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Part-time children breaking my heart.

(84 Posts)
Flangeshrub Mon 28-Dec-15 11:46:23

My DH had a affair and it was discovered almost a year ago and we split. We have 50/50 shared residency. I did not choose this but he would fight me for this and I didn't see any point fighting for something I would lose.

DC are 5 and 8. Since separation they have spent alternate nights in houses. They have both required counselling.

I'm struggling so much with not seeing my children enough. My heart is breaking all the time. I have been suicidal and my mental health worries me constantly. Everything else is okay, it's just my kids. I love them so much. I never ever expected to live apart from them. I can't believe it.

I had fertility treatment and tried for years to have them, their father was ambivalent - spent his life in the pub. I've done everything for them up until we split, I'm just so sad.

My point is, not one person I speak to either recognises my situation is sad, or that if they have 50/50 see it as a sad situation. I feel insane. Lots of people tell me I should be happy I could do loads of other stuff (like go to the pub great!) I know their father feels he has a wonderful outcome - his kids half the time, but plenty time to get pissed (he tells everyone).

Am I the first person to be devastated at only seeing my kids half the time - believe me Ive spoken to loads of people about it! Do people just not enjoy kids maybe?

Cabrinha Mon 28-Dec-15 11:50:40

I have my daughter approx. 4 vs 3 nights.
Day to day, I'm fine with it - in that, I don't mope when she's not there. Tbh, it helps me that I work away and a lot of her time with him is when I'm away anyway.
But generally I'm emotionally OK and yes I do make use of and enjoy child free time.

But... the whole concept of it? Tears me apart. I hate not having access to her all the time.

So I do sympathise with you.

Also marriage breakdown was his fault (lying cheating bastard, same old same old...)

What I focus on, is that I truly believe that it is better for my child to have regular fairly even contact with both parents. Giving her that, is a way of loving her just as surely as loving her in person is.

Thankgodforthat Mon 28-Dec-15 11:51:16

I don't know anyone who has a 50:50 arrangement with their ex. I read a lot about it on here but the norm in my circles is every other weekend (except for my exh who won't even do that.)

I don't think the alternate nights thing sounds a very good idea. Surely that is disruptive for the children.

Sorry I can't really help but as it is still relatively early days, you might find you adjust. Start doing things you can't do when the dc are with you eg the gym and lean on family and friends more.

Shutthatdoor Mon 28-Dec-15 11:53:11

My DH marriage breakdown wasn't his fault.

ExW had numerous affairs. He sees his DC twice during the week and EOW.

It is extremely sad so I do see where you are coming from. Especially if it isn't your behaviour that caused the split.

Funinthesun15 Mon 28-Dec-15 11:55:23

I don't know anyone who has a 50:50 arrangement with their ex. I read a lot about it on here but the norm in my circles is every other weekend (except for my exh who won't even do that.)

My DH has this arrangement with his exW
I also know own of a few others that do also.

It does seem 'unfair' when it isn't your 'fault' the relationship broke down

My DH actually divorced his exW on the grounds of her adultery.

MatildaTheCat Mon 28-Dec-15 11:55:48

Whilst I really do sympathise with you, I feel even more for the DC. You say they required counselling, how are they doing now? Alternate nights sounds highly disruptive to all of you. If they are struggling is this arrangement perhaps not in their best interests?

Sorry,not does sound awful for all of you.

MatildaTheCat Mon 28-Dec-15 11:56:27

It does sound awful, not not sound awful.

blueriverlavenderfield Mon 28-Dec-15 11:58:18

That's so sad, and I suppose is the other side of LTB

BackInTheRealWorld Mon 28-Dec-15 11:59:32

Alternate nights just sounds awfully unsettling for the children I'm afraid. I would be fighting that one. They need more stability than that. What matters here is what's best for THEM not what's fair for the parents.

annandale Mon 28-Dec-15 11:59:44

I know a couple who have done this and it has worked well enough for the children - but yes, it is second best to a family living together and that is definitely sad. I don't think I am as good a mother as you but I would find it incredibly hard to be apart from ds this many nights every week.

I do think you have to tackle your mental health another way. This is not going to change and somehow you have to come to terms with it. I wonder what kind of counselling you are getting, if any? I think you perhaps need bereavement counselling - you sound as if you are grieving the loss of your family life. Have you talked to your GP about some talking therapy?

Cabrinha Mon 28-Dec-15 11:59:47

I also think alternate nights could be a problem.
Not definitely - I have a friend who has something similar and it works OK, though it's more like 2 day swaps.

But it could be unsettling for kids - but also for you. Perhaps every time they are with you, you're already preparing for them going. So you won't settle into enjoying them. I would think about proposing a change.

rainbowstardrops Mon 28-Dec-15 11:59:51

I feel for you OP. Do your children seem happy with the arrangement as it is?

If not then I wonder if it was feasible to go to court and get more residency?

I'd be really upset too, especially as it wasn't your fault that the family split up sad

DorynownotFloundering Mon 28-Dec-15 12:00:15

Alternate nights is far too disruptive for such young DC.

If it has to be 50/50 ( and who got to decide this?) then surely longer periods of time would be better, to allow routines to settle?

