Son, 13, wants to live with his dad

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    Hi all, so my situation is this: my ex and I (never married) split when my son was a year old due to his mental health issues, I couldn’t cope with it to be honest and I still feel a bit guilty about it after all these years because I so desperately wanted us to be a family but I tried my best and it didn’t work. He moved 3 hours away to his parents and I didn’t see him for a year, we then had a messy court battle over contact which resulted in a residency order in my favour in place until our son is 16 and contact every third weekend with his father for the weekend. I pushed for more contact as I felt it was important that he maintains a good relationship with him but due to expenses and travel distance he declined. I don’t drive so his dad does the pick ups and drop offs.

    Anyway his dad is in a relationship and has now has a baby ( born this week) with his partner and she has another child. My ex and I are amicable, I don’t particularly like his partner for a few reasons which I wont go into now but she’s put my son at risk on multiple occasions when left in her care. That aside our son loves time at his dads, they have a big extended family who are close and always make a fuss of him when he’s there. He has cousins of a similar age who he gets on well with and has friends from football training.

    His dad doesn’t appear to have many boundaries, hours on end sat in front of the PlayStation and phones and generally left to occupy his step sister. He has lots of freedom there and at his age he’s exploring new things/ places with his friendship group there that I would feel a bit uneasy about (going further away than I would allow especially as he doesn’t know the area as well, out in town etc without supervision and we don’t do this at home yet).

    We’ve had lots of conversations lately about him feeling sad when he comes home, missing his dad which I totally understand and missing his friends and family there and having a sibling. This upsets me quite a lot as I’m not in a relationship and I’d love to have a partner and potentially another child one day but I’ve not found the right person. And actually there’s a lot of hurt still from my relationship with my ex, he has everything I felt we should have had and generally his mental health seems stable these days. We did discuss a very long time ago if we could try again but he didn’t want to.

    This weekend out son met his baby brother and he’s come home saying he wants to live with his dad. I can’t imagine my life without him and do everything for him to keep him happy and I’m not in a position where I can offer what his dad can in terms of family. My family are close but we’re a small family with no one the same age as him and were not always as close or as fun as sad as it is to say. I have made this known to my family and tried to arrange things more often but nothing has really changed. I feel disappointed and betrayed by my son who was quite rude to me tonight and I know he’s upset but just basic manners, I’d tidied him room, he moaned about dinner and said he doesn’t like it where we live as he doesn’t have any fun here and he’s so bored. I try and do what I can with him but money is tight and without driving were limited to where we can do around work and school so I feel guilty about this too.

    When our son is not at his dads he has very little contact which is a shame, it’s very much out of sight out of mind. I try to include his dad in things but he refuses to speak with me directly these days and does everything via our son on a text where the info may or may not get to me or vice versa. We’ve also recently had a few issues with homework and behaviour in school and playing on age appropriate games and he was less than supportive refusing to discipline him and allowing him to play on said games despite being an 18 and directly after I said this is not allowed at my house. He said his time seeing him should be for enjoyment not moaning at him. He’s really shunned any responsibility in that sense.

    My ex tells my son things like he would love him to be there all the time but then he knows that’s not realistic because 1 – the residency order in place and 2- because he’s lacking space especially with the new baby. He’s been telling him for months when the baby arrives they will have a bigger house and he will have his own room which again is unrealistic based on current climates.


    I’m not opposed to him having a say where he wants to live when he’s much older but at 16 I’d hate to see him go there and anything that we have worked hard for here is gone ( input into his education, my relationship with my son – if I don’t drive still I very much doubt my ex will have any intention of bringing him to me for regular contact). On the driving note I’d love to but can’t afford it.

    Im wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience? My first thought was how can I make it more fun or exciting here but in reality I cant, I already do everything I can and daily life, work, cleaning, cooking, homework etc will always be there. I’ve asked my ex if he will have him more frequently or at least call more often in hope that helps him feel more included but he said he can’t due to money and the calls don’t change!


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