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Dealing with his Ex

(17 Posts)
Enfyshedd Wed 25-May-11 13:15:00

Hi everyone - this is my first post on here. I don't know if I'm looking for sympathy, advice or understanding about this, but any replies would be nice.

Nearly 3 years ago, my then friend's wife walked out on him and their 2 sons because she was having an affair (she's now engaged to the bloke in question and has another child with him who was born within a year of her walking out). In the divorce, he was granted full custody of the boys and she has them 2-3 nights a week. The boys have always been very obvious in their dislike of their mother, but put up with visitng her because they're told to (there's often some bribery involved in the form of money for the eldest and sweets & comics for the youngest).

From my point of view, the friendship became something more, and we started a relationship last summer and got engaged at Christmas. She hasn't actually said anything direct to me or my DF, but she's been overheard shouting at one of the boys when he's collected them "If I hear one more thing about (** - me) then I'll ..." (interior door must have closed) - and it's known that the boys would talk about me before their dad & I began our relationship because I was a friend to them.

Since I've moved in with him, she's complained several times about being contacted by the youngest's school when he's been ill because they've failed to record my DF's new telephone number & actually refused to collect him once when my DF was in a business meeting (he's self employed) so he had to leave the meeting and lost a contract with the company. She lives a 10 minute walk from the school and doesn't work, he was a £20 taxi ride away (because the trains were stopped for 2hrs due to engineering works). The next day, she even had the cheek to say that he should give her money for looking after them. To say that I had to exercise some self restraint to stop myself from going to her house and having it out with her is slightly under stating the situation.

Anyway, coming up to date, she's kicked off again because A. the youngest is being moved to another school which is much better than the once he's in now and is closer to our home (and about the same distance from her's), and B. because the boys are going away to visit my DF's mum (about 250 miles away) for half term which has been arranged since Easter and her parents have decided to come down to visit her next week themselves. She's threatening a visit to the solicitors (which she threatened the week after I accompanied DF to the eldest's parents evening and she decided to go up when we were on our way to the school - she first tried to get the head of year to ban me from the parent's evening then ended up screaming at one teacher for looking at me to answer a question I'd asked - nothing came of it), but as the week away will interfere with her regular night and a visit from her parents (who've never offered to have the children on their own for a visit from what I understand), my DF is a bit worried she might have some ground to stand on this time. Bearing in mind that the eldest has already said in court a couple of years ago that he wanted to live with his dad, not her (and nothing has changed on that front), and the youngest seems to think the same way, would she really try to push for joint custody when it's also certain she's be rejected by them again?


BooyHoo Wed 25-May-11 13:22:14

well the bottome line is that the week away occurs on her usual time to have them and she hasn't agreed it so i think your DF is being a bit out of line letting them go anyway. i doubt very much joint custody will be on her mind if she has asked for money in the past just for having them at hers and she cant even collect her child from school when necessary.

Enfyshedd Wed 25-May-11 13:27:06

A fortnight before she asked for the money ("You should give me money for looking after them"), she'd been turned down for disability benefit because there's nothing wrong with her and they'd stopped all of her benefits because she hadn't been job hunting.

From what I understand, there's no formal access arrangements in place, so there's no court order being broken.

BooyHoo Wed 25-May-11 13:31:28

ah right. you need to be sure about that though. your DF needs to e sure he isn't in breach of any court order. is teh arrangement agreed trhough solicitors?

Enfyshedd Wed 25-May-11 13:34:24

The divorce is a bit before my time - his words when I asked him before about the access arrangements were "she gets what I give her".

BooyHoo Wed 25-May-11 13:36:18

he sounds nice hmm

if the custody and contact was part od the divorce proceedings then i think he'll have to stick with the agreement or at very least agree with her and alternative date that the boys can go to hers. if she will agree that is. it doesn't sound ata ll liekly though.

Enfyshedd Wed 25-May-11 13:41:52

I know it sounds a bit like that, but considering that when he was working a full time job with long hours and she wasn't, and he would come home to find no laundry had been done (even if it was saturated with urine as babies tend to do), no food was in the house, and "I didn't have enough money to buy nappies" while she's got a fresh couple of packs of 20 cigs on the table and a bottle of vodka in the fridge, I'm not that surprised at his attitude towards her.

BooyHoo Wed 25-May-11 13:45:54

he could just be a better person and not be so petty though?

look basically he has an arrangement with her and he is breaking it without her agreement. if they were both reasonable people they could make an alternative arrangement for the boys to stay with her at anotehr date but it doesn't sound like she will agree to that. so he has a choice. eitehr he sends the boys away and takes whatever backlash she chucks at him or he doesn't send them away and tehre is no row with her.

glasscompletelybroken Wed 25-May-11 19:08:46

But BooHoo then the children would never be able to have a holiday would they? Both parents need to be flexible for the benefit of the children. As long as she can have them for some extra days when they come back then I can't see the problem. It's not less time, just slightly different time.
And in my experience you can go to great lengths to avoid a row but they will just find another one, because that's what they want.

