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Relationships With Your Ex-Partner

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 29 Dec 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Former Partner Children

It can be very difficult maintaining good relations with your ex in the wake of a split. Feelings run high on both sides and often things are said that should have remained unspoken.

However, during that time, if at all possible, you should keep the harsher words for when your children aren’t around. They’ll probably pick up on the atmosphere anyway, but avoid being blatant.

At The Split

The time just before and after the split is usually the lowest point for relations between you and your former partner. That’s not always the case – some people manage to remain friends even during this time – but in general, the best thing to do is not speak about personal issues with your ex.

You’ll need to communicate about the children, making arrangements for contact and so on. That can be polite enough, but avoid asking questions about how her life is going, whether she’s seeing anyone, or any kind of personal issues. If the split has been especially acrimonious, as some are, then make all contact with your ex as brief and straightforward as possible. Keep talk strictly about the children and contact, and deflect anything else she might bring up. In some instances no direct contact with your ex can be the best move.

Don’t relay messages to your ex through your children, and don’t say negative things about her to them.

After A Few Months

When a little time has passed and life has begun to take on a new normality, you might find that you and your ex talk a little more, and relations thaw between you. This is the best scenario. You can even become friends, after a fashion, and realise that although the relationship didn’t work, you still have something in common. This serves the children well, because they see you no longer arguing.

However, both you and your ex should make it clear to the children that this doesn’t mean you’re likely to get together again. They might well believe that an improved situation could bring them. But tell them gently, and let them down easily if they have ideas in that direction.

Don’t try to move along a relationship with your ex. Even if you feel friendlier towards her, don’t push things. Above all, don’t go back and review the relationship. That’s simply asking for trouble. Nor should you ask questions about her private life. If she wants to volunteer information, that’s fine, otherwise leave it alone. Similarly, don’t talk too much about yours, especially if you’re in a good new relationship – it can seem like gloating and just builds resentment.

Later

The big change can often come after a couple of years, when you’ve both had the chance to rebuild your lives. By then things are on an even keel, the children are used to the new arrangements, and everyone has moved on somewhat, and you might find that you and your ex have become good friends. After all, you have the children as a common bond, and as they grow you have new issues to face, which you’ll need to discuss.

There is always the possibility that relations with your former partner will never improve. That might be on one side, or it might be mutual. However, you both need to remember that your children are in the middle, and you both want the best for them, so you should maintain a civility between you for their sake.

Remarriage or new long-term partners can also affect relations with your ex. Depending on so many factors, it can stir up old ghosts, or you can be happy for each other. You should try to be glad for her when she’s in a new relationship. If it ends, don’t say anything, but if she chooses to talk, be supportive.

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Hi I have a 21 year daughter from a first marriage and in my next marriage I have 2 children at 6 and 2 years old currently. My 21 yr old came to live with us when my son was just a few weeks old. She was a teenager then and was having problems and it led my wife at that time who told her to go back and live with her mum. They have never met and my ex does not want them too. My eldest daughter is now training to be a vicar and I want to introduce them. Do I have any legal rights to be able to introduce them to each other? I think it's only fair for them to know they have other siblings, after all if they don't meet and then find out about each other when they're older they will be angry. Can I insist they meet? I have legal responsibility for the two youngest.
Woodsphil - 29-Dec-16 @ 8:39 PM
Clem - Your Question:
I have a situation where my ex is very controlling and after initially preventing from seeing the children I have managed to secure some access to them through the courts. My children are 9 and 11 and they have both been bought phones by the ex and her new bf (where they live). The children come and stay with me every Wednesday and every other weekend. Both being boys and because they spend the majority of their time with their mother are pretty non-plussed about texting or speaking to their mum when they are with me. For the record I do not call or text them when they are with her assuming they are safe and it is her time with them. When they are with me however, they are getting increasingly pressured by their mother to text them and call them a few times a day. It gets to the point where when I am about to return them to her they are both getting upset because they are worried that she is getting to tell them off again because they haven't been constantly texting her. I agreed with her to stop their anxiety about this that they would at least text her before they go to bed and she would do the same for me - except now she is not. For the children's sake I am thinking of just allowing them to speak to her when they want to and so protect them from getting worried about not texting her by having their phones off them when they are with me unless they request it. What is the legal stance on her being able to text and call them though? There is no parenting plan in place or Court Order regards phone contact and sh ehas refused mediation in the past.

