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ExH wants more access than I want to give

(179 Posts)
SuiteHarmony Sat 10-Dec-16 02:08:46

I name-changed a few weeks back ....

I am having a 'family conference' with exH soon to discuss the children, and I am anxious and concerned about how it will go.

I was a SAHM since my eldest was born in 2006. Four kids. I asked H to leave when I found out about his affair in 2014.

At that time, we arranged access 3/14 days, being every second Fri-Mon.

Since early this year, I got a job, and an au pair.

Access is now 4/14, every second Fri-Tues. As H has long holidays (think university terms) he also has approx 5x7 days additional exclusive access.

He wants more. As my children are all 10 and under (youngest is 3), I don't feel that increased overnights are appropriate. I admit that this is tied up with the fact that I feel I have relinquished a huge amount of time with my children due to his selfishness and stupidity.

The job I have enables me to do school drop-offs every morning, and be home by 3.30/4 most days. His doesn't (self-employed).

By choice, I spend my kid nights with the kids. By choice, he would still go out 2/4 of his contact nights.

I have no idea how to communicate in a reasonable way that I have lost enough, and don't want to give more. And that I genuinely feel the kids would have a better outcome from the stability and time I provide. Plus I reared them pretty much single-handedly in the early, demanding years and feel I know them better and they need me more.

I don't know what to do.

bloodyteenagers Sat 10-Dec-16 02:12:58

how much more is he asking for?

SuiteHarmony Sat 10-Dec-16 02:16:26

50/50.

Trifleorbust Sat 10-Dec-16 06:25:05

I can completely appreciate why you are upset but I think an ex asking for anything up to 50/50 (excluding situations involving inadequate parenting) is within the bounds of reasonable, even if you have decent reason to not want this to happen.

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Sat 10-Dec-16 06:28:21

I have no idea how to communicate in a reasonable way that I have lost enough.

I don't quite know how to say this without sounding critical of you, OP, but it's not about what you've lost. It's about what's right for your DC.

FWIW, I know I'd feel the same as you. But sometimes our feelings aren't the issue.

bloodyteenagers Sat 10-Dec-16 06:31:22

I am sorry that he cheated on you, however, you cannot use this as a reason to keep contact at the current arrangement.
I can see no valid reason at all for the contact to stay as it currently is simply because he had an affair.
You say he won't be able to do the drop off and collections. Because he is self employed, he might be able to juggle his work to allow for this. And even if he cannot, this shouldn't be used as an excuse. Many parents are unable to do drop off and picks up from schools and rely on external arrangements.
You cannot use him having a social life against him. You said it yourself, you choose to stay in every night. Not everyone else does and they shouldn't be penalised. If the children are not happy with this, then eventually they will be clear with their feelings.
you simply cannot use the children as a tool because you feel hurt. It isn't fair for them, and tbph, that is what contact should be about. Them. What's best for them. Not what's best for the adults in their lives. It doesn't matter how much you have lost. The children have also lost as well. Yes I understand he had an affair. However, the relationship could have also come to a natural end, so you would have still lost him.
Children need both parents (of course excluding abuse) and both parents can provide stability and time. The time they spend with parents will differ in quality because both can offer different things. You are assuming that they need you more because you were more hands on during their early life, but as part of their growing up they will rely on you less, which is a normal developmental stage. So to deny extra access for this isn't a good excuse

You need to start thinking rationally and about what is best for them. You have to be prepared that the current arrangement will not last forever. You have to come to terms with that fact that the children themselves can also request additional time with him. You can tell yourself that they won't do this, but you can never be certain of this as they grow older and their needs change.

He obviously has somewhere for them to sleep, so extending the contact should be an easy transition.

throwingpebbles Sat 10-Dec-16 06:36:35

Huge sympathies; it's so hard to not have you children all the time

However, in terms of approaching this, you always need to focus on what you think is right for the children. On their needs, not yours

Fwiw though I think 50/50 is totally irrational and unsettling for the children, and makes it hard for either parent to have a good sense of how the children are. 50/50 to me seems quintessentially selfish, literally seeking "my share" rather than putting children's needs first.

Lweji Sat 10-Dec-16 06:37:53

I agree with others that you should most and foremost consider what's best for the children.
What does the 10 year old think? Not that he should decide, but can you tell if they'd like to spend more time with dad?

Lweji Sat 10-Dec-16 06:38:40

Also, take it as an opportunity to find more time for yourself.

throwingpebbles Sat 10-Dec-16 06:47:48

Another point- there might be compromises that done mean the children get more time away, but that it is more balanced, eg. One night in the other week. Otherwise it's nearly two weeks between seeing their dad, and my step kids struggled with that. Now they have one week night with their dad each week, plus their weekend, and it makes for shorter gaps.

Is your work the kind you could alter your hours? I do one really long day on the night my kids are with their dad.

Ohitdo Sat 10-Dec-16 06:49:58

Does he want 50:50 so he doesn't have to pay maintenance by any chance?

