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increasingly bitter relationship with ex

(24 Posts)
gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 21:55:16

I'm at an impasse with my ex. I want to tell him to F right off and never see him again, I'm just sick of him, but I know I need to do what is best for DD. We have been "co-parenting" but it's becoming increasingly clear we can't "co" anything.

I'd really like some impartial advice, I am getting plenty from friends and family, but I feel everyone is too involved emotionally and I'm going round in circles in my head. I'm sorry if this is long, I will try and stick to points.

I split with exH 3 years ago. We have DD who is 5 and just started school.
We split because he was emotionally abusive and controlling. He was also no support at home or with DD and we hadn't had sex in over a year. I was working, did everything at home and for DD and also felt like an empty shell.

When we first split he went to counselling and hypnotherapy for depression and for a pornography addiction. When I made it clear I wasn't going back, he stopped going.

The good thing from the split was he became more involved with DD. He wanted to "co-parent" badly. They are now really close. He has her 2 days and two nights each week, plus one afternoon.

His work schedule is very sporadic. It meant while she was at nursery, his days and nights with her changed a lot. I always tried to be flexible to help promote their relationship but we did have a few rows when I got sick of having to arrange my work/childcare and social life around his work as he would chop and change all the time.

He has always been very moody. Sometimes on handovers he is silent and cross and I never know why. He admitted once, it's just because he wakes up some mornings and hates me.

I have a new partner, who I love very much and he makes me very happy. He moved in with DD and I a few months ago. Ex hates him even though he's never met him and says this is due to jealousy that he gets to spend time with DD. We suspect he badmouths BF to DD because of things she says sometimes, although we never ask her as we don't want her to feel loyalty is split.

Since BF moved in, my relationship with ex has deteriorated a lot and at the moment there are 3 issues.

The main one is, I want ex to stick to one week night and one weekend night now DD has started school and to stop switching his nights around, which he thinks is unreasonable.

The second one is Christmas. The last two, DD has stayed at each of our houses on xmas eve. The other parent has gone over to do the mince pies for santa thing and then returned at 6am to see her open presents. This has been awkward both times but doable because our relationship wasn't as bad as it is now. Ex wants to do the same again this year for DD's sake. I want to do what is best for DD but I don't know if I can do this.

The other is who she spends her birthday with. I wanted him to pick her up at 2pm so DD could have a nice birthday lunch at home, he wanted 1pm. I offered 1.30pm as a compromise, this resulted in him trying to argue in front of DD. When I wanted to end conversation because she was there, I got verbal abuse.

I want to be fair but I am finding it hard to know what is best for DD. Friends and family are starting to advise me that I be firmer with him and keep DD at home with me more. Even though I hate not having her with me, I've always believed it fairer to both of them for things to be relatively equal but some things concern me:

Without giving too many details away that would out us, he got into trouble during the summer and ended up having to pay out thousands of pounds, which he'd saved for a house deposit. It's hard to sympathise with what happened but he didn't accept responsibility for it.

Despite us arguing at the time he rang me hysterical in the middle of the night in a bad way as he genuinely has no one else. He has fallen out with most of his friends and only really has his parents. When he and DD are together, they only have each other. Sometimes when she speaks, she sounds like his peer or even carer.

He says DD is his only source of happiness and admits he is still depressed.

He has said to me on a number of occasions that when DD is old enough to be more independent he will just end it all.

He lets his flat get into a state. The toilets get so bad they go brown. Her bedroom is joined to the bathroom, which obviously never gets aired and it smells damp and musty.

A few months ago, she was sick at his and he had no calpol so I had to go round with some. He had no spare pyjamas, just an old onesie I gave him when she was 18 months with the feet cut off. He has a lot more disposable income than I do so can afford more pyjamas. Her room was an awful mess and I hated leaving her there. I'd have taken her home if she hadn't fallen asleep when I was trying to tidy up.

Lately, she has started to say she doesn't want to stay there. She wants to see him but doesn't like her bed or her room. She said she finds it hard to sleep because she gets cold. There have been two occasions when he has called me because she is upset and wants to come home. I am to blame for this of course.

During a brief amicable period last month, he told me he'd gone on a rare night out, fell out with one of the few friends he has left, and drove 40 miles home drunk.

