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Thread: Post Divorce - custody of children

  1. #1

    Post Divorce - custody of children

    Over the last 18 months my children (12 and 14) have stopped seeing me. I 'have' custodial rights (not legal) and as far as the ex-wife is concerned the children can see me but they are choosing not to.

    My son has blocked me on his phone and while I seem to be able to text my daughter, I have no idea if she reads or sees them.

    I am up to date on maintenance payments etc.

    Advice has been mixed and I know of no-one who has been successful. I have joined the Families need fathers charity and their view is that I will not achieve much by pursuing a legal remedy.

    I have tried standing outside the school gates to see them, but they simply ignore me and I don't want to embarrass them, so wait for them to contact me. They get letters, presents etc with no response back from them at all.

    Has anyone been in a similar position and then managed to get some custody of their children?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Master
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    After my partner and I separated I did not have any contact with my daughter for over 3 years and did not see her for over 5 years between the ages of 11 and 16. I still have not worked out if it was at her choice or her mother's demand. It was obviously very emotional and difficult when I saw her last month.

  3. #3
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    England? Scotland?

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    Hi Sam,

    I am very sorry to hear this. I have my son from my first marriage so I can understand your pain. Luckily for me, my son and I have a good relationship and is with me half his time.

    This is a very personal issue. Has something happened recently between you and your children? What was you relationship like with them pre divorce? Or do you suspect mum may have done something to affect your relationship with the kids? I donít think the legal route is the way to go as your kids are older. It is a relationship thing and about getting them to want to see you.

    BW,
    Chi Kai


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  5. #5
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    I'm from a broken home and didn't see my father for most of my teenage years, only visiting him again when I was 18. Perhaps your children need more time. Albeit difficult to say as an outsider. I hope the situation improves and that you will be reconciled when the time is right.

  6. #6
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Difficult one but you canít force them to see you. Itís probably down to their mother and they probably feel that they are being disloyal to her by having contact with you.

    Donít give up, keep letting them know that you are there and they will come round eventually.

    Whatever you do, donít critics their mother.

  7. #7
    Grand Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Why don't they want to see you? Seems extreme. I would also suggest there is no way you can actually force them to see you so hanging outside school isn't the way forward.

    Mediation would be my first thought. Isn't there some kind of conciliation service available for this situation?

    If you've written to them explaining how you feel, or your side of the story, and they still don't want to see you then it's probably something you will have to carry until such time as they come round.

    I can't imagine what it must feel like to be cut off from your kids. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Unfortunately if the custodial parent doesn't encourage the kids to see the non custodial parent it becomes very difficult, the older they get the the more other interests they will have, don't take it personally, if you were a normal family this would happen anyway, all you can really do is stand back and hopefully they will want something, because that's all teenagers do.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave+63 View Post
    Whatever you do, donít critics their mother.
    This!

    I wouldnt pursue a legal route because forcing them is going to put you in a bad light. My suggestion would be, if possible, speak to their mother, as the main adult in their lives her influence is paramount.

    At that age they are teenage territory and thus maybe nothing to do with you or your actions. As long as you are doing everything you need to be and are making the effort with them theres nothing more you can do buddy im afraid.

  10. #10
    Craftsman
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    My daughter is 36 this year and Iíve seen her about a dozen times, every few years she starts talking and we meet up then she goes again for another few years.

    If they want to see you that will, and there is no way you can make them ! So just persevere send them things and never give up, that way they canít in the future say you didnít care. Itís hard but very difficult.


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  11. #11
    As has been said, there is little point looking at the legal route as the children are too old for a court to make positive orders. It doesnít lessen the pain and I totally understand. I havenít seen or spoken to my two eldest since April 2018 and three years of proceedings made things worse. The question of where you are based is an important one as we donít talk of Ďcustodial rightsí in the Uk, more Ďparental responsibility.í Continue writing, send gifts for birthdays and Christmas, stay involved with their school and GP and talk to someone about things, to help your mental health. You could look at specialised mediation services in your area, to see if they can reach out to your children and kick start face to face discussion but be prepared for it to avail you nothing. If your ex has influenced them and is now sitting back saying Ďthey can see you if they want to but they just donít want to see youí, then thereís little you can do but wait, stay as involved as you can and avoid bombarding them with messages or lashing out at their mother and giving her an excuse to say to them Ďsee? I told you he was no good.í

  12. #12
    Thanks for the responses.

