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XH strikes again or AIBU

(37 Posts)
Pollyanna9 Sat 24-Sep-16 07:45:02

Hi all. In recent weeks DS age 17 has been given all that he needs to be able to travel by train for his contact with his dad. We have a station very near us, there's a bus that drops him virtually outside from a little bus station that's 5 mins walk from our house. At 17 he's more than capable of doing the journey and, as a child who never leaves his Xbox/bedroom, he very much needs to start doing stuff like this - it's unrealistic for him to expect to be chauffeur driven everywhere. We used to meet for contact (a 75 mile round trip for each party) at a service station roughly midway from mine and XHs homes. For the last year DD has not been coming with us on this journey to have her contact (that's a WHOLE other sad story that if you heard it would show XH and his family in an incredibly bad light) so that it's just DS in the car. I have continued to support him in this journey by ferrying him there and back every other weekend even though the contact order which XH insisted on actually ceased to apply in July 2015. I continued to support contact like this until DS started college in September and gave two months notice that I wouldn't be doing it any more from then. I said I hoped he'd enjoyed that massive additional extra support he'd received by me doing this but it was time for a change and would do DS good to stand on his own two feet. For someone working full time with no support around her, I think it's been pretty fabulous of me to continue to do it all that time as it's cost a fortune in petrol (obviously it goes without saying, he's never said "thanks for doing that, I really appreciate it" !!).

This is what dear, dear XH has just emailed me:
^DS wants to start driving lessons too which is great news for him. With the money I send monthly can you get him regular driving lessons locally? In addition, I'll organise lessons and we'll pay for them here for when he comes down.

I'm looking at train timetables for next week. I'll let you know timetable but it's expensive and difficult for DS. If you could meet as usual it'd be easier for him as he's clearly not happy with trains etc. Let me know if you will do that?^

This man is a veritable asshat. He perpetuates DSs fear of doing anything that takes him outside of his bedroom and his most narrow experience of the world, he's moaning about paying £16 for a ticket - I've never moaned about taking DS at my cost and on my time 28 times more than I was required to.

XH has an absolutely shocking and totally whiney absence of responsibility with no ability to just get on and sort him out with his train travel - you would think DS was being required to plan a solo trip round the world the way he's moaning on about it.

And then telling me how to spend the 'money he gives me' (like it's a bloody favour!!). I've just started a new job after 4 months out of work and the money is not as good or anywhere near what I was on the year before and I've no idea if I can even meet my bills until I've had a few pays come in and I see how we manage, but I certainly can't add blinkin' driving lessons into the mix.

I'm so sick of XHs whining and belly aching when for the first time he's actually got to do something for himself, be responsible for it (ie paying for and facilitating the train travel for DS) and apparently his whole world has crumbled. And I don't particularly want to pay for driving lessons or anything else for DS anyway - I've given DS £10 twice in the last approx 9 weeks to go get his hair cut. The money's been absorbed into his lunch money and he's barefaced lied to me that 'I promise I'll get it cut tomorrow', repeatedly, but he still looks like Bamber Gascgoine so he hasn't gone and had it cut yet he's spent the money on effing Lucozade, so why should I pay out for driving lessons for him (even if I did think I could afford it) when this is how unappreciative he is of the money that he does get given!


I've honestly not experienced such a massive fuss and overreaction to something SO simple as DS switching to going for contact by train. I fear we may be entering mediation shortly if it gets any worse. XH is clearly getting flack from his rancid wife and no doubt all the rest of his family are going ahhh poor you poor DS, you ex wife (me) is a right harsh cow (and I guarantee they will be).

Hey ho. What is wrong with these men for goodness sakes.

Toffeelatteplease Sat 24-Sep-16 07:54:06

Nothing. He can't and shouldn't tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing with your money or time.

Personally i would send back "I'm sorry but that's not going to work anymore. DS at 17 is perfectly capable of taking the train and in the interests of your relationship with him in hope you can support him in this."

I wouldn't bother entering mediation for a 17 year old. If I did I would be saying the above on repeat with the addition of at "at 17 I consider the responsibility for a relationship between DS and ExH to lie with them."