When he picked her up from school recently, he told me another driver was being impatient with school traffic and ex deliberately slowed down to 'prove a point' and the other driver got out of the car to try to fight with ex while DD was in the car.

Ex regularly asks to meet so we can discuss why I was responsible for the end of our marriage as he feels this is the only way he can move on. I always say no as I feel we have had this conversation before and when we have discussions like this, it always ends badly. I feel like he bullies me and tried to catch me off guard.

The atmoshophere is horrible whenever I see him. It's been three years, it's just getting worse and I don't want to have to be around someone who makes me feel like this. I want to move on. I want it to be more business like, but it's increasingly bitter.

How can you "co-parent" with someone when it's like this? I don't think you can.

I don't know what is best for DD when it comes to xmas? Do we need to split it down the middle? Do I need to do what my family say and tell him how it is?

Do I need to go legal? If I did, what would I do and what would happen?

HandyWoman Sun 09-Oct-16 22:23:58

OP, I'm sorry I don't have much advice but didn't want to read and run. It sounds like a nightmare.


It's reminiscent of how my exH was for the first two years. It was awful. The only thing that changed is that he met his gf and things turned around. I also got into therapy and untangled the history between me and exH and it helped to take the emotion out for me. Took that awful feeling of desperation away.

I hope you get some good advice. I'm sure you will. He isn't reasonable. You and he are still in an abusive relationship. Sending you strength.

Cherrysoup Sun 09-Oct-16 22:26:22

I honestly think you need to go for full custody and not let him have her overnight. Your poor DD can't stay in slum conditions. Your ex sounds like he has mental health issues and I would be very unhappy to leave my DD with someone who drives drunk and doesn't bother to get her spare clothes. Can you talk to a family solicitor and see what the chances of full custody are? I confess I'm clueless about this, hopefully someone with experience or legal qualifications will be able to help.

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:03:33

Thank you Handywoman

I was hoping he would get GF and things would move on but he has told me he never will. He says this is because he is worried for DD because of my relationship as my track record proves I will dump my new partner 'the minute he makes a tiny mistake'. He says he wants to be DD's only constant so she will want to go and live with him.

I did think he will eventually just move on but as time goes on, he is becoming increasingly unhappy with life. His only focus is DD.

I really want to be at a point where I can detach and I think I am nearly there when it comes to him. I just get confused about what is 'best for DD'. Half her time with him or should I do as friends and family say and take action because she is 'better off' spending more of her time with me and her other family.


flippinada Sun 09-Oct-16 23:06:35

This must be absolute horrible for you and your DD.

I think you need to find a way to disengage from your ex, who sounds like a nasty, manipulativer whiner. You seem to feel responsible for him for some reasons but his difficulties (including MHI) are not your problem to solve - nor are they your DDs.

She has said she doesn't want to stay over there. Please listen and don't make her go - it sounds absolutely awful. No doubt he will kick off, but let him get on with it. If he wants to have his DD overnight he needs to sort himself out. Ignore the suicide threats, they are just manipulation. OTOH if you do think they're serious then take him at his word and call an ambulance.

I also agree with Cherry that you need to go for full residence. He clearly isn't capable of looking after her. Again, this is not your fault.

You may also find it helpful to get in touch with Women's Aid for advice and support - they aren't just for women who are experiencing physical violence.

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:13:18

So much of this is our word against each other though, Cherry, so I am not sure either where I would stand trying to stop him from having her so have always worked on the premis that I should try and work with him to make her feel better while she is there. For example, I made sure he bought her a new duvet so her bed is more comfortable and warmer and I badgered him until he had got her some new pyjamas.

He can always tidy his flat up so it looks passable and does every now and again for an MIL visit etc but it's a dive again a few days later. Very often, nobody goes there except him and DD for weeks at a time and one day I might pick her up on the way back from work and ask to use the loo as I'm desperate and the toilet is filthy and brown and we argue about it, he cleans it but the next time, months later, I accidentally see it and it's the same again.

I've got no proof about the drink driving, or the road rage incident, or when he says he'll end it all in a few years time, it's just what he says to me.