    Its in England. Part of the waiting outside the school is to give them an opportunity to speak to me without their mother's influence.

    Mark, I am so pleased you got to see your daughter, albeit after a long period of time.

    The relationship with my ex-wife was poor and my daughter had trouble showing me affection while I was still 'happily' married (I should have recognised the signs). She stopped coming over to see soon after the divorce. My son continued for 18 months and then suddenly stopped. I recognise it must have been very hard for him to have even continued that long with the mental anguish I think he suffered at his mother's. I marvel for his courage every day.

    So I am absolutely sure that my ex-wife has a hand in this. My daughter read me out a list with my failings as a father and used language that I know her mother had used with me.

    I have tried meditation both with the ex-wife and children, they have flatly refused.

    Their mother doesn't speak or text me, so no hope there. My mother tried to see her grandchildren and that request was turned down. They do not have any relationships with my side of the family despite being close to them both before and after the divorce, particularly my cousins who gamed with my son and he loved their dogs.

  13. #13
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    I appreciate this is an open forum and this is very much your own private business so you probably do not want to divulge too much, but I can only assume from what you have said that some form of post-divorce 'event' must have taken place for this situation to occur. Either that or you are now possibly just perceived as the 'bad guy' who left their mother perhaps.

    I do not mean that in a prying way, merely it just seems like a big part of the jigsaw is missing when reading your post.

    I really do sympathise with your situation, your post is very emotional to read. I have separated parents and my own family situation is (and always has been) an absolute shambles for one reason or another, I have no recollection of my parents together, but many memories of the heartache and pain which remained present throughout my upbringing and many relationship scars remain still. But children do grow up and their views change with time, so just make sure that your kids KNOW that you want to see them and then stand down for a while. Let the air clear and then regroup. My advice would be to not go about it by waiting outside the school gates as that will feel like 'hassling' them to see you. I am sure they will come around, it may take a long time though.

    The legal route is likely to lead to yet more animosity and bad feeling, so please don't rush down that path. Time is likely the best healer, but try to stay involved in some way - even if it is from a distance so they know you still care.

    I truly hope this does come around for you. Take care.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by samswatch View Post
    Thanks for the responses.

    Its in England. Part of the waiting outside the school is to give them an opportunity to speak to me without their mother's influence.

    Mark, I am so pleased you got to see your daughter, albeit after a long period of time.

    The relationship with my ex-wife was poor and my daughter had trouble showing me affection while I was still 'happily' married (I should have recognised the signs). She stopped coming over to see soon after the divorce. My son continued for 18 months and then suddenly stopped. I recognise it must have been very hard for him to have even continued that long with the mental anguish I think he suffered at his mother's. I marvel for his courage every day.

    So I am absolutely sure that my ex-wife has a hand in this. My daughter read me out a list with my failings as a father and used language that I know her mother had used with me.

    I have tried meditation both with the ex-wife and children, they have flatly refused.

    Their mother doesn't speak or text me, so no hope there. My mother tried to see her grandchildren and that request was turned down. They do not have any relationships with my side of the family despite being close to them both before and after the divorce, particularly my cousins who gamed with my son and he loved their dogs.
    Sorry to hear this. I have a challenging relationship with my mum after my parents divorce. As has been said if their mother is feeding them stuff it makes it very difficult. What I will say is one day they will be adults and will see the wood for the trees! Continue to make an effort (letters/presents etc) but give them the space they need and hopefully one day the penny will drop!

    Absolutely agree not to force them through a legal route or otherwise.

