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Why Fathers Disappear After Divorce

There’s an interesting article on entitled The Ghost Dad Phenomenon written by Sarah Hampson of The Globe and Mail (click the link to read the article). It talks about the dads who disappear after divorce. They continue to send child support, but they’re physically absent from their children’s lives. They become “ghosts” to their children. As the years go by they become a hazily remembered presence imbued with equal parts of love, anger and confusion; but for their children the ache of their loss never goes away.

The big question is why? Sure there are abusive fathers and irresponsible fathers whose children are probably better off without them. But why do fathers who love their children disappear? If they love their children, how can they hurt them by abandoning them?

As a divorced dad explains in the article, “It’s about shame.” “In the world of masculinity,” writes Ms. Hampson, “you’re either a winner or a loser … It’s black and white. Divorce is seen as failure, ergo you’re a loser. Who wants to be reminded of that?”

Post-divorce conflicts over child support, parenting and visitation, coupled with spousal criticism, dating, remarriage or job relocation can strain a father’s relationship with his family to the breaking point.

“A man feels sadness,” explains Calvin Sandborn, author of Becoming the Kind Father.  “But on some level he thinks, ‘I’m not supposed to feel sadness,’ so the way men react is to blame the person who is making them feel sad. They get angry. There’s an adrenalin rush. And that makes them feel powerful again.”

Many fathers who feel increasing anger at their marginalization in their children’s lives respond by leaving. Ill-equipped to deal with their emotions and unable to express them, they choose to avoid them. The pain of being repeatedly reminded of what they have lost, drives them away. They push away from the pain and anger caused by a situation they cannot control and in the process abandon the children they love.

Next time: A child’s response.

117 Responses to “Why Fathers Disappear After Divorce”

  1. Fathers of adult children of divorce face a different battle. They have adults that realize they have walked away from the marriage and feel the shame of how it happened in my case. I have not tried to keep my ex from seeing my grown children, but they have formed their own opinions about him. He has now walked away from them and only contacts them on his birthday, or Father’s Day. They do not feel the need to make their father feel better about himself. He lets everyone think that the kids have turned their back on him and walked away from him, but they are the “children”, he was supposed to be the adult. He is waiting for them to come to him, but he is the one that cheated, lied, and was cruel and walked out. They see him as a coward and less than a man for the way he treated me after 30 years of marriage. My feelings are that he is what they think because I know I would take their anger forever and keep fighting for them had I been the one in his place. Your children, no matter how old, expect their parent to love them, fight for them, and be there always. Any man that walks away from that is a coward and less than a man. Sometimes I think older children actually have more pain and damage because this person was their parent for 26-28 years and then just walks away and leaves them to pick up the pieces of their lives. This is cruel and heartless and I realize that many divorcing men are not this way, they do fight to see their children and work with the mother to make it happen. Unfortunately for my grown children, they just ended up with a coward and loser of a man that will miss out on the rest of the wonderful experiences they will have in their lives!

  2. Wow. Never again will i marry another american woman. The risks of marrying an american woman far outweigh any risk taken in life. I can understand that a divorce is granted through domestic abuse, drug or alcohol abuse…but the over needy emotional ways of the fems destroy marriages. I myself was married to an american woman with highly manipulative ways and of who lacked much in the way regarding the needs of a meninmist…me. We had ups and downs as any marriage. I guess all women want are to be constantly happ…well, happiness is not a constant…it takes work. The hell with marrying these weak minded crack boxes that have no heart and cannot be happy with themselves. I leave behind three beautiful daughters of who have suffered the result of a divorce. They love their dad and i do love them and will pay child support. I however will have to leave them behind for opportunities to better myself and prepare my life for them. As it stands, i hate the piece of shit ex wife, but my hate has nothing to do with my children. I am not out to use my kids against the piece of shit. With limited visitation, i no longer feel connected to my girls. I need to move on and live my own life once again. I entered a marriage agreeing whole heartedly to our vows. Now that the vows have been broken by the fem due to short sightedness, let God send down the true judgement…let nature take its course.

  3. On another note, for every action as in filing for divorce…there are so many negative reactions that go along with it. Stop being so fucking selfish and work through the difficulties in your marriage for your children and for yourselves. Show your kids how to not give up with respect to such trivial matters. Get past your own needs…sacrifice….just as Jesus did…learn to love…it can be done…

  4. Okay…here is another one. Women…wtf will you Do if u end up being stripped of 33% of your income plus taxes and etc. And only seeing your kids 13% of a year. Hmmm…move on and do what it takes to b financially independent and successful. Hell, i was put out on the streets by the court system without a job during the beginning stages of divorce. I will not follow my dumbass exwife around for the benefit of what? To remain a fucking slave? Sorry…it was the whole package or nothing at all. Hell, if the dumb bitch dies, I want to b financially prepared to take care of my kids in the event that she does.

