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.
DS doesn't want to see XH(18 Posts)
XH & I spilt at the beginning of the year & he moved out at the end of March. I arranged with him for the kids DD (14) & DS (9) to go to him every second weekend. Initially he said he couldn't commit to that but they have been going. He was never very active in their lives while we were together, never did anything with them, shouted a lot & was very controlling.
So this weekend they were due to go to his, DD was invited to a party & said she didn't want to go to stay with her Dad, he didn't seem that bothered. Then on Thursday DS told me he didn't want to go. So I told him that it was all planned & his Dad would be upset. I asked him to think about it & if he decided he really didn't want to go then he had to ring his Dad & tell him himself. So on Friday he said he still didn't want to go & rang his Dad. It went down like a lead balloon!!!
A couple of hours later I got a text from XH saying 'I don't know who I am more disappointed with, you or him'. I pointed out that as usual he was taking no responsibility & he got more & more vicious until I stopped responding. I explained that I had tried to talk him round to going but he was having none of it.
I want my children to have a relationship with their Father but I will not force them to see him, that is not a healthy relationship.
My DS asked me if when we're not married anymore can he stop seeing his Dad? I told him that he was still his Dad & he should carry on going to stay with him. He has now said he doesn't know if he wants to carry on going anymore.
I have no idea what to do. As far as XH is concerned it will all be my fault & I don't want this relationship to break down.
The problem is that XH cannot communicate. In one of his texts last night he said he has stuff planned for the weekend with DS but didn't tell him that when he rang him, or try to talk him round & was really defensive when I asked what it was so I could try to talk DS round.
Any previous experience of this issue & advice would be grateful.
I think you should be more concerned that your son doesn't want to go there than how your ex will react.
I also think you should have told your ex rather than making a 9 year old boy do it.
Whatever the reasons, your son is unhappy going there and your desire to not upset your ex and keep the contact should not trump his unhappiness.
I think there are two separate issues here
Your need for approval from your ex , your concern that's he's not disappointed in you or doesn't think that things are your fault
What's in your sons best interest in terms of his relationship with his father
I think you need to try and untangle these two things
Nine is far too young to be handling the responsibility of whether he should continue to have a relationship with his father.
I think your ds not wanting to go speaks volumes. Poor boy. It would have been better to gently support and discuss with a 9yo rather than ask him to call his dad and tell him - that was probably a misjudgement. What you and your ex think of each other's motivations is irrelevant. I would follow your son's needs and take it from there. Either your ds's worries are unfounded or you should take them seriously and act accordingly. You can't be accountable for how your ex approaches things.
Stop the back and forth with your ex, he is trying to manipulate you. You are divorcing this person, who gives a shit what he thinks of you? You have to detach.
You need to talk to ds and find out why he doesn't want to go and what he would like instead. Only to go if dd goes? Shorter contact?
If he won't speak about it to you, try and get counselling through school or gp.
Your split is very recent and it will take some time to sort things out. It will get easier but I wouldn't give up too easily as it may be something easy to solve. Nor would I force him though.
I feel incredibly guilty about making the decision for us to split. I feel like this because I have been trained over many years that most things are my fault & it took a great deal for me to make the decision to make the break.
DS was not phased at all at having to tell him he didn't want to go & XH didn't say much to him about it. He is mainly unaffected by it. I have spoken to him about why he doesn't want to go & he said it is boring. XH can spend a whole day in front of the TV watching motor racing & expect the kids to entertain themselves but as it is not their house they have nothing there.
I don't feel like we could all sit down to talk about it. XH believes that children should do as they are told regardless of their views.
So I'm really not sure where to go from here.
So he is a crap dad. What you do about it is up to you.
Do you want/needs ds to go to his dad regularly?
Are you in counselling? Done the Freedom Programme?
It's still early days, be kind to yourself but it's time to think about what works for you and the dc, because your ex sure as he'll isn't going to change or start stepping up.
Hope you are getting support from friends and family, OP, it isn't easy.
Well I think you handled it fine tbh op. People are saying that you shouldn't have made Ds ring, but if you'd have done it it would have looked like it came from you. The reason its not a good idea for xh to think this is that he could use it against you if he decided to take you to court for access. Some people seem to have got the wrong end of the stick, thinking that you still want to 'impress' dp, but I don't read that at all from your op, it looks like you are doing your best to keep it amicable, realizing that a relationship between dcs and dp is important, but not wanting to force them into anything they really don't want to do.
