How do I get ex to agree with me moving kids abroad

(194 Posts)
Floatingaway2017 Sat 21-Nov-20 11:42:09


I have been applying for jobs abroad as it has always been a goal of mine to get some international experience. I am looking for a change for myself and children who are in primary school at the moment. I am doing okay as a single mum in the UK but life is stressful and busy. We are always running around from school to work and living in a big city life is expensive.

This job not only offers fantastic educational and financial opportunities but also a more relaxed lifestyle as well as well as a better quality of life. I really feel this is the best thing for kids and I at the moment. This move is not permanent and I plan for us to move back within a few years (3-5 years maximum) unless we absolutely love it there and don't want to move back.

How do I approach my ex about giving me permission to do this. He has parental responsibility like me. He sees kids one day a week (no overnights) and pays maintenance. He doesn't involve himself in their schooling or childcare. Doesn't take them to any extracurricular clubs. He has very young children with his current partner as well as stepchildren. He is not really that interested or invested in my children's upbringing or welfare so I don't think it would be a massive disruption to him if we moved. However he has narcissistic tendencies and may just try to thwart my plans because he can. He has seemed to become more indifferent towards me though which I am hoping may work in my favour in convincing him to agree to this.

Similarly I feel like he doesn't add anything significant to my children's life that they would miss if we went abroad and actually the wonderful new experiences they would have would compensate for this. During the week they never ask to speak to him and no longer get disappointed if they can't see him on the weekends for any reason. Basically he is ambivalent and so are they.

I'm happy to bring them during holidays to visit their dad and support their relationship with his family in other ways. I am 60-70% convinced he will agree but I am not sure how to broach the matter in a way that will tip it more in my favour. Please can you advise especially if you have dealt with a narcisstic coparent or been in this situation.

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FortunesFave Sat 21-Nov-20 11:47:28

I would present it as a "temporary opportunity".

. Say that you've been offered a 2-3 year contract after which you will be returning to the UK.

Have you been offered a contract of a specific length or will you be if you get it?

Bunnymumy Sat 21-Nov-20 12:02:24

I think it's a bit of a selfish thing to do to uproot kids for up to 5 years and then uproot them again to bring them home tbh.

But I get that it would be good to be away from asshole ex for a while.

If he is need to present it in a way that shows the opportunities for him. You also need to act like you arent that fussed about it. If he sees you really want it then he wont want you to have it.

Try casually dropping in that you wished the kids could get some sun and that you've been looking at job opportunities out there. 'Woudnt it be cool to find a wee job in the sun. You and the missus could come out and join us all for holidays too'. Then if he seems agreeable, the next time you see him 'you'll never guess what, I saw an opportunity for a 1 year contract abroad and thought I'd inquire. They said I'd be suitable. I think I might just take it. Do you think it's a good idea? The wee ones could learn another language whilst there. And you guys could come over in the summer and have a long holiday. Maybe at christmas too if you fancy? Though...moving is a lot of work...I'm not sure if I can be bothered'.

Dont mention that it's more than one year. You can always tell him it's been extended later on.

VivaMiltonKeynes Sat 21-Nov-20 12:15:23

How far is it from the UK?

Floatingaway2017 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:20:32

Thank you for your replies. Initially I didn't want to mention it to him until I actually got a job. I am applying at the moment. However when I got a call back from the recruiter they said they needed legal proof that I could take the kids with me and I obviously don't have that yet. So I don't want to get in to a situation where I get offered a job and then back out because he doesn't give consent. I don't think right now I want to fight it out in court. So I need to let him know casually that I am intending to do this to prepare him. If I tell him I have a job then he will definitely think I have plotted behind his back to take the kids away.

Bunny that would be a good way to present it but due to his narcisstic behaviour we don't actually speak in person. We communicate when necessary for kids benefit only. Otherwise there is no communication which I have preferred. I definitely will present it in terms of his benefit. So you can concentrate on your current family. I'm even willing to reduce the maintenance if necessary as a last resort. However he may take all of that like an insult that I think he can't take care of both.

I do think it will be better for children as well as me. They are not really happy with the way things are at the moment. They see their dad with his current family and I know it hurts them. They don't really like their school ( my older dc especially), even though I personally love it and our lifestyle causes them significant stress. Basically I'm out early to go to work and back late. They are in childcare for most of the day and weekends are split with dad so don't get much time to spend at home. I really feel we need a big change for them as well as me.

