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dh won't let me spend time with ds

(90 Posts)
Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 12:10:28

Have posted about dh before under different name but deleted as too much information on the net and could well be outed? I know this may be safer in chat but want the relationship wise advice.
Dh is a domineering personality with slight bullying tendencies but very strong on having his own way with no insight to what he does.
I work long hours and weekend shifts and cannot change this as it is part of my training and compulsory. I don't like it but have asked to alter and told not possible.
When I am home 3 sats out of 4 I like to spend time with ds say half the weekend. But now my dh is always there he just can't and won't back off at all, dominating all the weekend time and hardly even letting me chat to ds about his week at school etc without him talking me down, butting in and over riding me. Dh is alone with ds all the times I am not there, I never get time alone with him as he is part of dads plan, dad is there or he actively chooses to go with dad instead of with me.
Our [ dh and I]relationship is just about ok enough to live in the same house, in that we are cordial most of the time and organise things between us, although there are periods when I have not been happy due to his attitude and wanted him to leave which he refused.
I appreciate I may not like coming second best in ds life when previously I was the one in charge of everything prior to going back to full time plus 3 yrs ago and this is in part inevitable, but dh should back me up to join in rather than continuously taking over when \i am home, and when I sort of tag along they are the main participants and I am a sort of hanger on while they make the decisions about what to do for the day.
Today they are out again I have been told I " can go if I want in my own car" but last week did this and they moved on to other plans and I just came back home again alone after the activity while they went for lunch etc. I fought hard to get to take ds swimming which was fantastic for a while but now dh has substituted another activity on saturdays and they agreed together today ds will not do swimming anymore { I organised the swimming and enjoy taking him]. Dh has organised tennis which is great but he is the one taking him.

This is making me sad and I have no power and is wrong on every level yet I feel powerless. Ds goes along with what dad says and I am worried about him missing me as well as the utter dysfunctionality of it all.
I am very sad about this.
I have been on brink of divorce the only thing holding me back is ds may choose to spend more time with dh and I would see even less of him, ds was distraught when I said to him parents sometimes did things differently and drifted apart and wanted to live separately... he was absolutely against this and if dh portrayed me as the instigator of the family split and ruining everything I may lose ds altogether.Ds said he " doesn't want to live with me on his own "
I am a great parent and he is doing ds and me a great disservice but I can't sort this out. Also I had years of bringing up dc and am sensible, dh is ok but he has very fixed ideas about things and does not always set a good example, so I don't want him to have excessive influence. Ds is 10.
Have mammoth posted so no drip feed.
Oh yes have obv spoken to dh he says I am being ridiculous

Please help.

NicknameTaken Mon 28-Jan-13 22:33:04

DSloven, I remember your last thread. I think you need to talk to a solicitor. Can you ring around and find if a local solicitor will give you a free half hour? Go to more than one if you can.

I do think your H is abusive - he wants to trample all over you so he can win. It makes me feel cold, because this is also what my ex did to me with DD. I left when she was a lot younger. Because I left and took her with me, and I had quite a lot of written evidence of his abuse, I became the residential parent and he has her for contact.

Tbh, you could run into a situation where your DS does want to stay with his father, and this is going to be tricky. This is why I think above all you need good legal advice, and you need to keep a diary of the way your H treats you because you could well find yourself negotiating this in front of a judge one day.

domesticsloven Mon 28-Jan-13 22:12:15

Much better yesterday and today no problems spent all time with ds

Horsemad Sun 27-Jan-13 10:02:24

OP, what would happen if you went out with your DS at the w/e before your H was ready? If he was in the shower, for instance?

Hissy Sun 27-Jan-13 09:31:11

i'd suggest ringing respect too, as they are set up for perpetrators, and know all the countertricks!

springyhope Sun 27-Jan-13 02:49:02

I'm not suggesting you are fleeing in the way that a beaten wife would (though your situation is not that dissimlar, sadly). of course your h will have his own legal representation blah blah but the more work you can do in the planning the better for you (and your son); so that you are ready and not on the back foot, as you are now.

springyhope Sun 27-Jan-13 02:39:56

It's not generally a good idea to play games with types like this, because they are masters at it and will see right through it immediately (learnt that the hard way..). But I would say that one thing that really did work, which I found out accidentally, is that they are so set on taking from you the thing that is most important to you that you can use it.

eg if I wanted ex to bring the children back late, I'd ask him to bring them back early [because I had "a social engagement and needed them settled before the babysitter arrived"]. Hey presto, I got what I wanted. And vice versa re if I wanted them back early I'd ask him to bring them back late. It worked every single time.

I'm not being flippant, especially as the stakes for you and your son are so high. But it is worth bearing in mind.

