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Father not involved in child’s life? A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child”

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Mention the fatherless epidemic in the United States, and the arguments are polarizing. We hear things like “Father refuses to see child” or “Father not involved in child’s life.” It’s easy to fall into stereotypes, but I discovered the issue is quite complicated:

Father not involved in child’s life? A look into why fathers walk away after divorce

It is either:

  1. Men are irresponsible douchebags who abandon their children to mothers, who are left to raise the children with few resources, or …
  2. Women are conniving, malicious, entitled nut-jobs who alienate fathers from their children while taking all said fathers' money — all of which is supported by the family court system.

However, as we unpack in this article, the real reasons are more complicated, complex and human. Men after all, are marginalized as inferior or at least secondary parents, a fact that is codified in family court when mothers are nearly always granted primary time with children — a power position that means men and dads are officially a lesser parent. 

Read: My advice to moms and dads whose other parent is not involved

Why do fathers give up?

This post challenges a cultural assumption that men willingly walk out on their children and are irresponsible, apathetic parents. Instead, we all suffer under a sexist culture and legal system that marginalizes fathers, and makes it hard if not impossible for them to be meaningfully involved with their children, for reasons including:

  • Sexist culture that does not value or support dads, or prime boys to grow up to expect to be involved, meaningful parts of their children's lives
  • Family and divorce courts that favor mothers=
  • Parental alienation, in which one parent turns the kids against the other parent
  • One dad's compelling story about why he doesn't see his kids (keep reading)
  • Many dads don't believe the child is theirs, or were tricked into fatherhood, or otherwise felt they did not decide to father the child. A DNA test with a site like MyHeritage can help you understand who your children — or father — really is. Try MyHeritage.com now for free >>

806 reader comments and counting on this post tell a story about how prevelant fatherlessness is, how passionate people feel about its reasons and results — and how varied and nuanced those reasons can be.


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How can a father walk out on his child?

After studying this issue for the four years I've had this blog, I understand that the issue is complicated and nuanced. Men walk out on their child for many reasons, including:

  • They never wanted to be a dad in the first place but were trapped 
  • They have been marginalized by our culture and court system to every-other-weekend parents, which is more painful than walking away and starting a new life that promises more joy 
  • Conflict with the child’s mother is too difficult to navigate 
  • They feel unworthy of parenthood, and feel like walking away is the best thing for the child 
  • The father never had a strong father figure, does not feel competent as a dad nor understand how important his role is.

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A father's experience with parental alienation

What I haven't reported much is the point of view from the checked-out dads, many of whom have shared with me articulate, thoughtful, and often heart-breaking accounts of why they are not part of their children's lives.

These stories resonate with me, as they have challenged my earlier, blind admonishments that every parent has a moral obligation to fight for their children, no matter what.

I still believe this, but I also believe in empathy, and for recognizing each other's humanity.

Here is one story from a reader, John G:

Point of view from a dad who doesn't see his child

From my own experiences, I believe it's widespread for women to use children as a weapon to exact revenge against the ex during, and after, divorce proceedings.

During my lengthy divorce, my ex-wife claimed I was abusive, that she was ‘afraid for her safety,’ and tried to get ‘supervised visitation.’

None of it worked, because it wasn’t true, and because, as an educated professional I had enough money to spend six figures on an attorney.

However, it was still a waste of time and money. Even after the divorce, the games continued.

My son was being tutored on what to say to me (did you ever hear a 7-year-old respond ‘I’m not comfortable talking about that’ when asked a question?) and being instructed to call me by my first name and not ‘dad.’ I grew tired of making phone calls that weren’t answered, or of being put on hold and the child not coming to the phone, and of canceled visits.

It was heartbreaking seeing the child slip away from me, little by little.

I went to court on several occasions. There is the assumption that the man will just sit there and take the abuse because he does not want to lose the child.

She stuck by the letter of the law, and was able to severely limit my contact with my son by way of orders of protection and maintaining to the courts that he was a ‘danger.’

Related: This is the real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

Orders of protection as divorce strategy

Of the divorced, professional men that I know, all of them had orders of protection against them by their wives.

