Page 3 | Managing XH years after separation

(56 Posts)
withaspongeandarustyspanner Thu 06-Aug-20 14:29:05

I posted another thread about dodgy electrics, but it's made me think that the electrics are not the issue.

So, XH and I separated over 4 years ago and have been divorced for over 2.

I live with my lovely DP and we are marrying later this year, COVID permitting. My children think DP's great and seem happy at home - and home life is generally good, barring the usual teen strop.

Things have been good for most of the last year - XH has been pleasant and reasonable enough - the anger that was there at the beginning of our separation and divorce had gone and things were easier. I had been able to ask him to have the kids for extra times when I have been working, he's been happy to see the kids more. This is all a far cry from how it was in the beginning.

We had an acrimonious divorce. He had an affair with a work colleague. He and she were unpleasant, claiming that I was unstable - he tried to make me sell the house, threatened to take the kids from me and employed various bullying tactics, throwing in a bit of emotional abuse and gaslighting for good measure. He really showed me his true colours, and it wasn't pleasant.

Anyway, his relationship with OW didn't last, apparently (though she seems to be ringing him with increasing regularity over lockdown). And since the regular phone calls, we have been not getting on as well as we were. Coincidence?

Anyway, I can't ever disagree with anything he says or does. I cannot raise any issues, I cannot raise concerns (he can, of course, and frequently starts conversations with 'I don't want to cause an argument, but...') yet, if I raise ANYTHING, he will sulk like a petulant child and be monosyllabic, or sit in his car waiting for the kids, scowling. If I ask him to do something or not to do something (and this is limited to the kids) he will actively and purposely do the opposite. Every time. He never accepts responsibility for anything - everything is always someone else's fault.

I had hoped that after all this time, things would be better. Is this really the way it's going to be until my youngest is old enough for me never to have to talk to his dad again?

What tips do you have? What works for you? How would you manage it?

OP’s posts: |
OhioOhioOhio Fri 07-Aug-20 16:15:09

It's not odd but I think the pp is saying that they are not only your kids so 'my kids' doesn't particularly paint the truth. I find it easier thinking of him as 'their father' and them having a right to see him, instead of him having rights. I find it easier to cope with.

withaspongeandarustyspanner Fri 07-Aug-20 16:34:58

OhioOhioOhio

It's not odd but I think the pp is saying that they are not only your kids so 'my kids' doesn't particularly paint the truth. I find it easier thinking of him as 'their father' and them having a right to see him, instead of him having rights. I find it easier to cope with.

Maybe pp should answer. After all, you don't know what they mean.

OP’s posts: |
Sssloou Fri 07-Aug-20 17:12:50

Indifference, dignity and silence are much more powerful behaviours with these types.

These you can model to your DCs.

Teach them not to get drawn or triggered by toxic people.

Teach them boundaries. To sense, trust and respond to their instincts with difficult people. Teach them to be strong, emotionally resilient and in control - show the emotionally mature and more effective way of responding but not reacting.

Give them generic phrases to politely and assertively close down conflict. They need this skill for life.

That’s powerful and constructive.

OhioOhioOhio Fri 07-Aug-20 18:18:07

No op but holy crap you just got my back right up. I've been through hell learning all of this and I'm in a really, really good place. I've learned the hard way that he has rights. The law will not recognise his bad behaviour. The law will not protect my children from his bastard family. You need to let them get on with it or choose to keep your relationship alive and filled with spikes and discomfort.

OhioOhioOhio Fri 07-Aug-20 18:50:53

I know that sounds mean, sorry. But honestly think of what kind of experience do you want your children to have of you? If you want to see them snipping and snapping? Or, making room for happy times?

Tappering Sat 08-Aug-20 12:35:39

You're right. I can't stop them asking. But they can't stop me challenging it.

No, your're right, they can't. But every time you do it gives your Ex a reaction. It also gives your SIL a reaction. And both of them can keep being dicks because they know that you will rise to it.

I know it's annoying, I know it's unfair, but if you keep engaging they will keep doing this. @Sssloou is right and gives some very good advice.

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