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Ow step mum- what's reasonable.

(106 Posts)
Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 13:30:33

So STBXH's affair was discovered 4 months ago. He immediately moved in with OW. He lied about this for about 6 weeks. I confronted her in the street and she also lied.

It's obviously been a rocky road and I've done things I'm not proud of (confronting her and I went to the house to see if he was there).

He initially had no contact with DD2 but now has e.o weekend at his parents' and week night nursery pick ups depending on whether he is travelling for work.

He now wants DD to meet his... woman and to stay over there. He also wants to move to 50% residential stays.

This is obviously incredibly emotive for me on all levels so after some objective perspective from step mothers. What's reasonable?

I think DD is too young for 50% although I would be happy to discuss adding on Sunday nights or something. Also as he travels weekly it wouldn't be 50% on set days just as and when he could which I don't feel is ok but looking for objective views. I would consider planning out how we could move to closer to 50% by school age but tbh the travelling still sticks in my craw... DD has a right to see her father not his partner so if he's not even going to be there?!

I would like to meet the woman (I know her anyway as they were colleagues). I think our first meeting will likely be tense due to both our actions but so far she's only ever lied to me so very uncomfortable with her caring for DD. I want to find out what kind of relationship she wants with DD and feel like I can talk to her.

I'd like to see the house. This they're really unhappy about so I suspect is unreasonable but because there have been so many lies about it and I'm now banned from going there it feels bad for DD to stay there... I guess that's just my emotions not DD though.

I think now (4 months in) is too soon for DD to stay over with the woman there. I feel like he wants DD to adjust to a new partner and a new home simultaneously. If he had his own place I don't think I'd feel that. Any suggestion that their relationship is new/untested not very welcomed but it does feel very fast to me.

DD hasn't net her yet.

Go on- where am I out of line?! Maybe everywhere. If like to hear it from you not them smile

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RandomMess Sat 27-Jan-18 13:39:47

I wouldn't be agreeing to ad hoc 50:50 completely unreasonable- how on earth can you rebuild your life without regular set time to do stuff!!

Does his travel involve weekends? I would offer EOW Fri-Mon and a fixed night during the week and 4 weeks holidays during the year for a max of perhaps 10 days in one stretch.

At 2 your DD will quickly accept his new partner but would suggest 2 months before she takes care of DD without him there. TBH having care of DD will soon knock any rose tinted glasses of them both...

Soullesstrader Sat 27-Jan-18 13:47:37

This probably isn't what you want to hear but you can't tell him when your DD can and can't see his new partner. You also have no right to see the house. That's all legally speaking. You don't have any right to sit down with her. They may agree to this but be aware they are in no way obliged to. The best thing is to justify why any of this is in your DD's best interests.

I agree that 50/50 doesn't work if he has a varying schedule. Again, you need to frame your argument around what is best for your DD - not you or him.

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 13:49:41

Thanks Random. On the one hand of course I want DD to be happy around her once they meet but it does cut me deep imagining her hugging her or whatever. Feels like a huge betrayal all over again. I know that's completely irrational... it is still relatively early days. I think So, anyway.

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Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 13:51:58

Thanks Soulless yeah I want to hear it straight to prepare myself! All my friends/family are very much 'that's outrageous he can't do this/that' when I know that legally he absolutely can.

There's the law, and then there's what most people feel is fair, which is usually above that base level. I'd like to see where that line falls.

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Soullesstrader Sat 27-Jan-18 13:59:15

Yes Pog - in my experience what people are outraged by and what the law says are very different.

If he's at all reasonable and you can try to remove some of the emotion you might be able to get to a place where you feel more comfortable. It might be best to try to do it on email rather than in person though as it's easier to remove some of the emotion.

If he's told you his plans you're at an advantage. My ex has never bothered to discuss anything like that with me. He just does as he pleases and I only find out through DC.

BanyanTree Sat 27-Jan-18 13:59:30

Being mostly around you is in your DD's best interests. Being around a poor excuse of a father who up'd and left before she was 2 to move in with his affair is not in her best interests. Let him fight for his rights to see her, don't make it easy for him.

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 14:11:23

Banyan while I'd agree I don't see how leaving was in her best interests I don't want to reduce contact. She dotes on him and he's an engaged father when he's here. I also want to be able to look DD in the eye and say I did what I truly believed to be fair for for her. But obviously I can't be at all objective I'm still picking myself up.

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RandomMess Sat 27-Jan-18 14:22:40

I see EOW and once per night is sort of the current arrangement.

