Best ways to set boundries with a uncooperating co-parent ex?
February 6, 2017 6:04 AM   Subscribe

I am a mother to an 18 month old little girl, and her father and I seperated about 8 months ago. It has been a long few months, but I have finally come to a point where I am comfortable and confident in the decision to remain seperated; he on the other hand has not accepted it and is in turn making things really hard for me.

It has not been an easy decision for me, I have struggled and cried and fought and found strength where I didn't know I had. He was seemingly fine with this the first couple months after our seperation as he started a new relationship and seemed pretty happy in his life, and was pretty absent for our daughter during this time period. I have realized without a doubt that this man is not good for me. Problem is, he will not leave me alone. He is using our daughter to try to manipulate me, and slowly tries to chip away at my strength and decision. I have constant anxiety with what he is going to call or text me with next, everytime my phone goes off.

I have told him to only contact me with regards to arrangements to see our daughter and only with regard to her, but I end up having to block him because he will ask to come over, or tell me he is coming over, or tell me he loves me. Now, he has started the "our daughter needs and wants us to be together..." this tears at my heart strings and he knows this. He will write me long paragraphs on how I am HIS woman, that I am the mother of our daughter and that we will be together that he is not giving up on me or us. He is becoming relentless and starting to make me feel bad for my decision, like I didnt work hard enough or am giving up to easy.

Do I continue to just ignore anything he says? I have asked him to stop, that doesn't work, I have ignored, that doesn't work. Now I am afraid he is going to just start showing up, or using our daughter against me. I could see him manipulating her into thinking its all mommys fault, I tried, mommy gave up and that breaks my heart. I feel guilty for my decision because of course I want my family or my daughter to have her father every day, and everytime I get a message saying how much he cant live without her, or us, or me...or that I need to make this work so that she has her parents, or that we are meant to be together that he will do whatever it takes.... it kills me, I hate constantly worrying what he is going to say or do next. If this was a boyfriend without a child involved, its an easy solution: no contact, block. But, we have a child together so I can not block him, and I am drafting documents for custody arrangements so I am trying to keep things respectful and cordial and encourage their relationship, but also remind him that I am in no way interested in his advances. Should I feel guilty for not trying harder? I know he knows how to push my buttons and trigger me, and that this is what he is doing. I just don't know how to set these boundries while remaining cordial so when it comes time for the court, that things remain peaceful for our daughter. He has not and I'm not sure if he will ever accept that I don't "belong" to him anymore. Anytime I see him, he tries to put his hands on me, or tell me how much he loves and misses me... I am afraid this man is going to make my life hell once he realizes how serious I am.
posted by MamaBee223 to Human Relations (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
How is communication dictated in your parenting plan? To the best of my knowledge, most parenting plans say only communication about the child. Many, I think, say email for non urgent matters and text for urgent matters.
If emails are about anything other than your child's needs, ignore them. (But perhaps don't delete them.)
Why is he coming to your house? Child transitions should take place in public - a library or Starbucks or something.

Based on your previous posts, I'm worried that you haven't started working with a mediator or anything. It has been 8 months! It sounds like you or he is either ignoring the parenting plan or maybe you don't have one yet. GET ONE.
posted by k8t at 6:16 AM on February 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


You should in no way feel guilty. This question makes me nervous for you. I don't think you should ever be alone with him, because he sounds like a man who would escalate to physical abuse. I think you should save all his texts and record any phone calls. Speak to a lawyer about protecting you and your daughter in any way you can.
posted by blackzinfandel at 6:17 AM on February 6, 2017 [3 favorites]


As of yet, we only have a verbal parenting plan. I have been working with a lawyer not a mediator, so they haven't been finalized or submitted yet. Yes it has been 8 months, but it has been a very busy hard time for me working full time, becoming a new single mother, and trying to get all of this done with little help from him...so I hope within this month to finalize It has only been recently that he has begun to make this difficult for me, so I will have to speak with a lawyer about it. Everything was fine when he was in another relationship, but now that he isn't, or decides he "wants me or his family back," and I am not cooperating with him, is when it has become an issue. Also, he would come to my house for an hour a week to say goodnight to her due to time constraints when I get home from work... and him not having an acceptable place for her to go to, it doesn't happen often and I would go run an errand and woulnd't be an issue. Now, he has started crossing boundries so I will have to not allow him at my house anymore.
posted by MamaBee223 at 6:19 AM on February 6, 2017


You need a lawyer and should have filed for official visitation yesterday, but do it now. Show the lawyer that he won't leave you alone.

Anytime I see him, he tries to put his hands on me

Tell the lawyer THIS. You may need a court-supervised drop off and pickup. What you're describing is harassment; I'm concerned you don't see how serious and dangerous this is.Start meeting him in public places for pickups and dropoffs. Better yet, get a friend or relative to handle this and don't ever see him.

Now, he has started the "our daughter needs and wants us to be together..." this tears at my heart strings and he knows this.