  5. These women dont give a shit…me, me, me, shit…victims of society…the new form of welfare. Poor kids…all they want is their daddy tucking them in at night.

  6. People who love to advocae for the poor mistreated fathers don’t think about what equal custody means for KIDS. My husband has a job with a completely unpredictable schedule where he is in and out of town for 1 day, 3 days , 10 days at a time. He wants 50/50 custody, which means my child would have to change households EVERY 3-4 DAYS on a completely varying schedule with NO REGULARITY.. HE is divorcing ME b/c I was not a submissive Christian wife. On his selfish scheme ( which he insists is best for her), my child will not have TWO homes – she will have NO home. I would be completely willing to work with him and be flexible, but he refuses to compromise or interact with me about anything – because he is IN CHARGE ( according to him). He is telling everyone that I am trying to take his child away from him. He never paid any attention to her until he filed for divorce and now thinks he’s superdad. My DAUGHTER needs a stable living environment more than she needs 50/50 time with her father.

  7. Theres a lot more thats involved in absent dada. I was deliberately manipulated out of my daughters life by a bad judge n selfish mom who would lie on court petitions while judge would smirk at me at each diminishin visitation modification. 20 yrs of no contact w my daughter isnt my choice or doin. Societal bias n attitudes is part of the problem. I remember the cold response of a campaignin mark green bs advocte when I told him my visitation difficulty. I now hav new family 3 kids n if I hav to rent a rm for mom to sober b4 seein our kids I do it. Bein a parent isnt rocket science but frightenly ao moms need the education.

  8. Why do these husbands that give mental abuse in yr marriage, so u can do know more but divorce them. Then they go on to give yr adult children the same abuse. This has affected my daughter, but my son can handel it more.He puts them down all the time, and puts it on facebook. Judgement day will come……

  9. Why do these husbands that give mental abuse in yr marriage, so u can do know more but divorce them. Then they go on to give yr adult children the same abuse. This has affected my daughter, but my son can handel it more.He puts them down all the time, and puts it on facebook. Judgement day will come……

  10. It is true. Marriage is a package deal.

    My former wife was a liar – yes a liar – married based on vows that meant absolutely nothing to this POS. Fathers come and go in a drive thru marriage society. Men want to be a BIG part of their children’s lives, but when they are relegated to seeing their beautiful children 12 percent of a year, it is time to go.

    Move on and rebuild a life that is fulfilling. Living below the poverty line is so exciting and fulfilling, it just makes me want to pick up my kids and have a bunch of fun. Not to mention, the refrigerator…oh yeah…it is empty…I wonder why? Ummm…looks like I have to pay the baby sitter every month 33 percent of my lackluster income and then some.

    Women in society are a joke. Not all women, but for those that choose to divorce a great man for what? As my previous POS wife said, “You have this emotional boundary” or “I just don’t love you like I did before.” These were some of the most lame excuses that I have ever heard in my life going back to high school dating. Isn’t marriage about falling in and out of love many times? Is it even possible to be happy all of the time – every day for 365 days per year until death? In our marriage, we never fought, abused drugs or alcohol, yelled at our children, nothing that would lead to a bad marriage…just a fem that did not have her marriage served on silver platter…in other words filled with unrealistic expectations.

    That to me is NOT a woman, but some screwed up compassion less pithy ass that is self serving.

    Well, in the wake of the family that she screwed up, let her deal with the kids. In my eyes, the kids will be fine whether or not I am in their lives. Hell, half of the time, they don’t even want to come over to their Dads anymore.

    Will I sit around in condemnation to some freak fem and the kids that will be developed to end up like her? Not me. I am gone and will be gone for years to come. Understandably, the fems think that it is the fault of the man in this case, but understand the man…as the man is supposed to try and understand why you divorced him? Yeah, right. There is truth to what CLEO says, “Once a father, always a father.” That doesn’t mean that the father is going to be there.

  11. Why does everyone sound so cruel on these boards? Men you are saying if you have to pay to support your children and see, them less then you rather just throw them away and start a new life. I have tears reading this, the idea that you throw away your parental rights because you have to help support them is so disgusting to me.

