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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.

McNamechangey Wed 10-Jul-13 08:11:13

Bogey he's not due to see them now for 4 weeks. In that time I can find out my rights and work out a plan. The last thing I want is to end up in court unprepared and him get free reign to do what he wants. I need to make sure I can protect them. I won't let them down anymore.

Bogeyface Wed 10-Jul-13 08:37:27

Good for you smile

Does the next time he sees them coincide with this holiday he wants to take them on? Do you have their passports in your possession?

captainmummy Wed 10-Jul-13 08:44:56

He is definitely EA to them, OP. Esp your ds1. angry

I feel for the poor ds, feeling responsible for his siblings, but unable to protect them That shoudl not be his job. sad Who knows what damage the scolding, belittling, laughing at him has done/will do.

You need to get legal advice, and quick. I'd tell EX once - you are not taking them to Spain - and leave it at that. No contact thereafter. No whys, or wherefores, or accusations. Just NO.

You won't end up in court unprepared - you will have a solicitor with you who willl stand up to him. Give the solicitor Everything. Contact SS and tell them everything. HV, if you have one. WA. everyone you can think of.

In light of the sunburn, the freezing, wet dd, the alcohol when they are in his care - he should have supervised access - and his mum little-to-none.

McNamechangey Wed 10-Jul-13 08:54:45

Thanks bogey, yes it does, and yes I do, so no fear of them being taken without me knowing.

Captain, I know sad ds1 has been carrying so much. He's been keeping it to himself to protect XH angry, although he did tell me he's confided some things in my mother. Some of which she's passed on as general concerns, some of which she's kept to herself. I'm quite angry at her too. Dc1 said she'd encouraged him to tell me, and he'd promised to if it happened again (particularly the trip where dc3 was freezing). I know she wanted to keep his confidence and not risk him not even telling her, but without all the info in working blind! I'm going to call her later and see if there are any more incidents I need to know about that dc1 has forgotten.

captainmummy Wed 10-Jul-13 08:59:52

McName - don't forget to contact the passport office to flag up the possiblilty that he may try to get replacement passports without you knowing, saying they were lost maybe. (Bit tight to get them back in 4 weeks tho smile

Feel a bit for your mum too, if she did encourage him to tell you himself that is really all she can do other than break a confidence (and then never be told anything ever again)

Jan45 Wed 10-Jul-13 10:44:35

McNameChangey: last time I will post I promise, I am in no way saying your ex is wondeful so don't quite get how you come to that assumption. My initial post was based on your initial post, I can now see that there's a lot more to this than first thought and of course you need to do what is best for your kids and if you feel this is it, then good, I am not disputing that. All I was trying to point out was that if at all possible kids should be able to see their father, that was it really, sorry you can't take another viewpoint, that's your choice, I wish you well and hope things settle down for everyone really soon.

Darkesteyes: I am still waiting on you showing me this thread or threads where I am constantly telling people to stay in bad marriages, funnily enough you haven't responded to that, you only appear to respond with more slandering of my personality, which actually says more about your deficiencies than mine. Akining me to someone who is sexist and racist is even funnier if not strange as my partner of 11 years is half Portuguese and half African, lol.

springytata Wed 10-Jul-13 11:58:28

I'm really sorry to dive in when I haven't read the thread (sorry blush ) but you say:

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

...And you want your precious children to have a relationship with this man?

Why? [conused]

ps he was abusing them when he was abusing you. To be a witness to abuse is to be a victim of abuse.

I would consider getting a restraining order to stop him bombarding you with comms. I had to do the same with my ex.

McNamechangey Wed 10-Jul-13 15:17:06

Captain, I'm not going to be angry with my mum. I know she's only done what she thinks is best. But I do feel that given what she was told involved dc3's welfare, that she had a duty of care to tell me about it since neither she not dc1 were in a position to do anything. It was only at the weekend that i last spoke to her about my fears. And she still said nothing. It's just frustrating to know that another adult knew some (or all) of this and didn't do anything to help other than listen. I know it wasn't done on purpose but I think it's time we all shared what we know and completed the picture.

Tata, because I really thought I was doing what was best for them and that with me not being there he would focus on them.

I'm feeling very low today. I feel I've let them down and I fear I won't be taken seriously if I voice my fears.

My mother worries he can't care for them, but I don't think she'd ever see it as abuse (she struggles to see EA as "proper" abuse and although she agrees that I did the right thing leaving, she and my sister have both said "if only he'd hit you..." sad )

I feel frightened that I won't be believed. That I'll be vilified. That I'll lose what control I have over the access there is.

