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Any advice about handling contact negotiations with ex?

4 replies

BurningBright · 06/01/2009 09:37

My DD has only met her father once, about thee and a half months ago for 20 minutes or so. (He's seen her three times, but the first two visits were before she was six weeks old). He has recently made a vague noise about wanting to see her regularly. I'm not sure how serious/sincere he is about this. The vague noise might have been triggered by his pique at my failure to jump when he demanded an opportunity to see DD at Christmas - I didn't say he couldn't, but we were away at the time and I simply said he'd have to wait until we got back.

Anyway, I was feeling bullied by his text messages so I told him to get in touch with me by email in the New Year to arrange to meet with me to discuss contact. Then I changed my mobile number.

I haven't heard from him yet, but if I do and we meet, can anyone give me some pointers on how to handle the meeting? He's a bully and likes to play mind games so I need to have some tactics prepared so that I feel in control and don't let him get at me.

Is it OK to take someone with me? I don't want it to be too formal (I'd prefer to come to an amicable agreement if we can). But I'm not comfortable seeing him alone.

What constitutes 'reasonable contact' given his track record of almost complete indifference so far?

Is it OK to insist that until I'm convinced that he will be reliable and consistent he is to make no mention of the fact that he is her father or to refer to himself as 'Daddy'? He hasn't earned the title, as far as I'm concerned.

DD is only two, so I want to make sure that we take things at a pace that suits her, but I'm worried that he is going to try to bully me into going at his pace.

OP posts:
aseriouslyblondemoment · 06/01/2009 09:50

burning bright think that you basically have two options here
either take legal advice and see what they advise
meet him in a preferably neutral venue without dd in tow.take a friend/relative for support if it helps you,but make sure that they can remain calm too and not to be seen as some sort of heavy mob as this is likely to provoke him even more.
can't really advise on the calling himself daddy,thou can see where you are coming from with that as she doesnt need some inreliable half job in her life
if you take a look at some of the other threads on here you will see how some other mums cope/deal with their exs..coping strategies really help

ELOB · 06/01/2009 22:32

bit tricky. not sure what to advise and i totally see your point regarding contact and 'daddy'. your d is very young at 2 and he is to her a complete stranger. no body would ever advise a small child to go with complete strangers, quite the opposite so i dont think there's any argument there, no matter what your ex says. so any contact should be with you present for quite some time an would need to be 'often' so he became a known face and friend in her eyes.someone she recognised and trusted. that would be unlikely to happen if he only sees her once a week for example although it could be possible to build a friendship and trust with only once a week but would just mean it would have to continue on that basis for a much longer period. at 2 does she ever mention the word 'daddy' or ask what a daddy is or where her daddy is or if she has a daddy. if the answer to all this is no then i would not introduce him as daddy, its clearly not important to her. if and when he establishes a relationship and he is consistent and forms a good, loving relationship with her and she's a little older to understand that would be the time to explain who he is. if he doesn't live up to the mark, at least you can say to her when she does start asking questions about daddy, that he was the man she met when she was only 2. she might have vague memories and he may continue limited contact anyway so she will know who you are talking about. and you should when you feel happy about them being together alone and for longer periods always ask her if she would like to spend some time with daddy alone first. dont just send her off with him. good luck.

solidgoldsoddingjanuaryagain · 06/01/2009 22:37

I don't think allowing unsupervised contact with a bloke who is a)unreliable and b) a bully is a great idea for a 2-year-old either. Think ELOB has the right idea: you should be present (if you don't really want XP in your house can you arrange to do things like all go to the park/nearby cafe/children's attraction of some kind?)

BurningBright · 07/01/2009 09:03

There was never any question that I would let him be alone with her. Any contact will be in my presence for a long time to come. And probably with another person initially.

DD has said the word 'daddy' a few times, but it is a word she hears at nursery and with friends, so that's inevitable. She's not actually asked what a daddy is or where hers is yet, but I know that will come.

I have actually now seen a solicitor and I'm feeling a bit reassured.

If it were down to me, I'd have him stay away from us until such a time as DD wants to know him. Unfortunately, if he persues it, I know I have to let him have some contact with her but the idea of him interacting makes me feel ill.

Thanks for your replies.

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