Im really hoping someone can help or offer suggestions.
The bare facts - 2 children aged 10 & 13, I left their dad over a year ago and now live with a new partner. Obviously there is a tale behind this but I'm trying to stick with facts rather than feelings. I had a wonderful relationship with my kids, we were very close but obviously through my actions our relationship has taken a knock (to put it lightly). Since separation they have been assessed by a social worker who reported very positively about their relationships with both me and their dad.
Recently I have been allowed to have youngest at my house for afternoons and overnights and so far this is going very well. I havent introduced my new partner and he has moved out when youngest is there. My eldest refuses to visit. He also has a busy summer schedule and in the last month I have probably spent about an hour at the most in his company. He doesnt return texts and is basically very dismissive of me.
I'm not looking any quick fixes but what I think I need is some positive news. Is this normal? Will it improve? Has anyone any experience of this and how did it work out?
I believe that there is a degree of alienation going on. Not blatant but more of a negative promotion of me or maybe lack of anything positive to say about mum.
I think this is probably fairly normal and in any case you do have to allow for teenagers and their hectic social lives. I know it is very hard, but try and give it time. Something similar happened in my own parents' divorce after my mum moved out when my brothers and I were around that age.Now we are all adults we are all much closer to her than we are to my dad, reflecting the closeness we had with her when we were children.
The most important thing is to carry on trying to stay involved with them and never, ever, give up. Carry on sending texts to your elder one, and maybe also leave him voicemails, and don't be put off by his ignoring or dismissing you. Maybe suggest doing something that you know would really tempt him, though don't be put off if he turns you down. Part of what he is doing is testing out whether you are also really leaving him, so make sure in this way that he knows you aren't. He may also feel loyalties to his dad, whom he may see as having been abandoned by you, so feel guilty if he has a good time with you, and avoid dealing with this by avoiding you. But this will pass in the end, and the children both know deep down that you care about them.
So hang on in there, for however long it takes. I am sure he will come back in the end.
Fiona - Yes, totally agree and I have been doing all you say but its good to hear that others agree with my stance. I have never said anything derogatory about their dad and try to actively support him. I just seem to be getting nowhere at the minute.
Sadie - Thats just what I needed to hear. Everyone keeps saying I'm doing the right thing and that it will work out but the same people havent been through this situation, you have so it is a concrete example.
Three years ago eldest and Ex were constantly at each others throats, there was such an atmosphere at home, kids and I crept around when he was in a bad mood with me urging them to "do the right thing" in case he got cross. Eldest complained that I was not sticking up for him "because you are scared of him" " leave him"! I know it was not a serious request as both kids love their dad but I thought they both loved me too and that they wouldnt forget how he made me feel. Youngest told my MIL once how his dad made his mummy cry!
I promised I would never use the kids against him and I wont but it hurts that because I found someone who could care for me and make me happy, I am now public enemy N. 1.
I just need to keep strong and not stop trying and hope and pray it will work out someday.
For whatever reason you left your kids, its too much and far too early you to expect them to understand your reasons. Your eldest probably feels badly let down , by the situation not just by you, its understandable that he feels the need to lick his wounds at home ie with his dad.
As you know, the past is the past, your ex must apprechiate that the childrens interests will be best served if they have the benefit of a close and loving relationship with both parents. Both of you need to stop justifing your behaviour and move on, in short you need help in your efforts to reestablish a meaningful relationship with your children and hopefully learn to co parent effectively in the furure. I strongly suggest that you speak to some decent family therapists in your area and see if any of them is able to meet with your ex and you with a view to adressing these issues.
I co-parented from when my son was ten. He decided to spend more time with his dad. Sometimes I only saw him a few hours a month, and your son at 13, is making his own connections in his own life.
It's important that you just let him know that you're there. You could text to ask if he wants to do something, come 'round for a cuppa. (I got from my son "go to the movies with my mum!? that is so w-r-o-n-g"!)... but I was always there.
In his teens, his dad started bad-mouthing me, and my friend said that as my son grew up, he'd see that his dad was being a twat.
By 15, my son stated that he 'spent more time at dads, but felt closer to me'. It never was a competition, but it was nice to see this young man growing up, realising he has a lot of my traits, and forming a closer bond.
At 18, he's really a great kid, speaks to me every day, knows where I'm at, and I know that he is in my life forever.
My new marriage is sadly breaking down, so I'll be moving on soon, and he's already asked if I'll keep a room for him in my new home. "ALWAYS". His dad wants to move away with his new love.... so it looks like my son comes back... we have the rest of our lives.
Where you're at right now, may be painful and sad, but I don't view that as the whole picture of the unbreakable bond between mother and son.
Edited to add: I bet if you did a poll outside the school gates, I bet your 'talking to your son for one hour a month'... is more than what most have done with resident mums!!!
Sorry to hear things are not good with you re; new marriage breaking down, but you know you'll get through it.
Yes what you say makes sense and youve been through it so your speaking from experience and that helps but you will also know that when youre in the middle of it things dont seem that straightforward. I hope people on this site wont get fed up with my whinging.
I know that i see eldest on great terms with Ex and thats how it should be but I get totally ignored. Ex is scoring points and is very smug about the whole thing.
I hope you get things sorted out in your "new" separation/divorce.