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General consensus on transport for contact?

(22 Posts)
theredhen Wed 17-Apr-13 18:35:07

Ds is 15. After some issues with ex literally not turning up at pre arranged places and times a few months back and him persuading ds that i am the unreasonable one. I took the decision to get ds and ex to sort out contact between them and for me to back off. So, ds has not seen his dad since beginning of February, partly I should point out to ds having school activities on Saturday and ex telling me (not ds) its not worth seeing him from Saturday lunchtime til Sunday night. hmm

I got ds to text his dad today and ask about contact this weekend.

Ex has text back and not agreed to contact but just asked if I could travel 50 miles on Friday night and meet him at a town (where I presume he is working this week).

Ex moved from our old marital home after insisting he kept it when we split which is 2 mins away from where ds and i currently live. He now lives with his current partner about 80 miles away. Traditionally he has always picked ds up from my house but he is now asking me to meet him at various places and given his track record for always being a minimum of 30 mins late (sometimes never turning up at all). I feel loathed to agree to this.

Ex WILL use my saying "no" as Justification for stopping contact. He is very clever and always tries to turn things around so that its my decision that "stops" him coming.

I should also point out that we've been apart for 11 yrs and for 8 yrs I didn't get a penny in maintenance and now only get enough to pay for ds lunch. (He's self employed). So why should I pay out 100 miles of fuel?

Bumply Wed 17-Apr-13 18:40:35

DS1 (15) and DS2 (11) go to their Dad's by train. He picks them up from the Station. Sometimes they go to the station near his work rather than close to his home. Would that work as an option, assuming he would be more reliable in meeting up with your DS?

Mind you my ex has only seen the boys once since Christmas and currently claims not to have a free weekend in the next month (works every hour he can to keep roof over his head) or have the train fare for their journey back, so I feel your pain.

IneedAyoniNickname Wed 17-Apr-13 18:41:49

As far as i know travelling/paying for travel for contact is his responsibility as he moved away.

theredhen Wed 17-Apr-13 18:42:52

The train would take hours as he would need to change at least 4 or 5 times i would think. I have no faith in ex being there at the other end. hmm

Galangal Wed 17-Apr-13 18:46:58

How does your ds feel about having contact? Is he really keen to go?

theredhen Wed 17-Apr-13 19:04:33

I just asked if he'd had a reply and he has a friend with him, we haven't discussed it. Ds will probably say he "doesn't mind" either way. hmm

theredhen Wed 17-Apr-13 21:31:11

Discussed it with ds and he has told me that his dad wants me to do half the running around from now on. He hasn't bothered to see him for over two months. hmm

Ds has suggested that I could try it this time and see if he's late or not. hmm

I feel I'm stuffed whatever I do. If I do it, ex and ds think I'm a doormat.

If I refuse, ds doesn't see his dad and his dad will blame me.

lostdad Thu 18-Apr-13 10:13:41

There is no legal view on this matter. Neither is there any link between money and contact.

Parents should come to arrangements between themselves acting in the best interests of the children - plain as that.

In this particular case if it turns out that one of the parents won't but the other one believes contact to be in the best interests of the child they will facilitate contact even if it means they do all the travelling.

It's not fair. He should do his bit and act in the best interests if his children. It's as simple as that. But if he refuses to do so and you in term refuse too your kids have two selfish parents as opposed to the one they have by him causing the situation in the first place.

It's harsh, yes. He is an arse, yes. But we've all got insane ex's here so we know how you feel. wink

theredhen Thu 18-Apr-13 12:09:23

Do you not think it teaches an older child that one parent is a doormat if the other simply says no to facilitating pick ups?

I have 4 step kids who we do all the running around for too. My dsc would never ever expect their mum to drive them anywhere.

And it seems my ds will now expect me to do the running around for his dads benefit too.

Galangal Thu 18-Apr-13 13:43:03

Is it a case of you not being able to afford the petrol, or logistically it's difficult? If so then they are perfectly valid reasons to rethink how and when contact happens. At the end of the day he is responsible for his relationship with your son, not you and if he is not willing to do any travelling, put himself out or even turn up then that's not you being difficult. You are not preventing it so as long as you know that, and your son knows that then that's what is important.