This is even a problem that is recognized by the courts. Some attorneys go so far as to admit that the ‘afraid for my safety’ issue is part of the ‘gamesmanship of divorce.’ I went from the mindset of being a father to the child, to being reduced to the status of a ‘visiting uncle’ or a ‘Disneyland dad’ allied with thinking all the time like an attorney.

I was often worried what would happen if she started to make untrue claims that I had (for example) abused the child. When he fell over and scraped his arm when he was with me, I was advised by my attorney to go to all the trouble of going to the doctor, having the scrape bandaged and so on, just to legally cover myself in case she would claim that it had in fact been intentionally caused.

While on the lookout for anything that could be used against me, all the while constantly being told I was a bad person, a bad father, and all my involvement with my son was systematically stripped away. The whole process became a painful sham.

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Father refuses to see his child? Not quite …

I eventually reached a crossroads with four paths. Some men commit suicide because they can’t handle the anguish. Others resort to violence and anger against the ex-wife. Others take the difficult road, and sacrifice years of their happiness, battling on a hopeless battle with the ex, just to maintain some sort of contact with the kids. The fourth way, is to simply give up, and decide that the cost to the child through seeing the conflict, and to oneself, is too high.

I considered all the above paths for a long time and was tempted by more than a few of them. In the end, I walked away from all contact with my child more than two years ago.

What to do when the non-custodial parent doesn't show up or cancels last minute

Mother keeping child away from father

After I had calmed down, I tried again and contacted the ex. I had hoped she would have calmed down and would be willing to work with me.

But no, she is still the same bitter and vengeful baggage that she always was. Rather than attempting to discuss things and put things on the right track, she is willing to communicate in writing only.

She refuses point blank to let me contact the child. Everything has to go through her.

Some people will say it would be the noblest thing to carry on fighting regardless. ‘I would do anything for my kids!’ they spout.

Frankly, I feel that’s very naive and is almost always a view propagated by women.

Any father here who has been generously granted a weekend every two weeks knows the feeling when you say goodbye.

You’re just getting used to having them around, and they are gone. It’s like having a wound that never heals. Like a band-aid being ripped off over and over. The pain never really went away.

During those days, I used to recall these lines from Shakespeare's King John:

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,

Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,

Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,

Remembers me of all his gracious parts,

Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;

Logically, I have to balance the damage to myself, my life and mental health, the possibility of the conflict damaging the child, against the damage done by my absence.

People who don’t know the situation raise their hands in horror, or pass judgment, assume that this is a choice that is taken lightly and easily. It is not.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. Sometimes I see children in shops that look like my child and find it hard not to break down.

Sometimes I can’t take my eyes away. Even the shoes are the same. I don’t like to watch movies with children of that age in them.

I had to remove all the photographs that I had of my child and every other item and put them in a box. And that’s where all those emotions are now.

In a box, held tightly under control, so that I can try and enjoy some semblance of a normal life. It usually works.

I spoke to my ex recently. She claims that the child is just fine. She doesn’t seem to think that I’m needed and believes that my seeing the child is a bad thing.

She told me that the gifts I had been sending postally were in a box and he never got them. What is the point of trying? Who am I to argue?

She lives with the kid and does the real parenting. All that I could do, once a month or less (she lives a long way from me) would be to visit for a shallow shared visit, a museum trip perhaps – that’s not parenting – that’s just being a Disneyland dad.

I am in despair that many people and the courts expect the impossible. They expect the man to be totally interested, committed, involved with his child’s life – and yet – they make it impossible for that involvement to happen.

How can you remain interested and involved when you are given no information about the child’s everyday life, when even the most basic contact is made difficult or impossible, when you are limited to four days a month contact time if you are lucky?

In far too many cases, the father is merely viewed as a source of income.

The mother is viewed as the ‘real parent’ who almost always gets physical custody of the child. And once she has the child, she is then almost entirely free of the threat of any consequences.

Related: What is parental alienation?