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Cheeseycheeseycheesecheese Sat 21-Nov-20 12:27:05

I second a combination of @FortunesFave and @Bunnymumy suggestions.

Tell him it's a temporary opportunity and show him how it'll benefit him i.e. Gives them a set holiday destination

Floatingaway2017 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:28:08

It's another continent Viva but I can bring them back during school holidays. I'm happy for him to have them for the whole of the summer holidays. He doesn't have space for them in his current home though despite them visiting him there for the last few years which is why they don't spend nights. My worry is though that he will become even less attached to them if he sees them less which may be hard for the boys. However I already feel he is heading that way so I want to circumvent that by detaching them from him a bit so it doesn't hurt as bad.

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monoaaad Sat 21-Nov-20 12:32:49

He sees them weekly and you are proposing to move abroad for years. He won't give permission and not should he!

Bunnymumy Sat 21-Nov-20 12:37:32

Tbh, if he is a narcissist then he isn't really attached to them anyway. At least not in the same way you or I would be attached to people. And tbh, if he loses interest in them.completely, that would be best case scenario. Better no dad in their life than one who is incapable of basic human kindness and warmth.

But I hate to say it, i think you're up shit creek without a paddle. I doubt he will let you go. Unless he is currently distracted with the current family too much to feel the need for you guys as secondary supply. You can only try I suppose. Fingers crossed.

ApolloandDaphne Sat 21-Nov-20 12:39:01

Weekly visits suggest he is consistent in this pattern and your DC have a decent relationship with him. If I was him i wouldn't allow you to take them so far away that seeing them in the holidays would be the only contact.

Redlocks28 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:41:13

If I was in his shoes, I really wouldn’t want you to take my kids abroad.

user12743356664322 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:42:23

You keep referring to him as "narcissistic". Do you mean coercive and controlling?

Because if so, this is a great way to hand him the opportunity to feel powerful over you by refusing. I am not sure you would be able to persuade a controlling person to let you have what you want in that way. I do agree with pp that probably the only chance is if he thinks you don't care (or don't want it). Otherwise chances are he'll say no just to get his power kicks.

Separately, I'm not totally convinced by your rationale on it not mattering if you take the children away from the one day a week they see him. Some of the " ambivalence" and current acceptance is because they do have the stability of that ongoing relationship and presence in their life and/or an internalised hope that one day it might change.

Taking that away may cause more distress than you anticipate. There are complex emotions around rejection/acceptance/identity/self-esteem for children in situations like you describe.

CharlotteRose90 Sat 21-Nov-20 12:47:02

Sorry but I think you’re out of order doing this. He sees his kids once a week and you want to take them away from him to suit yourself. I’m sorry for whatever he did to you but he has a right to see his kids.
I actually hope he takes you to court for this. Judges aren’t lenient with things like this either

AbiBrown Sat 21-Nov-20 13:04:05

I'm going to disagree with the above. I totally get your rationale and think it sounds like a great idea for the kids. I live in London and honestly feel that increasingly without much money the quality of life for kids isn't that great, especially if you have the opportunity to move somewhere else, give them a better environment and better opportunities. One evening a week with a dad that can't be arsed just isn't worth it. Especially as you say they're not happy with the current set up. The first bit of advice about you presenting it as a short term contract and maybe throwing in an offer for him to join you on holiday sounds like a good plan. Good luck and well done!

Floatingaway2017 Sat 21-Nov-20 13:11:31

I have always been supportive of dc relationship with dad as long as I felt it benefitted them. Even when he was at his most vindictive and spiteful. However I feel now he is not adding real benefit in to their life. Bunny I do think he is distracted enough with his current family. He has 5 children living with him all under age 10. Instead of being nurtured when they spend time there they come back tired and irritable. I have also heard from other sources they are pretty much neglected by his current partner when they are there which I can't really blame her for as she has her hands full. Their dad actually reduced the contact after birth of his 3rd child with current partner. He may miss them but he will be fine.

User I agree that may be why they are ambivalent but I think it is damaging their self esteem to see their dad with his current family and I have heard my dc express this to me that he feels his dad loves them less then them. I mentioned it to dad and his answer was to reduce contact.

