Ex Boyfriend Driving Me Nuts

Updated on July 13, 2010
J.P. asks from North Anson, ME
14 answers

I just recently broke it off with my daughter's father last week. He is manipulatively controlling (double whammy) and convinced that I already have another boyfriend. He has sent me threatening text messages when we get arguing which happens in every conversation and tries to guilt trip me into taking him back. He wants to see the baby (9 months) which I am not against as long as I and another one of my friends is there to supervise (DHS ordered). Now he is saying that starting on the 16th he wants her 2 nights a week. As long as DHS is involved I can easily say no... but afterwards Im not sure what to do. Right now he is some nights staying in a tent at a friends house and other nights staying in their basement. I love my friends but they have their own kids to worry about and I don't like the idea of staying away from her all night. Also he doesn't have a license or a car of his own which 1. no good if there is an emergency and 2. puts my friends responsible for her safety. I just recently got her on a good bedtime schedule and I don't want to mess her up either. On top of all that he has never once gotten up with her in the night or in the morning and hes got a problem with patience. Boy I pick the winners. Do I legally have to let him take her if DHS says its ok? What legal rights do I have? And what if he gets his own place soon? Is it wrong that I don't want him to have over nights?

*Is 9 months too young to go back and forth?

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So What Happened?

So things have been a little more calm. I have done a couple supervised visits with him and they go great till he starts harassing me, he quickly stops once I tell him that I didnt come over for that. He no longer has a phone so I havent been able to call him and he has not contacted me in almost a week. I am working closely with the dhs caseworker and things are going good. Thanks for all the advice!!

More Answers



answers from Portland on

Hello Mama-

There comes a point in an adult's life, where it's no longer about them and their wants, and it's about what's best for the child. This is one of those times.

While I'm sure your ex whats to have a relationship with his daugther, can you or he honestly say that sleeping in a tent or a basement is the best for her?

I STRONGLY suggest you contact a lawyer and see sole custody until your ex can provide a stable enviroment for your child.

Children, even young ones, need stability, and couch surfing is not stable. While I am sure he has the best of intentions, he is thinking about his wants and what he needs, not your daughter.

I know how ex's can be, they know how to push your buttons to get what they want. I want you to take a moment and remember it's your time now to put aside your wants/ insecurities and think of your daughter. Stand firm, do not let him guilt you into risking your daughter's safety and security.

She's 9 months now, very soon she will be crawling & walking. You would hate it if she learned to walk one night and walked out of the tent into the street or out of the basement and fell down the stairs. She needs a crib and a real stable home.

Good Luck,

R. Magby

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Oh, that sounds so hard. I have no advice to give, but wanted to alert you to one thing: if there is an emergency, you call an ambulance. So the lack of a car/licence does not necessarily have the two consequences you indicated. Even though you may feel you baby is not save with him, and even though this may well be a justified feeling that you must honour, the car argument is not a good one. It just shows how you are not seeing things with a calm heart and mind right now -- which is absolutely understandable, but which you should be well aware of.
I hope things will fall in place and you and your baby will be well and happy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

First off, I'm sorry you're going through all of this. From what you're saying, the court would not make you allow your infant to do overnights with your ex-boyfriend. He does not have a home, he does not have a car, he has never been overnight caregiver to the baby.
And from what I understand about family law, if you were not married to the baby's father, he doesn't have strong standing to demand anything. You should speak to a lawyer - if you go to the family court office there are volunteer lawyers who can answer questions for you if you can't afford to hire an attorney. But you really need an advocate who will give you the best information for the good of your baby.
Best of luck!



answers from New London on

I know this is hard - and my heart goes out to you. But like Dagmar said, you are thinking with your heart. You need to feel with your heart but think with your head. I know it is hard.

Courts are not as reasonable as you would think, and a lawyer assigned to the child does not always look at THAT child's best interest, but what is "normally acceptable" for most children. I know this from my own and my friends' experiences.

Don't even worry about if 9 months is too young - you need to document every time he has threatened you and call the police NOW. Try to get full and sole custody before he has a chance to get his act together with housing (the abusive behavior will still be there). Call a lawyer TODAY - get legal aid if you need it. Call 211 - InfoLine and they will get you in contact with the right people. There is a divorce group in Norwich that has a lot of good resources on their web site and so does 211.

Try to see if you can have DHS supervise or a neutral party - friends can be considered biased if you need them to recount inappropriate actions.