And he will deny it, like he always does. When we were separating, he admitted the way he had behaved was 'emotional abuse' but now, he would never own he'd had that conversation.

flippinada Sun 09-Oct-16 23:17:28

Cross posts.

Sorry OP but he isn't that concerned about your DD, is he? Look at the evidence rather than what he tells you or what you would like to believe is true - his home for example. It's not just messy but filthy and unhygienic. He doesn't have appropriate clothing for her and can't be bothered to buy any, despite having plenty disposable income. And I bet he isn't looking after her emotional welfare either.

This isn't a crticism at all but just an observation - you seem very concerned about what your XP thinks of you and worried about being fair. You really need to find a way to get out of that mindset. His opinion of you doesn't matter - and he's not being fair to you, or your DD, is he?

I think your family are right. It sounds as though they have you and your DD's best interests at heart and will be supportive. I would listen to them.

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:19:56

He tells me I can't "not let" him do anything and I don't know how true this is?

Iizzyb Sun 09-Oct-16 23:26:24

I think you need to try & get her out of this situation. You are trying to be helpful & accommodate him by swapping things around all the time but that's for his benefit not Dd. I agree you shouldn't make her go if it's such a state & she's cold & doesn't want to go. I had an exbf who was very like your exp. he just relied on his ds to make him feel happy. When we split up he told his ds. Ds said he was sorry & tried to comfort his df. When ds got home to his dm 24 hours later he was heartbroken apparently but held it together all that time because he didn't want to upset his df. He was 9 at the time. I was gutted. I'm mentioning this because this kind of situation is not fair on your dd. Personally I would take some legal advice & try & get sole custody & stop the overnights/visits now if she says she doesn't want to go and if she does, stick to the fixed, arranged days & stop letting him mess you both about xx

Iizzyb Sun 09-Oct-16 23:27:53

Just seen your last post. He's still trying to exert power over you. He doesn't know he's just posturing. Seriously though go get some advice from a solicitor. It'll be worth every penny & the best investment for your dd xx

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:27:56

I think you're right and I want to do that, I really do. I've always assumed it's the right thing to promote them spending time together and whenever I had doubts it's mainly because I just want her with me. And now I am really beginning to wonder if it just isn't in her best interests to be with him so much?

It's not that I'm worried about what he thinks of me, it's just that when it
I find it so hard to lay down the law when I often read or get told he is entitled to have her anyway.

Like the Christmas issue, this sums it up really....A lot of me thinks, she'd have a much nicer comfortable one at home with us and all our extended family and her cousins who she is very close friends with. But then, I know she want to at least see her dad too and I wonder if I am just thinking about what I want and not what she would want?

flippinada Sun 09-Oct-16 23:30:31

It sounds like you're frightened of him. Are you? You don't have to answer me but have a think about whether that's true.

You're still in an abusive relationship with him, as far I can see. You just live in different places. He's still manipulating and controlling you. And he's a bloody awful parent, by the way.

And yes, you are allowed to say no to him.

flippinada Sun 09-Oct-16 23:40:37

Definitely do look into getting some impartial advice greta. I think you'll find it revealing. Put it on your to do list for tomorrow (or asap).

If you're worried about DD not seeing her Dad, don't be. He can still see her but she really needs not to be going over there. It's ok to put boundaries in place. He may not like it but that's tough.

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:42:17

I am a little bit frightened of him. I am less so now but in the beginning I was really frightened he would be able to take her away.

And because of the guilt of leaving and what I was doing to him and what he told me I was doing to her, which I don't believe now. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't have agreed to him having her so much in the first place, but I read so much about 50;50 being the norm now I got frightened and took the arrangement as a bit of a win. And as time wnet on, if I tried to reduce it, it never felt fair on him or her.

People keep telling me to stand up to him and stand up for her, which feels so strange because I would do anything for her and I really don't want to let her down. I don't know why but whenever I get close to doing it, I start to feel like I am in the wrong and that's why I really want to detatch.

