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It's been a year and a bit
#11
I'm pretty much the same, we split in June last year but the end is now well & truly in sight.

I don't think I can sum up in words what the last year has been like, especially as we're STILL living under the same roof.

It's been a massive mental strain (& still is in some respects) & I won't pretend that I've kept level & cool all the way through. As much as it's all about protecting my boys from the obvious animosity between Mum & Dad, it just has not been possible to maintain that 24/7. I've dropped my guard, I've lost my cool, I've shouted, I've sworn, I've gone out & got absolutely hammered & I kick myself when it has happened BUT, for the most we've managed to maintain some sort of life & work around the boys.

I have completely emotionally detached from her now, which in some ways has saved what little was remaining of my sanity, but I'm still sad for my boys & the fact that we'll be moving on soon & I won't see them every day & have that (albeit a clusterfuck of one) family unit.

The FMH sold at the beginning of last month, I had an offer accepted on a place I viewed a few days later & she's (finally) done the same. That's a long way from what she originally expected the outcome to be (essentially me buggering off to rent a bedsit somewhere & her staying in the FMH) & I've taking a battering over the last year for standing my ground & refusing to leave without a sale & an agreed equity split (which finally worked out around 60/40 in her favour) but good friends & family helped to turn the guilt I was feeling into being more positive & believing that in the long term it would be the most sensible solution for all.

It's really hard this time of year as my youngest is always out playing with the neighbours kids at the weekend, riding bikes, water fights, all the things that kids should be doing. I know where she's bought & it's just not going to be like that for them there & I'm again finding myself in the mindset that my insistence in selling the FMH & us both buying separately (neither house is anywhere near the size & space we have at the moment) is taking away what I see as a near perfect environment for kids to be kids in.

It's a double edged sword. In the one hand I absolutely can't wait to be shot of her & never have to put up with her ways again, have my own space to do my own thing, my own way & (probably the bit I'm most looking forward to) hitting the dating game & getting some action! In the other though, I can't help but use the phrase "I'm losing my boys". We have an amicable contact arrangement of every other weekend, one weeknight & whatever I can do in school holidays around my annual leave, but it doesn't feel enough. Yesterday, today & tomorrow I'll say goodbye to them in the morning, hello after work, goodnight at bedtime but that won't be the case soon & I really don't know how I'm going to handle that or how I'm going to feel knowing where they will be will not offer them what they have now.
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#12
Thanks for the update Dan.  Our situations and timelines are so similar. My split was last June too, but I've failed twice now to sell the family home so am buying her out.  I can't tell you what the anxiety is like!  I keep thinking someone's going to step in and tell her she shouldn't be doing it - that she should demand more or come back and live in the FMH with the kids and kick me out (I think there are lots of defences to this idea, not least that we are doing shared care and I am able to have the kids full-time anyway, but I hope it never comes to it).

Fortunately, although there is clearly resentment on both sides, there isn't conflict and we are both committed to the kids.  We do a strict 50/50 but we both try to have the kids more individually when we can. I've been particularly keen on this.  We live within a mile of each other so logistics are easy.  I pay her maintenance too. Perhaps it's wrong, but I want her to be able to provide a home for the kids for my own freedom and sanity.

I agree that it's tough in the summer knowing that the kids can't be with all the other local kids like they were in previous summers while they're at hers.  But TBH, there aren't too many negative consequences for them.  I'm taking them on a brilliant holiday in the summer too.  Somehow I've managed to do half the school holidays in this first year of the separation.  It's brilliant. 

Like your ex, Dan, mine really hadn't thought about what would happen if she broke us up.  I'm sure she also thought I'd just move out and life would be a bit tough without me there but would continue just as she wanted it. She was always clueless with money, clueless about property, and lived believing that you didn't need to worry because things always worked out - what you needed always arrived.  Sadly, the truth was that somebody was always there to provide for her - her mum, a boyfriend perhaps, then me.  Even now, she's choosing not to do what she needs to to work and provide for the kids.  She has the skills and time to earn thousands each month if only she'd pull herself together. When you've lived on your own and supported yourself since your teens, you just don't think like she does.  I swear, her mum just thought I would carry on looking after her.  (I'm really interested in this - if we ever went to mediation or court, would the fact that she has the ability to earn sufficiently but chooses not to be taken into account?)

I feel sorry for her when I see her.  I'm sad but I'm not suffering.  I think this is a huge struggle for her.  I'm told I mustn't feel sorry for her.  I actually really hope she does get into a relationship with this new guy so that she might be ok for a bit while I get my life back on track.

So, if only the buy-out will go through I might just about be free and able to move forward at last.
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#13
(07-05-2019, 10:14 AM)Fatcat1980 Wrote: I'm taking them on a brilliant holiday in the summer too.

That's something that I'm really pissed off about this year. We didn't book a holiday last year (before this all happened) on the basis that there was some expensive work to do on the house so I spent the money I would've spent on a holiday on that instead, we planned a lot of days out with the boys instead. We all know how that ended up in June last year (a few weeks after the work to the house was completed)!

I can't commit to anything this Summer either as at some point in the next month or two I'm going to be moving into a completely empty house with little more than my my clothes, my tools & some personal belongings. I'll have nothing to sit on, sleep on, no appliances (other than the built in oven & hob) & am taking 2 weeks off work from the day I move in to try & get as much purchased, built & in as I can. I'm going to have no way of taking my boys on holiday this year either so the poor buggers will have had 2 years with no proper holiday.

