I don't imagine anyone will read this thread now as it was 4 years ago that I started it....but I've just been reading through it as a spur of the moment decision and it's heartbreaking.
In the end I moved to Cumbria and the kids have been settled and happy here for the 4 years that we've been here. In the beginning they visited their father in Bucks in the holidays and he would come up to visit them on occassional weekends - the distance and space did seem to help their relationship. Sadly though it didn't last like that....after 2 years he and his then GF (same as the one he had right in the beginning and now his wife) moved up here. What should have been a fantastic opporunity to re build all the relationships is just proving to be as tough as ever.
He now lives 8 miles away from us (in the same town as the kids go to school). Since September they've seen him probably 6 times and on two of those occassions they've gone for the weekend but been sent home a few hours later.
We are no further on with their relationship with him. My relationship with him has had it's ups and downs but at the moment we are getting on ok and it's all pretty amiable. But it's just so sad. He moved all the way up here, apparently, because he couldn't bear to be parted from his kids. BUT he barely sees them - there are so many opporunities for him to see them...they could even walk to his house after school but they won't, they know that they can go whenever they like but, even this week in the run up to Christmas, they're not seeing him. His wife is pregnant so it's only going to get worse.
I've gone on to have 2 other children so we're a busy house. I married my BF from the previous posts and we all live in a chaotic but generally happy household. The kids are happy for the most part but sad, I think, that they don't get to see their dad more on his own and I think they're left wondering why he fought so hard to see them but doesn't bother anymore (quote from the summer holidays "I'm a little busy this year setting up the business [to have the kids over]...next year should be quieter")
That said though I wanted to put an end to this thread that I started to say that things did move on. I left that dark place, I've retrained in a new career and am taking steps in that, the children are growing up fast but love their school and friends and, most of the time
their new brother and sister. My old life seems like a life I didn't live and to read about it just now was heartbreaking...but did show me how far we've come.
Fingers crossed there's a happy ending out there for the relationship between my ex and his children but I've come to realise that I can't make that happen, I can offer advise, encourage the kids and talk to him about what to do but I can't solve it for him. He has to want to do that. I hope he does, cause they've lovely kids