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If you are separated/divorced from your partner

(11 Posts)
ChiefMangosuthuButhelezi Mon 17-Aug-09 12:52:59

How did you/do you put your own feelings aside for the sake of your children?

Some words of wisdom would be much appreciated. I really want things to be civil with my ex, I'm exhausted from worry.

secretskillrelationships Mon 17-Aug-09 19:25:40

Am just starting out on this journey too. Have decided to protect friends and family in the same way as the children.

Not much advice, I'm afraid. I think it's hard especially when the children are hurting too. We've agreed a neutral mutual decision approach which I think is good but realise that I've left myself short of outlets for how I really feel (as all our friends are really joint friends).

My approach is to try to focus on my long term objectives. For the sake of the children, I believe it is important for both their parents to have a good working relationship, possibly even friendship. I want the children to have a good relationship with both of us and not to feel that they have to take sides.

I'm lucky in that I feel I have done everything humanly possible to save the relationship so I don't have any unresolved issues regarding that aspect of us separating but, of course, I am still hurting. I know from personal experience (my parents separated when I was young) that whatever I am feeling the chances are the children are feeling worse.

On a practical level, I am trying to look after myself well, get enough sleep, eat well, get organised around the house, etc, as I know that I need to be in the best possible state to support the children. I'm also trying to ensure that I get some time off so that I get a chance to recharge my batteries, go out with friends, have a few drinks etc.

But I have good days and bad days too. So I'm trying to be honest with myself and the children. If I'm having a bad day I will tell them and will try to do something to change the dynamic (when I remember!). Get out for some fresh air, dance round the living room, sit in the garden for five minutes with a cup of tea. And when I fall over I try not to give myself a hard time as it doesn't help anyone.

queenofdenial2009 Mon 17-Aug-09 20:27:05

I'm in a similar situastion. I don't think you should put aside your feelings - they're still there. But we can choose not to show them to our kids; I try really hard to be positive and upbeat whenever she mentions her Dad or he comes to collect her.

Doesn't stop me thinking he's being a wanker and swearing under my breath once they've gone.

Lazaroooh Tue 18-Aug-09 11:50:17

Thanks for replying. You're advice is really helpful and I'm glad I'm not alone, although obviously I wouldn't wish this sort of situation on anyone.
My ex was seeing the kids but he was using it as an excuse to verbally abuse me when he came to pick them up. Eventually i asked my parents to hand them over and he was abusive to my mum. HE also had been saying things to the kids and no matter how many times I told him to stop he wouldn't. The kids were coming back to me a proper state. Eventually I asked my solicitor to write to him and inform him that if he wanted to see them it would have to be through an access centre. He refused to do that so he didn't see them for weeks. He sent me a message the other day telling me he needed to see them. I thought I would give him a chance and I did say that all the stupid comments and negative behaviour in front of his children was not on. He then accused me of being difficult and said that he would go to court to 'execute his rights' if needed. Then he said that he had no car seats and he would be staying in the park with them.

I'm going to see how he gets on with them, I'm not so sure he's moved on at all, and that worries me. He's taking them out on his own. Am I making a mistake?

Sorry, namechanged, chiefmango too long, and I can't go back to my old name Lazarou, as I cancelled my account.

secretskillrelationships Tue 18-Aug-09 12:01:24

That puts a slightly different slant on it. If he's already difficult, being reasonable could just allow him to walk all over you.

I think you need to find a very difficult line between appearing to be reasonable while laying down very clear boundaries. Children have the right to parents who respect them. Children are half of each parent so anything said about the other parent is said about half of them. He needs to understand that when he disrespects you or your family he is disrespecting his children.

I do believe you can do this in a way that shows your children what good parenting is. I just don't think it's very easy with an ex-partner as they know all your buttons. I think getting a solicitor involved now is probably the only rational and sensible option as he has shown himself to be the opposite.

Lazaroooh Tue 18-Aug-09 12:13:16

Thank you secrets. I've just had my divorce through so all my dealings with my solicitor have ended. I think I'm going to give him the chance to prove himself. His text messages to me are filled with hostility and threats. I asked him for his word that he would not say negative things in front of the kids, and he gave me it.
I'm quite lucky in that I have a very good friend who is in a similar situation with his ex, only they split up years ago and they have only just reached an even keel. Her behaviour is very similar to my ex.

The thing is he thinks he is entitled to behave in that way. He still believes that everyone has wronged him and that his behaviour is justified. I just don't know how you get through to someone like that.

secretskillrelationships Tue 18-Aug-09 12:40:12

Unfortunately you don't. I'm coming to the conclusion that many people divide into 'my fault' or 'your fault' and then they marry. My guess is you're the 'my fault' part of the team. You take full responsibility for your behaviour and actions and probably for the feelings of others too. He does the opposite. Probably worked fine for quite a long time until he crossed a line.

My ex is still looking for someone to blame (i.e me) when the separation is something he wanted. I got so confused I actually asked him 'Am I right in thinking that the reason we are separating is because you blah, blah, blah'. He agreed but still wants to blame me.

The only thing I've found that works is the sstuck record approach. Repeating calmly what it is I want until he responds in a way that shows he's understood. But 5 minutes later he can start up again. Maddening isn't it?

Lazaroooh Tue 18-Aug-09 12:55:20

You are spot on. It is really frustrating and he is the type of person that if you ask him a reasonable question you don't get a reasonable answer, you just get accused of 'having a go' or 'being difficult'. It was always like that in our relationship.

My friend keeps reminding me that I am in control and that these visits are on my terms. I just feel a bit annoyed at muself that I just readily offered him unsupervised access when he doesn't seem to have learned a thing from his past behaviour. ie, I don't have any carseats but if you have a go at me about it i'll threaten you with court action' I'm thinking now I should have just stuck to my guns and insisted on the access centre. However, the arrangement has been made so I'll just see how he goes. I told him he could have them for five hours initially, but then when he mentioned about staying in the park all day I restricted it to three hours. I just thought he could give them their dinner, spend some time playing with them and then that's not too long.

secretskillrelationships Tue 18-Aug-09 16:17:00

It is frustrating and can send you quietly crazy too. But at least you are out of the relationship so, perhaps, can see his tactics for what they truly are.

Difficult with children, though. How hard can it be to turn up with car seats if you're taking children out for the day.

How did the visit go? I'm assuming that they're back now. Don't give yourself a hard time on top of him doing it! You're just trying to do your best under very trying circumstances. Besides which you haven't crossed any points of no return, have you?

There are two possibilities now, as I see it. Either the visit goes well. You have made a tiny step forward. Keep repeating in small steps until he regains your trust (as long as it takes for you, not him). Or the visit has gone badly, at which point it's supervised or nothing. Let's face it, if he can't even manage 3 hours in the park then he really does need to be supervised!

Lazaroooh Tue 18-Aug-09 16:40:32

Ah well, he's not seeing them until sunday so my stress levels are getting higher by the day.
My friend has offered to come with me to drop them off otherwise I'll be going on my own with a secret tape recorder grin

secretskillrelationships Tue 18-Aug-09 17:20:32

Sorry, misunderstood earlier post. I'd make clear that you are expecting him to abide by your agreement regarding negative comments and are looking to move things forward in an adult manner but that if that is not possible then obviously the only option is supervised visits. Repeat ad nauseum until he gets the message. If he doesn't get the message it's still supervised visits. If he kicks off, supervised visits. Any behaviour not in keeping with truly adult behaviour, supervised visits. You'll also know whether he is capable of raising his game.

But I'd be tempted myself to wire the children, follow them etc.

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