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How much contact with XP?

(14 Posts)
Salemthecat Mon 15-Aug-16 19:32:33

Hoping for some advice and insight into what the norm is with regards to how much contact there should be between ex partners who have a young child.

I've been with my boyfriend for 8 months. I'm 28 and he is 32. He has a 16 month old baby girl. He split up with his XP in September last year, so a year ago. From what I've been told, it wasn't amicable and he left her. There was initially some issue establishing contact but since around New Year he has regular contact and overnight stays with his DD.

My partner and I met towards the end of January and from the off it became apparent that they still have very regular contact. By regular contact I mean pretty much constant. She is messaging him first thing in the morning, all day long and all evening. I've seen the messages and it is by and large about their DD but it does sometimes creep into telling him just normal stuff about her day. He only responds politely or with one word answers. If he doesn't reply fast enough she starts sending screeds and screeds of abuse to him.

On more than one occasion she has messaged me on Facebook telling me I'm an idiot, he's a scumbag and so on.

As mentioned, if she doesn't get a response fast enough she will start being abusive and threatento end contact and reminding him she is in charge, he left his family etc. When he has his DD she expects constant updates on what she is doing.

I thought for a while that she was maybe jealous of our relationship but she has a boyfriend who seems to be a really nice guy and even babysits while she goes on nights out (on nights that she's refused access by DP but I suppose that's another thread!)

I'm just wondering how much contact is normal between ex partners? I understand that as their DD is still very young and is obviously doing new stuff all the time that they might want to know about but it just feels like I'm in a relationship with both of them. We can't even have a lie in on the day at the weekend he doesn't have DD as she messages him from 7am when she wakes!

Grateful for any insight and advice.

TimeforaNNChange Mon 15-Aug-16 22:00:07

There's no "right and wrong" as to what is the appropriate level of contact, but both parties have to be comfortable with it.

The fact that your B/f ex resorts to abuse and threats when he doesn't do as she wants indicates that this is not right for him.

He does have options - he can secure a family arrangement order to help with contact if his ex withholds it as punishment, and he can protect himself from harassment/abuse from her through the police. Even if he ended the relationship, and no matter what happened (assuming violence/abuse was not involved) his DD does not deserve to be caught up in her parents arguments and used as a weapon.

However, I would suggest that before he does any of that, he talks to her about it, perhaps with the help of a mediator. A mediator can help them draw up a parenting agreement which they both agree to. They have a lifetime of coparenting ahead of them, and if they can find a way to do that successfully, their DD will have the best possible chance of a meaningful relationship with both of them.

TimeforaNNChange Mon 15-Aug-16 22:01:11

Oh, and block her of FB - she has no need to be in contact with you at all.

FallenStar3 Wed 17-Aug-16 09:17:56

I would question why you would be with someone who left someone with a young baby, I had it done it me and I can tell you it's horrible experience to go through, were you the ow? She is lashing out and blaming you. Thing is she's lost her family unit she once had that's a pretty devasting blow accompanied now that another woman is going to me in her young child's life that she has no control over. These situations are never easy believe me.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 17-Aug-16 11:55:45

I do think that there are two forms of contact: One that is practical and about co-parenting, and one that uses the children as an excuse to carry on a relationship (even if it is an abusive one) with the Ex Partner.

A lot of contact has a bit of carrying on a relationship with the ex partner, which is OK if it is kept minimal, isn't acrimonious and possessive.

But what you are describing is not about co-parenting. It is a barrier to your partner moving on with someone else and is very possessive. I'd say it was abusive and bullying too. It plays on the guilt that your Ex has, as the fact that they have children is used to make out that this is 'normal' and 'OK'.

Imagine if they had no children. This level of contact would be crazy and harassment. The fact that she goes crazy if he doesn't get back, and ignores his obvious attempts to keep it more minimal, suggests that this is not just 'OK between both parents'.

However, your dilemma is, your partner will find it very difficult to stand up to her about this, and if I were you I'd move on to someone else.

Salemthecat Wed 17-Aug-16 16:15:04

Thanks Time, I have blocked her from FB now.
There was no violence or anything in their relationship. They had split up not long before she was pregnant and then got back together after they found out she was pregnant however the same problems were still there and he didn't want to raise his daughter in a house where her parents didn't get on.

Hi Fallen, no I certainly wasn't the OW. I first met my boyfriend in January of this year and they had split up in early September 2015. I understand that it won't be easy for her however I do struggle with the abuse directed at me. I'm a nice person and whilst I never expect we'll be friends, I would have liked for us to have least be civil. I have only very recently met his daughter as I wanted to make sure that this was a serious relationship before I did so.

Bananas, that's my exact problem. If it were just contact about their daughter then I wouldn't mind at all, it's the other messages and the constant pressure to respond immediately that I find very wearing.

I'll definitely need to think about it more. I really enjoy his company, we get on well and he is great with his daughter but I don't know if I can accept the amount of control his XP will always have in our lives.

Emeralda Thu 18-Aug-16 08:08:06

You've hit the nail on the head above when you mention the amount of control she will always have in your lives. Unfortunately, there is really nothing you can do to make this situation better, no matter how nice a person you are! I may be speaking from bitter experience, but if a relationship ends in unresolved conflict, that can continue for years with both sides convinced they're doing the right thing. A third party coming into the situation has no control over what happens but can be massively impacted by it all. It can also be very isolating. What do your friends and family think at this stage?
Stick around here for support, it's great. At the risk of sounding cynical and jaded, have a good look through the high-conflict threads and have a think about whether that's where you want to be in 5 or 10 years time. Is this what you want to spend your time and energy on?
Good luck!

lookluv Thu 18-Aug-16 11:12:09

Salem - not sure there has been abuse directed at you from what you have said. If you read the texts sent to your BF then stop.