Right now you need to not worry about your friends, your "picking winners", guilt or anything. Set aside a time to feel everything - then box it up and get extremely logical. Your daughter NEEDS you to protect her - from all life has to offer, not just this situation. But this could be a very serious situation and you need to keep a calm head (easier said than done) and take every legal step you can, as fast as you can. If DHS has determined it is not safe for her to visit except when supervised, then it is not safe and you need to stick to that. Your job is to protect her and yourself. Accept friends' help, accept legal aid - and may good luck and energy come to both you and your daughter.



answers from Boston on

You are not specific. Why are the visitations supervised? it sounds like the father is an unreliable character and maybe unsuitable parenting issues. It sounds like you have sole custody and he has visitation, normally that is how it is done. He will not get joint custody unless he has a place of his own and a reliable job and income. However, he does have the legal right to see the child and if the visits are supervised then you are all set. If you have any legit concerns, go to your local Family Court. Ask for the 'Day Lawyer' you can talk to. It's free. Have you had a trial? Did the courts stipulate vistiation and child support payments? If DHS has ordered supervised visits, then you are all set. If he is causing you problems, relevant to the court order, you may have to go back to court. You can do that on grounds of contempt of court if he does not follow stipulations of the court order. If there are changes, you can go for a modification of the court order.
However judges do not have a lot of patience to listen to women complaining about their partner. Their philosophy is - you chose him, so its your problem. If there are threats and if it is getting out of hand, then go to your local police station, or nearest courthouse and ask for advice there.
No it is not good for a kid to go back and forth between parents. But that is the way it is. The father has a legal right to see/be with his child and the child needs a father, as long as he is not abusive to the child.



answers from Boston on

My husband has had overnight visits with his daughter (from a prior relationship - he was never married to her mother and they were broken up when she was born) since she was a few weeks old. So no, nine months old is not too young. However, he had to prove that he had a safe and appropriate place for her during his overnights, so those had to be at his father's house and not his apartment. And when his driver's license was suspended, his visitation was suspended until he made arrangements for someone else (his dad) to drive to and from my step daughter's mother's apartment to pick her up and drop her off.

Supervised visitation should not include the other parent and should not include overnights. If he's not fit enough to have her unsupervised for a few hours during the day I can't see how an overnight schedule would work - he would first need to prove himself capable of unsupervised daytime visits before getting overnights.

If he is threatening you, get a restraining order and hash it out in court. Get a child support order and when you do that, the visitation schedule should be put in place. Document all of your concerns, save any texts and messages, etc. I'm guessing that as a single mom you don't have a ton of money for a good lawyer but you can still access the courts on your own and the child support agency in your state will file everything that you need for support and visitation anyway, and if DHS is already involved in your case then just work with your case worker (cooperatively) to have your concerns addressed.

The bottom line is that if he gets his act together, he will have visitation and you and he will just have to learn to deal with each other and your daughter will be better for having a relationship with both of her parents. My husband and his daughter's mother get along fine now that they aren't a couple and my step-daughter benefits tremendously from having two families. My son's father has never been involved and that's fine too because it makes my life easier. Hopefully if he's a nightmare then your ex will disappear but if he's not, you will just have to live with it and deal with these things one step at a time.



answers from New York on

I certainly see the hesitation. I really don't think given his current living situation that it is a good idea for her to stay with him. And the car thing is just another reason to not think it is a good idea. If/when he has his own place and it is a good place for a child to be, then I would reconsider, only because he is her dad. But your daughter needs stability, even if that means some nights with you and some with her dad, but not when her dad is staying at different places all the time. Good luck.



answers from Savannah on

I left my daughter's father when she was 6 months old. He was controlling and everything else. He never had a stable roof over his head either and when he didn't, I would not let her stay over night with him. Which that never happened till she was over a yr old anyways. But when I found out he didn't have car insurance, I wouldn't let him pick her up or drive anywhere with her either. I can't imagine DHS letting your child sleep in a tent in order to spend time with her father!!

You need to get a note book and document all conversations with him. How it took place (text, phone, face to face), when (date and time) and what was said between you both. Save your text/voicemails from him as well if you can. In Indiana, I can refuse visitation with her father if I feel her safety would be compromised. You need to see what your state laws say to protect the child too!

Good luck!



answers from Orlando on

Yes, 9 months is WAAAYYY too young to go back and forth. Also, if he does not even have a crib or safe place for the baby to sleep then NO. If you say no, and take him to court to get custody / visitation finalized and tell the judge & your lawyer the exact things you say here, there is no way he'd get over night visits. It's not safe for your baby. Especially the living arrangements.



answers from Boston on

Boy do I know what you are going through and dealing w/. I left my daughters father when she was 8 months old, she is now 7 1/2 and let me tell you things have NOT gotten any better...it's a scenario of "I wish I knew then, what I know now!!!" Also, the courts are BY FAR not fair especially if you get a "father's rights" judge like I had...in my experiences though, I've been told that the child does NOT have to sleep over, that at such a young age they DO NOT have to sleep over....so do not agree to that if you feel it's not right. I would say that I think you need to start seeking legal help in this matter though to get a set schedule for visitation especially if, as it sounds, your ex is unstable...the last thing you want is for your 9 month old child to have unconsistencies in her schedule which is so crucial to children. Best of luck and message me if you need any more advice. Best of luck :)


answers from Boston on

I went thru a lot of this with a friend of mine and her husband. He was abusive, threatening and manipulative.