BooyHoo Wed 25-May-11 19:11:35

sorry, why would the children never be able to have a holiday? i said he has a choice, either let them go on holiday and deal with teh backlash from teh ex or dont let them go and save a row. i didn't say not to let them go on holiday!!!

Enfyshedd Fri 27-May-11 13:58:03

Having spoken to the eldest, he doesn't want to see her parents anyway - whenever they are around, the boys are expected to sit quietly and do nothing while Granny & Grampa faff about on their computers and ignore them. This apparently happens whether the boys are visiting them or if they are visiting the boys. When I suggested that if Granny & Grampa were coming down this weekend that they could stay over their mum's for a few more hours, the response was a horrified look on his face and some very emphatic head shaking.

Sylvaniasandwich Fri 27-May-11 18:21:43

He should definitely check with her before arranging a holiday that interferes with her access time. That is disrespectful and undermining of her relationship with her children I think. She may be a crap mum, but she is their only mum and they need some kind of continuity of contact.

That said it would be reasonable to have a different arrangement in term time and school holidays in order to facilitate the boys going away - but it needs to be made clear in advance rather than sprung on the NRP.

SingingTunelessly Sun 29-May-11 22:25:15

You're changing the NRP's (mum or dad is irrelevant) regular contact and should discuss it with them first.

Sophye Mon 30-May-11 11:07:57

Hi Enfyshedd, your situation sounds very similar to mine. After a few years of dealing with an unreasonable woman, you do get to the point of trying to avoid a row. It really does help and shouldn't make you feel like you're giving in. I feel sorry for the boys not wanting to go to their mother's but I would seriously rearrange the holiday to your family for the summer. The boot was on the other foot with us, and she arranged a holiday over my partner's time with his daughter without prior arrangement and it really did hurt. I'm not sympathising with her, but the problem is, I find, you never really know what she'll be capable of and retaining his access to his children is the priority no matter how much it hurts our pride. That said, the other thing it's taken me a while to deal with is that at the end of the day they are his children not mine (or yours) and it's up to him. He knows her best and it's right to support his decision, whatever that is. Good luck!

Pandygirl Mon 30-May-11 15:36:34


Our contact with the stepkids is every weekend and every Tuesday night. BM has just taken them away for the period Monday to Friday, giving DP only 3 days notice and not offering DP any additional contact time. So yes you can do it, but it's politer to ask rather than telling. (DP would never have said the kids couldn't go away on holiday, but it would have been nice to be asked).

I'd hope that your DPs ex would think about what the children want, but in my experience making things difficult for their ex partner is more important.

If you have regular issues with her (and from the parents evening etc it sounds like you do) you might want to contact the british scond wives club, its a support group for women who are with men who have a difficult ex.

zest01 Wed 01-Jun-11 20:40:26


I have an informal arrangement with my ex about our DCS, so we have a contact plan but no court order. He takes them for tea once a week but obviously when we book a holiday he cannot have this time. I usually email him to say when we are going and give as much notice as I can (usually a couple of months). He has never refused but then why would he as he can always make the time up when we get back.

Would the children usually spend the whole week with their Mum or is she expecting you to not go away for week so she can have one day with them? Sometimes, adult egos aside you have to look at what is best for the kids and in this case I think a week away at half term would be nice for them. I do think you need to offer alterantive time to their Mum though at a time that suits her rather than you and make sure you accomodate time with her parents next time they visit. My kids are sometimes bored at their grandparents but I still make them spend the time there. I used to bea bit bored at my Nan's sometimes as a child and moaned about going but looking back as an adult I am glad they we got to see and spend time with her.

I'm sorry to say it but both sides seem to be being a bit petty and I think it's time you all drew a line under the past and started to be more accomodating rather than nit picking over the minor details.

Enfyshedd Mon 13-Jun-11 22:46:06

Well, the solicitor's letter arrived. She's gone to a new firm (suspect that she didn't get the answer she wanted from her original sols) and appears to have lied to/misinformed the solicitor that they have joint custody (have confirmed with DF that there is a joint residency agreement, but he has sole custody). She's decided to pick on the change in school for the youngest and claims that she is concerned the decision has been made in haste (this decision has been 6 months in the making since the appalling OFSTED report for his current school was published) and is "concerned" about the impact on him as "he has a shy nature".

We don't know a single person who thinks the youngest has a shy nature 5 minutes after he's met them, although recently when DF, the youngest & I walked into town together and ran into a group of his BM's friends, he instantly grabbed hold of my hand in order to walk past them. Am starting to think that he may be shy/introverted at his mother's because he doesn't want to be there and/or because he's tired because he's kept awake by his toddler half sister who he has to share a room with when he's there (every time we collect him on the weekend, he tells us that his sister woke him up in the night).

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