so yesterday xdh took the kids for an evening visitation. Now mind you are court ordered visitation is extremely vague due to the ex's work schedule. He had them overnight on friday but got off late so he didn't get much time to spend with them and was off right at 5 last night and we arranged a 3-4 hour visit for dinner etc until bedtime. He picks up the kids and dd does not want to go. So ex does his usually I am leaving thing and she still doesn't want to go, so he starts to leave with ds and then I have to call him back to pick her up because she does want to go. He does not like to feel like dd prefers me over him and gets all bent out of shape about it and tries to make the kids feel bad. So anyway, he has them for the visit and then calls and is outside and says he is only dropping off ds and not dd as she wanted to stay with him and his gf and dd is at home with his gf. I get furious. Tell him that was not the arrangement and he needs to bring her back. He says no so I have to go to his house and demand he bring her out. He gets all angry that I allowed my kids to meet my new boyfriends mom, step dad and brother and family and says I have to discuss those things with him first. I KNEW it had to do with my new boyfriend and I shot back "you didn't ask my opinion on allowing your new girlfriend to co-sleep with our children the evening they met so discussing our kids meeting my boyfriends family is not up for discussion!!" (mind you meeting as in a sunday lunch with a family prayer followed by playing outside on their land for a few hours). So he used dd liking his girlfriends dog and she 'didn't want to go to mommy's house' as an excuse. Never once has dd spent the night with xdh without ds also being there and I said she would not be allowed tonight because that wasn't the arrangement and because that would mean sleeping with xdh and his girlfriend again as he has finally gotten dd to sleep with ds upstairs in his bed but dd would not sleep up there all alone. He doesn't have a room set up for her or a bed. dd is going to be 3 next month, ds is 7. Anyway, how the heck am I supposed to react to him only returning one child? I have allowed ds to spend the night a few times with just xdh because he is older and it was always discussed before he picked him up, not that he just decided to keep him and drop dd off. Xdh also favors dd extremely and I try to level the playing field with ds as he is in school all day on xdh's only officiall 24 hour period with the kids while dd stays with xdh.
I went through something kind of similar-ds (3) was refusing to go to ex's house for a while-once I finally talked him into going, ex decided to tell me that he kids were refusing to come back to my house. It very *very* obviously him trying to lash out at me because his feelings were hurt that ds didn't want to go with him (and also he had told the kids that family was coming to bring them Christmas presents, but they couldn't have them because they had to go back to mom's!!!!)
Basically he was trying (poorly) to prove a point that we shouldn't let the kids choose who to go with. So now I have to make ds go with ex-usually he is fine, but sometimes I do have to talk him into it (luckily I've never yet had to make him go kicking and screaming or anything). It sounds like your ex is trying the same deal. I 100% agree that he can't just keep one or the other child without discussing it with you first, but unfortunately that same deal applies to you, even when a child truly doesn't want to go, and especially when your ex is likely to make it into a passive aggressive game that will only hurt the kids. I hope this helps, good luck!
Even if your visitation schedule's vague, can there still not be more defined boundaries set up that you both must follow? The heartache (or maybe heartburn?) may just continue or get worse if you don't. Sorry this is so stressful. Hugs and prayers for you!