MagicSocks Sat 10-Dec-16 06:51:20

I agree with throwingpebbles actually that 50/50 is not really in the best interests of children, what they need is a home where they spend the majority of their time, not a peripatetic existence. Very confusing and unsettling imo. I also think as you've been a SAHM and the primary carer and have a job which allows you to be there more, you have a pretty strong case for continuing as you are in the best interests of your children.

If your ex has 4/14 as well as four lots of 7 days it does sound like he has a pretty decent level of contact but maybe an extra overnight could be added so that he doesn't go as long without seeing them, or you could arrange one evening where you go out and do something and he comes to do the children's bedtimes?

PoldarksBreeches Sat 10-Dec-16 06:51:40

What about offering 1-2 after school days in the week he doesn't have overnights? He picks up and gives them dinner dropping back to you by 6.30 or something.

BubsAndMoo Sat 10-Dec-16 06:54:54

50/50, taking into account the 5 whole weeks a year they spend with him, would work out to 6/14 days - 1 extra day a week. At the moment the children don't see their father for stretches of 10 days at a time, whereas it's only 5 days away from you. If you add in alternate mon/tues nights or every weds night for example, you still both have a weekend each with them but they get to spend a more even amount of normal time at their other home and there's shorter time away from each parent. 50/50 should be the aim - obviously when your youngest was 1 that wasn't going to be practical but now they are 3 and they are used to spending time at their other home, the transition will be much easier.

It's completely understandable that you feel the way you do, but what your ex-husband did to your marriage isn't the children's fault, you can't use them to punish him.

Try and find a positive side - for example if they end up spending the same weeknight every week at his, you'll have a regular weeknight child-free to pursue your own interest, go to an evening class, join a book club, exercise group, volunteer or whatever floats your boat smile

PigletWasPoohsFriend Sat 10-Dec-16 06:56:32

Sorry but children aren't to be used for point scoring.

Saying no because you have 'lost enough' is not a good enough reason and if it went to court, would not be looked kindly upon by a a judge.

It is hard, but it is about the DC not you.

magicsocks I know of quite a few 50/50 care situations and they work very well.

MagicSocks Sat 10-Dec-16 07:05:20

Piglet how do they work? I'm genuinely asking. Spending for example one week with one parent and the next with the other, how does that not leave children feeling confused? I'd struggle with that now let alone as a child growing up.

Headofthehive55 Sat 10-Dec-16 07:07:21

What do the children want? Do they know of his affair? I would explain your feelings to your oldest child and allow them a say. Just as you've told us.

Clandestino Sat 10-Dec-16 07:10:23

The post is all about you and getting your vengeance on your ex, in little things. Your higher moral ground means diddly squat when it comes to the relationship between your DCs and their father.
Many other children have parents employing childminders to pick them from school. Does this give them less right to have the children? Or that they have nights out?
As long as they are happy, content and taken good care of by their father, 50/50 should be no problem.
This post screams ME ME ME but you don't mention how your children feel about their father.

NapQueen Sat 10-Dec-16 07:10:27

He only sees his kids every other weekend? Gosh that's awful no wonder he wants more!

And the kids having to wait 9 days between visits is a long long time.

PigletWasPoohsFriend Sat 10-Dec-16 07:12:56

Magic the ones that I know of split the week first half with mum, second half with dad and then reverse, so every other weekend with each parent.

Children are fine with it and they get to see each parent equally.

You get into a routine I guess.

headifhives I don't think it's fair personally to start talking to 10 year olds about affairs and then saying 'so do you want extra time with your dad'

Anniegetyourgun Sat 10-Dec-16 07:14:39

50-50 is quite a jump from 4/14, though. Even if it's agreed it should surely be phased in gradually?

(I admit I wondered about the maintenance angle too.)

AliceInUnderpants Sat 10-Dec-16 07:24:08

So he is giving you 10/14 days at the moment, and that's more than he wants to give.
Who wins? Is it a game?

Headofthehive55 Sat 10-Dec-16 07:24:30

I think it's right that the children should have a say. The 50/50 splits I've known have not been good for the children. To have a base is important I think for lots of people. Think moving desks at work. The children I've known do it have expressed that they don't know where things are. A bike kept at one house, a homework book lost at another. It was upsetting to see.
I don't think ten is too young to discuss this with.

Wallywobbles Sat 10-Dec-16 07:25:56

Mine DSC are 50:50. Sport is on Wednesday which means they only do it when with us which isn't ideal. I think things that are important to take into account are after school activities. That he has all of them each time. As long as the kids get to do their stuff 50/50 can work.

In France he would get every other weekend and half the holidays. This amounts to 8 weeks of holidays. Would you be prepared to do that? And one week night every week.

Think about what you could cede.

Also a time will probably come when you are looking to have a relationship. And some kid free time is welcome.

sofato5miles Sat 10-Dec-16 07:31:04

I know one 50-50 and it works well. Half week with one. Half with the other. Sunday-weds drop off, weds pick up to sun morning. The ex agreed as then he still has his weekend nights to himself and chase more poor women.

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