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Agreeing access: endless arguments :(

(28 Posts)
Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 12:03:31

The baby has not even been born yet, and ex seems determined to make everything as hard as possible.

I have said provisionally that I'd be happy with two week-day evenings (he works full-time, so could not do days) then every other weekend. In time the two evenings would become overnights, as would the weekend, and when the baby is too little to be overnight, I thought seeing him for one day every weekend where possible would work.

He says I am being utterly unreasonable, and that I need to think about what is best for the baby, which would be him seeing his father every day. For various reasons, I am not prepared to play happy families with this man. I do not want him in my house every day. Or at all, but I can see there is not really any option with a tiny baby.

What can I do? I feel like I am doing ok and then he starts raging again, and the tension rushes back. I want to make the best of a not ideal situation, for all of us. But most of all for the baby.

dedado Thu 26-Sep-13 12:22:14

Is this your first baby? Have you spoken to your midwife or health visitor for their advice? The access you suggest seems a lot for a baby, and unrealistic if you plan to breast feed. I think short and frequent is usually suggested e.g. an hour, a couple of times a week. What's best for a new baby is to have their emotional and physical needs met. This includes bonding with their primary carer. For a baby to be separated from their man caregiver for a whole day or weekend is not in the baby's best interests.

You don't have to agree access while pregnant. Do you have much contact with your ex or is it just about access? Is he being helpful during your pregnancy?

dedado Thu 26-Sep-13 12:24:18

man caregiver should be main caregiver.

and you do not need to allow your ex into your home.

BeCool Thu 26-Sep-13 12:30:55

There is no reason a tiny baby needs to see him at all is there? A young baby needs a constant parent pretty much all the time when they are very little. Being passed over to a non-resident parent when so young is not necessary and not good for anyone.

He is harassing you. It sounds like he is using the baby to get to you. If he wants to have regular contact with the young baby you will also need to be there so he better start getting supportive and understanding towards you PDQ.

You don't need to have these conversations with him yet. You don't need the hostility or drama. Can you simply disconnect and don't get dragged in. Request all communications from him are via email and ignore the rest. Iphone has new blocking facility!

You don't have to play happy families with him. You don't have to have him in your home. And if he doesn't stop with the me me me demands, I would start ignoring him completely.

I would disconnect completely until he stops raging and starts talking/communicating like a reasonable person.

Is he offering you support, financial or otherwise. Is he offering to help with the costs of buying baby stuff?

StillSlightlyCrumpled Thu 26-Sep-13 12:41:50

Your offer of two evenings is perfectly reasonable with a few hours at the weekend.

Do not engage with him about this any more at the moment, just assure him that you will facilitate fair & reasonable contact, then get advice when your baby is born. Overnight contact doesn't need to happen for some time.

It is (of course) important that your baby develops a great relationship with its dad but with the hours you have suggested that will happen. Depending on how your relationship is, you may be grateful of the rest etc.

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 12:44:23

Thank you for your responses.

It is my first child.

I want to have a basic agreement agreed before the birth, because I worry that afterwards I will be exhausted and will give in to things I might later really regret. I appreciate that 'access' with a tiny baby is probably playing with him for an hour or so, rather than a whole evening. But trying to say anything of the kind to ex is pointless. 'Evening' sounds more palatable.

Ex's basic position is that in refusing to be with him, I am willfully damaging our baby. My belief is that being with someone who I now realise will refuse to listen to any point of view that is not his own is not good for me, and by default the baby too. Ex is a bit like a waterfall, if you see what I mean? Relentless. The problem is that he has a great society face, and when things are going as he wants, he is an absolute charmer.

As to support, no. Not at all. Which in a way I am quite glad about, as I would rather he did not have a hold over me, and I can do things without him.
He did come to the scans, though.

Twinklestein Thu 26-Sep-13 12:55:37

As it's your first, until you give birth & are breast feeding - you don't know precisely what the routine will need to be - and it depends on the baby. It will be much easier to see what contact is appropriate once you have established your routine.

Your ex is demanding evenings without apparently having any idea of what will be involved. I would disengage completely. I think this is more about you than the baby.

dedado Thu 26-Sep-13 12:55:49

I think you'd benefit from seeing some boundaries before the birth, for example he can contact you only in certain ways or at certain times. He can't just appear at your door. You will only discuss the baby, nothing else. He is not to comment on you, your actions etc (so for example your appearance its not up for discussion.)