I need someone to just hit me over the head I think

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:48:26

Sorry those last two posts got a bit rambly, I feel really xious abnout it all.
I think I will go and get me advice
I haven't really t the money but I think I need to just find it

gretagoodhouse Sun 09-Oct-16 23:49:25

And my keyboard seems to be playing up
I meant 'anxious' and 'some advice'

flippinada Sun 09-Oct-16 23:49:50

That's how these types work, please don't feel bad about it. I was scared of mine too. So much of it is smoke and mirrors though. I understand how you feel, I really do - you are so not in the wrong and have more power than you think you do flowers.

Honestly, call Women's Aid and get some advice. If you can afford it, look at getting some time with a solicitor. And don't be ashamed to rely on your friends and family for support. You can do it.

flippinada Sun 09-Oct-16 23:51:31

I'm not surprised you feel anxious, who wouldn't with all that going on. Please be kind to yourself too.

gretagoodhouse Mon 10-Oct-16 00:05:44

Thank you, I really appreciate it

I thought I was past the point of giving a shit about him and just wanted a few impartial opinions when I sat down to write my post, but reading the comments and thinking things through is making me bawl my eyes out. I just don't know how he's able to bother me so much after all this time.

nicenewdusters Mon 10-Oct-16 00:08:11

You are the one doing all the accommodating here OP. He says dd is all he has, but what is he actually doing in rl to do the best for her?

He won't organise his work/life to ensure the time she spends with him is in a routine that gives her stability.

He won't keep his home clean and warm, and provide her with suitable clothing.

He's happy to argue with you and strangers in front of her.

He's allowing his feelings for/about you to affect his behaviour when she is around e.g silent handovers.

I too would take legal advice. If you have any concerns about his sobriety, mental health, moods, ability to keep dd safe, then he can't see her the way he does now, certainly no sleepovers. You are the only one putting her first, that's why you can't co-parent with him.

You are not responsible for him. You know that, but it's hard when he's talking about suicide, asking why you split, phoning in distress. But he needs to address the issues in his life, like why he's lost most of his friends. He's told you that he hates you. This man is not your friend, and you don't have to be his.

I don't know how you communicate but I would tell him that you will only discuss matters relating to dd. Any other issues and you will hang up/ignore/block his number etc. PP are right, he's still trying to control and manipulate you. You have a new partner, a supportive family, try and detach from him. It's hard to accept you can't co-parent, but he's made it this way, not you.

Atenco Mon 10-Oct-16 00:22:32

I doesn't sound like he has court-ordered access, so you have that on your side. Maybe you just need to cut down on being so accommodating of his switching times around.

Off the top of my head, could you say that because of school, she won't be able to sleep over?

HandyWoman Mon 10-Oct-16 10:12:41

I think you need legal advice before deciding what to do next. My fear is that despite his very rubbish parenting (my ex was initially similar and I found it soul destroying) it's not bad enough for a judge to rule against contact. That's my fear, anyway.

Also think you need professional help to reframe your relationship with him. By which I mean ruddy good psychotherapy to get clarity on which buttons he is pressing in you.

Both options cost £

Legal advice crucial I would say.

Masses of luck extricating yourself emotionally from this dickwad.

gretagoodhouse Mon 10-Oct-16 12:28:21

Thanks, I am waiting for a call back from a family law solicitor recommended by a friend. I've also spoken to my parents about what I want to do and I heard the unspoken 'hallelujah' in their voices. My dad basically told me not to worry about the cost of things and to just 'get it done and we'll help sort it' so that's a big weight off.

I agree Handywoman, I don't think anyone is ever going to prevent him from seeing her and TBH that's not what I'm trying to achieve. I want him to accept he needs to establish a routine, I want to reduce overnights and for him to stop thinking that she is a piece of property he has half rights to and that while he's still living this way, he cannot expect to "co-parent".

I want a structure and rules put in place so I don't have to deal with him on my doorstep.

I'm feeling all geared up and ready to go for it. Thanks so much for everyone's advice. I honestly expected I'd get a lot of people telling me I was being selfish and even though I didn't like his lifestyle it's not a good reason to prevent DD spending time with her dad. It's good to get a reality check.

flippinada Mon 10-Oct-16 12:32:23

Oh that's brilliant greta, so pleased you've taken that first step - your family sound lovely and supportive which will make all the difference.

Your ex will kick off but forewarned is forearmed - you're absolutely doing the right thing. Good luck flowers

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