  15. #15
    Craftsman
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    Itís tough but bide Your time. Your kids will come round eventually. As they get older they will make up their own minds about seeing Dad regardless of Your exíes input

  16. #16

    Post Divorce - custody of children

    Itís a rubbish thing to go through as I can testify. When I read your initial post the first thing that springs to mind was Ďwere you responsible for the divorce or was it you who left your wife?

    If itís any of them then Iíd be thinking the ex is telling the kids Ďyour father has up and left us all and wants nothing to do with usí.

    All you can do is let them know you will be there for them at any time and donít argue with the ex or call her names and donít force the kids into anything they are not comfortable with.

    I hate it when I hear about divorces and either parent not being allowed to see their kids or the ex stirring against another parent.

    Keep smiling and hope it works out for you.


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  17. #17
    again, thank you.

    I just wanted to be clear in my mind that I have tried everything and the formal legal route was the last one. Part of me wants to get my children back but I also recognise this will just feed the paranoia that my ex wife has put into them.

    I remain confused as there were no events either during the marriage or after. I thought we had an amicable divorce, gave her what she asked for and made sure that the kids did not 'suffer' in the physical sense. All to no avail unfortunately.
    Last edited by samswatch; 14th October 2021 at 15:38.

  18. #18
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    I'm from a broken home, my mum left my dad when I was about one and went into a woman's refuge so have no memory of my dad at all. He was a very Irish husband, ticked every box.

    While incredible painful for you (and the kids) your kids are lucky to have a parent who wants to be in their life. They may realise this at some point and regret the time missed but they are lucky nonetheless. By being available and wanting to be in their life you are doing your job.

    Continue to be available, take an interest where you're allowed - health, schooling etc, and one day they may come round. They might not ever come round but that's their call, good or bad.

  19. #19
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    If your (ex)wife is still 'on her own', you may find that things settle down when she finds a new partner, as that often seems to dilute some of the hatred/bitterness which may be being directed at you to some extent.
    It is not always the case of course, but can sometimes change the game somewhat.

    It is such a shame when children get dragged into the nastiness like this. Your (ex) wife should really not taint your children's views of you with her own views, but that is easier said than done of course. From a very young age I was used as a pawn in a bitter, never-ending fight between my parents and it is really not a nice position to find yourself in. Your children are older, so will shortly find their own way and increasingly make their own decisions and are generally far more perceptive with regards to what is 'really' going on, so try not to worry too much.
    Last edited by Maysie; 15th October 2021 at 09:41. Reason: Typo

  20. #20
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew07 View Post
    Itís tough but bide Your time. Your kids will come round eventually. As they get older they will make up their own minds about seeing Dad regardless of Your exíes input
    Exactly my thoughts too. They will, one day, want to see you again. Just stay strong, don't push yourself too much.

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    Post Divorce - custody of children

    Is there someone that can mediate informally for you that is closer to the situation on your ex wifeís side? Perhaps a grandparent that cares for whatís best for the kids? My (ex) mother-in-law has helped greatly over the years to keep things on an even keel. The legal route is not a solution imho.
    Last edited by tswatch66; 14th October 2021 at 16:54.

  22. #22
    Master
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    You say you've written letters sent presents with no success. Do you know if the exwife even gives them to them?

    Perhaps you could write a heartfelt letter, 1 each, and hand it to them at the school gates. Or ask a teacher to hand it to them. Then at least you know they have received it.

  23. #23
    I have been writing for the last 18 months at least once a fortnight. I live 10 mins away, my choice and at that time my son was clear he wanted me close by. I drop the letters off when I know the kids will see them first.

    I have been told by the children to stop writing as they just bin them, but I still keep on writing.

    None of the in laws speak to me after 17 years as my ex alleged I slapped her in front of the kids untrue.