Increase it to EOW and say every Tuesday and Thursdays when it's not his weekend. Agree to it being at his new home and that after a couple of nights the contact continues id he is away.

Iterate that 50:50 isn't in her best interests that latest evidence is that one place needs to be a primary home and that is with you as it has been for the last 4 months!

If you are reasonable etc that will stand you in good stead if you ever do go to court.

Ask him for the weeks he wants her for his annual leave - it's important he realises that his annual leave is time to spend with his DD not just his new partner because once she is at school covering school hols needs to happen!

NorthernSpirit Sat 27-Jan-18 14:23:52

You have to take your emotion out (as hard as it is as he’s done wrong). He might have been a shit husband, but that doesn’t make him a shit partner. Your child has a right to see their dad. Don’t stop that right, don’t punish the child by stopping contact and don’t use the child as a weapon.

Don’t meet her. It’s not good for your mental health. As others of said - you have no legal right to.

Don’t visit the house - as above.

You can’t dictate who the child sees or what they do in the dads time.

My OH left his wife over 5 years ago and divorced her over 4 years ago. She used the children as weapons. When I met him 3 years ago - she tried to control and dictate what the children could do, who they could see. It eventually went to court and she was given a stern taking to by a judge. The dad can do what he likes, just like he can’t control or dictate your time.

You do need to agree a schedule. But remember the child is as much of the dads as yours. Why not start at 50:50 if you can agree a regular schedule? My OH’s EW has made contact very difficult for the dad. They have a court order and she’s been back to court for breaching it a couple of times. Last time a judge threatened to take the children off her. The children are the ones who suffer. Put your child’s needs first over any bitterness or emotion.

QuiteLikely5 Sat 27-Jan-18 14:34:30

Why not every Friday and Saturday?

The new woman - just let them meet. If you don’t you are stressing yourself out and other people for no good reason. If she is a risk then no but what evidence have you got?

The house - seriously?! You are being ott. Just let go.

Like your wounds in private. Your child isn’t a weapon. If your ex and his ow split up tomorrow why does that matter to your daughter? It doesn’t so no point in making them test their relationship to see how long it lasts. It will hurt and damage your daughter much more by withholding her or being ridiculous about things which as long as you believe your child to be safe) are quite frankly non of your business

Happiness is the best form of revenge. Hold your head high and move on

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 14:38:23

Northern Its die to the regular schedule I have issue with 50:50. He travels away for work erratically Mon-Fri. Of the last 15 nursery collections he managed 6 for instance.

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Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 14:39:16

Quite I work full time, I'd like to have daytime with my DD too!

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FizzyGreenWater Sat 27-Jan-18 14:41:30

You don't have to agree to 50/50, no.

Personally I don't believe that's in a child's best interests, and certainly not from two, and certainly not when said other parent has just left and started a new relationship which may or may not go the distance.

I'd be telling him that no, if he wants 50/50 he goes to court because you don't think it's in the best interests of a two year old. You consider EOW and a daytime in the week best, especially when his situation is up in the air. Let her get used to him having left for a start. Let everyone, including him, get used to the new normal first. Let emotions die down and see how DD copes with it all before making logner term decisions. And you can make it damn clear that as your DD's mum you are most definitely going to make sure that whatever the situation, you consider it HIS responsibility to parent, not his partner of five minutes flat who does not know your DD, and if he wants this to go well then the first thing he has to understand is that through this period of change, the thing your joint DD needs most is him, spending time with her and trying to make sure she feels confident in the new set-up. Worst way to do that would be instantly introducing this new person while these changes are ongoing. So -let everything settle down and see whether their nasty affair stands up to the light of day after all and then discuss longer term plans and the potential role of this new person a litle way down the line.

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 14:45:31

Oh and quite if they split tomorrow he'd have to move again so she'd have more disruption. I know some kids move all the time but Yeah, the infancy of their relationship is a concern for this reason.

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FizzyGreenWater Sat 27-Jan-18 14:46:03

Its die to the regular schedule I have issue with 50:50. He travels away for work erratically Mon-Fri. Of the last 15 nursery collections he managed 6 for instance.

Then you say no.

Tell him you'll more than meet him halfway on facilitating time when he can see her but you are not going to allow him leaving to impact on her any more negatively than it has to. So if he is travelling away Mon-Fri, he can't be there for a regular nursery pickup. You can. There's no argument there, is there? Unless his idea of 50/50 isn't about spending time with your DD, but has uglier connotations of 'time scoring' and/or avoiding maintenance.

