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How far do your children have to travel to see your ex?

(25 Posts)
badgerread Sun 13-Nov-16 17:57:47

I'm just curious that's all. My ex has moved a 2.5/3hr drive away living with his new partner and her children. Before he was with her we had a good working relationship in relation to the children but she wasn't happy with that so now it's basically gone pear shaped.

Initially on the weekends he had the children he would stay with his parents (close to us) but she didn't like that so he now goes to watch our sons respected sports matches on a Saturday, which finish around 4pm, then insists on driving 3hrs there and comes back the following day. He has admitted previously that he doesn't like doing it but she insists on it, and he won't stand up to her.....

I just think it's a bit much for a 12 and 7 year to be in the car all that time. It's not exactly quality time with them is it?

satinthedark Sun 13-Nov-16 20:34:57

I respect him for doing his best to maintain his relationship with his children but if what you say is true - he knows to grow a pair!

He needs tostand up to his new DP and say his DCs come first, stay with his parents or work out something else that works for him and them.

I am sure it is a pain to her not having him aorund EOW but there is a compromise that had to be made when he moved in with her, his DCS are undoubtedly seeing Dad less and she is gong to have to square that with some inconvenience as well.

Sorry OP - he sounds like he is trying but has not got the kahunas to tell her what comes first in his life and that is his kids

BubbleGumBubble Mon 14-Nov-16 06:39:31

There is nothing you can do if he wont put his DC first.
I assume he does not have them eow because of the sports they do but does he have them over for the holidays or at the weekends when the sports season finishes (if it does finish)?

badgerread Mon 14-Nov-16 07:22:19

Thank you for you replies. Satin, you're absolutely right with your last comment!

He has them EOW Bubble but insists on taking them to his place after their sports have finished on a Saturday around 4pm so they don't get there until 7pm, then they have to leave the next day at 3pm to get back.

I have suggested maybe not having them EOW but having longer periods in the holidays where he would get more time with them. I just think the travelling is uncalled for when he has his parents or his sisters to stay at.

When he brings them back his GF is in the car with her 11 year old as she seems to think that we must be having sex at every opportunity she's not there. Errrrrr, no I don't so.....!! the atmosphere on the doorstep is just awful, he used to come in for coffee and we would chat about the boys, but that has been knocked on the head. She has no relationship at all with her ex and I think she wants ours to be the same....

123MothergotafleA Mon 14-Nov-16 07:25:56

What a tangled web...

BubbleGumBubble Mon 14-Nov-16 07:28:50

The 3 hours in the car is not great but not torture either. It is important that they see their dad and at least they are not losing out on their activity.

Sadly you cannot make him stand up to his gf and you will just have to go with it. Its crap I know.

LineyReborn Mon 14-Nov-16 07:36:16

Her 11 year old spends 3pm to 9pm in a car every other Sunday?

badgerread Mon 14-Nov-16 08:38:28

Liney, yes... she has 4 children the youngest being 11, so it's either her that comes in the car or her 13 year old son... the others she leaves at home.

Bubble. I have to suck it up yes.

On another note. She texts my eldest (12) things I think are a bit inappropriate. Her and ex have been together a couple of years. She will text things like, 'Miss you already', 'You bring us so much joy'. Is that odd or AIBU?

swingofthings Mon 14-Nov-16 08:45:28

My kids love long car journeys! They find them relaxing between talking and listening to music. I have to say that I have the best conversations with them in the car, probably because they can't escape! Her being there is on call for, there is no need for it and takes away that one to one moment that probably makes the travel not as bad for them.

In a way, I do agree it is important that they get to be in the house so that they feel that it is 'home' too whereas staying with the family is more like camping and makes it harder to have a 'normal' visit.

I do agree with you though that as they get older reducing the frequency for longer stays will likely be the way to go.

Dollyparton3 Mon 14-Nov-16 13:46:19

I dont think the texts are inappropriate at all, maybe hard for you to read but then again, why are you reading them?

My DSS and DSD both tell me regularly on text how much they love me and if we've not seen them for a while (I don't do the once a week visit) they'll text me to tell me they miss me and ask what we're doing the next weekend.

QueenOfTheNaps Mon 14-Nov-16 13:59:37

I think it's not ideal but it's also important that your DC will spend time in their dads home with their step-siblings. Staying at his mums/sisters obviously wouldn't allow for this to happen and isn't a fun thing to do as a grown up...

To be honest, I'm a little envious as my ex lives 3hrs away from me and our son and has managed to see him for a total of 3 times this year- similar to last year, and the year before, etc.