    I asked for the divorce, no one else involved and like I said before it was amicable.
    Last edited by samswatch; 14th October 2021 at 17:50. Reason: Add stuff

  24. #24
    Iíve been writing to my eldest two for over two years. It was monthly until the final hearing in January then I eased off to a letter every three months or so. Iíve always tried to keep the content in the Ďhere and nowí, with the occasional reminisce and, like you, I heard through third parties that the letters werenít read and were thrown in the bin. It hurt but hasnít, and wonít, stop me writing. Iíve also heard through a different grape vine that my kids are glad I havenít given up. I know what grape vine gives me hope.

    Perhaps you could ease off and write every couple of months? Let them know that you think of them every day but that youíd like to give them space.

  25. #25
    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    A friend of mine used to send one ( that he thinks is either binned or intercepted) but also keep a copy, he plans to give them to them when they are grown up and hopefully more Independant of their mother and are more open to a relationship
    Cheers..
    Jase

  26. #26
    Personally my biggest regret is that I did give up.

    I won't go into it but all I can say is don't ever give up. Even if you get no response at least you can say you never gave up trying.

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  27. #27
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    My daughter was 13 when we split and all was good with seeing her in the early days. As the following year rolled along she appeared to be less communicative and more reluctant to spend time with me. I kept in touch - we spoke on the phone maybe once a week over the following years and I occasionally saw her. We are back to the old days now, but it has take a few years and some patience on my part. It sounds a cliche, but, they do come back. Remember they are coming to terms (often in their own head) with the way their life has changed, they are at a difficult age and they are growing up in all sorts of ways.

    Resist the urge to make a deal out of it with the kids - it will not end well. Going down the legal pathway is unlikely to smooth the situation and it will cost you. Keep in touch, be interested in them and what they are doing. Give them some space and be assured they know you are there for them.

    I found it hard, but ultimately I still have a good relationship with my daughter (she is 22 now).
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  28. #28
    Thanks all, will hang in there. I know it sounds terrible and I would not wish this on anyone, but I feel less alone.

  29. #29
    Master Wolfie's Avatar
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    Heartbreaking to read

    I was a full time single Dad and they saw their Mum a lot (30-40% of the time?) - it was 50/50 according to court agreement, which I knew their Mum could never keep up. (if I were a woman, idíve had full custody I asked for from the court without breaking a sweat)

    No guarantees, but, as kids mature they can work stuff outÖ. My daughter doesnít see her Mum too much these daysÖ. I have every right to take great pleasure in that (as sheís a total tool), but, I donít, I think itís desperately sad and I try encourage her to work things out and maintain a relationship with herÖ

    Nobody wins in the endÖ. They remain oblivious and you loseÖ. They wise up and all trust is blown in their Mum

    Can you have a chat with your in-laws?

    The role of as a Dad is woefully undervalued in our cultureÖ.

  30. #30
    In laws are in the same camp as her. She has made some fake allegations about me. My mother tried as well to see the grandchildren and got turned down.

  31. #31
    Master Papa Hotel's Avatar
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    I won't go into details in public but I also have experience of a lot of what has been talked about in here, someone with an axe to grind can go to some horrific lengths to get what they feel is retribution. False allegations, using the kids as weapons, it's all sadly par for the course.

    I console myself with the knowledge that my daughters are smarter than their mother, more perceptive than she gives them credit for and with puberty just around the corner it's only a matter of time before they start asking questions. I won't entirely cover myself in glory when I answer their questions but I'll be able to look them in the eyes and tell them the truth.

    I'm lucky to have a great relationship with both kids, access every second weekend and 50% access through school holidays but it was at a price. Between the divorce and access battles it has been close to 50 grand in monetary terms and close to my sanity.

    So, thoughts are with anyone who has posted their own story in this thread.

  32. #32
    It's your story PH that makes me wonder of opening up the legal route. But the overwhelming advice on this thread has been not to, so I will not open that can of worms.

    I think I feel so powerless and frustrated that I feel I should do something and sometimes do nothing is the best option.

    I am just not conditioned to do nothing and just want the pain to stop, if I am being honest. Knowing at some level that doing something may not ease the pain and may make things worse.

