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Dealing with ex-partner at handover(42 Posts)
This is my first ever post so bear with me. I split up with my former partner a few years ago due to his affair and emotional abuse (he had sex with OW in our home a few times a week for a year while I was at work, told insane lies about me, made me feel I was going mad etc etc.) We have a DS (4) and weekend handovers at this time aren't ideal but I'm making the best of it. It might seem trivial but when he comes round to drop off DS he always asks if my family are doing okay, asks about my mum and sisters (I live with DS on my own and obviously can't see them for a while). I hate that he does this. Ideally I'd do grey rock and just ignore him but I can't seem to do that and end up answering. Does anyone have any tips on how to blank him/change the subject? It's really starting to annoy me and I find myself brooding on why I answered, especially when it's him coming round to pick up DS and I'm on my own. Grateful for any advice.
Practice grey rock. When he asks you questions, like "how is your family" you can answer like a politician. In other words: don't answer his questions.
Him: "How is your family?"
You: "Thanks for bringing DS back. See you next time."
Him: "How's your mum doing?"
You address your ds: "Hello [son]. Did you have a nice time?" Then to him, "See you next time."
Practice it in the mirror or something. He can ask anything he wants. You answer with, "thanks, bye."
You do not have to answer his questions or engage in conversation with him.
As DD will be present I’d try and exchange pleasantries as hard as it is, but keep it to 30 seconds or so.
You have DS has ready as possible.
He knocks on door, you gather up DS, open door "here you go, bye DS" shut door.
Ignore his waffle and just deal with talking to DS only.
You know you don't have to answer truthfully or in detail? Grey rock = "fine" to every question.
Or mess with his head = "amazing, mum's just run off with stuntman. Sex is unbelievable seemingly".
What PPs say.
Or just smile and say "I don't want to discuss that. Bye"
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Your child is listening. You need to think about what he'll learn from you in the exchange. Don't get me wrong - under normal circumstances you'd be absolutely entitled not to be drawn in. But I think you'd be wise to exchange very brief pleasantries however much you'd rather not.
Another vote for 'fine'. I would immediately follow up with "well, must get on," a cheery wave to DS and a door close.
It's not rude, it's treating him, perfectly acceptably, like any indifferent acquaintance.
If he sends any flying monkeys your way with a grievance about it, I'd recommend the same approach of cheery dismissal in the vein of, "well, I'm sorry he feels that way. Anyway, must get on..."
("Must get on" is one of my favourite dismissals in case that's not obvious...)
Ha! That made me laugh @Thingsdogetbetter
Thanks so much for replying everyone. That relationship really effed me up and it's taken the last two and a bit years to get back to myself again. Have always struggled with being a pushover/trying to be nice/saying yes to things I don't want to do, so this is part of that I suppose. I feel like a bit of a nodding dog at times.
Going to practice grey rock @Sicario. Might feel like a bit of a prat doing it into a mirror but it's worth a try!
Any requests made etc "I'll think about it and let you know"
Any grey rock answer that means you don't give an answer straight away...
Refusing to answer is more of an issue than just saying “fine” and changing the subject tbh.
I just answered "fine" to everything
It really really annoyed him
Him "how is X, and don't say fine"
Me "X is fine"
Fine seems like the best answer @MotherofTerriers. Going to start using 'must get on' too @BlueMorning !
I've a small gate ex-partner always fiddles with so he tends to linger a bit when he's taking DS to the car... Will practice shutting the door as quickly as I can without DS thinking I'm glad to see the back of him. Just trying to balance being pleasant enough for DS and not getting sucked in by any of ex-P's bullsh*t. He's usually only pleasant to me when he feels guilty about something...
Can you shut the door and wave out the window instead?
Thanks @RandomMess. I've a pretty high hedge and can only see part of the street from the front door. Will keep trying a few things. People are going through a lot worse and I'm glad I got out of that relationship relatively intact. This was just something that kept annoying me. He massively messed with my head and would keep doing it if I let him
Wave from an upstairs window?
Tell DS beforehand that you'll be racing upstairs to wave him off!
Basically op you need to give yourself permission to be rude to him!!
Ignore the questions - remember you owe him zero courtesy.
How rude was he to you with all the cheating sex in your own home? How fucking rude was that?
You can be really curt towards him and in contrast are still lovely. Blank the fucker.
"We're all fine, byeeeeeeee!" DOORSLAM
A set of breezy answers to use on rotation.
How's your mum?
Your next door neighbour's cat
It's the same as blanking him really as you give nothing away and don't engage or invite further questions but your DS will hear polite small talk rather than awkward silence.
@saraclara I've heard elsewhere it can be confusing to kids to see parents swapping pleasantries at handover one minute but knowing they avoid each other at other times. Not saying you should be rude to each other, however the ideal would be to avoid any interaction at all. That way the kids don't feel they have to choose between one parent or the other when they're together, however briefly.
OP: I used to be in the same situation - I think my ex thought if she could just be pleasant and nice somehow I'd just forget her lies and gaslighting and "get over it". In truth, some actual contrition on her part might actually lead me in that direction. But, as is, the best she can offer is "I'm sorry you feel hurt by what I did".
It might get easier as your DS gets older: my DSes are now 5 and 8 and tend to run ahead, so I took to parking a distance along the pavement and letting them run to the front door themselves. Got in the car, made sure the door opened when they rang the bell and then left. When my ex does her drop off, I leave the front door ajar five minutes before hand. That means DSes run straight in the house. To be fair my ex at least has the sense to a) pick up on my behaviour when I drop off, to know I might not appreciate her saying "Hi" and b) if not, since the boys are greeted by my in the hall before my ex can make it to the front door herself, I can get away with vague nod and wave before shutting it.
I guess some might thing that sounds cold but a) it isn't half as chilly of what she did to me and b) it, quite frankly, simplifies things greatly. Everybody knows where they stand. The boys know Mum has her life and Dad has his. There's no pretence we're still a "family". And, curiously enough, its made me feel more accepting about our lot now. I finally feel free of the deceit - because in some ways, all that "hey, despite throwing you under a bus, we're still a family, right?" behaviour is still a lie.
It's hard to just shut off "normal pleasantries", I sound just like you character wise and situation wise OP!
You owe him nothing, he is just a co parent to you now, he doesn't need to know anything that is not to do with your children. It's not easy and will take some practice to get it right but you'll not feel annoyed with yourself after having to see him if you learn!
My kids are 6 and 8, they'll run up to the door, I wait for him to open it and drive off.. or if not in the car, focus on the kids when he opens the door, give them kisses, say "goodbye, be good, see you on...." and walk off, no need to even acknowledge him!
When he drops off at your home, leave front door open a bit for kids to run in, focus again on them kisses, hugs.. then tell them "say bye to your dad" and shut the door.
For me, it's very out of character to behave this way towards anyone and I felt quite rude and guilty the 1st few times I did it but now the least amount of time I have to see or speak to him is so better for my mental health...before I did this I noticed my mood would sink for hours afterwards as I'd sit remembering how our relationship used to be and how well we got on as a couple.
The Gray Rock method isn't designed for someone trying to be civil with you. It is a destructive technique. A better solution is to just have boundaries. Have you set any boundaries with him?
E.g. I find it uncomfortable when you ask about my business, can we just keep our handover short and focused on the children please?
Why tell him that anything he does affects her? If he's a grade a shit he'll only be happy he can still get under her skin.
Or any number of totally non committal, short, repetitive sentences is, well, fine!
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