How can my kids spend time with their dad?
I’VE a nineyear-old boy and an eightyear-old girl. I’m separated for the last four years and my ex lives abroad, but comes to visit the children every two weeks and stays with us in the house. I met someone
THERE is no doubt that separation and reconstitution of new family structures are invariably complicated! It does sound like you and your expartner had found a very stable way to maintain his relationship with the children, allowing the children to continue to know and spend time with their dad.
If he is flying in every two weeks to visit them, then he has shown great commitment to them, irrespective of whatever led to the relationship breakdown between you and him. It seems like you and he had found a way to keep the connection solid for him and the children. You both deserve a lot of credit for making that work.
It does seem like you are now facing a dilemma, however, given the development of your relationship with your new partner. Moving in with him will change the dynamic of all of your relationships. Even without the potential disruption it will cause to the children’s time with their dad, just having your new partner living with you could be disruptive in its own way. else a year ago and we are now considering moving in together, which would mean my ex couldn’t stay with us in future, but he has no house to bring them to either. My kids are furious, and blaming my partner that their dad won’t be able to come and stay. How can we make this all work, without damaging the kids?
The anger that the children are displaying towards your new partner may, in fact, not only be about the change in their dad’s visits, but also about the deepening of your relationship with him.
It is really common for children to have strong feelings (often negative) about new partners, and their potential to draw love and attention away from the children. Children do often fear being displaced by a new partner, or that you might love your new partner more than you love them.
These kinds of feelings may be brewing in the background, and may be being expressed, simply, as anger that their dad can’t come and stay with the apparent ease that has been there for the last few years.
It will help for you and your current partner to be sensitive to this, showing lots of warmth, empathy and understanding to the two children, to show them that you might just be able to understand how big a deal it is for you (and them) to move in with someone new. They may also need to know that you can understand that the disruption to their time with their dad may be upsetting for them too.
That said, I presume, if your ex-partner is flying in and out in a weekend, that his time is probably quite limited and probably very focused on the children and trying to maximise time with them. If so, then perhaps the location where that time is spent is less important than the time itself?
Perhaps your ex-partner may be able to rent a short-stay apartment, or book a hotel or B&B for his fortnightly weekend trips? Who knows, the novelty of feeling like they get little mini-break holidays every two weeks could be exciting for them.
Is the staying over with the children the key element of those trips? Could it be that your expartner might spend all day with them, at your new shared home or away for the day, and then just sleep elsewhere? This might seem easier for your new partner to accept, since I could imagine he may be the one that is reluctant for your ex to come and stay.
I do think that your current partner does need to be flexible about how your children get to spend time with their dad. He needs to accept that part of his relationship with you includes the children. Meeting their needs is a fundamental element of what makes your relationship with him sustainable. Facilitating access with their dad seems to me to be a central part of his duty.
It sounds like lots of time talking, negotiating and trial and error may be required before you find a new stability that works for all of you.