Impact on a child’s life when a father isn’t involved

This is a great shame for the children involved who will probably be involved in divorces of their own or be afraid of marriage because they have seen the consequences when they fail.

I shouldn’t be surprised if more and more men eschew marriage and traditional family values over the next century.

Personally, I refuse to be blackmailed by my better instincts. I refuse to be reduced to the level of a Disneyland dad by some judge, attorney, social worker or indeed his mother.

I refuse to beg for access, or beg for photographs, or ask permission when I can please take him on vacation.

No. They will have no more of me.

One day, I will be able to get in touch without going through her once the child is old enough. Until then, I intend to get on with my life.

Please listen to Terry Brennan, co-founder of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, explain why default every-other-weekend visitation leads to absentee fathers:

Note that in cases where ‘standard’ visitation is awarded — every-other-weekend — fathers become depressed and non-involved, and within 3 years, one study found, 40 percent of children in an unequal visitation arrangement had lost complete touch with their non-custodial parents, which are nearly always the father.

Have a listen:


 

 

Bottom line: Father not involved in child’s life? Try to make co-parenting work.

If you are tempted to turn your child against the other parent, or not sure what is the best kind of parenting time arrangement, keep it simple, and equal. In fact, there are now more than 60 studies that prove that equally shared parenting is best for children (and, moms and dads!).

While we're at it, have a read about why a simple, fair 50-50 shared parenting time with no child support is the best, fairest, and most feminist arrangement.

To prevent this kind of trauma, here are some tips to how to make co-parenting work:

  • Accept that mothers and fathers are equal. This is a gender equality issue
  • Accept that just because the other person doesn't parent like you do, that is not abuse.
  • Let him fail, succeed and find his own parenting style. Many dads become better fathers after divorce because they have to.
  • When communicating with him, use ‘your house' and ‘my house' … not ‘Home.' Same when you address the kids – “daddy's house” and “my house.” Both places are their homes..
  • Keep him posted on matters large and small. Even if he doesn't show up for the teacher meetings, or make the doctors’ appointments, keep him abreast of what is happening with the kids.
  • Buy him holiday and birthday presents on behalf of the kids.  

But the bigger challenge is to change our culture, from one in which it is presumed that fathers are incompetent, and mothers are the default primary parent. Terry Brennan of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, and an equality activist. Listen to our podcast conversation:

For more on co-parenting communication, and reasons for better shared parenting, read: Co-parenting rules–even with a difficult ex

What do you think? Are you a dad who no longer sees his kids? Why? Please share in the comments …

Or, are you the mother of a child with an absentee father? What is your response?

Why do fathers give up?

This post challenges a cultural assumption that men willingly walk out on their children and are irresponsible, apathetic parents. Instead, we all suffer under a sexist culture and legal system that marginalizes fathers, and makes it hard if not impossible for them to be meaningfully involved with their children.

How can a father walk out on his child?

After studying this issue for years, I understand that the issue is complicated and nuanced, and there is plenty of legitimate room for both of these points of view. What I haven't reported much is the point of view from the checked-out dads, many of whom have shared with me articulate, thoughtful, and often heart-breaking accounts of why they are not part of their children's lives.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

831 Comments

I have the standard every other weekend schedule. I recently re filed to get child support adjusted and ask for some minor changes to get more time with my kids. Im asking for every other week in the summer and to be the primary point of contact for a sitter over a couple hours. My ex is fighting hard and has even decided to get a guardian ad lidium. My oldest hates going back and forth and gets high anxiety but cannot tell me why, nor can she tell her therapists, however it’s somehow my fault. My youngest sometimes fights with my step daughter and they both get bruises but my kid has trauma for it instead of hey they are kids who sometimes fight. The system sucks. I agreed with the.currenr situation because I had no family to help with 50/50 and knew as well as my attorney that we wouldn’t get that. My ex tries to put an abusive light on me, even though there is no truth. It has caused me a lot of depression and anxiety over losing my kids because my ex left on an assumption and it feels like she is not co parenting even though she says she is. I feel very manipulated at times. I would never wish divorce on my worst enemy as it affects fathers more then people want to admit, especially the loving ones.

