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Any NRPs here? How's things with DCs?(17 Posts)
Just preparing for the worst case scenario at the moment. This would entail moving out and leaving DW and DCs (5 and 7) in the family home. I could cover the mortgage and maintain a standard of living to which they have become accustomed, but would end up living in a shared house for the foreseeable future. DW is SAHM, and not earning so we are a single income family. We agreed this previously and I'm reluctant to renege on it, I certainly don't want to force her into employment due to my actions.
My question is, for others in a similar position, how has this impacted on your relationship with DCs? I can't imagine not being in their lives on a daily basis, reading with/to them, bath times, cooking tea and all the not so fun stuff too (wet nights and changing sheets at 3am! sorting out tired strops etc.) and should the above come to fruition then there really isn't anyway they would be able to stay with me for say 50:50 residency. Not that this is likely given the relative split between DW as Primary Carer and me as secondary. I'm also very wary about turning into a parent who just takes kids out constantly (is Disney Dad a perjorative term here?).
I don't want to miss my kids growing up I love them with all my heart, and I don't want a damaged relationship with them, but I can't see a way that separating would allow us both to maintain households that could operate as two homes. As they get older though, the marriage we currently have is likely to impact on them more and more so I'm conscious that it could become necessary to allow them to see what happy parents are supposed to be like. God knows there's been enough threads on here about the damage a failed marriage has done to kids when their parents haven't split when perhaps they should have done.
Is there a way to be a NRP in these circumstances and still be a good parent?
I have no direct experience of this, but would it be feasible for both you and your wife to move out and the kids stay? As in the kids live in the family home with the parents taking turns as carers? So their lives are as disrupted as little as possible?
It's not unreasonable to expect your DW and DCs to move out of the family home and into cheaper accommodation - depending on the size of the house and mortgage of course.
You are entitled to accommodation that will enable you to have your DCs to stay with you, and I imagine your DW will want you to have them stay over.
In terms of being a good dad, listen to them, cuddle them, spend time with them, talk to them.
My ex doesn't have a clue what our DCs like or don't like, what they want, or how to talk to them. He expects them to do exactly what he tells them to do.... (2 of them are adults!). He spends time and money entertaining numerous girlfriends - but none on them (I'm just talking about the odd £20 quid here, help with uni expenses etc). He hasn't contributed financially (or in any other way) to their welfare for years.
He is not a good dad!
I can see why the suggestion that both parents move out would be tempting, but it would never work. What about privacy? What about when new partners come on the scene (if they haven't already)?
I think the best thing is to make this a temporary arrangement. Aim for as much contact as you can get, even if it means people bunking up together for a bit. Then think about whether, long-term, selling the family home (with your ex DW buying something smaller) so you can also put a deposit on a smaller property might be a possibility. It is all very well to say you would like to continue to maintain her in the same lifestyle but this simply may not be possible under new circumstances.
Wow! That was a quick response.
Hasta - I think I agree with Trifle about both of us moving out, I can't see it working very well.
Longer term I don't think it would be a problem and in ten/fifteen years I think we could be in a position to maintain two households. However, that is the formative years of DCs lives, they may even have moved out by then.
I don't want them to move out anyway: DCs are settled at a local school, and both DW and DCs have friends nearby. It isn't a luxurious lifestyle by any stretch: terraced, high density, low rise estates in SE England are stupidly expensive, we don't run a car or go on holidays really. Downsizing at the moment isn't really an option.
If I could find a cheap bedsit then bunking up could be an option though, I'll look into that one. Thank you.
I don't think the financial burden is just yours if you decide to split up. Your wife needs to also take account of how she will support the family. It's not feasible for you to maintain the whole financial burden & put yourself under great pressure. I would speak with a solicitor before making any promises or commitments. I doubt your wife is under any illusions that this would be a long term solution. If she meets someone else & he stays multiple nights how would you feel to still be paying the mortgage? If you meet someone else & want to move in with them then what? Where will you have your children for over nights? As a SAHM myself I wouldn't expect my DH to still have to be 100% financially responsible & for me not to contribute if our children are to have 2 happy & settled parents.
