or the museum (the free stuff basically).

The original agreement was that he would see the dcs once a week for the day, this soon dwindled down to a couple of hours a week to every other week for an hour til he just stopped turning up altogether. He would never text or call to let us know so the dcs were just left in the dark. Over the last couple of years exh tends to disappear with no contact at all for weeks on end then he just reappears as if nothing has happened. There are various reasons from him...broken phone, broken car, had a nervous breakdown, fell over in the street, ill health etc etc.

His current way of doing things is to turn up out the blue on one of the dcs birthdays then go on the missing list til the next birthday. The last time he visited was in june, my oldest son(14) has been texting him, he replies sometimes but not others. My son is very angry about his dad, he wants to see him but he cant understand why his dad wants nothing to do with him. I spend alot of time mopping up his tears and calming his anger down. My other 2 are aged 11 and 8, they appear on the surface unfazed by their dads behaviour.

This morning I had a text from exh saying he wants to see them on thursday. I tried to call him back straightaway but his phone was switched off. I asked the dcs if they want to see him and they all said yes so I text back to tell him the time that he can come.

I have always worked on the idea that its the dcs decision if the want to see their dad or not, I have never said that they cant. In fact I think I've done all I can to ensure that they can see him. The trouble is I'm getting increasingly worried about the effect its having on my teenager, he is so angry. I'm angry too, why cant exh see what effect his behaviour is having on his children?

People have said that I shouldnt let him see the dcs anymore but I dont think this is the right thing to do, they have a right to see him. Sometimes I think that it would be better all round if he just stopped contact because this constant to-ing and fro-ing is exhausting and confusing enough for me so its got to be even worse for the dcs. But then I think that they would feel even more rejected and abandoned by him. I've tried to talk to him countless times abouts the effects that his behaviour has but it does no good. It just seems that he thinks he can do whatever he wants and to hell with what anyone else thinks or feels.

Anyway, I suppose there aren't any answers in this situation. I just wondered if anyone else is experiencing something similar, how do you cope with it?

cestlavielife Tue 23-Oct-12 11:09:45

have your dc had any counselling /therapy?
my ex is also inconsistent and erratic.

we just starting work witha family therapist. dd2 finding it useful to express her thoughts - it is about lviing with the fact that this person my be both nice and nasty and leanring how to take the good bits when they happen but acept that she is not repsponsible for the bad bits/his inconsistnecy/his anger etc?

maybe it is similar - your ds can see and expereince some of the good stuff about his dad, wants to ahave his approval/attention/time - but at teh same time has to come to terms with fact dad is inconsistent adn will let him down... tricky for an adult to deal with let alone a child.

my dd1 has given up and deicided she wants nohting to do with ex; keeps it simpler but i think she still hurts..

i think is so important to get across that dc are not responsible for the adult's behaviour; that is ok to "take" the good bits but also be aware that some people arent consistnent and cant be the stable person. but is ok to have a dad who flits in and out - while establishing other consistent stable relationships with other sensible adults ?

also - iget your anger too adn i feel it but ultimately we cant control or change the ex's behaviour or get tehm to "see" sense. so we jsut ahve to find a way to live with it and support dc too to learn to accept that is how dad is....and a family therapist can help with that.

MrsjREwing Tue 23-Oct-12 11:16:01

The bit that worries me is you are teaching your kids that their needs come behind what their Dad's needs and wants are. That can lower selfesteem and give your dc a training they should be available when others dictate.

You are in such a difficult position, he is going to a bad place when he dies, putting his children through abandonment and behaving as if his need to see the kids goes ahead if their need to have consistant and regular contact.

