Exh asking for overnight access - how do I cope?(25 Posts)
My Exh and I seperated last Sept after he had an affair whilst I was pregnant (DS was 9 weeks old when we seperated). We spent some time trying to reconcile but sadly Exh was unable to stop lying to me and was actually continuing to see his OW, so after ExH dissapeared off on holiday with OW without telling me where he was going I decided to file for divorce in March.
Our DS is now 11months old and he see's his Dad twice in the week and every other weekend. None of this has been overnight contact to date. Exh has recently starting asking to have DS overnight and I'm really struggling to cope.
This post isn't so much a post about when DS is ready to spend nights with Exh because obviously DS will at some point, whether thats now, in 3 months, in 6 months or whenever...My question is really about how I cope with it emotionally.
I'm having quite a bitter day today (!) and life feels a bit unfair (stamps foot in a sulky child sort of a way!). So here's the rant.....It seems that Exh can have his fun, have his affair, give me no support during pregnancy or during these difficult first few months of sleepless nights and then now DS is happy, smiley, fun little boy he decides he'd like to up his time and seems to be angling for a 'father of the year' award!
How do I get through my complete hatred for Exh and my feelings of bitterness towards him given how badly he has hurt me and move forwards. I know this is about what is best for DS but I am finding is so hard to put my own feelings aside and seriously consider overnight stays and increased contact between DS and his father.
Oh, and I should also throw in the fact that Exh lives with his OW so I have the additional vomity, sick to the bottom of my stomach feeling about DS spending time with the dirty little ***!
I think generally I have been quite positive and tried to get on with things but on days like today I just loose the plot and the anger etc. resurfaces.
Any thoughts....is the current level of contact ok? How do I do I get past my own feelings and be sure that any decision made about DS is really whats best for him?
It's understandable that you feel so angry about this but unfortunately there is nothing to do with anger except let it go for your own sake. IN time, you will feel good about that fact that your DS has a good relationship with his dad and you have a good co-parenting relationship with your X. Try reframing the idea of DS visiting his dad overnight as a chance for you to have a good night out with friends and not have to worry about being late back or getting up in the morning, for instance.
Personally I think it's too young and would suggest that you keep contact arrangements as they are until your DS is ~4-5 when you can say to him "would you like to have a sleep over at daddy's house"
My dd was having sleep overs at her paternal grandparents (with her father) when she was about that age (she's 7 now). I wouldn't do it again.. also her father no longer has any contact with her. But that's my persoinal experience and obviously I don't know your situation at all so you have to use your own judgement
You know the best revenge on your ex is to move on and be happy, dont see it as your precious lo spending time with them, see it as you having some precious time to yourself to do some lovely things for yourself, get your glad rags on and go out and enjoy yourself, spend some quality child free time doing all the stuff you can't do when you have your ds with you.
At the end of the day your ds will always be coming home to you and ex will only enjoy a small percent of time with him, so use the time wisley to enjoy yourself, get out with your friends and build your confidence back and soon you will be looking forward to your free time, let your dh and his ow do some of the messy work (sleepless nights, smelly nappies) it wont all be happy families and rosey looking after an 11 mth old, as you well know, and you can be the one to feel smug that they wont be getting a lie in
And unless you are still BF, i dont think it is unreasonable for your ex to have overnight contact, the sooner the better as the younger he is the more adapatable he will be to spending a night away from you, just make sure your ex sticks to his routine
Thanks SolidGoldBrass I was rather hoping someone would tell me to pull myself together! I know I have to let it go or I'll send myself nutty, some days I feel ok about it and some days I just want to punish Exh in any way possible. Am trying really hard to focus on DS and your comment about DS having a good relationship with his Dad and feeling good about that is a good thing to focus on - thanks
Mascaraohara - the 'when is DS ready for overnights' question is tricky and I've seen various posts on Mumsnet saying anything from straight away through to when they are old enough to express their own preference. I just need to work out a way of putting my own feelings aside and focusing on DSs own needs.
Allow me to be bitter with you OP. Similar situation here and I'm as bitter and twisted as it comes.
