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I really just want someone to tell me what to do...

Posted by: Anonymous
Mon 13, Feb 2017 at 5:38pm

I'm so sorry for the long post. If you read it all you deserve a medal! I just don't want to go over it in sections and although its a narrative, without it there would be obvious questions. I've tried not to put stuff in that is irrelevant but give a full picture as much as I can.

My husband and I were together for 9 years, married for four, and have a little boy. Just after his 3rd birthday 7 months ago, my husband left. It was very sudden. I didn't know where he'd gone, only that my Dad, brother and best mate had found another woman's belongings (including suitcase) in our house. All I had was text messages. I had to persuade him to come and break the ice for our son's sake as he was worried - understandably, the reaction from everyone wasn't great. Its been pretty much exactly how you wouldn't want to handle a separation.

We agreed a framework right on day one that we would leave no more than two consecutive nights between visits. It was an interim thing. It didn't work well as he was constantly having to change things, but he said it would be better once he found somewhere to live (sounds fair enough to me) wasn't. In fact he became increasingly distant and unreliable. It has been a long time since I could tell LO when he's coming without having confirmation he's on his way.

I was beside myself, started going to mindfulness and used techniques to prepare and keep it together for visits and LO. I think I did well. We had agreed to have a dialogue about the marriage stuff separately from visits. I stopped pouring my heart out on emails and texts pretty quickly once the shock started to wear off. He never engaged with anything I had to say about that. I could count on one hand the number of times my emotions got the better of me (after bedtime) and Dad just immediately left and didn't want to hear it anyway. He told me I would have to get used to the idea of her knowing LO, at a time when he'd supposedly only known her a few weeks. I had to argue back about that.

Our LO started having nightmares, becoming withdrawn at nursery and struggling with his emotions. One night it was so bad I thought he must be ill so took him to A&E at 2am and they were checking for an infection. I kept in touch with Daddy but he fell asleep before knowing the outcome. That hurt.

He had told me he was moving into student halls by himself, but in fact he'd already moved in with her.

He said the halls were not an appropriate place for LO to visit.I agreed.

After a period of another two months where he missed or altered about half of the arrangements, I was starting to really struggle with my emotions (mainly anger tbh). I withdrew quite a bit and utilised Grandma so I could just drop LO round at hers. Dad kept saying he prioritised our boy, but actions were not telling the same story.

We moved the visits to every other weekend at Grandma's house so they could see each other for two nights and have some quality time. He has managed that with an 80% strike rate so thats an improvement. There is an open invitation which I remind him of, that he can visit in between the weekends if he wants to just get in touch and arrange it. He has not initiated this once. He says he wants more facetimes, so I have been facilitating that...he does't initiate those either.

Our boy is finally more settled. Throughout this whole painful process, we have been able to talk to one another about him. The relationship was definitely over straight away. I'm getting into my stride and we are able to talk positively about one another to LO.

Christmas was hard because he didn't stick to arrangements for 23rd/24th and completely messed me up. I kept it to myself on Christmas day (He slept on the sofa to be there in the morning, then we went our separate ways at around noon.)

We continued to receive some childcare funding through his student loan but other than that he hasn't been able to send me any money at all. We don't even talk about it.

So after this huge shock I have been as kind as I can. His life has been a wreck. I understand that. I always put Daddy/boy relationship ahead of my own anger, hurt and humiliation.

He told me that he and his new partner would be house-hunting this summer. With our boy starting school early September, I thought I could keep things settled now through until then for him. All of a sudden, they have now moved into a house and the pressure is on for the visits to take place there.

I am not ready for this at all. Obviously I am only human and don't know how I am going to cope with keeping up the 'positive act' in the background of them playing happy families with a homewrecker (believe me, I don't use that term lightly but I can't be bothered to make the minor qualifications around it). I'd be lying if I said I'd come to terms with how I've been treated.

I know I need to trust his judgement as a Dad and I genuinely want to be able to do that. Dad/son have a really loving relationship and that is obviously a good thing. I promised Dad I will try to get comfortable with it but asked for him to be iron-clad reliable to assist me in doing that. He assured me that he will do anything as he cries every night missing his boy: That being able to have the visits in his own space will make him feel more like a father (he's not asking for any more time with LO, just a change of venue for this purpose). Dad says he is well aware that he hasn't been there and I have been a bloody angel and that there is no rush...but he's mentioned it with every contact since it first came up three weeks ago. He encouraged me three times to share my thoughts (over text) so I eventually sent a long message outlining my worries..he never acknowleged the text or responded in any way.

I've been trying to think about this rationally. I am not relishing the idea of changing LO environment yet again he has had so much upheaval this year already. (A nursery change hasn't helped but was necessary after what happened). There is so little of his pre-school life left. Dad is also saying he is struggling for money and paying the bills (they've only been in the house 2 weeks) so is this house going to be kept that my problem? Wheres the line? What is my business? Why do I feel that letting him go there would be irresponsible on my part?