Hi. I had my son’s custody for 4 years after divorce. Then the state circled me with liars. My son was removed from my care after a bizarre incident they created where I was dragged from my car to a hospital and then said to have been a danger to him because of my dangerous mental health, just suddenly one day out of the blue. All the social workers were happy to corroborate the nonsense an unknown agent for the state just made up and made an affadavit about. Now my son is mostly quiet and lives with his mom, which probably sounds fine except she is not really sharing time or answering the phone, which is not good for his development compared to how well he did in my care. I got my son a phone but he got talked out of using it or something, there is no response at this time. I keep trying an tried to remain available on email but it’s not working. I live outside America now. What kind of culture does this? The answer is one that does not have the best interests of families in mind as much as the best interests of control of humans like they are cattle.

My situation is such that my sons father had 2 kids coming 2 months apart. He chose to marry her. L wasn’t bitter. He claimed paternity through child welfare, but he and his family moved out of state. My son is now 43 yrs old, and is doing a wonderful job co-parenting his only 3 yr old son. But, during a recent conversation, I now realize how hurt my son is by not knowing his father. I guess I feel guilty for not finding/reaching out to his father to force some type of relationship with his 1st son. But, I didn’t want to be meddling (I believe the wife never knew of my son) and I felt his father knew how to find us through mutual friends. Well, since finally becoming a Grandma in my 60’s and the new knowledge of my son’s feelings, I looked his father up and reached out. But he has not responded after 2 months. I didn’t mention that he’s a grandfather and I haven’t told my son that I have made contact with his father. But, I do feel bad for my son, but, at least he’definitely is not going to abandon his son. Thanks for allowing me a bit of release.

Men, grow the F up! If you are willing to have sex with a woman you should be willingly to bear the consequences of the outcome. My father never wanted to have kids, he absolved himself if all responsibility for me . Each time I see him he will tell/remind me of how he never wanted me and how it is my mother’s fault. Seriously (1) why does he need to remind me that he did not want me. I already live with the pain of it (2) if he was willing to F$&k my mother and this is the outcome , he needs to suck it up and own it rather than blame my mother. No-one forced him to have sex with my mother who was considerably younger than him.
I have never asked my father for anything, not even when I was struggling financially and now choose to give up on trying to have a relationship with him, trying so hard to be liked by him ……it’s over, an honest waste of my time.

Walking away from your child is cowardly option. Giving up on them is simply pitiful. Men need to ‘own’ their s$&t, suck it up and do whatever it takes to let your child know they are wanted by the father. The damage if not doing so is devastating.

Six months after my daughter was born(she’s 12 now), her mother packed up her stuff and disappeared along with our kid. I was instantaneously put $2000+ dollars in debt with child support and ordered to pay $300 a month. Tried to lie and say I was abusive and neglectful(which I wasn’t) and tried to have me on supervised visits but the judge didn’t buy any of her lies and gave me two weekends a month with my daughter. Her mother jumped from guy to guy to guy to guy, has been married twice now and now has another kid with her current husband. What pisses me off is that the father of her second kid is 100% in his son’s life as they are married and live together obviously, but what she gives to him she never gave to me and what I did have got taken away from me almost from the start. My daughter’s mom has demonized me to almost everybody she knows and it makes for awkwardness every time I would go to her birthday parties. My opinions and feelings have never really mattered and I have been on my own when it comes to fighting for my right as a father to be a father. I have been laughed and mocked even by my own family when ever I attempt to assert my parental rights. My daughter does not respect me or take me seriously whenever I attempt to parent her. If the US family court system doesn’t change, our country is in for a very rude awakening.

