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Coparenting with ex - how do you manage it?(2 Posts)
Hi all, I'll try to give as much of a backstory as possible without outing myself too much, so it might be a long one.
I separated from my ex when my children were very young, 14m and 7w. He was abusive verbally and physically over six years and it was the an incident in front of his family and our eldest daughter that finally prompted me to leave. I never pressed charges because I didn't want to impact the time he spent with the children because I thought he could still be a good dad. In fact I somewhat naively thought that even though he was dreadful when we were together that we could somehow coparent well enough to give the girls the best of everything.
I have been really struggling to coparent with him, especially recently, because he has no interest in communicating with me, and when he does it's only to insult me or start a fight with me. We have been separated for just under two years, and it was initially easier to communicate in the beginning but became very strained when I started seeing someone else, despite him having moved on weeks after our split.
We had to attend court in January because on the advice of a health visitor, a mediator and a solicitor I stopped unsupervised overnight access because he had been telling the children that they would live with him, that they were not coming home, that I didn't love them and telling them various insults to repeat back to me, all whilst refusing to give me the address of where he was taking the children (which was not local). As the girls are still so young, he had an abuse history towards me and he had made threats to kidnap them before, the judge agreed with me that he should provide the address where he takes the children overnight and that his previous contact could only be restored on the basis he complied with that condition (contact was slightly amended but the length of time remained the same). He made various false accusations to the court and cafcass which were dismissed, that I refused to coparent with him, that he was kept out of the loop on the girls welfare, all of which were proved incorrect ( thankfully I try to comm mostly via text and email so I had proof).
It took a lot for me to take him to court, as I really didn't want to initiate action that could make coparenting harder but felt it was necessary for the girls welfare. This seems to have been the final nail in terms of him attempting to coparent. Despite his claims he wants to be more involved in the children's life, he refused to attend the nursery parents evening, despite me asking the nursery to call him personally and try to arrange a separate session with him (he did not respond to their face to face or voicemail attempts to book an appointment - I asked that they send him a summary report anyway).
There's been a quite few times where he has just refused to work with me but it's come to a head for me now. I've been toilet training my eldest and I repeatedly tried to engage him on whether he had some thoughts about how we could do his, did he think she was ready etc. He ignores me, both text and at the door during pick ups. The nursery and I came up with a plan and have been working with it, and so far she has done amazingly. However he refuses to follow the plan, refuses to tell us what's wrong with it if he disagrees, and puts nappies on her regardless of the fact that she is fully capable of being nappy free (overnight and all). The nursery have commented that after visitation with him, she regresses back and has come out with worrying comments such as Daddy says I'm not allowed, daddy says I have to wear nappies, daddy doesn't listen to me, I told him I don't want to wear nappies etc. I've asked him personally and by text to either comply with the no nappy plan or let me know if there's a problem that we can resolve but he won't even acknowledge me and it's holding my daughter back.
I don't tell him how to parent when he has them, as long as they are safe and happy I know that it is his time with them and he can do as he likes (and there are plenty of minor things I don't like but heyho). In fact if I had an ideal I'd never have to see, speak to or feel the presence of him, but I've been trying to do what's best for the children. The problem is that the girls are still young enough to find our differing approaches confusing to them, and it does affect them, if it didn't it wouldn't bother me that all he responds with, if at all, is insults towards me. I'd just not bother communicating with him.
So I guess question is how do you coparent with an ex who doesn't want to work with you? Do I give up? How do I minimise the effects on the children? Will this get easier as they get older? I worry that there's just going to be more and more things we would ideally have to work together on...
Sorry, longer and more rambling than I thought!
why do you think that contact with this cretin is beneficial for the children?
I also feel under pressure to do the right thing etc but at the end of the day what positive things is he ever going to bring into their life?
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