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Need advice on how to deal with unpleasant ex-partner at child handover(8 Posts)
My H left me and my kids at Christmas. It was a total shock and very hard to comprehend as there was no warning. I had a very supportive thread at the time, everyone thought there must be another woman but I could find no proof and found it hard to believe. Months passed and although things were tough, I was coping well and very proud at how I was handling things. Relations between me and departed H were civil, I have now bought him out the house, our legal separation is in force and I felt I was in control again and rebuilding my life.
He then admitted there was an OW. There has been all the time and this is why he left. This has set me back, but again I picked myself up. We discussed that that there was no need for the children to know anything about it at this stage. The next time he saw them (on holiday) he brought the woman along then texted me afterwards telling me it had happened and saying it had gone brilliantly and that 'we' should be so proud of the children for coping so well with it!!!! I was furious. He had not discussed this with me at all and it was contrary to what we had agreed.
He has seen them once since then and I had a heartbreaking text from my daughter saying what a nice time she was having with daddy and his 'friend'. She is quite a naive 8 year old and hasn't made sense of the situation. My other child is younger and has no idea what is going on. They (the adults) made out that the treat (as it's always treats now when they see daddy...when he lived at home this was certainly not the case but now it's pile 'em in) was from the OW and that she was surprising daddy as well. They are manipulating the situation to make her into this wonderful new friend.
My kids return and gaily tell me all about it. I find this hard to take and hard to bear. As a caring parent, I have been nice about him at all times to the kids. They are coping well with the breakup as I have kept everything stable and protected them from knowledge that would drive them away from him. They now think he's great. Now they are chatting about this new friend as if she's a friend of the family. I feel my hands are tied. I am responding with 'oh that's nice' but I feel I really can't continue this approach long term. It's like a knife through the heart. I know by simply saying to my daughter 'she is not a friend of mine sweetheart, she is daddy's girlfriend and so this makes it difficult for mummy' I would 100% have my daughter's loyalty and this OW would not get to play the happy families she's starting, but I can't use my child in this way. I want her to be comfortable and happy. But the price is very high for me.
At child handover I struggle to know how to behave towards him. He has been an utter bastard to me, unfeeling, disloyal, dishonest, cheating insincere bastard. He acts all pleasant and looks confused and dismayed that I am not beaming at him. It's all in front of the children so I have to be civil. I try not to look him in the eye. He is treating me with such lack of respect, but how do I manage this?
I want the control back in my own life. My life is all set up, kids, home, family, friends, nice job. It's all there but he is MESSING with my head and making me so unhappy through worries over the children and the constant need to see him at handovers when I never want to see him again in my life.
Iv been thru some of this and the ups and downs. I generally make sure I'm well presented for hand overs, a little make up, hair brushed etc. Smile. Have something to say about the children. "So and so have achieved this" "Iv taught max how to tie his shoe laces" kiss and hug the children. Tell them you love them and shut the door or walk away. Get in the car and drive if you drop off.
Oh and don't say or promise anything verbally. Especially plans. Say you'l message him. That way you have everything written down should you need it for your legal team. It gets easier. Good luck
No good in the holidays, but I base handovers around school a lot - one parent drops off, the other picks up. So you don't see each other!
At home, try to have children ready so there's a "cheerio, off you go, daddy's here!" moment. If they're faffing, don't me afraid to shut the door with him on the door step - I don't slam it in his face, I push it over without fully closing then go off to get child. Or I leave door closed and call out loudly next to it "chop chop child, daddy's here!". So the actual face to face bit is 3 seconds long. And in that 3 seconds, I'm looking at my child saying "see you Tuesday honey!" - no eye contact with XH at all. If I'm dropping off - then I look only at them not him.
As for happy families with OW...
My XH's GF wasn't the OW, but he was a cheat so I also feel irritation at him playing happy families. So not as bad for me.
But what I do is this - every time my 7yo is gushing about her, I remind myself that due to my fab approach, I have a child who hasn't had to take on an emotional burden of what she can say. It's good that she's all happy and chatty and not sensoring herself, worrying what to say, how you feel. Your 8yo should not be responsible for that. You are doing a great job that she's relaxed about the OW.
It's hard, but you have to suck it up - and it does get easier, I promise you.
One day, our girls will be 30 and a friend will be talking about how shit they felt after a divorce. And our girls will say "hats off to mine, I was never aware of tension". That's what we want, isn't it?
Good luck - I promise it gets easier.
Sounds like my ex. All fake smiles on handover whilst sending me legal letters minutes later. My DC did unusually cotton on that I was not keen on the "new friend". So we had a good chat about it - that they and I were allowed to have different friends and like different people and that was OK. They have accepted that. I think if I had lied to them it would have been more damaging.
What fantastic replies. Thank you. This actually helps. It is so hard to see outwith the immediate horror situation.
Don't look at him. Look at your kids then shut door firmly 😅
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