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ex still trying to control me

(43 Posts)
ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 22:20:16

I was in a relationship for 18 years (married 7 of those). Two children now 9 and 4.

21 months ago ex told me he was leaving but to be honest I'd come to that conclusion - he had been too horrible to me for too long and I could see how it was affecting the eldest - looking back I had seen this years before sad He said he would leave the house in 6 months time and in the meanwhile I would need to give him half the equity of the house and he would be having the children half of the time. I did have some savings and so managed to buy him out and I grieved over the children but thought as their dad it was his right to spend time with them. After 6 horrible months (and 2 holidays together) he finally left (I'd been sleeping ona matress on the floor of the spare room all this time even when the house was in my name. He also tried to persuade me not to tell anyone and I can't believe I didn't even tell my parents for a couple of months because of this. When I told him I was going to see them to tell them he tried to persuade me now to by saying how angry he'd be if I came back all argumentative.

For years he'd threaten to leave because of thing like me not shutting doors, I always felt that if I tried harder it would all be OK and so I'd make his meals, cups of tea, let him lie in (I don't think he ever got up with the kids, even when I was ill). I tried not to get annoyed when he'd go out to football 2 or 3 or 4 nights a week straight from work and come back in after midnight. Or the not so odd night he'd come in at 3 or 4 ...

A couple of weeks (or maybe less?) after he'd left the girls were continually talking about a woman who was spending a lot of time with them. I also had strongly suspected a few months before that he was seeing someone

sorry - to get to the point. Last year he was working 5 days, I work 3 and have DD2 the other 2 (always been one of the things he'd get at me about). I would do all the pickups and teas, even on 'his' nights with the kids and we had a complicated arrangement of nights. He didn't work for the first 3 months leaving (said he couldn't concentrate being at work when he had to sort out his house) and then took voluntary redundancy 6 months after that. All of that time he never offered to do pickups although I did ask him to sometimes if I had an event on at work - he calls this doing a favour for me hmm

This year he's not working and sufddenly decided he wants DD2 one day a week (she's still not at school, and is at preschool 3 days) and to do the pick ups on his days. He's also being really difficult about weekends - he's happy to book 5 days away and miss a weekend but then want them most of the weekend before and after, but when I'm missing a weekend with them he won't agree that for me. He sends me insulting critical e-mails in response to my polite ones. I've tried to suggest we alternate weekends partly as this is what DD1 would like, and partly so we don't have to negotiate each one separately (and we don't have to communicate as much). He's said no to this. At the moment I have them every Friday and one of them every Saturday, so this is another reason to alternate.

This doesn't seem like much but every time he asks for something I tend to agree, when I do he makes it so difficult. If I want to go out Friday or Saturday I've had to negotiate with him and if he doesn't like something I say he'll just say'n' at the last moment. On several occasions I've had the kids at the last minute on his request. He's also always late which has caused problems for me and on occasions distress for the kids. Generally, though, he is a good Dad.

In addition I have evidence that he's trying to sabotage a holiday that I was trying to organise for the kids next summer. He shouts at me in front of them is has drawn DD1 into arguments.

We're going to mediation in the next few weeks to sort out things with the kisd. I'm half looking forward to it (I suggested it last year, but he said it was pointless as I was no good at negotiating) and half dreading having to be with him bullying me - can't believe in many ways I'm so strong.

Sorry - that's long enough

I just want to know when this all starts getting easier - I'm fine by myslef, cope practicall. Financially is hard but I'm getting there. Don't miss him although I miss the kids when they're with him. It's just all the insults and argueing. I just want the negotiations to be more straightforward. It's always going to be emotional trying to negotiate time with the kids, but it feels like I have to fight to make it fair. He jsut wants them on his terms (and then to be able to book a week away here and there when he fancies)

I don't want to dread the e-mails, to wonder what's happening next weekend. I don't want to worry about what he's saying to the kids.

I want to be able to get on with my life and this is taking up too much time and energy.

Any advice would be gratefully received

CogitoErgoSparklers Sun 04-Nov-12 22:28:08

You mention mediation but I don't think that's appropriate in a relationship where one person (him) dominates and the other (you) caves... I think you need a nicely fierce solicitor who is not susceptible to his bullying antics and who is 100% committed to your best interests. Stop all the emotional negotiations, communicate only to say 'talk to my solicitor' and withdraw from him completely except for formally/legally agreed contact. I think you've probably been stitched up over the house buy-out btw.

Shellywelly1973 Sun 04-Nov-12 22:36:39

God my blood started to boil on your behalf reading your post!!!!

