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Dp exhausted from juggling work & access

(72 Posts)
Magda72 Sun 23-Apr-17 11:41:40

Just some background.....
Dp's ex & teen kids live together in town A. Dp also maintains a house there so he can have his kids at the weekend.
Dp is self employed & works around the country but has a main depot in town C which is 200 miles from town A & this is where he spends most of his working week.
I live in town C which is roughly 140 miles from Dps depot & 60 miles from Dps kids.
Dps ex never wanted to move nearer his depot & even when together Dp would be away most of the week & back at weekends.
Dps ex is a sahm & has never worked. She has also told Dp she has no intention of working. They have no formal access agreement but when divorcing they agreed that Dp would continue to work as he always has & see the kids at weekends only.
Dp provides all their maintenance & also pays for her house & car. He takes the kids on all their holidays/weekends away & pays for all their extras such as school trips.
When I met him he would see his kids Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Sunday (depending on work) every weekend. The only thing that has changed is that most Friday nights he now spends with me. He gets up early every Saturday morning & then travels to town A to see his kids.
He will also spend time with me mid week if work permits. He never got into the habit of seeing his kids midweek as he would only get to them about 8:30 which is too late to pick them up on school nights.
Now the issue is this - Dp is wrecked & I am really quite worried about him as he is about himself. He often works 12 hour days, works 5 days a week & then has his kids the other two days. He has very little free time & no down time.
He recently suggested to the kids that he take 2 half Friday's every month & that he then see them eow from school pick up to Sunday evening, & they were not happy; gave him a really hard time about access & blamed me! The eldest two are 14 & 17 & he explained to him that him not seeing them mid week is not my fault but is the 'fault' of his work & that the only thing that had changed since meeting me was the odd Friday night. He nicely pointed out that if he doesn't work their standard of living drops & that there will be less money aside for uni etc.
His ex quite literally sits back & does nothing for herself & this attitude seems to have filtered down to the kids - they expect everything from him - money & time & he is run ragged. The older two have given up all their hobbies & never do anything with friends at the weekend which I think is some of the problem - i.e. they are depending on Dp for all their weekend entertainment & if Dp is not around they just sit at home playing ex box. They also refuse to come here any weekend (they think my kids are weird) which would at least mean I could share the pick ups (ex won't drop them anywhere).
Dp & I know the situation isn't ideal & know we have to suck up a lot of stuff - but what happened when someone's health is suffering? Dp is trying to negotiate with them but is met with a brick wall constantly.
He had to work yesterday (Saturday) which is rare admittedly & stopped off with me at 11 last night. He was then up at 6 this morning to drive to town A to collect his kids & then drive them another 100 miles to his brothers for a family occasion that his 11 year old didn't want to miss. He will drive another 100 miles back this evening & will then have to drive another 200 miles tomorrow morning to be in work for 7:30.
I'd really appreciate insight from anyone who many have experienced similar regarding the geographical/logistical aspects of access. Dp desperately wants to do right by his kids in all ways but he's at the end of his rope.
For the record Dp does not work to also support me - I am financially independent.
I also realise that this may not be the board for this but as his OH I'm struggling to give advice re a situation that involves his kids if you get what I mean, as my own situation with my ex & my kids is very different. I feel his kids are manipulating him quite a lot but maybe this is natural and/or maybe I'm wrong.

ChickenBhuna Sun 23-Apr-17 11:51:34

Sounds like a mess OP but I don't think any good can come from you getting involved in any way.

What I will ask though is if this is the life you want for yourself? The situation is what it is , can you live with it?

Magda72 Sun 23-Apr-17 12:09:58

ChickenBhuna I hear you!
Thing is - my own ex & I live in the same town but he commutes daily to a town 70 miles away. He now sees our kids much less than he used to but our kids have managed to adapt. So I suppose I'm not without hope!
Dps kids are so different to mine & are so intractable that it's hard to know how to tackle them as nothing makes them happy bar having their dad all to themselves. I understand changes are hard for his 11 year old but I do feel the older 2 should be sparing a thought for their dad.
On a different but related topic they have not bought the poor man a Birthday, Christmas or Father's Day gift in 2 years!

ZilphasHatpin Sun 23-Apr-17 12:14:58

It's really between him and his DC isn't it?

ZilphasHatpin Sun 23-Apr-17 12:16:13

A good exercise for you to do today would be to write down some positive things about his children. You seem to be struggling to do that in both your posts so far. Everyone has positives.

