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Have I been kidding myself we can have an amicable split? - long, sorry(35 Posts)
This is a bit of a whinge but I'm really angry and need to vent but also need a bit of an objective view on whether or not my ex and I can really remain friends. He moved out 3 months ago at my instigation for numerous reasons (borderline abusive behaviour, heavy drinking, not pulling weight domestically and refusal to participate in family life being the main ones).
Despite this we have been getting on much better recently and spending time with our DD at weekends which has been fun. He has also said he understands that he was a nightmare to live with and that he is trying to change as a result of what's happened.
I had thought we could have quite a good friendship and now I'm not so sure.
Something has just happened today which for me encapsulates the reason I decided to end it with him but also makes me wonder if he can move past his selfishness.
So he usually sees our DD on Sunday and tonight he was coming around to our house and the plan was for them to watch a DVD together and I would join them after I took a break from work (I work from home on Sundays). Ex and I were then going to eat together after DD was in bed and he would then go home at which point I would resume working.
He proposed the dinner (with me) earlier today. I said I was happy to do this with the proviso that I was going to be very busy working and wouldn't be able to take much time out to do anything other than eat a meal with him.
So he turns up an hour late to see DD and immediately goes to bed (in our former marital bed) and goes to sleep, saying he's exhausted. He had also been drinking beforehand. Not loads, but I thought it was slightly bad form given the circumstances.
Background to this is that one of the many things that used to drive me insane when we were married was the amount of time he spent sleeping at weekends (usually 5-6 hours on Sat and Sunday) and the fact that he essentially would sleep and leave me to do all the rest of the dog work, then moan about the condition of the house etc. He lacked the desire or drive to do anything with his free time except sleep, watch TV and do an occasional bit of housework. It started to really sap my energy and enjoyment in life. And I got to the point where I felt totally resentful of the fact that he wasn't pulling his weight.
I said to him fairly curtly that it was fine for him to have a quick nap but that he was here to see DD, I was preparing her food and also working and I would appreciate it if he didn't sleep for ages. He said fine, half an hour, tops.
I then woke him up an hour later and said I really needed a bit of support, DD was crying about wanting to play with him and could he get up. At which point he stormed out of the house, slamming the door and taking the provisions for the dinner he was going to cook for me, home.
I'm seething. I feel it demonstrates to me why I was right to kick him out IMHO. But I also feel depressed that what could have been a good, steady family relationship of exes raising a child in an amicable setting has been sabotaged, again. Am I over-reacting? And do I need to put more distance between me and him?
You are not overreacting.
This prick came over to your house when you were working to see his daughter and went off to sleep in your bed.
Seriously... he's totally taking the piss.
Access to your dd should be set & outside of the home. Cleat boundaries so everyone knows what they are doing & what is expected of them.
Erm.....he came round, and...got in YOUR bed for a kip? What? This is just soooo messed up - boundaries? Either of you?
wallaby yep, well, I think you've put your finger on it. I think I've been trying to make it as easy and amicable as possible, partly for my DD's sake but partly, if I'm honest, out of habit. He has stayed over here on four or five occasions (in separate beds) as well, and I've been trying to explain to him why I don't think its a great idea. I don't really mind but I don't think its good for DD to have the confusion of him staying here occasionally.
He just doesn't seem to get it and I've been loathe to put my foot down about it. I think I need to man up a bit and address it.
I think it's more he doesn't want to "get it", and it sounds like he has no concept of putting your DD first, this will be so confusing for her. You DO have the power to change this; he sure as hell won't.
The thing is that as far as our DD goes he is, and always has been, incredibly loving and kind to her (I know loads of women come onto MN and say this and I know that's not the whole story, but still). And she has taken the split incredibly well... just to give some sense of this she's much more upset about leaving her current nursery to go to school than she is about her DF moving out. My take on it up until now has been that I will do whatever it takes to prevent it hurting her and if that means I have to tolerate a certain amount of his sh** then so be it. Within reason. I also want him to feel comfortable in this house so he can't turn around and say I've pushed him away from his DD.
But I think he crossed a line with this. He knows low-level aggression of that kind was the straw that broke the camel's back for me, he knows that DD is the priority and he knows how much is used to p* me off when he used to sleep all day. And he knows that I work like a nutter on Sundays. So he's just ridden roughshod over all the sensitivities on this.
The trouble is -- and this is yet another reason why I couldn't tolerate living with him any more -- that he can't discuss things like this without being defensive and usually verbally aggressive.
I think you need to set clear boundaries. You need to make sure everyone knows where they stand which may result in your dd being upset while she comes to terms with the split. She will cope, and you will cope. You will support her through it and she will be stronger and you will be closer. Don't try and avoid her feeling sad or showing you she is sad as it just stores it up for later imo.
You have obviously made the decision to separate for very good reasons. Remember those reasons, don't feel guilty as it is clearly the best thing for your dd. And stick to your guns, let your ex manage his contact by himself. I certainly would not let him into the house if I were you.
mrsplum Thanks. I wonder if I have subconsciously been delaying the process where she realises that he has left. I guess I wanted her to feel that he is still a part of her lives. He certainly is still a part of her life.
