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Needy STBXH

(27 Posts)
RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 09:44:04

This is the situation that happens on a regular basis. I need to know if it's normal or perhaps I'm just too emotionally stunted as he likes to put it.

For background we're divorcing, still living together whilst completing on the sale of the house, 5 weeks to go, thank fuck!

Stbxh is due to leave, 35-45 minutes before he leaves he starts with "now daddy's gotta go" "daddys going to work" "I'm going to miss you" "wish I could stay" lots of kisses and cuddles etc. And this gradually builds up until he leaves, by which time the dc are either hysterical or close to it. He then leaves me to console them. Had he just been relaxed about it, said goodbye and left dc wouldn't get so upset.

Other times dc are busy doing craft, watching a movie or whatever. He sits there pawing at them like above until they get upset. Wtf is wrong with him? Or I'm I being unfair?

hellsbellsmelons Fri 19-May-17 09:48:26

What does he say when you tell him to 'fucking stop it'???
I'm assuming you do this?
What does he say when you sit him down and tell him he's upsetting the kids and leaving you with the fallout and he can't do that anymore?
Can you take the kids out when he starts with this shite?
To the park or for ride in the car in bad weather?

mrssapphirebright Fri 19-May-17 09:50:51

Divorce is hard and painful for everyone. Sounds like your ex is struggling with the imminent change. I guess he knows he won't see the dc as much after the divorce is final and you both live apart. He will no doubt be feeling insecure and worried for the future.

whats happening when you split? who's moving out, whats the living arrangements and contact with dc going to be?

Ellisandra Fri 19-May-17 09:51:43

Well, it's not fair on the children, that's a given. And not fair on you to sort it out.

There's no background here - is he an arse?

Because I'm also seeing it as a man who is really overly emotional about time with his children right now, because he's about to not live with them full time.

I've been divorced 4 years. When my girl comes back after ONE night, I have it on the tip of my tongue to say "I missed you!". I don't. But it's there and I have to control it. It is a massive deal to be on the verge of losing your children full time.

So - he shouldn't upset them, but I'm slow to conclude that he's simply being an arse.

RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 09:56:08

This has been happening long before the divorce. And of course I try and stop it, short of asking him to just leave when he starts it, not sure what else I can do.

This morning he was going to a dental appointment so didn't have to at work as early meaning he was here whilst we were getting ready for school. I can't just leave for a drive at 7.30, when we need to have breakfast and get dressed.

pudding21 Fri 19-May-17 09:59:29

No advice as I have a needy EX, but we live apart.

Elissandra: out of interest why don't you say to your DC you miss her? I tell my kids I miss them when they are not here, should I not?

Foxysoxy01 Fri 19-May-17 10:05:35

As he he was doing this before talk of a divorce I imagine it's A want to be needed and validation, also some control issues?

That's my best guess as to why.

How to stop him doing it, I can't imagine you can unless he becomes more self aware and starts some form of counselling for his self esteem and control issues.

Or LTB which seems to be what you are doing anyway.

Ellisandra Fri 19-May-17 10:16:08

Pudding21 I am not suggesting what you should do - you know your child, their personality and any short term emotional state that they're going through.

Why I don't say "I missed you!" is three fold currently:

- I don't want to make a big deal of us being apart in case that prompts her to think it's a big deal and upsets her. Usually, she doesn't think about missing either parent so I don't want to put it in her head that perhaps she should

- I don't think children should be made responsible for their parents emotions - to provide comfort or look for solutions. I think there is a possibility that if I told her I missed her, she would feel bad for me being on my own, worry about me, try to make it better for me... I don't want that - I want her blithely skipping between homes without a care!

- finally a temporary reason: she has had a little phase of calling me at night in near tears to say "I miss you mummy" - so it's a particular trigger phrase for us right now.

If she skips in and says "I missed you!" happily, I say "I missed you too baby girl!". If she says it sadly, I say "I know darling, shall we have a cuddle?" because at that moment it's about acknowledging her feelings not throwing mine in.

Works for us.

Ellisandra Fri 19-May-17 10:17:48

Oh and if we've been on holiday without each other - sure I'll exclaim I missed her as we have a big hug! Because I know she's had too much fun to care about me grin

It's just the day to day separate homes where I avoid giving too much focus on the idea of it.

RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 10:20:13

Definitely major control issues, hence the divorce. In fact he used to do the same to me, I didn't get hysterical but never understood boundaries or that a person had a right to bodily autonomy.

I just want to make it easier on the dc and I anticipate after the physical split it will be worse. At 5 and 3 they absolutely adore him but are not aware of his messed up behaviour.

RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 10:22:06

I don't think children should be made responsible for their parents emotions.

Yes 100% to this!

MissHavishamsleftdaffodil Fri 19-May-17 10:31:44

When I was teaching I'd occasionally have a parent who needed to do this when they left their child at school, going on and on until the child was in floods of tears, and then they left satisfied. It was provoking validation for them that they were wanted and missed. One parent one day actually snapped at her happily playing four year old with 'settling problems' "Well I'll just go and leave you alone then since you don't care!". Child guiltily grabbed their cue and had hysterics. angry

He does not get to use the children to get his emotional needs met, they're not props and he clearly doesn't care about how this feels to them, it's all about the feelz for him. If he's going to start this crap 45 minutes before he leaves, I'd whisk the children out of the house 50-55 minutes before he needs to go, with a cheery "Bye daddy" and break the habit. Even if you whizz them over to a friends in their pjs and get dressed/do breakfast there. And explain to him, sentimental fussing isn't quality time, it's highly distressing for the children and parents put the needs of the children first. He pulls it together and stops this, or you will manage partings to protect the kids.

pudding21 Fri 19-May-17 10:36:04

Elissandra: makes sense, I hadn't thought pf it like that. I just like to hug them, sniff them and tell them I missed them. I want them to express their emotions. Thanks!

Ellisandra Fri 19-May-17 10:43:17

Oh yes to sniffing them!!!
We are just animals really, aren't we? grin

OnwardsNewLifeAhead Fri 19-May-17 10:50:17

God, this resonates with me.

Stbxh does it too. With the added bonus that my eldest had ASD and ,earning difficulties, and associated anxiety.

So stbxh ramps it all up nicely, on the pretext of 'just saying goodbye' (so bloody say it then, and go, don't make such a meal of it), and I'm left picking up the pieces. Similarly, he works late, often not getting home In time for the dc's bedtime, so will phone to say goodnight. It he gives a window, between 6 and 7pm when he will phone. Which just means that come 6pm, eldest is clock watching, fretting over when daddy will call, what time, he said he would, will he be late, what if he doesn't call, etc. Potentially for up to an hour, by which time she is an absolute basket case, no one can get a word in edgeways, people get hurt (can't handle her emotions, and eats frustrated/lashes out). All because he can't just behave like a reasonable adult.

Or he makes a big deal on the rare mornings he is here when they are getting ready for school - will come in as they are getting dressed, to say goodbye so he doesn't forget (he's not dressed, so clearly not leaving), then will say goodbye again 'in case you're dashing off to an early club' (he should know their timetable!), then again usually while e cleaning teeth. He did all this this morning, then by the time we were coming down to breakfast, he was still faffing around in the kitchen not having left yet, which made dd1 explode into a round d of 'why haven't you gone, you said you were going, are you late?' and so on.

I long for some peace and stability, because all this emotional upheaval over just leaving for work is ludicrous.

RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 11:00:17

onwards I really hope the end is in sight for you.

Dd1 is showing signs of anxiety and the current arrangements are just not helping. I cannot wait to be out, I really can't.

I totally lost my rag this morning, we were running late because he put dc to bed late last night. Which meant they were both still sleeping gone 7, when they're normally up at 6.30/45. Then of course he started with this shit, then sat in his car with windows down waving and blowing kisses. Instead he could have spent that time helping in getting ready for school, doing packed lunch for dd2, getting kit by the door etc. angry

BeepBeepMOVE Fri 19-May-17 11:06:38

Can you try and have a proper calm conversation with him about it rather than when you are angry and rushed in the mornings?

Actually ask him do you realise you are intentionally upsetting the children. Why are you doing this? Why do you need them to be upset before you leave?

People do this with dogs a lot and that can cause huge separation anxiety.

OnwardsNewLifeAhead Fri 19-May-17 11:13:07

Omg, we clearly have parallel lives. It's shit, isn't it?

Sadly, the beginning of the end isn't even in sight, let alone the actual end. Very long, boring story, but the end will come one day <deep breath>

He has told them he will be home to do bedtime tonight.

