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Split up but still wants to do things as a 'family'

(92 Posts)
AtFirstIWasAfraid Mon 08-Jun-20 10:17:57

I have a question, because I feel my head is playing games with me at the moment.

I recently split with my ex, who was in a new relationship after 2 weeks (he cheated with this woman). Anyway, he recently told me he still wants to be friends and do things together as a family with our DC. He also said his new partner is happy with this arrangement.

Before he said all this I was in a good headspace and thought I was moving on. Now I feel like he just wants his cake and to eat it, knowing I'm always there if things don't work out with this new woman.

I'm just wondering if doing things together will be good for the children or if it will confuse them more? Their behaviour has changed dramatically since the break up and I'm not sure what to do for the best. I've since gone pretty much no contact with ex as my head is all over and speaking to him fills me with hope.

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 08-Jun-20 10:21:38

How has their behaviour changed since the breakup; for better or worse?.

Sounds like he wants his cake and eat it too, he is truly selfish. It will confuse the children as well if he is allowed to do this, not that he cares much about anyone anyway but his own self here.

NoMoreDickheads Mon 08-Jun-20 10:21:47

I think seeing him like this would be very bad for your mental health.

You are right to have as little contact with him as possible so you can heal.

He's not your friend- he cheated on you. He could hurt you again.

The kids will be ok. xxx

tobedtoMNandfart Mon 08-Jun-20 10:21:48

It might be what he wants but why should you agree?

Isleepinahedgefund Mon 08-Jun-20 10:22:05

My ex was like this, both with me and the woman before me. It's a control thing - he can supervise what you're up to all the time.

Tell him no, don't let him past your front door either.

The children will fare best if you draw boundaries from the off and don't be confusing.

Itsallgonewoowoo Mon 08-Jun-20 10:24:59

Clear, good boundaries will help the kids adapt quickly. Mixed messages will make it harder for them so don't let him in.

Delbelleber Mon 08-Jun-20 10:25:49

I broke up with my children's dad about 3 years ago. We have taken the kids out for tea together a couple of times and spent time with them together on special occasions. Although we get along fine I wouldn't want to spend more time with him than that.
Sounds like your ex does want to keep you on the back burner to make himself feel good.

Skelebat Mon 08-Jun-20 10:27:22

'We are not a family, your cheating brought an end to that. I will of course be civil around the kids but we will not be participating in any family activities together.'

JustC Mon 08-Jun-20 10:27:52

Yeah he cheated and broke the family, now sees children are affected and wants to play family. Him having access to the kids, fair enough. Him asking to play family, absolutely not. He shoud deal with their sadness and their question by himself, as I am guessin you having to do as well.

CtrlU Mon 08-Jun-20 10:30:33

It sounds like a great idea.

My EX (DS father) suggested they same things when we first split and I tried to make a go of it. But I soon realised it was basically his way of having his cake and eating it too. When we were out as a family - we obviously looked like a happy family. Not that I was looking for a relationship - but I wouldn’t meet anyone because ex was with me and it looked as if we were together. Also he would suggest coming over to help out with the bedtime routine - but again I worked out shortly after that it was only a ruse to ensure I’m not dating anyone else as obviously if his around; he knows I’m not seeing anyone else.

Again like I said I was never looking for a new relationship after we split as I wanted to work on myself first. But EX’s main intention was to keep us playing happy family and keep things just as they were whilst we were in a relationship- without actually being in a relationship.

Good luck x

AtFirstIWasAfraid Mon 08-Jun-20 10:32:44

@AttilaTheMeerkat their behaviour has got worse. My daughter has gone one way and my son the other if that makes sense.

@Skelebat I did say that to him, but he didn't quite understand why I felt that way. Which shows he has no remorse or empathy for others.

I definitely think he wants to keep me sweet 'just in case'. I'd prefer to be civil and do things together if absolutely necessary eg birthday parties etc. Other than that I don't see why I should give him the time of day. He also said he'd like to be able to put the kids to bed on a night and take them out through the week after school. I agreed but then once I thought about it I realised he just wants to make sure he knows what I'm doing and can still stay 'present' whilst making out it's for the kids.

I really need to back off don't I? I need my boundaries sorting quickly.

OP’s posts: |
Mrsjayy Mon 08-Jun-20 10:32:51

My friend did this for 2 years it really messed with her mental well being .they did holidays days out etc etc but it's all fake isn't it. Her ex just wanted to be in control of everything. Don't feel pressured into this your DC can have a relationship with their dad on their own.

Rockandahardplaice Mon 08-Jun-20 10:32:54

I'm sure you know your ex's motivations better than any on here can guess, but it may be a bit irrelevant anyway.

I'd have said the only important question is what kind of co-parenting relationship is going to work best for your children, bearing in mind how amicable you and your ex are likely to be during "family time"?

If you are able to be on really good terms (may be unlikely due to the cheating I guess), then as long as you make sure that your kids aren't expecting a reconciliation then I don't see anything wrong with having family unity minus the romance. That would seem to me to be best for the kids. If on the other hand these family days out end up having an undercurrent of awkwardness and end up being about the two of you rather than the whole family, I don't think that would be good for them. It may be that you need time away from each other (no family time) for a while, but that you could look at doing family stuff together downstream when you are both in the right place to do so. I guess there are no right answers - it all depends on the two of you, and the kids.

Regarding "wanting his cake and eating it", while he may well be, and you might (justifiably) want to punish him and might feel uncomfortable doing something which is "good" for him, I think you should disregard that kind of thinking and consider only what is good for the children.

Good luck, I hope things work out for all of you.