Thank you for this article. My fiancé is currently experiencing this and to say that it is heart wrenching is an understatement. His loves kids more than life and his ex-wife is using that as a malicious tool for self gain. Prior to meeting him I didn’t realize just how broken the family court system is and how many men are victims. My fiancé’s ex-wife provided false allegations to the court that allowed her to relocate half ways across the country, and will now consistently tell the kids and complain to him about not ‘being there’ for them. While they were married he paid all of the house hold bills and handled most of the logistics for their kids but now he’s on child support as though he was an absent dad. She has attempted to collect child support in two states (she was receiving child support through income withholding from the state where they were divorced, but lied to the current state she lives in). Her actions caused a fraudulent report on my fiancé credit report which subsequently caused him to lose his clearance for his job, along with a 200 point drop in his credit score. Trying to maintain in his children’s lives is becoming mentally, emotionally, and spiritually unbearable. I wouldn’t wish this trauma on my worst enemy. I’m praying daily for all of the fathers that are experiencing explorative fatherhood. It’s not right and inhumane.

I would very much like to talk to the father in this article. My situation is identical and I don’t know what to do. I know my life is no longer a happy one.

It breaks my heart for my kids. Why don’t you want to send time with them. You blame everyone but you. It’s your problem and I will never get it. The day I had both my kids the love so much. Will I be good enough my baby the best person ever. He never felt that way. Always will say I love them. Never to show the love for them even when we were together. I think it’s wasn’t about him anymore so he won’t take care of doctors therapy anything never involved. Still to this day. We haven’t been together in 10 year. Why can’t my kids have a dad. Why can he not care about them. Truly the loves of my life. But why!!!!!

My situation is that I’m the father, and my sons mother will not allow us to have a relationship other than me paying child support and the occasional FaceTime. I was with my son every single day of his life until his mother decided she wanted to play the field. She was coached by aggressive masculine women to try and get supervised visits and go after me for child support. Our relationship is being legally destroyed despite having a parenting plan she will not abide by, I’ve been denied for going on 5 years now by every single lawyer I’ve contacted. When I lived near my son I was making 11 dollars an hour and homeless with a full time job, paying 750 a month in child support made it impossible for me to have a normal life and retain my home, Eccles and basically everything else I owned that my ex did not either give away or sell without my consent and there are no repercussions for what she’s doing. She is legally ripping us apart from eachother and no one will do anything about it because she is a woman. The court system is extremely sexist. I’m at the point I’m debating on relinquishing my parental rights as I honestly don’t even have any as I stand. I’m looked at as nothing more than a paycheck for her. When I lived near my son I’d have to get hotels when he was able to visit, which further hurt my financial situation, but I just wanted to see my boy. She’s had domestic abusers living in the house with him, I’ve reported it, nothing has been done because she’s the mother she can basically do whatever she wants. She doesn’t abide by the parenting plan, I’ve reported it, nothings happened other than me being punished more by the mother. It’s statistically proven that children growing up without fathers are detrimentally impacted in a hugely negative way, and still the courts won’t do anything other than force me to pay his mother more and more and more. I pay 750 a month, was homeless for two years and still made sure anytime she allowed us to have a visit, usually when she went to the bars and couldn’t find a sitter, that I had everything he needed. She wouldn’t even buy him a Halloween costume. Incredibly selfish and self centered. We live in an extremely sexist unfair world at the moment. It’s unfortunate that I’m considering a dead beat dad when I’ve clearly tried to be in my sons life and have been denied to be by the mother and the court system enabling and incentivizing her to ruin my son and my relationship. Good luck fellas. Not much can be done unfortunately

I’m in the exact situation. They label me as a deadbeat not looking at the fact I have other children that I raise perfectly. My ex denied me of a relationship with my daughter her entire life. I tried to see her and be here in her life but her mother refused to let me or my family. My mother was told that it I was at her house then my daughter wasn’t allowed to visit. My mother told her that that’s his daughter and she will not tell me I can’t see when she visits her. So my ex stop allowing my parents to see her and refused to give anyone pictures afterwards. She was 9yrs old then. Today she’s 22 and we still can’t contact her because her mother still refuses to give us information on how. This poor girl have siblings that she doesn’t know and I’m sure she feels I just don’t want to be in her life. This is so far from the truth but her mother has turned her against us. At one point I even stop paying support knowing they would take me to court. I was hoping that my daughter would be there along with her mother and I be able to see her. She wasn’t and I told the judge the situation but of course the court didn’t care to hear me. So since I wasn’t allowed to be her father outside of paying support….I stopped paying and told child support that if she not allowing me and my family to see her then I won’t pay. Needless to say that I’ve been back and forth to jail for this for years. I got tired of it and started paying again. Even though my daughter is grown and I no longer have an active support. I owe my ex arrears in which she collects and still don’t accept my calls and pleas for a way to contact my daughter. I’m still hoping that she will try and contact me now that’s she’s grown in college somewhere. I’ve tried looking on the internet for social media pages to no avail. I’m sure her mother has turned her against me but I really want the chance to tell my daughter my side and let her decide if she don’t want me in her life. I feel your pain and it’s not fair because some of us want to be in our children life and not deadbeats.

