Oooh, that man. The ex, the babes, and cancelled visits.

A very sad story, bodypoet. My heart goes out to you and your children. Thank Og that they have you in their lives to help guide them through life.

Could you tell the little poets that their daddy is having a hard time being a Daddy right now and that he needs time to sort things out? And this makes him make promises sometimes that he can’t keep and it doesn’t mean the he is rejecting you.

That way, you are not lying to the kids, and you don’t burn any bridges in case he comes to his senses at some point in the future and becomes more involved in their lives.

True, it gives the bum a little more slack than he deserves, but it offers you a way to explain the situation to the kids in a way that might help them make sense of a tough situation.

In your OP, you mentioned that he likes to drink with his buddies. Is there reason to be concerned that he might endanger the kids if he picks them up and drives them somewhere?

Wow, Kricket. Your post made me tear-up over here.

Stuffy, Kricket and bodypoet, I’ll never, ever understand how a parent can be such a hurtful ass.

Spiff’s suggestion seems like a good one to me.

I’ve had to deal with a similar situation from the opposite side – that of the non-custodial parent who is cast as the “bad guy.” My ex-wife has intentionally planned weekend trips or outings for the kids, and then, after getting them all excited about it, had them call me to see if the have to come see me on my visitation weekend. Or – even better – NOT calling me beforehand, so when I pull into their driveway after the hour-long drive to pick them up, they run up to the car and ask if they can not go with me that weekend. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

My wife, Aries28, handles these types of situations with my stepson perfectly, in my opinion. If there’s a birthday party, or an event, or whatever on a weekend when her ex is supposed to get his son, she doesn’t tell the boy about it. If he finds out, and wants to go, she tells him he cannot – he’ll be with his dad. On rare occasions, my stepson has asked to call his dad to see about the possibility of attending whatever event, and she lets him do that. Regardless of the terrible way her ex-husband treated her, Aries28 doesn’t want that to color her son’s relationship with his father.

Wow, so many replies–and my computer is dragging so it’s hard to respond. Thanks for all your stories, everyone–it’s good to know I’m not alone, at least.Today’s saga got even richer. Apparently, this whole thing has made him feel like a “bad parent”—a feeling he could have avoided* if only I had considered and protected his Feelings by not telling him that Tbone was upset with the turn[of events. *According to him, I should have kept all this info to myself, because it only served to upset him. And besides that, I’m not a good parent either, because I don’t—yes, I’m quoting here—I don’t jump on the trampoline with the babies.
It only got worse from there. If you can imagine. He also refused to pay his share of the daycare, but changed his mind when I told him I’d explain the situation to the daycare provider (he works with her husband, mustn’t look bad in front of the buddies, after all.)

At any rate, to touch on a few responses here:
Shakes, thank you for sharing your experience. I’m so glad you got beyond it. I’m very glad to see that the babies are just as happy to come home as they are to go to Daddy’s, so there’s never any big leaving-time trauma from either of them. It’s just very hard on Tbone when he doesn’t see his Daddy for a few days.
Zen, consider it documented. Along with everything else.
Spiff, he does drink a lot, but he’s never shown up here drunk. (At least since we separated, heh.) I’ve been pretty straightforward about the consequences if I ever find that he has them in a vehicle when he’s drinking, so I think he’ll be responsible in that area at least.

From now on, I’m just going to leave visits unannounced as much as possible. That bothers me, because I think the kids need the structure of KNOWING when their dad is coming—but losing a bit of structure is preferable to the kind of disappointment that my little boy went through, I think.

Things are somewhat calmer now—as any abusive man tends to do, he has gone through yet another cycle of anger and aggressiveness and is now sorry and conciliatory. Too bad it doesn’t work as well for him as it used to, but at least it will buy me another three weeks of peace. By then, the provisional agreement should be in place (or whatever they call the initial hearing results.)

More later, when my computer is behaving a bit better….

