Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Anxious Ex Husband about my adventures with the Kids

Elizabeth Louise
Community Member

My Husband doesnt want me to take the kids kayaking because he is "concerned". I have taken the kids twice already without him. If i take them it means i dont care about him and they get to experience a fun day. If i dont take them, i appease his anxiety but we miss out. 

He says his concerned of the risks. What risks? That they will drown? They can swim and they have done it twice before. All I can think of is some fun & adventure and making memories with them. The past 6 weeks all I have been doing is packing, unpacking, moving and renovating. I'm exhausted and stressed and want a break and a little adventure. Plus it's my birthday soon. I wanted to do a fun activity with the kids. When i explained this he says I am free now I can do whatever I want and that I never listened when we were together. But I know he will hold it against me. And when I ask to get back together he will throw it in my face and say I don't care and they are just words and I havnt shown him that I care about him. 

(Just some background. I really want to get back together but with hes afraid. He blames me for it all says its all my fault, he fled because he's been hurt) 


I have mentioned to him not to worry I won't do anything dangerous. The kids will be fine. I even asked him if he would feel more comfortable to come along with us and would that help. He says No. 

I have pointed out that this is anxiety and fear is holding him back and to please challenge those negative thoughts. He always thinks worse case scenario. 

He reminded me that I did this last year when I was on holiday with the kids. We were on a tour boat ride in the Whitsundays and it was chopping seas and he was included in the online group and saw the weather forecast. Someone posted something about  do not go out on the sea its 22 Knots. But our boat was full! The Captain changed from the sail boat to a stronger faster boat and I was confident in the captain. My husband wasn't there and he asked me not to go. I didn't want the kids to miss out on snorkling! And they were really looking forward to it. The boat trip was chopping at times but it was fine. We were safe. 

He still knocks it to me. That I had an opportunity to show him that i care about his concerns and listen. I think it was so unfair. 

What do I do? 

I want to save our relationship, but I also want to Live a little. It was a horrible year last year. I went into depression. I really need some adventure in my life to make me feel alive. 


13 Replies 13

Community Champion
Community Champion

hello and welcome.


It sounds like a difficult situation and your are feeling feeling frustrated. It sounds like you're caught between wanting a fun adventure with your kids and respecting your husband's concerns, even though you don't feel they're realistic? And after the stress of moving, you are looking for some quality time with the kids.


You also sound as though you are thoughtful and caring (based on what you have written above and), considering both sides and trying to find a compromise. It must be exhausting to feel caught between wanting to make memories with your children and wanting to address your husband's worries.


I also guess that because you taken the kids kayaking safely twice, and you've taken necessary precautions, and on each occasion they came back safely? And because of all the above, you took the kids ages into the consideration as well.


Althought the scenarios are different, something that my pychologist told me might help... it was suggested that when I speak with my partner about about a difficult topic, is to speak in "I" terms and make sure what I say is dripping with empathy. This also means validating his feelings, despite your differing perspectives.


And hopefully with continued conversation, you will find some middle ground?

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Elizabeth Louise


I can't help but wonder who perhaps put so much fear into your husband or why such anxiety developed regarding the kids. Perhaps his mum was a fearful parent or he came to realise he loves his kids so much that if anything bad were to happen to them, he couldn't manage. On both counts, the mum factor and fear of losing the kids, I can relate. I used to be a bit of a helicopter mum until my kids began to raise me to not be this way so much. When my 21yo daughter was much younger, she offered me some wise words along the lines of 'Your fears are impacting our life'. I also came to realise I was getting in the way of their skill development. Btw, it was actually my son who taught me the skill of kayaking when he was about 14 (he's now 18). He did exceptionally well, as I have a serious fear of deep water. Kayaking is a truly beautiful experience, hey. 🙂


Being conditioned by a parent to be fearful definitely makes it more challenging when we become a parent our self. It can take someone else to carefully manage that conditioning, so that we and our kids can develop skills in being fearless, skills in being a risk taker, skills in recognising opportunity (while not shying away from it) and so much more. I've found the things that interfere with developing a lot of these skills are 1)the imagination and 2)inner dialogue. These are perhaps the areas where your ex struggles most.