I understand that this is one persons opinion piece but I have so many reservations based on my own experiences. My ex unfortunately left when our son was 6 months old to be with his admin assistant. He expressed at the time that he didn’t want joint custody and as time progressed his visits to see our son got less and less. Toe and half years down the track he sees him only once a fortnight for a night, the last two visits my son hasn’t wanted to go. I guess I’m writing this comment to put out the argument that not all single mums try to alienate their exes from their children. Some fathers choose a new life and the children get pushed aside. I actually came here to read about a fathers perspective and get some insight into how I can support my son. However after reading this I find it isn’t my responsibility to facilitate a relationship between my ex and his son.

Christie,

The first thing I noticed is that you are viewing this strictly from a gender-based perspective with respect to your situation. This was written by a man on the opposite side so you immediately go on the defensive.

The second thing I noticed is that you point out the failure in your relationship. This is irrelevant to the parent-child relationship. You don’t state why the visits changed to what they were, nor do you make any mention of what agreement you had aside that he didn’t want joint custody. You don’t need to make the argument that not all single mothers alienate their child/ren’s father. It is already assumed the exes are deadbeats so alienation is the exception, not the rule.

When you are granted custody, which you haven’t mentioned any court involvement, it is your responsibility to facilitate a relationship between your son’s father and your son (Notice I didn’t say your ex). You aren’t doing this for him. You are doing this for your son. It isn’t required that you force a relationship, but to encourage one and point out the benefits. Help your son with understanding and he will eventually make his own informed decision. He will see your kindness and know that you tried if that’s the case. If you put up a cold shoulder, it becomes less practical for him to accept what you tell him as truth. Provide a balanced approach.

I am one of those mothers who wanted desperately for my daughter’s father to be involved. I tried to make it as easy as I could. After I told him I was pregnant he did everything short of telling me to get an abortion but a week before she was born he decided he wanted to be involved. He was with us for a month before he moved home, an hour away and went back to work. We agreed he’d be back with us every weekend. I was ok with this even though we weren’t together anymore. I was looking for more than he could give me so if he wanted to just be dad then great. I told him he could do things his way as long as it worked and she was happy. Unless it was a safety issue I let him figure it out on his own. I thought he was doing a good job. Unfortunately he thought weekend meant only the weekends he felt like coming but I had already started relying on him for things to work. He came and went as he pleased and often vowed to do better. When I would remind him of his responsibility he stared attacking me as a person and a mother. My daughter is 11 months now and nothing has changed and infact hes gotten worse. One minute he’s great and the next minute he’s a no show and I’m an incompetent mother if I can’t manage alone. Nothing I say gets through. I’ve avoided all the bad stuff women do to alienate fathers because I didn’t want it to be my fault he wasn’t around. I made his time here as stress free and harmonious as I could and he’s still a no-show. The only way he wants to see her now is if I meet him half way so he can take her to his house for the weekend but she’s still nursing and I don’t think she’s ready. He refuses to research infant development and has a hard time managing with my help so how can I just leave her? He also doesn’t have a single baby item at his house, no clothes, no diapers, no furniture. I can’t be the only one experiencing this. These men are still out there thinking its the women’s job to do all the hard work and they can just come by and play with them and go home while thinking their great father’s. I’m baffled.