Agree with echidnas. Also your dw might want to go back to work if you split up as she might not just want to be at home if she doesn't have a partner. For social as well as financial reasons. If she goes back to work then you'll probably have to take on more of the childcare etc.
Have you discussed this with her?
I do 50/50 childcare with exh but technically I am the NRP as exh has a big 'family home' that is near the kids school and I live in a different town 30 miles away, although I do work in the same town as exh and dcs live and go to school, hence am able to have them on school nights too.
I chose to move away as I have no other family or friends there (exh's family are all there) and was miserable, I am much happier where I live now and am happy to suck up the longer commute (about 45-60 mins so not terrible).
I text and FaceTime my kids regularly when they're not with me, I go to all parents evenings etc with exh and we both pay he same amount into a joint account for their expenses.
Exh has a partner who has a v well paid job (OW, not that it matters!) so I feel they can provide better for the kids in terms of the home they live in, i rent my house on my own so money is tight.
My kids know I love them, they know I am always there for them even if they're with their dad. When I do have them I plan fun things for us to do, whether that makes me 'Disney mum' or not I don't really care, we all have fun together and cherish our time together and tend to hang out and do things all together more than they do at their dads I think.
I will always have a house big enough for both of them to live with me if they want, but they just don't want to move schools/leave friends which is their choice and I respect it. I am hopeful that one day that will change and they will live me full time again but I would never guilt trip or pressure them into anything. They know they are welcome to come and see me, ring me, whatever absolutely any time and I am always happy to hear from them.
I know my set up is unconventional and of course I have times when I feel like an aberration, being a mum who's an NRP. But it seems to work for us all and that's what's important. I figured if I stayed living in that town I could see more of them but I would be deeply unhappy there and that wouldn't be good for any of us.
Sorry, to answer your question my kids are absolutely great, they are two of the most grounded, happy and loved kids I have ever known, they do great at school, have lots of friends and are just fabulous 😊
Thanks again folks.
I suppose at the moment I'm purely thinking in terms of the worst case scenario. I have no desire to upset the status quo and figure that if I can maintain that then so much the better. DW may well decide to go back to work which would make things less finically strict, other partners may also come on the scene again they would bring financial questions of their own (amongst others). So at the moment, and I suppose the point of this thread was to figure out whether it could work considering the current situation and without other factors involved...
...in retrospect probably a bit of futile exercise.
Cricrichan - No I haven't, she's happy I believe. I'm not. But I'm conscious a conversation needs to be had and I'm considering the outcomes. When that conversation does happen I'd like to be prepared to make an offer that limits any consequences.
Ultimately I don't want DCs to suffer, they are my priority. I'm so scared they will though.
Psychadelic - Thanks for your experience, you sound very positive about it all and I'd like to aim for that too.
Start by discussing your feelings with your wife, OP. She may have ideas of her own about what is going to happen!
It's something you have to work at and there are times it is extremely tough.
Background: my ex & I split when our dd was only 20 months old. She's now 5 & with hindsight I think the emotional impact on her has been less than if she was older when we split. I don't think she can remember her parents living together. I am the NRP & my dd is with me one night during the week and every other weekend from Friday after school until Sunday night. We alternate Christmas, Easter etc. Sometimes my ex and I get on, sometimes we don't.
It's hard at times. Very hard. However I am convinced (with hindsight) that it was better for dd that we split than if we had stayed together. (My ex divorced me).
It has taken me two years of pushing my ex to consider my views on decisions that will impact dd's development (which school she goes to, what activities we will encourage her to take up). I have done this as I feel two people jointly making a considered decision is better for dd than if just one of us was.
I have missed out on certain things and I know I will in future no matter how much I want to be involved in everything. That hurts and it is hard not to feel a level of resentment towards my ex at times so I try and work hard at being the best parent I can be, as when the time comes when my dd is an adult and asks about her parents being divorced I want to be able to look her in the eye in all honesty and say I am sorry I wasn't there everyday and I didn't get to do everything with her, but that I have tried to do the best that I can.
