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Should I just be grateful he pays maintenance? AIBU?

46 replies

Lily2009 · 06/12/2019 18:33

Separated for 4yrs, divorced for 2 yet DC ‘dad’ gets worse not better. For example, never replies to emails or texts about DC. Only confirms pick-up the day of, after DC have text/called numerous times to get his attention. They are primary age kids for heavens sake. Only sees them once a fortnight, no formal plan in place. He never calls or texts them (he bought them phones so he could stay in touch!). We don’t know if he’s coming or not. Refuses to plan. Email sent 2 weeks ago with draft dates for Xmas. No reply but tells DC that mummy doesn’t want to spend Xmas all together! Kids distraught of course, had to unpick that when they came back to me last time. For the past 3 years I’ve gone over to his house and had lunch together. The atmosphere has got worse and worse with each year. The DC haven’t seemed to notice but I feel they are too old not to this year. He doesn’t speak to me at all! It makes me quite ill. I think he has some form of BPD as he point blank puts himself first. This evening, refused to pick up at 6pm rather than 5.45 as requested (DS asked because DC wanted to come to the vet appt for our poorly cat) because he’d been driving and away from home all week. A total control freak. Likes to withhold on the maintenance 4 or 5 times a year until I ask for it. Refuses to give maintenance for August because if he did then he wouldn’t be able to take them on holiday and I would have to pay for childcare instead. Those are his words! Any advice anyone? Will someone like this ever change? He was mostly emotionally and financially abusive in our relationship. Sadly it developed over time, so subtle and I’d make excuses for him until one day I woke up and realised our relationship wasn’t actually how a ‘partnership’ should feel/be. Some shared experiences of controlling ex’s who seem intent on using DC to emotionally abuse would be helpful right now. I feel like I’m losing my mind!

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Besidesthepoint · 06/12/2019 18:36

No experience but can't you go to court to have things put jn place? Like paying on time, alternating christmas and picking kids up at x time and if he is more than 15 minutes late it is considered cancelled? No idea if a judge would go for it.


Lily2009 · 06/12/2019 18:50

Ive spent thousands during the course of the divorce to try and get regular plan in place. Solicitors letters x 3 in the past to his his solicitor. DS experiencing high anxiety levels and struggling at school partly as a result of not knowing when he’s going to see his dad next. Even tried to get help from school to talk to him about getting a calendar so he could mark on it for the DC. The courts are only there for the financial settlement and if I was refusing access! It seems completely crazy doesn’t it! Oh I tried through the mediation process too. He’s consumed with work which is his excuse for not putting DC first. He works for a big company, great benefits etc. No real reason to use work as an excuse. I called his bluff on the August payment a couple of years ago and he didn’t see them at all that month to punish us. I can’t go to CSA because he’s threatened to withdraw all contact if I do. I believe him because as I say, he’s got this cold calculating side to him.

OP posts:

RhymingRabbit3 · 06/12/2019 18:52

Is it worth pursuing him for maintenance through CMS? Then he wouldnt just be able to randomly withhold it when he wants to as it would be taken from his pay packet.

If he already pays maintenance above the required amount it might not be worth doing it.


funnylittlefloozie · 06/12/2019 18:54

So would it be terrible if he withdrew all contact? Hes a manipulative arsehole anyway. Go to the CSA and get them to deduct at source.

If hes actually willing to stop seeing his own children over that, there is something wrong with him and he is a worthless father (and a worthless man, tbh).


RhymingRabbit3 · 06/12/2019 18:55

I can’t go to CSA because he’s threatened to withdraw all contact if I do

In a way wouldnt that be easier? Your child wouldnt be confused about when they would see him next and feel messed around.


ohprettybaby · 06/12/2019 19:01

I would go to the CMS and let him withdraw all contact if he wants. If he doesn't want you to, that suggests he is paying less than they would determine he should. You need to do something to reduce the control he has over you.

If he would stop seeing the children then is that really the type of person you would want around them? You can't make him phone and text the DC so try not to get wound up at his game playing. Don't say anything bad about him to the DC though. Just say he must be very busy.

Thank goodness you've divorced him. He sounds awful.


TuttiCutie · 06/12/2019 19:02

Go to CMS for a formal arrangement for the money.

Stop trying to force this gobshite to be a parent.

Stop texting him, stop forcing him to make plans.

If he refuses to pick up at 6pm instead of 5.45pm take your kids to the vets anyway and let him sit outside in his car till 6pm you're back. 15 minutes won't kill him.

Just stop.

It sounds like he doesn't want to be a parent and quite frankly it'd be better for contact to fizzle out because he clearly can't be arsed and for some bizarre reason you're insisting on trying to make it happen.


Selfsettling3 · 06/12/2019 19:07

Go to CMS. You can’t spend your time second guessing him and pandering to his behaviour.


carly2803 · 06/12/2019 19:07

CMS -dont stand for that crap

Would it really be a massive loss if hewithdrew contact?!


OrangeSlices998 · 06/12/2019 19:17

What a dick. Take back control, and persue through CMS


megletthesecond · 06/12/2019 19:18

Withdrawing contact probably wouldn't be a bad thing here.


lyingwanker · 06/12/2019 19:30

Echoing others that I would 100% go through CMS and let him withdraw contact if he chooses to. At least your children will know where they stand.

You will then hold all the power which is what he is holding over you right now. He is controlling you and the kids still and he shouldn't have that hold over you.

Then if he decides he actually does want to see them I would refuse until HE takes YOU to court to arrange proper access times.