Magda72 Sun 23-Apr-17 12:25:28

I'm just looking for some advice I could pass on to him as I don't think I'm the best person to have a opinion!
His kids are not bad kids at all. However THEY have said they don't want to spend time in my house with my kids because my kids are 'weird' so dp & I have never pushed that. I don't think my kids are weird lol, but they are very different to Dps kids & that's fine.
We are very sensitive to his kids perception/experience of things but it does feel a little like they want everything their way & Dp doesn't know how far to let that go.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 23-Apr-17 12:26:39

If he isn't happy with the financial and logistical arrangements then he has to be the one that initiates change - and in doing so he will need to take into account the impact on his relationship with his children.

The time to do so has probably long passed - when they were younger and he effectively outsourced their care to his ex wife in return for maintenance etc.

I know someone with a similar financial situation, without the distance and with the split occurring when the children were already teenagers and the NRP had previously been heavily involved with their upbringing. The NRP involved didn't want to do anything that might rock the boat and impact on his relationship with the children and I also felt they were taking the piss. However, on the other side of the coin they had 'lost' a previously very involved parent to a situation where they saw him for a few hours every week or so. Again he could have pushed for more, but the RP was opposed to that and would have made life even more difficult - for both him AND the children.
It's very hard for someone else, however closely involved, to fully understand the emotions and impacts.

Any changes have to come from him, if you can't accept things as they are - perhaps you need to consider your position in this.

I'm not saying that your viewpoint isn't valid at all - but if you aren't coming from the sane place it is likely to cause conflict between you.

Chasingsquirrels Sun 23-Apr-17 12:28:28

Sorry have x-posted.
The not coming to your home us very difficult - it effectively puts your DP into a split life situation, him & you / him & kids and that can be very hard to accept and live with.

AgentOprah Sun 23-Apr-17 12:33:04

I work all week and look after my kids at the weekend - that's what most parents do, so I don't really see thats the issue.

The problem is he works away from his family - and it sounds like its always been that way? Surely if he finds the driving too much he needs to look for work nearer his kids?

Magda72 Sun 23-Apr-17 12:36:09

No I can accept it. It's frustrating to observe but they are his kids.
My initial point was Dps exhaustion levels. I know he's a grown adult & has to sort it himself but he feels like he's hit a brick wall with the kids & just doesn't know if he should push it. He said to me this morning that he's really worried about falling asleep at the wheel as he is that tired.
I'm just curious how others may have tackled this type of issue. Dp is NRP but he does all holidays as I mentioned; he also does all parent teacher meetings etc. & keeps himself very involved that way.
And for the record he's not moaning - he's just exhausted.

Magda72 Sun 23-Apr-17 12:39:15

*@agentoprah. * He would if he could but his work is land based and he can only work in certain areas. If he was to work nearer his kids he would literally have to dissolve his business; a business he's built up over 25 years.

ZilphasHatpin Sun 23-Apr-17 12:43:45

If I was so exhausted I thought I would fall asleep at the wheel i would take some time off work.

What would you do OP? Would you send your children to live elsewhere if you were tired?

Chasingsquirrels Sun 23-Apr-17 12:46:24

And is he worried about pushing it with the kids because he thinks they will limit their time with him? It's really hard, he is the adult and wants to be there for them but also has his own life - which involves his work which pays for everything, and you.
The distances and time involved must be very wearing for him.
I'm struggling to know what to suggest.

notapizzaeater Sun 23-Apr-17 12:52:36

Can they eldest two not chaperone the younger ones on a train /coach ? So he doesn't have quite so far to drive ?

CheeseandGherkins Sun 23-Apr-17 13:00:26

If he's so exhausted from normal life, perhaps a visit to the doctor would be in order?

swingofthings Sun 23-Apr-17 13:00:48

* I feel his kids are manipulating him quite a lot but maybe this is natural and/or maybe I'm wrong*
It's not about what is natural but what is normal to them. Their dad decided that it was important for him to see his kids every week-end and to do all the travelling to enable it. It's become status quo and everyone was happy about it.

Maybe he has grown more tired (which isn't surprising) but he also has to deal with his relationship with you and it is must not be totally clear which one is really bringing on the suggestion to change visit time.

You say your kids have adjusted to seeing less of their dad because of a move, but in the case of your OH, it doesn't sound like anything has changed but you becoming more of part of his life. It is highly likely that whatever the situation, the kids will associate the chance with your demanding more of his time.

I think the only way forward is if he can convince them that his suggestion to reduce visit is truly to do with his health and wellbeing rather than you. That might be a challenge and take some time, or he tells them that that's how it is from now on whether they like or not and hope that they do come to accept it.

historyismything Sun 23-Apr-17 13:04:18

No advice to give, but surely he shouldn't still be supporting the EW? The children are all of school age; she should be getting a job to support herself!

LonginesPrime Sun 23-Apr-17 13:35:31

It seems all his hard work is going towards maintaining two households: his ex's and the one he lives in in Town C.

