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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My exhusband and I are parents to 2 girls, 8 and 10 yrs old.

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My exhusband and I are parents to 2 girls, 8 and 10 yrs old. We divorced 6 yrs ago but I allowed him to move back in 4 yrs ago for financial reasons but we never got back together and slept in separate rooms. I finally had him forceable removed from the house by police in December after 6 months of asking.
We have a standing custody agreement from 2005 but he won't follow it because of his business schedule. He owns a party rental business that I helped him start and 90% of his work is on weekends. I work from home in sales and work Monday-Friday. He wants me to continue to keep the kids Thursday - Sunday and he take them Monday -Wednesday throughout the summer. I have contacted him and requested a week on/week off schedule for summer and both of us be responsible for the kids' camps and child care while they are with each of us.
I am moving on with my life and have started dating. My ex and I do not speak except through writing and he has gotten into the habit of bad-mouthing me to the girls when they are with him. (saying I care more about my own life than I do them, that it's my fault we are no longer a family, etc). When they get home to me I do as much damage control as possible.
He wrote me a lengthy letter today laying out his proposal for a parenting plan. First and foremost, it included ME not bringing outside romantic influences into the girls' lives. Then he wants us to establish a family relationship that includes dinners and vacations together. He wants to show the girls that we can be a family without living together. His quote, "We just can't live together, but that doesn't mean we can't be a loving family together."
He goes on to say that if I refuse to do these things that the girls' psychological future will be in jeapordy but his conscience will be clear because he tried to 'work it out.' He says he will NOT give me another chance to 'save' the girls' future.
He ends by saying that he wants to keep the summer schedule just as it is now, he doesn't want to pay for a sitter when I'm home every weekend.
I am terribly frustrated as this is just another example of him trying to control the situation and my life. I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do.
I don't know how to make it clear to him that I don't want him in my life and that we can be great parents to the girls without being 'a family'. And, he can't control my personal life. I'm a good mother and would never neglect or put my kids in danger but I don't want to have him in my life to prove that to the world.
What do I do???????
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

What he is proposing is wrong and irrational. There would be more psychological damage to the girls by pretending that you are a happy family when you are not. It is not natural and the girls would be able to sense the tension. All children of divorce parents wish, forever, that their parents will get back together. This charade would just perpetuate this wish unrealistically. So I hope this validates your wish to get on with your life (even if he is not). He can't tell you what to do regarding introducing girls to your new relationship. This is also not bad for the children. They will benefit for seeing you move happily on.

But your ex-husband will never "get" this so save your breath. Just ignore his requests and tell him you plan on standing by the 2005 agreement and he will be held in contempt of court if he chooses to break the agreement. You might point out that you have tried to be flexible but that it is not working for you anymore.

Be sure the children have the Bill of Rights for Divorced Children so that they know if one parent bad-mouths the other...they have a right to say they do not want to listen.

PS #9 does not mean have meals and vacations together.

I hope this helps in this difficult situation....
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