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To spend Christmas with the ex or not?

(38 Posts)
UnbridledPositivity Thu 13-Dec-12 23:25:07

He wants to spend 'part of' Christmas together at my house, has offered to pay for some of the food, would help cook it, has talked about present for me etc. He's very generous, no violence issues or anything.

I keep thinking I ought to say yes. He wants it 'for DD's sake', and while I will have visitors over Christmas, he won't (but would never admit to being lonely/sad).

We spent Christmas together last year, and it went ok until we had a big row afterwards as he seemed to resent the effort and money he put into making it nice, and I was sad that he seemed emotionally absent, for lack of a better expression.

This time I'm really struggling with the constant rejection I feel. We've been separated for a long time, but occasionally I stupidly still hope that we can make things work (I instigated the split after finding out about his webcam habit and worse). He goes to enormous lengths to avoid spending time together and seems completely disinterested in anything I say. I know he's an absolute c word, but at the same time I feel really down about the way my life has turned out.

Would it be wrong to say no to a joint Christmas this time? He cried when we talked about it, but got angry when I told him I was upset. He occasionally does me favours, and I will likely need quite a few more from him next year for work-related reasons, so I often feel I have to give a little. Plus I might regret saying no when it's Christmas.

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 23:33:04

What 'part' of Christmas does he want to spend at your place? How much time exactly and what arrangements will be made for dd to spend time with him if he's not welcome at your home?

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 23:34:39

Pressed 'post' too soon... Given that you entertained him last year, there's a danger that you'll establish a tradition and you'll never be shot of him at Christmas.

UnbridledPositivity Thu 13-Dec-12 23:37:20

Due to different upbringing, we celebrate Christmas in different ways so splitting up DD's time would work well. I think he wants to have the big meal together and exchange gifts, that kind of thing.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Thu 13-Dec-12 23:38:48

why ?

just why ?

you are not a couple

how will it be of benefit to dd to get mixed messages ?

spend it with your dd, and the people that love you without ridiculous conditions attached

dequoisagitil Thu 13-Dec-12 23:42:15

I wouldn't. Last year didn't go well - it may have been ok, but then it blew up. Not a good result. You have no reason to think it would go better this year.

You have blurred boundaries and are unable to move on because of the mixed messages & underlying hope. You need to cut the cord.

It's time to make your own traditions with your dd as your own complete family unit.

izzyizin Thu 13-Dec-12 23:46:13

Why not have a joint meal out at a retaurant either before or after Christmas - and before New Year?

thebluenailbrush Thu 13-Dec-12 23:47:03

why not? Seems things are fairly civil, your child would like it if were both together.

if you can't face him being there for the while day think about what would be ok. What about him coming over first thing for a nice breakfast and to open presents? Has he got anywhere else he'd then go for lunch so you don't feel bad about pushing him out into the cold (figuratively speaking that is)?

Or maybe he could come after lunch when the adults are flagging so he can spend time playing with DD whilst you relax. He could then stay for a tea- sandwich and cake type job i presume.

I think if you can make an effort- and him too - then it really will reap rewards in the long run. Maybe have some ground rules/ boundaries to stick to? There are many ways this could work and lots of separated parents do spend christmas or part of it together.

thebluenailbrush Thu 13-Dec-12 23:49:08

and a whole year has passed so emotions must surely have settled a bit.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Fri 14-Dec-12 00:08:52

Would it be wrong to say no to a joint Christmas this time? He cried when we talked about it, but got angry when I told him I was upset.

That doesn't sound like "emotions have settled a bit" to me

Lovingfreedom Fri 14-Dec-12 00:11:00

Definitely not my idea of a 'happy christmas' spending it with the ex. I'd say thanks but no thanks. Can't think of a good reason why you would.

BertieBotts Fri 14-Dec-12 00:38:04

No no no. Don't even think about it.

My opinion on reasons why not:

It's confusing for DD and gives her false hope that you will get back together, which also can make children feel like they have some kind of power over whether this happens or not and then like they've done something wrong when it doesn't happen. Much easier on her if you keep things separate, easier for her to understand that it's over then.