It's great that your ex is still a part of their lives consistently (by the way, he should totally be and I'm not saying you should think yourself lucky at all, I just got a wrongun lol)

QueenOfTheNaps Mon 14-Nov-16 14:00:47

Oh, and the texts aren't inappropriate IMO. It shows she cares and wants them to feel welcome in her and XP's new life - it's a good thing smile

badgerread Mon 14-Nov-16 14:28:14

Thanks everyone.

Dolly can I ask how long you've been with your SC's father? I occasionally check my son's phone as he is only 12, hence seeing the messages from his Dad's GF.

Dollyparton3 Mon 14-Nov-16 20:54:36

3.5 years. But I'd say they were saying they loved me after a year, and it was totally unsolicited but lovely.

I get that every parent wants to check their child's phone, that's totally responsible, but I'd say that reading texts from the ex's other half is only going to hurt you out of morbid curiosity. It's just not necessary.

We've also checked DSS's phone once when we had cause for concern, but we chose not to read his family whatsapp group that his family have set up. None of our business to be reading.

Everytimeref Mon 14-Nov-16 21:06:39

Dont think the dad is being unreasonable, he could be insisting that the children miss their sports every other weekend so that he could have longer time at his home with his children.
Sorry but asking the dad to spend every other weekend with his parents is unreasonable. Things change and you have to accept that.

lalalalyra Mon 14-Nov-16 21:45:41

he could be insisting that the children miss their sports every other weekend so that he could have longer time at his home with his children.

I was just about to say this. My friend's children have basically had to give up all their weekend activities because their father insists eow is 'his' time - even though most of that time is spent in his house, watching tv, 10 minutes from the football ground... So it's not ideal that your children spend so much time in the car, but it could be worse.

hannahturning30 Wed 16-Nov-16 12:46:30

I could be the step mum in this situation, sounds to me like he's doing a fantastic job at maintaining his relationship with his children, and trying to keep everyone happy.

My dh and I have had the suggestion that he should stay at his parents with ss, the reality is that they live in a tiny bungalow, both have health issues and they already have his adult sister at home, it would be overcrowded and unfair to put on them.
From my perspective, and being completely honest, I would also feel that my children (the youngest of which is my husbands and a half sibling to ss) and I were being excluded and pushed out from my husbands family if he were to go swanning off eow, perhaps that is selfish but it is how I'd feel. I also think the children would resent it and feel ss is getting preferential treatment.

When a new partner and children come along things change and everyone has to adapt. It sounds as though you are having difficulty with this and projecting it into something else if I'm being honest. Perhaps if your children were staying at his parents or sisters they would feel excluded and pushed out from their Dad's new family?

I often pop along on journeys with my husband, and it has nothing to do with the fact I think he's going to jump his ex wife's bones the minute my back is turned! It means I, and the children, get to visit dh's family (who are also mine and the children's family), we get to visit friends and we can share the journey, which when it is 7 hours long in our case is a godsend.
It's also worth bearing in mind that although every other weekend may not sound like a lot of time for him to be away from his new family to you, the reality for them may be very different. When you take into account working hours and other commitments they may get very little time together as a family themselves, in my case uni, work and other children's commitments leave us with very little time together, as family or couple!

You may not think of a car journey as quality time, but we've found that the best conversations seem to happen when we are stuck in a confined space with not much to do, we often stop for a meal out too. I'm sure if the journey was problematic for your children they'd let you know.

Regarding the assuption that because she has no relationship with her ex she thinks yours and your exes relationship should be the same, I find it hard to believe that's her mindset. I have no relationship with my ex and the last thing I think about my husband and his ex wife is that their situation should be the same. I want anything but that after seeing the upset caused to my son and would never want ss to go through that.

You don't say much about your relationship with his new partner, but assuming she isn't the other woman theres no reason you can't invite your ex and her in for a coffee to chat about the boys. I know there's a general consensus that the ex and new partner don't need to have any kind of relationship, and they dont, but its much better for children to see the adults getting along, and will make other circumstances where you're forced to be in her vicinity less awkward.

It sounds like they are both trying their best to build a family where everyone feels valued and included. I think you are very lucky to be honest. There's no reason his partner has to be seen of as the enemy (unless she's the OW, in which case I'd understand the hostility!) you never know what may happen in the future, maybe they'll move closer or the boys will decide they don't want to do the journey so often. In the meantime you just have to make the best of it and appreciate the fact they are trying their best to act in everyone's best interests. As well as being in the other woman's shoes on this post I also know what it's like to witness your child being abandoned and pushed out in favour of the new family, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

willconcern Wed 16-Nov-16 12:59:35

he could be insisting that the children miss their sports every other weekend so that he could have longer time at his home with his children


Although not ideal that he's moved 2.5 hours away, it is unrealistic to expect him to leave his DP every other weekend to see the DCs at his mum's house. Hardly conducive to building up their blended family.