Pollyanna9 Sat 24-Sep-16 12:55:52

Thank you for replying Toffeelatte.

I have responded and said, essentially, bugger off, DS needs to get on and start doing things under his own steam and it will be good for him. It wouldn't cost him as much as it is doing but XH has got DS going down on the train the maximum distance possible hence it costs more - they could have continued meeting at the half way point which undoubtedly would have been less. His choice.

No, the mediation thing was more of a joke comment (sorry) indicating what a massive palaver has been generated by this simple change in arrangements! Maybe I should just get Kofee Anan if he's free... grin

And yes you are right, it's completely his dad's responsibility to organise it. When it came to getting tickets etc he was moaning about how expensive it is (I'll just say he bought a £6k car for cash last year and has just bought himself a brand new motorbike...) so I said well, get a 16-25 railcard then. He was wanting me to do the buying of the card process and I had to say no, you buy it, do it yourself, honestly he can't do anything.

You know, when it's his new daugther's birthday, his bloody wife texts my daughter directly (which actually I don't like at all) and says "what are you getting her make sure you get her something". Or, at Xmas last year "Make sure you're buying something for daddy". I've lost count of the times I have to reply and say "You're his wife, XH is your husband, so whose responsibility is it to take her to buy a present and give her the money to buy it with?". They genuinely feel that it's my job to do all of that. I would do if they were decent people, but they aren't. It certainly doesn't happen in this direction, it's a one way street.

The pair of them are literally incapable of taking responsibility for anything. It's properly draining and incredibly annoying.

It's interesting that this snotty and Victorian attitude to what I do/don't spend 'his' money on that he 'gives' me, has noticeably changed as we enter into a private agreement. He's an utter, utter bell end.

wayway13 Sat 24-Sep-16 13:05:53

Surely and money XH gives is for maintenance, not driving lessons??

At 17, you are doing DS a massive favour in encouraging him to be more independant. He can catch the train. You should not be ferrying him about and XH is BU to ask.


"No, I won't be providing money for driving lessons. You do what you want while he is with you but I have bills to pay. DS can get a pt job if it is that important for him."


"No, he is nearly an adult. He can get the train. I'm done being a taxi."

CousinCharlotte Sat 24-Sep-16 13:25:11

Your ds can have driving lessons when he goes to xh, paid for by him.
It all sounds very tiresome wine

OliviaBensonOnAGoodDay Sat 24-Sep-16 13:38:04

No advice but I 100% agree with you. I can't believe there is all this fuss being made about a 17yo catching a train (not by you OP - by your XH!).

VimFuego101 Sat 24-Sep-16 13:43:19

YANBU, it's not difficult to see where your son gets it from! You are doing the right thing in giving your DS a gentle shove towards being independent. Does he plan on going to uni?

Kewcumber Sat 24-Sep-16 13:45:35

My nearly 11 year old can get himself on a bus, to a station, buy his own ticket and get himself somewhere having planned the journey himself.

I know tats relatively unusual for 11 but if he can do it at 11, I 100% certain that a 17 can do it.

Pollyanna9 Sat 24-Sep-16 15:59:21

Thanks everyone, all sensible comments (and support, thank you). I sometimes wonder if I've entered the twilight zone with all of them - they're on a different planet.

Yes he does want to go to uni (of course, that will only happen if he applies himself at college and I'm not sure he's going to achieve even that).

I also wanted to start him on lessons at 17 and I was going to do that but that's when I was on £20,000 a year more than I'm on now - I don't have the financial capacity to do it at the moment so it's just not going to be possible.

I'm also concerned that his dad will be thinking aha, if DS can learn to drive, he can drive himself down to me for contact and I feel that would be wrong on two levels (and I wouldn't be surprised if this is how he's thinking, anything to make it easiest for him) a. it's a long drive and I'm not sure suitable initially for a brand new driver and b. why should his son have to get himself to contact with his father - it's a no effort from Dad scenario.

In any case, although there's money set aside for DS to get a secondhand car, I couldn't afford to insure it or give him petrol money so there's limited value to the taking of lessons at this stage.

