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AIBU co parenting with a lying ex DH

43 replies

cocomel · 07/05/2023 23:04

Hoping to gain some insight as to whether I am totally overreacting!

To give some context. DH and I separated last year following poor behaviour on his part (infidelities, theft, lying) when our twins were 8 months old. He left the family home and started a new life elsewhere and went quite some stretches without seeing the twins, effectively leaving me to raise them myself.

Fast forward to early this year, his new life hasn't worked out the way he'd hoped and despite his pleas, there's no going back for us. I have just asked him to be a good father.

As it stands, he sees the twins once or twice a week at the weekends. Which leaves me as sole parent the rest of the week, whilst also juggling a full time job.

I have just got through a really awful period of both twins simultaneously being poorly (ear/chest infections/conjunctivitis/colds... you name it) and at 18 months old they're both demanding enough without illness added to boot!

So this weekend Ex DH said he wanted to take twins to soft play today. I said no. As the weather was set to be nice I felt fresh air would be better for them and also the last few times they've been to soft play they've returned poorly within a few days. I know all babies have to build their immune systems but on a nice day like today was, I felt a trip to the park( which they love!) or any other event outdoors in the fresh air would be just as good. Added to the fact I am incredibly busy at work and can't really deal with more broken sleep alone right now... I just want to avoid any run of illness!

After some grumbling ex DH agreed. I spoke to him on the phone when he was at the park and he said they were having a great time and he had just put sun cream on them both and they were settling for a picnic.

Anyway... this evening a friend of mine has messaged to say she saw ex DH and the twins at soft play! She even went as far as describing the (distinctive) outfits they were both wearing so I know it was them she saw. Ex DH has form for lying, and would himself admit he's a compulsive liar, so I know he took them there despite me asking him not to.

I know in reality, he's done nothing "wrong" by taking them to soft play, and in reality kids pick up bugs everywhere. But my greater concern is the lengths he went to to lie, and then continued to lie, even talking to me about what parts of the parks the twins played on!!

How do I move forward from this? How do I coparent with someone who I don't trust and who lies without thinking and doesn't respect my wishes?!

OP posts:
Heimy88 · 08/05/2023 03:54

Oh gosh, so sorry you're going through this. No advice I'm afraid but absolutely sympathize with you as am finding myself in a similar situation. Following along, interested to see what people advise. Stay strong, hugs xx

MrsTerryPratchett · 08/05/2023 04:17

The thing is from his point of view his lie was justified. You can't control what he does on his time with them and he didn't want to do what you said and didn't want the disagreement. So he lied.

You are going to have to let him have his time as he sees fit. The question is whether his lying extends to other, more worrying things. And only time will tel.

BTW babies get about 12 bugs in the first 12 months and with two they will inevitably infect each other. Yes, soft play is a Petri dish but they will get sick regardless. Better to pick the hills you will die on and let him go there with them if he wants.

MrsTerryPratchett · 08/05/2023 04:20

Maybe raise the lie constructively.

I know you were in the soft play and I wanted to talk about why you told me you were in the park.

Say it in a clam voice, then stop and listen. If he decides to tell you he wants a quiet life but wanted to have time as he wanted, actually talk to him. Something like, "OK I get that. I'd rather you told me you disagreed and I knew where they were, even if it's not what I would do. Can we agree on that?"

Give this the best chance of working as coparents.

SD1978 · 08/05/2023 04:41

This is a tough one. He had made a decision on where to have the kids, you disagreed, he went regardless as that was what he wanted to do with them. Whilst you feel that you had a good reason to ask them to be outside, as long as it's safe, how he parents on his time, isn't something you should be trying to control. I'd see this as one of the little things that isn't worth an argument- and if he's a difficult person, then there are going to be many, many more instances you will need to be firm.

HippeePrincess · 08/05/2023 04:51

provided he’s keeping them safe, it has absolutely nothing to do with you what he does with them on his contact time. Unless he’s doing something dangerous leave him to it.

dontmakefun · 08/05/2023 04:58

Unfortunately you can't decide what he does with the children.

However, you need to be able to trust him and blue shouldn't be lying to you.

I feel it's important you make him aware you know he's lied. Otherwise he will continue to do so!

MintJulia · 08/05/2023 05:07

On his time, it is up to him where he takes the dcs unfortunately. You can't control that. Nor can you control the lying. And it won't stop.

I've been co-parenting with my ex for 12 years now. He lies continuously. His biggest whopper was to say he was taking 6yo ds on two weeks holiday to Devon. In reality he took him to Devon for one week, and then left him with latest woman for the other.

New woman's father died during that week, and she abandoned ds. Left him in the house alone. Thankfully ds had the sense to go to our old next door neighbour and ask her to ring me. I went and collected him.