BTW - I think it's important that you have a proper home of your own. You will unfortunately miserable at times, particularly at first and living in significantly worse home than the one you left will only make those feelings worse.
* Keepithidden *
Just one bit of advice in terms of dividing the children's time with you... If 50/50 is not possible, I would definitely make sure that they are with you on a week day/night as well as any weekends. I know you mentioned being worried about turning into a weekend Disney dad. By having them maybe a couple of days/evenings during the week as well as every other weekend will help you stay grounded with home-work, school stuff, appointments etc and then still have fun on a weekend.
Have you discussed this with her?
No I haven't, she's happy I believe. I'm not.
OP, you are putting the cart before the horse. As someone who was "happy" it was the worst minute of my life when my exH told me he wasn't happy and he was leaving. Yes, it was that quick - it only takes a few seconds to destroy someone's belief in their happiness.
If your wife is happy, and has no idea what you are thinking, or that you are even unhappy, then you are being incredibly unfair to her. What opportunity are you giving for anything in the relationship to be discussed, worked on, put right? None. You need to start with this.
Unless of course, you have some one else. In which case, you are being even more unfair.
Be careful OP. there is no dead certs when it comes to divorce. If this is going to come as a shock to your DW then you have no way of predicting what will or won't happen with regards to your split and access agreements.
When my dh left his exw she did not see it coming, was desperately hurt and angry and bitter. It blew the bottom out of her world. He did the right thing as he didn't love her and knew he had made a mistake by marrying her, but 4 years on the hurt that he caused her has not healed. He has spent 4k trying to get access to his dc. Its safe to say his dc are well and truly messed up. His exw was not able to see past her own grief and shock to put the dc first.
He also tried to make it easy for her, didn't take a penny, left the family home to her, over paid maintenance so her and the dc's standard of living did not suffer. He too wanted to be a good, involved dad, but when people are hurt / cheated / let down it doesn't always go to plan.
It will also be very hard for you to have 'proper' contact with your dc (or fight for it, if it comes to it) if you are not living in suitable accomodation.
it is very hard for both the RP and NRP to have it equal if the standard of living with both parents isn't somewhat the same. Children need consistency for a start. And the deserve the opportunity to develop a normal relationship with both parents.
Ask yourself these questions...
- How will you be able to support yourself financially? will you have enough excess cash per month / savings to persue contact through the courts if your exw isn't amicable?
- How will you feel if your exw moves on and meets someone else and moves them in? How will you feel if another man gets to do all the things that you can't (like help with homework, bedtime stories, help your dw out with tantrums and teenage dramas etc.
- How will you move on with your life and any future relationships. I'll be honest with, a man living in a bedsit who is lonely as he misses his kids and pays all his spare cash to his (possibly bitter, angry demanding exw) is not an attractive possibility to many single women out there....
- how will this affect your wider family? If you do not have a lot of access to your dc then neither will any of your extended family.
- Are you young enough that there may be a possibility that you re-marry and or start a new family? It's unlikely that you could support two households. Could you see yourself being in the position of having to choose?
Thanks again everyone.
I have had conversations with DW before, may be without the final decisions being discussed, but not far away from them.
There is no one else, there never has been from my perspective. She could have, I don't know.
Mrssapphire - Thanks for the warning I'm under no illusions that it may turn nasty. Sometimes/often life doesn't work the way we'd like it too. I have asked myself most of those questions already, several of them are non-starters, others more complex and potentially heart-wrenching. Though I think most could be worked out if I knew if it was for the good of DCs: I'm not looking for anyone else, I can't start another family, my own extended family have little contact with me, DCs and DW anyway, if OM came on to the scene I'm sure I can maintain civility. Cash to pursue court contact? Not so sure, which brings me back to the problems/difficulties of maintaining a relationship with DC.
Still, lots to think about.
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