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ex DH annoying emails: humour and coping responses to stop me getting irritated please

(140 Posts)
Downunderdolly Mon 11-Feb-13 03:07:57


I've posted a bit over the last few years post my marriage break-up with ex-DH (he left for OW when son was 2, I was in middle of IVF, had moved to his home-country 2 years earlier and unable to go back to the UK to resume old life, career, family, friends etc - so been tough).

Two years of low level acrinomy later (lots of lies deception re OW, spiteful behaviour etc) OW and her son have moved in with ex-DH (from another city) and they are now a family unit which my son joins every other w/end. I am not 'allowed' to meet OW ("I can't see a reason to put her through that") and my son's life there is fairly separate but I think he likes OW and her child and 'happy' that he does not have to travel 10 hours round trip in a car to her city which is what my ex was doing with him last year.

Ex is being a dick generally (currently prob having to go to court to sort out legal error in our financial agreement which sees him paying around 40% less than anticipated + some issues about him letting me travel to UK for holidays all of which are being sorted by lawyers) and we have limited communication - which at his request is always via email - but we do have some logistics to attend to which require some exchanges.

My current irritation - and I can see it is almost funny - but it is having the no doubt desired effect of annoying me - is that since OW and her son moved in 2 months ago) it is almost laughable at the amount of times ex-DH can cram into an email about logisics 'my family' or 'DS's family' as if I don't exist at all in relation to DS and the 80% of time DS spends with me is just ancillary. I know that he is doing this to be 'hurtful' and to 'get' to me as we lost a couple of babies late on when we were married and were in the middle of IVF and that my hopes for a 'big' family are now just me and DS with all other family and close friends in UK. For example today's missive about swimming lessons is

"arrange a weekday lesson which doesn't impact on DS time with me and his family as he really looks forward to getting home to his family on Fridays"

followed by "DS will be attending <sporting event> with his brother and his family at ...."

ex claims DS has called OW child 'brother' from their first meeting (unprompted for sure ; ) and whilst it was hard I'm OK with that. But for example the other day I got an email that mentioned 'DS's family', 'his family (in relation to DS) and 'our family' and 'his brother' in relation to DS/OW/OWS son EIGHT times - again about a brief logistical matter and in relation to a question about limiting DS time on a certain game the 'In his <DS's> family we....."

so lovely Mumsnetters. Of course I know I need to ignore. Of course I need to think childish twat rubbing my nose in it not going to give it headspace but everytime they land I want to throw something at my computer screen and say FUCK OFF.

Ideas, humorous or otherwise, on how I can not let this 'get' to me and not give it mental headspace. BTW know this is not huge problem in the whole scheme of things but trying not to bore RL people this year about ex so using here as a forum.

This sounds a bit 'petty' written down which is why not referencing in RL but it does hurt so looking for ways to deflect....

ScarletWomanoftheVillage Tue 26-Feb-13 10:36:40

LOVE Mrs Madrigal! <must dig out Tales of the City books again>

Downunderdolly Tue 26-Feb-13 02:46:39

Urghghg sympathies for those who have been there and got the ticket. Nickname and cpots - it is so exhausting isn't it. Nickname, loved your CV analogy. It does feel like warfare doesn't it just heartbreaking and unecessary. Like you in many ways I have learnt so much from this experience, including mistakes and assumptions I made within the marriage, and in some ways a 'better' person but I think I'd toss all of that new found wisdom out the window given the anguish that has gone along with it...hopefully brighter days ahead though when I can see that it is a truly good thing. In the meantime I shall imagine myself as a Ninja ex ; ) Will also check out the links kindly sent over by a couple of you re parallel parenting, thank you.

Re the I'm much nicer part...not really but as part of our financial agreement and taking into consideration being forced to reside over here, ex has to pay for cheap economy fare for DS once a year until he is 18 (not me). So I have to go through him. As we are currently in legals about him not paying the expected child support due to legal error I just can't afford both as getting less money and I freelance so when away, not working.....if it gets 'messy' I will borrow from parents but also trying to set a precedent as don't want to go through this every year for the next 13!