An 'incredibly kind and loving' father doesn't go to bed 6 hours a day on the weekend and ignore his daughter. Then after you separate, use the time he should be spending with her sleeping in your bed.
He hasn't changed, he's not going to. And what's this about cooking and sharing a meal? You are either separated or not.
I don't think you can be friends with someone after you split to the point they feel it is acceptable to sleep in your bed during the day, ignore their daughter and storm off when things don't go their way. You may as well be living together again!
I can't believe you tolerate him sleeping in YOUR bed and having dinner together! What?!!
The thought of my ex dh sleeping in my bed or having dinner together makes my skin crawl. I used to bung dd in her buggy and hand over at the local park and he'd take her back to his bedsit for the afternoon or out for the day. He wasn't getting anywhere near my house again. We did that since she was 6 months old. She's now 12 and the most ex and I ever say to each other is the occasional email about what she wants for a birthday / christmas.
There's no way I could put up with my ex being so much in my life.
Yanbu - I think he can't come in to your house any more if he can't respect boundaries like that. The point at which you agreed at a half hour nap was where it went wrong. He needs to go home to sleep and be aware when he visits his daughter.
Aware was meant to be awake but it comes to the same thing.
Fairylea I hear what you're saying. And maybe I'm slightly in denial about all of this. But I also pride myself on being able to maintain good relationships with people I've been involved with and I want the relationship to be as friendly as possible for the sake of my DD. I've clearly failed to draw some key boundaries. But I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with maintaining a friendly relationship -- with appropriate boundaries -- with someone you were once married to. I know plenty of people who are close friends with their former spouses. If it can be made to work then surely this is to the benefit of everyone?
Yes but there is good friends and taking the mick.
The thing is that as far as our DD goes he is, and always has been, incredibly loving and kind to her
Coming over to see her, drunk, and then going straight to be, when he was supposed to be spending time with her is not loving and kind.
What you mean is, he can be loving with your DD when he wants to. He knows what being loving to her is, it's just he doesn't always choose to be loving to her.
If you had grown apart then your approach would be great. When you've broken up because of 'borderline abusive behaviour, heavy drinking, not pulling weight domestically and refusal to participate in family life' then having him around your home just allows him to continue the same behaviour.
So he 'stormed out' while his DD was crying because she wanted him to play with her - when time with her was ostensibly the purpose of his visit? So that clearly wasnt really the purpose of his visit, was it. OP, this stops now, surely? A new contact arrangement (outside the house) and no friendy friendy with you. Maybe you thought you 'got on better living apart' - nope, he's still the same.
Why would you be having a cost dinner with him after dd has gone to bed? I'm all for being amicable when couples break up and believe it is good for the children if the parents can get along but there is a difference between getting along and still behaving like a couple.
The set up you currently have seems like a relationship but without the bed sharing and sexual intimacy. You need to set boundaries ie. he goes straight home when dd has gone to bed, he doesn't go into your bedroom, you don't have cosy dinners when dd has gone to bed.
I think you can be amicable. I'm friendly with my next door neighbour and if she was in desperate need I'd lend her a few quid of a cup of sugar or whatever. I wouldn't let her sleep in my bed
I think you are getting a bit confused between getting along and being too involved still. At this stage particularly while things seem quite new I think good boundaries are essential.
he thinks he is "on hold" and is trying to wiggle his way back into family life
...a bit of lip service about what a prick he has been
...keep up with visiting dd
...make a nice dinner
and try to woo you back to bed
all the time he is still out boozing, getting quality family time in your house and trying to get brownie points for making dinner and being a better person..until you called him on it and he reverts to type
I think that it's a good thing to aspire to being friends and even amicable to the point of being able to share a meal with your dc in the same house. But the reality is that if you are still in the former family home then maintaining that kind of familliarity can mean that you slip easily back into the same previous habits, because you're essentially still under the same roof, and therefore the familiarity of his being there means he just takes himself off to bed and you feel powerless to do anything about it because that's the way it's always been.
I think handover at the park is possibly a step too far the other way, but I would perhaps say to him that he needs to spend some one to one time with your dd without you being in the equation so she gets used to it. So come up with a proper schedule for contact and stick to that. And limit time in your house to maybe having a coffee, but definitely no going upstairs, because ime that is when resolves slip and boundaries slide out of place.
"Slightly bad form"??!!!
I actually laughed out loud at that!
Taking the utter piss more like.
He's supposed to see his child and he goes drunkenly to sleep in your bed instead. What a lazy arsehole. Bet you feel relieved to have ended it now!
Amicable is managing NOT to call him a lazy arsehole as he does a doorstep pick up to take his daughter out to soft play or whatever on a Sunday. Time for him to find a regular swimming session I think.
I'd use this incident to help with your boundaries and the plan in future. "I'll cook you dinner" - "no, thank you".
"I'll just play with her here" - "no, that didn't work last time".
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