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Amicable breakup?

(6 Posts)
Doingitonmyown Mon 24-Mar-14 20:42:31

H moved out just over a month ago. It was a mutual decision and although there have been a few arguments in the early stages of the split, I think we have a good chance of staying on good terms. We have 2 DDs, a 4 year old and a baby.

H has them both every Saturday. He mentioned the other day that on some Sundays, he would like us all to go out on family days out. I am in two minds about it. From my point of view, it would help me out on the days that we did go out all together rather than me having to do everything on my own after doing that all week (am currently off on maternity leave) and it would probably be nice for DD1 to spend time with both of us together. But I worry that it would confuse her. She is missing her daddy and struggling a bit with the split. And then obviously, if either of us met someone else in the future, the family days out would stop and this might upset her all over again (and by then DD2 might be old enough to be upset that they have stopped too.)

Am I over thinking it? Am I right to be wary or should I just go along with it for now and see what happens? Has anyone else managed to keep on good enough terms with their ex to do this and how has it worked out long term? Incidentally, both of us know that the relationship is over so it wouldn't be one of us hoping for a reconciliation, it would purely be spending the day with the DCs.

comingintomyown Mon 24-Mar-14 21:08:08

Well if you are that amicable with each other then it sounds like you will iron out any what ifs as they arise

My cousin has a very similar set up with her two same ages DDs and it works well for all of them

Dahlen Mon 24-Mar-14 21:22:32

I think it's wonderful when this sort of arrangement works, and it can. You sound as though you have the raw ingredients necessary to make you one of these split but effectively co-parenting families.

However, a month down the line is too soon to say that with any certainty I think. I would see it as something to aspire to rather than something to put in place immediately, precisely because of the reasons you mentioned about your DDS being confused.

May I ask why he only sees them every Saturday with no overnight stays? And may I also ask why you split up?

Doingitonmyown Tue 25-Mar-14 02:04:28

We split up because he is a heavy social drinker and I was sick of me and the DDs coming way down the list of his priorities. I don't think I would class him as an alcoholic but he enjoys going out for a drink with his mates. He goes out regularly and often loses track of time, leaving me to cope alone with our DDs. I am teetotal. He already acted like he was single and I already felt like a single parent so I asked him to leave. Despite us both being sad about the split, we are both happier apart than we were for the last year or so of our relationship. He is free to go out when he wants, I am no longer clock watching and resentful. But we were together for 15 years and apart from that, we do genuinely get on, we just aren't good as a couple anymore.

He has them on Saturday day times for a few reasons. Firstly, DD2 is only a few weeks old and is EBF so can't be away from me for long and I certainly wouldn't want her to go overnight yet. Secondly, he hasn't managed to sort out somewhere permanent to live yet and probably won't until our divorce finances are finalised and he gets a payout from the house equity. He is living in a friend's spare room at the moment and the friend smokes in the house so not suitable for them to go there. Finally (and most importantly) I don't think I would be able to trust him not to drink if he had them at night. Day time is fine but I am not sure about what would happen if they were to stay with him. He in all likelihood would probably just have a couple of cans and be perfectly fit and able to look after them but he sometimes doesn't know when to stop and so I would be panicking that he would have more and not hear the baby cry or be fit to look after them. So for the moment, it is daytime visits only and we are both ok with that. He only lives round the corner and in addition to Saturdays, he takes DD2 to see his parents for a couple of hours on a Wednesday when DD1 is at nursery, then he picks up DD1 from nursery and stays for tea. He will also pop up to help out for an hour or 2 if I have had a bad night with DD2. So they see plenty of him, just in short bursts.

Dahlen Tue 25-Mar-14 07:44:25

It sounds like you're managing things very well. Alcoholism (and he is an alcoholic, if he prioritising drinking over relationships and family life) is tricky to manage when parents have separated. You seem to have struck a good balance.

My only concern is that you could end up carrying too much. If the tight control you need to exert over your STBXH's contact time starts impacting your life too much, you may need to consider reducing it. While that would appear contrary to the ideal of encouraging a relationship with both parents, remember that it would be your STBXH's relationship with alcohol that is forcing that decision, not you or your shortcomings. It doesn't benefit any child to see that a parent's relationship with them is largely dependent on the other parent's effort rather than because that parent values them enough to make the effort themselves. Far better for them to have realistic expectations that allow them to build a real and independent relationship with that parent.

With that in mind, I would leave the family days out (which I think are a lovely idea as long as it's something you both feel can continue if you meet other partners) until the point at which STBXH is no longer resident in the house. You need that demarcation for the DC I feel.

Best of luck.

AnnaFender Tue 25-Mar-14 12:43:48

I have a set up like this with my ex. We have 2 DDs together. He has them once a week overnight (at my place, as he lives in a house share and I don't think it's suitable). He occasionally stops by for an hour or two to help out if I'm struggling. And occasionally we all go out places together. I appreciate the help, hate taking them out on my own as youngest is a handful, and then children get to benefit from seeing us both together...which will hopefully set them in good stead for the future, birthdays, school events etc. We also attend school plays and parent's evening together if possible.

We have been split up for over 18 months now. I had a casual boyfriend early last year (never met children) who was fine with me occasionally spending time with my ex for the kids. And I'm now in a more serious relationship, and current guy is also fine with the set up. Ex is also in a semi casual relationship (not met kids) and she is also fine with the set up as far as I know.

This set up has been working out great so far, although does come with some downfalls. Over friendly-ness on ex's part (he indulges far too much about his current relationships...doesn't bother me, I'm just genuinely not interested!) We can also still bicker a fair bit (he has some social drinking/money problems that still have an effect on us occasionally). Neither of us are interested in a reconciliation and despite the initial break up being quite bad, we have managed to get along like this for a while. I can't guarantee it will always work so well, but honestly I hope it does!

Anyway, typed all that to give you an idea of where I am, I hope it's helpful. I think if it's possible it can be really beneficial to everyone, just be wary of emotional attachment I guess smile

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