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This board is primarily for those whose children have LGBTQ+ parents to share their personal experiences and advice.

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LGBT parents

Separation

24 replies

HWLB · 12/05/2020 16:04

Hi all,
I’m really struggling and wondering if there’s anyone out there going through the same, or who has been through it in the past. I’ve got a beautiful newborn baby boy but my (same sex) partner and I separated just before he was born. We were married when I had treatment, which means she is legal parent, and I’m seriously struggling with this. She chose to leave before he was born and the few months before the birth (and the time since) have been so difficult. I just feel she shouldn’t have a place in his life, but the law says otherwise.
Has anyone been through anything similar? Any advice for how to get through it? I’m trying to focus on my gorgeous son and doing ok most of the time, but the situation with my ex is so hard and so upsetting. Any words of wisdom gratefully received Smile
Thanks everyone x

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JoMumsnet · 14/05/2020 11:08

Hi HWLB, we're just giving your thread a bump in case anyone's around with some advice and support.

We're sorry you're going through such a difficult time, but still want to say congratulations on your new baby. Flowers

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HWLB · 14/05/2020 19:17

Thank you! Smile Very much appreciated.

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SJaneS48 · 17/05/2020 18:14

What a tough situation! Apologies for commenting as I’ve not been there in exactly the same way but perhaps you can tell us how much involvement she wants to have? Legally it sounds like she does have rights should she choose to exercise them? Will she do you think?

From my experience, it’s a horrible time bringing up a child when the other parent isn’t around or is, depending on their whim. I stopped my eldest DD from seeing her father for many years as quite simply he couldn’t be relied on to turn up 50-70% of the time and she would just sit and cry on the sofa clutching her little weekend bag.

If she does on the face of things appear to want to be involved then I’d suggest that awful though it will be, sit down with her and make it very very clear that if you involve yourself in any child’s life then that commitment comes before anything else. If any part of her feels she cannot commit to that then she needs to walk away now.

If she does appear to be genuinely committed to being part of your babies life then I’m not sure what you can do. Get legal advice most definitely. Do you want her to pay child support because of course, that is another issue? There are many parents who cannot stand their ex partner with whom they had a child - most of get to grips eventually with shuffling along with it for our children’s sake.

You must be feeling hugely emotional right now with the double whammy of new baby and the relationship break up. I do know exactly how you feel as eldest DDs father went off to discover himself (up his own backside for 2 years with no contact before re-appearing on the scene wanting to be a parent!) when she was a couple of months old and the huge change in life as is compared to the future you imagined is bloody awful initially to live with. It does though believe me get a lot lot better! Get rid of absolutely everything that was hers in your house and focus on just you and the baby. You are going to be 100% alright and actually not having anyone else around you do become a tight knit, extremely close little unit and there is an absolute joy in that! Take heart.

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HWLB · 18/05/2020 19:29

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your response Smile I really appreciate it and so much of what you said rings true. I had an image in my mind of what I thought family life would be like, and I honestly had no idea the break up was coming... even looking back, it just came out of nowhere which in many ways makes it even harder to come to terms with. Now that image has changed completely, and I’m trying to get used to how things will be - mourning the loss of the relationship while also coping with a little one and all that entails! It’s so good to hear that things get better, I need to keep coming back to that, as sometimes it all seems so difficult and so sad. But I loved what you said about being such a tight knit unit with my baby boy Smile - I already feel that we’re such a team, and the bond I feel with him is like nothing I could have imagined. He truly is a blessing.
I suppose what I’m finding really difficult is that she has made her choice not to be part of our family, and I feel I need time and space to come to terms with the end of the relationship. But because she wants to be involved (she says she’s committed), that’s impossible. Having to sit down and try to work things out when everything is so raw feels like a mountain Sad And I know I’m perhaps being unfair, but I just feel me and my son should be left alone to build our lives.
Maintenance hasn’t been discussed yet but I’m sure it’ll come up at some stage. I just feel because she’s never been part of a family with us, and chose to leave well before he was born (withdrawing all care for me at that point while I was heavily pregnant), she has made her decision and walked away. Never did I think this would be something I would be going through.
Anyway, it really helps to know it gets better, and thank you again for sharing your thoughts in such detail, I’d given up on anyone posting! Hope you are well and happy with your LO Daffodil

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SJaneS48 · 19/05/2020 09:45

Ah, no worries! I came on this section to be honest by accident as I meant to click on LGBT children (eldest DD mentioned above is pan sexual, at 25 she’s one very confident and secure in who she is woman but had rough teenage years so I occasionally go on that section to share what helped us).

