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Exhusband resurfacing after 17years

(13 Posts)
bnhippy Sun 15-Apr-12 09:35:09

My ex husband has suddenly come back on the scene after 17years absence, during which he never contacted our children, sent them Birthday card etc.. has just got in touch via a daughter from his first marriage, to our daughter who is about to give birth to her first child.. my son wants nothing to do with him but my daughter I think is torn, she said she would like her baby to have a grandfather (she will have on the in-laws side have great grandparents as well) I am wondering how to handle this as he was a lousy father so can't really see him being a wonderful grandparent. Incidentally I am thinking he has got in touch as he feels lonely as his wife has walked out on him.. Any advice please..

greenmossgiel Sun 15-Apr-12 09:45:47

Perhaps the only thing you could do, is to go with the flow, bnhippy? Something similar happened in my family when my daughter was pregnant with her first baby - though it was she who contacted her father. Perhaps your son's attitude will keep her feet on the ground a little regarding their father's interests?

Carol Sun 15-Apr-12 09:48:26

As you say bnhippy he may be lonely because he has been left by his second wife. He is watching his chickens come home to roost, isn't he? How selfish to ignore his children, as though they can be left in a safe place till he needs them many years later.

Your daughter should be supported in whatever decision she makes. If he is capable of making a good grandfather, perhaps he has learned something over the years. If he doesn't meet her expectations, she doesn't have to let him see his grandchild, but it is certainly worth letting this situation unfold under her control, as your grandchild might just benefit where the rest of the family didn't. It's no reflection on you.

He certainly has a lot of making up to do. As the dreaded Jeremy Kyle would say - that's 17 years' worth of birthday and Christmas presents you owe me, for a start!!

Greatnan Sun 15-Apr-12 10:03:16

I think I would let your daughter make her own mind up - he will probably prove to be just as rubbish a grandfather as he was a father. That is what happened with my ex - he contacted our daughters when he had business in their area and he wanted a free room and dinner (even though he was on expenses from his firm). He has never bought so much as a rattle for our ten grandchildren and does not know he has great-grand-children.
At first, one of my daughters tried to maintain a relationship with him, but she soon realised he was just as selfish as he had always been. He does not know she has emigrated.

I said nothing - I had an idea he would show his true colours and I did not want my daughters to accuse me of preventing them from seeing their father.

Mishap Sun 15-Apr-12 10:05:35

Indeed - I think the advice is sound - go with the flow, hard though it may be. Good luck with this.

glammanana Sun 15-Apr-12 10:08:18

Leopards changing spots comes to mind here maybe ? but let your DD make up her own mind on the situation and don't let it stress you out in any

dorsetpennt Sun 15-Apr-12 10:19:08

There are some rotten men around aren't there? It's difficult for mothers to understand how someone can walk out on a family let alone keep away from them, then re-surfacing years later. It is up to your daughter as to whether she should see him or not. I am sure she is well aware of what type of person he is - but he is her father maybe she is curious. My ex-husband dropped out of his first family's life until his 2nd daughter sought him out. His oldest daughter wants nothing to do with him. He was better in keeping in touch with my two even though I live in the UK and he in the US. However, when my daughter visited him she overheard him tell someone he has 3 children. So because his oldest doesn't see him he has actually wiped her out.

gracesmum Sun 15-Apr-12 11:54:04

I think of it as the Friends Reunited syndrome - sometimes you get the urge to catch up with somebody you haven't seen for decades. In my experience it is best resisted as there was probably a good reason for losing touch. I think he might be fooling himself that he has a "loving " family ready to welcome him with open arms. Dream on! As the others say, go with the flow, but you may need to be the person who picks up the pieces.

harrigran Sun 15-Apr-12 12:00:20

When children are adults they make their own decisions and no doubt your DD will make the right one for her. One always wonders why Exs suddenly resurface, sometimes the DS or DD has become famous and in the public eye or perhaps a lottery win. I might be cynical but what is in it for them ?

granjura Sun 15-Apr-12 12:12:54

That is so difficult for you - but I'm afraid the best thing to do is to try very hard to stay neutral (yes I am sure that will be very hard). If you try and stop it, or try to vilify him to your daughter - it would put her in a very uncomfortable position at a very vulnerable time of her life. He might have genuinely changed, and if he is still a scumbag, she will soon see him for what he is. Thinking of you - not easy at all.

Maniac Sun 15-Apr-12 14:47:02

I agree with granjura try to stay neutral.Your daughter's instinct to put her child first seems very positive -to at least give her child the opportunity to know about and have contact with his grandfather. It would be a pity to let past conflicts deny that to him/her.
A thorny problem.My thoughts are with you

HildaW Wed 18-Apr-12 11:37:57

bnhippy, feel for you. I too have a very long term ex but thankfully he has never reappeared. My elder daughter (his, but later adopted by my second husband) was curious for a while but as I was as honest as possible and he never chose to make contact she slowly came to the conclusion he was not worth the interest (clever girl). It did cross my mind that he might show some interest when she became a mother but thankfully he has stayed out of the picture. She would be easy to trace if he really felt the need. In my heart of hearts I would not encourage any contact but I do think that she is now old and wise enough to make up her own mind. He was not a villain just weak and, in truth, a bit of a coward. If you have brought your children up to be decent judges of character, and to have been fair and open with them about what really happened then I am sure that all will be well. Good luck.

grannyactivist Wed 18-Apr-12 11:56:50

Just a slightly different perspective here; my mother made many mistakes bringing up her children - she even left us for a couple of years when we were very young; but she has been a wonderful nana and the grandchildren she lives near to absolutely adore her.
I know that I have grown, developed and changed enormously over the years; my younger self would not recognise me. If your ex has changed then he might build some welcome bridges - and if he hasn't, then your daughter will know first-hand and not be left wondering what if.....?