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Contact when ex chooses to live 200 miles away

(35 Posts)
GeekyGirl42 Sun 27-Oct-19 16:36:15

When our daughter was 7, we were all living in Bedfordshire, and had done for 5 years. It's in a rural area, terrible for software jobs (my profession) and caught in the middle of a transition from a 3-tier education system to the 2-tier (primary and secondary) that the rest of the country uses.

That year, her father left, moving to Manchester. Now she's 11, and up until now, contact arrangements have been working very smoothly, with him staying at his parents, who still live 5 minutes away, and running his contact from there every other weekend, working from home at their house on the Friday.

He seems recently to have become dissatisfied with this arrangement (has recently set up home with his girlfriend in Manchester). He wanted share of the house equity, so the family home is being sold, and I'm moving 40 minutes away from his parents house so our daughter can go to a stable secondary school (and there are several excellent options), and I'll have a ten minute commute so she gets more from me in the week. She's delighted with this plan.

He is now saying this is unreasonable, because it makes it harder to see his daughter. I understand that and have offered to collect her from him somewhere more convenient for his journey back to Manchester on the Sunday, but Friday arrangements are harder because he's not happy about waiting for me to finish work and drop her off, so he'll have to collect her.

His answer to this (and by the way, I think there is more to this than my move - I think he's fed up with coming down from Manchester) is to expect our 11 year old daughter to take a train from Cambridge to Manchester on her own, arriving in Manchester at 10pm on a Friday evening. I've put my foot down and said that is not happening, but I can work on a plan to get her prepared for that when she's older - at least 14.

He's now saying that this means he might not be able to carry on seeing her so regularly. Am I being unreasonable? I have suggested, so many times, that I look at moving to the Manchester area, but that I would only do that if he perhaps saw more of her and went to parents evenings. He said he didn't want that and his girlfriend wouldn't like it, so I'm not going to do that.

OP’s posts: |
kitk Sun 27-Oct-19 17:06:26

So he's objecting cos you're now 45 mins away from his parents instead of 5? What is his problem?

Cloudyyy Sun 27-Oct-19 17:16:58

His girlfriend wouldn’t like you to move to Manchester??? That is so strange. You could move to the other side of the city and still make things a LOT easier for your daughter to enjoy both parents as she grows up.

doxxed Sun 27-Oct-19 17:23:09

Can his parents put her on the train on Friday? The only real objection I can see is that being effectively alone in a train station at night isn't great for an 11 year old, but if she can get an earlier train it would be ok. What does she think of getting the train alone?

OneTerrificMouse Sun 27-Oct-19 17:27:17

An 11 year old girl, on a train to Manchester, on her own, on a Friday night?

Erm. Nope.

RedJoan Sun 27-Oct-19 17:29:27

I will be faced with a similar distance shortly OP. 13.5 year old. I can tell you that she won't be getting a train arriving anywhere at 10pm on a Friday evening alone and certainly wouldn't be doing so at 11.

I wouldn't allow it but also she wouldn't want to do it.

I am not sure it gets any easier when they get older with that sort of distance, they want to do things with friends and/or have got tons of homework. DD does County orchestra so every weekend she is away means that she misses orchestra.

I think that we will be looking at monthly visits rather than anything else, perhaps with more school holiday visits.

Soontobe60 Sun 27-Oct-19 17:29:34

What you're actually doing is making it more difficult in the future for your DD to independently visit her father. I think a good transition would be for your DD to get a train from her house to her grandparents house and continue the visits there until she is older and can get the train to Manchester. Alternatively you could have looked for work nearer, rather than further away, from Manchester.

MrGsFancyNewVagina Sun 27-Oct-19 17:30:50

I’m a very relaxed parent, but no bloody way would I put an 11yr old on a train by themselves.

RedJoan Sun 27-Oct-19 17:32:48

Alternatively you could have looked for work nearer, rather than further away, from Manchester

Are you for real? OP's ex moved away and she is meant to take his move into account rather than better job prospects/better school prospects.

Unless I have missed something somewhere?

I wouldn't be taking where my Ex chose to move to into my decision process to move anywhere.

MrGsFancyNewVagina Sun 27-Oct-19 17:32:50

Honestly I wouldn’t even let a 14yr old travel that distance. Have you ever seen some of the creeps on a train, not to mention the ones that have had pre drinks before getting on the train.

7yo7yo Sun 27-Oct-19 17:32:56

He wants the house sold so he has no right to dictate where you live.
I don’t know why you’d even consider following him to Manchester.

PrettyPurse Sun 27-Oct-19 17:34:10

So XH moved miles away, has now insisted on the family home being sold which means an upheaval for you and DD. Isn't happy that you would move closer as it would mean he would have to actually do some parenting....and now wants his child to get on a train alone at night to facilitate his contact with her.

I truly dispair

MrGsFancyNewVagina Sun 27-Oct-19 17:36:07

I truly dispair

Not as much as I despair at the posters that are trying to get the OP to facilitate the selfish prick. hmm

RedJoan Sun 27-Oct-19 17:36:48


SleepyKat Sun 27-Oct-19 17:37:26

Well alternatively he could not have moved to Manchester when his daughter lived in Bedfordshire. Sounds like you’ve made lots of sensible suggestions and none suit him.