Yes, re him getting a job. It's definitely something he needs to start looking at - and that will take on god almighty massive shove. His dad does nothing to encourage him of course.

There are school kids who have to hop on an off tube trains to get to school, there are school kids I've seen at local stations getting on and off trains. I have no issues or concerns, he's entirely capable of getting on the blessed train on his own.

Thanks for the confirmation that I'm right in my thinking.

Pollyanna9 Wed 28-Sep-16 17:24:32

Well, Monday I cracked on and booked the train tickets for DS to travel down to his dad this weekend. Spent time on selecting the trains, applying the 16-25 railcard, ensuring the stops were correct etc etc etc.

Get a text from XH today "Oh, I'll be in the area on Friday so I'll pick DS up from your house".

Is he 'just happening to be in the area'? No, I don't think he is, I think this is molly coddling DS who really doesn't want to go on the train (with the addition of having also to get the bus as well which adds another layer of grimness for him because I just can't be sure to be home on time and I'm not gonna spend every other Friday stressing about getting home on time - I do have a full time and quite demanding job, so..!!) .

So I've said well, go ahead and pick him up from home on Friday if you want, but you still owe me for the train tickets because I've already booked them and you were talking this week about getting DS a debit card of his own so he could do them. I then wasted yet more time setting out with DS what time he'd need to be home from college for, make sure you've packed earlier that day as you won't have time when you get back, take my debit cards as that's how you'll get your tickets out of the machine.... all a complete waste of my time.

Waiting to see what the dickhead says. Honestly, it's staggering how someone can go out of their way to not encourage their child to do things that will ultimately help them to be confident and independent?

Wonder if when he comes he'll be taking his DD out for a burger or anything bearing in mind he's not seen her since Easter....

He's such an utter word that begins with C.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 28-Sep-16 17:31:51

I'd use CMS all the way and to each email I'd reply,

Hi Arsehat

No, that does not work for me.


Pollyanna9 Wed 28-Sep-16 19:19:08

Do you know what, this super ass has been trying to exercise extra control like he's NEVER done when it all came through CSA. The idiot actually thinks it has more meaning now, for some unknown reason.

He's been very slightly edging towards 'if you don't return the signed copy of our signed independent agreement, you won't get paid this month'. He's not come straight out and said that, but I can just tell that's what's in his mind the wanker.

If he even slightly, formally states that, I had already decided I'm gonna say yeah that's fine, but the other option is we'll go through the CMA (or whatever it's called now) and you can pay 20% extra on top, see how yar missus feels about that!!!!!

Pollyanna9 Wed 28-Sep-16 19:19:49

fuzzywuzzy I shoudl say by the way, bloody funny mate!

Pollyanna9 Sat 01-Oct-16 08:54:06

And at the risk of talking to myself, spanners were put in the works this week for DSs first train trip for contact following the train on the line issue the previous time.

I sat and spent probably 30 minutes double checking all the train/station and railcard options and booked the tickets for collection at our home station. Did this Monday so I knew they'd be ready for DS on Friday. Advised DS that because of the unpredictable traffic from my workplace home (it can take 45 minutes or 1.5 hours) and because I've only recently started the job I might not be able to leave early and also because what I don't want every other Friday, is to feel I've got try and drive home faster or be stressing on the journey thinking will I get back in time to drop him to the station.

So I also spent time researching all the buses and printed out a map and so on. It's a 5 minute walk to our small local bus station, he has the stand information, the bus number and a detailed map of where the bus stop is that he needs to get off at, which is 2 minutes walk from the train station.

So then on Wed XH says oh I'll be in the area on Friday so I'll pick him up. Well that did not go down well with me I can tell you. So he says (in his usual, imperious tone) well you can send them back and get a refund if you don't use them. I'm like mate, someone will have to go to the train station, get the tickets out of the machine, write a letter, find a postbox, send the letter off - all for tickets that were booked in good faith for a journey we'd agreed he would be making.

Then he comes to pick him up and off they go and it transpires that he still intends for DS to come back on the train (he hadn't even confirmed that with me) and therefore I've got to hope that the refund can still be had for the first leg of the journey because that part wasn't used. I did say to dear XH, YOU do the letter writing, YOU send off for the refund because I'm not doing it.

