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Ex swinging from "we are bffs!" to blanking/blaming me

(20 Posts)
thestamp Mon 11-Jul-16 22:27:04

What's the right way to deal with this? It feels bloody unfair. Background...

My quite controlling and jealous ex spent the first half of this year wanting us to be friends. I still care for him (in a you-are-my-family-member way) and tried to ensure that we got together as a family (i.e. incl DC) once a month or so for a few hours (meal/walk etc.). Was fine, we were getting on well without being in each other's pockets.

However in the last month or two he has started to blank me, not phone me back when I urgently need to speak to him (DC, finances or divorce related - not random chats). It transpires that he is "angry with me" about "everything", especially how he feels fucked over financially.

AIBU though? I was/am the higher earner, but I've given him the house and equity (mortgage payment is 50% less than rent would be), gave him a large sum to buy a car, still pay some of his bills, pay him maintenance (he has DC three nights a week + one full weekend day - and I offer him respite regularly because his work hours mean he doesn't get many full days to himself). I buy all DC clothes, pay for lessons, etc. We haven't got a formal separation agreement yet (for good reasons - we will by the autumn), but I'm fairly sure that he's getting a better deal than 50%/50%.

Surely I've done quite a lot for him in terms of finances? He has the children for about 40 hours a week, most of which they spend asleep... he works from home, has flex hours and as I said I also offer him respite regularly... and I try to be accommodating.

He has form for being very manipulative and touchy, with patchy insight into his behaviour. And for being quite entitled when it comes to how much I ought to be making his life easier.

I've taken the tack of sort of ignoring his stroppiness in a polite way, rather than putting myself out to by being friendly. I had been trying to just be nice in hopes that it snapped him out of it, but now I wonder if he's actually getting off on seeing me feel embarrassed/worried by his behaviour. (E.g. blanking me in front of a mutual friend.) I'm right aren't I? In some ways I'm still under his thumb emotionally...

I so wanted this to stay amicable. I'm quite pissed off with him. He's also told me that I was the controlling/abusive one in the relationship because I bulldozed him, etc. It's hard to hear because he is the kind of person who could never make a decision and had no confidence in himself, I spent the marriage trying to do everything/make everyone happy and then being criticised when family life/house/holiday/party/whatever wasn't to his expectations. When I just think... if you didn't like the way your life was going, why didn't you do something about it? How could it possibly be your wife's fault...

I've been working really hard on my codependent traits (he would behave like a child, I'd swoop in and save him) and this recent about face has triggered me badly. I want to "fix" the relationship between us, but I know intellectually that it's not my fault or problem...

It's just so hard, why are people so awkward? I've been bloody angry with him too at times over the last 10 months, but I don't expose that to him because it's very much my problem... and he's not my h anymore, so I keep my emotions to myself iyswim? Why would he not do me the same courtesy???

I know I am expecting too much but it's really made me sad today. sad

ukdeedpoll Mon 11-Jul-16 22:29:06

When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Thanks!

WellErrr Mon 11-Jul-16 22:31:10


I'd say you're giving him far too much.

This man is not your friend.

Hissy Tue 12-Jul-16 06:58:09

Why would you allow so much contact for a man who is controlling, manipulative and jealous?

What do you expect your DC to grow up like? You've given him way too much. You need to get your kids back into a safe and healthy environment. Under your watch, not his.

You can't handle how toxic he is, how can little children possibly cope?

Wake up. Sort this mess out now.

ptumbi Tue 12-Jul-16 07:12:49

Stamp - I was one your previous thread.

You are still being way too amenable, you know. It's all very nice going out as a 'family', staying friends for the sake of the kids, but FGS, he is so manipulative, he even has you feeling sorry for him.

Does it matter if he thinks you are controlling? you are out of his life now, and he is still not happy? You pay for everything for him, and he acts like a petulant child?

Get proper legal advice, give him what he is entitled to and no more. If that means the kids see a 'broken' relationship - well, show them that a 'broken relationship' doesn't mean a broken you. Or him. Or them.