Maybe it is time that she goes once a month instead of EOW? To be honest as she makes friends at secondary school and they’re all meeting up at weekends, etc she will probably find going to Manchester more of a hindrance for her. She could go more in school holidays?

helpmum2003 Sun 27-Oct-19 17:41:08

No way 11yo on train that late. My DD has travelled independently long distance on train since 14 and at 17 only just doing that time of night.

I don't understand why you should move to Manchester? Away from your job and life? He has moved away not you. I suspect in the long run he wouldn't make any commitment to her - the signs are not good.
I assume employment wise you would probably be ok in Manchester but could you afford to live in an area with good schools? If gf is already so important to him I suspect there'll be a baby soon. It is likely he'll get more flaky then. Do you know anyone in Manchester? Where are your friends and family?

Cuddling57 Sun 27-Oct-19 17:50:51

It's right that you chose where you and your daughter want to live.
It would still be possible for him to carry on his visits at his parents if you are only 40mins away. Could she get a bus there after school?
I wouldn't let her do that train journey to Manchester either!
Unfortunately it does sound like they will spend less time together but it sounds like that's what he wants and would use any excuse anyway.

Drum2018 Sun 27-Oct-19 18:00:50

It's up to him to find a way to get to see your dd for his access time, not for you to move to Manchester or even think of putting dd on a train on her own. He moved a distances away, he wants the house sold, his gf doesn't want you living near them - it's all about his wants and needs. So screw that. You move to your new house as planned and if he decides his dd is not worth making the journey for anymore than that's his issue. I wouldn't help facilitate him at all. He's making it clear that his life in Manchester takes priority.

GeekyGirl42 Sun 27-Oct-19 18:38:55

Thanks everyone. Unfortunately there are no public transport links from here / his parents house to Cambridge - that's one of the reasons I'm moving. Once she's 6th form age, the best options (including one of the best state 6th forms in the country) are in Cambridge, and I'd really like her to have that opportunity. Not an option if I stay.

I think I'll have to get on with my plans, which I know are good ones and in my daughter's best interests, one step at a time, and play it by ear with contact once I do that. As some of you have pointed out, we are arguing about fortnightly contact, away from her home area, for a child that is about to enter the teenage years and all the angst that comes with that. She may very well kick back against spending time with either of us in place of her friends, and rightly so. I'm hoping if that happens he'll consider less frequent weekend contact and extended school holiday contact in the future.

As I'm sure many of you will identity with - I'd love for things to be different and for him to have not chosen to live so far away. Right now he justifies not being more involved by "oh, but I live so far away", and that's exactly why he doesn't want me moving closer because it takes away his excuse reason.

Luckily I don't think there'll be any more children for him in the future - he's told me he's "not a family man" and has made it very clear to his GF that he does not want children. More cynical side of me says it's a good thing that both our daughter's parents didn't decide parenting wasn't for them hmm

OP’s posts: |
BubblesBuddy Sun 27-Oct-19 18:51:04

You do actually need to ask your DD about seeing her Dad less frequently. So far this seems to be about you and him. Take a step back and involve her in the discussion.

RedJoan Sun 27-Oct-19 18:53:01

Sadly Geeky I can relate to much of what you have written flowers, Ex moved ten miles away to begin with before planning a longer move. Even at ten miles away he wasn't reliable.

I work with a really nice man who is getting divorced. The other day he said that both him and his wife were decent people (whereas Ex considers me 'unhinged with a dark side') and that he didn't just want to be a Dad but he wanted to be a parent as well (whereas Ex just wants to do holidays/fun Disney like stuff).

I could have written your final sentence myself.

RedJoan Sun 27-Oct-19 18:57:34

Bubbles - the bottom line for me would be that if he wanted to maintain contact at that level then he needs to do at least his fair share to facilitate it.

Of course some of it is about the OP who already bears the 'burden' of being a full time parent. These men don't put contact with their child at the top of their list when choosing to move 200 miles away.

Here Ex is off tripping the light fantastic without the commitment of being a parent whereas I work full time, then have a second job from home and am doing a couple of work related qualifications. I fit in socialising a couple of times a month, a bike ride once a week which I get up at sparrows fart to do so I am not leaving DD alone for the whole morning and not much else.

Ex bears none of that parental responsibility so I don't think that him facilitating safe travel twice a month is too much to ask.

Drinkciderfromalemon Sun 27-Oct-19 19:00:48

My ex moved 6 hours away 2 years after we split. DC started getting the train at 12, definitely would not agree to travel at night. It means she now only sees him in school holidays, as it is too far to go for a night. He moans about the lack of contact, but cannot have it all on his terms - he didn't have to move, he chose to. Dd isnt bothered about the lack of contact anymore, although going from EOW to a few times a year upset her initially.

GeekyGirl42 Sun 27-Oct-19 19:03:19

@BubblesBuddy it's all about him! At 7 she wanted "Mummy and Daddy to share". She didn't get that because he moved away. Now she likes the routine she has. He's the one saying he won't be able to keep that up. She is aware he wants her to travel up to Manchester, and she's terrified of taking the train. I told her she won't be doing that, and he went crazy at her, saying I was putting ideas in her head and babying her.

I'm not convinced he'll respond well to any changes suggested by her, and she is scared to talk to him about what she wants in case he abandons her / gets angry.

OP’s posts: |
IndieTara Sun 27-Oct-19 19:03:56

@Soontobe60 have you not understood? The OP's ex is the one who moved away. To Manchester! And now expects an 11 yr old to travel there on a Friday night on her own , by train which arrives at 11pm!
There's so much wrong with all of that

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