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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.

Foxy800 Sun 16-Dec-12 09:39:03

Hi this is my first year as a single mm and dd and i are spending xmas with his dad and stepmum and if he is not working he will be there too, i am doing this for dd and so it isnt just us on xmas day as it would be a normal day and nothing special apart from the pressies.

However I get on well with his family so it should be nice even if he is there.

TheProvincialLady Sun 16-Dec-12 09:25:27

Don't have him over for Christmas.

DO make arrangements so that you don't need favours from him. Find alternative childcare. If you feel he has some kind of hold over you, you will never move on and will forever be trying to appease him. Your ex is behaving like the manipulative dick that he is - don't let him get away with it. Say no to Christmas and ignore the crying. How he feels about it is not your problem. It's not like it's the first Christmas since the split, when emotions are particularly raw. He had a chance to do it last year, but he was critical and caused a big row. Only an idiot would risk the same thing happening again. If your ex really wanted the best for his daughter, he would be arranging a magical 'second Christmas' for her. As it's all about him, your ex wants YOU to organise a magical Christmas for HIM, complete with fake happy family. Just don't.

DontmindifIdo Sun 16-Dec-12 09:11:00

From what you've said, I don't think letting him "borrow" a family for Christmas is going to make him more inclined to help you out next year.

Don't do this thinking it'll make your life easier, it probably won't, only have him there for Christmas day if you think that decision in isolation is the best one for you and DD.

thebluenailbrush Sun 16-Dec-12 08:50:39

emotionally disengaging is the key. My ex only wanted to do christmas with us when he was single- once he he had a new partner he never again asked to have any part of christmas day with DC. However i didn't feel in any way used because i had completely disengaged from him- except on rare occasions when he did something really bloody stupid!

I find it very easy to emotionally disengage so not sure how people who find it hard go about learning how to do that- maybe you can start a new thread asking for help with that aspect?

UnbridledPositivity Sat 15-Dec-12 19:24:53

I do think he just wants to borrow a family when it suits him. But I will need some favours from him next year, so perhaps I should let him just to keep the peace.

I'd also quite like to see his family as this is the nicest group of people from his generally crappy family.

Definitely agree that I need to disengage more, but it's hard.

prettywhiteguitar Sat 15-Dec-12 12:01:33

NO no and thrice no!!! Please don't let yourself be drawn back in, ignore and keep contact at strict times so there is no outside discussion or argument

It has taken my ex and I 5 years to be emotionally detached to have a nice chat and consider spending time together with ds but we both have partners not to do with the split and hr has learnt what I will put up with, basically nothing

Keep your distance from him, the fact you know what he thinks of you means you are too close, for your own good and to show your dd what a healthy relationship looks like.

Give him Christmas eve or boxing day but let yourself have a nice Christmas day with your dd with no worry involved

HandbagCrab Sat 15-Dec-12 09:20:00

It sounds like something out of a film: mum and dad have split up, dad comes over for christmas and through the bickering over turkey, the Christmas lights catch the twinkle in his eye and mum falls in love with him all over again.

The reality is though this is a man who has told you he is planning to hate you after he broke your marriage (how can you be 50/50 responsible for him using webcams?). It is not your fault or responsibility if he is alone at Christmas, perhaps a turkey dinner for one would be the kick up the arse he needs to sort his life out? Perhaps it would also give you the clarity you need to decide to do what is best for you and your dd? I see you're worried about your dd spending time with his family, but I am sure one hour will not be as bad as a whole day with mum and dad playing happy families with all the unrealistic expectation that this set up must bring for you all.

DontmindifIdo Sat 15-Dec-12 08:04:09

Sounds like you are being used at Christmas, he doesn't actually want to be with you, he wants the "family Christmas" - that's all. It will ruin Christmas for you. Say no, let him have your DD on Boxing day at his place, he can do Christmas then.

lighted Sat 15-Dec-12 07:55:08

OP, do what is best for you, not for him. It won't benefit your dd if emotions (both yours and his) cannot be completely hidden/suppressed.

feelingdizzy Sat 15-Dec-12 07:21:37

I spend xmas with my ex,we are divorced 8 years,the kids are 9 and 10 so in one sense we are lucky that they have no memory off us being together so having xmas this way is all they have ever known.We also had a brief and horrific marriage so only had 3 christmas' together,when married.

Its fine ,he brings all the food and drink,we chat have dinner a drink.It can work.We have a relatively amicable relationship now,don't really talk to him that much.its like having an uncle or cousin for dinner at this stage.

Doesn't sound like you are there at this stage,arrange something that gives you peace this Christmas.Good Luck

lighted Sat 15-Dec-12 06:44:13

No, not a good idea given your circumstances.

It's an arrangement that suits him because he has emotionally moved on; you have not, I don't think.

It's all very well that you are trying to do the best for your dd but you haven't reached a point of detachment yourself with him and sometimes you have to look after your own welfare as a mum too. You also have said earlier in the thread about him saying he will grow to 'hate you' and it's 'toxic'.....

Not everyone can do Xmas with the ex, immediately or in the future. Maybe, in the future, you could do it, but I don't think you are ready for it and you seem to still be dealing with hurt and rejection emotions.

UnbridledPositivity Fri 14-Dec-12 18:19:21

Didn't mean to drip feed, but it is all so horribly complicated. If he seemed generally very keen to spend time together at other times, I would say yes straightaway. But just for Christmas - I'd feel a bit used.

thebluenailbrush Fri 14-Dec-12 12:18:08

i've just reported you

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

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

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

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 .

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.

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

(year, not ear!)

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

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.

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 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.

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!

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.

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.

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