I don't think there is anything wrong with having times when you say "sorry, but I can't" - that's not to say that you won't ever or even won't most of the time, but I don't see why you should just roll over with this one, as it sounds like your son isn't that fussed about going?

It's hard dealing with an ex like this, mine is like it but thankfully close by. I get criticised for never ringing him about dd. He never rings me and never contacts dd between visits! As far as I'm concerned she can ring any time she likes and knows that, the rest is down to him.

theredhen Thu 18-Apr-13 13:56:19

Thanks Galangal,

I spoke to DS this morning, who has asked if I could take him to meet his Dad. He has asked that I give him a chance to turn up. sad

He's told me Dad doesn't have enough money to pay the fuel. Dad has recently had a new baby (aged 55, 6th child, other 4 (grown up) not supported by him either) and is always on facebook with status updates showing which restuarant he is eating out at. Dad also came into 40k that I am not supposed to know about from a business I input into, and he tells DS he can't afford the fuel. He rents out our old marital home, owns a 60k boat, a huge flat screen tv etc. I don't mind any of that (none of which I have or have any chance to have!) but I do mind that DS feels pity for him for being poor and not having any money. confused

lostdad Thu 18-Apr-13 16:36:09

theredhen - `Do you not think it teaches an older child that one parent is a doormat if the other simply says no to facilitating pick ups?'

You could argue that my personal situation (permanently damaged health, financial ruin, loss of business, moving halfway across the country to stay in my son's life) teaches my son that I am a doormat who is at the mercy of his mother.

I suppose I could have proved the point that I wasn't by accepting she wouldn't have let him see me. Then again...he would have lost out.

The point is - I made my choice to put him first regardless of what his selfish mother does. I'm an independent and I'm going to do what is in his best interests regardless of what she does.

theredhen Thu 18-Apr-13 19:29:30

I understand your point but in your situation, you are doing the running around because YOU want to see your son but also because you know it is the right thing for your son. You are the non resident parent, I assume? You are teaching your child that you are putting him first by doing the chasing around. It's also what we do for my non resident step children because as in your situation, the ex wife refuses to help with contact, again, despite her moving away (albeit fairly locally).

I am the resident parent and I'm not entirely convinced that contact is entirely a good thing for my DS with my ex. I have spent 11 yrs facilitating it and biting my tongue and putting up with things most wouldn't have done. I'm sure you're a good Dad who provides clothes, supports education and takes lots of interest in your son. My ex does none of those things.

We also do the faciliating for my resident DSD as the ex wife won't do any driving to see her even though she insists on contact, contact which is not always wanted by my teen DSD.

balia Thu 18-Apr-13 20:18:26

Firstly I think you have to separate out the issues of the running around for your other children from DS and his Dad - none of that is his (or his dad's responsibility or issue). I think you have done the right thing by stepping back from organising contact (I did this with my DD when she was much younger) but I'd view it in the same way I would a hobby I wasn't much keen on. If he suddenly took up the guitar, even if you thought it was pointless, if he asked you to ferry him to lessons, you probably would. (If you could afford it, manage it logistically etc).

He still wants to go and see his Dad - if he Dad isn't bothered/doesn't care enough to spend his money, DS will soon see that. If you refuse to take him it will take much, much longer for him to work it out for himself, and you'll play right into your ex's hands.

So don't get involved, don't ask about it. If DS comes up and asks you if you can take him somewhere to see his Dad, see if you can like you would if he was asking to go to a friends/party/event. If you can, great, if you honestly can't, say sorry, I have to do xyz that day, maybe another time.

And just drop him. He might be a little less tolerant of lateness if he has to sit in a cafe by himself for an hour.

Galangal Fri 19-Apr-13 08:37:08

I know exactly what you mean. I think as he is asking then you need to take him. As much as it sticks in your throat, and it would in mine too. I have xh banging on all the time that he has no money and he pays no maintenance either. He can find it for the things he wants to do though and for the things he wants to buy/places he wants to go.

