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Should I tell him? Warning, long.

(141 Posts)
McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 09:47:49

Ok, so name changed... I need to know how I deal with an oblivious XH who thinks he is the best father in the world. Sorry for the mammoth post, don't want to drip feed anything.

XH started a new job working abroad this year. He used to live 5 hours drive away, and this job is now based 4 hours away, but with regular trips abroad (sometimes for months at a time). He used to see the dcs every other weekend. But since the new job in 5 months he has only seen them 5 times. He hasn't actually been flown out anywhere yet, he just doesn't come up to see them anymore, and cancelled the every other weekend arrangement. I now occasionally get a text midweek saying "can I see them this weekend?" and bend over backwards to accommodate this.

Technically our access arrangements are now a week at school holidays if he wants them and I have offered two weeks (one week at a time) over the summer and then sporadic weekends when he has time.

He wanted a fortnight over the summer. But dc3 is about to turn 4 and givens feel that is just too long for her.

All 3dcs have suffered various emotional issues due to his behaviour before the break up, the break up, and new home etc.

We used to live where he was (5 hours away) but when he started talking about changing jobs we moved back home to where we are now (since I had no support or family up there and we were only in the area for his work). This has of course now been rewritten as "he had to change jobs because I stole the children away". Which is not true.

He never phones the children, occasionally texts the eldest (maybe twice a month), and in all honesty their relationship was strained with him already. Dc1 (14) stated yesterday that he didn't care about seeing his dad that much since dad had clearly chosen his job over them and always would sad not even said with bitterness, just matter-of-fact. Dc2 (8) wet the bed for the first time in months on thursday night - the night after I'd told him he was seeing his dad this weekend. And dc3 (nearly 4) Who is usually so independent becomes a clingy wreck in the days after a visit.

I do not slag him off to them. I reassure them that he loves them more than his work. But they clearly hurt, whether it's from missing him, or the change in routine, or something else I don't know. They are in such a good place when he's not involved. All the stresses, nervous twitches, bed wetting, clinginess, insecurity, sadness, just disappears and they are normal happy kids. I just want them to have a normal, stable relationship with him.

So, XH is now insisting he wants them longer in the summer (has stated that if he goes for a week and a half abroad he can get cheaper flights), but I've already stated that a week is long enough. He sent me about 50 texts yesterday demanding his "rights". I've said over and over that he can have them for longer, just not all in one go. I would even stretch to him having them for half the holiday as long as that was in one week periods.

He has not said anything about being out of the country for the whole time, just that he wants from this date to this date, no others, only one visit, only one holiday and why can't I do what's best for the dcs and let them go.

I've also said that next summer with dc3 being older a longer break would be fine. I've said he can take the eldest for longer.

I don't really want to get into a discussion about whether a week is not long enough, I know my dc3 and I know it's too much right now.

I have never told him all the emotional problems his actions trigger. He was Emotionally and Sexually Abusive in our marriage, and there were times that the dcs were scared of him, but his anger was directed at me not them, so I don't believe he's abusing them. He is a careless and thoughtless man, but dc1 is always there and watches the younger two like a hawk (much as I hate the responsibility, it reassures me).

He wants to know why I'm being such a selfish bitch and denying him acces to his children who need him so. I have told him my reasons (dc3 too young, they need stability etc) offered other times, but I have a horrible feeling he's just going to take them and not bring them back.

Should I tell him what his dcs really think and how they really react to him? I never have because he'll just tell me I'm a nasty bitch trying to drive a wedge between them. I don't see the point. But he doesn't see the damage and he can't accept he's anything less than a perfect parent. He doesn't see that reduced contact is a lot when you're small.

I've gone down the route of explaining. That hasn't worked. I'm now at the point of saying "you've had my answer, stop contacting me about this", and am getting constant texts. If I don't reply he says it's because I know I'm wrong. I've started replying with a copy and paste of "this has been discussed, the answer is no". He carries on. It's like being married to him again sad I feel stressed and nervous. I'm tempted to say "sod it, take me to court", please help me keep my dcs safe and happy. I want them to see him and have a good relationship with him, but I won't see them hurt.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 07-Jul-13 09:52:21

Perhaps a court ordered agreement is best? That way, his noncompliance to it will mean something.

Chocotrekkie Sun 07-Jul-13 09:56:08

What do the older two think ?? Do they want to go with him abroad for over a week ?. That would be my starting point.

If they say no then you can tell him the kids don't want to go and suggest that the time and effort should be made by him to build a relationship.

slipperySlip000 Sun 07-Jul-13 09:57:26

Agree with Katy there is no way he should be intimidating you like this. Agree you should formalise access arrangements for the sake of your sanity and the emotio al wellbeing of your dc.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 09:58:07

Thanks Katy, I'm beginning to think that. But with the nature of his work and the fact that he could be away for random periods of time i can't see how they could set out an order.

I've been trying to get an answer to when he wanted them over the summer since march (so I could book something around it), but it is only this week that he's finally given a time (which differs from when he had suggested previously and because of this, the only thing I HAD booked for us to do clashes and I have had to cancel). And if I don't cancel? Well I'm evil and not letting him see the dcs.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 10:00:00

Sorry xpost. Choco, the older two don't really care. Dc2 will go along with whatever (he will try to please his dad no matter what), the eldest would rather be at home with his mates.

Does anyone know how access can be formalised when it's such a flexible schedule?

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 10:03:27

Slippery, I really do feel bullied and intimidated.

nenevomito Sun 07-Jul-13 10:05:50

What a nightmare.

I agree about asking the older two, not to put the responsibility onto their shoulders, just to find out how they feel. If they're happy to go away for an extra half week then let them go.

I wouldn't tell him about the effect he had on the children as he'll just use it against you.