  33. #33
    I think the legal route would have been worth pursuing if your kids were young but at 12 and 14 they are able to make their own decisions and forcing them via the courts will backfire.

    I think it will just take time, I know itís hard (Iíve been the child in a similar scenario to the one you describe) and IMO youíre currently doing the right things, things my Mum didnít. As they mature they will be able to make up their own minds and I donít think it ever ends well for the one feeding them lies.

    Let them know youíre always there for them should they need you but respect their space.

    Having two kids of my own I can only imagine how much this must hurtÖIíd be devastated. I hope everything works out for you in the end, kids need both parents in their lives.

  34. #34
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    I once heard about a chap who was in the same predicament and wanted to go the legal route, in the end he decided (unsure how he came to the decision) that whatever he would have paid to professionals to pursue a legal route he would save the money for his kids and give it to them when they were adults if they still didn't want anything to do with him or if they did wish to spend time together he would splash out and have nice experiences, they were teenagers at the time. Don't know how it worked out as it was a while back.

    Just a different perspective to ponder over.
    Last edited by Estoril-5; 17th October 2021 at 11:06. Reason: spelling

  35. #35
    Grand Master Raffe's Avatar
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    Breaks my heart to read this. I am a divorced father myself and am very lucky to have been able to rebuild a good and close relationship with my ex ( much better than during most of our marriage). My daughter spends half of her time with each of us (save for the time we are together the three of us, which becomes more and more common).

    Still I am horrified with the thought that she may change her mind one day and rather live full-time with one of us. The way it's now, that would be more likely me than my ex but it would make me sad either way because a daughter deserves mom and dad and she already suffers enough from our split.

    Stating the obvious here, but I don't see what legal proceedings would help, you don't want your children to spend time with you only because they must.

    For me the best way forward is via their mother, I know it may sound crazy but you won't succeed unless she removes the blockers. Why not throw pride and hurt feelings overboard and launch a reconciliation initiative with her? Not with the aim to get together again, but to get back to speaking terms.
    Someone who lies about the little things will lie about the big things too.

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  36. #36
    Master steptoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samswatch View Post
    Over the last 18 months my children (12 and 14) have stopped seeing me. I 'have' custodial rights (not legal) and as far as the ex-wife is concerned the children can see me but they are choosing not to.

    My son has blocked me on his phone and while I seem to be able to text my daughter, I have no idea if she reads or sees them.

    I am up to date on maintenance payments etc.

    Advice has been mixed and I know of no-one who has been successful. I have joined the Families need fathers charity and their view is that I will not achieve much by pursuing a legal remedy.

    I have tried standing outside the school gates to see them, but they simply ignore me and I don't want to embarrass them, so wait for them to contact me. They get letters, presents etc with no response back from them at all.

    Has anyone been in a similar position and then managed to get some custody of their children?

    thanks
    Have you spoken to their mother, your ex wife ? Ö Strange that you donít have a single mention of the main person in the childrens lives.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by steptoe View Post
    Have you spoken to their mother, your ex wife ? Ö Strange that you donít have a single mention of the main person in the childrens lives.
    Neither her or her family respond to me at all. Her last comment to me was - 'the children have your number, they will contact you if they want to'.

  38. #38
    Master Wolfie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samswatch View Post
    Neither her or her family respond to me at all. Her last comment to me was - 'the children have your number, they will contact you if they want to'.
    She knows precisely what sheís doing - itís unforgivable

    Do you know any of her mates maybe? Grab a coffee and have a chat?

    Have a think about another route in?

    But, otherwise Iím just not sure? Compelling them to be with you just wonít work

  39. #39
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    I really do feel for the OP in this horrible scenario. I think there's some good advice on this thread, but often it really is just a question of a waiting game, and being patient. It's also important to resist any feelings of resentment, as otherwise they'll inevitably manifest themselves when you least want them to.