First of all, save every text message and email, and record all phone calls. Then stop talking to him on the phone directly and just record his messages. Keep a log with dates too.

It's not his business if you have another boyfriend or not, so don't spend any time defending yourself. He has a legal right to visitation unless there is an order against it, which it sounds like there is right now. I don't think YOU should be the supervising chaperone under any circumstances - it keeps him from being a parent, and it will just be another opportunity for him to harass you. Have the state provide someone if he is dangerous, or have them suspend visitation.

My friend withheld visitation for a while because her husband didn't have an appropriate crib or floor mattress for the 2 year old. When he finally got the necessary equipment (and he had to provide photographs to prove it), he wanted to "make up" the lost time. She fought it, but then relented when we realized he would now be giving up every single Saturday social night to care for his child. He ended it himself within 2 weeks. So I think your boyfriend is doing a whole lot of posturing just to control you, and he's a lot less interested in child care than you think.

I think DHS will say NO to a 9 month old staying in a tent, but the lack of a license & car is not an issue for an emergency. One would hope that every parent would call 911 in an emergency and not try to drive their own child to a hospital. However, if he doesn't have a car seat or borrowed vehicle in which to pick up his child, then he has no case. I don't think "not wanting to be away from her at night" is a valid argument as far as the state is concerned - I understand how you feel about structure and wanting to be with her, but I think HER safety is the only argument you have. Whatever the reason is that DHS has suspended visitation is going to be your best weapon.

My friend had a restraining order, which you should get if he is threatening you. In Massachusetts where I live, if there is a restraining order, the child is "exchanged" at the local police department. That's pretty interesting. So your boyfriend would have to borrow a car, driver & carseat (or take a taxi and install a car seat), and meet you at the police station in YOUR town - never mind where he lives. You hand him your daughter and one of you leaves while the other stays in the police department lobby so that there is no chance of any conversation (threatening or otherwise) outside.

My friend's lawyer also advised her to get a post office box so that there was no chance that her ex could get into her mail (particularly from the lawyer) and so that child support could be sent without him using it as an excuse to drive by her house. You should get a support order NOW and have the state garnish his wages if necessary.

Also, IF he ever gets to visit with your daughter, DO not pack diapers and so on - he's the responsible dad and he needs to be prepared with essentials. You can have your lawyer or case worker help you provide him with a list of what she eats, what size clothes & diapers she wears, etc. I think he will get tired of this real fast, if he does it at all.

So, get a lawyer, or get legal aid, and get a restraining order. And get court-ordered child support. Anything he wants to communicate, he can communicate through his lawyer who will talk to your lawyer. Period. That should take care of things for now.



answers from Denver on

If he's threatening you first order of business is a restraining order. Next order of business is talking to human services if you fear for your or the baby's safety. All visits should be supervised. You may want to consult a lawyer to establish a true ruling for custody, and also to establish judge ruled guidelines for visitations. If you are low-income you should be able to talk to a pro-bono lawyer.

Good luck-



answers from Philadelphia on

Ok well with DHS involved i am pretty sure they will not allow him to take her since he does not have appropriate bedding for her (they will not allow her to sleep in a ten outside). Also while they are involved you need to get a custody order signed by a judge. So not sure if you have a legal aid dept. but i am sure DHS can help you with all that. You need to file for custody! If he does not have appropriate/stabke environment for your child even after DHS is no longer involved, THE COURTS WILL NOT GIVE HIM OVERNIGHTS VISITS! 9 months old is not too young to go back and forth (kids are resilient) so with that said, if he does get his act together and gets a place with the appropriate needs for a 9 month old. Then yes he deserves to see her overnights. Good luck



answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes you have to let him take her.
You will need to abide by the visitation schedule.
All the better if he gets his own place.
Yes..he has the right to have her overnight.

Like it or not, you had a baby with this man. It is his child too. He has rights to her regardless on her recent bedtime schedule or his lack of driver's license (there are a lot of non-driving parents out there!). If he is not restricted by child services he is entitled to his visitation. You're going to have to get used to it. You need to find a way to make this about your daughter not you, him, a new boyfriend, etc. The better your communication is, the better it will be for your daughter.

Welcome to the world of separation. Don't make babies with winners anymore or this will be multiplied!

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