Our Response:
I'm afraid there is no legal 'stance' on your ex having communication with children when you, the non-resident parent are in charge. It really is something to be sorted out between both parents. If you can't agree between you with regarding the appropriate amount of texting, then you could try mediation as a way of attempting to resolve the issue. Please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here . I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 20-Aug-15 @ 12:11 PM
I have a situation where my ex is very controlling and after initially preventing from seeing the children I have managed to secure some access to them through the courts. My children are 9 and 11 and they have both been bought phones by the ex and her new bf (where they live). The children come and stay with me every Wednesday and every other weekend. Both being boys and because they spend the majority of their time with their mother are pretty non-plussed about texting or speaking to their mum when they are with me. For the record I do not call or text them when they are with her assuming they are safe and it is her time with them. When they are with me however, they are getting increasingly pressured by their mother to text them and call them a few times a day. It gets to the point where when I am about to return them to her they are both getting upset because they are worried that she is getting to tell them off again because they haven't been constantly texting her. I agreed with her to stop their anxiety about this that they would at least text her before they go to bed and she would do the same for me - except now she is not. For the children's sake I am thinking of just allowing them to speak to her when they want to and so protect them from getting worried about not texting her by having their phones off them when they are with me unless they request it. What is the legal stance on her being able to text and call them though? There is no parenting plan in place or Court Order regards phone contact and sh ehas refused mediation in the past.
Clem - 19-Aug-15 @ 11:42 AM
My wife of 8 years - the love of my life - left me for another man 2 weeks ago. She'd been seeing him for a month before hand and is moving in with him. For our daugthers sake we've so far managed to stay friends, and have arranged a shared custody arrangement for when she actually moves out. but it's very very hard for me knowing she's already moved on and is with someone else. I really want to be friends, so that we can continue to do things together as a family, and so does she - but she seems to forget sometimes that she's the one who hurt me and continues to talk about her new man in front of me, and our daughter all the time which makes me uncomfortable. Should I say anything, and risk ruining the friendship we're so far managing to maintain, or keep quiet and deal with the pain silently for everyones sake?
Baron - 3-Aug-15 @ 4:54 PM
hi my boyfriend is polish and we have 5 months old baby.we applied for first baby irish passport on the behalf of his polish father. we recently received baby's new passport. but my ex suddenly came and he claim that this baby is his baby not my boyfriend. after DNA test we r shocked that baby's real father was my ex. so now I want to know that how could I change his father's name on birth cert and what ll happen with his new irish passport. will they cancel my baby's passport?
saddy - 15-Jun-15 @ 1:52 AM
@Matzarat - please read the article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here to see if you can get contact. You would hope that your child's mother would obviously put the welfare of her child first. If you want to know general information about the man she is living with there is no records you can access. However, if you are really concerned about the welfare of your child, you can access a link to the: What is the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme? here. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 30-Apr-15 @ 2:40 PM
The message has cut short. My questions below this were: Do I have the right to a daily update on my child? Do I have the right to know who this man living with daughter is? Is there anyone I can speak to for advise without having to involve solicitors? I thank you all very much for any help, feedback I get.
Matzarat - 27-Apr-15 @ 6:26 PM
