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Inviting ex to DC birthday parties

(17 Posts)
jouu Wed 08-Feb-17 04:06:26

My ex and I are trying to agree to a parenting plan for the year. THis is our first time formalising things. Planning what to do on birthdays etc.

He is pretty manipulative and behaves in a way where he's very very entitled and unpleasant towards me. Sneery, tells me I'm untrustworthy and a "checked out" parent, tuts and rolls eyes at me, very suspicious of any injury the children might have (e.g. bruises on knees, blatantly from playing in garden!), insinuates I don't pay any attention to them, etc. etc. etc. I no longer speak to him verbally because of this. All via email or text.

The marriage was emotionally abusive and he was controlling and paranoid throughout the relationship. Nothing much has changed. Accuses me of ridiculous things, gaslights me whenever I make the mistake of not getting everything in writing, etc.

But when the children are around, he is very pleasant, and I know he loves them very much. I don't think he takes stellar care of them physically -- e.g. they rarely bathe at his home, often come back to mine wearing same socks I dropped them off in two days prior, etc -- but it's nothing a judge would call criminal neglect, just general sloppiness/slovenliness, same as when we were married and if i left them for the day it would be Cbeebies in pjs all day, etc. He definitely loves them. THe emotional care is there, for the most part.

THe bone of contention for the parenting plan is that he wants to be guaranteed invites to DC birthday parties on days that I have the DC for their birthdays (we alternate). I had asked that this not be a requirement in the plan because I wasn't comfortable being around him. And I'm not, I get anxiety symptoms and feel dreadful in his presence. Just thinking of having him at my precious DC party makes me feel sick. I might just forgo having a party altogether if I am forced to agree to this clause.

BUT perhaps I am being selfish? Should I just agree, grit my teeth, throw a party and invite him, and bear it for the DC sake? They do love him and he is good with them. He's just very nasty to me. I am seeing a counsellor trying to sort out how to cope better with him. Counsellor is encouraging me to have as little to do with him as possible, fwiw.

Anyone have advice or an opinion? Should I agree to invite? Stick to my guns? Or agree to invite and then just quietly not throw any parties, just take DC out for tea for birthdays instead... Or, other ideas?

choli Wed 08-Feb-17 04:15:06

How old are the kids, and do they want their father at their birthday parties?

jouu Wed 08-Feb-17 05:42:56

Kids are 2 and 4. Not bothered either way yet - the concept of a party being a special day for the whole family hasn't really dawned on them yet.

My ex was v curmudgeonly/ tight about parties when we were together (because he knew I liked them, and resented me ever socialising) so we have never had a proper party for either ofbthem. This summer would be the first party I've ever planned for them tbh.

So no precedent yet, iyswim.

jouu Wed 08-Feb-17 05:47:56

Sorry meant to mention, I haven't asked DC if they want their dad at their parties - I don't want to make a thing of it before it needs to be - and in any case they wouldn't really be able to answer sensibly, 4yo is a young 4 iyswim.

HeddaGarbled Wed 08-Feb-17 06:19:54

I think stick to your guns. It's a nice thing to do if you can be amicable but in view of his behaviour towards you and how it makes you feel,I think you are wise to keep him at arm's length.

creativevoid Wed 08-Feb-17 06:28:31

I was in a very similar situation. My solution was to have the parties outside the home, invite him, but keep my distance (we don't speak). It was hard but the kids were really happy. Last year, three years in, my elder son wanted to have his party in the house. I had a legal agreement preventing him from entering the house and was extremely reluctant to invite him in (for a variety of reasons, including my worry that he would use it to argue that I wasn't afraid of him and he wasn't abusive (he is very manipulative)). Ultimately I let him come for the last 15-30 minutes to see the cake cutting and kept my distance. It took three years to get to that point though. My counsellor still has to support me to set firm boundaries with him but I am much better. So, I wouldn't agree to anything in writing, but if you know he puts on a good show in public and the children would like it (like mine) there might be a solution that works out there. But don't do it if you really can't cope. It will get better over time, even if it is never good.

Frazzeledandfuckedoff Wed 08-Feb-17 06:39:35

Absolutely do not sign the clause.
You've never had a party because your ex doesn't like them but knows you do???😮
He's never been arsed about the dc having one before he obviously doesn't think it's that important.
The only reason he wants to come is to ruin it for you.
Don't doubt op - you do not have to agree to never having a happy party with your dc.
Just say no.