Honestly I feel I'm damned if I do and damned if I go but at least let me give them an amazing experience of going to an international school and experiencing a new culture and having a lifestyle where they can really enjoy living rather than sticking around for them to see their dad for a few hours one day a week where they have to literally fight for attention.

It will improve my financial situation and that ultimately benefits my children so I think all in all it is the best for them and me.

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VivaMiltonKeynes Sat 21-Nov-20 13:16:11

I see where you are going from and yes I have to say that I do not always agree with parents having contact with their children . It's like the old JK show - why do these women want their children to have contact with their deadbeat Dads ? It sounds like he has his hands full with his new family . Being an ex international school person I can see what that situation has to offer.

MessAllOver Sat 21-Nov-20 13:18:16

It doesn't sound like he adds much to their lives.

Ultimately, if you decided to go without the children if necessary, would he step up and have them full-time? If not, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. You could threaten that if he gets difficult (not that you would follow through).

Personally, I wouldn't give him a say. I would just tell him that this is what you are doing and this is the contact you are offering. You've clearly thought hard about what's in your DC's interests. If he were a committed, emotionally engaged father, it would be different.

Trisolaris Sat 21-Nov-20 13:19:54

If he is a narcissist then

Will it benefit him financially? Ie would you be better off even if he stops paying maintenance due to the better opportunities abroad.

If he’s not that interested in them then he might agree to it if you say he won’t have to pay for them any more.

Of course he will always present you as the bitch who took his kids away etc

dontdisturbmenow Sat 21-Nov-20 13:24:37

Which job is so much easier with shorter hours abroad than in the UK?

KarmaNoMore Sat 21-Nov-20 13:26:37

How old are the kids? That is the key question.

What kind of support network can you build up there to support you raising those children single handedly? If you are working full time, don’t expect wraparound care to be available as normal. If they are teenagers you will need someone there to act as a mentor when the in teenage phase “my mother can’t possible understand” and you need to consider that if they are over 14, going to live abroad for a while may reduce or remove their entitlement to university loans.

VimFuego101 Sat 21-Nov-20 13:35:28

How old will the children be when you return? Will they be able to slot back into their school years without having any gaps in their education? This gets harder as they get older.

Floatingaway2017 Sat 21-Nov-20 13:37:03

My children are young. Think keystage 1 and 2. It's temporary because I do plan to bring them back for secondary school. The hours may be similar but the perks are better. Cost of living is cheaper, better lifestyle opportunities, better pay etc. I do have a concern about the lack of support with kids but lock down has put me in that position now to be honest so I can see that I can cope with being self reliant. I would need to find excellent childcare there which I can use when needed but those are small inconveniences for the potential benefits.

With regards to dad I suspect he maintains relationship with dc to save face. He doesn't want to look bad in front of his family and friends. However he doesn't act like a concerned parent. He never asks me anything about their school or health. He doesn't do much more than a loving, concerned uncle would to be honest. In the past he played Disney dad role but doesn't bother with that much now. He doesn't even call during the week anymore. His detachment is coming so I want to shield my kids from it.

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RantyAnty Sat 21-Nov-20 13:41:25

How many DC does he have??!!

If there are already all those DC living in the house, and there is no room for yours, I can't see him getting a bigger house to take them.

I'd go with the not having to pay maintenance anymore. Men like him are usually resentful for paying anyway.

You could be shady like him and ask for permission to go on holiday and then say you've found a job there.

FortunesFave Sat 21-Nov-20 13:52:05

I think it's a bit of a selfish thing to do to uproot kids for up to 5 years and then uproot them again to bring them home tbh.

It's not selfish at all. It will give them opportunities to grow in a far more advanced fashion than most children get. My children have lived on two continents. They're fine.

Floatingaway2017 Sat 21-Nov-20 14:26:01

Yes this is what I'm hoping for fortune that they will get a lot from the experience and when they come back to the UK will be better off from it. Ranty he lives with 5 but some of them are his stepchildren. He is messy which is another reason I want to step away. The multiple kids is not because he is a great father but I think there is an issue there with wanting to be surrounded by people needing and wanting him. In that way my children do provide supply for him but I think it's unhealthy and detrimental for them to deal with his hot and cold behaviour. One week loving next week neglectful.

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