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Teenage Problems/Dealing with ex wanting to see his son ...


I'm 28, my girlfriend's 31, and we have a 5-year-old son [born April 2007], been together since 2009. I'm on the wifi now as I write this so sorry if it  appears rushed. We live in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

She told me I'm better than her previous exes (her last ones were an overweight movie addict with aspirations of becoming a clinically obese actor and a workaholic who discussed work issues everywhere, i.e. things relating to the workplace in general). She told me that I'm the only real father figure for her son, who hasn't seen his father since he left in May 2007, and wasn't seen since.

Recently me, my girlfriend and her young son were having a night in watching Strictly Come Dancing and eating when suddenly the doorbell rang. I answered it, and a man came up to the door.
He said "Hello, my name's John, I'm here to see my son."
I let him in, thinking, he's the biological dad, can't stop him seeing his son. He asked to go to the bathroom, so I let him go
I told my girlfriend, and she said she wanted to talk to him.

However, when I went upstairs, he was seen trying on a blue bikini of hers, I chased him and he went down to the kitchen, and began ranting at my girlfriend saying:
""I don't give a flying f**k about the kid. Never wanted him anyway. What a drag he is; I don't give a f**k about him. He needs to f**k off to hell. Get rid of the f**ing kid. Adopt him, farm him off to the grandparents or aunts, do what the f**k you have to do, as long as we don't have a f**king son! He's a f**ing waste of space and I hope he becomes a recovering f**king alcoholic later in life! Get back together with me, dump the boyfriend and the kid, and get back with me!"
My girlfriend told me she found it hard to take her ex seriously, judging by what he was wearing.

So we ordered him upstairs to change, and he left, ranting in a huff. My girlfriend told me he was someone who made threats verbally he wouldn't/couldn't carry out, and was never violent, just obsessed with smoking and partying.

We phoned the police, and kept the bikini as evidence, and an officer came round. However, they told us there wasn't much they could do about it, as it was civil not criminal law, and that stopping a group of local warez distributors was more of a major priority for them - ahead of all other crimes except murder.

I'm wondering how we should deal with this - whats the best way?

Hi there Matt H,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

Firstly, from what your girlfriend said to you and that you have explained to me, this young boy is lucky to have a father like you and even luckier to escaped a father who seemingly cares more about himself than anyone else. Someone once said to me, 'any boy can make a child but it takes a man to be a father' and it is true. It is easy to get someone pregnant and brush off the consequences but when it becomes evident that actually the person now has parental responsibilities and needs to give up the selfish parts of their lives, people can find it difficult. You, on the other hand, from what it sounds like, are doing a fantastic job and I am glad that you, your girlfriend and your son #biological or not# are doing well apart from recent events.

People who talk about work at every given opportunity usually lead lonely lives and tend to lack social skills. Even in social situations where work is a million miles away from the conversation, people like this tend to steer the conversation towards work because it is the most dominant characteristic in the person's life. By the nature of this, the person is insecure and uncomfortable when discussing anything else; they will find it hard to maintain relationships as their priority is their work and they probably have had issues growing up with their parents feeling that they were distant and uncaring. What results from this kind of lifestyle is a selfish person, incapable of understanding the 'normal' functions of society and relationships, tending to live in a World of fantasy than to deal with real life problems. These kinds of people are usually lonely, sometimes drink too much and can be incredibly loud and boisterous because they have to be seen as standing out in the crowd #but because all they can talk about is work, would not do so usually#. If all of this sounds familiar, then chances are that your boyfriend's ex is realizing that he has made a big mistake letting her go, he is incredibly lonely #through his own doing# and now he has nothing, he is trying to rekindle the past relationship as if it was still in the past #minus his son#. Obviously, your girlfriend has moved on from him and on to a better relationship with you but he cannot grasp that and maybe never will.

All of this said, your house is your house and you have a right to privacy and to peace and to live your life as a family without the stress of seeing an overweight man in a bikini upsetting everyone. The simplest thing to do is to not let him in the house if he calls. If there is a knock at the door, make sure that you answer it and if you have one, put the chain on and explain to him that he is not coming on to the property. You have a legal right to prevent anyone from entering your home that you do not want to #with the exception of Police etc who have a warrant# and by simply closing the door, he has two options to either walk away noisily or to start causing criminal damage by attempting to break and enter the property. If you shut the door and he starts shouting loudly and will not move, call the Police as this may be classed as a public order offence and he could be cautioned or arrested. If he begins to kick the door, attempt to get in through the windows etc, again, call the Police as this may constitute criminal damage or attempted breaking and entering. The best approach is to answer the door, assess his state of mind and then think to yourself 'if this was someone I did not know who acted or said that, would I let them in?' and judge your response by that answer. If he is coherent, polite and respectful and it is a reasonable hour and you think that he genuinely wants to speak to his ex and see his son, then let him in but do not leave him alone with either of them. If he turns up abusive or threatening, warn him that you will call the Police and have him arrested.

The Police will only come out if they feel like there is the possibility of criminal or personal damage and this includes if a specific threat has been made to an individual or property has been damaged. The best thing to do is to keep a record of any times that he does appear, the date, what happened and how frequent it is happening. All of this helps if you were to consider a restraining order that would prevent him from coming within a certain distance from the house. He may have rights to see his son #if he chose to exercise them# but when he is coming around the house shouting and making derogatory remarks, he loses all right to be there and just becomes a nuisance.

If he genuinely wants to see his son then he would make provisions to do so by being polite and respectful and through arranging either formally or informally, an appropriate time to do so. He is the boy's father and it is important that this is never forgotten; but at the same time, this boy has a right to be bought up in a loving family free from stress and if he is causing it then he needs to be stopped. It sounds to me like the rant that he had at your house that he does not care about his son #which is heartbreaking# but that he wants to be with your girlfriend; which is not going to happen. I think you and her need to decide the best course of action for moving forward and this may mean doing what I have suggested and provisionally preventing him from seeing his son until he has sorted himself out.

Sometimes with the Police you have to be persistent as they will always prioritise larger crimes over the smaller ones; but it is often the smaller ones that are having the longest and deepest impact. I would continue to badger them if the initial warnings from yourself do not cause a change and if any of his behaviour does become violent or threatening #to you, your family or your property#.

Rotherham has a Safer Neighbourhoods Team #SNT# who you should be able to speak to for advice and the teams include the Police and Council members so the advice should be positive and preventative. Failing that, you can always log the event in person at the local Police station or by dialling 101 if you want it on record but do not think that the Police necessarily need to turn up there or then. Still do this if the encounter with him is brief as it will build up a record log of calls and evidence and will show the prolificness of his visits. It will also help to form the case against him if ever her filed for custody or you filed for a restraining order.

Think about what we have discussed and hopefully this will help you all; and you can go on to continue to be the loving family that you are.

Good Luck  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)


My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.


I have volunteered for for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with, and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

The Albert Kennedy Trust

Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients Connexions Direct

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