    To the men who say divorced woman get everything; please do your homework 66% of divorced woman are at poverty level after a divorce, why, because she gave up everything for you and the children you both brought into the world. If you did not want your wife to stay home and raise the family then you should have discussed this before getting married or having kids. The B#@ you call today was a one point your loving wife and loving mother to your children, but as soon as you cheat she becomes money greedy and a bad mother !! In addition, woman the man you married was your loving husband and the loving father to your children but as soon as you cheated, he became the bad gut because he was hurt!

    Please learn the words I am sorry!!! That is what the person who was left to emotionally deal with your infidelity wants the most. Stop adding fuel to your cruelness by making the other spouse the bad person when you and you alone destroyed your marriage.

  12. Marriage breakdown and divorce are all too common and nothing suggests the trend is likely to reverse any time soon. While the majority of partners filing for divorce are wives, it’s usually following discovery of an affair and/or the husband’s departure from the family home. Statistics are inevitably difficult to interpret when it comes to divorce but it’s safe to say that it’s more common for a man to have an affair, then up and leave, than for a woman. Often, the ex-husband loses no time in marrying his mistress.
    Here one man explains why he left, one explains why he left and returned and one why he’s thinking of leaving.

    Ben and Claire had been married for 11 years when he left. They have three children. The youngest was a baby when Claire discovered Ben was having an affair with a younger, married colleague.

    “Our marriage was pretty good. Claire was very into having babies. She loved little kids. After our son and daughter were born I didn’t want more children. I wanted to get out of that whole dealing with toddlers phase. For a while she seemed to accept that. But when our daughter was seven and our son was three she started grieving that he wasn’t a baby any more. He was starting to grow up and she really wanted a third child. I was dead against it. We were just finally emerging from years of nappies, no sleep and no time for ourselves. Our life was dominated for months by this discussion. In the end I gave in and she got pregnant. But I was hugely resentful. The first two children had been our project. The third, I’m sorry to say, felt like it was hers. I was seething really that she’d got her way. We were heading back into nappy territory. There’d be financial strain and I’d be relegated yet again to husband in the corner while Claire focused on the kids.

    I met Tessa when Claire was pregnant. She saw me, not ‘a father’. She had an open marriage and seemed to offer me a life much wider than the ‘nursery’ I had at home. At the start of the affair she gave me a book of poetry. It meant so much. She wanted to talk about it with me. Claire mostly spoke to me about the children. I wasn’t planning to leave home but when Claire found out about Tessa she said ‘Get out’ on impulse – understandable – it was terrible for her – Amy was only a few weeks old – and I went. I was glad to escape at that point. For two years I saw my kids at weekends, on Christmas Eve and during the holidays. Claire hated me. My daughter did too. My son missed me. The baby needed a dad. Tessa was with her husband and sleeping with me too. The strain of it all was nightmarish. I began to realize I’d made really insane choices. Tessa was pretty worthless – she was so selfish, she thought nothing of breaking up a family. And I’d been just as selfish. I was confused and miserable. I’d say I was going through a pretty severe midlife crisis. Eventually I asked Claire if I could come home. She agreed, mostly for the children at that point. We saved our marriage – all that was 19 years ago. But it hasn’t been straightforward. She still sometimes has a go at me. I still deserve it.”

  13. Upon divorce, a couple’s marital property, property acquired by the two during the course of their marriage, is divided up according to the applicable state law. Parties may divide and settle their property 50/50 or in some other arrangement depending upon the given laws. The hope is that the parties are treated fairly.

    But even in a situation where all the assets are divided 50/50, divorced women may find that a seemingly fair settlement is still far from equitable. Women are typically awarded custody of the children. Because our predominant social values suggest that children are best situated with their mothers, women often do the lion’s share of child rearing in divorced families, even in shared custody cases.

    Any parent who has ever fought a custody battle knows that child care responsibilities are a privilege, not a burden. Unfortunately, most divorce settlements fail to account for the damaged future earning potential of a woman with child care responsibilities. Since mothers usually take some time away from their careers, and since women still earn slightly less than men, it is fair to say that most women, even prior to divorce, have lower earning power than their male spouses.

    The problem of lower earning power is exacerbated by child care responsibilities. They reduce a woman’s available work hours, thereby making it more difficult for her to increase her income through promotions, client cultivation and so forth. This marked reduced earning capacity is not factored into a divorce, since settlements focus on dividing marital property.