Imagining the worst case scenario is not always a bad thing, as it's what prepares us for what could potentially go wrong. It also prepares us for making sure we take measures for everything to go right. On the other hand, a wild imagination that is out of control and not managed can lead us to nothing but fear. Leading someone to manage taming their imagination can involve planting the right images in their head for them to see, conditioning them to see in new and different ways. I suppose you could say it's about leading someone to become a positive or constructive seer when it comes to future events. For example, you could say to your ex 'Through your imagination, can you see us putting our life jackets on? Can you see any way a person could drown in a life jacket, a flotation device? Can you see us amongst other water goers who could offer help if we needed it? Can you see the kids smiling and being so happy to be out on the water, doing something they love?'. Could also ask him to tell you what he sees, so that you can imagine where his fears lie and talk him through those fears.


Inner dialogue, oh my goodness it can be a challenge. Read a brilliant book called 'Insanely Gifted - Turn Your Demons Into Creative Rocket Fuel', by Jamie Catto. Catto leads the reader to imagine there are a whole lot of different facets that go toward making up the whole of who we are. There may be a fearful facet, the adventurer in us, the risk taker, the victim, the sage and so on. So, when it comes to inner dialogue, it's a matter of recognising which facet's at play. While a fearful facet may get our nervous system going with stuff like 'There's no way you'll be able to manage this. It's much easier if you just stay home, then there'll be nothing to fear', the sage in us may chime in with 'If you wish to develop, this is an opportunity for self development. Have faith in yourself'. Sometimes it can be a matter of which facet of self needs to come to life and how do we bring it to life, such as the sage in us? A new facet becomes stronger with exercise and practice. Looking at things from this perspective explains why a fearful facet of self can be so strong, with it having been exercised for so many years. Certain facets (aka 'inner demons') can definitely make our life feel like hell on earth at times. They can also make other people's lives feel a bit the same way on occasion.



Community Member

Hi Elizabeth Louise,


You say he's your 'ex' husband and that it was his choice to leave the relationship. But he still wants to dictate what you are allowed to do. He cannot have it both ways. I know you want to save your marriage but that doesn't stop you being allowed to make your own decisions and choices. It is not your fault he fled the marriage. He made his own choices.


All good relationships involve compromise and listening. You say he accuses you of not listening to his concerns. Does he listen to yours?


Unless you are taking children over waterfalls, kayaking seems a perfectly normal risk to allow kids to have an enjoyable day out.


Your needs and your desires are equally as important as his. If you try to appease his anxiety it affects your depression. That's not good for you - and it's not good for your kids to miss out on life experiences.  It sounds to me that there is nothing wrong with the life you want for you and the kids.


Can you sit down with him and work out a plan you are both happy with. If you start from a position of strength - plenty of people takes their kids, kayaking, this is something you need for you - how can you make it work for him? Maybe suggest to him all the safety things you'll have in place - insist they'll wear life jackets, no rapids etc.


If this is not a conversation you two can have together, can you have it with a counsellor or mediator there? You want this relationship to work but you giving up yourself isn't going to make it work. At the moment it sounds like neither of you are getting what you need from the marriage. How can you come to an agreement with your husband where both of your needs are being met?


Please take care of yourself. Relationships are important but try not to sacrifice your own self on the process of saving one.



Community Member

Go for it Elizabeth Louise! You sound like a fun person. You obviously love your kids and wouldn't put them in any obvious danger. If your husband doesn't want to return to the relationship, he can do the activities he likes when he has the children and I feel he needs to let you do the same.

I wish you and your children loads of fun.

Richju xxxxx

Thank you

Thank you so much. I didn't go last weekend but I have decided to go today. I dont want to sacrifice my own self anymore to appease his anxiety. Your right my needs and desires are equally important. For some time there I had to suppress my needs and desires.