I think emeralda has good advice.

I would say one thing - you have no clue or understanding of how hard it is to be left with a very young babe and watch the father walk away and find a new partner within 4 months. To say there were issues with contact but that he has had ONs since the baby was 7-8 months old takes an awful amount of trust of the mother left holding the baby to the unreliable, fickle person who walked out.

anyone who says letting your child go off with the person who "fucked you over" be that man or woman is easy, has never had to do it. Especially when that child is unable to communicate.

I would say they are actually doing OK for the kid and less than one year into this sad state of affairs - this is not too bad. Things will calm down but I doubt they will ever be easy.

She is not the evil person, neither are you and neither is the father.

Sanityseeker75 Thu 18-Aug-16 13:18:11

lookluv
On more than one occasion she has messaged me on Facebook telling me I'm an idiot, he's a scumbag and so on

I think you may have missed this in the OP.

Salem - best thing you would have done is to block her on FB as you say. My now DH and his ex split up when she was pregnant with his DS and I was his next relationship and now have been married for over 10 years.

It is not easy and there are times that you will feel that the ex is going out of her way to be deliberately obstructive in your relationship. Very little will be a bout the two of you - there will always be the 4 of you, with his lo and his ex BUT it can work.

The best thing I ever did was learn to not react. I couldn't change his ex, wouldn't want to change his DC the only thing I could change was myself. I try to look at things from her point of view and actually the most of the stuff I realised didn't really bother me, I just got used to being indignant on my DH's behalf. Well he is an adult and thats the mother of his children so let them get on with it, since then relationships all round have got much better and we are all a lot happier including the kids

OutToGetYou Thu 18-Aug-16 13:22:17

lookluv "not sure there has been abuse directed at you from what you have said"

From the OP: "On more than one occasion she has messaged me on Facebook telling me I'm an idiot, he's a scumbag and so on."

Sounds like abuse directed at the OP to me.

"anyone who says letting your child go off with the person who "fucked you over" be that man or woman is easy, has never had to do it"

No-one has said that confused

"She is not the evil person, "

No-on said she was.

Anyway - OP - neither you nor your dp can control how the ex behaves. With a little baby I'd say they do need quite a lot of contact but I would be unhappy with early morning texts on non contact days and also with her escalating to threats if she doesn't get instant replies.

I doubt it will get better though. Your dp is likely to be too concerned about the threat of loss of contact to really front up to her and tell her to knock it off, so you'll have this for the rest of your life really.

My dp ex-w isn't too bad, in fact it's sometimes the opposite in that he can't get hold of her to find out when she is having dss (who mainly lives with us) but he does still worry about her saying dss will live with her and he'd not have as much time with him.

Salemthecat Fri 19-Aug-16 18:02:34

Hi Lookluv, sorry if you missed it but she absolutely has directed abuse my way. I also don't see her as evil - far from it! I'm her ex-partners new girlfriend, I never expected her to be my best pal but I also don't deserve abuse. I also didn't say I thought it would be easy for her but I didn't expect this level of conflict - maybe that was me being naive.

Sanity, that is really helpful, thank you. I think you may have touched on something there when you say that I can take a step back and see if any of their arguments actually impact on me and if not then just let them get on with it. This would probably take away 95% of them!

Out, it's definitely something to think about as to whether I can tolerate it forever. I initially thought I'd struggle with getting on with his wee girl as I don't have any kids of my own yet and have never really been around young babies. I've met her twice now and loved her company - she's a wee superstar.

Lovemusic33 Sun 21-Aug-16 09:59:39

Salem, I am going through the same, my partner has 2 children with his ex, we have been together 9 months, she was messaging and phoning him several times a day, asking him to dicapline the children over the phone and phoning because something in the house was broken ( tv, electric had gone out, any excuse to call really), I kept my mouth shut for a while but eventually had to say something. Over the past month or so she has been texting and messaging me via FB, she has message threats and abuse towards me and dp, she has now been bloked by both of us ( though she managed to message me last night ), a few weeks ago she started refusing do contact with his children and now we are in the process of taking her to court so dp can get contact. Things have got really messy and I am tempted to report her for harassment. I love dp to bits but deep down I wish I never got involved, it's not going to get easier sad.

Mrsx3 Thu 15-Sep-16 16:42:54

Me and my exdh message most days about the kids. We have 50 / 50 access. We have been divorced 5 years and our kids are teens. I have re-married. All our texts are about day to say stuff with the kids or the rental property that we still jointly own. Sometimes we will message about trivial stuff - me to him 'i'll pick it up tomorrow if thats ok, going to Lisa's leaving do later tonight', or him e.g 'just bumped into Jess, can't beleive her little girl is at school now' etc.

user1470840482 Thu 15-Sep-16 21:28:04

Op your dp needs to get a seperate phone for his ex to discuss contact and ignore every message .

It is totally unacceptable , they do not need any contact unless it's about changing contact details .

If he doesn't agree then I would leave now , life is too short to get caught up in other people's mess .

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