    Ultimately, the overall economic quality of a man’s life, based on earnings and amount spent on living expenses, increases after his divorce. He continues to earn more but bears fewer family expenses. The overall economic quality of a woman’s life, post-divorce, decreases.

    Of course, both parents are expected and legally required to contribute to the cost of raising their children, but the law still does not provide a mechanism to compensate a woman for the earning potential she has lost based on her decisions to marry and have children. Women often opt for careers that they feel will be more conducive to motherhood, working lower paying jobs because of the fewer hours they require.

    A difficulty in reforming marital property laws to compensate these women lies in the fact that many women, even in today’s modern world, make career decisions based almost entirely on their family plans. Thus, a college professor who might have become a successful businesswoman had her family plans been different, has no way to show a court her lost earning potential. Her decision to take a lower paying job cannot be weighed by the court, since there is no real evidence of material economic damage.

    The objective of a divorce court is to give each party what he or she fairly deserves based on their earnings during marriage. It is next to impossible to factor the broad social pressures that shape women’s career decisions into a given divorce settlement.

    Legal scholars must either find a way to assess the lost earning power of the female spouse, or women as a collective must find a way to have their families and make honest career decisions too. The Medieval Period may be long gone from our history, but there are still some remnants of the dark age of divorce law at work in our courts today.

  14. My husband and I married at the young ages of 20 years. We had 3 children in five years. I tolerated physical, verbal and emotional abuse for 15 years. He called our son a “faggot” from the age of 4 years on. Our daughters endured….”Hopez wanna be” from the age of 9 years. The youngest he referred to as a “Fat Face MotherF*&%er”. He pet name for me….”Cunt” was old after the birth of our second child. Women were made for Fu^%ing and Su*&%ng”. HE defines himself as a loser and POS. He continues to work in the Michigan Department of Corrections as well. Following two rounds of breast Cancer, (me not him) I begged him to move to the U.P. of Michigan so we could keep our family together and get away from the meddling, drama and constant tug of war with his mother. He agreed. Upon returning from informing his Mom that we were moving…..he said…..”I cant go. My Ma said I’m leaving her”. We attempted counseling multiple times….Me…I had a big problem with sarcasm. He would never follow through after the second visit. In the end…….all he asked for was a return of $600.00 a month child support. That’s it. He wanted money. He never fought for custody, nothing. He broke my heart and even worse…..our children’s hearts. Ultimately…..4 years later he filed for divorce so he could marry a woman with 3 children. He is now divorced x2. What is heartbreaking is how he chose to never attend any of our children’s milestones although he was always given advanced notice…(by months). His parents never did either. When his second marriage failed….he suddenly wanted to become involved in our children’s lives. Now…..He has moved in with another woman that is still married to her legal spouse (2 or 3) and she has 3 children as well. Why would any man choose to ignore his own children 90 % of the time and play “Dad” to someone else’s chiildren? It makes zero sense. I didn’t rape him in child support. In fact….I requested and was granted a decrease in child support so he could afford to live a life. Instead, I worked a full time and a part-time until our children were graduated and left the nest. We had our issues and our children were subjected to some nasty abuses and temper tantrums. I never forced any of our children to live with me. I never kept them from their Dad either. They continue to fear upsetting him; when he makes time for them beyond a text about his new person. Children do not pick their parents. Parents do choose how they guide, nurture and provide unconditional love and encouragement for our children. Not all Women are a Man’s “Baby Momma”. Not all Men are a Woman’s Baby Daddy. In fact…..they are both degrading terms. No one controls parenting efforts or styles beyond the individual that exercises free will. I hope that one day…..children born within or out of wedlock will truly believe they are wanted by their parents. Most anyone can procreate. Selflessness in parenting requires WE not ME.

  15. Very important to consider that the US government has actively had a policy to destroy families since the 1950;s, Its a divide and conquer strategy to collapse america and bring in the new world order controlled by billionaire psychopaths,

    The rabbit hole runs deep. Woman taking the roles of men by working, etc (since the 50′s). Men feeling inadequate and everyone under chemical attack (stuff in plastics causing men to become more feminine), etc and the free trade policies designed to destroy the middle class, corrupt divorce laws desgined to imprison men. I could go on and on and on but its very important to realize the government wants families destroyed for the NWO and their eugenics depopulation agenda. Many of the shrinks are in on this too as they were brought over here from nazi germany, Divide and conquer turns everything upside down, Whats wrong is now right and whats right is now wrong, Wake up sheeple and realize this is happening and resist. Wanna know whats at the bottom of the rabbit hole? Death.

