Single mum – father not communicating

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  • #18895 Report


    Hi all, newbie here.

    Been a single mum to my two girls (8,4) since 2016.

    My children have had less than a year of calm (ish) visits when my ex lived at home with his mum (and the new gf almost immediately).

    then he moved in with gf, moved out of his mums, stopped seeing his family, changed to a vegan diet (kids must abide), stopped seeing our two girls for three months, plans for marriage and moved again 2 hours away into the gfs family home (busy).

    throughout this time communication has been an issue, he only communicates via email and I am waiting 2-5 days for a response. My eldest has problems with sleep walking and anxiety and my youngest has selective mutism which is caused by high anxiety. We need to work together to help these issues improve.

    i took him to mediation for free in August as I lost my job this year due to the time he didn’t see the children. We came to a good agreement and I felt happy, he even said communication needed to be improved. I wanted another session but he refused.

    so fast forward three months, communication at an all time low, he forgets to call the children and can be flakey when it comes to visits, bringing them home early or not having them overnight.

    he won’t mediate again because it’ll cost him money.

    i want him to communicate with me, I am not hostile and never have been. I am frightened for my children’s emotional well-being. They are struggling to cope anxiety wise and they need two parents who are open and understanding to it.

    He has parental responsibility.

    what do I do? I can’t take him to court as I can’t afford it but it can’t stay the same. I asked if I could call him to discuss things about the children and he still hasn’t responded 3 days later.

    i never want to stop him seeing the children but I feel so backed into a corner because he doesn’t discuss their well-being  – the three months he didn’t see them this year were the calmest I have known regarding my children.

    Im struggling to see the light 🙁

    (The children aren’t subject to anything about their dad, only that he tries his best and we even countdown until we see him to make it exciting but it often backfires when he backs out)

    #18903 Report


    He is paying correctly.

    id just like to say that I am not relying on him, however to co parent our children effectively I believe he needs to communicate better when I am discussing how the children are behaving, how my youngest is coping in general, the emails are factual and are not small talk or irrelevant chit chat. So in a way we all rely on the other parent to hold up generally just being a parent, you know? Or maybe I’m wrong, maybe I have to be the one to decide everything and never give him a choice in it? It may work better that way? Although that’s not the coparenting way I wanted things (we all know it doesn’t always work that way)


    i appreciate all of your suggestions and they all seem fair. I don’t feel continuing the same way will work. Another suggestion of mediation will be offered I think if he refuses I might have to go further 🙁

    he is due to see them this weekend.

    #18905 Report


    I do agree don’t get me wrong. I do not expect anything to change if I’m honest but I don’t think it’s wrong of me to want him to discuss our daughters well-being so we are both well informed and can parent effectively.

    I want to be able to discuss issues such as how he is approaching situations with my SM daughter so I can then feedback to her therapists.

    I want to discuss how we can also help our sleepwalking daughter overcome her hurt and anxiety caused by our separation so again it can be fed back to her therapist.

    These things I can’t do alone, I can’t fix our eldest daughters feelings towards him so they can have a healthier relationship  but it may well just be as it is now and I shouldn’t try to fix it?

    I genuinly have no idea what’s best anymore. To try and help my children have a positive relationship with their dad or to do what I’m doing and hope he steps up eventually.


    so tricky!

    #18907 Report


    Yes the plan is to email him confirmations and more info via therapists in the hope he will listen to “professionals” rather than his ex.


    this has yet to be discussed, I don’t even know who I’d speak to about that. Like I say, when he didn’t see them for months. They were both happy and calm and we were dealing with everything well.

    #18918 Report


    Ollie dog, just to say, your children do not need two parents. That would be the ideal but no second parent is better than a bad second parent.

    I’d do him a regular update email – once a month, but otherwise stop trying to include him. He isn’t interested and your children will probably be more settled and happy  in a routine that doesn’t involve him messing them about. Every time he lets them down, they wonder what they did wrong which isn’t fair.

    Just focus your efforts on being a loving consistent mum, and give them all the security you can.

    #18920 Report


    Thank you Kathy.

    You are correct and I am just beginning to realise this after hoping for so long that it would be different.


    #18930 Report


    I agree with Kathy!


    I am in a very similar situation, my ex partner has limited communication and picks and chooses if he replies to my emails. (All very minimal requests of our son, never anything emotional or personal).

    It’s so difficult as all you want is for them to have the understanding and knowledge about your childs emotional needs when they almost don’t really think it’s important. Kathy hit the nail on the head, think about what is best for your kids and it sounds like you’re doing all you can to improve communication, when clearly he doesn’t want to, and knows he doesn’t have to! Set your own boundaries for contact. You are in your rights to do this as their mother who is the primary carer. You are meeting your childrens needs and doing a great job. Unfortunately you can’t make someone communicate, (had to learn this myself and its stressful!)

    Evaluate what will make your kids happy and healthy, set boundaries for days he can see them on your terms. It is not unreasonable! If he doesn’t then stop contact until he will communicate with you properly and show that he going to support his childrens emotional needs. Sounds like you’ve exhausted all avenues and been very patient so well done!

    C x

    #18976 Report


    I agree with Kathy too.

    I am in the same situation for 2 and half years now and trying to get my ex to understand about my daughters well-being is like talking to a brick wall. She is now showing signs of anxiety and all he keeps saying is that it’s my fault because I say things to her before going to his.

    Anyway I’ve decided my next step is to take her to a doctor and have it put in writing for him to see and see if that changes anything. Other than that I’m just doing my best to make sure she’s got the support from me.

    You’re doing a great job. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

    #19030 Report


    I am having the exact same problem with my ex husband. I totally have the children’s interests at heart and want him to be a part of their life but he is on a completely different page to me. My boy age 10 is an anxious wreck, due to his dad leaving totally unexpectedly for another woman. And even though he is so much better when he doesn’t see his dad, when his dad is having a spell of wanting to be young free and single again,I still want him to have a dad . But I’m beginning to realise it actually maybe better for him to have no dad than a rubbish selfish dad.

    Its so frustrating.

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