To make you smile/work out your eyeballs for the past two years turned into a control thing (surprise!)....essentially I email dates and suggested cheap fares (and these are the cheapest airfare on 'first world' airlines - BA/Qantas/Emirates/Virgin/Etihad/Sinapore Airlines etc not full fare economy things...he then argues toss about dates....suggests helpful alternatives to save about 150 quid like here is a flight on South China Airlines that has a 11 hour stop over in Xigong...I then say no, I'm not doing an 11 hour stopover with a (then) 2.5 year old and so we dance the merry dsyfunction and then usually settle on a first world airline that has since gone up in price smile. This year though having gone through that a bit he then put me in touch with 'his' travel agent who turned out to be young and very engaging very gay guy who without me spelling it out got the picture and consipatorily said 'leave it with me' and we miraculously got changed from an 11 hour layover in AbuDhabi to a great flight to a regional airport near my parents as my ex does not like to look like a dick in front of anyone else (hurrah for keeping up appearances).

Anyhoo. fingers crossed it gets sorted. I am working on being financially independent from him so if we do get stiffed with child support it is not so impactful but - and a thread in and of itself - I am still trying to sell the family home which - to get a HUGE story short - is now mine alone as ex was trying to sell it for nothing and causing huge stress (as it is my sole asset - bought/deposit my money pre marriage - not receiving any further monies) as market bad over here so worked accounting magic to get mortgage on erratic and sporadic income. Currently crazy mortgage but hoping to sell soon - will make loss - but will have at least some capital so not so reliant on child support to make ends meet (actually ends not meeting but have sold lots of 'stuff' and have lodgers to help - a bit like Mrs Madrigal at the moment)....

Doilooklikeatourist Mon 25-Feb-13 21:09:52

Dolly ,
Youre so much nicer than me , I would be booking the flight back to see the folks in January , and somehow forgetting that we needed to return .
< twirls hair in a silly me type fashion > but it's not that easy I suppose ?

newbiefrugalgal Mon 25-Feb-13 20:14:18

Hi Dolly,
Great idea about your own parenting.
He will discover soon enough when DC shows up without something etc.
I think it will give you a break from it all.
Good luck

dawntigga Mon 25-Feb-13 19:36:28

read the thread your ex isn't the brightest pixie in the forest is he, he's actually trying to gaslight you by email!

He is, for example, a twat.

StopNickingMySignoff'sTigga wink

NicknameTaken Mon 25-Feb-13 09:37:34

Hi Dolly, this approach (parenting separately) is called parallel parenting as opposed to co-parenting, and it's all you can really do in the face of such hostility. If you google it, I think you can find some online guides (like this).

You just have to work on the assumption that he won't put your DS's interests first, but instead will take every opportunity to get at you. This is useful information to have, as you can use it to be strategic. There's no point trying to outmaneouvre him - you can't out-bastard a bastard, and you're not that kind of person anyway - but just quietly do your thing, never do anything that can be construed as asking his permission, and keep focused on what's best for you and your son. If he wants to drag you into court, he'll be shown up as the wanker he is. Unless actually forbidden by a court, go and see your mum. He only has the power over you that you give him.

I've said before that I should be able to put my ex on my CV, because he has taught me the greatest lessons in contingency planning I've ever had. You always need to think ahead - I want to do x, he will try to block it, so what is plan B? He has taught me financial planning, because he doesn't contribute and instead costs me huge sums for legal fees. He has taught me self-control, because I've learned hold back the scream of "It's not right! It's not fair" that I want to unleash at times. One day I will be grateful for these life lessons. Possibly through gritted teeth.

cpots Mon 25-Feb-13 09:08:10

Dolly - have just read all the posts and I'm sending you a big hug!

There are lots of similarities in our exh - ow, pratty emails, unreasonableness, I was 'controlling' in the marriage ... All poppycock!

My dc are older though so I won't have to put up with it for as long as you. From my experience, and its took me 3+ years to get here, and a few mn messages, keep all emails void of emotion or personal attack. I fortunately had a good friend that helped me with this when I couldn't cope - I would send the emails to her without reading them, she would bullet point the salient points and I would send it back - she was a godsend at times until I felt strong enough to do it myself ... It now comes easier.

