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ExH preventing me from contacting the children when they are with him

(20 Posts)
Onepollock Mon 09-Nov-15 13:22:15

I have been divorced since the summer and separated for 18 months and have a 3 and a 5 year old with my ex husband. They are with me all but every other weekend when they stay with him.

Although our care arrangement has been roughly the same for nearly a year now in the last 4 months he has prevented me from contacting them at all when they are with him. I continue to encourage him to contact the chlildren whenever he likes but we do not hear from him for the 12 days he he doesn't see the children. I have also suggested he see them more frequently if he'd like to. I used to say a quick goodnight on the sat of a weekend and that has been banned. Most upsettingly over the summer he took them on holiday for a week and refused me any contact even as far as not even replying to a text to ask if they'd arrived safetly.

Our communcation has deteriorated so badly that this weekend when they were due to go to him I was really unhappy about them going. My 3 year old broke her arm over half term and is generally fine but strugglign with the pain at night. He wouldn't allow me to talk to her or to know how she was but also wouldn't discuss care like, medication bath times etc. I'm so upset and cross. I know he has parental responsibility when they are with him but we do not have an official court order.

Is there anything I can do?

Fadingmemory Mon 09-Nov-15 14:07:47

Hi One,

I had the same situation for years. I can only tell you what I did. It took me a while to change my thoughts but in the end I stopped trying to contact my children while they were with their father. I thought that they may be doing something fun and be happy. I came to think that if they had to stop and speak to me it might disrupt what is happening.

I realised that I wanted to say good night for me but that I was already lucky enough to be saying goodnight in person for 12 out of 14 nights and had the lion's share of the children's time. It isn't easy to bring about a change of view but it can be done. I completely understand that you would want to say goodnight but if your ex is reluctant, insisting may cause conflict, just reinforce that you do not trust him etc and going to court over it might not be the best course of action.

The medical issues are very difficult, though, when obviously you want to make sure all is well. Can you send a hand written note with them for him to read? Can you ask him to email you when the children are in bed? Does he have other family support e.g. his parents or his own siblings who may also have an input.

If you are absolutely determined, though, court may be the only way (but may not have much chance of success). Good luck

Onepollock Mon 09-Nov-15 14:49:40

Thank you Fadingmemory that is such good advice. I think I can't make him do anything so looking at my attitude is all I can work on. Its easy to make his inexplicable behaviour a focus when I'm knackered. Well easier than attempting an attitude change. Were yours a similar age?

It is hard because they are so young and because he is pretty vile to me. I think I haven't had an outlet for being able to say how I feel or understand how this might effect the children because he turns his back on me whenever I ask to discuss anything. I also worry slightly about his ability to empathise. He didn't come to the hospital when our daughter was in A&E recently even though he lives minutes away and doesn't call to ask how she is. She was unsettled after she came back this weekend. I think she was struggling with the pain overnight and he was struggling with being awake so much.

Its almost as if they don't exist until he's ready to see them although when he does see them he seems very pleased. It just leaves me very wary. I have tried to involve his Mum and sister in the past and it just makes him very angry which I don't really want to do.

thank you for your advice

Fadingmemory Sun 15-Nov-15 18:38:41

Sorry, One not to have replied sooner. My children were 13, 14 and 6. My strategy was not to contact him unless, for e.g., illness was involved. I would then let him know and leave it at that. When our son was admitted to hospital my ex would phone me to ask me to leave the hospital so he and his girlfriend could visit. I did so, as I refused to cause a situation of conflict or argument in the hospital.

This was many years ago now and he has long ceased to be able to hurt me. Our children are all grown up and happy.

SurlyCue Sun 15-Nov-15 18:45:03

Personally i dont understand this need to contact children when they are with their other parent. My DC go every other weekend and have done since aged 2 and 6. I have never called them whilst at their dad's and he only calls them here on their birthday. I would find it a real pain in the arse to have to be available to facilitate phonecalls either whenever he liked or at a specific agreed time. It would be a real intrusion for me but i am first to admit i am not a phone person at all. I figure that if DC want or need to talk to me they can call but other than that i leave them in peace to enjoy their dad.

SurlyCue Sun 15-Nov-15 18:48:05

And yes i would also be angry if my ex tried to involve my mother and sister in our contact arrangements! That was out of order on your part.

Cabrinha Sun 15-Nov-15 18:52:05

I think he sounds horrible.
But I'm going to agree with SurlyCue - my experience is that my child (was 4.5 at split, now 7) has never been interested in speaking to me on the nights she's with her father.
Even though your ex sounds like a twat, I'd like up reassure that from the kids point of view, no contact is probably fine.

I'll be honest with you too... I'd be irritated if my ex wanted notification that we'd arrived safely on holiday. And we're on OK terms! You don't need to be notified, it's pretty unlikely it wouldn't have gone OK!

I do think in the current circumstances he's an arse - with the broken arm, a text to say "broken night of sleep, but she was OK" would mean a lot. But it won't her that he doesn't do it, so try up focus on that.

ThomasRichard Sun 15-Nov-15 18:55:00

I'm the same SurlyCue. The DC know they can call their dad whenever they like (within reason! Not to get out of going to bed, for example...) and I've asked him to let me know if he wants to call them. That's for practical reasons so that I can call him when they're not in the bath or eating tea or out and also because it was really intrusive when he kept calling and expected us to drop what we were doing to accommodate him, especially because DD is only very little and would get upset. I don't call them when they're with him because I don't want to disturb the DC's time with him.

