Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Urgent perspective needed - DP, his kids and weekends(75 Posts)
My partner of 8 months spends every weekend with his 3 young boys.
He split up with their mum about 15 months ago. For a while they did the every other weekend arrangement which is obviously most common, then about 2 months into our relationship he pretty much went back to being with them every weekend, at her house -not staying over but there from morning til bedtime. This was because his ex partner got to a point where she apparently could not cope with the kids being away from her any more , it was making her very depressed, which I can imagine must be terribly hard. She lost her job at the time around that time (has a new one now) and think it all got a bit much.
It's been six months since I saw him at all on a weekend, except for maybe the odd Sat or Sun eve from 9pm til 8am next day - even these are rare as its kind of pointless to drive 2 hours literally just to go to bed together.
I haven't met his children as I don't feel it's right to so early on in our relationship and so soon after their mum and dad split. Also, his ex knows of me but has made it very clear to him he must not introduce them. She often makes threats about taking them away altogether, which although probably completely untrue, scare my partner to death.
I won't go into details but I have absolutely no concerns about the nature of his relationship with his ex, none at all. If anyone is good enough to respond, you can certainly question this but that really isn't the point of my post.
The point is I am completely torn - after 6 months and no real weekend time (we live about 2 hours drive from each other by the way, but see each other in the week) , I've basically said he needs to bring himself away from there even once a month say on a Sat afternoon so we can have a proper evening together. This reduces him to tears, saying he cannot bear to miss out on anything with the kids. He says he wants to, for our sake, but it kills him.
I feel like a cow for essentially demanding he be apart from his kids who are so precious to him.
As mentioned, his ex will not let him take the kids away from her at weekends - their split wasn't acrimonious (but was more him than her by all accounts) so she's quite happy to have him around if it means she doesn't have to be apart from them.
Am I being unreasonable to ask a devoted dad to give up a little bit of weekend time once in a whole for me? He claims he loves me, talks of a future etc, but he really cannot deal with being away at weekends without breaking down.
He sees them about 3 nights in the week for bedtime, seems fine on the other 2, no meltdowns then. But says that's because he isn't missing out like he would at weekends.
Does he need to man up, get some backbone and stand up to his ex, or should I just live with and applaud him for wanting to see them a lot and for him and his ex partner managing a good co parenting relationship?
What do I do?
rollermydisco Well done for staying strong and giving him the boot, reading your post says so much to an outsider, that hes been playing you, well dont for ending the game, and get back out there, hes not worth any further thought. Good luck x
See it as a lucky escape-good luck for the future.
dear lord missed the last update. You're well rid.
I'm sure some ex's can be very difficult.
Fortunately, things are much more sensible now. Suggest he get's a solicitor, and pursues a sensible contact arrangement.
Him being miserable won't help the kids much, and seeing him in a new relationship won't kill them either.
If he won't do it... look for a new partner.
Hope everything works out for you, OP. You have had a lucky escape.
Been busy at work all day, thanks all for your replies.
He has emailed today asking to talk and called once but I'm ignoring. Think he's probably trying to make himself feel better. And as far as I'm concerned every attempt at contact with me is just another betrayal of his wife which just consolidates how much I hate him.
StrawberryMojito - your experience sounds chillingly similar! It's exactly how I've felt , like some kind of other woman. But it was always so hard to challenge him about spending time with his kids! It's not like being in the pub or playing football, I honestly felt awful and completely unreasonable to even challenge him on it even though it made me so uncomfortable.
I've spent pretty much all my adult life in relationships (actual ones I mean, not illusions like this one!), I'm 32 now, think I need to have some time to myself, and my god I will always trust my instincts going forward - if something doesn't feel right it generally isn't eh!
Shinyblackgrape - hope the little one is along soon!
Thanks all again for your support and kind words.
OP, please please do yourself a favour and don't hook up with men who have so much baggage. Honestly, it's a PITA you don't need.
6. He loves me and if he changes his mind hopes I'll take him back
The cheeky fucker!
I second all of the advice about not entering into any dialogue with him about anything. Delete his number and forget he even existed. You're probably hurting like hell at the moment... Be nice to yourself, keep yourself busy and arrange some treats to look forward to, even if it's only a trip to the hairdressers or a mooch round the shops. And most of all, be grateful that you didn't waste any more time on this wanker.
I am absolutely on your behalf!
I hope you can move on from this quickly and painlessly.
It sounds like you've dodged a bullet. He's either confused or deluded but the message of "staying together for the kids/ will you be there if it doesn't work out?" Should be taken as a warning to run and not look back. There's a lot of dishonesty in him, the why is irrelevant. You've been honest and open and expe Ted the same from him. This is not your failing, it's his. Try not to take it personally. I know you feel he was a good catch in other ways. Perhaps reading the "red flags" thread here on relationships could be useful. Best wishes.
Very glad you've had some clarity OP.
One of the nastiest aspects of this is the lies he was telling about his wife - and still is, by the sounds of it. He traded on a stereotype about a child-obsessed, clingy wife who couldn't cope. He set you up to believe negative things about a woman you'd never even met.