    I split from my ex back in 2003, after throwing her out of the family home having discovered she was having an affair that she seemed unwilling or unable to stop. For some time I was effectively the sole carer of our son and daughter, eventually buying the house I live in now and making a home there for the three of us. We were happy and, whilst my relationship with my ex was toxic due to her foul behaviour towards me (for reasons that even now I can't fathom, nor could her own friends understand), I was absolutely sure that nothing would ever impact my relationship with the children.

    Fast forward a decade or so and, out of the blue, my daughter simply cut me out of her life; there was no warning that it was going to happen, and to this day I have no idea what caused it. Aside from a very brief period when we re-established contact - during which time I was advised to let matters rest until we were in a more comfortable place to talk about it - it's been the best part of 10 years since I've had any part in her life (she's 26 now), and it feels like a weight I carry with me every single day. I do know from my son (who still lives with me at 24) that she's well; in fact, she's been in a relationship with one of Newcastle Utd's first team squad for a few years now, and they've only recently had a child together. Repeated pleas to see my granddaughter have fallen on deaf ears, though, and I have no idea whether I'll ever be allowed to have any contact.

    My assumption has always been that this situation was one that my ex-wife caused through lies and/or manipulation. We'd arrived at a kind of pattern where, most of the time, our son stayed with me and our daughter with her, so it's more than possible; I had no idea what went on there, and by the time it all kicked off she'd settled with the bloke she'd had an affair with. (The only time I'd met him - an overly aggressive Italian some 20 years my junior - he'd threatened violence, and I'm sure that no-one was singing my praises.)

    Anyway, the point of this ramble is to say that all I can do now is wait, and hope. Sometimes there's simply no other option available to us.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by learningtofly View Post
    making a home there for the three of us. We were happy
    This is the thing, you did what you thought was best and you were happy which is the main element. Anything that happens beyond that is out of your control, don't be too hard on yourself.

    I hope it works out for you buddy!

  41. #41
    Grand Master learningtofly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Estoril-5 View Post
    This is the thing, you did what you thought was best and you were happy which is the main element. Anything that happens beyond that is out of your control, don't be too hard on yourself.

    I hope it works out for you buddy!
    Thank you.

  42. #42
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Post Divorce - custody of children

    Your situation could so easily have been mine Tony; I split with my ex in about 2001 when my daughter was six (sheís 26 and happily married now) but have always managed to maintain a relationship with her.

    Her mother was very difficult for a time and did make it difficult at times but never stopped me from seeing her or discouraged her from seeing me.

    I consider myself very fortunate when hearing if the problems others have had or are having.
    Last edited by Dave+63; 18th October 2021 at 11:05.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfie View Post
    She knows precisely what sheís doing - itís unforgivable

    Do you know any of her mates maybe? Grab a coffee and have a chat?

    Have a think about another route in?

    But, otherwise Iím just not sure? Compelling them to be with you just wonít work
    No other routes in, now. Just radical acceptance on my part.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by samswatch View Post
    No other routes in, now. Just radical acceptance on my part.
    when she gets a boyfriend, she wont be able to unload them quick enough at every opportunity.

  45. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    when she gets a boyfriend, she wont be able to unload them quick enough at every opportunity.
    Here is hoping, but I suspect she will lose the 'single mother trying so hard badge' and that may cause her not too. If you are looking for a new relationship ......lol (totally tongue in cheek, sorry)

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianw View Post
    when she gets a boyfriend, she wont be able to unload them quick enough at every opportunity.
    Quote Originally Posted by samswatch View Post
    Here is hoping, but I suspect she will lose the 'single mother trying so hard badge' and that may cause her not too. If you are looking for a new relationship ......lol (totally tongue in cheek, sorry)
    I’m currently available. Whereabouts is she based?

    samswatch, I really hope your children want to spend as much time with you as they possibly can and this gets resolved without acrimony.
    Last edited by seabiscuit; 18th October 2021 at 23:41.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by samswatch View Post
    No other routes in, now. Just radical acceptance on my part.
    Iím so sorry mateÖ. Itís a wicked thing sheís doing

    Hope it starts to work out sooner rather than later

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