I'm not sure what the answer is here, with dd I think she is fully old enough to make her own decision about contact. but with your ds its a bit more tricky, and it seems he doesn't want to go without dd. Could you suggest a less formal arrangement with dp whereby he can arrange access in advance when he's specifically organized something for the dcs,ie a BBQ, swimming, cinema, trip to the park etc. Is he the type that that would work for? might be worth suggesting it, although I can see it not going down too well. At the end of the day if he wants a relationship with his kids he's got to pull his finger out and make an effort. If this means going through a mediator then so be it. Hope you get it sorted anyway.
Thanks fuckup, you hit the nail on the head. I did not have a relationship with my Dad because he couldn't be bothered & I don't want that for my kids. Tbh it may be a bit late for DD, they have never had a good relationship but DS needs to see his Dad regardless of what a fuckwit he is. I know he loves them but doesn't really have the skills to express it.
I am starting divorce proceedings & my solicitor has said I need to instigate the mediation process so hopefully we can get this sorted. However he is not great at discussing things, it's his way or it's wrong.
I'm going to look at the Freedom programme to get my head sorted.
"but DS needs to see his Dad regardless of what a fuckwit he is. I know he loves them but doesn't really have the skills to express it".
No, your DS needs decent male role models instead. And no your ex does not love them either, such men do not have the first idea of what love actually is. He would not have treated you so abusively for a start if he truly had loved his children. Such abusive men always make it out to be the other person's fault; they refuse to take any responsibility for their own actions.
You yourself did not have a relationship with your dad for good reason and now history is repeating itself. Your DD does not want to have anything to do with her dad again for good reason. Do not force or coerce your son to see his dad if he does not want to. These children need decent adult role models in their lives instead.
Your ex has skills in how to manipulate you and still uses you. You are still being controlled by your ex even though thankfully you are now apart.
Would not readily do mediation with him either; he will use that simply as another way to get back at you for having the gall in his eyes to leave him.
What on earth is this love he has for the children if when he has them he ignores them. He doesn't have to be a Disney dad, but he can watch television anytime.
So it sounds like he has done 14 years of crap parenting and is now reaping the reward of his own 'efforts'. Tough shit.
You ex is trying to emotionally manipulate you. Children aged 9 and 14 are old enough to make up their own mind in my opinion.
I have this habit of trying to put myself in the other person's shoes & imagine how I would feel about things before I do them or make decisions that affect other people. I am obviously doing from my point of view & so if I think I would be hurt or upset about the same situation I find it really hard to do without feeling an immense amount of guilt. I have gone all hot just writing that down because I have never verbalised that process.
But i need to learn that he does not think or feel in the same was that I do. I need to shut down my empathy towards him. I hate the thought of my actions hurting someone else, which is why it took soooo long for me to work up the courage to tell him I wanted out. I was thinking about everyone else's feelings & to a certain extent I still am. I feel awful that his parents have cut me off because (in the words of my MiL) I cut him adrift.
I sound utterly pathetic. I put on such a good show of being a strong independent woman but really I am a small child hiding under a table.
I have tried to rationalise why DS should see him. And it went something like this.... He needs a male role model.... But he is a shit role model & I would hate my DS to grown up like him. I can't come up with anything else.
Have not heard from him since Friday. Going to take our marriage certificate to the solicitor on Tuesday & get the divorce ball rolling while he hates me. I can't seem to do it while things are amicable. Again pathetic!
I don't write long posts but personally for me the child gets the choice. Force him he will end up hating you both.
Being empathetic is a good thing that normally allows us to act in an ethical way.
However in this case, you need to put your empathy firmly with your DC.
Your H has acted poorly as a father. If his DC are now rejecting him, that's his lookout. We reap what we sow.
If you force the DC to see him, they will be very resentful. Can you sort of help them to emotionally leave the door open? EG say "OK so you don't want to see Dad at the moment - but if you do feel in the future you want to, I won't be upset or angry, so just let me know."
Of course whether your fuckwit ex will behave like a parent and go along with that, or throw his toys out the pram, is another question.
Please be very careful to avoid making your children feel responsible for either you or your XH's emotions, with phrases such as 'he'll be upset' about your DS not wanting to go. You will screw them up.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.