If the older ones don't want to go then ask you can do is keep standing your ground.

I feel for you having to deal with this arse of a man.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 10:07:51

Thanks babyheave. So in that case you reckon I should just say take the older 2 (if they're happy with that) and leave dc3 with me? That would certainly be a solution I hadn't thought of.

Xales Sun 07-Jul-13 10:30:23

Don't cancel what you had booked.

You are being fair and reasonable asking him for months.

It is unfair for him to expect plans to be changed with a few weeks notice for him. It is unfair on you. It is unfair on your DC who were probably looking forward to it. Why should they suffer because he us a selfish wanker?

Get a new sim and phone number. Tell trusted friends and family it. Don't tell him. Then put in the sim for the number he knows once a week and read his messages. This way you are not stressing every time you phone beeps.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 10:46:51

Thanks Xales, it is very much the case that if I give him an inch he takes a mile. I just can't see how in his twisted head he can see himself as reasonable. I get anxious about not answering texts because he manipulates things. In the past he has bullied me into letting him see the dcs at short notice when I had old friends visiting (who the dcs love and we see maybe once a year) because "who would they rather see, the friends or their dad?" I have not answered with a no "clearly enough" (I said I didnt think it was possible but would check, he didn't ask again so is assumed he'd changed plans) when he asked me to swap contact weekends, so I got the blame when he "couldn't change his plans as they were arranged" and wouldn't have seen the dcs for 6 weeks if I hadn't then changed other plans of mine (he had a leaving do he wanted to go to with the lads and I was unreasonable not to cancel my plans for him). There are so many examples. I don't tell the dcs when he's coming until a couple of days before to protect them from disappointment.

He is a selfish arse, who never considers their feelings or wants in what he plans (like I said, he has them this weekend at short notice, spoke to dc1 yesterday on the phone and was told he was sitting on the Xbox and dad was watching the rugby.

It's sunny and lovely and we're five minutes from the bloody beach!!!

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 17:11:19

He'll be dropping the dcs back soon. Any advice on avoiding getting caught in an argument?

postmanpatscat Sun 07-Jul-13 18:24:03

If he took you to court, 14yo would get a say in what they wanted but the others wouldn't. There would be no penalty for him if he does not attend for contact, the legal responsibility is yours as the resident parent.

DP has a 4yo and he has EOW and 50% of school hols incl 3 continuous weeks this summer, as ordered by the court.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 18:29:36

Postman, that sounds reasonable with a regular contact arrangement. This wouldn't be, and depends entirely on XH's last minute wants.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 18:30:28

Sorry posted too soon. If the dcs saw him regularly then your arrangement sounds fine. This is not the case here.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 19:40:55

They've just got home sad dc2 is so badly sunburnt I could cry. They've spent all day in the garden, dc2 (very fair) was in shorts and nothing else. The other two are burnt too but not as badly. I'm so careful with their skin.

Sorry, I know it's not relevant, but my poor dcs sad

Hrrrm Sun 07-Jul-13 19:48:55

That sounds pretty bad (the sunburn an everything else). The sunburn suggests he can't look after them properly.

Just say no. If you have plans, stick to them. If DC can't see him for 6 weeks, so be it. Sounds like that would actually not e a bad thing.

How are the DC now after their time with him this weekend?

Sorry you have to deal with this. It's hard. sad

TheYoniWayIsUp Sun 07-Jul-13 19:55:49

It is relevant. There's no way in hell you can allow him to take them away. On holiday.

MadameBlavatsky Sun 07-Jul-13 19:55:51

He is still being abusive, it's just now he is using his kids to do it. You need to trust yourself here. You love them, you have their best interests at heart. What is it that makes you think he would take them and not bring them back? That alone would be enough for me. I would actually get another sim card and change your number so all his abusive shit goes onto a phone you don't look at. Tell him via email what you need to and refuse to have any other contact. If he carries on, contact the police. He is legally not allowed to harass you like that.

If you are giving him reasonable alternatives a court wouldn't be too impressed with him being so demanding, without being willing to consider his kids needs.

I would also start keeping a record of contact missed, his harassment and your kids reactions and behaviour.

Go for no contact with him at all if you can, what is your position legally have you got a solicitor?

Contact women's aid or rights of women to find out how to cover your back and protect your kids.

You are being a good mum by trying to get him away from them. This is damaging them and you need back up and support now.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 19:56:11

Thanks Hrrm. Dc3 is shattered. Was up late apparently. Dc2 is now starting to feel the effects of the burn. It's really bad. Any longer and he'd be covered in blisters. Dc1 has had to have major reassurance that he's not to blame for it.

They were delivered back in long sleeves and long trousers. So it was only when I went to bath them that I saw the full extent. Dc2 is white where his shorts were and is bright red EVERYWHERE else. They all have symptoms of heat stroke.

He wants to take them to Spain in the summer. Spain! He'll kill them.

MadameBlavatsky Sun 07-Jul-13 19:59:10

Record the sunburn in a diary, take photos and it is very relevant indeed. Trust yourself, you are reading this (and him) correctly. That is negligent and dangerous. Get him away from your kids OP.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 20:00:35

Sorry xpost again. Yoni, it's terrifying.

Madame the whole thing has been sorted between us. I desperately don't want to be denying access but I want a stable life for me and the dcs.

MadameBlavatsky Sun 07-Jul-13 20:01:11

He can't take them without your permission, make sure there is no way he can get passports. You are not being dramatic by even saying that. Sunstroke can be very dangerous in young kids. angry on your behalf!

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 20:01:42

I already have taken photos. It's awful. Think maybe I should take him to the gp tomorrow.

MadameBlavatsky Sun 07-Jul-13 20:02:40

Why don't you want to deny access? You have every right to, listen to your instincts, what are they telling you?

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