So DD actually got to spend a whole hour with her dad (I had to ASK him to take her out when he was seeing DS anyway to pick him up) and reports that DS spent the whole time moaning about getting the train and how awful it was that I also wanted him to get the bus as well and how he was going to have to stand up on the bus and - get this horrific imposition - RING THE BELL! And how it was 'miles' to the train station (it isn't). XH was of course nodding his agreement so clearly there's been conversations no doubt by text and on the phone where XH has totally not supported what I'm trying to do with DS all of which things are entirely reasonable and helpful to him to not become a bloody modern day snowflake.

Apparently, despite the fact that I have refused driving lessons for DS at the moment, XH is going to start giving him lessons in his car when DS is down there. Where is fine, I just don't know where it will lead or really the point to it because he walks to college every day and since he goes nowhere at all outside of that and contact, why would he need a car that would be sitting on a driveway 90% of the time? Oh, yeah, probably XH is thinking that DS as a new driver should be expected to transport himself to contact within the next couple of years, driving a long 87 miles 1 hr and 40 minute journey so he can have contact with his dad!!!

I knew really that they'd been moaning about this behind my back and without doubt the whole family will have been doing so as well all saying what an absolute cow I am making him travel on the train but I really felt properly down last night and still do this morning.

All I'm doing is being reasonable about moving on the contact travel arrangements which will in turn help DS to be more independent and confidant. sad

This also has a knock on effect because if I then start talking to DS about his effort at college and so on, he says yes yes yes but I know that with that, he's not listening to me, he's not.

Shall I just say to DH. From now on you buy the tickets for DS yourself, and I expect him to be on the train to go back and forth to you because that's what I've told him he's doing.

Do I raise the issue of driving lessons and what is their intended purpose, or do I let that one lie?

Or do I just leave them to it, backing each other up and encouraging DSs mediocrity and total lack of confidence...

Thebookswereherfriends Sat 01-Oct-16 09:09:14

Honestly, stop facilitating the contact. Your son and xh needs to start sorting contact themselves. Don't organise tickets or go into great explanations of how to get there, your son is old enough to figure this out. Let xh do what he likes 're. driving.

myfriendnigel Sat 01-Oct-16 09:40:33

I'm actually crying laughing at your earlier description of DS's hair making him look like Bamber Gascoigne.
Oh that's tickled me....
That aside...if your DS is incapable of getting a bus and a train im not sure I would trust him behind the wheel of a car. Of course learning to drive is the big thing at 17 and your xh is playing to that by suggesting it, facilitating it at his end and making you look bad in comparison as you won't (because you can't) do the same. Your ex is not on side with solving the problem of your DS's lack of independence because he probably hasn't given it a seconds thought.
Who moved away, way back when,him or you?
If him then it should always have been on him to sort the commute for contact out.If you, then I'd say you've done the right thing all this time and are continuing to do the the right thing by making a decent arrangement for your son to travel-one which is actually Cheaper. DS is 17 not 7. If he and exh don't like your proposed plan well then what's their suggestion? (Other than one that doesn't involve a 75 mile round trip for you-because you are right to want to stop doing that all the time).

Pollyanna9 Sat 01-Oct-16 12:25:40

Thebooks don't worry, I'd already set not facilitating the contact travel arrangements, this was the last week it was going to be anything to do with me. Unsurprisingly, it was a right old mess - thank God I'm out of it from now because I had to make sure I didn't get face to face with XH yesterday or I would have let rip.

Myfriend - I know, I even texted DS the BG picture but it seemed to have no effect. He probably moans at his dad that I force him to go to the barbers on his own as well. The thing is, he's not incapable of getting a train or bus - he just doesn't want to not be chauffeur driven. Get this for the horrific influence of his dad's side of the family: I tried to get him started on train about a year ago when he was 16 and when I was consistently only taking him for contact (technically, even then, I didn't have to support transport for contact as the contact order for him had expired) and he (DS) said something to me like "Well if I've got to go by train black people will steal my Xbox or my guitar" and I was literally struck dumb. I have NEVER brought him up to have thinking like that. This house is PC to hilt from ambiguous gender, gay, black, white, whatever - so he can only be getting these attitudes from his delightful father and the grandfather. Again back then even though I'd identified DSs total lack of confidence and spoken to XH about it and said look you need to make him do things like (this is an exercise I actually did with my DS) - he needed batteries for his Xbox controller, we drove to the shop, I have to force DS out of the car into the shop to go and buy them. Those are the sorts of little things XH needed to start doing with him. So what does he do? Gets him to wash his car for him? Is that not somewhat missing the point?