Windyatthebeach Mon 08-Jun-20 10:33:33

Likely he will expect you to plan the event, organise the dc +food. He will turn up like a hero and take the credit for the whole day out..
Sound possible?
He is a piss taker imo.
Let him parent the dc himself in his time.

Rockandahardplaice Mon 08-Jun-20 10:35:15

Wow, looks like I'm holding the minority view here! :-)

Wishforsnow Mon 08-Jun-20 10:39:53

I can't believe he said his partner is happy with this arrangement like you are going to give a shit how she feels. It won't be good for you moving on to do this. He just wants everything his way

AtFirstIWasAfraid Mon 08-Jun-20 10:42:00

@Rockandahardplaice I agree with what you're saying. I would never do anything to punish him. I believe that not having a family unit anymore is punishment enough. It just irritates me that I'm the one who has to deal with the backlash of the children whilst he can be a Disney dad and pretend to play happy families. He never wanted to do things when we was together and when we did it was a hardship.

He definitely wants me to plan and do everything etc. I don't know his actual motivations and maybe I've read into it too much and he just wants to change his ways. Who knows? I just needed some other opinions I guess as he seems to think it's best for the kids and had made me believe that too. By the way the children are 4&3. Both start reception in September where he wants to be more 'involved' again.

OP’s posts: |
AtFirstIWasAfraid Mon 08-Jun-20 10:45:13

@Wishforsnow I know, when he said that I was like 'pardon?'. She doesn't have children and I don't believe she actually understands the concept of a family unit. She played a part in the break up of said unit and now wants us to have days together. Although maybe that's just her guilt talking. I asked how it would work if I met someone else, because rightly so they would have some sort of issue with me playing happy families on a weekend. He didn't answer, but I suspect that's because he doesn't think I'll ever move on from him (not in my current plans but I'm not staying alone forever).

OP’s posts: |
Mrsjayy Mon 08-Jun-20 10:46:53

If he did bugger all before or it pained him then he obviously doesn't know how to entertain or care for the children. And just wants to tag along so you do it as always he can't be bothered to make his own effort.

AlanAlAl Mon 08-Jun-20 10:49:18

When me and my ex split he was the same.
Wanted to come over almost every night after work to see the kids, wanted family days out.
He tried telling me the same that his partner was OK with it.
No woman in their right mind would be OK with her partner playing happy families with someone else. I know I wouldnt be.
My ex took the kids 2 nights during the week, bringing them back just before bedtime and he had them every other weekend. I wouldnt let him in the house though.

Rockandahardplaice Mon 08-Jun-20 10:52:38


It might be worth having mediation to work out the best contact arrangements (maybe try Relate if you are in the UK?). At that young age it would seem harsh for them to only see him every other weekend, and the one thing I did see in one of your messages above that makes me uncomfortable is denying mid-week contact. On the other hand, it sounds like you need space away from him, so a compromise really needs to be found.

I think the flip side of this is that you also ought to mediate what responsibilities your ex has in terms of your children. Is he just going to pay child support and have them for fun times occasionally, or is he going to be actively involved in their upbringing - e.g. agreeing discipline, helping with homework, resolving issues with schools, organising birthday parties, children's activities etc.

You don't necessarily need to agree all this now (it sounds early, and emotions raw right now), but at some point you need to work out how you can both be involved effectively in the children's lives (and that arrangement may itself be organic and change over time as the children grow and your personal lives go on new trajectories).

chocolatesaltyballs22 Mon 08-Jun-20 10:53:05

God no way - you need a clean break. The kids still see their dad but you don't have to tag along. Anything else will just confuse them. Believe me, I've been there. Tried to keep things civilised by having my ex over for dinner once in a while for the sake of our daughter (she was 7 at the time). It didn't work at all - it wasn't reciprocated and he just sat there making snide comments all the time. For your own sake and the kids, don't allow him to control you like this.

guffaux Mon 08-Jun-20 10:53:13

When you analyse what his request means, which of the two scenarios fit his character and the reality of the situation best- plus what actually helps you stay emotionally balanced and therefore better able to mother the children-

the children are aware of their parents' separation and understand that you both love them, like each other, and want to spend time together with them-


he gets his contact with the children conveniently for him, whilst you are still doing the childcare?

do what works best for you, as looking after your needs will put you in a better place to mother your children- and let him take the children together, so you get a proper break to recharge your batteries and work on strategies to help the children adjust/work on their behavioural response to their parents' seperation.

silenceofthemams Mon 08-Jun-20 10:54:49

Have to say my first thoughts aligned with @windyatthebeach

Sounds like lazy parenting to me.

Does this mean he also won't do overnights at his place with the kids then? I'd be suspicious that he'll do nice day activities at the weekends but still reserve himself free in the evenings to enjoy his relationship. Best of both worlds for him. Very little "you time" to move on there.

And even if you aren't looking to meet someone else those childfree weekends are for you to breathe, catch-up on your things, and have a life outside of childrearing and domesticity. I treasure the odd Saturday night out with my female friends, and a weekend to get ahead on shopping, planning, deep cleaning etc. It's how I cope!!!

By all means put a positive face on in front of the kids for general handovers and discussions etc but you need time and space to develop your own single parenting mechanisms now.

CharmerLlama Mon 08-Jun-20 10:59:27

Sounds like he doesn't want to take responsibility for arranging any activities with the kids. He's probably tried roping his GF in to doing it and she's not interested either. This way he gets out of doing any of the organising (and possibly paying) and he also gets to keep his eye on your life/prevent you moving on.

I would limit it to maybe birthdays but otherwise tell him to sort his own access time out.

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