MrsjREwing Tue 23-Oct-12 11:20:55

I wonder if he told you gf put a stop to contact and if he told her you put a stop to contact. As a cheat he is a practiced liar and gaslighter, in order to cheat you have to display that behaviour.

cestlavielife Tue 23-Oct-12 11:37:27

i dont think dc should drop everything to be with dad when he does turn up - is ok for them to say sorry am busy - just like with any other long lost relative of freind who suddenly announces they are in town for the weekend.

give them back some power

MakeItALarge Tue 23-Oct-12 12:17:56

I think a family therapist as suggeated above is a brilliant idea, but it sounds to me like youre doing the best in an awful situation. Your children are old enough to decide if they want to see him so I dont think it would be right for you to stop them seeing him now. All you can do is be there for your children and tell them its not their fault their father acts this way

Katkin13 Tue 23-Oct-12 13:22:31

I haven't experienced this but wanted to say well done for you for promoting contact against all odds. You are a real credit as a mother. I would email him and set out your concerns. It's not accpetable that he keeps popping in and out of the children's lives (whatever the reason may be). I would ask him what contact he is seeking and could you stick to it?

Wishing you all the best of luck!

cestlavielife Tue 23-Oct-12 13:52:12

it is a nice idea katkin; but those of use with experience of this kind of ex can only laugh hollowly - if they were so amenable and reasonable as to listen to/take heed of an email from us, they would have done so long ago... telling them what they do is unacceptable will ilicit either nothing or an abusive response...

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 13:55:18

I agree with counselling, particularly for your oldest. Poor boy sad

nicknametalreadytaken Tue 23-Oct-12 14:30:44

Thanks for your replies everyone. I have been thinking of some kind of therapy for my oldest son but maybe family therapy is the way forward for us.

I've always tried hard to make sure the dcs know that they are in no way to blame for exh behaviour, I also always tell them if he has been in touch and they decide if they want to see him or not. When I got the text this morning, I asked the dcs first before I replied. I've always said that if they dont want to see him then they dont have to. There have been times in the past when my eldest has chosen to be with his mates rather than see his dad.

I think sometimes that they just accept that this is the way he is, especially the younger 2, and they just get on with it.

Its just a really frustrating situation as I just want what is best for my dcs but exh seems to have the control. There have been many times that he has just turned up on the doorstep and one of the dcs shouts "mum! I can see dads car outside!" What do I do then? They are excited and happy to see him so I cant tell him to go away. (As much as I want to!) I have tried discussing with the dcs when and how often they want to see him then going to him and trying to sort something out, he agrees and says all the right things then never sticks to the agreement. I do agree tho mrsjrewing that he is probably lying to me and his gf, he is very practised!

Thanks again everyone, its good to have some advice and also to hear some positives and good wishes.

Katkin13 Tue 23-Oct-12 21:58:28

Agreed that an email may seem a naive way of dealing with the ex but it covers your behind. After all when those children are older there will be questions. Mum will have to show them she did everything she could to promote contact with Dad.

I certainly agree to counselling! That can only help.

Bumpstart Sat 27-Oct-12 22:29:32

It's hard to get the balance right between making it clear that their dad is not behaving in a good way, and why that might be, and demonising him. Please don't fall into the trap of not really talking about it in order to avoid getting it wrong.

I'm sure family therapy is an excellent idea, but it's not going to fix anything in between now and Thursday, and having a really open conversation with your son may help him to make sense of what is going on.

Good luck, and as katkin says, all credit to you for promoting contact despite the difficulties.

Bumpstart Sat 27-Oct-12 22:32:23

And sorry for sounding patronsiing if you are already talking to him very openly. Sometimes I have only realised that I hadn't been talking openly enough to my dd once I had had a really open conversation with her.

nicknametalreadytaken Sun 28-Oct-12 10:56:31

Hi Bump, thanks for your reply. I try to talk as openly with my ds as he will allow. He's quite open with me when talking about his dad, he tells me how he feels about things and I try to be as positive as I can without calling his dad (even though in my head im very sweary!). Ex did turn up on thurs - although the dc didnt think he would. They all went happily with him and he brought them back 1.5hrs later and told me that he would pick them up next week and take them out for food. I didnt ask ex any questions about where he had been as I didnt want to argue with him on the doorstep in the dc earshot.

Oldest dc has seemed alot happier since, he seems less angry so I hope ex will do what he says hes going to do.

We'll see what next week brings!

Strawhatpirate Sun 28-Oct-12 11:14:19

Could DS1 write his dad a letter telling him how he feels? My DH has a very similar history with FIL and he found it really cathartic.

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