Why you should not allow visitation with your toxic ex to happen at your house


I did it too – I allowed visitation to happen in my apartment back then, in the early days. When I particularly wanted to prove how agreeable I was and how much I cared about my son having a relationship with his father. And how I would do anything for a peaceful separation.

My son was less than one-and-a-half years old at the time.

At the time, my Ex didn’t have a car, and overnight stays at his place weren’t feasible yet because I was still breastfeeding my son at night. (This caused constant annoyance and incomprehension on his part – he believed no child needed to be breastfed at that age! But I digress.)

At that time, I frequently brought our child to him and back for visitation, as the public transport connections between our homes were not optimal.

This went on until I realized that a certain small car was always parked around the corner from me, which I had also seen several times in the cul-de-sac at my Ex’s house.

As I later discovered, he consistently used the Next’s car to come to my place, parking it around the corner out of my sight. This allowed him to maintain the facade of being a struggling individual who couldn’t afford his own vehicle. After all, how else was he supposed to have contact with his beloved child?

If I recall correctly, he initially had two afternoons during the week for about 2 hours each, and a full day on the weekend, alternating days, when he took his son with him.

I even believe I was quite happy with the visitation hours happening in my apartment.

I struggled with the loneliness I imposed on myself and yearned for adult conversation. Somehow, I clung to the illusion that we could maintain a mature, cooperative co-parenting relationship. How naive!

The two of them played in the nursery, enjoying plenty of entertainment, coffee, and the occasional slice of cake.

And I still had no idea.

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I suppose I felt that it still wasn’t quite what I truly desired. Yes, I yearned to celebrate the toddler’s milestones with another adult. Yes, I wanted my son to continue spending time with his dad, and above all, I was grateful that his father remained interested in him.

Shortly after the separation, my father said, “He’ll be interested in the boy for six months, then he’ll lose interest.” I knew immediately that wasn’t true.

The only solace I found in our visitation arrangement was the thought that my son and I were now living in my own apartment, on my own terms. No longer could my ex dictate what picture I hung up, what color to paint my walls, or what furniture I should prefer.

When he was still around, the one thing I had been longing for for years was missing: emotional commitment, genuine presence, and attentive listening.

Whenever he visited, conversations over coffee revolved around him as they used to: his incompetent bosses, his successes, his DIY.

When I talked about the things that bothered me back then, I quickly noticed how he stopped listening and got distracted.

It was just as it was before the break-up. No more, no less!

The bottom line was that after these encounters I was dissatisfied, disappointed, completely zapped of energy. Little by little, hurtful comments started poping up again. Things others were supposed to have said about me. Things he had noticed about our child, that he wanted me to look at.

Some of the things that I had openly confided in him were used against me in a later conversation.

As I said, I had no idea and – even worse – had not set any boundaries.

The thing with the car was the last straw that led me to finally end the afternoon visits in my apartment.

Until one day, after an email dispute, I was caught off guard and confronted with Next in his house when I brought the little one. At this point, I knew I was right to put a stop to our little arrangement.

Today I know one thing:

My home is my safe zone. This is where the positive, good vibes are. That’s why my ex is no longer allowed in.

The spatial boundaries also help me to better maintain my inner boundaries.

In numerous conversations with other mothers, particularly those with young children, I frequently hear that visitation still occurs in the mother’s home for various reasons.

If your Ex is not toxic, there is nothing wrong with this.

However, if you suffered a lot from his maliciousness in your past relationship with him, found it difficult to see through his triangulations, and constantly felt devalued by him, then opening the door to your home is anything but helpful for your healing process.

Oh, I know.

You don’t want to be the bad guy.


Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


It would be bad, however, if you were to shoot back with the same guns. If you locked the child away from him. Or if you called 5 minutes in advance every time to say that visitation has to be canceled today (because you don’t want to see him).

If, on the other hand, you clearly set your boundaries – visitation yes, but not in my home – then you also give him the small child.

You are allowed to protect yourself. No, you MUST protect yourself. Your compulsion to control, which you understandably feel with the irresponsible father of the child, should definitely give way to your own will to protect.

It’s his problem how he spends the two or three hours with the little child. Not yours!

“But the child wants to play with daddy in the big nursery!”
“But it’s raining outside!”
“I want to show my good will!”
“I have everything under control here.”
“He pays (half) the rent, he still has all the keys – I can’t refuse him.” (This topic alone deserves a separate blog article!)

Yes, there are lots of reasons that your rational mind can give you ad hoc! And your gut feeling wants to mute them.

I simply cannot emphasize this enough: Healthy boundary setting has nothing to do with malice, hatred and “I’ll get even with you!”. It’s more about self-respect.

Disclaimer: The only exception – and a counter-perspective

However, there are also situations in which you may well want to jump over your shadow and make this decision consciously and with integrity: For example, if your child is immobile (due to a leg in plaster, for example), but would appreciate a visit from dad as a welcome distraction.

Then I invite you to change your perspective:

You are the queen of your four walls. As queen, you are allowed to hand out generous gifts and, of course, fulfill your child’s heart’s desire. In this way, you grant access to your kingdom full of joie de vivre and abundance for a limited period of time.

You have the sovereignty to deny this access again at any time – because you are the queen.

You can then grab a good book, sit on the sofa and be mentally absent. Or you can read my bullshit bingo and at least have a laugh now and again.

Well then, my dear!

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