VT - I am still breastfeeding. Exh thinks I'm 'doing it just to spite him' hmmm....his selfish side coming out again. Obviously though I won't be breastfeeding for that much longer hence the reason the discussion with Exh about overnights has come about.
Shitty isn't it Solo....they treat us like crap and we're supposed to act all grown up and dignified!!
Dont feel pressured into giving up bf because your ex is selfish, keep doing whatever is best for your ds not your exh
sbg is right about building up a good relationship between ds and ex though
I do feel pressurised by Exh about the breastfeeding. He seems to think that when DS turns 1 I will just stop and that will be that....but I am sticking to my guns with this one. DS just gets a feed before bed and one first thing in the morning. With his other feeds it was pretty obvious he wasn't so bothered so I was able to drop them gradually and thats my plan for these 2 feeds as well.
Having said that though I don't think it will be much longer...so i guess the next few months give me time to try and get head into positive thinking about benefits for DS in spending time with his Dad and the benefits for me (a night out involving vast quantities of wine and staying in bed all morning!) Easy to say but not so easy to do.
It will be hard at first, the first time he stays away you will probably have a sleepless night and worry constantly(i know i did) but it will get easier and you will both benefit from it
McCharlieMouse. My Dd is 2.5yo and still breast feeding ~ her choice, but exp thinks I'm doing it on purpose too. And as I'm being bitter, I'm not discouraging dd at all...Don't feel that you have to give it up if you and your lo don't want to. Your exh will just have to swallow it.
MrCharlie (ironic name) I was in the same position as you, seperated at 3 months and had baby, we had a 5 year old at the time aswell.
When we seperated (he had affair ow and moved in with her) I decided that to be bitter would only damage me and no-one else but me. So greived for the happy family that I thought I should have and said goodbye.
then opened up my arms to my new exciting life as a single mum to two girls.
It kept me sane.
yes baby went for overnights with her big sister from around 6 months and spent time with ow - who he eventually married, had a baby whilst having an affair with number three.
Now I have no problem with ow as if she is dim enough to be with a man that has an affair with a pg woman she deserves him sweety.
get on with your life, take evening clasess and let ex have baby overnight to accomodate. Make him take week night responsability - not kust get the weekend nights. Make sure you get free time to be you again and have some fun.
make sure he knows the overnights are for ever and every other weekend school picks in the furture and a weekday night to suit aswell.
So you get a life - different from how you planned but suk it and you might like it
From your post it's obvious you can see the need to distinguish your ex's deficits as partner do not necessary mean he is a bad parent - that is a good start.
As for being `too young' to be away from you - that is known as the `tender years doctrine' (google it if you want to know more) - a set of beliefs that have been comprehensively found wanting for a long time again.
He would always argue that the child is `too young' to be away from him. Too young for what? What can a mother do (aside from breast feed) that a father can't?
I expect to be jumped on from a great height here, but the point is - if you want your ex to act like an equal parent to you, he has to have the opportunity to be one.
I don't know what he is like - he may be useless or whatever...but that is down to him and not you.
It is hard being away from your child - but that is unfortunately something that happens when parents split. You will get used to it - and you'll know your son grows up loving and respecting not only each parent, but both his maternal and paternal parents.
Talk to him. Directly. Via mediation if you can. Avoid solicitors like a plague - they have your best interests at heart...not a child's.
At this stage it is easy to get it very right...or very wrong. My ex and myself are doing the wrong version...you don't want that, believe me.
Try and turn it on its head and see future overnight visits as an opportunity to go out and rediscover yourself to be an attractive woman who will meet someone else and have a very happy relationship with someone else in the future.
I agree to wean bf to suit your ex but it will happen at some point.
Just think of having the occasional child free weekend away with a new man.......or a girlie weekend away, really it would be good for you.
Also I agree with LostDad write/talk to him directly don't waste money on solicitors.
LostDad v interesting stuff on 'tender years doctrine' I hadn't heard of that. I have been trying to find out a bit more about divorce and very young children and the various different approaches to contact and there seems to be very little research about. The reason I feel I need a bit of research is that I am worried my feelings for Exh are clouding my judgement with regards to DS, so impartial views are always welcome!