You’d obviously rather not have your Ex’s involvement so before anything else, I’d check your legal position. I suspect she has rights but find out what those are. If she does want to exercise them then yes she has to be paying maintenance, end of - you may not want her money but stick it in an account for your DS. You never know, it may put her off!

When DDs father re-appeared 2 years later wanting to play Daddy, I’d have cheerfully seen him under a bus! Yes it’s bloody awful to sit down and be grown up but if she’s determined and legally you’ve got to, strap on your big girls pants and keep the discussion civil. It’s got to be all about the welfare of your DS and how this arrangement works best to suit him. I would make it crystal clear that if she wants to be involved in his life then she has to commit to being in for the long run, it’s not something she can run away from.

Completely understand the mourning of the life you thought you’d have - I remember feeling quite devastated pushing my pram around in the park on my own surrounded by happy seeming families. But absolutely it gets better. I’m very close to my youngest DD but we have a very different relationship than the one I have with eldest DD - it felt like her and me out to conquer the world for the 10 years I was a single parent! You yourself become stronger as well. Another added benefit is that you’ll get to call the shots on the important things in DS’s life - discipline, schooling etc without having to make compromises to someone else’s opinions.

I do miss much of this period in my life and honestly, the sadness does fade and there is much in the new reality that is very good. I would 100% recommend removing anything that reminds you of your ex from your house, your phone, your laptop etc. Give anything you don’t want to chuck to a friend for safe keeping. A clean out of your life together does help mentally starting afresh!

Good luck! Sorry if there is a lot of waffle in both messages.

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Fluffykitten23 · 19/05/2020 09:59

Hi op I have no idea legally what rights she has or doesn't have. But I wanted to say congratulations and don't let her take any enjoyment out of this time with your baby even though the situation is not ideal. You sound like a lovely mum. Gosh I miss mine being babies 🤗

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HWLB · 19/05/2020 21:31

Thank you both so much for your messages Smile Really appreciated. I’ve cleared out quite a bit of her stuff now which helps, I think the hard thing is that I feel I just need time to adjust and come to terms with things, ideally through having some distance, but that’s impossible because she’s in contact so much about DS. I’ve taken some basic legal advice but it’s tricky due to finances, but the bottom line is she has rights due to the marriage, regardless of anything else. So I do need to get to grips with it and be civil, it’s just going to take a monumental effort! Confused
Thanks for both your comments, I’m trying my best not to let this consume me and to enjoy every minute with my baby, and most of the time feel I’m doing ok - it’s just so far removed from what I thought would happen.
Thanks again both xxx Flowers

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Stickyjack · 19/05/2020 22:13

If she's in touch alot can you set up a new email address and all correspondence goes through there. Then block her on everything else. Then you can choose when to check messages or engage, rather than being constantly reminded by messages popping up.

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lunar1 · 19/05/2020 22:58

A similar thing happened to my friend years ago. He and his partner finally got the adoption papers signed and after 18 months their baby girl was legally adopted. We had a massive celebration after the christening. Three days later the partner packed his things and left. The new house was ready and furnished complete with a room ready for their daughter.

He'd been planning it for ages and it was a horrific time. The child is now almost 10 and she is extremely happy and lived with them 50:50. It worked out in the end but it was horrible and I can really empathise with you. So sorry you are going through this.

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HWLB · 20/05/2020 14:35

Thanks Stickyjack, that’s a really good idea about email being the only contact, I hadn’t thought of that but it would feel like I had more control that way Smile

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HWLB · 20/05/2020 14:37

Thank you lunar1, it’s hard to believe it happens, but from what I’ve read it’s more common than I thought. What a horrific time that must have been for your friend... so good to hear it worked out and the LO is so happy 10 years on Smile Do they still share custody 50:50?

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lunar1 · 20/05/2020 17:33

They do yes, they don't get on at all, but they fake it very well for their daughters sake and both speak well of each other to her. Make sure they help her with Father's Day, Christmas birthdays etc for the other. They both go to her birthday party. Considering how the ex behaved they work very well as coparents.

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HWLB · 20/05/2020 19:22

Wow, that’s impressive considering what happened - shows it can be done! Thank you Smile
SJaneS48, your DD sounds fab and I love that you have such an amazing bond. Did she see her Dad much as she was growing up? I know you said you stopped contact some of the time because he was so unreliable Sad Does she have a good relationship with him now if you don’t mind me asking? Thanks all xx

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Francina670 · 20/05/2020 19:44

It would be a really good idea to restrict contact to email. She has power over you otherwise, knowing she can drop you a message at any time and get under your skin. You need to take control.

