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Maintaining contact after split. What do you think?(31 Posts)
Me and my exp separated about a month ago after a long term relationship of 10 years. 4 children together and he has 1 child with his ex wife.
I just don’t know what to do in order to keep everyone happy when maintaining relationships.
His ex has asked if my (former?) dsc can stay over at mine every other Friday night as my ex works Saturdays so it would mean he leaves early Saturday morning and although the child is 14 and perfectly ok being left alone, it’s a new environment.
I mean, I’m ok with this. I think. And it’s good for the children to still see each other. But is it expecting too much of me to maintain a permanent arrangement? Is it even normal? Eventually I do want to rearrange bedrooms so that my own children aren’t as cramped together, and I don’t want anyone to be offended or hurt by this. Maybe in the Spring time.
What would you do going forward?
But is it expecting too much of me to maintain a permanent arrangement?
Yes, it absolutely is.
It's for the parents to sort out, not you. If your ex is any kind of father, the kids will all maintain contact anyway. Yes, it would be lovely if you could have a relationship with the SC where he could pop in now and then to see his siblings/you, especially after being in his life 10 years, but you're not anyone's babysitter.
What I would perhaps do is offer a set amount of Fridays, maybe three, until the SC settles in the new house, and after that his parents will need to rearrange contact if they feel he can't be left on a Saturday morning.
You need to start your new life with firm boundaries, for you and your kids.
As long as YOU are being paid maintenance for this kid. (Sorry to be so blunt, but you are providing food and childcare here.... Get this in writing, ASAFP!!!)
I wouldn't commit to a set arrangement. It's great that you're in contact with DSCs mum but that doesn't mean you should be covering for you're ex's childcare. That's too much. I would think a more casual, come for tea sometimes would be better.
And would this arrangement mean the dad actually just gets his Friday nights to himself now??
Absolute pisstake of you and the son if that's the case.
Depends whether you want to maintain a relationship with the child, and allow your own DC to do so. Personally I'd definitely do it. I feel it's not at all fair on children to expect them to treat stepsiblings as siblings and live with stepparents and then all of a sudden lose all contact. That's terribly sad.
I don't think you need to arrange your bedrooms around the needs of your DSC. It's not their third home - just treat them like a regular visitor and make space in with whichever of your own kids they get on with best. I think you're lucky that your ex's ex appears to be supportive of you and your DSC maintaining a relationship. It'd be cruel to just cut contact.
Are you close to your dsc? I’m inclined to agree with greendayz - of course you don’t have any obligation to provide childcare but it would be sad for your dsc to lose touch with you and this is a nice way for you all to spend time together.
But we don’t know if there’s other background - if it’s going to be inconvenient, interfere with your children’s activities, your ex has a history of taking advantage...
If there’s no strong reason not to do it, I’d agree with a time limit - give it a few months, he will probably be comfortable in his dad’s new place and everything will have settled down and he can just come on an ad hoc basis. You probably only have a year left of his parents making plans for him, given his age.
Only you know the exact circumstances but it sounds very much like you would become your ex's childcare so he can go to work in Saturdays without having to worry about his son. While it is great that you should want to maintain the relationship, it should be on your terms and to benefit the children, not to facilitate your ex's life.
OP be as generous as you can without tying yourself down, esp if your DC get on with your step son.
However, what visiting rights have you afforded to your exP and your 4 children? what support is he giving you?
That's not so much contact as childcare though.
I would 100% do this. At 14, the arrangement might naturally peter out at some point anyone. I'd see it not as childcare (child is old enough to be providing childcare himself) but as a nice way to keep all children bonded and maintain a family link.
I would not want a fixed night but definitively would like to see him regularly, especially for the siblings sake.
It is not as if this arrangement will stay in place in the long term, it just helps the kids (all of them) to transition more easily into their new life. The child is 14, give him a year or two and he would like to spend all his time with his friends. This the time when contact times start getting more flexible as the kids find their feet and independance.
You have been in this childs life for 10 years as his step mum and you dont want to have him overnight once a week?! If this happened to me I would be desperate to try and see DSD as much as I possibly could- not being in her life would devastate me.
I've always assumed I'd continue to facilitate any contact with DSC that they wanted. And I hate their mother so I would be doing it for them not her.
Take the other adults out of the equation what do you and the kids want. Presumably you could trial it.
How close are you with your DSS? I’d definitely want to maintain contact but I’d probably be looking to decrease it to more like monthly after 2-3 months and I wouldn’t be keen on essentially being relied on as childcare as what happens if it doesn’t work for you one week.
Can’t the time your ex has the 3 children be when your DSS has his main time with his siblings? And is this even what he wants?
Contact is nice. Planned childcare is taking the piss.
The children will all maintain contact by seeing their dad at the same time. I do totally understand your compassion though, but it does sound a bit like you are being used for the overnight/childcare.
You have to put your own children first. But I get that you don’t want the 14yr old stepchild to feel pushed out. If their dad makes sure they are all at his on the same day occasionally then this will happen.
I feel for you. It’s a tricky situation
Why would you have his child every Friday night? You are no longer a couple and it’s his responsibility to ensure contact continues. He is treating you as his partner and not his ex. You have either separated or not he can’t have it both ways.
If you feel like it is asking too much then it is asking too much. Like others have said if you like your ex SS and would like to stay in touch then a casual arrangement where he comes round every so often would be nice, but it certainly shouldn't be an obligation. That needs to be very clear of you ever have plans on a night you are "supposed" to have him, and he shouldn't need his own bedroom there at the expense of your children, he doesn't live there.
I would also say it depends if he wants to come. Is he a mature 14 year old who is prepared to act like a polite guest in your home, or are you actually expected to parent him and deal with bad attitude while he is there? If the latter then yes it would be a flat no from me.
I honestly think if you take his child every a Friday night, he and his ex will be laughing at you behind your back for years to come. This is an absolute recipe for disaster.
Is anyone who has answered that she shouldn't do it a step parent? After 10 years of helping bring a child up you love them. If I was in this situation and someone offered me time with my ex step child I would bite their hand off regardless of their motivation
Not everyone loves their step kids or feels they have a duty to provide childcare for them, even if they do love them (as many love nieces and nephews or grandchildren without wanting to be used for childcare).
It's presumptuous to presume that everybody who has or used to have a step child loves them - plus not coping well with having them in their lives is quite often the reason these relationships don't work out in the first place.
I would do this in a heartbeat. It's not exactly childcare when it's a 14 year old. But I love my DSC and would consider them family even if DH and split. How awful for the kid...10 years a family member and now if no one coughs up money they can't stay with their siblings.
@Jayneisapain OP isn't even certain that she's ok with it herself.