I think his parents especially his mum instilled fear. She would tell him scary stories about her sister grtting bitten by a horse and she got badly infected. This meant horses were not safe and he was so scared to go horse riding with me. I saw a photo of him as a teenager covered head to toe with protective gear shin pads on the elbows, knees and a helmet just to Rollerblade. I don't even remember wearing a helmet when I used to Rollerblade when I was 15. We grew up very differently. I spent alot of time outdoors. 

But it's strange he grew up near a lake and he went in a tin boat by himself and it capsized. Maybe that's where the fear of capsizing comes from? 

I mention the word anxiety and he doesnt think its anxiety. He says his concerns are valid..ok but I tried to validate him while trying to ease his concerns. He just hangs up the call or blocks me on messenger. I'll try and ask those questions to find out more.

I did offer him to come with us to enjoy the day out with us but he said he doesnt want to go. I try to explain it will be fun and it's not a dangerous activity but he says things like if I dont do this I'll find another extreme sport to do with the kids.

I didn't go last weekend but I have decided to go today. I tried talking to him last night but he hung up the phone and then blocked me on messenger. So I dont know how else to approach it but to just go kayaking and feel guilty for going. It's not fair really. I'm doomed if I to and doomed if I dont. 


Hey there, I just read through everything you're going through with him, and I feel for you - a tough spot to be in, trying to understand and support someone who would seem to be caught up in their fears and worries.

I can also see that you making an effort to empathize and reassure him. And when he shuts down the conversation, especially when you're coming from a place of care and concern.


Remember, you're doing your best in a challenging situation, and it's okay to prioritize your own well-being too.

And maybe going ahead with your plans will give him some space to reflect on things. Hopefully, you both can find a way forward.


Hi Elizabeth Louise


I'm hoping you and the kids had a lot of fun and laughs on your adventure. It's the kind of stuff that's good for the soul, hey. Adding ventures (adventuring) is definitely good for mind, body and soul, whereas repeating the same old ventures day in and day out (getting out of bed, showering, brushing our teeth, getting ready for school/work etc) doesn't quite have the same impact.


Fear based conditioning from a parent and 1st hand experience of things going wrong is definitely a double whammy. Add confirmation to that ('Based on my experience with things going wrong, my mother was right') and you've got the trifecta. I think this is where it's so important that at least one parent has a fairly fearless outlook. The next generation won't be led to fear so much. I think helping our kids to better understand a parent's fears or anxiety is also important: 'My fears should not impact you. They are my fears. This is my anxiety'. Next level is when our child or children prove to be emapth types. When they can feel our fears, it can definitely impact their nervous system. So important to emotionally switch off from our parents for our own good at times, in a constructive non dismissive way, 'Mum/Dad, I can feel your fear and I understand it but have faith in me that I can manage this'. I think if we're paying close enough attention to our kids, they can come to raise us well 😁.


You sound so considerate in how you're trying to manage your adventures and your children's adventures while also trying to put their father's fears to rest. Even inviting him along, for him to see he has nothing to fear, is above and beyond what a lot of parents would do. You're very considerate. While my husband and I are on the same page when it comes to the basics of how to raise our kids, other pages in their life I tend to manage on my own. I've learned over the years that some of the things that come to serve our kids well are things he won't agree with. Whether it's right or wrong (a matter of opinion), I won't always tell him of how I'm going to serve them best. It's only afterwards, where the outcome's been a good one, that he may hear about it. Of course, things may go wrong on occasion but our ability to manage and our children's ability to manage when things do go wrong in some way is just proof that we're all capable of managing under a variety of challenging circumstances, something that comes with experience.


It can be really tough for some parents, based on their own 1st hand experiences. I think it can be about not wanting our kids to experience the feelings we experienced. For example, if we experienced near drowning, we won't want our kids to feel all that comes with that (the sheer terror, the suffocating feeling, the desperation etc). There's only one way we're guaranteed 100% they'll never feel it and that's if they don't go in the water. The mind can be a torturous thing at times.