I would also counsel you to keep your true feelings entirely hidden. Do not reacte to him, do not let him see any emotion, do not 'appeal to his humanity' (he doesn't have any), do not try to reason with him. Maintain a kind of neutral response to him re 'that's interesting, can you explain that to me, I don't quite understand' instead of you fucking shit why did you do that you bastard . Don't let any sarcasm slip in. Act for your life. Don't respond to his hooks - or don't show any response, anyway. Also, let him talk; act, without being a doormat, like you respect what he has to say: 'yes, that's interesting', 'I see what you mean'. (You can only do this for short periods without vomitting).

Again, this is a risky strategy - but good to bear in mind.

imo what you must NOT do is lock horns. He will win, because he plays dirty and will use absolutely anything in the fight (as you have seen re your son). It will astonish you how low he is prepared to go.

You also need to set things up for future relations re your son could still get significant access time with him (unfortunately - though I could argue that his father is so toxic that any relationship with him is not in your son's best interests). I think you are going to need to take some kind of break from work while you fight this war. Get on to Womens Aid 0808 2000 247 at your absolute earliest - they are the experts and will know how to guide you through this and will support you practically and emotionally. Lines are busy during the day so a night time call would be better. I agree that something along the lines of compassionate leave could be something you could go for - I'm sure Womens Aid will have some ideas of how to go about a break of some kind without jeopardising your career.

If you get the right people behind you, it could be that time taken off work could be relatively short. You need your escape strategy, to get it in place; dot the i's and cross the t's so it is airtight and ready to launch without revealing your hand beforehand, or until it is too late for him to do anything about it. It's all in the planning.

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 23:53:48

Which is easier but I still am treated as a third class citizen in my own home .

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 23:36:57

Yes I do baking and games with him then.

threepiecesuite Sat 26-Jan-13 23:26:21

What happens on sundays? Could you do something with him then?

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 23:18:08

It's mainly Saturdays. I had put my foot down and managed to take ds to swimming and town for several weeks and for lunch and a little trip, but it is a constant battle to do so as he tries to dominate and just leave me out by charging off with ds .

aufaniae Sat 26-Jan-13 22:58:28

On a practical level, how is he managing to get DS on his own so much?

So today for example, what prevented you from going with them? Or going out with DS yourself?

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 22:54:27

I do , like tonight but he just argues and argues and insists the kitchen isa mess etc and as everyone knows it takes two to argue so at some point I realise it has become a heated discussion-and stop.
It's so annoying.

HoratiaWinwood Sat 26-Jan-13 22:48:04

You ought to challenge H in front of DS otherwise DS will learn that it's ok.

If you feel up to it, a head tilt and a MN classic "did you mean to be so rude?" could work wonders.

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 22:38:36

Thanks for your help perfect

I am back from 5.30 dh from 6. 30 but when I am on shifts I am not back until late after 10 pm once a week. My nanny is at home in the house.

perfectstorm Sat 26-Jan-13 21:19:10

If you're primary carer on paper then disregard what I said. The impression I had was that you had been when he was younger, but now H did more care in the week.

Really, you need to talk to a solicitor, one recommended as expert in domestic abuse (this may not be violent, but it sure as hell is abusive). It may be that you could leave now, and take DS with you without issue, though obviously for DS' own sake he'd need ample contact with his father, depressingly. They could advise on how to manage that, too. See what they say.

perfectstorm Sat 26-Jan-13 21:16:28

That's really, really good news, because you could then get a statement saying as much, and it's indicative of your doing as much care as DH plus being the one to make arrangements and be the point of contact, which means the parent taking responsibility for childcare arrangements, also important - if you drop off and collect, then DH is not caring for your DS in the time he's home and you aren't. That's really, really useful. Now if you put your foot down over weekend activities, you can ensure that he can't claim you don't engage then, either.

Honestly am not trying to scare you with all this; I just think you need to nail down your position, given your H is trying to force you out when still married and sharing a roof. I mean, if he's this way now, imagine what he'd do from spite if you left?

mrslaughan Sat 26-Jan-13 21:16:06

Divorce him and get a custody agreement where you have your access set in stone. You will be far better off.
At the moment you DH is completely manipulating your son, unfortunately this will continue BUT you can have time with you DS without your DH around.

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 21:08:11

I DO deal with my mothers help, I employed her, she is solely for my ds, I pay her and she reports to me. Dh not involved.

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 21:06:31

I do not argue with dh in front of ds at all. Unfortunately this means dh can undermine me and I don ' t say anything.

I have leave for all of ds holidays . I think I still look after ds at least as much as dh. the thing / problem is I am not getting to make the choices about how I want to spend the weekends and what to do with ds. Ad am continually undermined in front of him.
I would not say even on paper dh is primary carer.

perfectstorm Sat 26-Jan-13 21:06:21

I don't think giving up your job is the answer either. Seriously, I don't. I think talking to Women's Aid and then a good solicitor is. Don't jump to any conclusions without talking through possibilities - you don't know what they may recommend in terms of moving forwards in future. Your DH is not a SAHF either, and as long as you take over dealings with the CM and INSIST on your weekend time with your son being sacred and set in stone, then you're in a stronger position.