Things did continue for a while though ... He would send an a4 rant ... I would send 2 bullet points back!

Good luck, you will get through this .... I feel so much better now and know I can hold my head high and stand in any court if needs be and demonstrate how I put my dc first ... He can't ... That's a very nice place to be ....

deleted203 Mon 25-Feb-13 01:04:01

Dolly you have my complete sympathy - he is a total knob!

Re your mother's birthday - can I just reassure you that this is a typical 'knobbish ex' thing to do. 2 years after my ex and I split up my parents kindly booked and paid for a week's holiday abroad for them, myself and my 3 DCs. This was our first holiday for 10 years, and the children were really excited about it.

Ex turned up on the doorstep just before we went demanding that we returned early so that he could have the children on Thur night as per his usual arrangement! Holiday was from Sun - Sun!

Needless to say he was told to sod off - but it upset the kids that he stood at the door shouting and making a scene/threats that they shouldn't go on holiday as it wasn't 'legal' for them to be with me on a Thursday night. (Even though agreement was informal and he often simply failed to turn up to pick them up, and that he had been informed of the holiday well in advance).

He genuinely expected his children to miss out on a holiday they were absolutely thrilled about, simply so that he could win some bloody stupid point.

Downunderdolly Sun 24-Feb-13 23:41:14

thanks once again for all your wise - and kind words - helped me off a very angry cliff and stopped me doing unhelfpul things (like forwarding email chain re football to his father and asking him to have a word - but then remembered we are in our 40's so asking parents to help the other one 'get their ball back' not a wise idea).

I think that you are spot on in that 1. he is enjoying being in 'control' as he can and his narrative was that I was too controlling in the marriage. 2. he knows that I won't (which I won't) say I am coming to game as this would mean that he would not take DS at all and that then both DS and I lose out rather than just me (and sort of DS but not so directly) and I don't want to be that kind of person + if I did just turn up he may take DS home or something mid-match which would be dreadful and 3. his narrative with OW likely depends on me being cartoon ogre ex wife figure who would put her in mortal danger if ever we were to meet hmm. I have no idea what his objection and according to our parenting agreement neither parent is precluded from attending a school or extra-ciricular activity so I could force the issue but I frankly don't have the appetite for more legals (we are already in legals re child support and travelling to the UK) and I don't want DS to miss out on attending games.

I have been thinking and as much as it pains me to have to have this type of parenting relationship, I think for at least the next 6 months I am going to have to accept that we parent entirely separately. ie, i won't ask him/remind him to take DS to football matches on his w/ends - accept he won't take him to training and not ask anything of him or remind him or send him anything re school. I will have to assume he will figure out things for himself, ask if he is unclear another parent/me/teacher and will hopefully be motivated to keep continuity. Perhaps if I opt out altogether and he does not feel <poor diddums> like I am still trying to 'control' him (I see it as wanting best for our DS but whatever) things may settle down. At least I will have my mental health in tact (thanks for meditation links dee!) and I won't be constantly crushed and shocked by him as I will act and expect nothing whatsoever.

deedotty Sun 24-Feb-13 16:48:49

Must say, even as a complete stranger, you give a vibe of being classy, intelligent, self-aware, sensitive and doing your best in a very difficult situation. All qualities which "long term" translate into better relationships, plus I reckon just being generally "better" for its own sake is worth it, even if you can't see immediate results!

That said, I think I'd be fucked off as fuck in your situation! From a hippyish view of things - you're basically receiving a MASSIVE dose of your ex's negative energy and lack of self at the moment so you're bound to be feeling it!

Shame we don't live in a society in which we could have a Mumsnet posse to sort things out, grrrr. angry

Enjoy that wine! Just on the random hippy note, I've found meditating to be pretty helpful in times of FUCK THIS THERE'S NO WAY OUT stress - not in a take all the pain away way, but just to centre oneself. Light a candle and give yourself 10-20 minutes or even 5-10 minutes.

