My feed

to access all these features

Use our Single Parent forum to speak to other parents raising a child alone.

Lone parents

Please help me set bounaries re ex at christmas

23 replies

popcorn123 · 19/12/2008 12:17

Split with ex H May of this year. He is still living in family home and the DC's and I are staying in rented house about 5 miles away.

He wants us to get back together which is stopping us moving on. He forces me to accpet him to kiss me etc every time I see him or he makes thing difficult.

He was emotionally abusive to me and DC's and often smashed things in the house and threatened suicide when things weren't going to his agenda.
From my point of view he hasn't changed so I don't want him back - he hasn';t seen the DC's for more than about 2 hours on his own and won't committ to set times- but has heled a bit recently to cover extra time at work - but only for a few hours.
He doesn't pay maintenance or contritute financially on the basis that he pays out mortgage but he has far more spare money than me.

Anyway he wants to come round on xmas eve and stay overnight as he doesn't want to miss the DC's getting up. I said he could sleep on a mattress on living room floor but he wants to sleep in my bed with me (but in a sleeping bag so he is not too close!)
and spend all christmas day which means I have to put up with him as well as supply food and cook and clean etc. I won'tbe able to see my own family (as I was planning to) ans they can't stand him and it would riun everyone's day.

He says if I don't allow him he will stay at home and drink +++.
He can't visit his own family, he says, because he is too ashasmed to go.

I had initially agreed to this as was behaving OK but this week he has been horrible - I asked him to watch DC's as they were unwell and I had to go to work (has was off) and he had them at his mums less than 1 hour later as he was also unwell and couldn't possible look after themn all day! He was unpleasant to DC's and tries to get them to feel sorry for him by pretending to be really ill. (they are 2 and 4)

I know he will go mad if I try and limit his time with us and his family will mke me feel guilty but I do not want him ruining DC's christmas.

What do you think is reasonable?

OP posts:
0987654321 · 19/12/2008 12:20

sounds like he is forcing the issue and using emotional blackmail to get what he wants. He wants you back and is using christmas, and your kindness, to get what he wants.
Can he not come over early (just after they wake up?).
Don't do anything you dont want to do.
Can you invite anyone else over at the same time?

ilovetochatupsanta · 19/12/2008 12:22

i wouldn't let him stay if he forces you to kiss him he obviously doesn't understand boundaries.
i would ask him to come over at 6am and see the kids open their presents, invite him to dinner if you want and then tell him he must go home after dinner as you are seeing family.

popcorn123 · 19/12/2008 12:37


I am not conmfortable with him staying over on christmas eve - you are right I will tell him to come over earlier - he will complain but it is not of beneift to the DC's and he will drink and annoy me.

It would be great not to just see him so I will have out lunch early so go to my parents later - again he will be difficult but I have to be firm - will have to do this for the rest of my life (or so it seems)!

OP posts:
OptimistS · 19/12/2008 12:59

popcorn, I can see that you are trying extremely hard to keep things amicable for the kids here. However, you need to accept that your XH is an abusive man and that slightly different rules apply.

The biggest thing you need to do is accept that you cannot avoid a confrontation with him if you are really going to start laying down effective boundaries. He is an abusive man and he will show off once you start standing up to him. So unless you are prepared to be bullied by him for the rest of your life, you need to accept that you are going to have at least one unpleasant conversation if you are to move forward. FWIW, I also left an abusive partner who didn't accept the break up. Thigs were truly awful when I first left. However, within 4 months of my leaving and setting new boundaries, he totally capitulated. Now I have no bother and we get along really well. I was always friendly, but as soon as he behaved unacceptably or inappropriately I made him leave. No discussion. Took less time than I thought before the message sunk in.

I am appalled that he is making you kiss him each time you see him. The staying in the same bed idea is very, very, very bad. Things could get out of hand, and I guarantee that if it did, he would blame you by saying you gave him mixed signals by allowing him to share your bed.

You owe him NOTHING apart from the opportunity to be a part of your DC's life. Inviting him over early in the morning to see the DC open their presents and inviting him for lunch is generous enough. He is not entitled to anything further, no matter how much he insists he is.
If he protests and refuses to come over, that's his loss. If he comes over and refuses to leave, can you call someone to come over and 'persuade' him to leave? If he kicks up a fuss, it will be his own image he is tarnishing to your DC, not yours. Ultimately, your DC need to see you stand up to him more than they need to see you be walked all over by him in a caring, but misguided, attempt to keep the peace.

Is your XH on email? If you have qualms about dealing with all of this, one way you can start the ball rolling is to email him. You can tell him what you have decided for Christmas and that it is not open for negotiation. Keep it friendly and polite (remembering that anything you put in writing may be used against you) but be very, very firm. Then you can move on to the fact that you want him to stop kissing you when you meet because it is inappropriate and sends confusing signals to the DC. Emailing is a way of getting your point across without running the risk of being browbeaten by him in person. It also gives him a chance to calm down and digest what you've said before he sees you. Furthermore, if you are careful about what you right, should things get ugly and go to court, you will have written proof that his behaviour has been going on for some time and that you have behaved in a restrained and reasonable manner in an attempt to deal with it.