I dealt with that by calling ex out. Called him a liar to his face, told him he was an unfit parent, a shit father and that if he ever did anything like that again, I'd take him in court. I did my best to get through to him that our child could have died. He said I was making a fuss. So I had name tags made up but with my phone number on, and sewed them in all ds' clothes. Taught ds that if he ever couldn't find daddy he was to find a lady in a shop or a neighbour and ask them to ring me.

Thankfully ds is now a teen and the situation can no longer arise.

Don't let it pass. Make it clear to your ex that you know he lied, that you know he can't be trusted and that you can't co-parent with a liar.

But it really is up to him where he takes dcs on his time.

SunnySaturdayMorning · 08/05/2023 05:14

It’s absolutely none of your business what he does with the children when he has them. He doesn’t have to share anything and you cannot control it.

Considering how out of order you were trying to dictate to him how to spend his time with them I’m not surprised he lied.

CooCooCaChu · 08/05/2023 05:27

Agree with Terry Pratchett's approach.

Massive, massive kudos to you for raising twins alone, it's a massive challenge.

cocomel · 08/05/2023 07:53

Thanks all for some insight!

@MintJulia I read your response with an open mouth! I can't believe he did that. Your approach going forward sounds perfect

@MrsTerryPratchett that's how I intend to deal with it today, Thankyou ever so much.

@SunnySaturdayMorning they're 18 months old and it's only been the past few months he's spent any actual time with them since he walked out when they were 7 months old! He doesn't have good judgement and I have to ensure their changing bag/lunches/clothes everything are sorted before anywhere they go with him. So I think it is my business where they are because it's me that parents them alone 6/6.5 days a week alone and knows their needs.

For context, the soft play isn't the issue here. Although they aren't my favourite place and I would have preferred them to be outside, it's the lying and the fact he went to such great lengths to tell a lie.

OP posts:
Morewineplease10 · 08/05/2023 08:30

Sympathies op.

They are your babies. You need to be able to trust him.

Also, it doesn't all have to be on his terms?

Can you have plans on a weekend so he has to step up in the week and help yiu out with looking after them when it's more beneficial to you?

cocomel · 08/05/2023 08:51

@Morewineplease10 Thankyou.

As it stands at the moment he comes over occasionally on a Friday afternoon and then usually has them on a Saturday or Sunday. So I try and make plans then.

During the week however it's down to me to juggle them and my FT job. I have asked him countless times to try and come by even after work to help with bath/bedtime but he won't. He also lives (by choice) 1.5 hours away which means even in an emergency (such as the other week when one twin was very poorly in the evening and I needed to get them to out of hours doctors) he's not around.

This combined with the reasons for our split and his behaviour since is why I don't trust him and I'm trying my best to work through all of this for the sake of the twins and then he does something like this and it sends us backwards,

OP posts:
SunnySaturdayMorning · 08/05/2023 12:13

You don’t need to do any of that at all. You’re just enabling his behaviour. Let him figure it out.

His time, his choice. Nothing to do with you.

Bunnywabbity · 08/05/2023 12:20

Feels like there's two things here. One that you are doing all the parenting yourself and understandably feel resentful - realistically this isn't going to change so i'd stop having any expectations of this. It's crap that he won't step up, but it will stop you being constantly disappointed by being let down. It's unlikely he's going to change and suddenly become dad of the year. Two - i can understand how frustrating it is that he took the children to soft play, but not sure what you can do about this.

febrezeme · 08/05/2023 19:45

It's the lying that would give me the rage and the fact that he clearly can't be trusted to tell you the truth of where he is. I can see others point of view that on his time you can't really dictate what he does bit he's hardly being respectful that you've explained why you didn't want them there but he did it anyway and bet you won't see him for dust if they do go down with a bug over the next few days.
If I caught my ex out lying about where he was with my children I'd be giving him what for - it shows a lack of respect on his part and I don't see how you can trust him the next time he takes them out.

Have you confronted him about it?

trisfreya · 08/05/2023 19:50

He lied to avoid a row

I totally understand WHY you didnt want him to go to the soft play but I dont think you can insist on where he goes with them.

blondieminx · 08/05/2023 19:58

It’s not just the lie.

it’s the fact you will be the one dealing with the predictable consequences of his actions. He won’t be the one dealing with snot and wailing ….in duplicate.

you have my every sympathy, exH lies and takes stupid risks too (including breaking lockdowns to travel to see his gf when I was shielding, working and homeschooling our kid). No advice, just solidarity!

cocomel · 08/05/2023 20:04

@febrezeme it is the lying for me... and it's a persistent character trait which I find particularly upsetting because it's something I didn't myself realise (or at least to its full extent) when we were married for 10+ years, just how good he is at it.

