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Mums with a bad breakup with father, how would you like your ex to approach you about co-parenting problems?

(27 Posts)
FatherB Mon 11-Nov-19 22:57:37

I feel like no matter which way I approach the issue, it always feels like a struggle. I know that this is an odd way to go about this, but if your ex who you can't get on with wanted to change things for the betterment of your child, what would it take for you to see it that way as opposed to a game or him trying to get things his own way?

Just a devils advocate game I guess and see if I can take anything away from the responses smile thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Soopermum1 Tue 12-Nov-19 08:28:55

Too difficult to go into much detail without context, but being and staying calm is a good start. Being respectful, showing you have tried to think about things from their point of view and keeping the focus on the children, no personal digs or insults.

And if you have a history of treating your ex or children badly you might have to put in the effort, first, to display better behaviour and build trust before having that conversation.

MustardScreams Tue 12-Nov-19 08:30:39

Well as long as you always go into a situation putting the child’s needs before your own or your ex then that usually is the right way.

But more context needed. Current amount of time spent with each parent, what does your ex want to change?

unicornsarereal72 Tue 12-Nov-19 10:31:22

From my experience. Stepping up first. Not cancelling contact being present even when you aren't there.

Think about what it is that you want to change and why and how that benefits the child. Be cam and mindful of how you approach the subject. Ask the other parent what they think and take it from there.

WendyMoiraAngelaDarling Tue 12-Nov-19 10:37:02

Be realistic about your own part in why your ex doesn't want to engage with you. Were you controlling, selfish, did you let your children down regularly?

My ex was aggressive, unreliable and loved to abuse by text. Hence I wouldn't cooperate with his demands but he had everyone believing I was difficult and it went both ways. It did not.

FatherB Tue 12-Nov-19 21:42:07

So the relationship ended badly, there was a miscarriage a few months previous and then unrelated medical problems. Ex claimed emotional abuse when we went to family court, I denied it and the court didn't think it was worth taking to a fact finding session.

I definitely could have done more in the relationship, I know (mostly) where I let her down, and where she let me down. It's taken a while to see things clearer, but there's still no communication between us. It's all third party whilst she's attending therapy. I agreed in family court that I didn't have to see her and that therapy was important to go undisturbed. At the end of the day, she's the mother of my child and regardless of if we agree on the causes, I can see that there are issues and I don't want to make them worse by rushing her.

Basically, we disagree on a lot and haven't spoken about any of it or really at all. I haven't ever missed contact with my daughter, I travel a long way to see her and contact is due to increase. I know they trust my intentions towards my daughter and know how much I care about her but I don't think they trust me yet (and given what she thinks, perhaps never will? I don't know)

Contact is due to increase again soon, with overnights starting in the summer. The problem is that third parties make everything complicated. Times need to be arranged around other people for handovers, i don't know how much i'm asking or suggesting is even being passed on, i'm not entirely sure that the third parties have seen the court ordered agreement, because sometimes when I ask that we clarify something they'll suggest something that goes against it completely.

I just want to move on and focus on my daughter, I know my ex isn't ready yet but the hoops are affecting contact and so it's a balancing act of giving her space and making sure my daughters interests are put first.

Sorry i'm trying to be as vague as possible whilst also giving information.

In terms of what I want to change, handover times are a bit challenging because they happen close to nap times atm, so dd is tired for the whole visit, also with contact set to increase the current handover times would go past her bedtime.

OP’s posts: |
Spritesobright Tue 12-Nov-19 22:50:05

How old is your daughter? For me it was that my ex was consistent and put a lot of effort into parenting the girls while he was with them (and contributing to child admin otherwise).
I could see that they were happy with him and wanted to see him more. They asked me if they could see him more so I agreed as I could see it was in their best interest.
It took nearly a year for me to get to that place. So I'm afraid patience is key.
And possibly an apology? If your ex feels that you emotionally abused her then she must be very upset.

Starlight456 Tue 12-Nov-19 22:59:43

Can I say my ex was abusive so that’s my experience.

I am not clear if you felt you didn’t make an effort with your ex or your Dd too.

I think if it was me and my ex wasn’t interested till he left I would I think feel resentful.

Although what you suggest sounds reasonable. I think you need to word it an ensure it is in the best interests of your Dd

FatherB Tue 12-Nov-19 23:36:01

I want nothing more than to apologise for my role in things and to clear the air. I am no longer romantically interested in my ex but I still do wish the best for her, she is my daughters mother and was my best friend for 7 years.

I don't want to open communication channels if she isn't ready and/or doesn't want to though. I'm also worried that it could be seen as coercive behaviour which is the last thing I want so I don't really know what to do with that.