    Im divorced and spent many hours studying this and it a significant reason that people divorce, the feds are behind this.

  16. When one is confronted with a splenetic, lying, cheating wife who does “EVERYTHING” in her power to see to it that you have little or no contact with the child after divorce and the courts included despite all the legal documents to the contrary; i.e. visitation etc., sometimes, a father is left with only two alternatives: kill the bitch and cause the child tremendous harm as well as yourself, or, walk away and suffer an unbearable loss that will NEVER go away.

    See Dr. Richard Gardner’s (Columbia University professr theory

  17. I think that people in general fail to recognize the degree of pain and rage that can result from UNREASONABLY being jerked around over not even being “allowed” to see one’s children. The first option referenced above is not adopted by DWD and one should seek help if those sort of thoughts are present, seriously. Early on in handling ugly cases, I used to say, “I can’t imagine any parent walking away, no matter what.” However, when the alternatives mean jail, loss of everything and dead broke, children being brain-washed and hating you while you are trying to stay connected despite all adversity, false sex abuse allegations against you by your own kids mentally tortured children, and children constantly being put in the middle and your seeing them suffer regardless of how it came to be, and of course the added insult of being relentlessly pursued for child support that rarely gets spent as it should for the children, I have further found that one distinction in how things end up is where the target parent’s breaking point is; we all have one and some get there more quickly than others. There are many parents who have chosen to walk away for what they believe is best for the children to spare them that sort of pain, But, it is painful for them in other ways because the “wach-job” parent will say, “See I told you he didn’t care about you.” The solution lies in detecting and exposing these nuts as early as possible so there is a chance to fix the damage before the kids grow up and climb towers and shoot people and such. Just sayin…..

  18. Well, I am now a divorced dad. I have much shame, guilt and depression from this experience. My exw filed for divorce on the grounds that we stopped growing together. Just another excuse after ten phuking years of marriage and three beautiful little girls that will and have been affected in thewake of my exw destroying a family.

    During our marriage we never fought, cheated, abused or were addicted to alcohol or drugs. I dont know about the exw….she may have cheated…will never know. She has issues and is very selfish as she put her business startup above the family. As a result she filed for divorce and i was kicked out of my home without a job and nowhere to go. I was a stay at home father for about 2 years.

    As a result of being kicked out of my own home and without any income i was corced to use my retirement savings in order to survive. I amassed large amounts of debt and i am forced to pay child support on a very meager income. Because of this, i have had a very limited relationship with my children. Living below the poverty line and struggling to survive has created an extrememly unhealthy environment to put my three children into. On another note….my exw has parents that are millionaires and they have tried to put me into a financial mess during the divorce process draining everything that i had. Now i have nothing.

    I havent seen my kids in over a month. I keep in touch with them via phone, but that has stopped for every time that i call…they dont answer. I feel as though i was nothing but a damned sperm donor to this rich family and when things got tough…the rich made it tougher on me. I have a huge hole to dig out from and to even have the time or make the time for my kids is now a passing thought. It is unfortunate.

    The millionaire family indicates that they want me to have a relationship with my kids, but they have no concept of my difficult situation that i am dealing with. I love my kids, but i have most certainly lost a connection that i once had as a full time husband and father. I miss them dearly but I cannot afford to do much. My oife is now dedicated to trying to take care of myself. Hell…i cant take care of anyone else if i cannot take care of myself.

    The exw and her father are calculating, cold and very manipulative terrible people. To experience my exw father saying to my youngest daughter in front of me “Do you want your grandfather to be your Daddy?” I think that says it all. And this man is a Princeton graduate! Wow! This was not the only terrible comment that he made. He was lucky that I did not floor him at the time.

    To not reduce child support until a man of our children gets back on his feet was not even a consideration. With a full time job i clear an average of about 125 bucks per week if i am lucky. To sit back and watch a mean exw and her father ruin my life in the wake of a divorce has been a strain in many ways. They know they have me pinned down.

    My kids are living the good life while i live below the poverty line. That is ok. I just wont have much of a life with my little girls anymore. It is sad as hell, but real. They love their daddy and their daddy loves them but with the rich people in the way….what can a great man with a great heart do? All i can do is be selfish rigjt now for i have to rebuild my life from under the bottom up. I have no control right now and i miss my kids so much.

    Anyway…time to move on and get out of the financial jam i am in.