Which means he will get on a train which leaves at the approximate time he needs to be starting to do bedtime (so will be home 40-60 minutes later than he should be), meaning I have dd1 climbing the walls over the fact it's time to go to bed, but daddy is t here yet, and tomorrow will have an overtired ds (only 4) because he will get to bed late after a full on week at school. And dd1 will lose it at some point and hit me or dd2. Great start to the weekend grin

He makes this huge show of being all caring, but in reality he has no idea what is even going on in their lives. He asked dd2 if she had any exams today at school- ummm, no, because she finished them all on Wednesday! Which, if he actually paid attention to anything he would know, as dd2 was gleefully clearing out all her revision stuff from her room.

And yes, every time he's wast g time on all this shit, I just seethe and think 'you cou,d actually be helping'; there's lunches to make, bags to bag, kit to sort out (just putting it in the car would be a help!), but no, instead he wanders about getting in the way and insisting on lengthy hugs and tearful goodbyes.

RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 11:24:30

The thing is l, I've been having this particular conversation since my eldest was 3, she'll be 6 in September. How else can I say it for him to understand? He seemingly listens but sits there in silence saying nothing, then it happens again. Meanwhile he implies that I'm able to leave the children with a simple kiss and goodbye because somehow there's something wrong with me.

I am very matter of fact about leaving them. I'm currently having to peel my youngest from my legs each morning at pre-school. It's not nice and it upsets me, but I know she'll be fine 5 mins after I've gone. It's not about my feelings, it's always about the dc and ensuring that they know, sometimes we leave but we will always return. I go as far as telling dc that I won't do XYZ without them on his weekends because I don't want them to feel they're missing out on anything by spending time with him. But by creating this situation it's causing problems that needn't be there, puts me as bad cop because I loose my rag with him.

I just need figure out how to best handle it going forward. Dc will be living with me, he will have them EOW and for tea one night a week. But as he will be in living in London pick ups and drop offs will be at my house. As bad as it sounds, i think I won't allow him in the house, he can say his goodbyes at the door and then that's that.

Ellisandra Fri 19-May-17 11:45:42

You need to really plan for the future.

Take note of the poor PP flowers with the crap over waiting for phone calls... don't let him have phone calls or if you think for the kids he should, set the time and absolutely stick by it. 18:50-19:00. Earlier - don't answer. Practise the "19:00 - bedtime now kids" <red button> routine.

Is there any way round the pick up and drop off at yours? You are right - he can't come in because he'll do that shit in your house. If that's going to be hard to stick to - any scope to plan the times around other activities so that something else forces the timing?

RockPaperCut Fri 19-May-17 11:51:00

We're both moving out of the area, I'm moving closer to family for support and him back to his batchelor pad in London. With roughly 35 miles between us there is no way he will be able to do school pick ups or drop offs. Ideally I'd like him to pick up from school/ nursery on Friday and returning them on the Monday. I'd like to minimise contact with him for various reasons but I just can't see that working.

DistanceCall Fri 19-May-17 12:07:53

I don't think he's going to be reasonable if you ask him to cut the crap. So you could start poking fun at him, good-naturedly, and get the children to join in.

"Oooh, there's Daddy being silly again - come on, Daddy, you're not going to the war!! We'll see you later, don't be daft!"

Children will definitely prefer a good-natured "look how silly Daddy's being" to a Greek tragedy every morning.

MyOpe Fri 19-May-17 17:40:54

great you are moving 35 miles away, the further the better. try to minimise contact? I don't know what else to suggest, but good suggestions above. minimising it sounds good. soon they will be old enough for you to take the piss do this even more.

MyOpe Fri 19-May-17 17:42:37

by minimising i meant DistanceCall's suggestions of offering another interpretation e.g. a breezy Daddy's being silly again, for them to be able to diffuse your ex's emotional hysteria.

SweetLuck Fri 19-May-17 17:47:34

Oh god my ex did this after we split, making a big deal of saying goodbye when he brought DD back to mine. I think it's because...

-They feel reassured that the child does not want them to go, therefore the child loves them.

-They want to make a point to the child that they do not want to leave the child and it is not their fault that they have to (subtext: its nasty mummy's fault I have to go)

Either way, as you say, it is neediness and if you could cure that kind of shit then you wouldn't be getting a divorce.

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