I agree with Hannahturning30

handsfree Wed 16-Nov-16 13:08:49

My dsd lives 150 miles away from us, it takes dh anything from 3.5-5 hours to get there.
We see her every 3rd weekend, he picks her up from school on a Friday if possible but that depends on work so it is often more like 6pm. They drive back to ours and then leave at around 2pm on Sunday.

So on average dh has to do around 16 hours driving and dsd has to spend around 8 hours in the car. She watches films, plays games, they chat and they stop for meals together etc so I think while it's not ideal at all it's not awful either. Dh might disagree though, he does a lot of driving for work and is starting to find it a bit much. Occasionally he stays up there but that means booking a hotel (and dsd status with him) however I imagine this will increase as dsd gets older and I suspect will want to come here less.

badgerread Wed 16-Nov-16 15:10:00

To be honest before ex DH girlfriend came along we used to have a great working relationship. We would go to parents evening, plays and sports events to show a united front for the boys. We split up 7 years ago and he moved in with her and her 4 children in January. Ever since then all this has stopped. He has told me himself that she is jealous and paranoid about me and doesn't see a need for him to go to the children's events with me. I have a DP of 4.5 years and he has 2 children. I wouldn't dream of interfering with him and his exes arrangements. My ex has children to play sports each Saturday but he has told me it is her that refuses and says they must come back to theirs for the weekend. He has put his foot down on this point. I am very happy in my relationship, he is happy in his. The thing that I am upset and frustrated with is the fact that everything has changed since January when we operated perfectly well for 6 years before that. It is awkward and hostile on the doorstep when she is in the car yet when she's not he comes in and we catch up about the boys, which is obviously a lot more positive for the boys to witness.

Jett99 Mon 28-Nov-16 17:41:16

The thing I would say in these sorts of situations is to switch it round. If you only got to see your children every other weekend, that would be bad enough, but on top of that trying to make things work in a relatively new blended family? Very tricky. All sorts of guilty thoughts are going to be going through your head about not including your children or your partner. I imagine that your ex wants your kids to be involved in his new life, probably so they don't feel pushed out! The car journey might not be ideal, but it's not the end of the world. I can understand that things have changed and you wish it had stayed the same, but if it had been the other way round and you had to stay with parents or relatives with your children every other weekend instead of taking them to join in with your family, I assume that you wouldn't see that scenario as being realistic. You ex wants to move on, and he wants to move on with your children, not leave them behind. If things aren't great between your and your ex's partner, maybe make an effort to try to cultivate a relationship with her. As a stepparent, it's very difficult to initiate things because you are often treading on eggshells, so if you invited them round one afternoon, or invited them both to sports / activities / school events, things might run a bit more smoothly, and you all might fit into the new routine a bit more easily. Just my two cents. Good luck! smile

satinthedark Mon 28-Nov-16 18:21:50

Sorry Hannahturning that was self indulgent, woe is me the second family and my children will suffer because of what we are talking about 52 nights per year.

The OP had a good set up it worked and the SM is the one wanting the changes- this has nothing to do with the good of the kids it is about her.

Also it is not ther fathers time - it is the childrens time to have a relationship with their father and that includes doing normal activities.

Wdigin2this Mon 28-Nov-16 22:35:43

I'm going to stir things up with this I know...however, I take slight issue with the statement children must always come first
Of course the welfare and care of young children is a given, and I'm not advocating neglect here. But in current times I feel children, (particularly of broken marriages) are allowed to believe that they're needs, wants and demands are the pivotal point around which the household must spin! They are not the most important cog in any dynamic, their dependency on parents must of course be a priority, but why are they brought up to think they must have what they want, when they want it....because what they want is so much more important than anyone else.
I've watched a child go from a reasonable toddler to a demanding, difficult, unlikable and frankly, atrociously behaved young man who has problems fitting in with his peers! !
It was my belief that he was spoiled, indulged and overcompensated for his parents split, and it could only get worse....and this has proved to be true!
Anyway, rant over, my point was that, yes you need to look after your DC, and do your best for them, but that shouldn't impact on looking after and doing your best for your partner too!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 29-Nov-16 14:35:57

I think that he is trying, and also not expecting you to facilitate any of it either, I'm not sure what else he can do?

I know it's a big change and upheaval moving so far away, it does make things difficult. However, the bigger issue might be, how much is your resentment about his new partner going to spill out onto the children? Because that will also have a detrimental effect.

StefCWS Tue 29-Nov-16 14:52:30

I don't really think he can do much more than he is doing. He wants to see his children and its good he hasn't tried to change the routine to every other weekend instead. He must spend all his weekend driving and im sure she the new partner will soon fed up of spending every sunday sitting in the car soon.

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