He had, physically and emotionally, we've been divorced for ten years and I'm re-married. I told her the truth as it seemed like the right thing to do and she was grateful for that. Sounds like there was a huge bust up and she is staying with friends.
The issue that is worrying me though, is we have two girls together, I know he has anger issues and if their relationship is on the rocks my experience with him suggests he will be quite unstable right now. The girls are due to spend this weekend with him. So...do I let him have his contact weekend as usual and hope all will be ok, should I be honest with him and say he has to see the girls under my supervision for now, or do I suddenly invent an excuse as to why they can't come this weekend in order to buy me some time whilst I assess the situation??
If there is any chance he will be abusive towards or in front of your dc, then keep him away from them. Can you phone his partner and find out what has happened as this may impact on your children's welfare. A row between them is one thing, but if he has been violent that is something else.
How old are the girls? At least in their early teens? Surely that's old enough for them to choose not to go? Would you be able to apprise them that their father might be in a bad place at the moment (in a neutral way, without specifics), and perhaps they might want to opt out this weekend?
He has been very unpleasant to the girls in the past, on at least one occasion he has pushed my elder DD. By unstable I mean he really does fly off the handle, gets very angry, has been known to throw things and has hit and pushed me in the past as well as been verbally abusive. So I am not just going from what has happened with his partner, I know when things go wrong for him he tends to 'lose it'.
DD's are 12 and 15 so not babies. But DD lost her boyfriend to suicide two months ago so I am extra protective, she needs a stable environment right now. Plus her behaviour is quite challenging at the moment due to anger related to her grief, so if she kicks off and he is not in the right frame of mind to deal with it calmly that worries me.
Yes, I'm thinking they might be ill, just until I can work out what is going on. Older DD has exams at the moment too, so that is adding to her stress, plus last time she was there her and her dad had a big argument and she ended up going to my mum's (I was away for the weekend). So she's not that keen to go anyway.
Is there anyone, apart from the partner, that can let you know how "stable" he looks at the moment?
It may be that their relationship has gone to the dogs, but it may be that he is managing well. Given his background, I'm sure you don't want a big fall out over contact if things are relatively ok, as this may have repercussions for future arrangements.
But I understand completely why you feel the need to protect your DDs from his moods at this time.