My youngest made reference to a place we went to often just last weekend, asked when we're going back as he'll now be big enough to climb to the top of the climbing frame there. All I could say was "we will go back mate, don't you worry" but that's another year away in reality.

They're so good & so calm over all of this but it's breaking my heart that I can't do just that one thing for them this year. I'll take them out lots, probably a long weekend away too but I really wanted to give them the holiday that they missed out on last year but, with the amount of money I'll be forking out shortly & time I don't have, that's not going to happen.
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#14
Ah mate, I feel for you reading this message. But it's good that you talk in terms of "this year" and so know that it's only temporary while you get back on your feet.

If I can give you any encouragement, it's to say that my ex moved out months ago so I've had a lot of time to get used to the new family dynamic. I don't miss my ex being there when I'm out with them now. I love my time and days out with my kids and I'm used to the fact that she's not there. I took mine away last summer and it was tough - I missed us being a family and I had to cope on my own. This year will be vastly easier and I'm looking forward to it loads.

If I couldn't take mine away, I'd still take the time off and just try to do loads of stuff outdoors. That's what summer's about.
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#15
I have had years where couldn't afford a holiday (and my holidays even now are usually a holiday cottage in an area with lots of actitivies in the Uk - but you're still talking £1,000 really including the cost of activities). The years we couldn't afford a holiday I would say - we;re holidaying at home this year! Kids will take that on board if you put it like that - and just have odd days out, invite friends round etc :-) Have a painting party (invite people round to help paint everything in the new place in one day and all bring something for a kind of buffet meal). Gives kids new experiences and ability to experience good friendship and social things. And play with other kids.
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#16
Our holidays have always been in the UK, holiday parks mainly. Last time I left the country was in 2005 when she was pregnant with our first (that's not why I left the country lol, we went on holiday).

My boys love it, she moaned a bit (wanted to go abroad until I suggested she paid for it then) & I loved it as I was happier driving out on day trips knowing where I was & the evenings are easy with all of the entertainment on site.

I'll take them again next year, it's just every year they get older, they'll be 10 & 14 next summer. The youngest will still be cool with the holiday park type stuff but not sure how the oldest will be with it then (unless there's some teenage girls around to occupy him).

I did think about a painting party when I was looking at places but the one I've actually got really needs f*ck all doing to it, the colours are even pretty much what I would've chosen!

As much as I'll be trying to get the boys out as much as I can when I have them, I'll also try to involve friends who have children & get some group outings on the go. I'd like to take them to Chessington or Thorpe Park but it would be difficult just the 3 of us as there's some things one or the other couldn't/wouldn't go on but with a few adults around we'd definitely get more done.
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#17
We have had some great times with holidays at home :-) Do you have a garden? One summer we put a tent up in the garden and son and his friend slept in it one night - not for long, they got scared lol. But played in that constantly. The other thing was regular biking. Nearby bike trail and went to that a few times. I bet there are loads of events etc going on near you, they can go to. I think at 14 he would still enjoy a holiday park - I was a bit worried about going to the holiday cottage when son is 11, but remembered there are lots of activity centres nearby.

Fatcat, selling a house is massively stressful - especially when it falls through twice. You are bound to be a bit worn down. Would say - just go with the flow - it will happen at the right time when it is meant to. Feels very unsettling though, so just focus on fun times with the kids, as you are :-)
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#18
Fatcat - My suggestion is to get it written up into a separation agreement while she is agreeable, and get this turned into a court agreed document. Similar to you, my cheating ex spouse was outed and moved out (Sep 2016) she wasn't stroppy and agreed to 50/50 and our 14yo daughter remaining with me in the family home. This seemed almost too good to be true and I was VERY nervous she would start all sorts of going back on what she said. I got it all agreed in an informal agreement and got that rubber stamped in court after the Nisi but before the absolute. This has been good news for me in terms of knowing where we stand...
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#19
Agree absolutely. Formalise/legalise it. It is very simple to have a parenting agreement drawn up and put into a consent order, if she is amenable. You could put it to her that it will give the children and both of you, ongoing security that they will always see both parents. If she refuses then that gives you an indication she wants to keep her options open.

On the other hand you might not want to agree to 50/50 if you'd rather have them with you more? But it would give a safer, stronger, legal position because then they would legally live with both parents, and the time proportions could change in the future, either by agreement or otherwise.
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#20
Gents, thanks for these comments.  It's good advice.  I'm trying to do it one step at a time at the moment.  I have the borrowing agreed now to buy her share of the house and she seems keen to get on with it. But it's a tiny bit more complex than it normally would be and she needs to see a solicitor for advice firstly on me borrowing the money and secondly on the transfer of equity.  I'm anxious that someone in her family, or the conveyancing solicitor, will talk her out of it, although what the alternative is I have no idea (we aren't married and we have no other assets, and she isn't in the slightest bit interested in taking on the mortgage).  

If I can get this one through, I'll be in a stronger position to get the childcare formalised. However, we've been doing it almost a year and it's worked well.  I'd be glad to have the kids with me more.  She is trying to get serious with the guy she was having the affair with when she left. I'm single with no interest in anybody else at the moment, so chances are she'll need me to have the kids more.  But I reckon she thinks it's all going to be happy families with this guy and he'll slot in where I was pushed out.  I have a serious concern about giving her the money from the house though.  This bloke raises lots of red flags and she's as gullible as they come these days.  I wouldn't be surprised if she has "investment" plans with this guy as she has no interest in buying a house and told me she had no plans for the money.
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