Good luck.

thestamp Tue 12-Jul-16 17:56:02

Hissy he has the children for 40 hours a week of which about 16 are waking... I don't think that's "so much contact"? He's good with the children - it's only with me that he struggles to behave.

You need to get your kids back into a safe and healthy environment. That's pretty unfair? They live with me for 75% of the time and our home is totally safe and healthy. I also provide for their father financially in order to keep them safe and healthy while they are with him. Are you implying that I should not let them see their father? I'm not sure how I could do that since he's generally a good parent (probably better now that I'm not there). And God knows he has a perfect house and car to keep them in.

I stopped the family days out in May because I agree that I was being too amenable. He asked to tag along to something this week and I've told him no. It drains me to be around him. I'm finally starting to be OK with that and not force myself to be around him. I have a lot to learn... ugh.

I'm going to stop offering respite care. I'll continue to be polite but distant. I would have been fine with that from the beginning but he pushed so hard and behaved so well at first... in retrospect I suppose it was inevitable that he'd return to petulance and resentment since that's always been his default position. It's so fucking frustrating.

I think I need to accept that I can't fix things because it's not my fault or even within my control.

We're in the process of properly disentangling shared bills... I might push to do that quicker because that might reduce my mental burden. I don't intend to continue paying bills for him - I'm doing it at the moment basically because I lack the bandwidth to properly sort it. But it's got to be done.

Hissy Tue 12-Jul-16 18:18:57

I meant emotionally safe and healthy.

Your ex is neither of those.

They're your kids.. You are bending over backwards to make sure his life is fabulous, but you've lost sight that he is a manipulator and controlling.

When he fails to get you to jump using his normal tactics, what or more accurately who do you think he'll use to get at/to you?

I'm not criticising you, more questioning your belief that he's a good parent when he's not a good human being.

These kinds of people only ever put themselves first. If it looks like he's putting the kids first, it's because he wants it to be seen as such. If it didn't suit him, or if nobody was watching don't be so sure he'd do the same.

thestamp Tue 12-Jul-16 18:38:35

That's a very upsetting thing for me to think about. Should I be refusing access altogether? The advice I've been given so far is that it would be illegal for me to keep them from him, since he's never committed a crime or neglected them etc? He's been nasty to me in the past, and is being awkward and childish to me now, but he hasn't committed a crime against me either.

I don't know how to keep them safe from him emotionally. I feel like what you are implying is that I should go back so that I can protect them from him? Or what else could I do?

MatrixReloaded Tue 12-Jul-16 19:32:42

Why are you paying him maintenance ?

Cabrinha Tue 12-Jul-16 19:43:54

What's with the crazy DIY finances?!

Can't comment on him getting the house and equity as it means nothing without figures. As you're the higher earner you could easily balance house equity in keeping your pension.

But come on love - what's with paying him maintenance?!!!
No no no.
He's not entitled to maintenance.
He can pay to look after his own kids!

gamerchick Tue 12-Jul-16 20:12:40

OP go and see a solicitor, I don't think you can see the woods from the trees atm. Do that asap.

MatrixReloaded Tue 12-Jul-16 20:18:43

It's a mistake to be accommodating and amicable with a person like this. You acknowledge he is manipulative and such people will take and take. There is no requirement for you to pay his bills or give him money for a car. His lack of time to himself is no longer your problem.

You really need legal advice regarding finances. I would also be on guard against him attempting to manipulate your children .

DowntonDiva Tue 12-Jul-16 20:20:21

Sounds like he's manipulating you. Emotional blackmail and guilt tripping you to squeeze every ounce out of you flowers

gillybeanz Tue 12-Jul-16 20:26:00

He is manipulating you and lord knows what he will tell the kids when they are together.
Please get this sorted legally through the courts, they will award 50/ 50 at the most if what i read on here is anything to go by.
You don't owe him anything now you have split, get it sorted for your childrens sake.
A good father isn't controlling of their kids mother.

thestamp Tue 12-Jul-16 20:30:53

When I say maintenance, I mean I top him up to the tune of about 100 pounds a month, to ensure he has enough to feed the children when they are with him basically. I make 6x what he does, he's a very low earner. Is that unreasonable?