As the 1st poster said find a solicitor fast.

Stop negotiating with this muppet.

Clear visiting/access arrangements are the priority here. Your dc must be finding this difficult.

You've done the hard bit &parted. You do not need to tolerate being treated so badly. You deserve a life too!

Very best of luck...

izzyizin Sun 04-Nov-12 22:36:56

Are you divorced?

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 22:38:52

Cognito I haven't been stiched up over the house. I have shares in my name that make up for it and I have seen a solicitor over that.

I'm trying to avoid going to court over the kids as I really don't want it to get messy. They'll insist on mediation anyway.

Ironically his complaint about me was that I was a bully!!

I do stand up for myself, but again I have to be careful as he will retaliate. I just think that he's got a house, a girlfiend - why does he need to still be so horrid to me?

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 22:40:40

Not divorced yet - sadly I don't think that'll stop him being a f***wit

I had a free first appointment with a great solicitor - but she said I have to try mediation for the kids - I just hope the mediator is strong as relate couldn't deal with him!

CogitoErgoSparklers Sun 04-Nov-12 22:42:48

He's already making it 'messy'.... by continuing to engage and discuss and mediate and so forth you're just fuelling the fire. Very simply, he needs to be horrid because a) he has the opportunity and b) he enjoys the effect it creates. Maybe someone will recommend or insist on mediation but, when dealing with someone who relishes being difficult, you are going to need the ultimate sanction i.e court.

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 22:53:09

Thanks, Cognito I guess part of me thinks that if I deal with it in the right way he'll be reasonable. I guesss I've always thought that.

I've been going to counselling - not sure how much it's helping, but it's good to talk and analyse it. However, I resent having to pay out because of him.

I will try the mediation as the alternative is costly, will destroy any goodwill that's left and will probably make things worse for the kids in the short run.

I've been sat here for half an hour trying to negotiate taking the kids to the pantomime that my sister has tickets for (and she phoned him to agree they could go). Now he says he'll only let one of them go and I have to bruing the other back from my sisters (1.5 hours drive away) by 10am.

clam Sun 04-Nov-12 22:54:45

On a practical level, can you not set up a separate email account for him to use, as well as a specific phone? That way, he's not polluting your normal channels.

CogitoErgoSparklers Sun 04-Nov-12 22:56:18

'Goodwill' is getting you nothing at the moment except abuse and pathologically awkward behaviour (like the ridiculous pantomime thing). You have to limit his access to your DCs.....

amarylisnightandday Sun 04-Nov-12 23:02:08

They won't necessarily insist in mediation - disnt with me.
You can request shuttle mediation where you arnt in the same room thisigjtcwirk better for you because he can't just lay in to you.

Get ready. Write a contact proposal with set times and days etc. talk to the DC about what would suit them best.

ddrmum Sun 04-Nov-12 23:06:37

Hi ninja, just a thought but have you considered gettign some legal advice and drafting a 'contact order' yoursel and puttign it before the courtsf?? You're being reasonable offering every other w-end and he is blatantly being awkward. I also have an exH like this. That would cut down on your costs massively. Mediation is great if its two amenable people involved who want the best for the DC. I'm sure someoen much more qualified will correct me if I'm werong but even if you agree something at mediation he can refuse to adhere to it - that goes for a court order too sadly. My exH dragged me to court to demand addition time with the children but it was to control my whereabouts (1dc on different days) a bit like you and the courts suspended all contact for 7mths so far smile I should point out that this has gone on for 2yrs and he's been unrealistic and abusive in court as well as breaching almost every order madeangryWishing you well with it all xxx

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 23:07:08

Thing is what I've suggested is completely fair and still involves him having them half of the time. I'd love to have them more but he is their Dad and they love him.

I have a plan that will work for all of us. He just thinks since it's 'my' idea that I have to compromise. DD1 has basically asked for this.

amary I will ask about shuttle mediation, thanks

ddrmum Sun 04-Nov-12 23:07:50

Oooops, excuse the typosblush!!!

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 23:07:52

I've now suggested that I'll be at my sisters and that if he wants to collect one child the night before and one the night after from her house then he can!

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 23:08:11

typos always excused ;)

ninja Sun 04-Nov-12 23:36:47

I keep hoping someone will have a magic plan that will make it all better sad

SmellsLikeTeenStrop Sun 04-Nov-12 23:58:45

stop negotiating, just tell the arse that both DCs are going to the pantomime and that's that. If he wants to see them then he can pick them up the following morning.