I even endeavoured to engender independence and confidence in one of the most expensive ways (esp. for a single parent) that you possibly can, D of E. I said to DS, look, if I'm going to buy all this equipment, pay for the trips and all the meal packs and so on, you have to go fully into this programme and do it right through to Gold. Yes mum. So after having done Silver (and due to some fairly poor comms from the school) I found out he hadn't been doing his volunteering, he hadn't been completing any of the logging of his activities and he had no intention of doing the next level! Hundreds of quid that was, a massive amount of money. The upshot of that is one of the reasons why I WON'T molly coddle him because he needs to understand the correlation between hard work and results whether they be academic, or earnings.

I think the alternative plan that they have is that he will learn to drive and he will be expected to go nearly two hours there and two hours back in a weekend. Who they think is going to pay for the car to be run I've no idea - maybe I should use the money he 'gives' me to pay for it!!!!

I moved away and that's why I offered half way meets and supported them throughout the entire time that contact orders were in place. Unfortunately for DD she has virtually no contact as I've set out on a thread in the Lone parents section so I've got no one to take who couldn't reasonably be expected at this stage to get themselves there through joint arrangements with their dad.

Do I say anything to DS or what? I feel our relationship is getting really poor and I am always thinking Christ he really thinks I'm totally shit (which I'm not) and that every time I talk to the kid he's humouring me as someone who has to be tolerated, because I'm so 'awful' to him.

myfriendnigel Sat 01-Oct-16 12:50:06

I would say something to DS don't need to bad mouth his dad further than being Honest about anything he might have done or said. Totally reasonable to say to him, 'look I love you, but you are 17 and for these reasons-money/time/dd needs me at home-etc I cannot drive you to see dad every time anymore.additionally im worried about you because at 17 you should be getting ready to go out and start living and you don't seem able to do that right now.and that's why I want to help you Learn how to do it' or something like that..
Maybe you could try taking him out for tea or something to have the talk-dunno-would he even agree to that or would it feel too forced?
Learning to drive is fine if he or you or your exh can afford it.if you cant then He can't do it unless he gets a job and contributes to it himself.

Still hooting at bamber Gascoigne.dont know why I find it this funny. I was honestly doubled over before smile

Hermanfromguesswho Sat 01-Oct-16 12:58:32

I'd just say 'either you or DS buy the train tickets and he can train it to you, or if that's not acceptable to you then feel free to come and get him. Please arrange between you and DS'
Is your DS anxious? Could you speak to him and maybe do a train journey somewhere with him first and then a local one on his own before the longer one?

Pollyanna9 Sat 01-Oct-16 13:18:30

I'm glad I've given you a giggle Myfriend, when I first started coming on here some weeks ago and had of course to go through the classic posts like penis beaker, I literally was bent double on the sofa night after night! Cheered me up no end.

Herman - I did this a year ago. You see I never intended initially for DS to go all the way to [insert name of county] but to get the train to the station which equated to the half way rendezvous point - straight through, no stops. I thought I could have grown from there as he got confident. I went with him the first time and handed him over in the (very lovely, semi rural) train car park. His dad was all ooh hooooh oooh this isn't going work blah blah blah, so right off the bat he was dead set against it so DS is getting the message for over a year that yes, you are right to be scared of going on the train/of going independently in the world.

He IS entirely capable of doing it.

Now of course having been picked up he's coming back on Sunday (because of his dad's preference for him to travel virtually the entire way by train) and the first journey he's doing is three trains with TWO changes - now wouldn't it have been better if for the last six months to a year he'd been building up from going half way, and was now super confident.