I made an effort with my dd during the relationship, I was a SAHD though (mutually agreed because I was earning less) and a lot of those interactions happened when my ex was at work. So maybe there is something to that? The problem is, I don't know what I can do about it. I can't change how she viewed things previously, I can only change what I do now. So if making an effort now causes some resentment, I don't know what to do, i'm not going to stop making an effort since that wouldn't be fair on dd.

I do understand patience, my worry is that in the meantime there are still things that will need to be agreed and arranged from time to time and that it will never come across correctly because of that lack of trust and underlying resentment.

OP’s posts: |
Nanny15 Tue 12-Nov-19 23:51:31

My ex was abusive never bothered with ds when we were together when i finally got him to move out he acted like dad of the year. Anyway after court we have an email address to communicate through and a contact book. We meet in public. I want nothing to do with him, but our son sees him twice a week. And tbh he doesnt act like his dad more like a babysitter, i supply everything for him. He has no idea how to parent and i have to take a step back and leave him to it. Yes it worries me when hes with him but its what the court ordered, i think its more about me than our son which is really sad. The only advice i can give, is take your time, maybe get a book to write whats needed to your ex. Its not about you two now its about your child. You dont know what shes thinking and she may not be in the right head space to even think about you. So if it all wrote down about your child at least you tried and hopefully in time things will change.

Nanny15 Tue 12-Nov-19 23:53:54

Also put a copy of the court order in the book, everyone should be following the court order if not your breaking it and what was the point in the first place?? Otherwise its back to court to sort all loose ends out so you know the future and whats expected

FatherB Wed 13-Nov-19 00:21:55

It's funny you used that phrasing, i'm so worried about being a babysitter rather than a parent. I love my dd so much, i'm so proud of her and I would do anything for her. There's only so much I can do at the moment though, i'm supposed to be consulted on big decisions and be involved in her life, but it feels like i'm expected to just do whatever is suggested and questions about dd are either ignored or briefly answered. I only found out about an allergy because I happened to ask if she had any. I really don't know how to get more involved beyond just being patient. It feels like I need to say something but I don't want things to become even harder by straining things further.

The court order has been breached a couple of times by her, and if things are continuing as they are then the court order will be breached when contact time increases because the minimum hours combined with current handover time means i'd have to hand dd back at 9pm which is insane for a toddler.

The worst thing right now would be to go back to court though, any progress would be destroyed in terms of building trust, and id worry that it would just lead to back and forth returning to court and allegations. That wouldn't be good for anyone.

I suppose there's a point where you just have to draw a line and do it, but I don't think we're quite there yet, so just trying what I can in the mean time.

OP’s posts: |
Nanny15 Wed 13-Nov-19 00:48:42

Surely you both agreed the court order? Times pick ups etc, thats what should be followed by everyone.
It all needs writing down, keep a diary. You can access medical records, schooling etc as im assuming you have parental responsibility. As you were with your daughter when you were together why didnt you already know of allergies??
The problems between the both of you shouldnt impact on your child.
Me as a parent seperate my feelings etc towards my ex and the time he has with our son. Its him that cant abide by our court rulings. I have a toddler my ex using him to try and control what happens with me. I dont let it happen.
At the moment whatever has happened is obv very raw to your ex, the only way to get it resolved is in court otherwise you will be fighting a losing battle. As you have said the court order has already been broken, your allowing this to happen as your thinking about the effect on your ex, what you should be thinking about is your child and your time with her, make the most of what you get with her and be a parent.
As i see it your time is your time and her mums time is her time.
As she gets older and goes to school etc you are by law allowed to contribute to her schooling as well as medical needs, so just be the best parent you can be by showing your commited.

Nanny15 Wed 13-Nov-19 00:53:04

I would definately get a contact book that goes between you so you can air what you need to but in a positive way.
Maybe even write new things you have found out about your toddler, sleeps, food she has ate. Thats what is written in ours. Anything you need your ex to know. It opens lines of communications, im suprised it wasnt suggested in court tbh

FatherB Wed 13-Nov-19 01:39:16

So the court order is vague. It just says fortnightly visits, it doesn't have pickup and drop off times, which is really where the issue is.

Yes, I have access the nursery system. I haven't accessed medical records yet but I know that I can. There were some issues getting nursery sorted but it's been great to get updates on her. I get many more updates from nursery than I do my ex.

The allergy was only spotted after the breakup, there was a hospital visit due to an allergic reaction and I wasn't notified.

I know that I can get it sorted via court, and I have no doubts that they will see it my way. I have records of communication, and there are clear breaches. I've also suggested reasonable workarounds that have been dismissed when it isn't my job to ensure she upholds her end of the agreement.

I just worry that court will sort out the short term but do more damage long term. It was already so hard to go through the first time, it just feels like there must be a better way. Maybe I will have to consider going that route...

We do use a contact book but not effectively. Ex has refused to use a coparenting app, so i'm using it with her mum. I am in a whatsapp group with her mum that ex was in but left as soon as family court ended. I don't really know how much of that info is going through to her to be honest.

