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AIBU to think that contact arrangements like my DPs are better than the usual ones

78 replies

HoHoHoHo · 24/07/2017 12:44

I don't have any experience of this from the other side but I am in a relationship with someone who has children and their contact works like this.

The children live with their mother but DP spends as much time with
them as possible. Rather than having a rigid routine where the children must spend a certain time of the week with each parent, they look at what the children and they have planned and work it out from there.

If their mum wants to go out or has plans DP has them rather than them getting a babysitter that they don't know. If the children have an activity planned whichever parent is looking after them takes them with no fuss or moaning about it. If one parent is particularly busy one week then the other does the bulk of the childcare without complaint. DP sees more time than usual with his children as a bonus rather than his ex taking the piss. Conversely, if his ex asks him to take them unexpectedly at short notice and he can't for good reason she doesn't fly off the handle and accuse him of not wanting to see his children. She is accepting of our relationship and in an an emergency I even looked after the children in her home (her brother was in a car accident and DP was working away).

They are flexible and see each other as equal parents and don't deliberately make it difficult for each other to have a social life. DP's ex never uses the children as a weapon or blocks contact because she is annoyed with DP. DP is allowed to go to their house to spend an hour or so with them before bedtime sometimes when it is best for the children not to be taken out and they want to stay at home so they get to spend relaxed time with him in their own environment without it being an event.

From the outside this seems like it would be better for the children and better for the parents than a rigid schedule where the children must spend set time with each parent.

Reading on here it seems that this is not the norm but AIBU to think it should be and parents should be able to put their feelings aside to enable this? So many threads seem to be about NRP who refuse to take children to activities, or partners of NRPs who expect the RP's social life to fit in with pre-designated contact times. I also see RP's being encouraged not to be flexible and to insist that it's a set day each week or not at all and NRP's being demonised if something happens which means contact days have to change. I see RP's not allowing their ex in the house at all, even if this means that the children miss out on a precious hour or two with their parent.

Obviously this set up would only work if no abuse has occurred.

I get that parents are hurt when relationships break down but DP split with his ex after he had discovered her having an affair and agreed to try and work things out as he couldn't bear the idea of being separated from his children and wanted to keep the family together. He discovered her in their bed with the same man 18 months later while the children were asleep in the next room (she wasn't expecting him back as a stag do with an overnight stay was cancelled). I think that if he can put his feelings aside to be reasonable with her in the circumstances to enable a good co-parenting relationship with his ex most people should be able to.

OP posts:
Hissy · 24/07/2017 22:26

You'd be surprised love!

All it takes is an insecure partner, jealous of the ex and that's what tips it.

Actually tho, sometimes it's the mere presence of a new partner that can also create a change in the ex.

My oh ex was difficult but manageable before oh met me, as soon as she got an inkling he had someone on the scene, it all went a bit lot odd. She's tried all sorts of things to create drama and ripples.

As I said, I leave it to oh and he deals with it all. It doesn't have to be like that, but my ex was a manipulative twat, so tbh I've had my fill of them, not going to willingly engage with another one if I don't have to.

OlennasWimple · 24/07/2017 22:31

I know another couple who has a similar type of arrangement, and it works well for them. However, I also know a couple who started out like this but it began to falter once the DC were older, had more activities going on and one parent had to move away for work. Then they went through a really rocky patch before making a formal agreement that now works well for them

HoHoHoHo · 24/07/2017 22:48

I think as children get older they naturally want to spend less time with their parents and its up to the parents to adapt. I spent all of my time with my friends and used my parents as a taxi service as a teenager. I expect nothing less from dp's children.

OP posts:
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