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Can you help me work out what kind of a father my XDH is please?

(12 Posts)
JapanRailPass Thu 11-Feb-16 08:22:55

I split up with him when the kids were 6 years and the other was 6 months. He was/is an alcoholic and used to go AWOL for days at a time, leaving me with all the responsibilities. His alcohol consumption was such that he had lost his driving licence and a job which depended on that and a house which was attached to that. He had nearly caused a house fire and left the house unsecured many nights. He had been hospitalised. I'm pretty sure he wasn't faithful.

Since we split 4 years ago, he has actually been much better than I thought he would be, with the kids. So, he comes and takes them to school 3 days a week (so I can get to work) and he sees them on Sundays. He is reliable 95% of the time. Occasionally he just doesn't turn up (obviously because he is drinking)

So, when he comes on Sundays, he arrives anytime between 10am and 12pm. Last week it was 11am. He took them out and was home by 330pm! Often he comes in to wait whilst the kids get ready. We are friends, so that's not an issue and the kids are often still in PJs/watching TV. But he never seems very engaged with them, he's always distracted, playing on his phone. Then they normally go to his house and watch TV whilst he cooks. He takes them to the local park.

The kids used to beg to have sleepovers but he never would and now them don't even want to. They don't want to see him and are happy if he doesn't turn up. They don't even want him to take them to activities if I suggest it. The eldest says he makes everything difficult and awkward (I know what she mreans)

I am happy that he spemnds more time with them than jhe ever did when he lived with us..and when he's with them he is at least sober. But it seems like he never really put in the time and effort, he never learnt to be a parent. And he doesn't really know his own kids. He himself had an awful childhood and no parent role models

I know he kloves them, but eldest has said it doesn't seem like and I can understand why she feels like that

I don't know what I'm asking really. What can I do to improve things if anything? Should I let them stop seeing him, if that's what they want? Any observations/experiences/anything???

iamEarthymama Thu 11-Feb-16 08:33:41

My (now adult) children don't see their father since we split up, which was my choice. I have had to try to let tho of the guilt I feel over that as itheir relationship was out of my control.

What I came on to say was, you did the right thing by leaving. My mother didn't and 40 years later I am dealing with all the issues that arose from living with an alcoholic. My father died when I was 21, he was then assigned to the 'what was he like' category of don't speak ill of the dead.

I recently saw a therapist over something, to my mind, completely unrelated and she said I am almost textbook Adult Child of an Alcoholic.

I am struggling so much, I am still that lost child

I have no advice really but want to say to you, well done, they don't have to live with the uncertainty, the fear and the shame.

JapanRailPass Thu 11-Feb-16 08:36:28

Ah, thankyou mama flowers that means a lot. You can never be sure you are making the right decisions can you. I'm sorry for what you are living with

daisychain01 Thu 11-Feb-16 08:44:15

Japan, reading your OP, my impression is of a man who is squandering the precious years of his DCs childhood being disengaged He would rather stare at a mobile screen or the inside of a beer glass than connect to those lovely kids. He's an adult you can't change his behaviour, please don't feel you have to fix him. Not your problem. You've got enough o worry about meeting their every day needs to care about that Manchild.

Frustrating though it is, the best you can do is continue to support their access to their dad even if not perfect, They have you to compare him with. Sooner than you think they will be adults making their own choices about their contact and the relationship with him.

JapanRailPass Thu 11-Feb-16 09:01:43

This is a bit of a drip feed..I think the reason I'm starting to think about this is quite selfish

I possibly have the opportunity to go abroad to work for 2 years. Its something I would like to do, in a year or 2

But then the kids would be separated from their dad. Its actually in his country of origin! So he could visit lots, the kids would meet all their extended family on his side, get to know his culture, country and language. BUT without him

I think it would be good for them. Wed also have a much higher standard of living during that time

I've spoken to XH about it. He doesn't want us to do it. At all. But he wouldn't stop us


cestlavielife Thu 11-Feb-16 09:04:39

go. do it for you.
they can still see him regularly.

seeing him every few weeks for a weekend will be fine when all they will miss is sunday afternoons on the sofa.

JapanRailPass Thu 11-Feb-16 09:05:51

Its a long haul flight. So they would only see him in school holidays

hellsbellsmelons Thu 11-Feb-16 09:11:39

Did you get some through Al-Anon at the time?
If not then that might be a good thing for you.
They help families of people living with alcoholics.

I would say definitely go.
Looking at your post there are NO downsides at all.
Go for it and don't feel guilty.

JapanRailPass Thu 11-Feb-16 09:13:35

I did go to A-Anon yes. That's how I got the clarity to leave him smile
I worry that I would be depriving them of each other, despite it not being a great relationship

hellsbellsmelons Thu 11-Feb-16 09:14:43

despite it not being a great relationship
That's the bit you need to focus on.
You kids have told you exactly how they feel about him so listen to them.
Do what is right for you and DC and not what you THINK is right.

cestlavielife Thu 11-Feb-16 09:16:06

seriously how many kids go to boarding school and only see their parents at holidays? thousands and thousands. it is very very common. if the relationship is good it wont harm it.
if it is not a great relationship anyway it wont make any difference!
you will be there with them.
if its not a great relationship you are gaining nothing by not going and giving them a great adventure.

JapanRailPass Thu 11-Feb-16 09:59:27

hells there is a difference though isn't there, between kids saying they don't want to see him and not being able too

They do have their moments. He can be very fun and loving. But when he feels like it. His engagement/involvement is determined by his schedule/mood/feelings and not really by what the kids need or want. Then again, sometimes he will come through in an emergency or just randomly.

But his support/engagement etc is not consistent/predictable/reliable

He also isn't fair. The eldest gets the blame always or is made to do what the youngest wants; because he will always take the path of least resistance. And the youngest is a hella. So eldest thinks the youngest is his favourite. And I totally see why she feels that

I was married to him and I know how emotionally unavailable and difficult he is

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