So this morning (he stayed at the house overnight) I picked my moment to raise it with him because he has a bad temper when he's caught out and I don't want the twins to witness him shouting and banging around...

He said to me "they were so tired yesterday after the afternoon at the park"

I asked him if we could talk away from the twins and we went into the other room.

I looked him dead straight in the eye and said "ExDH, I want you to be honest. Did you go to soft play yesterday?"

He denied denied denied. Then when I said my friend had seen him and our very distinctive twins, he said he had gone but only AFTER going to the park.

This went on... and then eventually after me asking him about the timings (the park and soft play are opposite ends of town from each other and soft play operate a strict booking system so you can't just turn up)

He then admitted he hadn't gone to the park at all but had gone straight to the soft play.

I calmly asked him why he had done this and whether he would be seeing the twins before next weekend because if they come down with any bugs it's all left to me... he confirmed no, he wouldn't be seeing them before next week.

I explained to him it's not about the soft play... it's about the fact I don't trust him, but I HAVE to be able to trust him with my two children who cannot speak to me. And what else might he withhold or lie to me about.

Of course he turned on the dramatics and started saying that he panics going to new places and then started demanding to know when I would be selling the house so he can get his cut. So I ended the conversation there by telling him I won't accept lies when it comes to my children.

OP posts:
SunnySaturdayMorning · 08/05/2023 20:09

Unfortunately no, you don’t have to trust him. He’s just as much their parent as you are.

Where he goes, who he sees and what he does are his choices. You have no right to know what they are no matter how much you think you do.

Nightlystroll · 08/05/2023 20:10

I sort of understand where he's coming from. I lie, too, to keep the peace. My family can be quite controlling over small things in my eyes. My mum always used to tell me not to let the dog off the lead. (I was 60!) I used to say, don't worry I won't but of course I always let him off when it was safe to do so. My sister is always telling me what I should do. And even when I say that I don't want to do that, she carries on explaining why I should follow her advice. So I lie and say, good idea I'll do that. But of course I've no intention of doing it.

I do understand why, after doing everything yourself, you know better than him about the children's needs. But is it possible that that could come off as a little bit controlling on occasion? Sometimes, you have to give others free rein in their ideas because the more you insist on them doing it your way, the more they won't want to.

Temporaryname158 · 08/05/2023 20:11

Don’t let him stay over at your house, a whole world of messed up boundaries there.

gou cannot control what he does when he has the twins. As. Long as they are not in Danger it is not your business. I know it feels like it should be, but it isn’t.

on the same note, don’t make life easy for him. If he wants to have them he has to be responsible. Don’t make up nappy bags and spare clothes and snacks. Give him notice that from x date he needs to show he has these at the start of the handover otherwise they aren’t going. I hope you are also claiming CMS from him.

don’t make this easy for him. He needs to parent and have responsibilty. If he fails so be it

febrezeme · 08/05/2023 20:18

I was married to one of those - a pathological liar - would lie about anything and everything no matter how small and It was the small lies that used to piss me off the most - like I'd say in the car are you driving at 70mph...he'd say yes. And then I'd say well the Speedo says you are doing 80 - he'd still bloody deny it! I'd also have to ask him several times to get the truth and he'd keep denying it and denying it until irrefutable proof was laid infront of him. Then couldn't tell me why he felt the need to lie in the first place

I think in this situation I'd be saying that he's obliterated what little trust you have in him and as far as you are concerned when it comes to him and him seeing the children he's starting from scratch to earn that back even if that means him only seeing them at your home for the short term and working back up to longer periods of him having them alone.

Trust is a massive thing for me - and to trust someone (even if they are the father!) with your most precious little people is a huge deal.

Theunamedcat · 08/05/2023 20:20

Selling the house? Have you started the divorce process yet?

Tatiepot · 08/05/2023 20:23

I cope in the same situation (like you I only realised after many years) by knowing that he’s lying but not letting on. It gives me quiet satisfaction that he thinks he’s so clever and getting away with it, but he’s not …and now they’re older even the kids know what he’s doing.

So long as they are safe (and even if they are bored because he’s not taken them tour as he promised) I take no notice of it, other than to be grateful I’m no longer shackled to him.

So long as your twins are safe, let go of it, stop caring that he lies, you couldn’t resolve it whilst you were together so you definitely have no chance now. The only thing you need to care about us stopping the twins thinking it’s completely normal and copying him - but by then you’ll have brought them up properly!

Timehaspassed · 08/05/2023 20:24

Set up communication on a parenting app like our family wizard
Then it’s all in writing and legal teams can be allowed to see it. Knowing this can make difficult exes behave better
Also maybe you need to parallel parent rather then coparent

Totally get where you are coming from

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