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DS doesn't want to see ExH

(17 Posts)
ProbablyMe Tue 03-May-16 17:20:51


I'm kind of expecting to be lynched for my handling of this but here goes anyway.

My ExH and I separated and divorced nearly 4 years ago now. He was (and still tries to be) emotionally controlling and I had tried to end the marriage for several years but had always backed down. Eventually I very much to my surprise met someone else and ended my marriage once and for all - and before anything happened. I am still with the same man and we are expecting a baby (due to be induced due to my own medical complications this Friday). ExH is now in a secure relationship and is remarrying.

I have 4 sons with my ExH aged from 12 to 18. This is mainly concerning my youngest. DS4 has a chronic medical condition which means many hospital visits and admissions. He's spent 3 of the last 5 weeks in hospital for major surgery plus an abscess and a severe infection.

For the last couple of years he has been unhappy to stay with his dad and his fiancée. He feels his dad is strongly favouring her 2 children and that his dad is unpleasant to him, especially when his fiancée isn't around. DS4's older siblings often push him around and verbally wind him up, especially around their dad, and when DS4 tries to tell his dad he's told it's just banter and to "man-up".

My ExH has never paid an interest in his youngest sons medical issues or school issues or everyday life in general. When we split we mutually agreed a contact agreement of EOW plus a week in the summer and at Christmas. I tried to get him to have them more than this and have frequently told him and the boys that I am more than happy to facilitate more contact - ExH has never asked for this claiming work commitments and lack of holiday time and money. He and his fiancée and her children have had 2 foreign holidays since Christmas and over the year he takes just 5 of his 28 day annual holiday allowance to spend with his own children.

During DS4's many hospital stays his dad visits him once in roughly 2-3 admissions and on these occasions behaves like father of the year to the staff most of whom aren't even aware he's actually his dad as they never see him!! He passes within 10 mins of our local hospital on the way home from work but clearly won't interrupt his life to visit his son. When DS4 had a major op 5 weeks ago he visited him for 1 hour - he didn't take so much as an afternoon off work for his son. I know he could have done so as he was with the same company for 15 years before we split up and I know what they're like! He never bothered to take time when we were together either and my parents have always filled that gap pre-DP - he's always seen anything that wasn't his work as my job. My DP was with us at the hospital for the whole admission and has been at every appointment and admission for the last 3 years despite doing a very important job.

DS4 is now nearly 13 and has been getting increasing upset at his dad's apparently lack of care and during the last admission decided he didn't want to stay with his dad anymore and I admit I agree with him. His dad doesn't try to talk to the medical staff about his son despite my repeatedly telling him that as he has parental responsibility he should. He doesn't even ask me for information about his son, just asks DS4 for brief details so he can post on FB as the concerned father.

I am so fed up of seeing him going off to his dad's with a cloud over his head and coming back sad and I am unable to find it within myself to force him to anymore. DS4 is so scared of his dad's emotional manipulation that he won't even message him to say he doesn't want to talk to to him right now and his dad thinks I have engineered this situation, which I didn't. DS4 has been thinking about this for some time but I told him it wasn't my decision to make and continued encouraging contact. He is so stressed about the whole situation he was sent home from school today after being sick.

Anyone got any advice? His dad can get rather unpleasant and I'm currently worried about his next step. He won't accept being told anything that doesn't fit with his view of himself as super-dad and keeps telling me I'm making it up and it can't be true and DS4's refusal to talk to him isn't helping. ExH emailed me to say he was going to take him out to dinner tonight and DS4 won't go. I don't know how to handle this.

GarlicShake Tue 03-May-16 18:38:18

Poor kid. 12 is old enough to make his own choice - and young enough to need his mum to stand up for him. Tell XH he isn't coming. Just that, don't be drawn into why nots and yes buts. Let him take it to court if he's that determined. Court won't mandate contact for an unwilling 13-year-old.

kittybiscuits Tue 03-May-16 18:46:32

I wouldn't force contact but it would be wise to try and kick it around for a little while before getting into a court situation - depending on when your DS turn's 13 as his wishes will have much more bearing in the family court then, should you end up there.

Hissy Tue 03-May-16 19:32:47

Your ds has been through so much. That his dad couldn't be bothered to pop into hospital on his way home will have really hurt your ds.

If he doesn't want to go, he doesn't have to. What is your ex going to do? Nothing he can do.

If he could be bothered to take this to court, your ds is old enough to be heard and to express his wishes.

Bet super dad wouldn't put THAT all over Facebook eh?

I feel for you, my ds dad is similar with him, my own family is similar with me. It sucks.

Hissy Tue 03-May-16 19:34:21

Would your ds write a letter? It could be used to communicate with his dad, and shown to court if it ever came to it?

donners312 Tue 03-May-16 19:45:12

could you try and drag it out - not make any sweeping statements just say DS not feeling up to it at the moment etc

PixieChops Tue 03-May-16 19:56:14

No way am I going to lynch you. I think you're trying to protect your son but also think you need to tell EXH for him.
I have first hand experience of a shit father. I made the decision to not see him anymore at the age of 11- I then got in touch with my grandparents (his mum and dad) who kind of forced me to have a relationship with him again. At around the age of 19 I can count on one hand how many times I've seen my dad. I see my nana more than I see him (my grandad sadly died last year). I cannot stand him, he made my life a misery. He beat my mother, he was an alcoholic, he was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. He would get me all excited for days out and then not turn up. He told my mum that if she tried to claim CSA for me he would quit his job and she'd get fuckall anyway. He didn't pay my mum a bean.
Your son is old enough to know whether he wants contact with his dad and I wouldn't force a relationship to happen.
I always felt sick and anxious when I had to go to my dads because he had a temper. I now suffer with an anxiety disorder.
I do think your DS writing a letter may help to get his point across as a pp suggested.
I feel so sorry for your son. His dad sounds like a twat.
He has you though caring for him and that's all he needs.