OP’s posts: |
DioneTheDiabolist Wed 13-Nov-19 02:02:31

It's all third party whilst she's attending therapy. I agreed in family court that I didn't have to see her and that therapy was important to go undisturbed.
So leave her alone like you said you would and see what happens when she finishes her therapy.

FatherB Wed 13-Nov-19 02:21:56

Dione, i'm not sure if you've read anything that's been said? I have left her alone, we're arranging through third party. Third party discusses with her (presumably) and agreements are made (or not) to work things out.

Regardless of her situation with therapy, the arrangement still needs to be kept to and adjusted to benefit dd.

OP’s posts: |
DioneTheDiabolist Wed 13-Nov-19 08:37:06

Not only have I read what has been said OP, I have quoted it. Leave your her alone like you said you would. Your posts read as those of an abusive man who is pissed off that he can no longer get to his Ex. Is she a Mumsnetter? Because I cant think of why you would post this here instead of seeking proper advice on a more specialised forum.

Chucklecheeks1 Wed 13-Nov-19 08:49:45

I find this thread a bit of a red flag. My exh could of written everything you have yet he was and continues to be abusive.

Is your ex on mumsnet OP?

WendyMoiraAngelaDarling Wed 13-Nov-19 10:31:46

I agree with two most recent posters. In fact I honestly thought you might be my ex when I read your first post.

Nanny15 Wed 13-Nov-19 11:01:17

Tbh you dont need to be in contact with your ex. She doesnt need to give you updates on your child. I had this with my ex, what he does when he has ds is upto him and what i do is upto me.
Your not a unit anymore all you need to know about is emergencies. As her dad you need to be there just for your dd what happens with her mum has nothing to do with you.
If you dont like the way contact is then again go back to court. The way you talk comes across as you want to be constantly in your daughters life but you cant be because of the way you were in your relationship with your ex, its not an amicable breakup so its never going to be friendly. Your ex is getting help for what she needs and sorting herself out but that has nothing to do with you, she has put a third party in place to protect herself from you. You have to accept that and move on from trying to be friendly.
So really all you can do is court or put up with it.
You sound like you want to be in control but you cant all you have is your time with your daughter so make the most of it when you have it.

Chucklecheeks1 Wed 13-Nov-19 11:30:09

Leave her alone and get your parenting kudos from your flying monkeys. You've hit every red flag going in all of your posts.

Doyoumind Wed 13-Nov-19 11:39:25

You have fallen into the trap I point out so often on here. Court orders need detail because when they are vague they cause endless trouble. The courts don't care about or even think about the detail and it causes so many problems.

Does the court order state no direct contact? Would emails not be possible, copied into a third party to protect you both?

You might have to return to court for a variation. If you can communicate somehow to your ex that you would like to avoid that but that would mean agreeing on the detail to avoid future communication might that work?

FatherB Wed 13-Nov-19 14:03:25

Im really confused with the messages calling out red flags. Maybe I am in the wrong, and I don't realise it. I just don't get how? The third party was agreed to by me because I wanted her to get help if that's what she felt she needed.

I have been told to leave her alone, but I have left her alone? As said, all contact is through third parties. I don't contact her directly. As for handovers, the court order would be broken if we don't change the time. Is it reasonable to hand dd back at 9pm?

Given the above, what am I supposed to do if I am to not contact her at all, even through third party, if that's what some are suggesting.

It's not about control, I honestly don't mind what she does or when. It's only about access and contact. Which is for dd's benefit as much as mine.

ex is not on mumsnet afaik, I wouldn't really know a more specialised place to discuss this either?

I know a lot of people here have been in abusive relationships, but that doesn't mean this was one. Even if you believe it was, how am I possibly supposed to be a good father if i'm expected not to sort out issues when they come up?

Is the advice here genuinely to avoid trying to work things out amicably when there is a problem and to just go back to court every time? It just seems counterproductive for a process that's going to last another 16 years.

OP’s posts: |
Nanny15 Wed 13-Nov-19 14:21:19

Your ex obv doesnt want to converse so all you can do is use the contact book and suggest times for pick up and drop off. If its not sorted out then yes the only was to sort it is through court. I can understand both your views. She must have a reason why she doesnt want to talk to you, so keep it civil through the 3rd party say what you need to and see what happens. She may not be in the right headspace, non of us know what has happened between you both so we can only comment on what you have wrote.
You basically cant get something out of someone that really doesnt want to talk to you. It could take years if at all for her to ever trust or want to speak to you. So either accept it or go back to court and make the order specific for everyones sake inc your daughters time with you.
My ex has no idea what our son likes his routine or anything i had to write it all in a contact book and he still doesnt now. But its not worth me saying anything as he doesnt listen. Maybe she feels that she doesnt get listened to either

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