Some men just won't be nice and reasonable, they're all 'my way or the highway' even if it means their kids are hurt, that's considered collateral damage. You need to be firm with him, fair but firm. If it's a reasonable request from him, go along with it, if it's him throwing his weight around and making ridiculous demands that hurt your DCs (like forcing one of your DCs to miss out on the pantomime), ignore it and tell him to shove it.

struwelpeter Mon 05-Nov-12 00:01:35

I can empathise with your situation, am having something akin to this with my ex and it is really hard but I don't think there is a magic plan with someone as you described.
Really good suggestion upthread re separate phone/email account just for him that you switch at set times (once a week/once a fortnight) or a contact book that DCs take and bring back - limits communication.
Contact is for DCs benefit and so if they want to go together and it does seem bad for them that they don't go together then that's what happens. Set up an every other weekend thing with him and don't negotiate or a basic one for both and the older one is extra if he/she wants it. One thing you will have to do is not arrange things on "his" weekends. Keep records and let him take you to court if he wants.
If you have good records and have told him what you are doing and stick to it, court are likely to go with this as it's a pretty normal routine - a night during the week is becoming v common too if distance makes it feasible.
Be businesslike, you wouldn't deal with this amount of chopping and changing in a job or from an employee so why do so from your ex? If it all works smoothly for a while then you can perhaps reintroduce negotiated changes but don't until you feel a proper routine is established. And once you know which weekends are free you can start doing stuff for yourself and you won't miss the DCs so much when they are at their dad's.

ninja Mon 05-Nov-12 07:24:37

Strewelpeter that's what I'm trying to do, set up the alternate weekends so there's less need for all this change but he's resisting.

He has them 2 nights in the week as well, as I said we share the care equally, so he really can't complain.

I wanted flexibility at first but I'm prepared to sacrifice that for the certainly that a fixed plan will make. To be honest we're meant to have a fixed plan, but it involved too many changes for the kids and it doesn't work.

I was I'll all summer and all half term and its really wearing me down.

I hope that the mediators are used to dealing with this kind of issue and as you say what I'm requesting is quite usual.

CogitoErgoSparklers Mon 05-Nov-12 07:34:27

"we share the care equally, so he really can't complain. "

But he is complaining... being awkward, behaving badly, issuing abusive messages, deliberately messing you around, making you upset, keeping you on the phone for extended periods for something and nothing.... bullying you, wearing you down, accusing you of being hard-nosed.

When the even-handed, flexible, 'reasonable person', thing isn't working you have to go fixed and formal. And I would also suggest that less access is also the way forward as this will reduce the amount of time you need to be in contact where he can carry on with the punishment

Most children love their father. But if they are constantly being placed in an environment where a bullying dad is crushing the spirit of their mother, their interests are not best served.

Anniegetyourgun Mon 05-Nov-12 09:34:25

"Generally, though, he is a good Dad."

You've got quite a broad view of what constitutes "good", there. "Could be worse" is about the sum of it.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Mon 05-Nov-12 10:45:25

I am sorry about your situation.

I want to hod your hand and respond to the notion that 50/50 is best for kids. I know you are trying to be nice but being being shared out is not always best for kids. I second using court for proper contact and interest of kids put as priority.

I am sure that there is plenty of research available. I will only speak for myself.

My parents divorced. My dad was fun. But he was not a good carer. Caring for a child is not always fun: homework, hygiene, nutrition, setting limits, etc.

Not sure if this helps, but the notion that kids must be shared out 50/50 is often spoken about and I think it needs to be challenged.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Mon 05-Nov-12 10:46:02

hold your hand!

NicknameTaken Mon 05-Nov-12 12:01:31

You can make an agreement at mediation (yes, do any mediation on a shuttle basis) and ask the court to confirm it as a court order by consent.

Don't bend over backwards to accommodate him, eg. if he is on holiday for 'his' weekend, you don't have to let me have your time to compensate (unless it suits you). He'll rant and rave whatever you do, so do what works for you. There are some people who see your attempts at being fair not as an invitation to be fair themselves, but as a weakness to exploit.

Over time, you can learn to cultivate a kind of cynical amusement about how predictably awkward he is. There is no magic wand to solve the problem - you just have to learn to live with it without getting eaten up with frustration. You learn to always have a plan B at the back of your mind for when he throws a spanner in the works.

Sorry about the pantomine. It's lousy that he won't let the dcs have this simple enjoyment.

Once a bastard, always a bastard. It's about learning coping and distancing mechanisms and protecting your dcs as much as you can.

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