I think it's one of those situations where you need to be the bigger person. I wouldn't be making any arrangements for doing it regularly though, just take each request as it comes and if you can, you can. One day your ds will look back and realise what you did.

It sounds like your ds is a bit like my oldest dd. She is desperate for a relationship with him, and as she approaches adulthood she is starting to see what he is like, but still desperately wants him to prove her wrong. It really hurts me on her behalf to see it going on.

kittycat68 Fri 19-Apr-13 10:23:45

I would sit down your 15 year old and say you are more than happy for him to have a rlatioship with his dad and will support him but you are not getting involved with thier relationship and that it is between him and his dad to sort out contact as they wish it to be, remove yourself and take a step back. At 15 your son is old enough to see his father for what he is, it clearly upsets you how his father is and and you wouldnt want that to sour your relationship with your sosn. As much as you wish to avoid your child hurting is only going to put off the enevitable. Maybe your sons dad needs to see what hes doing to his son, maybe only then will he step up to the mark.

theredhen Fri 19-Apr-13 22:26:48

Well, I took ds to the chosen meeting point of my ex. Somewhere he is working at until 10pm tonight. Ex completely blanked me.

In chatting with ds, he really pities his dad and thinks I should do all the running around because his dad is busy working or can't afford the fuel. When I point out that I've got to be up at 6am to do the work I was going to do this evening (self employed) ds just goes quiet. I don't want to upset him by pointing out his dad is a useless arse who hasn't even phoned him in over two months let alone seen him but at 15 i had hoped he might start to see things as they are. Ironically ds had to be persuaded for years to see his dad, now he's suddenly super dad.

Apparently ex has asked ds why I sent him to my friends when I went for a long weekend away with my dp and not to him. I tried telling ds that his dad often simply doesn't turn up and I couldn't take that chance. Ds just goes quiet. hmm

I think I'm going to completely back off now. I often remind ds to text his dad about contact arrangements. I'm going to stop doing that.

Am waiting for Sunday night now to see what happens with returning ds.

betterthanever Sat 20-Apr-13 00:54:48

I understand that children vary in age terms but he is 15! I can't believe you ex needs to constantly speak to you about contact.

So don't get involved, don't ask about it. If DS comes up and asks you if you can take him somewhere to see his Dad, see if you can like you would if he was asking to go to a friends/party/event. If you can, great, if you honestly can't, say sorry, I have to do xyz that day, maybe another time.
I agree with this entirely

theredhen Sat 20-Apr-13 06:15:59

I don't contact ex but I do have to give ds a kick up the bum to contact him. His dad never bothers to contact him first so ds doesnt make any plans to see friends "in case" he's seeing his dad (we live out of catchment away from public transport so seeing friends involves a bit of planning and often overnight stays). So I remind ds to contact him (so he doesnt sit on the x box all weekend in his room) and then ex asks him to ask me things. Basically ex doesn't like it I've disappeared out of the equation so this is his way of still getting contact with me.

I will simply leave them both to it from now on.

betterthanever Sat 20-Apr-13 21:37:00

Your DS needs to get on with his life and if his dad wants to have time with him he makes the arrangements in advance.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 21-Apr-13 10:48:08

At 15 I absolutely agree that you should have no further involvement in arranging contact. It is their relationship and they need to have it themselves.

Agree with pp if he asks for a lift treat as you would any other lift request. If you can you can if you can't the two of them need to figure out something else.

Have a look at coach, train etc tell him you have time or can afford to drive him x miles to station etc

Fwiw, I think if you have already said no this time you should stick to it.
If you haven't I would do it and warn them Botha its the last time and then stick to it smile

theredhen Mon 22-Apr-13 14:06:56

It actually feels good to think I don't have to take responsibility for the relationship between ds and my ex anymore. grin

I know it means ds and his dad will very rarely see each other as I know I was the one holding it all together then ultimately being blamed when it fell apart.

I shall take each week and month as it comes.

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