This all culminated in an argument last week. Dad was meant to text for a FaceTime but didn't, and nothing the next day. My text to him the following morning was sarcastic. Then I quickly text again that we need some help with this and should go to Relate or similar. His reaction was just downright upsetting. Phone call: "Do you actually want LO to have a Daddy?" "We don't need marriage counselling, you just need to sort yourself out", "Are you struggling with your life? Is he too much for you?" I couldn't get a word in edgeways. I've never heard him speak to anyone like that in all the time I've known him. Then LO walked in so I diverted the attention to a Facetime. So 5 minutes after being spoken to like crap I'm smiling and saying "Wasn't it nice to see Daddy"

Part of me thinks, we should just go for it asap so LO can get settled and deal with any issues in good time before September. That worry about something is always worse than the reality. I have written down just 4 ground rules (I don't think micro-management is healthy - though I dare say the rules with expand or reduce as time goes on) but I can't bring myself to give them to him and say its ok. It feels like a fresh devastation just lurking around the corner. I don't know this man any more.

I would be open to being told I am being irrational and its just got to happen. I wouldn't see it as a loss, it would be a relief to know what to do. I don't want to call it, against my gut feeling, because I've been painted into a corner about it.

Please just tell me to get over myself if that's whats needed. It just feels so wrong to me and I am repeatedly baffled at the time scales of all of this.

The tension this is causing is going to start causing damage (tbh it has already) and mediation isn't an option he just won't.

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  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Wow! So well done you for capturing everything that has happened. I hope just getting it all down has been a help to you. Sounds to me like you've done an amazing job of recovering from what must have been the most terrible shock and, clearly, putting your son's needs first.
    It's also pretty exceptional to hear that you are open to the idea that your hesitation about letting him go to stay with his dad in the new home might be about your own feelings rather than his. Nevertheless, you are in a good position to weigh up what might be best for him. You probably don't need me to tell you that it's relationships, more than places, that make us feel safe and happy. So, if you're confident that your son is happy with his dad and that his dad loves him and understands his needs, then the shift to a new location may not be an issue for him.
    Your ex has moved away to a new relationship and you may not feel that was a great thing to do (who would?) but I'm guessing, from what you said about your recent argument, that he's also very anxious that you will cut him off from his son, just as you may be anxious that you might 'lose' your son to the new woman in his father's life.
    Is there a way you can share these feelings with each and extend a bit of empathy? I know it's a big ask after what's happened but it might lay a good foundation for amicable communication between into the future which your son will really appreciate as he gets older.
    Here's a link to an article that might be helpful:
    Let us know what you think.

    Wed 15, Feb 2017 at 10:09am
  • User-anonymous Kerry79 Flag

    Thank you Jaybee.

    Its very difficult to share anything outside of routines with him. In fact I forced myself to stop it. He encourages me to and then leaves me hanging ...just no response. I don't think he knows what to say.

    To be honest I think he may be in a bad way, but he won't show me that since its so vitally important I am kept in my place. (another good reason to dismantle your marriage before moving in with someone else). I was worried about his stress levels and symptoms of depression in the two weeks before he left, but he's pinned it on the marriage and taken flight. I asked him how long he'd been thinking there were problems in our marriage, and two weeks is the answer I got. And "There was nothing to talk to you about. its my decision and none of your business" That's about as far as I can get in that respect.

    I already tried being his friend ... The only way I can describe it is trying to keep the pile of excrement between us at a minimum ... and hope for a time in the future where that communication can come. I don't want to watch this tension grow between us when I can stop it by giving in...and it does feel like giving in.

    There is no burning issue in our son's life that will be rectified by this change. It feels like a favour to Dad and nothing more. I hate the prospect of doing that when LO is finally happy, and Dad is just missing the point all the time and won't help himself...

    He is loving, but a bit slap-dash, not very organised, doesn't think ahead, say what he means/mean what he says. He is a shell of his former self and I so wish wish wish I had more confidence in him to do a good job of this. Its like hes lost some intuition and things don't come naturally, if that makes sense. It sounds awful I know, but I haven't just decided to feel this way about him...he painted the picture.

    I don't know what more I can do to reassure Dad that I fully support him remaining in our son's life. All my actions since day one have been dripping with that intention, if he ever chose to look up see it, or (dare I say) appreciate it. I have been patient while he's got his act together but every time he has told me "Things will be better then, then, then"...they havent, haven't, haven't.

    I feel like I'm giving in to pressure. I feel painted into a corner/ignored/patronised.

    Sorry I'm rambling. I am so angry about this. It must be a side effect from lying down on the floor, inviting someone to kick me in the face again and again. But it looks like I am going to have to do it anyway. Hes already told LO about his room at Daddy's house. Dad is making it the best option, by poisoning the other one (if that makes sense).

    How do people cope with that? I think what I need is more meditation...

    Thu 16, Feb 2017 at 4:12pm
  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Hmm, I was going to mention 'anger' but you got there first. You're clearly furious- not surprisingly. I know it feels like it to you but these actions on your ex's part are probably not aimed at you; their purpose is make sure he doesn't lose his relationship with his son as a result of moving away from the two of you.
    Of course it's painful seeing things being done in ways that you feel are wrong but you'll only hurt yourself more by trying to 'stage manage' what happens. Meditation sounds like a good option -practice letting go! A relaxed, happy Mum is much better for your son than an angry one. (He'll think it's his fault - children always do)

    Sun 19, Feb 2017 at 5:20pm