  19. I am in a really different situation … I didn’t want a divorce … My husband hated me on fb or emailing with people so I stopped all that …he locked my fb account and took control of everything …. Left me after 6 months with kids…. We waited for days …called him 24 times a day tried to speak to his parents …. His brother … Everuone turned their backs …. Then I got a divorce notice….. He saw the kids 2 times in 1 st month and then never saw them …. He stopped work and left for India …. Doesn’t support me at all …. I struggle with our 2 kids but send him all the cards the kids make for him….they used to call him for bday till we had his mobile number …. But we have no idea what to do …. My son doesn’t remember him much but my daughter cries a lot …. I have begged him to see the children and if he hates me …. To see them from Friday till mo day so he can pick them from school and drop back .. I don’t know what to do :(

  20. My ex was me me me. I weren’t allowed to take him the doctors when he had green tar hanging from his nose for months. Wasnt allowed to take him the dentist. He hurt his knee badly and was telling me it hurt but was not allowed. I rang every day to see how he was but excuse after excuse. I never wanted to have a argument infront of hime but she didn’t care 1 bit. All this when he was 2 years old and she called him a lyer for telling me his knee was hurting him. This lad is the double of me. and now allowed to. see him on a Sunday and try to be a dad to him. I miss everything. Hes now 4 and starting school and I miss it all for what?? I tried to be there everyday of his life as nothing matters to me apart from him but now I have to ring to her to see if I can take him out on a Sunday as I work 6 dsys a week. Im am gone and will be gone forever. When he comes find me when he is older ill tell him the reason why. Women care about nothing but themselves. Thats why dads dissappear. They only interested in themselves not the kids or you. There teachers will see them more than me and for that reason I am gone. Us dads are punished from being there looking out for them, cooking for them, reading them a bed time story, taking them the park and football etc etc . Best to just dissappear and hope you can enjoy a better life but the pain and missing out will never go away. Ever.

  21. Men may dissapear easier than women, sometimes they have no choice. My wife it since transpires had an affair for many years before our divorce, but she planned it carefully while the chidren were young teenagers – telling them occassional stories of my mental cruelty. She planned with them how she could escape introduced them to her ‘friend’. All was kept a secret until D day. Now the ‘friend’ has inserted himself smoothly into my former life and I see my children almost never, they seem quite happy with the status quo. They think I am the guilty party in someway for making her unhappy. A more factual view suggests she was nothing more than deceitful, a liar, cheat and a gold digger.
    It was planned too well for them to ever see that they were manipulated as was I.
    So much for choices…. I have none.
    I realise they may have some scars from this, but I do not see any way to make things any better. I make a little effort to see them, but they rarely make the effort in return, so I keep my distance.

  22. I think the article is very accurate indeed. If I may illustrate using my own story:

    I used to be a full-time father of the most beautiful 5 year old boy. I’m a professional, well educated guy and I thought I tried very hard for my family. During the breakup my ex and I promised not to fight over him and share custody. This was when we tried mediation. Unforunately she was ‘educated about her rights’ by well-meaning friends and predatory attorneys and of course she believed what they told her and we wound up in a very vicious legal battle for years where she tried every trick in the book – the usual ‘order of protection’, ‘afraid for the child’s safety’, ‘only need once a month visitation’, ‘pick up in police station’.. Now that its over, yes, I feel furious. I’ve wasted $150,000 on legal bills that could have gone to my kids education. She has been left owing $250,000 in legal bills she can’t afford to pay. The biggest casualty has been our ability to cooperate and trust. Because we can’t anymore. I feel nothing but a confusing mix of anger and sadness when I think about the situation, and worse, I feel it when I see my child.
    It got so bad that I would feel sick when I would call to speak to my boy on the phone and I would get stressed when I had to go fetch him.
    It simply was just so stressful and miserable and hard to keep the contact, that it really is easier to let go, step back, don’t call, don’t visit, and just try to heal.
    However its not that easy. For myself I have a permanent battle raging in my head – I don’t like being labelled a ‘deadbeat dad’ by sanctimonious do-gooders who really should know better. Its hard to be treated like a criminal by the family court system when you’ve done nothing wrong apart from try your best for your child. ITs also hard to have your rights taken away – and told how often you can see your child and when. Instructed when you will call. Left at the mercy of the other parent who is under no obligation to answer the phone or take a phone call. Having your parental time reduced to being called ‘visitation’. At first I was annoyed, I didn’t see myself as being a visitor, I saw myself as being important – indeed half of this childs parent. However during the legal case, I’m constantly assailed with battles. Told I’m a useless parent. Told I have no relationship with my child. I even had to go to court to take him on vacation. Told that my ex wants sole custody and joint custody won’t do.

