So the short version of the story is that I was with my ex fiance for about a year (we'll call him E). The relationship was abusive. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I had to leave, and I did. E has been involved in small ways off and on in the past year since our daughter (B) has been born (she was born about 7 months after the relationship ended). Sometimes he would say he wanted visitation, and sometimes he would say he wouldn't have any. For two months from March to April, he had weekly visits. Given the history of domestic violence, I insisted that the visits be in a public place and with a third person, so he brought his fiance (I didn't explain the need for supervision in terms of the past abuse, it would've made him angry at me, and I was afraid of what he'd do). When he told me that he was going to stop visiting, I figured my troubles were over for a while, especially since he and I filed custody papers together that said he wouldn't have any contact with B until she was several years older.
Now, this week, E called me and told me that he had recently gotten married and wanted to start visits again. The problem is, I don't know how to react around him. What I aim for (and think I achieve fairly well) is a businesslike manner, just like it was suggested in the mediation and parenting classes that E and I both had to complete to get the custody papers filed. I don't go out of my way to interact with him, but I'm definitely civil and polite. Based on his reaction to this, I think he wants friendship and he has suggested that me not wanting one means I have a bad attitude.
Do I need to be buddy buddy with my ex? Isn't polite and civil enough?
I suppose doing visits without me there would get around this problem to a large degree, but E has a history of doing rash, destructive things, and I'm afraid he would take B, so an uninvolved party would need to be there. Maybe visits at daycare on weekdays? Or having a babysitter supervise?
1) Polite and civil is appropriate. Friendship is not. When he says he wants to be friends he means he would like you to let your guard down and allow him more control over your life. I wouldn't suggest participating in that dynamic.
2) If he's dangerous, and you are not legally obligated to put your kid in contact with him, why are you doing so?
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I'm going along with his request for visitation because I know that he would be much more determined if he feels that something is being taken away from him. If I go along with his request, he'll probably lose interest after a few months (like he did with the visits before, where he sometimes spent a good portion of the weekly two hours playing games on his phone or talking to his fiance while I held B). Besides, he's not dangerous to have some contact with; as long as it's in public and isn't extended, E is safe... it's things like joint parenting time or unsupervised visits that I'd be worried about.
He can be as determined as he'd like but if you have a court document saying that he doesn't see her then stick to it. I know the desire to be friendly and easy going to make things better for the kids but honestly it is better to be as formal as possible, esp in a situation like yours.
Civil and polite is exactly what you should be aiming for. If he is telling you otherwise it's because he has a problem, you do not have a bad attitude.
I would arrange to get some kind of supervised visitation. Don't know what it's like where you are but here there are centres where you drop off and the visitation is supervised by professionals.
Well, the situation is kind of complicated by the fact that the no-contact thing came from him and I filing a joint petition saying he wouldn't get any contact, it wasn't the court saying he couldn't have any contact (and I don't think I can prove the abuse that happened two years ago when he and I were together). So it seems likely that if he ever got his act in gear and filed for a modification, he'd be pretty likely to get at least something in terms of parenting time/visitation. And I really, really don't want to get into a custody battle over this if I can avoid it.
And, for all of my worrying, I may not have to deal with it right now anyway, because I followed up his call with an email saying that starting visitation again was fine with me, and to keep me posted about it. I haven't heard back from him at all after that. Maybe this is his state-intention-but-don't-follow-through thing...