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Any suggestions? Is it me or my ex?

(12 Posts)
ProbablyMe Fri 26-Dec-14 20:11:35

My exH and I separated 2 1/2 years ago after 15 years, the latter half of which were unhappy - he was unaffectionate, uncaring, unsupportive, belittling and emotionally and financially manipulative. I was on anti depressants for most of the marriage but - surprise surprise - was able to come off them soon after we finally split as the relief was enormous. We have 4 children together aged from 11-17, the youngest of whom has complex medical needs and is often unwell and also admitted to hospital several times a year. They live with me and see their dad eow with a week at Christmas and in the summer holidays. I have a new partner who has 2 DC who live with their mum and we have just moved into a new house together and are expecting a baby in July. ExH has a girlfriend who has 2 DC. Background more or less over!

ExH isn't very involved with our DC. He likes to be fun, Disney Dad and not get involved with day to day school, medical, behaviour issues etc. This has always been the case and is one of the reasons I was very unhappy with him. He told me that he was responsible for going to work and that he shouldn't be expected to do anything else. For example, DC3 (age 14) has an operation on his leg last week, I let his Dad know that this was happening but he has not been touch to ask how it went or how DC is. sadangry

He does however like to tell me what I should be doing with the boys whilst also telling me that he's too busy to be practically involved. He tells me I'm a poor parent who doesn't try hard enough with the DC. For the record, I am a SAHM mum due to my youngest sons medical issues for which he gets the highest rate of DLA and consequently I receive Carers Allowance for him. I am very involved with school, social lives etc and am always around. DP and I arrange our lives around our children as we feel they are the most important parts of our lives and often cancel our plans during a "free" weekend because either one of the DC is ill of they want to do something other than go to their Dad's. It is telling that the staff at the local hospital where my DC4 has had open access since he was a newborn think that my DP is actually his dad because his actual Dad has been so uninvolved!! I accept all of the short notice changes of plans etc as part and parcel of parenting. ExH expects me to fit around his plans because, and I quote from ExH, he "works hard and deserves to do what I want with my free time without justifying it to you". Fair enough but I am annoyed that this free time doesn't include spending time with his DCs!!

When I question ExH's lack of proper involvement with the DCs I am accused of being mentally unstable and abusive - I consequently save all messages both to and from ExH to prove to other people that this isn't the case! He has never been able to accept that he is anything but perfect and has always told me that I am simply being deliberately nasty when I disagree with him. He expects me to tell him about every detail of the DCs lives and insists that its my responsibility to do this and that he should not be expected to contact me or the boys during the 12 days a fortnight that he doesn't have see the boys. He doesn't ring them or make any other contact with them although he lives 15 minutes away and I have always told him that he can see the boys above and beyond agreed contact times.

The current issue is that ExH has apparently now decided to only communicate with me through the DC's. He was meant to collect them today to go to him for their 2nd Christmas with him (we alternate Christmas) but he refused to answer any messages regarding this and instead told me via DC1 that he wouldn't be collecting them until tomorrow as he had made plans and wouldn't change them. I was meant to travel with my DP tomorrow for the 7 hour trip to collect his DCs before doing the return journey on Sunday but now will be unable to do this. He is also returning them on New Years Day and not having them for a full week as is agreed. This is because he says he couldn't take Friday off work - he gets 25 days holiday a year once 3 days are deducted for his company shut down over Christmas and last year took just 4 days off for his children and took the rest for himself and girlfriend and her children - again, because he "works hard and deserves all of his holiday".

Does anyone have any suggestion for how I deal with the current situation? I am unhappy about his refusal to discuss any plans with me whilst expecting me to tell him everything. It's not appropriate for him to use his DCs as go between a.Currently I would sincerely like to lamp him when he collects the DCs tomorrow but expect that will just have to remain an internal fantasy!!

I know compared to other people's problems that this isn't a particularly big one but I am frustrated and fed up of this. I think he's just doing this because he can tbh. It's a control thing.

