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What do I do about the Ex's parents? (long one, sorry)

(10 Posts)
mushbrain Wed 29-Jun-05 14:10:07

Hi all, hope you can help. I don't know what to do about contact between my 2dss and my Ex's parents and I feel terrible. My ex has had nothing to do with my boys since my eldest turned 1 and I fell pregnant with our second. No calls, no visits, no cards and no money. I happen to know that if he meets new people who have no way of finding out the truth, he tells them he has 4 children, when in fact he has 6, mine being his fifth and sixth (he has 4 other boys from two previous marriages, I at least, didn't make the mistake of marrying him)! I resigned myself to the fact that he did not want contact some time ago, and after ignoring his children for this long and not even acknowledging their existence (whilst still maintaining good contact with his other boys)I have now decided that I will not take any action to encourage contact. I will wait (which is a bit like living with a timebomb)untill he either stops being a complete a**e or my boys reach an age and they want to contact him. This is all okay, I suppose, but obviously I would much rather they knew their dad and had good regular contact with him but that is not possible because of his character and I'm sure now that his idea of contact would probably have a more negative effect than no contact.
So, on to my real question. Since we split up his parents have voiced their wish to remain in contact. I have done everything possible to encourage this, including driving the boys 200 miles there and back to visit. They are always very pleased to see the children and tell me how much they love them etc etc but then they don't make any contact for months on end and I am left wondering if he has told them to stop, or if I have upset them blah blah blah. Since October last year, he has been living with them and I told them I would not call their house but they could call anytime and visit whenever they wanted "just give me a weeks warning" I said. What has happenned is that they called me once since then at xmas. Then in March they turned up at 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning completely unannounced. I let them in (though after they had left I wished I hadn't just to teach them to call first)they didn't stay long, said all the usual stuff and said they would visit again soon. I have just had a phone call from them, 4 months later, still saying the same but also informing me that my Ex has taken himself abroad for a 3 week holiday "he said he needed a break" HaH! I am really pissed off at them, can they only make contact when he is 1000 miles away?. What do they think they are playing at, their contact is so spradic and when it suits them, it's easey to see where he gets it from.
I did really like them and belived that they had a right to a relationship with their grandchildren but their actions are really putting me off. I worry too about the future, it won't be long before my eldest realises that not having a dad around makes him different and the questions start (I posted a thread about a while back and got some great advice, thanks again all)what will he think when he visits them and hears all about the fantastic dad he's got but never sees. When she shows him pictures of the B****D with his other boys, all smiles and happy families. Their house is full of photos like that. What do I do? I've told her this morning that we will visit in July if they have a free weekend (they are in their 70's so it's easier for me to go there) but I want to have a serious talk with them about the future and contact. I don't see how it can work if their father never has anything to do with my boys, but to suggest that I may stop contact with the grandparents for the boys benefit and to save them being confused about "Dad" is like blackmailing them to force their son to see his children, which I don't want now and certainly don't want if it is forced.
Has anyone been in this situation, can anyone give some advice or suggestions, everyday all this stuff is going round and round in my head, its as if I am only living a half life with my boys as the other half of me is so absorbed in what will happen in the future and what is the right thing for them, I feel as if my whole life and theirs is on hold because of all this crap!
sorry its so long but I had to get it all out, hope you guys can help.

KatieinSpain Wed 29-Jun-05 14:46:47

Do their Grandparents love them? Are they good with them when they are there? Is some contact with their larger family better than none? Can you really protect your boys from the fact their Dad has gone AWOL? How much do you think his being at their home has influenced their sporadic contact? Are you happy having to be the person responsible for making whatever contact there is, more regular.
My only experience regarding Grandparents is that my Mum gets to see two lots of grandchildren, thanks to very supportive ex-daughter-in-laws. From what I gather, it is quite unusual. My brother does similar things to your ex, like going off on holiday, rather than paying maintainance .
If I am totally honest, I really think all you can do is whatever you think is best and by that, I mean what is good for you, too.

mushbrain Thu 30-Jun-05 10:05:50

thanks for responding KiS, I'll read and respond more in a couple of days, have come down with a horrible bug (sad)feel like hell.

docket Thu 30-Jun-05 10:16:41

If the grandparents are going to be a positive force in the childrens' lives then I think that could be a great thing but given you are the one who has to deal with any fallout then I think contact has to be on your terms. It's not on just to turn up, say you want to have more contact then disappear for an age and any grandparent wanting the best for their grandchildren would recognise that.

Hope you feel better soon

KatieinSpain Thu 30-Jun-05 11:51:49

How's it going? Do the minimum while you beat the bug.

Another thought - do you think the fact they are in their seventies and the sheer distance they live from you affect their ability to keep in touch? Do you think they really want a relationship with your DS?

Hope you're feeling better soon.