If either one of you gets a new partner in the future it's going to stop being practical to share Christmas and become awkward - especially if you/he go on to have more children with someone else.

Last year went badly. When you tried to talk to him, that went badly. This is a bad sign.

He's your ex for a reason. I don't know your history but this applies tenfold if there was any abuse or controlling behaviour in the relationship, because abusers or control freaks don't tend to happily let go just because the relationship has broken up, they take every chance they can get to try to establish some control over you again.

You both need to move on and disengage - you can't get that while you're still engaging and "playing happy families" even if it's just for one day of the year.

It's a bit of a wrench for DD isn't it, to see him for part of the day and then for him to have to go home? I'm really strongly in favour of the alternate Christmases thing personally, because I think it helps cement that idea for children that they have two places they can call home and feel at home, there's no ferrying about in the middle of the day, you (being the child!) get to wake up knowing that you have presents to open, spend the whole day with your parent, open presents there, have lunch, play with the new things, and go to bed happy and settled all in the same place (barring lunch at GP's etc!) - and you get to experience two different approaches to Christmas day and feel a part of both rather than feeling out of place at the place you're not "usually" at. Hard for parents to give up every other Christmas day, but works best for the children IMO.

Mimishimi Fri 14-Dec-12 01:09:09

I wouldn't in your circumstances. Maybe you could have a pre-Christmas lunch together at a restaurant where he can't try and pressure you into feeling guilty about the efforts he has made. Reserve Christmas day for those you want to spend time with.

SantaFlashesHisBoobsALot Fri 14-Dec-12 01:16:49

I'm spending Christmas with exP and his family. But that's because I'm okay with it, and exP wouldn't be a knob in front of his family again. So I think sometimes it can work. Last year he came to my parents.

But if you are not okay with it, and feel conflicted about things, then its not a good idea. You also gave it a go last year, and it didn't work, so you are well within your rights to say no this year.

It may be Christmas, but that doesn't mean you have to put yourself in a position where you are not happy.

minmooch Fri 14-Dec-12 08:01:41

My ex-h and his partner are coming for Christmas morning. But we are 10 years divorced and I am very fond of his partner.

It can work but only when emotions on both sides have settled. It took us a long time.

Letsmakecookies Fri 14-Dec-12 08:10:37

No it is not wrong for you to tell him you don't want to spend xmas with him.

It would be for his benefit only, and why do it when you have so many negative emotions careering around about it. You are not in a couple. There is no need to 'do it for the children'. They will just pick up on the emotions. That "big row" will be heard by them, even if they are upstairs in bed, and ruin any illusion of happy family. You need to do what you want. Not trying to please everyone else. The children will be happy, if you are happy.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!

There is no way I would spend xmas with my x. I adore my children, but I need to be nice to me too for their sakes so that I can be the best parent I can be. Maybe in 10 year's time, but I will review it then!

thebluenailbrush Fri 14-Dec-12 09:45:03

op said they had a big row afterwards- she didn't say it was on same day or in front of DD.
he's her father- you may not think of him family anymore but she sure does.

you've also identified why you both got upset last year which goes a long way towards understanding each other and where you are. If you are dead against it then you wouldn't be posting on here for advice, you seem to be in two minds.
Bondaries very important.

I have several male friends who have been through years of being away from their children at Christmas due to divorce, and the pain they go through is indescribable, if he cried it may not be manipulative it may be because he is distraught.

I don't get the whole "you're not a couple" thing, loads of people spend Christmas together who are not couples.