    Then, gradually, as my ex constantly wore him down, and he starts to call me by my first name, I can sense our relationship is starting to become more distant. Its hard to have him accidentally call me by the first name of another man she lives with. Every phone call or visit is just like the pain of ripping off a band-aid over and over.

    I decided that I’m going to take a break. I don’t know how long for, and I feel bad about it, but every time I even talk to my ex via text or dwell on this situation I feel very sad and I don’t want to spend my whole life feeling sad about what I lost.. Its lost for ever and its not coming back.. I don’t think that lots of guys are really deadbeats and I hate that label so much. I think that many women use the kids as weapons, and the dads get driven away in self defence.

    I would write more but frankly I’m just too too tired. For my own situation at least I just want the pain to stop and at this point I don’t really care how it happens.

  23. I never under stand why women (as in one of the above posts )always claim that men have more income after divorce. My ex and I made the same amount of money. I took home approximately 1500 dollars every two weeks. She does the same. My ex gets 600 dollars from me every two week. So during a two week period the ex lives on 2100 dollars and I live on 875. Please explain to me how men with kids have more money after divorce?

  24. It’s not fair I understand why they leave.

  25. This is the end of my first marriage, his 3rd. We have agreed to a mutual divorce and will file at the beginning of next year. We’ve been through bankruptcy 3 years ago (his business that failed quickly from the economic downfall), so we have nothing really to split. When I married him, he had 3 children to support. We had a child together and when she was diagnosed with autism, well that put a whole new spin on finances. I stayed at home since the services/day care in this area would not take her (diaper issue and fear of her odd behavior). He worked like a dog to keep ends meet. I worked at helping her overcome the speech, behavior, tactile, motor skill problems. He was exhausted and so was I. I sacrificed. I gave my own hair cuts, stayed in the same clothes…no shopping for me. On the other hand, since he was in the job market, there had to always be the grooming for him. I grew resentful, but I knew this sacrifice would pay off. One day his child support for his other children would end, and I would eventually get back to work. There was no SSDI for our daughter. They judged the family as 2 parents and 1 child to support, not 4 children – so we didn’t financially qualify for help for her. My friends scattered when they found out about our daughter. I was home bound with a non verbal child for years. All alone in the home without emotional support. Not from him, or family and friends. When we would have bedroom time together, (that’s about all we had), I wanted US. I was open to fantasy role play, but there had to be US once in awhile. No, his idea was to talk about real and imaginary lovers that I was having while we were having sex. He wanted graphic, he wanted total smut. He wanted me to talk crudely about myself while he was “banging me”. This is what he wanted all the time. I absolutely hated it. When I tried to change the routine to a tolerable for me level, he got pissed and walked out of our lovemaking. I gave myself stupid excuses…when our finances change, he’ll feel better and this can stop. When we can get some household repairs done, when our daughter improves, when I can go back to work… I lost respect for him, not because of the bedroom, but for him not keeping in contact with his other children. He’d call, but when the answering machine answered, he said nothing and hung up. Months would go by and he couldn’t even be bothered to say, “I missed you. Hope all is well. Do you want to change the time I call? I’ll try again next week, love you.” Maybe his children would hear it, maybe not. Hell, he didn’t even try. I thought, heck, if I leave him, he’ll do this to our daughter. She made huge improvements, and is mainstream-able. She can joke and carry on decent conversations, she’s even reaching for her regular diploma. I went back to school to do CNA work. Couldn’t get a job because he decided he had to work nights. This is the only time slot a newbie cna can work. Why did he decide to work nights? Why, the other woman he wanted to pursue worked nights!!! He got her all right. Gave her the bedroom experience I’ve been wanting. He confessed only after they broke up. Then he said, he never wanted to house, is tired of raising children (holy hell! paying $ to an ex, and leaving me alone without help for our daughter is his way of raising her?), so when I asked (again) do you want to go to counseling and he again said “no”, I said let’s divorce. He wanted to stay in the home until she graduated, to “be there if she needs me for something”. Oh, btw, did I tell you all this time he wouldn’t do yard work? Had my father cut the grass without pay for 15 years? His life is work, and bodybuild, then sit and watch tv. I needed to know “my place”. So, since I’ve been without a job for 15 years, I have family 900 miles away who will support me (room/job) and my daughter until we can get back on our feet. My parents think this is a great idea, and so when I told the hubby, he looked like he was slapped in the face. Never thought there would be someone to come through when the shit really hit the fan. So, while he’s out of the home, and this place is on the market (depressed area, won’t make a dime on the house) what is his idea of visitation? Drop by after work (7am) and see our daughter off to school. She catches the buss across the street and only sees her for 2 minutes. Wow. This is once ever 10 days or so. (His job is only 4 blocks from this house, btw). So, as I see it, we will begin the abandonment of the child, and eventually loose contact with her like he did with his other children. All the emotional gaines I instilled in her will go right out the window. For $300 a month in child support, no alimony, no clothing allowance, medical support, losing my home I had prior to marriage, no job record for 15 years… the least he could do is email our daughter once a week and ask her about school and let he drop he off at his place for visitation. Nope, he’s moving on to the new girlfriend. Another married woman, btw. What an ass. I’m not out to screw him, he’s doing a better job on himself that I could ever do. I just want to be gone from him and the abuse. I want him to maintain direct contact with our child. I don’t nag at all. “are you going to visit?” “no, not this week.” “ok. see you later.” If $300 is such a freaking burden, and if he didn’t want to stay in his kids lives, why the hell doesn’t he get a vasectomy?” I expect a plea for a reduction in child support do to another child. He said all I need to hear year ago, but years too late, “a child is a casualty of sex.” Most men who abandon their children never wanted the responcibilty of fatherhood in the first place. Teach your sons and daughters better and use their absent dad as the reason why. Being a mate is a whole different person than a parent.