Lily2009 · 06/12/2019 19:31

He’ll blame me for not being able to see the DCs if I play hard ball. He’ll make some horrible manipulative reason up and feed it to those two beautiful young minds. Everything I do, I do to try and protect them. I totally hear what your saying and believe me I’ve laid awake many a night considering how to take back control. The thing is, when they are with him, they do have a great time. They love him and put him on a pedestal. How can I jeopardise that?

OP posts:

Lily2009 · 06/12/2019 19:36

Just reading that back I realise that by not doing anything differently, then the situation is never going to change. It could get worse, a lot worse but equally it could get better. Part of the problem is I’m so alone with this problem. I don’t bad mouth him to friends (well, not that much!). I don’t have the sort of family where this level of shit can be shared. It’s getting so bad for my mental health recently that I’m on the verge of seeking counselling

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EL8888 · 06/12/2019 19:36

Another vote for go through CMS, you shouldn’t be made to beg for the money your children are entitled to. He’s trying to manipulate you with threats to cut contact. I can see why you divorced him! He sounds rather unreasonable and unpleasant


TuttiCutie · 06/12/2019 19:36

Ah ok, you don't want to do anything, you just wanted to vent.

Well if you won't do anything to change the situation - you might want to consider investing in some counselling for your DS who is suffering from anxiety due to this.

Obviously your ex isn't willing to help with alleviating your DS anxiety in any way, so it'll be up to you to deal with the effects of continued contact with an emotionally abusive father, and it really does sound like your DS needs some professional help.


EL8888 · 06/12/2019 19:38

Yep l think a change is due. I think counselling could be helpful especially if you can’t talk to any friends or family about the way he is


MumW · 06/12/2019 19:42

I'd have thought that your best way forward would be to call his bluff and go through CMS. At least you'd know where you stood financially, you'd have removed one of his ways of controlling you and, if he does withdraw contact, then your DC will no longer be messed around. They may be upset but you can explain that you are happy for them to see their Dad but it is Dad's choice to be an arse.


Spandang · 06/12/2019 19:47

You need a court ordered agreement and agreed maintenance through the CMS. For the sake of your own sanity and that of the kids. If you allow it to continue (and I know you feel you have no choice but to) your kids suffer and you suffer.

We had this. And it gets worse. The more you pander to him because you’re worried about what he will do or say, the more it escalates. You will not be free of this or him controlling a situation if you don’t take back the control.


AlwaysCheddar · 06/12/2019 19:49

Have your own Xmas at home without him. Make new traditions. The kids will be fine. You need to do something as he’s being a shit to them.


TheGoldenNotebook · 06/12/2019 19:56

Send an email stating clearly that:

His times for seeing the children are x o'clock on y day. This can only be changed with 24 hours notice. If he is 15 minutes late that is a cancellation and you will go about your day.

Due to multiple late payments you will pursuing child maintenance through CMS.

His unreliability and desire for conflict is harming his children. Make him aware of this.


Lily2009 · 06/12/2019 19:57

This is the thing isn’t it. Because I don’t understand how his mind works I’m just confused as to what to do for the best. Hearing that it gets worse is a bit of a wake up call. To be honest, it has got worse for us too over the years but I’ve lived in hope that he’ll see the error of his ways and behave like a good and decent human being!

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Graphista · 06/12/2019 20:02

Honestly op with hindsight I wish I had let dds dad disappear out of her life far sooner than he did.

And yours sounds even worse.

I'm willing to bet he will withdraw from contact at some point anyway, probably early high school years which is what my ex did, partly as that's the point that kids start seeing through stuff and asking awkward questions!

Go to cms and get maintenance properly sorted.

Stop pushing contact, let him know available dates/times and then leave it up to him.

I bent over backwards so Dd saw ex for years, repeatedly reminding him of dates, booking and paying for transport, even reminding him to book annual leave at work...

Eventually dd got wise to all I was doing, it was breaking me financially anyway and so we (dd and i) decided it would stop and we'd let him step up if he wanted to - he didn't! Didn't even bother with phone calls or texts.

With hindsight it was clear as soon as we split that he couldn't be arsed making the effort to maintain a relationship with dd, but for her sake (I thought) I fought for him to see her.

The law as it stood then (and I think its still the case) is that rp can neither withhold nor force contact.

I took a risky strategy of withholding contact as I was pretty sure at that time he would then take me to court to have arrangements formalised (he was still harassing me generally at this point and even though we'd split due to his infidelity he hated the idea of my being with someone else).

I was right and he did take me to court but he never stuck to the arrangements, what I should have realised was taking me to court wasn't about dd it was about punishing me for daring to leave and dating to not crumble in the aftermath of our split.

What I should have done was not push for contact, not let him wind me up when he failed to show up, not let him have contact if he was hours late, not told dd daddy was coming and her be heartbroken when he didn't show, if I thought he was going to turn up late I should have made other plans with dd and not been there when he finally deigned to show instead of rewarding his behaviour...

I suspect if I had done that he'd have gradually withdrawn from contact when dd was young enough to forget him, instead it happened at the worst time for her and there was nothing I could do about it.

It's caused dd immense hurt and pain and made her feel very insecure with Boys/men.


HideYourBabiesAndYourBeadwork · 06/12/2019 20:02

Call his bluff and go through CMS. He’s a control freak, the children are the only weapon he has to control you with he doesn’t give one tiny shit about them or he wouldn’t use them to get at you like this. No more games. If he walks away (and I really doubt he will- unfortunately for you because he’s a cunt) that’s on him. Doesn’t sound like the children would be missing out on much.

Btw, never, ever feel like you should be grateful for the other parent bothering to do the bare minimum. Especially when they often don’t even do that.


Waveysnail · 06/12/2019 20:09

Does he work away a lot driving?

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