I thought last night that my suggestion of him coming after lunch was my preferred option and in fact do remember my ex husband doing that. I'd take DC to my parents for christmas lunch after they'd opened most of their presents at our home. After lunch ex came round . it worked very well and we were not that amicably split.

thebluenailbrush Fri 14-Dec-12 09:58:57

obviously op can only know what works best for her situation.

i am actually all in favour of alternating Christmas as bertie describes, the issue is that many women will not agree to that (unless they are taken to court which isn't ideal), and some men don't want to do a lone christmas with the kids. My ex never once asked for them to be with him on christmas day, not because he wanted to shag around or get pissed, he just knew he couldn't provide the same sort of day for them as i could- and that was important to him- that DC had the best day possible, he was happy to have them from Boxing day or the 27th. Once he got a new partner he was ok with giving up the christmas afternoon thing and just celebrated on boxing day instead. It changed organically with time, rather than being a precedent set in stone.

thebluenailbrush Fri 14-Dec-12 10:02:15

also my ex's family lived a few hundreds miles away, he didnt have the option of popping to theirs for lunch, instead he went with DC to his parents on the 27th every year for a few days holiday. Which is why i say only you and he can really sit down and think about what will work best.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 14-Dec-12 10:37:30

Emotions have definitely not settled! It sounds great that some of you are so at peace with your situation and making Christmas work for your children. It must be great to like your ex's new partner. Neither of us has a new partner afaik, and I would really like to get on better.

I have thought about inviting him for Christmas like I would a friend, but I only like that idea when I'm feeling strong and generous. Most of the time at the moment I feel really sad about everything, and although I know that theoretically relationship problems are usually both people's fault, I blame him for most of our issues. What kind of person makes their DW go to marriage counselling to 'help her' while contacting other people for sex behind her back?! I have done a lot to make him feel included, and to be fair to him, he occasionally helps me out with things, but there is a lot of resentment on my part. I never wanted my life to be like this, I had no idea he would be this kind of person as he hid it all so well. These days he avoids doing anything together, calls our situation 'toxic' and mentions that he will start hating me soon. (How nice.) I don't understand why he'd want to do Christmas together at all if I'm so awful, and surely it's obvious that for DD it would be better to do it separately. Bertie made some thought-provoking points. I really want to avoid giving DD hope that we will spend more time together, which is what she wants.

At the same time, I would probably (stupidly) start thinking of a joint Christmas as a sign that he does like me and wants to make things work between us, so I need to avoid giving myself hope. It's ridiculous and pathetic, I know.

Interesting idea about the restaurant, and I like the 'neutral ground' aspect, but we NEVER go to restaurants together, so it would feel even more forced than being at home.

In short, I just can't make my mind up. I'm worried about the future implications of whatever I decide. And also, for me, part of the Christmas fun is planning everything and how to make it lovely. He's not indicated he'd want to do that at all, so he'd literally be a guest. Except guests would be polite and appreciative and cheerful, and he wouldn't be any of that.

Another thing (sorry!) is that he wants to take DD to see his family (in our town, so only an hour or so), and this usually affects him a lot (crappy family), so I wouldn't want to expose DD to that. She'd be physically safe, but that's about it. In previous years I've gone along, but this ear he's hinted that I wouldn't be welcome, especially if he can't come to mine for Christmas. Arrgh. sad

UnbridledPositivity Fri 14-Dec-12 10:39:04

(year, not ear!)

dequoisagitil Fri 14-Dec-12 11:13:39

Even more now, I think you'd be making a mistake to go ahead with Xmas together. He's trying to manipulate and bully you.

Either split the day or he can have Boxing Day.

thebluenailbrush Fri 14-Dec-12 11:30:00

well with the additional info you've now given i'd say definitely don't spend christmas day together and don't feel guilty about it!

Be prepared to do alternate Christmases though . He may never ask- like my ex never did, but if he wants it then its only fair and something that a court is highly likely to order if it ever comes to that- and i really hope it doesn't as courts are awful places for people to end up .

thebluenailbrush Fri 14-Dec-12 11:32:30

BTW my dc never got the idea that we were getting back together because we were able to spend from 4-8pm on Christmas day together. They were happy to see their father but very happy that their mum was happier now dad had moved out. obviously it depends on the children involved and what has happened, time etc

datemenow Fri 14-Dec-12 12:05:37

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