She's two. She's about to have enough upheaval in her little life. No to 50/50. It can always be revisited once she's older, it's not set in stone. But for now - you absolutely do not have to agree. He doesn't get to call any shots here.

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 14:50:47

Fizzy yeah we have discussed that he needs to keep up 1:1 time with DD once he introduces.

I think that's the issue- they've moved in so fast it's not just meeting her it's living with her e.o weekend. It's a lot for her to take in.

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Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 15:03:32

Fizzy he is paying an amount that matches what he used to put into the home so we aren't impacted too much financially. He has stated any increase in his contact won't reduce his maintenance payment as he appreciates a lot of the costs are fixed.

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NorthernSpirit Sat 27-Jan-18 15:08:04

@FizzyGreenWater - your post sounds very controlling ‘you are not going to ‘allow’ him’ ‘no to 50:50’ ‘he doesn’t get to call any shots’.

What makes you think the mother gets to control and dictate? Children are as much a dads as the mums. The mum doesn’t get to control or dictate.

It’s whats best for the child. Not what’s best for the mum and point scoring.

I can’t abide mothers who control. Children have a right to see their dad. Yes he was a shit husband, but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily a shit dad.

SJane45S Sat 27-Jan-18 15:13:05

I’m both a stepmum & the bio mum. What everyone has said about trying to take the emotion out of it is wise. Of course you’ve every right to be furious & behave irrationally but rant to your friends & family & not to your DD or in front of her because at the end of the day it’s about her emotional well-being now. I met with both my eldest DD’s stepmums (yes there were 2 over the years!) & tried to have a civil relationship. My stepdaughter’s mother & I & my DH had a bloody awful relationship for years & seeing my adult (and lovely) stepdaughter now & how she struggles with confidence & feeling secure I regret all the rubbish she witnessed. Keeping your DD out of all the bitterness is the best gift you can give her, believe me.

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 15:16:45

Northern he walked out and blocked my number for a fortnight. So yes I fully agree we have the sane responsibilities towards her (not rights, she has a right to see us not the other way round) I feel he has put himself in a position where I do get to decide a little more as he shirked his responsibilities...

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Sunny779 Sat 27-Jan-18 15:17:46

What @northernspirit said with bells on. And in addition re his travelling - children benefit from and thrive with a routine and stability - try to agree regular nights but I can appreciate that this may not end up as 50/50.

You sound attuned to your daughters needs for good parenting even though you might be reeling from your ex's betrayal. If you "act it out " following your rational instincts to put your daughter first, even though your emotions may not feel like doing this, the emotional turmoil will ease where you cease to care and you will be able to look back knowing you disengaged from the shite of his betrayal and put your daughter first 💐

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 15:29:54

SJane thank you that's really important to remember. It's early days and emotions running high but I guess I do have faith all parties want that... they haven't just gone and done introductions or moved her in for instance.

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dkb15164 Sat 27-Jan-18 15:47:42

As a child of divorce etc your best ploy is to find an outlet for your emotions so you can remind calm and professional when making arrangements. He sounds similar to my dad, a real shitbag: I never understood this till I was much older as my mother never had a cross word to say about him despite going through a horrible divorce, she kept it totally separate from him. She used to always say "your dad can be a difficult man to live with but he's very generous and he loves you very much". I have a huge amount of respect for her for that. In terms of childcare arrangements etc I think it is important that you have a sit down discussion with your STBXH and his OH even if it means you have to do it with a mediator present. Mediators help ease the tension on both sides and keep conversation flowing reminding everybody that it's about what's good for the child. If anything ends up in a nasty court battle, the judge will probably recommend you go to one anyway so it might be best to skip the middle man. In terms of seeing the house, I would say that knowing the address for emergency is 100% necessary and so is him showing you some kind of proof that he has childproofed he place and that she has her own room. I don't think you going over there in person is 100% necessary as that's when boundaries begin to get crossed - dropping off a small box of toys and some clothes in case she needs spares when she's over there however could be a really good way of saying to them "I'm not going to prevent you from seeing our child, I just want what's best for her but I'm going to need you guys to work with me not against me in terms of dates." Your partner will also quickly realise that 50:50 is totally unpractical and unfair on the kid as well as both parents - just because he's able to go a week without seeing her doesn't mean you are. Remember to look after yourself as well x

Pogmella Sat 27-Jan-18 15:54:05

dkb that's a great line- he's dreadful with money and always buying extravagant gifts so would fit...

I'm also child of divorce. I knew my dad was a shit (v. Violent) but it was still hard to hear mum say it as obviously I knew that's where I came from.

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