PixieChops Tue 03-May-16 19:57:22

Just to clarify I'm 30 now not 19- that should've been "since being 19 I can count how many times I've seen my dad on one hand"

housewifedesperate Tue 03-May-16 20:39:41

I was having the same problem with my youngest daughter who's just turned 14 so a bit older.
I started to make excuses as to why she didn't have to go and she was making plans on the night she was supposed to stay at her dad's. I feel she has valid reasons why she doesn't want to stay so I decided to actually tell her father that she didn't want to go to his house. I had consulted my solicitor as to the legal position and she said he could take us to court but because of her age, no court or judge would force her to visit her dad against her will.
I'm glad I made the decision to be truthful, It seems that a penny may have dropped in my exh head and he seems to be trying a bit more (I'm still very cynical) but I feel more in control of the situation.
Given your son's age, I think you can let him make his own mind up about contact with his father.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Tue 03-May-16 20:44:57


Hissy says it all. It's your ds's decision at this point. At nearly 13 a court isn't going to insist on contact, even if ex wants to take it that far and it doesn't sound like ex likes to go to a lot of trouble for your ds at the best of times.

ProbablyMe Tue 03-May-16 22:07:15

Thank you all. I am the one who has been communicating all of this to my ExH on my DS behalf as my DS has been so upset about it all. Problem is that my Ex is an arrogant git who can't ever accept that he may have done some thing wrong and therefore assumes I'm constructing all of this because I'm a "bitter harpy" hmmangry

ExH been in touch to say that he's "taken advice" and he needs DS to spend some "no pressure" time with him alone. He said that he'd been advised that letting DS take the lead was the wrong approach. I told him I didn't care who had advised him or what they had advised as his son is an individual and can't be forced. I won't force him into anything either. He didn't reply to that. DS doesn't want to do this as he says he's afraid of his dad turning the emotional thumbscrews and him feeling like he needs to give in to something he doesn't want. I've managed to get DS to talk to me a bit about it and we've discussed that sometimes when you make big decisions that there is a bit of stress to deal with while it settles down but that myself and my DP (who he adores) will protect him from as much of it as we can. DS has now messaged his dad to say he doesn't feel like talking to him at the moment but maybe they can sort something out later this month - he said he was trying to be non-commital rather than causing an argument.

Hissy Tue 03-May-16 22:13:51

Your boy is very brave! Good on you and your dp for giving him the support he needed to say that.

Your ex needs to leave him alone now. Take all pressure off.

GarlicShake Tue 03-May-16 22:26:01

Well done, both of you!

Love the idea that a child should be pressured into no-pressure time hmm

I lie the way you're supporting DS to set & defend his own boundaries. Hope it's not too long before he's confident to say "No, thanks" rather than "Maybe later".

goddessofsmallthings Tue 03-May-16 22:47:56

I told him I didn't care who had advised him or what they had advised as his son is an individual and can't be forced. I won't force him into anything either. He didn't reply to that

Good for you, OP, and I'm not surprised you didn't get a reply. If your ex tries another tack, I suggest you keep repeating your statement until the insensitive git gets the message that he has caused his youngest ds to become alienated from him.

Your ds has had more than enough stress in his young life and you're best advised to do battle for him until he feels sufficiently confident to tell his oafish df where to go take on the world.

Muldjewangk Tue 03-May-16 23:18:39

DS's older siblings often push him around and wind him up. hmm Time you told your older DC to cut that out. Your DS does not need any extra stress, especially with his chronic medical condition.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Wed 04-May-16 07:23:47

Must be a shock for a controlling ex to realise one of the key objects of his control is now slipping out of his sphere and can no longer be ordered back willing or not. So at this point he reaps what he sowed with ds, not that he is likely to acknowledge his role here or realise he needs to do some serious repair work with ds on ds's terms. I can see this coming with a friend at the moment where the child goes to contact unwillingly, is not well treated and contact is largely about continuing to control and manipulate rather than any real parental feeling. There will be rage the day the child can refuse and court can't be used any longer to compel ex's will.

Also love the 'he must be forced to spend no pressure time with me' .

Isetan Sat 07-May-16 05:56:29

DS4's older siblings often push him around and verbally wind him up, especially around their dad, and when DS4 tries to tell his dad he's told it's just banter and to "man-up".

What do you say to your older children about their behaviour towards their brother? I would make it very clear to your elder sons that if anyone doesn't like being treated a particular way they have the right to object and in this instance, 'banter' is the cowards excuse to bully. They may have had a terrible role model in their father but bullying is an unattractive quality.

Start disengaging from your Ex, it isn't your responsibility to be mediator and your son old enough to make the decision to reduce contact with such an arse.

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