I agree with PPs that you should keep out if any decision making as it's all going to be blamed on you otherwise, but if I were your DP, I would be asking myself if the fact my kids would prefer me to maintain a separate house in Town C is sufficient reason for me to be working all the hours available if I don't want to (or can't sustain it).

If he didn't have the luxury of a spare house (which it doesn't sound like he can really afford), the kids would presumably have to see him at your house, regardless of whether you all get on (and lets face it, things aren't going to improve if everyone avoids each other forever).

If your DP is unhappy with the situation, he should change it. If it's just you, though, I think it's a case of accept it or leave him.

ZilphasHatpin Sun 23-Apr-17 13:43:10

if he wasn't with OP he wouldn't have the option of giving up his own house. He would have to maintain it or he would have nowhere to live. It doesn't sound like he is living with OP anyway. He sees her a Friday night and a midweek night. Otherwise he is in the town where he works. He needs to make this decision about his contact with DC and his working hours independent of his relationship with OP.

RandomMess Sun 23-Apr-17 13:43:24

TBH he should cut back on work and maintenance/treats/holidays will get cut back accordingly...

Better to stay involved with the DC and reduce their standard of living than not have a relationship with them tbh.

Perhaps once a month he doesn't have weekend contact to rest and perhaps offer Fri to Sun 2 weekends a month if they want it but the weekend off is non-negotiable?

As a parent you do have to look after yourself and I know as I am getting older physically I am more knackered/tired and can't do as much as I could before. What would they do if he got very unwell? Everything would have to change, life cannot always go on as it used to.

ChickenBhuna Sun 23-Apr-17 13:45:00

Your DP simply doesn't seem to have the time to live the way he does OP. You're probably right to be concerned for him.

Something has to give doesn't it? As others have said , a reduction of working hours and inturn income might work but then there's the issue of his children and yours not seeming to blend very well. I'm not sure where that leaves you OP , can you ever see the two of you moving in together if there are these issues?

I'm sorry , as it it all sounds really difficult for everyone.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 23-Apr-17 13:52:07

Can't they take a train to see him?

Magda72 Sun 23-Apr-17 14:25:15

Thanks for all the replies - there's a great selection of feedback here.
To clarify; ideally he would like to sell his own house & have his base here with me as yes it (the house) is a drain on him & hard to maintain. However we are both very reluctant to do this as his kids are so unwilling to spend time in my house. In fairness to my Dp he also doesn't want to disrupt my kids as he himself has said the issue is his own kids who just seem to have taken against mine. My own kids have tried to be open & friendly to his (Dps own observation). The ex won't let them take public transport anywhere (another story) nor will she even drive them to his house at the weekend. If he asks her to she tells him to "f**king collect them himself if he wants to see them"!
I fully agree that there's no way he should be supporting her at this stage but I do feel that's between them. About a year ago he said to her he'd take the kids more but would have to reduce maintenance & she said no way & that she'd fight him tooth & nail.
For the record he has tried to explain to the kids that I'm not pushing this but they don't really seem to be taking it on board. Also Dp is not a farmer but something similar & if he takes time off no money comes in.
Reading through posts though it has become clear the whole thing is Catch 22 & that work probably does have to give in some manner. So maybe he needs to start effecting a strategy to ease off a bit & possibly return to court to reduce maintenance. Like most he's reluctant to go back to court unless absolutely necessary but maybe he'll just have to look at that & dig in.
As an aside my own ex doesn't ease off work to spend more time with our kids but I still send mine to his if he's not there so they can spend time with his Dp & their half siblings. I believe everyone has to compromise in these situations but it does feel like Dps kids & ex will not move an inch on anything!

ZilphasHatpin Sun 23-Apr-17 14:31:58

she said no way & that she'd fight him tooth & nail.

Well she can fight all she wants, if he has the DCs more he is allowed to reduce maintenance and if his income reduces he is allowed to reduce maintenance. So she can fight to her heart's content but he can't give what he doesn't have. He needs to put on his big boy pants and do it.

Fwiw if his job requires him to work such hours that he can never afford to take anytime off then he is either working very inefficiently or he is in an incredibly pointless job. everyone needs time off. He is self employed so it's up to him to manage his time better if it is causing him to be so exhausted.

ZilphasHatpin Sun 23-Apr-17 14:35:52

my own ex doesn't ease off work to spend more time with our kids but I still send mine to his if he's not there so they can spend time with his Dp & their half siblings.

Your own ex (and you) has the luxury of having a partner there to care for his and your children. If your ex was single he would have to take time off to look after his own children or else just not see them which I am sure you wouldn't be happy about. He is very lucky he has a partner who is happy to do his childcare for him. You are lucky she is happy to do it to.

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