Notnownornever Wed 08-Feb-17 06:45:19


Do not feel obliged to do this.
You should be able to relax and enjoy your children's parties and this is hugely controlling of him.
He can organise an extra party if he wants one.
The children will pick up on your discomfort and you all deserve to feel safe and happy at a party that you are organising and paying for.

I'm sorry he has behaved like this towards you. Well done for splitting with him. Don't let the abuse continue as you are not obliged to sacrifice your own mental health for the something that HE decided he wants.

Please just say no and refuse to discuss it further.
Do you have a court order? If hebis trying to control arrangements then consider getting one.

Berthatydfil Wed 08-Feb-17 06:52:20

What's the definition of "party"
If it's a formal event 30 kids running screaming round a soft play/ church hall not in your home and with plenty of other adults around then I wouldn't have a problem.
If it was more informal in my home i.e. me and dc plus say my parents singing happy birthday round a cake and candles in my home then no.
With your 4yo you're probably entering the hell of school parties so get him to come he can herd kids run pass the parcel/musical statues/hand out party bags help. I'm sure his insistence will fade away after he's done that once or twice.
I'd be more low key with your 2 year old ie we aren't having a party we are just having cake and candles at home/going on a day out / trip to the zoo/ etc just me my parents and dc, he can have the same with in laws until you get to school age and you repeat what you did for the 4 year old.
And then in a few years he can host the sleepovers 😂

Creampastry Wed 08-Feb-17 07:07:38

No.... he can have his own party with the kids.

IneedmoreLemonPledge Wed 08-Feb-17 07:10:23

I wouldn't engage on this, as you don't know what further control he will use in the organisation of the parties. I think it will bring more stress.

I would just tell him that if their birthdays fall on his visitation times he is welcome to organise a party with his children. Then play it by ear as the kids get older.

Putting things like this in writing with my manipulative ex would just bring further hassle. He would use a list against me and refuse any flexibility on my side, just throwing the agreed rules in my face.

IneedmoreLemonPledge Wed 08-Feb-17 07:11:40

Oh and I'd start making a note of the condition the kids come back. Including dirty socks and bathing. There's more to parenting than just fun time and he's quite happy to use that against you.

Hissy Wed 08-Feb-17 07:15:38

He doesn't like people having fun parties, so don't invite him, he will ruin every single one.

My ex ruined every one of my birthdays, and our ds birthdays too. Or tried to. I just ignored him.

Let him do his thing and you do yours.

If he has them on their birthday, you pick th weekend before or after and hold your party then. No invite for him.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 08-Feb-17 07:21:30

I would only agree to this for parties outside of your house for which costs should be split 50:50 and always have little parties . It should also be reciprocal so if he organises something then you are invited. If you do a class party at a soft play area then fair enough he can sulk in the background. At home after school for a few friends when you've done all the work no way. He can make his own cake and pop some candles on. Nowt wrong with two celebrations.

EmilyRosanne Wed 08-Feb-17 07:24:03

Me and my ex were very on/off for the first few years when DC1 was little and we always shared his birthdays, he was a rubbish partner to me but a really good dad to DS and I knew DS would prefer one big party with us both, both grandparents etc. and I always found them less stressful when he was there because it's an extra person to sort food/cake and we would also split the costs. We never had any time to argue/bicker through the day and it's nice to share the DC special day.

BoringUsername17 Wed 08-Feb-17 08:32:56

Just about to go through this, it's DD birthday on Sunday and narc ex has invited himself for present-opening in the morning and her party in the afternoon. I've said ok for her sake but very much against my own wishes. As I will be doing everything as usual and Disney dad just has to turn up. He is a miserable sod through so will probably just stand around taking photos and not talking to anyone.

PaterPower Fri 10-Feb-17 22:39:47

I think we did the first one or two birthdays after the split as joint things but we then just started doing our own when we had them. I don't think my dc were bothered about two parties - quite the opposite when it involved two cakes, two lots of pressies to open etc.

Kids will adapt to the norm that you set. So if you're not comfortable with him at yours (and don't mind missing the party in the years when he has them on that day) then by all means turn him down.

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