Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Should I tell him? Warning, long.(141 Posts)
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 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 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.
Take the DC to the GP so it is on record.
My post earlier was to warn you what contact your ex is likely to be granted in court. I'm not implying that you should agree that is reasonable.
Your poor dc...
You need to make contact formal. This is a horrible, stressful & unhealthy situation for your dc.
Your dc will grow up& ask why you allowed their dad to treat them so badly.
He sounds like an arse of a man. Protect your dc, its all about them, f##k your exh-stand up to him.
That's dreadful (the sunburn). You have done the right thing photographing it. Do go to the GP, and get advice from Women's Aid.
Madame perhaps because even after years of abuse I can't believe anyone would really be so selfish and cruel; even now I'm thinking "we all make mistakes, maybe it was a mistake" and "he just is misguided" and all the other excuses I used for years to excuse his actions
The dcs love him and want to see him.
Postman, thank you, sorry i misunderstood earlier. Why can't he just be normal?! He says if it was the other way around I'd understand and I'd be arguing too, but there's no way it could be, because I'd give up anything to be near my dcs and see them regularly.
You must get the sunburn recorded. Photos and GP/nhs direct if it's as bad as you say. Sorry but you can't mess about with sunburn and potential heat stroke.
This should help long term too. And I have to ask - why not go to court? You seem to be trying to please your ex even though your children aren't bothered. The eldest will get a say, dc2 won't be asked so no need to worry about being pressurised, and you'll have a formal agreement to back you up rather than the current situation of you meeting your ex's demands with no regard to their reasonableness. Seems a clear case of it being in your and your dc's benefit.
Your ex's work schedule is not your problem.
Cross-posted with your last one in which you say-
The dcs love him and want to see him.
Really? Is that what the bedwetting tells you? Or did your ex tell you that?
Even if he is misguided, he's a danger to the children if he allows that level of sunburn and doesn't even tell you about it.
Regarding the sunburn: take photos, see GP and inform SS both locally and his home town. XH appears to be neglectful in the criminal sense of the word; more experienced posters than I will tell you what ignoring his misbehaviour could mean for you.
This is just a thought, but if you were to go through the court process would that not perhaps be a way of taking his control out of the equation -- putting in place a formal arrangement where he has to stick to set days/weeks or he doesn't see them?
(In other words, would a court not basically tell him that he has to adjust his lifestyle to accommodate what works well for the children, i.e. predictable regular contact, rather than using bullying and intimidating tactics on their mother for sporadic, last-minute contact?)
I might be being totally unrealistic with your particular circumstances here but didn't want to just lurk and say nothing (particularly after the sunburn incident, how awful ).
Thanks all, just spoke to a friend who's a gp, he said to give calpol as he'll probably get a fever and make sure he drinks plenty. Have dosed him up now. There's no blistering so far so hopefully it will calm with all the after sun. Dc1 has cheered up now and has said that XH was talking to him about their holidays yesterday and telling him how he's got 2 weeks off work....
Jade I'm beginning to think that this has to be formalised one way or another.
OP it sounds like you don't feel like you have any control and that you'll allow or help your ex to always get his own way. You don't have to live like that.
It's great that you have a personal contact who gave you medical advice about the sunburn but I really think you must get it recorded officially.
You must tell your ex that all dc were burned today. You say yourself he plans to take them to Spain.
I think I will. I have texted XH with a photo of dc2 stating his state. He replied saying that he had no idea it was that bad. He's sure it doesn't need a doctor (!) and will buy them sun suits before Spain. I said I think perhaps he should rethink the destination of the holiday. He ignored that.
OP you are letting him carry on abusing you via your babies.
Find the strength you had when you left him and email him saying he is not having any contact until it is arranged through court.
Change your phone number.
Get your dc to the GP and let SS know.
Call women's aid.
Stop worrying about his feelings and his opinion of you, it doesn't matter what he thinks.
Out of control is exactly how I'm feeling.
Yoni, I just can't be sure what will hurt my dcs more in the long term. I know I must look weak. I'm not. I am tired of fighting. I don't want to overreact, and I am so very angry.
Surely he must have notice if he put them in long sleeves/trousers to bring them home.
Definitely take them to the GP tomorrow.
You can't let him take them to Spain. I can understand that you're trying to avoid court (same here). But you might have to put your foot down about this.
Make sure you document everything and do everything right yourself.
I don't think your are weak but it's hard to see clearly in the middle of a situation and that is what outside opinions can help with.
To have left him in the first place must have taken amazing courage.
No one can tell you how your children will respond in the future and they may have a period of blaming you for their dads failings and lack of contact.
But he is posing an actual physical threat to them and he might escalate.
I would prioritise their safety now and maybe look into getting them someone to talk to about how they feel.
Sending all the hugs you can bear to get you through
Thanks Hrrm. If I called SS would they be able to give me any advice about Spain etc?
He insists they had factor 50 on. But even if they did, they must have seen him going pink. Why would anyone leave a very fair child out in the sun all day on a day like this? This is the child who (when we were together) got mild sunburn in February in the UK after being out for an hour!
Yoni, hugs are much appreciated.
Took me years to finally leave him. Funnily enough I never looked back. I even remember his "you know that if we split this time then that's it, no more going back and forth and trying to fix things". He really thought that would change my mind.
It is very hard to see what the right thing to do is. Very hard indeed.
I'm not sure of SS can give advice. Your best bet is to see a solicitor, perhaps start with one of those free 30 minute appointments if there's a firm which offers this near you. Check law society website (I think.)
He doesn't need your permission for taking the DC abroad for less than a month, so the solicitor might suggest going to court and applying for a prohibited steps order. I'm not too sure about this, but I think that's the only way you can stop him. I think the sunburn is quite a good reason to try.
When you see the GP you could ask about involving SS as GPs probably have experience of working with them. I would do this out of DCs' earshot, perhaps ask them to wait in waiting room after GP has looked at them.
Thanks Hrrm. That's really helpful.
I need to stop feeling so useless and helpless, but I feel utterly trapped in the mindset of enabling and encouraging healthy contact (which is a good thing when dealing with a sane person).
Take the kids to the GP so it's on record. Send this man an email telling him that all further arrangements must be made via email and that you will not respond to texts or phone calls, then see a solicitor.
He's a dick. He doesn't have superpowers and you do not have to obey him: the court will rule on what's best for the children, which will include your older DS refusing to see him and being listened to. But it's time this man was put in his place.
Thanks SGB. I just want to do right by the dcs, emotionally and physically.
I keep thinking maybe this is the wake up call he needs and now he'll do the right thing, but there's no excuse for not doing to right thing already. Dc2 is a redhead. It's not rocket science.
And because I have texted asking him to reconsider his destination of holiday, and because I asked him to stop harassing me or I would call the police (when he was sending me constant messages), he has now sent me a very long winded message stating that our contact arrangements need to be agreed, written down and formalised,and that I had no right to threaten him with the police for wanting to discuss access arrangements.
So I've replied stating that his actions were harassment and will not be tolerated, his actions with the dcs all coming home burnt is neglect, and agreeing that we need a formal arrangement, suggesting mediation, and if that can't be arranged before the summer and he won't respect my judgement for the dcs then we should wait for an agreement to be put in place before access can continue.
Tomorrow I will log the sunburn and see about getting some proper legal advice.
Have I done the right thing?
Join the discussion
Please login first.