MrsSnail Fri 26-Dec-14 20:16:45

Do you have a court order for his access or just an agreement?

pieceofpurplesky Fri 26-Dec-14 20:29:59

Sounds familiar OP although just coming up to a year. Ex h has never had DS overnight, if I forget a detail I get lambasted and he never returns a text as my tone "stresses him out'.
I have no suggestions - just know you are not alone!

ProbablyMe Fri 26-Dec-14 20:30:49

The agreement was made by ExH and I and is written into our divorce paperwork. I don't know how binding this makes it but expect that the Court would say it was a voluntary arrangement and that I can't force him to have the DCs which I guess is true, I wouldn't wish to force him particularly I guess as I don't want the DCs to feel that I'm trying to foist them onto their Dad.

It's the sudden refusal to communicate directly that concerns me the most. It's immature and pointless and puts the DCs into an awkward position. 3 of the 4 of them already avoid going to their Dad's whenever possible.

ProbablyMe Fri 26-Dec-14 20:31:59

Thank you pieceofpurplesky! I guess I know there isn't a magic solution but it's good to get it off my chest a bit!

RandomMess Fri 26-Dec-14 20:44:15

Okay looking at the ages of your dc I would just assume the dc are always with you and not change plans etc. I would go tomorrow taking your youngest 1 or 2 dc with you and leave the others at home.

If he gives you any grief tell him to take you to court for contact. Your only responsibility is for you to make them available for contact at the time specified and be there for agreed contact. Regarding school and hospital inform them that he has parental responsibility and could they send him the necessary documentation to keep him informed.

In other words stop letting him control you, stop letting him give you his opinion etc. Don't let him in your house, don't respond to any emails or texts etc.

wallypops Fri 26-Dec-14 22:53:47

Im not sure about this and I live in France so its probably different but here I think you only have to make the children available for an hour around agreed pick up times etc. So if he doesn't pick them up on the court agreed times he doesn't get them.

ProbablyMe Sat 27-Dec-14 11:40:34

I have informed him that our contact arrangement is from 6pm every other Friday and that if he fails to collect on time then I will assume he isn't coming and he won't have them. I have also told him that arrangements are only binding when communicated directly to me and that arrangements made via the DCs will be disregarded, I reasserted that the DCs are not to be used as go-betweens. He said that I was clearly unstable and suffering from mental issues and memory loss and that he felt that he should communicate via DC1 in future as he was a more stable individual. I have informed him that either he talk to me or my parents or doesn't have the DCs.

I am so bloody annoyed. I now have to spend the weekend on my own as its too late for me to go with my DP to stay with his parents (who I get on very well with) for the night before collecting the girls who I am very much looking forward to seeing. My DC1 is annoyed with me as his dad has told him that I am being difficult and "mental" and stopping him picking them up angryangry He isn't interested in his dad's refusal to collect them when he was meant to as apparently his dad had plans.

RandomMess Sat 27-Dec-14 11:43:53

TBH with your eldest, and eldest alone surely he can arrange to see his Dad as and when they want to due to his age? It would only be the younger ones that would require formal contact arrangements with

Your ex is being a complete arse and controlling git btw. I don't understand why you didn't just go and take the younger 2 with you - or was there not room?

Nomama Sat 27-Dec-14 11:59:00

Tell you oldest, calmly, that you too had plans. Ask him if he too thinks you are 'mental'? He is 17 and old enough to be spoken to about this stupidity. You do not have to let your ex bad mouth you and encourage your DCs to do the same.

I wish FIL had done the same to BIL, he may have been far less unpleasant had his dad had an honest conversation with him about splitting from their mum. As it is DH knows what really happened and his sibs have broken off all contact because he does not think their mum was a saint - she had affairs, was alcoholic and instigated violent rows, she threw their dad out. Told the kids he was a total bastard... their dad never even tried to put them right, he had some idea he would be poisoning them against her.

Your kids have the right to know you are a normal, caring, put upon mum. What they then think about their dad is not your business - it is his!

ProbablyMe Sat 27-Dec-14 13:03:39

No room in the car for 2 adults, 4 children and 2 dogs plus luggage unfortunately. On shorter journeys we take two cars but that's not practical for a 7 hour each way trip up North.

RandomMess Sat 27-Dec-14 20:52:19


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