I am 24 and my now ex partner is 37. We have a 2 year old daughter and we had been living together for 3 years. I was told in March by my ex that we were not getting on and that she did not want to continue our relationship. Unfortunately this was the first time I was aware things were seriously wrong. Looking back, she did start random arguments with me about very minor things such as empting the dishwasher or putting the washing machine on which I add she did not like me doing any way. She began going to bed really early, around 8pm and really removed herself from conversation. She told me I was always an amazing dad and we continued our sexual relationship up until around 4 days before I found this out. I was told that I should leave and quickly and was expected to be gone within a few weeks. I asked for reasons and whether I had caused any of this, I asked for the chance but was not given one. A few weeks on I was packing my things into boxes and trying to make sure I had not missed anything. I found packets of condoms in one of our drawers, I know they were not ours as they were not the kind we used or needed. When I questioned this (stupidly I might add) i was told our friend had given these to her and she had bought herself a large box as well, just in case... A few days later I was ejected form the house from no reason but I did not argue, she advised me she was feeling tense around me and wanted me to leave for a few days Two days before I moved out I found out that I had been misguided by her and that she was actually seeing another man. The phone she was receiving text messages on was left by accident next to me and my daughter. I took the plunge and looked, this phone was paid for by me as well as the contract and I had believed her up to this point when nobody else I spoke to did. It turns out that she was seeing this man for a short time but it was obvious from the text messages that she was intimate with this man. She was texting this man saying she will bring a rucksack of condoms with her next time she sees him a few days and she would take my daughter away for the bank holiday weekend with him. Obviously I did not react well, I gave her the chance to own up and tell the truth but she forced me to point out I knew the truth. she cried and said sorry and that she was going to tell me but that only made me suffer the pain twice as much. To this date I know this man works in a care home, I know his first name and I know he drinks to get drunk. I have text, called and emailed my ex, something I have asked yes are inappropriate such as does he have something I dont? but surely I deserve to know the truth. Recently I received a message from my ex to say she would not help me see my daughter during the week, i add that I do not drive and it would take me from leaving work at 5 about 1 hour to get the nursery at which time they should have closed, I was also advised she would need to be home at 6:30pm to get ready
Matzarat - 27-Apr-15 @ 6:20 PM
@Clack- There is no minimum age at which children in the UK can be left on their own, nor do laws specify how old someone needs to be to babysit. However, if the babysitter is under 16, then the parent remains legally responsible for the child's safety. The NSPCC, advises that children under 13 should not be left at home alone for long periods and children under 16 should not be put in charge of younger children. As recently as 2011 a mother-of-three from the Thames Valley area was cautioned by police after leaving her 14-year-old son at home with his younger sibling for a period of thirty minutes. In your case it may just be that the mother of the children finds face-to-face contact difficult with you. Perhaps, you could ask her directly if the hand over could be carried out by her so that you can discuss the needs and arrangements of your child to prevent any mix ups. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 23-Oct-14 @ 10:49 AM
My ex is letting me see our 7 month old son twice a week currently which is fine at the moment. However, every time I collect him from her house or drop him back, one of her older children hand him over or take him back off me. I find this totally unacceptable. Messages are not relayed properly. In addition to that, how can I be sure when I drop him back that she is even at home and I'm not leaving him being looked after by minors?? Her older children are 15 & 14. If I can't be sure she's at home, I regard this as a safeguarding issue.
Clack - 22-Oct-14 @ 7:30 PM
After splitting up with with my ex, he agreed (well told me) that he would have our daughter once a week. On many occasions at the last minute he has let her down by txting me to say hes not having her, leaving me to pick up the pieces of her being devestated! I can really see it affecting her now and reallu dont want this for her. He also verbally abuses me and sometimes threatens me. Can someone please give me some guidance? I dont want any contact with him and i also want him not to be able to pick and choose when he wants her. Many thanks
Charlie - 3-Nov-13 @ 4:40 PM
Hi my ex keeps ringing CSA regarding wrong information and trying to cause Trouble, CSA then write to me asking for proof of information which I give them. and then they are satisfied with the information. Then another call comes from my ex and then they write again. she is wasting csa and mine time. how do I stop her doing this? who can I complain to about her so that she can now get in trouble for wasting csa and mine time thanks Mike
mike - 22-Oct-13 @ 1:02 PM
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