Decide in advance what you will do if he breaks these boundaries, and stick to your decision. No matter what he says, do not allow him to convince you that if you really cared about the kids you would allow him to do this that and the other. That's manipulation and your kids will benefit far more from seeing you refuse to bow to it.

One of the best ways you can move forward is to keep contact purely as contact, rather than as a means of helping you out. I know this is easier said than done, as childcare can be difficult, but it will give him far less control over your situation and make his relationship with you more about the kids and less about control of you.

I really feel for you. What a time of year to be facing this. I know you will be worried about Christmas Day and him causing a scene, and I wouldn't judge you if you decided to just 'let it go' for this year as you don't want to spoil anyone's Christmas. However, please consider you and your DC worth standing up for sometime very soon.

Best wishes.

greeneyedgirl · 19/12/2008 13:07

Get free advice from a solicitor if poss, the CAB will be able to give you a number of a local firm.

VinegarTitsTheSeasonToBeJolly · 19/12/2008 13:09

Great advice there from OptimistS, please take on board what she says, letting him stay over in your bed is a very very bad idea. good luck

Hassled · 19/12/2008 13:13

Listen to OptimistS - she talks sense. You don't owe him anything and his actions/behaviour seem to me to be all about wanting to control you.

popcorn123 · 19/12/2008 15:02

Thanks for great advice OptimistS. It is so easy to think aboit it when not having to deal with it directly with him as he always manages twist things round to his way of thinking. I still allow him to make me feel guilty about ruining his life etc. He still hasn't told collaegues etc that we have split up and lead this double life.

The childcare thing is difficult due to eg early mornings at the weekend. My mum will help out allows makes me feel that ex should be doing it. But i agreehe uses it as a way to manipulate me by saying - look at all I do for you.

I know if I don't back down an inch on the getting back together thing - he will bearly see the DC's.

e-mail are a good idea but I have tried that but he never replies -although he does read them.

You are right I need to take control of all this.
Will arrange a formal separation agreement in new year.

Will let you know how I get on!

OP posts:
cestlavielife · 19/12/2008 15:22

am in line with optimist s and was in exact same situation last year. he ahd been away in hsi countrya dn came back for xmas in my view to see the children. in his view to be back together. he started off in my son's room theh started insisting on same bed but "just to sleep". very difficult to set boundaries he would not listen.

when i moved out finally he would come round and not leave. was very difficult to get him he would just not listen. it was a nitemare. he would start getting agitated, throw things etc.. also threats to kill himself etc.


even on day he started smashing things he still didnt leave when i asked - held us hostage for two hours til finally left..

now going thru court. after the august incident he has been on no contact and now setting up supervised contact.

in family therpay after the split they said i wasnt being clear enough - allowing him in my new home to see kids, being pleasant and civil gave him mixed messages and let him beleive we could get back together...there is a lot to be said for that. make it more separate. hand over kids at door. make sure a third party is also there when he there if he gets difficult...

popcorn123 · 19/12/2008 18:53

That sounds awful castlaveielife. I'm glad things are better for you now.

I think I am being clear but he wears me down. I know that "no contact" is the way to go but i can't seem to keep it up.

OP posts:
popcorn123 · 23/12/2008 22:53

Things gor worse now a bit better.
He wanted a "nice" night in on Friday. I said he could see the DC but not me on my own. He was very unhappy. He said I had stopped him form seeing the DC's all weekend because of this - I said he wasn't working on Sunday and could see them. He picked them up at 3pm on Sunday and took them to his mum's. He was due to bring them back at 6pm. I texted him to say that i wouldn't be back until 6.15 as I was collecting my brother from work. He never replies to my texts so I wasn't surpised by no reply.

He waited for 20 minutes for me and was mad, ranting ++ about how badly I treated him and refusing to back down when I said he was upseting the children. I had to ask him to leave. He did but them started phoning as soon as he arrived home asking me to explain why I was treating him so badly. I said I couldn't talk as I was giving boys their tea. (He hadn't fed them)
DS1 was really upset and took ages to settle.

He has now in true abusive fashion clicked into nice mode and has agreed that he will not stay over on christmas eve any will leave at 3pm on chritmas day but obviously I am still apprehensive about the whole situation.