If I were a man who left my low-earning wife, I feel it would be reasonable to pay a small sum in maintenance based on how much I know it costs to feed the children... have I got it wrong? We haven't got a formal financial agreement in place yet. Forthcoming in the autumn.

The equity in the house isn't substantial but it's something. Yes I keep my pension and a cash sum to balance it out - that was the intention. We set it up that way because I benefit more from liquidity whereas as a low earner he benefits more from having low housing expenses.

Cabrinha Tue 12-Jul-16 20:38:30

That's a difficult position because you don't, of course, want your kids to go hungry.

But - he is not your responsibility now.

He has a mortgage that is half normal rents. And he's not paying for a car.

What is he doing to make sure he can feed his own bloody children?!

Has his earning potential been reduced because he has supported your career, doing the majority of the childcare? I'm going to bet my kid's dinner money that's a no.

If he can't afford to feed his kids, he needs to increase his earnings, or downsize the house and use that equity to tide him over.

DowntonDiva Tue 12-Jul-16 20:40:12

No it's not unreasonable to pay maintenance or a settlement which is more than legally you need to. End of the day you need to look at yourself in the mirror (if you were a man or a woman) and be happy that the person staring back at you has done the right thing.

But what is unreasonable is emotional blackmail, silly games, manipulation - drama! To squeeze you. People who do this in my view do it because they can and they get enjoyment out of getting their way. Until it fades and then they want more.

Has he made you feel guilt or shame in the past for earning more than him? My ex did that to me, crazy the more he was a twat the more I gave him.

Having a formal legal agreement in place is a tool to detach yourself and him from you emotionally and protect your interests.

thestamp Tue 12-Jul-16 21:01:48

But what is unreasonable is emotional blackmail, silly games, manipulation - drama! To squeeze you. People who do this in my view do it because they can and they get enjoyment out of getting their way. Until it fades and then they want more.

Yes, that's the part I'm waking up to. I'm comfortable with what I contribute to the DC maintenance, and bills are balancing out more fairly as we slowly pull everything apart... but what I need to start addressing (within myself) is my reactions to his manipulation.

This thread has confirmed at least that I have been reasonable to the point of generosity, and that his emotional machinations are a bunch of nonsense that I need to ignore. He is getting a fair deal. He doesn't have the right to treat me as if I am doing him wrong.

I am still disturbed by the idea that I should block access altogether though? Do people do that in this kind of situation? He has had his moments of poor parenting but so have I. He's certainly never harmed them physically, he doesn't smack them etc.

Has his earning potential been reduced because he has supported your career, doing the majority of the childcare? I'm going to bet my kid's dinner money that's a no.

He lost his job and started his own business while I was first pregnant and did a lot of childcare in the first year of each child's life (e.g. taking non sleeping babies overnight for months on end). Also did the nursery run every morning until I moved out. That saved us significantly in wraparound care and ensured DC were not in childcare all day but only for a few hours (he would stay and play with them in the mornings instead of me dropping them at 6).

He wasn't a cocklodger... there were times and ways in which I felt he could do more, but the main problem was not his parenting or contribution to family, it was his feelings/beliefs about me... he demanded a huge amount of emotional caretaking from me and I just couldn't cope with it any more.

DowntonDiva Tue 12-Jul-16 21:11:19

I wouldn't block access no. Maintain dignity and composure with that (then go scream into a pillow).

Good advice I got given was someone can only play games with you if you participate. Visualise a ball been thrown at you, you throw the ball back you're participating in the game. Next time he throws the ball just drop it. He'll throw another, drop that one too. And again and again.

Sorry if it's a bit out there by helped me with ex.

thestamp Tue 12-Jul-16 22:14:04

It's not out there, that's just the kind of advice I need. The financial stuff is a drop in the ocean for me, I'm more than comfortable in terms of money/maintenance etc. It's dealing with the emotional fuckwittery that I struggle with.

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