  26. Its sad to see so many men make excuses for walking away from their children. My dad always said, nothing could keep me away, Ill put up with anything. I hear men say all the time, that their ex makes it too hard. So, what! How many of you actually call, text, or even try & contact your kid? But, I bet you call & text the new girl your dating. Send cards, letters, flowers. Tell the ex your sorry, even if your not, its for your kids.

  27. My ex basically just took the kids and left. And here I am, hundreds of miles away, with immense debts, huge burdens, and I’ve been kicked out of my own family. I honestly, seriously think about just walking away. I’ll pay the bills and so on, but every time I see them, it’s a reminder that I”m not in their lives. Every time I see a picture of them or hear from them, it’s another missed event, another walk I didn’t get to take with them, another conversation I didn’t get to have, another piece of their life sliding by without me in it. Why bother? Who, exactly, is this going to help? They know me less and less, I know them less and less, and that is just a cold, hard fact.

  28. I hate hearing about these types of situations. Generally speaking (there are always circumstances that require it), parents that bolt and take the kids far away from a caring, involved and decent parent are despicable. I also think there should be laws that prohibit out of state moves in times of separation prior to a court determination, but that conflicts with one’s “right to travel” Unfortunately, major counseling is usually obtained by the parent in the dark when it is the other one that needs it most!

  29. I used to say the same things until I saw repeated situations where men are falsely accused of all sorts of things and land in jail, or worse, after losing everything. Again, I never thought I would say this to anyone but there are times when as painful as it must be, you have to turn your back.

  30. Unfortunately, the deadbeat POS males with children ruin things for a lot of good dads who struggle to just be a part of their kids’ lives. Not to be a smart ass here but I hope you improve your selecting a mate skills in the future. Also, don’t make too many excuses for his non-parenting towards the children. Let them at least trust you and your word.

  31. Divorce is about who has the money and the best laywer. (Peroid) at least in Kentucky anyway.

  32. My wife had an affair, has all the money and wants complete control how does anyone find common ground with a personality like this? I love my two children to death and have not seen them in a full year because their mother Is manipulating the whole situation, Ive no money for a lawyer to even take her to court Iam sucking shit through straw here, we arent even divorced and she is taking my kids into another mans home and staying over with the kids. I think I understand why there are men seving life sentences in prison for murdering their wives or ViseVersa for that matter the Street goes both ways but not from where Iam standing.Divorce sucks a big fat one dude!

  33. My wife had an affair, has all the money and wants complete control how does anyone find common ground with a personality like this? I love my two children to death and have not seen them in a full year because their mother Is manipulating the whole situation, Ive no money for a lawyer to even take her to court Iam sucking shit through straw here, we arent even divorced and she is taking my kids into another mans home and staying over with the kids. I think I understand why there are men seving life sentences in prison for murdering their wives or ViseVersa for that matter the Street goes both ways but not from where Iam standing.Divorce sucks a big fat one dude!

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