Listmaker Thu 30-Jun-05 12:02:18

Hi mushbrain. I commented on your other thread and our circumstances are similar except that my ex's father (and mother before she died a couple of years ago) have made no contact at all which I find really sad. What is wrong with sending a Christmas card or something?? I have written to them occasionally with photos and heard nothing at all. Then again given your dilemma perhaps this makes things easier. They are in Scotland and me in Bristol so I guess the chances of meeting up are slim and none of exp's family have ever even seen dd2. But they (and the ex) also stay in touch with his other 2 dds who are teenagers now. I wonder how hurtful that bit of information is going to be when my dds work that out in years to come.

It's a minefield but you shouldn't live a half life because of it all. You are doing your absolute best for you dss and that's all you can do so don't beat yourself up about how they feel in the future. They will feel really loved by you and that's the main thing.

As far as these grandparents are concerned I think you need to explain your reasons for not going there again (which I think are very valid - I wouldn't want my dds reminded of their father in that way - with photos of him and the other dds) and ask them again to give you notice that they want to come down. They seem less than committed to contact to me.

Tortington Thu 30-Jun-05 12:24:45

i wouldn't put my kids through the turmoil at all until they proved they could be more regular with phonecalls and cards.

throckenholt Thu 30-Jun-05 12:26:59

you need to talk to them.

Say you are keen for them to have contact -but they have to make it a regular thing - so that the kids can get used to it and rely on it.

Say your priority is to protect your kids.

Obviously your relationship with their son failed - they have to help explain that to their grand-children. Not necessarily make excuses but help smooth the reality of the complicated family situation.

Could you arrange to meet up halfway for a day on a 2 monthly basis? And make sure they do phone calls and letters, and photos ?

If they aren't prepared to be that pro-active then I would cut my losses and say sorry - enough is enough.

hope you feel better soon.

Caligula Fri 01-Jul-05 11:53:58

It sounds to me like they're scared their son will stop seeing them if he finds out they're in contact with you.

I have a friend who didn't see her ex MIL for about 10 years after she split with x. Ex-MIL eventually turned up and made sporadic contact with her grandchildren and when her son found out, he stopped speaking to her. When she died, she hadn't seen her son for about 4 years. Perhaps that's what your ex-in-laws fear? Perhaps they feel that occasional contact with their grandchildren wouldn't be worth losing their son for? And that's why they only contact you when he won't find out about it?

mushbrain Sat 02-Jul-05 23:45:27

Hi all, just signed on and was feeling a bit better, getting over the bug, but having read all your responses I now feel great. Just knowing there are others who really understand the situation is a great help.
KinS, its wierd, on the occasions when they see the boys, yes it feels like they adore them but their contact was pretty sporadic even before he moved back in with them. I'm happy to accommodate contact as long as I feel sure it is wanted and it is regular not just happening because they don't want to look bad, or feel duty bound/guilt driven to see my boys because he has all the others at their house on a regular basis. As for doing what is best for me, oh, if only it were that simple. I've had enough now and all my good intentions have disappeared, I'd choose no contact with anyone connected to him but I can't be that cruel to them, and I'm not sure that is right for my boys.
Docket, you are so right, I am constantly confused by their attitude. How can you say you love them and miss them all the time ( and worry about them, which really pisses me off as it implies I am not capable) and then stay out of contact for 3 - 4 months at a go. They have a telephone, they are not so poor that phone calls are a problem and something I forgot to mention in my original post is that they are in London regularly. They visit other family members at least once a month and often its more than that. I have told them again and again, that if they want to pop over on one of these visits they are welcome, or I can drive the children over to them for a few hours. They agree to all this with enthusiasm but nothing ever happens. Whether or not they would be a positive influence, I don't know now, they seem so different to the people I thought they were. I don't understand how they can think their actions are conducive to a good relationship with their grandchildren.
Listmaker, this "Ex in contact with his other children" is a real ball breaker isn't it. On the one hand you feel happy for the others that they have their dad, nobody would wish it any other way but oh, how hard is it going to be for our kids when they have all the facts, I think that is the worst kind of rejection. How can these men be so cruel. I'm sure you did absolutely nothing to warrant your children being treated so badly; and my crime? I left him, he never thought I would, not with a 1 year old and 4 weeks pregnant with our second. What scum they are, really, there just aren't the right words for them. I think you are right, I think I should explain why we are not going to the house anymore and about giving me ample notice, thanks.
Custardo, good point, I'll see how our conversation goes and then take it from there, nice one.
Throckenholt, I think I will right those points down and use them when we talk, for some reason when I speak to them I always feel like the bad guy and can't quite articulate what it is I want to say, this time I'll try and build it around your comments
Caligula, There may be some truth in what you say, though I feel that they may just not know what to do for the best. If the EX is telling them he will never have contact, then this makes life difficult for them, I do appreciate that they are in a difficult situation as well. He is not the type to make threats or ultimatums, he is much more subtle, he would tell them he doesn't want to know, no pictures no comments, no nothing. His mum will think this means he is hurting, and may be torn because she does not want to hurt him further, which is exactly what he would be trying to achieve. Anyway its all speculation, we never discuss him, I have no idea what he has said or is saying now. If only we could all just be more open and honest it would be so much easier to deal with this stuff.
Well, I hope I have acknowledged you all, thanks for taking the time to respond, its been a great help. If I did forget anyone, sorry, it wasn't deliberate

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