Most access is EOW & one or two nights mid week so that both of you have some school nights & some weekends as a family / alone.

justjuanmorebeer Mon 28-Dec-15 12:01:08

So sorry to hear this. Could you look at a different arrangment that still works out as 50/50? Alternate nights sounds SO disruptive for the children, and you two as parents aswell.

Thankgodforthat Mon 28-Dec-15 12:01:52

Is it worth trying mediation to find a better arrangement than alternate nights? Can you start with what you would ideally like and compromise a bit?

Seeyounearertime Mon 28-Dec-15 12:02:18

It may be worth rearranging this "Split"
Maybe go for school term splits?
So for 6 weeks of each term they "Live" at one pparents and see the other parent EOW and the next term they swap?
Or they love permanently with one parent and see the other parent EOW and school holodays?

Have to say though, and it may not be a popular opinion, you have to put yours and your Exs feelings aside and do what is in the best interest of the children and their education. Sounds like alternate nights isn't working.

RudeElf Mon 28-Dec-15 12:02:24

My friend has a 50:50 arrangement. I find it quite an odd one. It seems to mean she goes a full week without seeing them some weeks and then has them for 3/4 day the other weeks. I know she finds it really hard. She was the primary carer and had arranged her job/life to suit the DC and now has large blocks of time where she finds herself lost for something to do. She cant take up a hobby because of the weird pattern of contact and she cant increase her hours at work because some weeks she needs to collect DC from school and some she doesnt.

I know i would hate to have to do 50:50. I really am sorry you are going through this. Is there any way to alter the arrangement so DC arent in a different house every other night? It must be hard for them to settle.

VimFuego101 Mon 28-Dec-15 12:02:29

I think 50/50 can work but if they're literally hopping from house to house each night that sounds very disruptive for them. You say you didn't want to fight for something you'd lose, but I would take advice on the arrangements. At the very least I think they should be at each house for set days each week - eg at one house sun - weds and the other thurs -sat so they know where they'll be and when and can settle for a bit.

PouncerDarling Mon 28-Dec-15 12:02:36

I do fifty fifty shared care and it works for me. As much as I miss DS, I know that I need time away from him to recuperate. Caring for a child as a lone parent almost all the time sounds impossibly exhausting to me.

However, it sounds like you need a better arrangement. We do five days each, so we both have a proper chunk of time. Alternative days sounds very wearing, with the constant goodbyes. Could you talk to your ex about having longer periods each?

annandale Mon 28-Dec-15 12:03:27

I'm not sure alternate nights is always bad, it means it is never a long time until they see the other parent, and that can be easier IMO for very young children.

mintoil Mon 28-Dec-15 12:03:48

If the arrangement is not working in the best interests of the children it should be reviewed. You say they required counselling. Are they happy with the day on day off?

I would imagine it's pretty hard on them. My DSIS and her ex had 50/50 but it was week on/off and my DN coped with that pretty well.

How long has this arrangement been in place? Are you actually divorced yet? What does your solicitor say about it?

Cabrinha Mon 28-Dec-15 12:04:01

Alternate nights doesn't have to be disruptive for them though.
I know my daughter would cope with that easily.
Some people would be horrified by our ad hoc pattern - sometimes she asks to stay an extra night with me, sometimes my flight is delayed and she stays with him.
Every week is different.
She just sees both places as home and flits between them - at her request she's even woken up there, come to me after school, then gone back there after. That's unusual, but pre divorce she was like that too - as a tiny baby resisted any kind of routine and just flits around happily!

My friend with the closest pattern to yours does it because they didn't want the kids to go more than 48 hours without seeing each parent. It's worked for 3 years.

CuttedUpPear Mon 28-Dec-15 12:04:39

I feel for you OP. I personally hate it when parents operate a 50/50 arrangement, I think it is disruptive for the children and only serves which ever adult wanted it - surely given the choice your children wouldn't be upping sticks and moving from one household to another every day?
Children need stability and security and I think your XP needs to practice a little self sacrifice for the wellbeing of his children and their mother.

DiscoDiva70 Mon 28-Dec-15 12:06:57

Op, I'm sorry you're feeling this way.
I see you don't feel you can fight through the Courts as you believe you will lose, but in my experience this isn't necessarily so.

The Courts will instruct Cafcass to speak to your children, if you do decide to go down this route, to establish what their wishes are and then will report back to the Court with their recommendations as to where your children should live.
Cafcass may recommend that your children spend the majority of their time with you, the Courts usually agree with Cafcass.

The way the situation is for you at the moment can't make you feel any worse, so in all honesty, if I were you I would fight through the Courts.

Funinthesun15 Mon 28-Dec-15 12:12:27

I feel for you OP. I personally hate it when parents operate a 50/50 arrangement, I think it is disruptive for the children and only serves which ever adult wanted it - surely given the choice your children wouldn't be upping sticks and moving from one household to another every day?

50:50 doesn't have to be everude alternate day.

It does serve the children well as it means they maintain a relationship with both parents.

As for 'whichever adult wanted it'. Are you saying my DH and his DC should settle for only seeing each other EOW because his exW decided to have numerous affairs?

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