This will tug at you only as long as you let it. You need to get scheduled visitation established; no other contact.

Make it clear you're not open to any other conversation and route all his emails to spam. Save his texts without reading them.

This guy is going to play you as long as YOU let it happen, so stop letting it happen.You say you've ignored him, but clearly you haven't, because you're reading and responding to his messages.

I think you need to take all of this to a lawyer and get help, like yesterday.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 6:21 AM on February 6, 2017 [13 favorites]


This has been suggested to you multiple times - he needs to have his parenting time at the library or other place. It needs to be at a prescribed time, not her bedtime at your house.
You're busy, yes, but you need to get the parenting plan formalized. If your lawyer is slow, find a different lawyer. Better yet, go to a specific parenting mediator. They're bound to write a better parenting plan anyway.
posted by k8t at 6:28 AM on February 6, 2017 [4 favorites]


Bookmark divorcing narcissistic exes and co-parenting with a narcissist websites. The accounts by other ex-partners will all be painfully similar, including the rebound and the relentless affection when he hasn't got someone else, the guilt blaming about your child, the boundary testing etc.

Seeing this as a common pattern and not your unique relationship makes it easier to be rational and detached about your necessary decisions to limit contract and restrict his access.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:38 AM on February 6, 2017 [4 favorites]


just from a mental perspective, don't let your ex guilt you with "our daughter needs and wants us to be together". your daughter definitely does not "want you to be together"- she's only 18 months old.

it's also pretty clear that she doesn't "needs you to be together"- i'd suggest the exact opposite. your daughter needs you to be apart so that she has a safe and secure home where she doesn't have to worry when dad is going to blow through her or her mom's boundaries.
posted by noloveforned at 6:43 AM on February 6, 2017 [9 favorites]


I second yes I said yes I will Yes's advice. Get a lawyer and tell them about everything he does or says that makes you at all uncomfortable or is inconvenient or pushy. Assume your attorney is the kind of person who loves this kind of gossip and don't hold back, because this is really useful information for them.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:45 AM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


I could see him manipulating her into thinking its all mommys fault, I tried, mommy gave up and that breaks my heart. ...... I hate constantly worrying what he is going to say or do next.

He will do that. Stop worrying that he might, and start preparing for how to handle it, how to respond to your daughter in a way that alleviates her confusion without trashing her father, how to demonstrate to her how to be a strong woman.

As long as you are fearful that your ex "might" behave badly, you will be acting and speaking in a way that is trying to prevent it, which You. Can. Not. Do. Let go of trying to control his behavior, and focus on creating a safe haven at home with your daughter, a place where his drama-stirring can't penetrate. Counseling will help with this; find someone who specializes in self-esteem, co-parenting, abuse, etc.

But, we have a child together so I can not block him,

Yes you can. I had an arrangement for a period of about three years where I had *all* communication go through my lawyer. It was expensive but worth it, as otherwise I was receiving emails and faxes and phone calls at work, at 3 a.m., etc. Talk to your lawyer and find out what your options are. Once he starts taking a lawyer's advice, he will be on his best behavior for a little while. Take advantage of that period to hammer out a sensible but ironclad arrangement with him that allows his daughter to have the relationship she deserves with her father, but keeps you as safe as possible.

Anytime I see him, he tries to put his hands on me,

Have your lawyer (not you) put it in writing to him that he is not to touch you again. Put it into the separation agreement. Make sure it is part of the court record.
posted by headnsouth at 7:04 AM on February 6, 2017 [10 favorites]


I had an arrangement for a period of about three years where I had *all* communication go through my lawyer. It was expensive but worth it, as otherwise I was receiving emails and faxes and phone calls at work, at 3 a.m., etc. Talk to your lawyer and find out what your options are.

Yeah, I would have your lawyer be the point person for ALL interactions. Then you can block him.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 7:44 AM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also,

I could see him manipulating her into thinking its all mommys fault, I tried, mommy gave up and that breaks my heart
.

Family courts take it very seriously when a parent disparages the other parent in the child's presence. Doing this (at least in some jurisdictions) could actually lose him his visitations and/or get him popped into a parenting class. But no judge is going to smile on this bullshit. Keep a written and dated record of any evidence you see that this might be happening.
posted by The Noble Goofy Elk at 7:49 AM on February 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also, I hope you're getting child support.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 8:35 AM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, I am receiving child support- that is the one thing he has been consistent and on time for. I know this has been a repetitive question and time is not an excuse to not get legal documentation. He was leaving me alone there for a while and not trying anything so I was letting things go, but I realize the importance of the court in this case and have everything documented. Nothing he is doing or saying will make me change my mind about this decision, it is just causing me anxiety not knowing what he is capable of or wondering what he will pull out of his sleeve. I block him during the evening hours as there is nothing related to our daughter he needs to be sending me. I dont respond to anything else he speaks of if it has nothing to do, only to request he stop and respect my boundries. I appreciate all the feedback, and will work to get everything legalized.
posted by MamaBee223 at 8:45 AM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]


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