Linkys here and here.

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 14:41:26

Sad to hear this. I think it is very common though. You can live with this type of man for many years, think you know them pretty well and find you never knew them at all. I think he knows he has behaved appallingly and this is his way of trying to hide from the fact, by keeping up a war between you so he never has to sit quietly and think about what he has done, who he is, the hurt and pain he has caused.

But it takes two to fight a war. You don't have to join in. Send emails anyway you like, so long as they aren't abusive. If he won't answer questions, make your own plans. Go and see your son's match if you want. What on earth is his objection to you being there?

It will be tough for your son but he will come through as long as he has at least one parent who is sane and reasonable and tries to rise above it. It's really tough but you know you can do it and you have the consolation of knowing you are the better person which in years to come will give you a happiness and peace which will be forever denied to him. Try to feel sorry for him, rather than hate him. He is living a narrow and miserable life.

MrsTomHardy Sun 24-Feb-13 14:08:20

Yes I agree, just stop asking. Do whatever you want to do and if he doesn't agree he can take you to court. He is an arse!

balia Sun 24-Feb-13 12:01:09

Stop asking and do what you think is best. Just go to the soccer match, you don't have to discuss it with him. Book your holiday/trip to see your Mum - if he doesn't like it he can take you to court and they can tell him what a spectacular arse he is being.


pictish Sun 24-Feb-13 12:00:08

He really is an utter donkey isn't he?

ScarletWomanoftheVillage Sun 24-Feb-13 11:56:03

And he is relying on you being the better person, taking advantage of it, in fact.

Am very angry on your behalf.

ScarletWomanoftheVillage Sun 24-Feb-13 11:54:19


Yes, Dolly, enough with the polite attempts I think. Next time don't ask if it would be ok if you attend your own son's first football match - just turn up! What is he going to do, make a scene in front of your son and his friends? It doesn't sound as though reason and logic will help with this pathetic and nasty man.


Can't he see that you want to attend for YOUR SON'S SAKE? He wants to be at war with you. What a spectacular arse.

Time to change tactics.

delilahlilah Sun 24-Feb-13 10:42:10

Oh Dolly you are an amazing person to get through this as you have. I would think note is school bag when necessary is a good idea. He is pathetic, and just trying to keep some control over you. He doesn't want you to meet her as it may unravel the lies he has undoubtedly told her.

Don't discuss the birthday thing with him, just do it through the lawyers. Avoid contact as much as possible.

Register his lovely new email everywhere he needs to have his contact details eg school just in case they need it wink research a country to live in that he couldn't get you back from Fantasise about the day you never have to let him dictate ever again. DS will be 18 soon

arthriticfingers Sun 24-Feb-13 10:19:11

Dolly sad and a <hug> from a complete stranger.
Mind you, I think a posse could be got up from MN to kick the shit out of him make him see some sense. wink

Downunderdolly Sun 24-Feb-13 10:09:27

OK. I fucking hate the stupid arse cunt. Seriously. Dolly is temporarily demented with the entitled poisonous FUCKER and highly annoyed with herself that she keeps trying to 'bother' to 'move things forward'. I am temporarily DONE.

1. stupid pompous response to how to communicate with him 'simple, one email per subject, don't communicate uncessarily'
2. I am in oz and can visit my family and friends once a year for max 6 weeks. in oz Jan is like August in Italy and essentially the only time you can take more than a few weeks off. son was born in Jan and I want to go back from my mother's 70th birthday. ex believes I cannot travel over ds birthday (this is nonsense as far as lawyer is concerned and we are sending letter) but irrespective lets pretend I have to ask his permission. he is essentially saying I will take my 3 hours with ds on his birthday (as outlined in agreement if we were not using common sense) vs dolly ok you can go to your mothers 70th as it is the only time you can travel to uk and lets face it I am making you stay apart from them when my family is 20 mins down the road....
3. I had requested to attend ds's FIRST EVER soccer match - special day - for an hour (his w/end) net it is highly unreasonable of me to want to attend and he will not take him unless I confirm i won't attend