You seem like such a straightforward and kind woman and I'm sure you only believed all this because you haven't got kids yourself yet and perhaps haven't come across this very familiar dynamic of a manipulative man who likes to pit women against one another as adversaries. As long as a woman is blaming another woman in a triangle of this nature, it takes the heat and the scrutiny off the man's choices - and the most manipulative characters know it.
I'd be pretty certain his wife has got no idea he was in another relationship. It makes me wonder whether they ever separated and even whether she knows about the existence of his flat. I wonder whether the children ever went there? It's even possible that his wife thought he was working away overnight when he stayed with you there.
You say you've got very attached to him and so that might mean you're vulnerable to more lies from him. If it will help to strengthen your resolve if he comes calling again, it might be worth doing a bit of checking behind the scenes. He's deliberately made that more difficult for you to do by excluding you from family and friends, but there's quite a lot on the internet about people these days, from a google name search.
Oh dear Roller I'm afraid this is rather what I suspected. You've had some good advice here to take with you into the future - especially about being wary of one person's uncorroborated story. Hope you aren't feeling too bad, you have definitely done the right thing.
He has been very dishonest. I feel sad for you, his wife and children too.
I know it is hard,but it is for the best, which you will come to see in time. You would just have had a life of endless problems. I have been in a similar situation and it took time to realise that finishing it was the best thing we did, and never again would I start something with a man that I term 'the walking wounded' - you can't actually help or get the relationship you want. Best wishes.
I'm so sorry disco
You sound far too nice and sane for him though
I wish I'd seen this earlier as soon as I read you first couple of posts I recognised the situation completely. I became involved with a man who was separated (prior to me) with a child few years ago. He too, gradually started spending more time at his exwifes house 'for the child' and I felt I had no right to question this.
Over the course of a few months, I went from feeling like I was his new girlfriend to feeling like the other woman, even though I had started out with the full belief his marriage was over. He strung me along by making me feel like I was unreasonable for questioning anything but eventually confessed that he was moving home. It was awful and took a long time to get over but I was well rid. I still see him occasionally and he gives the impression of still being unhappily married. His problem. I am now happily married to someone else.
I've only just seen this but FWIW, I think you've had the best outcome. It hurts right now but he wasn't available and this is for the best. You could have wasted years being strung along.
Do something really lovely and indulgent for the next few weeks. Take your mind off him completely and DO NOT be tempted to go back to him.
And listen (hope this doesn't sound too smug) but I'm now married and the reason I'm up at silly o'clock is because I'm overdue with first DC.
DH has many annoying traits (as do I) but was single with no kids when I met him and unfailingly honest. You deserve that too.
Re drunk calling etc - post should read : "even when sober"
Very sorry to hear this but at least you know the situation.
I hope you told him not to
fucking bother with point 6?!
Right, you will get a certain element if drunk calli g/texting it even doner when he's fallen out with his wife etc. Be prepared for that. Do not enter in to any dialogue. Delete all texts. Do not answer phone. Be prepared for the contact to be increasingly self- pitying/inflammatory (you never really liked me etc) to try and draw you in. However, this is a total deadloss so you'd just be going back for more of the same. Do ease do just ignore and thank your lucky stars for an escape. You could have wasted months more on this guy.
Ps just to clarify - I have no issue with him doing what's best for his family - only wish he'd been more honest about everything.
Can't sleep after having the worlds most annoying conversation with him a couple of hours ago, I wish I'd just sent a "this isn't working for me" text and not bothered listening to his piffle.
But managed to establish the following through his tears:
1. He's struggling financially (is self-employed and business is crap) so doesn't think he can manage two homes much longer (no idea what their support arrangements are)
2. His eldest isn't doing well at school (aged 10) so needs stability
3. His ex has asked him repeatedly to move back in
4. So, he's going to move back in as soon as his lease is up on his current flat
5. He's sorry and wished he'd told me sooner but wasn't sure what to do
6. He loves me and if he changes his mind hopes I'll take him back (the cheek of the man)
To those who asked - no I never met a single friend or his family (although he only really has his mum who lives other end of the country) so yes, all this was staring me in the face.
Safe to say I've told him to get lost and never contact me again
Feel oddly relieved although I'm sure some hurt and humiliation will hit me in the morning.
Thanks all for your insight and giving me the push I needed to get to the bottom of it all!
Roll on Mr Right ....
Not at all. I was 30 and even then no way! Wouldn't have been fair to the kids, IMO, because I just wasn't prepared to deal. Hats off to those who can and do, they're bigger people than I am. But I knew enough about myself not to visit that on little kids. I didn't even have them and thought, nah, that's not fair on them, I'm too selfish.
expat - phew! Glad I wasn't the only child avoider
'I know that people may think this is selfish but I decided after that not to go out with anyone with children and whose life was as similar as mine as possible - single, no children, professional (so understood long hours etc). '
Not selfish at all. I saw it as acknowledging I wasn't equipped or willing to deal with it, so it was better for his kids, me and him if I didn't enter into such a relationship. I felt it was more mature to acknowledge it wasn't for me and avoid it.
Join the discussion
Please login first.