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mediation-does it work?(9 Posts)
I recently left my husband of 15 years due to his controlling behaviour. We've got three children. I bought my own house and initially we agreed to 50/50 shared residency ( kids swap over a couple of times in the week). He struggles with this due to work commitments and I tend to have them more. I don't feel this is the best thing for the children as think they'd be better with a more stable base, seeing their dad for tea in the week and staying over at weekends. The difficulty is that I find it hard to stand up to him as for years have made it my goal not to upset him. We've talked about alternative arrangements but he won't back down.
Has anyone found mediation helpful?
He has a new girlfriend and part of me wonders whether things will change as that relationship develops, and whether I should just wait and see.
Do not do mediation with him under these circumstances. Mediation with controllers never works out at all well and he could simply use that as another method to bash you over the head with.
His actions are all about power and control; he does not really give a fig about his children. He's quite happy to use them to get back at you still as punishment for you leaving him.
I would seek legal advice asap (and from a solicitor who has a lot of experience in dealing with such manipulative controlling men) and would also suggest you read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft if you have not already done so.
Why did you agree to 50/50 with such a man in the first place?. Probably because he said so and also because of this:-
" The difficulty is that I find it hard to stand up to him as for years have made it my goal not to upset him". You're still trying not to "upset" him. He can and will try to control you from afar. His new gf is welcome to him, she will discover what he is really like soon enough.
I imagine mediation only works if both parties have some common ground / agenda and are the type of people to compromise.
How old are the kids and how long have you been living separately? If it's only been going on a short while I'd give it time.
.... Meant to ask if you think he is worried about you asking for more money if you have the kids more often?
I had not read that book...thanks, have just ordered on amazon.
The difficulty that I have had is that until this time last year I did not really realise consciously that his behaviour was wrong. It is only when I spoke it out loud so some people that it sounded crazy. Lots was very subtle, and in many ways he seemed like a loving husband.
There were always good reasons why he did things. For example he tracked my phone, but said that this was to keep me safe. I did not have access to the bank accounts online, but this was because I am not good with money. He had been angry and shouted and thrown things at me early in our marriage, but this had stopped. Instead this was replaced by silent treatment for days if I had upset him. All this just left me with a constant suffocating feeling.
Many things about my behaviours towards him are things I am realising for the first time now. Last week he tried to persuade me to move the children to a private school which had offered him a job. I am not meant to know about his girlfriend, but know that the job was near her home, 40 minutes drive away. He told me that he would drive them daily, but I knew that should he move in with his girlfriend then he would need to have the children (aged 13,10 and 8) with him all week, as I could not get them to school before going to work. This to me was so sneaky (I said no to the school move), that I then decided to start the divorce. I was angry, but realised that previously I had not started divorce proceedings as felt so afraid about upsetting him. I hadn't realised that before
I agreed to 50:50 as when we talked about it it was all he would agree to. Last week I told him that I wanted to change things to him having kids alternate weekends, with a teatime in the week. But he said no. I just don't know how to change things without the children seeing the conflict.
I sought legal advice this week, and explained the controlling behaviour (there are some more extreme examples) and he said to wait and see. He said if it went to court judges rarely enforced 50:50, and preferred my preferred option, but that court was expensive. He said that it was likely, and in most cases it ends up naturally with the mum having the children more. I do think that he will move in with his gf in the next year. He is already spending all his time there when he does not have the children, and she has no children of her own, and is much younger. She needs to stay where she is, and him moving in with her would mean he would lose residency in the week. That is why I am tempted to wait and see.
The children are 13,10 and 8. We have been living separately since January. In all honesty I do currently have the children more than him (have only not had them in the week for 3 nights over past 3 weeks), as he has meetings away, and no local family support, whereas I have family who can help out if I have work commitments.
As regards to maintenance... we have not discussed this. He pays 100 into a joint account for the children, but will not pay any money into my account. I have not raised money as don't want this to be the issue for him wanting 50:50 contact, but would not be surprised if I was a driving factor
Hmmm. I'd say he's in the 'look what a great dad I am' stage of his relationship with his new gf while she's agreeing to everything that he wants to keep her man.
The children are old enough to have an opinion on this. Have you talked to them about what works for them?
I've talked to my oldest and she wants less transitions. So we are moving to alternate weeks. But I still don't think this is ideal. When I first left I wouldn't have talked with them as I was worried they would not want to leave the house. But now they do refer to my new house as home so I could. I'll give it time...then speak with them I think. My son (8) the other day said if I had a play station he'd like my house more than daddies...but maybe he's playing me!
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