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SJaneS48 · 20/05/2020 20:09

I don’t mind you asking at all! Yes her Dad made a re-appearance when she was two. I did find trying to negotiate his access to her difficult - my pregnancy had been unplanned, I’d not long graduated and he had initially been keener than I was (I’m practical, we were young!) on my pregnancy. I deeply resented him disappearing off and just abandoning our baby and me - I just didn’t get how he could do that. We agreed he could have her twice monthly for a day and increase that as she got older. Unfortunately, where he was mentally would impact how often he did turn up. It was very upsetting to manage my DDs emotions when he ‘forgot’ again, particularly as i didn’t want to bad mouth him in front of her. By age 10, he’d broken up with an extremely nice woman (who did weirdly enough become a friend of mine) and was experimenting with hard drugs according to his ex. His behaviour with DD became incredibly erratic and potentially dangerous (he left her in a car all by herself for 2 hours while visiting a friend) so I cut him out of her life. It just felt like he was doing her too much damage and in no way (even if I didn’t like him) a positive co-parent. His payment of maintenance had been very on and off and completely stopped then.

He contacted her via Facebook when she was 16 and at that point I let her make the choice to see him which she did. As above, at 25, DD is a very sorted, take no BS woman. She loves him but not through any rose tinted glasses. He spends a lot of money (which he now has a lot of!) on her but she does see him for what he is, a complete dick! One very positive thing is that when the older they get, the less direct communication you have to have with your ex!

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HWLB · 21/05/2020 21:59

Francina670, thank you - I really like this idea, at the moment it feels like she has the power to make me feel rubbish and I need to try and take back control. Thank you Smile

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HWLB · 21/05/2020 22:04

SJaneS48 thank you for sharing so much of what you experienced with your DD... it has really helped me more than I can say. It’s going to be so hard but I feel a bit stronger in terms of making sure I fight my boy’s corner and only allow what I think is right for him. He comes first after all and I will do my best to make sure that whatever arrangements are made he is secure and happy and knows he is so loved! I really do appreciate you sharing your thoughts - it has given me a lot to think about and reason to hope (and to smile). I’m so excited about the team me and DS will be - and like you said, in many ways a bit more straightforward as I’ll be making decisions about the key things in his life. I hope I can do him proud! Thanks so much to everyone who has given their comments Smile xxx

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SJaneS48 · 22/05/2020 06:39

I’m sure you will make him proud indeed & best wishes!

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HWLB · 22/05/2020 22:58

Thank you Smile and for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences, it’s been so helpful

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FAH2019 · 14/06/2020 21:32

Hi HWLB

How are things?

Just wanted to say I’m going through something similar and came across your post. It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one going through this.

My baby is coming up to 1. A few days ago my same sex partner said she was no longer in love with me. Baby has a real bond and connection to both of us so no question she will continue to be in our lives, I just really couldn’t imagine I would be a single parent to a baby so young!

Sorry I don’t have any advice just wanted to say you’re not alone.

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HWLB · 15/06/2020 19:42

Hi FAH2019,
Thanks so much for your message and I’m really sorry to hear about your situation Sad - it’s quite hard to get your head around just how much life is changing and how the future will be so different from what was planned. Congratulations on your baby though, and it sounds as if you and your partner will be able to work together as parents. Would you mind if I messaged you through here separately?
It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one, thank you Smile
Take care and hope you’re ok

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FAH2019 · 15/06/2020 21:22

It really is hard to get your head around the fact that all the things you talked about for the future as a family won’t be happening.

Of course feel free to message Smile

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SarahAndQuack · 13/07/2020 19:41

I am so late to this, and I do sympathise, but ... I am really shocked you are questioning whether or not she should have legal rights in this way.

We have fought so hard to get these rights. Please don't wish you could toss them away just because it feels convenient. Part of being a parent is taking responsibility for the fact you chose to have a baby with this person, and if they still want in, it is not up to you to close them out.

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Dominofx258 · 15/01/2021 10:08

I’m confused as to why you don’t believe she shouldn’t have a place in his life? You made a choice to have a baby with this person, that choice wasn’t contingent on your marriage working out. We wanted equality, you can’t pick and choose in which situations you want invoke it.

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