Lucked Sat 01-Oct-16 13:36:01

Eek lots of 17 year olds are on gap years negotiating public transport in foreign languages. I was going to say I would probably give him a lift to the station, given that it isn't far and compared to what you have previously had to do but hadn't realised you weren't home from work.

Regarding the driving lessons, it is an important life skill so I think you should let them get on with it. Having a driving licence is not the same thing as having a car and it may take him many attempts to pass.

Also at 17 I remember people had school having quite disgusting and bigoted opinions which definitely didn't come from their parents? Friends, tv, people he Xboxes with could be influencing him. Obviously it is not to be tolerated.

Pollyanna9 Sat 01-Oct-16 13:43:07

Yes, I do agree Lucked, I do think that a lot of these influences come from school and I get it's part of the whole trying to fit in thing albeit disappointing that he has those views. My DB and me grew up in 1970s [name of East Midlands city] and it was properly multicultural, and that's how we grew up and when I look back at my school photo's, every group is represented and I love that.

Obviously if his dad is willing to insure him on his car and give him lessons that's great. I give DS a driving lesson experience for 17 yos for Xmas so it's something that has been in my mind. I'm just dubious about the thinking behind it. Still I'm sure he'll enjoy it and I think he'll actually be a really good driver. Shame it had to be turned into a 'ner ner nee ner ner' event whilst simultaneously laughing about me/jointly bad mouthing me behind my back re the train travel.

Pollyanna9 Fri 14-Oct-16 19:31:40

Oh. My. God. You would not believe this Friday evening.

All arrangements put in place for him to get the bus (5 mins from my house) then the train.

I made sure (to the detrimental impact to the amount of evening available to me for myself) to come home the long route to make sure I'd be back after the time at which he'd need to have gone to get on the bus.

But no. When I walk back in, he's in the bathroom and in his bedroom his bags all packed and jacket slung over ready to go.

What are you still doing here says I?

Uh says he.

You should be about to get on a train. Why didn't you get the bus?

Ur um.

I told you to get the bus because I can't guarantee with traffic that I can be back in time. Why didn't you get the bus.

I don't want to get the bus.

Oh well. I tell you what, I'm not driving him up there. I've just worked a 50 hour week and it's taken me nearly 2 hrs to get home the 10 miles distance back at the end of today.

So I text his dad to say this is totally unacceptable. DSs said nothing to me and just expects me to now take him by car even though he's missed the train he's supposed to be getting anyway!

So I get this text from XH: "Did you tell DS he needed to take the bus and did you leave funds? Are you able to take him to the train tomorrow morning? I think it's best to help him get used to the trains gradually and I think he needs some support"

What like:
Accompanying him to the train station the first time three weeks ago, explaining it and helping him get the right train (he's been on trains loads anyway)?
Providing detailed timetables with platforms etc?
Providing a map of the bus route and exact details of which bus stop to get off at?
Like trying to do all of this already, a good YEAR ago when I also thought he was capable but his dad wouldn't support it then (like he's not supporting it now)?

DS then asks me if I can take him to the station tomorrow - I was like FFS! NO YOU'LL GET THE BUS. The BUUUUUUUSSSSSS!!!

All DS is doing is making it worse by not doing what he's told because his instructions are all based on the most rigorous and detailed planning with every level of help thrown in that's humanly possible.

And XHs preference is to constantly reinforce DSs fears about doing stuff that doesn't involve going to college or playing Xbox in his room. That is sad and so weak of his dad for that to be preferential to say yay come on DS, you can do it mate.

Back a year ago I even went on the train with him - that support was shot down and rejected because DS 'doesn't want to go on the train boo hoo' rrrrr!

Christ, I despair.

ConkerTriumphant Wed 26-Oct-16 09:57:03

I've just read all of this in stitches. My ex is the same and thought it was shocking I expected our DCs to walk - WALK! - the 10 minutes between our houses instead of being collected.

They were teenagers and it was TEATIME.

Pollyanna9 Wed 26-Oct-16 12:50:47

Conker, you are a reckless and downright dangerous woman! The saga went on after that - I'll try and update later. I've honestly never experienced such a fuss about nothing.

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