I agree entirely with you about giving Exh the opportunity to be an equal parent. So no jumping on you from a great height here! Every time I think of how useless he is with DS I do have to tell myself that the only way he will get better is if I give him the opportunity. There is no way I want my DS to grow up and feel that I have limited his contact with his father because I couldn't get past my own feelings. Unfortunately though this is all easy for me to say but so so difficult to put it into practice at the moment.
Talking directly to him is pretty much impossible as I feel I'll explode, although email is very handy and so far we have managed to sort out most of the contact arrangements ourselves over email rather than going through solicitors.
I agree with lostdad. Esp. the part with solicitors. The only winners then are the solicitors!
`Little and often' is the `official' way of doing things. Very young children have very short memories and say, a week, is a very long time for them.
Ideal (ideal not expected) is an hour a day for very young children.
But: It depends on your child. There are 1,001 ideas when it comes to parenting when child rearing takes place when the parents are together. It doesn't change when you're seperated.
It is hard - especially in your situation. If you don't want to face him directly, I'd recommendation - or if you can't face him directly, try `shuttle mediation': You sit in the same building, in different rooms while mediators go between the two and thrash out an agreement. Don't expect much - but even if you hate his guts because of his actions as a partner, you may be able to respect him as a parent.
Emailing is fine if it works - but remember, it's easy to misinterprete what each other say. If you're interested in the mediation I mention above, google `NFM' or `National Family Mediaton'. I'd also recommend you and/or your ex join FNF (Families Need Fathers - despite the name, a third of the membership are women - including single mums..you can call the helpline free of charge for a taste of what is involved and get some good advice from men and women) - amongst other things they specialise in giving advice on the best way to ensure kids enjoy the benefit of both parents even though they are seperated.
Good luck. The best thing your child can have is a parent who thinks of them first no matter what - and you seem to be one of them.
Thanks again Lostdad. The mediation sounds like it might be a plan and I'll look up the details of FNF. Exh and I have managed to do all the arrangements on email so far as it has been relatively straightforward as he agreed (well...eventually he agreed, he did have a few temper tantrums first along the lines of "I'll see my son when I like"!) to my suggested contact as DS was still so little and breastfed. But things are changing as DS is getting older, he goes to nursery now a couple of days a week so I know DS can cope with being without me - its me being without him thats tricky!.
Will try and get head round things over the next few months and focus on lovely DS!
Sounds like you are doing really well. I split with my xp when ds was 10 months. I was still BF and my xp said I was doing it to spite him too. He has ds for 2 nights a week from that age - I had an appendectomy at the time. So xp had had to look after ds. I would go and BF in the day. Ds is now 3 and 1/2, I still hate him not being with me, but like you I have really tried to put ds first.
It is hard to begin with, I arranged loads of things to do without ds when he was with his dad and had to cancel them all and mope about at home. Take each day as it comes, little steps and time will make it easier.
It is still quite acrominious between me and xp due to money issues and other stuff. But ds has time with both of us and seems absolutely fine.
Have a rant to people and in time use the time without ds to do nice things for you.
Someone gave me some simple advice, happy mummy - happy child, when I was ranting and this helped me. Good luck.
I dicovered that my exp has stopped my money going into my bank account. He's done this because I said I needed some time to get my life back together and he hasn't seen Dd for 2 months. So, now that my mortgage is in arrears and my bank account is well into the red...I don't think he's going to speed up my recovery here...and I was only thinking this morning about asking him over to try and sort something out. Now I just feel like contacting the CSA and becoming a real bitch.
If DS does decide to continue with those 2 feeds until he is say 2 or 3 would expressing the milk and him having it in a cup be an option?
Solo - sorry to hear you are going through crap - thinking of you
NA - Whilst I am planning on bf for a little while longer, I have no plans to keep going till DS is 2 or 3! I think DS will decide enough is enough sometime over the few months. Besides...as everyone keeps reminding me I really do need to get a life!
Charlie Ignore anyone who says you need to get a life. They are right twit wits. You are giving your DS the best start to life and you shouldn't feel pressured into stopping for anybody, unless DS wants to. My friend thought her DS would self-wean at about 18 months because he dropped most of his feeds at about 12 months. However at 2 years 3 months he's still going strong with the last 2 feeds. Children are very unpredictable sometimes
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