Too bad, Bodypoet. Your kids will learn who their dad is the hard way. It takes a lot of years, but they know what’s going on.

My ex was a de-gifter. He gave my son an ATV on one of his annual visits. Then the next time he saw him, he took it back. He never called regularly. No money. I told him to call collect. Still no calls.

He wrote a letter once (from jail). I put it in the photo album for posterity.

And now he’s dead and people don’t miss him much. It’s a hard lesson, but as they say, life ain’t a bowl of cherries. :frowning:

I’ll vouch. Tbone wasn’t feeling really good; the whole thing’s kinda rattled his cage. And I can only do so much for him, distract him in only so many ways…because what he really wants at those times is his dad.

I’m very glad to know each of the youngpoets, and to find myself so fully integrated into the family, and so when one of them is hurting, it hurts me too.

Showed up at work today with a parade of smiley faces from right ankle to right knee, rendered in lovely dark green magic marker. When cow-orkers asked why they were there, I said that sometimes you have to let it happen to keep a lovely three-year-old girl (Tbone’s younger sister) occupied while her mother’s taking care of other concerns.

No, I didn’t try to wash 'em off, because that would be crazy…a future stepfather’s love knows no bounds.

Can I just say YAY! And hand out more big hugs?
I am ever so happy that you two found each other!
Bodypoet, I know it sucks cause you feel like you are keeping them out of the loop, but it really does work better for all emotionally.
Hopefully bio-dad isn’t jery enough to say something like “sorry I missed you guys the other day” to try to stir stuff up.

Ain’t our Mr. Todd a wonderful fella? I do love him so, and now you can all see why.

The Ex, now in honeymoon phase, is being quite civil. Somehow he seems to feel that these “rough patches” should bring us closer together, as if we’ve shared some sort of Moment. Fuck that. I can’t get far enough away from that psycho.

Karol, I just wanted to mention one thing which I have found helpful over the years. My kids’ dad is an alcoholic and really has no control over his life. He was never regular with visits, and one more than one occasion I had to turn him away at the door 'cause he was drunk.

Over the past 15 years of being divorced, he has prolly given me $500 total child support.

I didn’t want the kids to hate him, or have bitterness, or feel that they were somehow the cause of his abandonment of them. What I began to teach them (they were 1 and 4) was that it was ok to be sad/mad about their Daddy’s behavior … quite rightfully so, actually. At the same time they could love their Daddy just 'cause he’s their Daddy.

The results are pretty good so far, although my son is currently miffed at Dad and won’t talk to him. Even so, they have a more healthy attitude about him, and don’t feel responsible for his inability to be a part of their lives … they feel compassion for him. It’s got to be hard on him to know that he’s a sucky Dad.

Anyway, like I said, hope that helps. And y’all keep on keepin’ on!

:wink:

So the guy just turned into a jerk after you had children and not before? There is no excuse for his behavior but why would you even consider having children with him?

I had children with him because I loved him, I was married to him, and things weren’t as bad at the time. People do change, y’know, and not always for the better. And while he’s always been something of a jerk to me, he’s always been good with his own kids.

As an aside, one reason battered women are sometimes reluctant to leave their abusers is because of the pseudo-sympathetic, “Well, it’s not your fault, but it’s really all your fault” atttitude that so often confronts them.

Thanks, NW…your technique is much the same as mine. Right now, they don’t get mad, though…just hurt. Well, Tbone does, anyway–the Weeping Princess is too busy singing her ABCs to the kitties, over and over and over…

Just keep reducing the frequency and duration of access visits until you get down to something that he can handle. That way the kids are not placed on an emotional rollercoaster when so many access visits are cancelled at the last minute, you can plan other activities for yourself for when access visits are scheduled, and he will be encouraged to take his access commitment seriously.

Be sure to document each and every visit and cancellation or early return, and discuss in writing any contemplated or actual reductions in regular access.

If the actual exchanges are causing anxiety or confrontation between the two of you, then use a supervised exchange program or some other neutral party.