Should I keep encouraging contact?

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  • #22068 Report


    A bit of background – my wife of nearly 10 years walked out a year ago to move into a flat about 5 minutes walk from where we had been renting together, a couple of days later the man she was having an affair with moved in with her and she introduced our son to him the next weekend when he went over to visit her new place for the first time. The flat they rented doesn’t allow children so without any discussion I became the single parent to the 8 year old son we had brought up together by default (I use this terminology as there is a fairly high likelihood he is the product of another suspected affair she had earlier in our marriage, whilst I’m probably not his biological father I have been his Daddy since day one).

    With her chosen housing situation she hasn’t had her son over to stay the night at any point in the past year and didn’t take him with them when they went on holiday so the contact has been limited to doing the school run two days a week (to fit around her rota) and roughly every other week having him over after school for about 2-3 hours on one of those days.  She has also had him round two or three times on a Saturday or Sunday to attend family days out/parties with his cousins on her side of the family and about once a week during school holidays. She didn’t see him at all on his Birthday, her Birthday or Christmas Day despite being offered the opportunity each time.

    Divorce proceedings haven’t begun yet and there is no contact agreement in place so it has been very much a case of me trying to facilitate the two of them seeing each other as much as possible but neither of them have been particularly enthusiastic and even with this very limited amount of contact there have been a lot of last minute cancellations from her as she was feeling too tired, unwell or had other plans and even more cancellations where her son has decided he didn’t want to go round to see her.

    Last week he told me that he didn’t want his mother to do the school run at all any more as she is always late and grumpy, he also didn’t want to see her after school the next day and he has maintained this position ever since when going to see her has been mentioned. They haven’t seen each other at all in March and only a couple of times in February so it has been a steady decline rather than a sudden decision. I sent my wife a message to explain his decision and got a very brief response that she would respect his choice.

    This now leaves me with a decision to make myself and I would appreciate some advice – do I keep asking, encouraging and making offers for the two of them to see each other as I have done for the past year (e.g. with mothers day coming up soon) or keep quiet and leave it to my wife and her now 9 year old son to make contact with each other if they decide they want to meet up again?

    #22071 Report


    Thanks for your thoughts on this, it has become unfortunately all too clear that her son is not very high up the list of priorities which is heart breaking.

    There isn’t any formal agreement on child maintenance but we had a look at the calculator on GOV.UK last year when she left and based payments on her working three shifts a week (~£30).  As a care worker on a zero hour contract her pay varies hugely and whilst I could probably chase her for more I’m not really minded to.  She came into the marriage with debt and left with it all paid off, an extremely generous settlement (I had just finished saving up for the deposit on our first house), the family car and her pick of any belongings she wanted to take (stuff can always be replaced).

    She has apparently already burned through the cash setting up in a new home, going on holiday, buying games consoles, new TV etc. and supporting her boyfriend (he doesn’t work) whilst my outgoings have actually gone down since she left as she always spent significantly more than she earned so from a purely financial point of view I’m actually better off as a single parent.

    #22076 Report


    I tried for a number of years to facilitate and push for contact with DDs dad as there is so much pressure to be doing the “right” and “fair” thing for the child.

    However, once DD was showing signs of being upset by the constant let downs, needing picking up and reassuring every time a letter didn’t come/calls weren’t responded to etc; the decision was made for me. No further contact facilitated by me, and zero efforts from her dad to try and put things right.

    It may help for you to think of it as her decision (his mums) and not yours. Please don’t try and take ownership for her unnaceptable and inconsistent behaviours towards your son, it’s such a heavy load to carry and you’ve done all you can to promote her invovement. She herself has made the decision for you/your son, which is evidenced in her attitudes, behaviours and lack of commitment.

    Its so difficult, im happy to talk if my experiences my help you. I wish you well.

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