I fear my dcs will be hurt and I'll be forced to stand by and watch.

NicknameTaken Wed 10-Jul-13 15:32:01

Having been all despair-y yesterday, I want to offer you a hug today. You haven't let your dcs down at all.

There's this middle ground where a parent hasn't quite passed over the borderline into being so horrifically abusive that all contact should be stopped, while at the same time not really being a safe and adequate parent. It's really difficult territory, and you just have to negotiate it as best you can. There isn't one right answer, so all you can do is deal with situations as they arise. Courts/ss etc don't have magic solutions either.

Your ds1 sounds absolutely wonderful, so you're clearly doing something right!

It's not the care you'd like to see for your dcs, but as a 1970s child, I regularly went out bare-legged in the snow (sounds like Little Orphan Annie but it's true) and all the skin on my back would peel off every year with sunburn, and I wasn't neglected and didn't suffer any long-term effects. Just different standards.

I'm NOT saying "Oh, give up and let him do what he wants". You have a plan and it sounds like a good one. I'm just saying not to catastrophize. It feels unbearable now but you and your dcs will come through this and you will be okay. One step at a time.

captainmummy Wed 10-Jul-13 15:49:14

I know you are frightened you won't be believed (by whom?) but if you have a file of dates, events, abuses, (of you and them) and evidence - why wouldn't people beleive you?

Why would they believe him?

If you go to court, dc1 will be asked if he wants to see his father; he is at the age where he can vote with his feet. Possibly dc2 as well - certainly his views will be taken into account. The littlest one is still very dependant on you as his mother, so your views should be taken into account - I say should be, but don't know, courts seem to vary so much.
At the end of the day, it is the childs rights that matter, not his.

What i am trying to say is - don't try to do this all alone, there are agencies and specialists and people who can help you make sense of it, tell you what is reasonable and what isn't, what to expect others to do.

captainmummy Wed 10-Jul-13 15:51:52

Nicknametaken - I was a 70s child too, my mum didnt believe in sunscreen (too expensive) so I also burned every year and peeled too (holidays in Italy) and I would not say I am unharmed. I have hundreds of moles and marks on my torso as a direct result, and I monitor these constantly for signs of skin cancer.

Sunburn in kids is not to be taken lightly.

stepmooster Wed 10-Jul-13 16:28:58

Hi OP, my DH has been to a solicior to start ball rolling with formalising a contact arrangement for his son. Court is the last resort, first you try to sort it out via your solicitor and then if that fails you to mediation. Cafcass also get invloved before court and they will go to both homes to assess and discuss with each of you and then the children, alone. I think what your DC1 might tell them may mean that your ex cannot have unsupervised contact. For instance contact could be at a contact centre and you aren't then cutting off contact between dad and kids. You wouldn't then be accused of stopping all contact.

I agree your ex sounds like a monster and your kids need protecting.

Also to the poster who thinks men are incapable of applying suncream to their kids needs to stop perpetuating the myth that men are useless and we must somehow make allowances for that.

My DH takes looking after all his children seriously and we have more medicines/suncream that most boots stores!

Darkesteyes Wed 10-Jul-13 16:31:38

Jan i didnt akin you with a racist or a sexist You are gaslighting now. Which says a lot about you and certainly explains your abuse aplologism.
I said that you remind me of a person who says "Im not a racist but" "Im not a sexist but.."

To the OP your attitude is "im not blaming you but" and then you went on about the behaviour of them both so you WERE/ARE blaming her.
You may as well have just said "im not an abusive apologist but"
And along with the fact that you have now gaslighted me. I rest my case!

Darkesteyes Wed 10-Jul-13 16:32:36

Sorry i meant "Im not an abuse apologist but"

Jan45 Wed 10-Jul-13 16:40:05

Darkesteyes: You don't give up do you? I have reported you for your personal attacks on me and been told by the Moderators that they agree that some of your posts to me are offensive and will be removed.

You really need to now leave me alone, your bullying tactics won't work on a person like myself. I am entitled to my opinion and stand by it, you on the other hand are not entitled to slander people who you feel don't agree with your views, this is not what MN is about and I am glad this kind of immature attacking of people's personal views is not tolerated here.

RabbitsarenotHares Wed 10-Jul-13 16:46:09

OP - I've just read the thread and am horrified. I feel for you all so much.

One thing that struck me - you said he'd raped you and that you have an apology on paper. Have you ever gone to the police with it? I know it's hard, but even if you just had it logged this must surely help in your favour when you take this vile creature of a man to court?

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