I cannot believe that I married this man. I cannot believe he is being like this. I cannot believe he has no moral compass. I cannot believe that two fairly intelligent and 'high functioning' people <sorry I don't mean to sound snitsnotty but it seems we are worse than jeremy kyle-esque types?> have to run to a lawyer to sort out every last fucking thing because there is no shred of decency, empathy or common sense left. AND I AM THE MOST STUPID AS I KEEP THINKING HE WILL SEE THIS IS IN DS INTERESTS, I WILL TELL HIM THE TYPE OF THING DS NEEDS FOR HIS NEWS DAYS AT SCHOOL ETC..HE WILL BE GRATEFUL. But the essense of the thing is that he is not a 'normal' person and that breaks my heart for DS it really does. I want to hold all the goodness in my son and not the arrogance and unfeelingness in and I'm scared he is going to inherit or be taught that. I am scared he is going to think that 'things' are more important than people and I'm scared he is never going to see both his parents faces shining with pride at him on any given occassion because they so spectularly failed him.

Sorry for self indulgence but I have just had enough today. I'm about to pour first and large glass of wine.

MrsTomHardy Sat 23-Feb-13 10:07:30

"To put her through that"....bloody cheek lol....
When my XP met someone after we'd split up (a month later) he told me he wouldn't introduce our DS (11 mths) to her until it was serious. That weekend they all went out to a farm for the day and the only reasen he then told me was because a friend of mine saw them! I told him he wasn't having our DS again until I'd met this woman as it was obv he was then spending all his weekend time (EOW) with both parties and I wanted to meet the woman who would be ultimately caring for my son (XP =knob) give her her due she did come to my door and we met for all of five mins but it wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be and I felt a lot better afterwards knowing who my son would be spending 4 nights a month with!

Downunderdolly Sat 23-Feb-13 05:25:18

Hello. Yes I can see that I prob should not have responded to that and just carried as per I see fit. I'm (naively) hoping that it would take the wind out of his sails but I agree that it is probably giving him too much 'power'. My RL friend (10 years older and had similar issues with her first DH told me as much at brunch). I think I may try out the odd written note (re logistics) in DS school bag for a bit to eliminate need for emails altogether...there isn't really too much that needs to go back and forth anymore outside of holiday arrangements, birthday parties etc.

Mrs Tom Hardy 'I'm not allowed' to meet the OW as my ex 'can see no reason to put her through that' ......

love (true story ; )

balia Fri 22-Feb-13 16:05:32

Have just read the whole thread - what an entitled, controlling twat he is! Loving the sense of humour, though, Dolly - love the email address thing...

But on a serious note, DH has learned with his ex that he can limit the amount of control/headfuckery by putting a time-limited default position on any request eg holiday arrangements need clarifying by xxx date. If you haven't let me know by then, I'll assume you're happy for me to sort out holidays.

Don't give him any more control over you than you can help. I agree with Lueji communicate on your own terms.

knitknack Fri 22-Feb-13 13:18:31

From the outside it sorts of feels like you're giving his wishes too much power - I mean, I know you're NOT, (you're just practising that eye roll!) but I can see how he would take the "I am confused as to your wishes. Please clarify" as you actually CARING about how to structure your communication! Why don't you just TELL him that you'll send him emails about DS as and when is needed and that you don't require any help to structure said content. I'm so impressed with your restraint, btw, I don't know how you help yourself from pointing out that you're ALL ds's family, and does he MEAN to include YOU in the weekend plans?

What would be the fallout, do you think, if you were to ignore his 'rules' and contact OW yourself? Maybe to go for coffee or something? Is that something you've considered? (again, effectively removing his 'power' or 'control' over all of this)?

izzyizin Fri 22-Feb-13 12:33:14

I think it must be a mental control thing

Spot on, dolly. He's mental and it's all about control with him.

Chubfuddler Fri 22-Feb-13 11:27:47

Agree with leuji. He's not your boss. You don't have to follow his orders. Your emails should be concise, factual and only as frequent as is necessitated by the care of your son but other than that, he's not in a position to dictate format, length, consolidation of previous emails (I mean WTAF is he on there).

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