SurlyCue Sun 15-Nov-15 19:05:55

it was really intrusive when he kept calling and expected us to drop what we were doing to accommodate him

Yes this. Exp used to call at 7.00pm just as I would be settling them to bed! And then would send ranty abusive texts when i didnt answer (because i was putting our children to bed!) it is intrusive. I also have a friend who insists on calling her DC every day they arent with her however her ex doesnt always answer and she goes into hysterics thinking something is wrong or that he is preventing contact deliberately. Who exactly is that helping? confused i find it a completely ridiculous situation. As far as i'm concerned the DCs are fine until you hear anything to say otherwise.

Everytimeref Sun 15-Nov-15 19:54:26

Being on the other side I have seen my husband trying to consol his children after they have recieved a phone call from mum telling them how sad she is without them. In the end my husband told his ex that he would only allow phone calls if the children asked to contact mum. In the 4 years since the children have never asked to contact mum during the alternate weekends and maybe once or twice during a holiday.
Sorry phonecall are about the parents not the children.

Bumply Sun 15-Nov-15 20:00:57

I've never contacted my boys when they're at their dads, although admittedly that was never for longer than a weekend.
I came from a "only phone if something's wrong" family, whereas ex came from a "ring twice when you get home so we know you got there" family.

ThisIsStillFolkGirl Mon 16-Nov-15 07:26:48

I don't contact my children when they are with their dad either.

My eldest is older now so we can because he has his own phone, but I don't feel the need to.

Admittedly, we do communicate well about medical things, but I wonder if part of the problem for you is that there is no distinction between 'fussy' calling (eg saying goodnight) and communicating about important things in his head.

It was very wrong of you to involve his mum and sister. I'm not surprised he was angry about that.

He didn't ban phone calls outright, so he was amenable to it to begin with. Perhaps he just felt it was taking the piss a bit. You've no idea how how managed your daughter's broken arm when you weren't there.

I don't contact the children when they are away for a week with their dad either. They are safe and that's my time!

amarmai Mon 16-Nov-15 17:40:57

no news is good news- as you will be contacted if there is a problem, but when a child is not well maybe keep at home with you wd be reasonable?Hope you will find a way to relax when your cc are at their dad's ,op.

springydaffs Mon 16-Nov-15 17:47:16

You don't need to be notified, it's pretty unlikely it wouldn't have gone OK!

Bloody hell, you plan things going wrong then do you? It's just courtesy to let someone concerned know you arrived safely.

abbsismyhero Mon 16-Nov-15 18:25:59

if i was leaving the country i would let my ex know we arrived safely i would also let him know when we were back in the country and i hate the bastard some days with medical things i let him know everything so he can ignore it safe in the knowledge he has been informed

FunkyPeacock Mon 16-Nov-15 18:38:05

If the current contact arrangements have been in place a year then unless you have genuine concerns for the DC's well being while they are with their Dad I think you really need to back off and accept your ex's request to not make contact.

I have no personal experience of this but if my DH was away for a weekend then it would annoy me if he kept phoning to check on the DC and I don't 't pester him with calls/texts asking how the DC are if I'm away for a few days (unless there are ill) ......and we are happily married so I can only imagine how annoying it would be to be constantly being checked on by your Ex!

Handywoman Mon 16-Nov-15 18:43:10

My ex is also a Twat who makes very little effort with the dc although that is about to change as I've formalised contact arrangements

But.... Even though he is undoubtedly a shoddy parent I've never worried about them when they're with him. I know they won't come to any actual harm. And have never sought to contact them when they're with him. It would probably only be disruptive and I also tend to get de mob happy when they go and I put my feet up or go to work but then that's me this includes when they go in the summer to him for 2 weeks.

I had a boyfriend until Sept - he was divorced with a 9yo dd. Not so much a day went by when they were apart that he didn't ring. Initially I though it was sweet. But eventually from seeing it in action I thought it a bit suffocating/controlling/anxiety-driven and all about the adults.

Cabrinha Mon 16-Nov-15 19:35:35

springydaffs of course I don't plan for things to go wrong.

But it's still perfectly true that when going away on holiday, it is - as I said - pretty unlikely the arrival hasn't gone OK. I don't think my post warrants a "bloody hell".

This year my XH took our daughter to Florida, I took her to Greece. Neither of us notified the other on arrival. I daresay statistically she was at as much risk the last time I drove her to Lidl with me hmm

So fine, some people might notify of a safe arrival - and that's fine if it's their thing. But to not inform does NOT make me (or my XH) discourteous.

Handywoman Mon 16-Nov-15 19:52:53

Same here Cabrinha I've been abroad numerous times since splitting with stbxh and would find it irritating to have to update him about arriving 'safely'. It's irrational. I could step off a plane on day 1 of hol then go under a bus on day 2. Makes no sense.

VoyageOfDad Mon 16-Nov-15 20:46:54

I wouldn't be happy with my XP wanting to speak to dd every day she was with me.

It can cause upset and tears even when the child is perfectly happy and secure where they are. Especially at that age.

A simple text at the end of the day just to say all is fine works for us. If there's something that needs a quick call about , then fine, there will always be exceptions.

Imo

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