I do think exploring compassionate leave of absence might be an option worth exploring. That way you could rebuild your relationship with your son. Your soon to be ex could be told you'd left, rather than were taking a sabbatical. Again, talk to WA and a solicitor.

Apart from anything else, legal aid is being cut to the bone and litigation is expensive. If you leave and then your ex wants to play hardball with you, you don't want to be the one who can't afford to play back.

I'm honestly not trying to scare you, but this thread is full of the presumption that a mother will always get the kids, regardless of family setup. That presumption is a mistaken one. So you need to work out how to manage this.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 26-Jan-13 21:04:36

Good for you. I liked what you said about standing up for yourself - you're a family member not retained as cook or bottle washer. Smart not to start anything in front of DS too. You've mentioned shared looks or conspiratorial smiles so H is already playing dirty.

I was thinking, would DH drop hostilities if you 3 entertained or went out with another family or a couple be they friends/colleagues or family members? Okay it would not mean you got DS wholly to yourself but H would surely have to include you too. Another adult male could usefully distract H while DS mucks in with peers and grown ups.

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 20:59:21

I am not leaving.
From perfect storms post I had better give up the day job.

Part of the reason I went back and retrained was to be able to be on my own as the need arose.

perfectstorm Sat 26-Jan-13 20:53:54

Maybe it would do ds some good to see him in his true guise, might undo some of the damage.

He's ten. Firstly, that means that he would very likely assume his father was in the right and being reasonable, because he is too young to see him with any objectivity and his father has been undermining his mother to him for months now. Secondly, seeing his parents at one another's throats as their relationship dies is never going to do him any good at all.

Domesticsloven Sat 26-Jan-13 20:52:34

I am smiley , calm and steely. On the outside.

Inside I now realise this is out and out WAR.

No one takes my children from me

perfectstorm Sat 26-Jan-13 20:51:00

If I tell the lawyer my dh is manipulating the situation and that is why I am having to split then surely they will not see him as the primary carer?^

Love, it doesn't matter what your solicitor thinks, because they're not the one who will decide - a judge will - and your ex will also have a solicitor. The judge won't care what went on between the two of you, because it's impossible to know who is telling the truth and all they want to know is what will least disrupt the child. That is almost always seen as keeping things as close to what they were pre-split as possible, so your H is in a stronger position if he can say how much more time he spends with your son than you do. If he is doing more of the childcare than you, then you are unlikely to be seen as primary carer, and arguing that it's because your ex is an abuser is sadly very hard to prove, and may well be disregarded. Divorces are brutal, and people often lie through their teeth in pursuit of their desired outcome, so facts are given a lot more weight than the alleged underlying reasons for them. Your words on why you saw little of your son will very likely be disregarded, unless your ex is stupid enough to show himself up to a CAFCASS officer. Always possible, but hard to rely on.

Of course your own solicitor will know you are dealing with a manipulative piece of shit. The problem is, the judge sees combative parents who claim that all the time, as do CAFCASS, and your ex will almost certainly be portraying you as a career driven harpy who expected him to do all the childcare and all the housework, and nobody will know who is telling the truth, so they may well look to the hours you both work. Your ex is going to be able to get statements from people he sees at the weekend activities as well as the CM, from what you say, as well as showing your working hours as opposed to his. Saying, "but he's a bully who forced me out" isn't provable in the same way as who does the care is. So you must. MUST. alter those care patterns and ensure you spend the time. It doesn't matter what it takes - you have got to, I think. You need solid legal advice on how to protect your relationship when you leave, too - your ex could simply refuse to allow you contact at all, in the absence of a court order, and if you aren't primary carer so couldn't obtain an emergency interim order, it could take 6 months before you see him. By that point your ex's position as primary carer would be very entrenched and as long as he allowed the court-ordered contact most of the time, they'd probably award him primary residence. This is what happens to fathers all the time, I'm afraid.

You need excellent legal advice, and not all solicitors are created equal so please ask Women's Aid to recommend someone. If you could get yourself into a position where you can claim to do half the care, and convincingly so, then your ability to claim at least 50% of the time with your DS (and judges can be reluctant to allow that division in cases of high conflict, out of concern for the child) will be stronger, and you will also have a better argument for fulltime care.

A judge in family court does not care what the adults did to one another unless serious, proven violence is at stake. They are interested in minimising disruption to the child. In practice, this results in a kind of "finders keepers" situation. Contrary to belief, the courts don't favour women - they favour the person who seems on paper to do most of the care. That's usually the woman. It means a lot of nice men get forced out by unpleasant women. I should add that my own father was a deadbeat arse, so I'm not biased against mums in the slightest. I used to think most women who blocked contact had excellent reasons, and of course many do. But plenty don't. Your ex does not sound like he would support or facilitate good contact between yourself and your son, and I do think you need to start planning your exit strategy, with the core objective being protecting your relationship with your son.

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