OP posts:
cestlavielife · 24/12/2008 11:58

ugh sounds so familiar...ranting in front of the kids, not having any sense of repsonsibility about not displaying this behaviour in front of them.

will you have someone else in the house tomorrow - someone who will make sure he does leave at 3? my ex would agree these things but then end up at the agreed time asleep/slouched watching something on Tv (cant move i will miss it)/or in one of his rants and refusing to leave....

you are not treating him badly - he is treating you and the kids babdly by behaving like this.

hope it goes ok for you...

my ex saw the kids on tuesday at cafcass offices family room - supervised by cafcass officer. exchanged presents etc.
he arrived late! supervisor asked - is this typical ? i said yes... you would think not havingseen them he would make effort to turn up early...but typical of him time manamgent not his strong point.
so that is it now til contact centre reopens in jan...

Coldtits · 24/12/2008 12:12

One thing that worked with my ex is the broken record technique.

Like when I want him to leave because of his behavior, I will state over and over again

"It's time for you to leave now. If you won't leave I will have to call the police again. Your choice."

If he starts getting aggressive, shouting, kicking things, following you around - call the police and have him removed.

cestlavielife · 24/12/2008 12:22

doesnt always work, coldtits - i did exactly as you say: he kicked the bin, i said, "leave now or i call the police" - he said no am not leaving...then when i went for the phone he pushed me, grabbed it off me and threw it across the room - i only got chance to dial 9...

thn he smashed his fist thru the door -
i continued to repeat leave now..

then in middle of ranting and raging he gets his phone and goes "what do you want, you are abusing me, shall i call the police then?" i said yes please, naturally he didnt...

he refused to leave and only left finally after two hours of me saying repeatedly you need to leave and my daughter screaming at him to leave. he went over to her and said "look what your mother is doing to you"...

domestic violence unit sent me a rape alarm - suggested i speak to neighbours and advise them that if they heard it go off they should know to call police.

is not so easy to call the police when he is violent or enraged - he will grab phone off you...

also they need prior warning to put your phone number on alert so that even if you can just dial 999 and leave phone hanging they will respond.

Coldtits · 24/12/2008 12:33

Keep a mobile in your pocket.

I know it's not always as easy as 'call the police' - but you should call them before you think you really need to. Also, yes, warn them.

ninah · 24/12/2008 12:42

I agree, I kept a mobile in case as my ex used to take phone. He was quite shocked when I used it. It is never a situation you imagine yourself being in.

cestlavielife · 24/12/2008 14:51

he can still grab it off you when you try to use it!

Coldtits · 24/12/2008 15:50

Then get yourself behind a locked door.

Cestlavie, I'm not attacking you, and I'm certainly not attacking your actions when your ex held you hostage, but just as sometimes you CAN'T use a phone, sometimes you CAN.

Abused women sometimes fall into a pattern of not even bothering to think something might work, because things so often don't go their way. It worked for me. I happened to have my phone in my dressing gown pocket, I happened to have both kids in the kitchen, I was quick enough to get in there and brace my legs against the door while I made a quick phone call to the police.

Many many times before that I had not been that lucky (and it was luck) but this time I was.

When or if you find yourself in this situation, assess it as well as you can. See if you can give him the run around or even appease him until he calms down (but I know that's often just not possible) but don't then forget and think it doesn't matter any more because it's stopped. Ring them the next time you get a few minutes away if you can.

popcorn123 · 24/12/2008 22:22

Yes will have phone in pocket - good idea. Hopefully he will be OK. I suspect it will be a struggle to go out the door. The evening he was saying that he was worried that his asthma would be very bad when he was at hime aloone all night (he doesn't have asthma) So we will see what tomorrow brings. Could phone my brother if trouble.

Lets hope for a peaceful christmas for all those in a similar position.

OP posts:
ninah · 24/12/2008 22:49

omg dressing gown pocket that brings it all back. wishing you a happy and peaceful Xmas popcorn. If you are planned and prepared chances are it will go OK and you'll think why did I worry. All good wishes

GypsyMoth · 26/12/2008 13:56

dressing gown pocket!! yes,that was my hiding place too....

popcorn123 · 26/12/2008 19:50

Will day went OK - no drama.
He came round at 7.30am, boys opened their presents. He still had "asthma" adn wasn'y physically able to so anything!
He disappeared for a few hours at the back of nine to collect a forgotten gift for his mum (obviously we were boring him).

He came back and took boys to his mums for a while and came back and we had lunch. Then refused to help tidy up/play with dc's due to tiredness/breathlessness/aches and pains amd tried to get dc's to go bed for nap which they refused to do.

Eventually he went at 4.30 - had to be really rude but he didn't cause any trouble.

He phoned at 10pm to apologise for not beoing at his best and said that he now had a headache and neck stiffness and could I phone in the morning to check he was alright as it might to meningitis and and as he lived alone anything could happen! Won't go to doctor for any of these symptoms BTW.

So he was as useless as ever but we got through it!

OP posts:
solidgoldstuffingballs · 27/12/2008 14:46

I hope you didn't phone in the morning to check if he had meningitis or not - always ignore this sort of attention-seeking. Knobs like this will never do anything as obliging as actually die.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.