If you want to make an arrangement before the baby is born please make yourself aware of the reality of life with a newborn. That could be crying every evening from being overestimated and needing quiet time. Cluster feeding all evening in the early months. Separation anxiety kicking in when the baby becomes mobile (an evolutionary safety feature to keep your baby close to their main caregiver even though they can move away.) Your baby needs an advocate in any arrangements. It's not about his wants, it's about the needs of a baby who can't soak for themself. Does your midwife know you're single and being harassed?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-Sep-13 13:00:05

I would drop the conversation completely as I think he's simply using it to bully you. Then see a lawyer. Your child isn't born yet. After your child is born there's not a judge in the land that would make you hand a tiny baby over to someone else for access. Once you get into a routine with your child then you can start thinking about whether it's appropriate to see the father... with you there at all times, of course. You have the luxury of time and he's just going to have to wait.

Were/are you married to the father?

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:01:59

The midwife knows I am single. His outbursts have always fallen just after midwife visits, after long periods of calm, so I have not mentioned it. I manage to avoid him pretty successfully most of the time.

I am definitely prepared to keep things flexible. I really just wanted to check that 2 evenings and every other weekend as a very loose outline was not actually an unreasonable offer on my part. He makes me doubt myself, you see.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-Sep-13 13:03:50

Do you live close to the ex? Any chance you could relocate?

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:05:19

I have seen a lawyer, which is why I am thinking about this now on their advice.

He initiated the conversation, and I really did (and persistently do) try not to engage with him over anything other than 'the midwife says all is well' etc.

No, never married.

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:05:53

I am looking into moving at the moment...

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:06:18

He moved into the same street as me.

Sparklysilversequins Thu 26-Sep-13 13:10:39

The reality of looking after a small baby will probably ensure that the novelty wears off pretty quickly but if not I think I would be moving far, far away.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-Sep-13 13:15:33

He moved into your street? He's sounding more like a stalker every minute. Browbeating you, 'raging', following you around. I think you've got to disengage from this man completely, move away, don't tell him where you're going and possibly even inform the police. His behaviour is very worrying.

Bogeyface Thu 26-Sep-13 13:17:23

"I have discussed this with my solicitor and midwife and on their advice, will discuss this issue with you after I have been given the all clear at my 6 weeks check post birth. If you wish to contact me in the meantime, please us email address."

And PLEASE dont tell me that he is going to be at the birth. You do not need that malignancy in the labour room, you really dont.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Thu 26-Sep-13 13:19:47

Blimey the same street? Much too close for comfort unless you are great friends.

I split up with my partner whilst pregnant with DS1. The immediate time after the birth was just access on an as and when basis. Mostly because we had to fit around the baby & actually how I was feeling physically.

He lost interest fairly swiftly & I took some legal advice as his demands were ludicrous when he had made such a poor effort. They suggested fortnightly supervised contact so you are being very, very fair.

My ex partner was an emotional abuser certainly, but turned on the charm to those around him. Thankfully my community midwife saw straight through him & supported me brilliantly in the time after his birth.

Also, as an aside I look back at the first year of my DS1's life as amongst the happiest times of my life. Yes, I was single (my ex hasn't seen him since he was a few months old - he's now 13), but I had fabulous friends & family & thoroughly enjoyed his babyhood.

BeCool Thu 26-Sep-13 13:20:15

tiny babies don't play (I'm trying to remember what age it is small babies start to really engage with people around them beyond their Mum?).

2 evening and every other weekend is a lot. Good to work towards this in the long term (and you may well be grateful for it), but I doubt a small child would be ready for this kind of time away from Mum until nearly 2 - depending on the child of course.

I would not be agreeing to anything at all now. I'm surprised your legal advice is telling you to agree this now. Also your ex moving into the same street is quite stalkery? Are you concerned about this?

If you were getting on well with the Dad it would be great to have his help and support. But you are not. And he sounds like he's harassing you. You don't actually have to do anything yet.

StillSlightlyCrumpled Thu 26-Sep-13 13:20:40

Agree with bogeyface. Particularly loving the email address!

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:23:01

Bogey, he expressed a desire to be present at the birth. He was actually quite surprised that as a source of persistent stress he might not be welcome...

Suffice to say, he will not be there.

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:25:33

Really glad to hear that, SSC, all my friends and family are being great too, so hopefully I will be in the same position smile

Solasum Thu 26-Sep-13 13:29:07

I have probably made him sound worse than he is, for which apologies. Although we are not seeing eye to eye at the moment, I do believe that fundamentally in time he will be a good father to our baby. It is just at the moment he is finding it difficult to accept that that will not also include being a partner to me.

dedado Thu 26-Sep-13 13:39:53

I have probably made him sound worse than he is

I would be very surprised if what you've written isn't just the tip of the iceberg.

Did he move to your street before or after you split up?

Lweji Thu 26-Sep-13 13:43:37

You do not have to be in contact with this man and if he harasses you, report him to the police.

Work out what you are happy with, and let him go to court if he really wants more contact.

I suspect he won't care so much about the baby and he's just doing it to annoy you.

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