My story is different. My husband of 35 years left us for his therapist. One adult daughter is disgusted and wants nothing to do with him. Ok. That’s her choice, but our other daughter reaches out to him all the time and gets very little in return. As the years pass he pulls away further and further away and its breaking her heart. I have nothing to do with their relationship but I wonder why he is doing this. Does anyone have any ideas?

Me, me, me. Nothing about the child or making any decision in the child’s best interests. Very telling on many levels.

Close your mouth until you know how to read. And be honest. Your disgusting dismissal of his words in which he laments what is best for his child AND the 3 different resources describing what is best for the child proves you’re absolutely nothing but a liar. You are not to be trusted by anyone ever. Stop sharing your disgusting hate. Your words and the vessel from which they came are utterly worthless.

That’s very unfortunate. She’s the last thing tying him to a part of his life he no longer wants anything to do with. I suppose it’s a case of the good having to suffer for the bad, where there isn’t necessarily a “bad” actor, just the polarizing differences between your two daughters. He wants nothing to do with this family and wants to be left alone. I suppose you’ll have to look into yourself to find what it is about you that he detests so much that he doesn’t even want to be around his daughter where he would have to deal with it.

I’m the mom of 3, but their father found a new wife and together they did this to me. They strategized and spent thousands and thousands to keep the babies from me. I have nothing. I can’t eat or sleep or work and I have no resources. I’m losing it. I’m really losing it. I feel so much pain for these men. I always feared this pain being a part of their lives so I avoided court I avoided taking action against him when he was abusive. He has always been able to convince people, even people who watched him hurting me, that I’m a problem. That he’s kind and normal and I’m loud and scattered and angry. And no one asks why. I have struggled and struggled to maintain my composure. The violations of my rights and promises made to me get worse and worse until I put my foot down and insist on better and then I’m crazy. Yes I’ve modulated. I’ve watched my tone. I’ve recorded it all. I never had a hope. From the moment I agreed to become a sahm he had me. God has stood me up. There’s no justice just entropy. Endless destruction and for what??

Getting romantically involved with a patient is both unethical and illegal, the therapist should face consequences from their licensing board and can be looked up on sites depending on the state theyre licensed in (ie: google “psychologist/mft number look up)”). There’s even a book called “a therapist should never sleep with their patient” for this explicit purpose. It is seen as predatory and manipulative since the therapist holds such a powerful position in their patient’s life and is an authority who can influence them significantly. The therapist may have even been part of the reason for the failing of the relationship if they were influencing them with their own malicious agenda or bringing their own wounded psyche to the session(unresolved issues of their own). I wouldnt say this for other forms of adultery ie: someones secretary, but having worked in the field, your ex may very well be a victim as well, which is why i encourage you report it to their respective board, who knows how many people this therapist has affected and potential future victims. Im technically obligated to report them myself, if i have a name, by my own board, which of course i don’t. It’s not vindictive to report them even as an ex, the therapist is breaking a VERY serious law.(as a side note a therapist CAN sleep with a patient after 2 years of not being their therapist, not having contact with them, andcareful consideration from their board).

Sounds similar to my situation. His children from previous marriage are adults who will have nothing to do with him. First wife I’m sure alienated him from the kids. When we went through our divorce my step daughter who had given him a chance when she was 15 (came and lived with us) now has cut him out of her life. My daughter who is 16 now has been getting less and less time with him as of when he received his settlement money. He didn’t even contact her on her birthday recently. I never said a bad thing about her dad and was supportive of her visits with him… never pried….bought presents for him (and his gf!) at birthdays and Christmas. As for him…He lied consistently under oath during divorce and repeatedly told me the divorce was my fault even though he’s the one cheating …delusional … so all signs point to narcissist.
I only have contact (which is few and far between) with him through texting so there’s no fighting and lies. If your ex is like that… let him drift away. When a person like that tells you who they are… believe them.
Despite what you’ve read about men being misrepresented in custody situations… some men are deadbeats and your child needs you to show them how a woman should be treated and how to stand up for herself and not accept this poor behaviour.
Good luck.

Last fall my partner and coparent had a breakdown of sorts and took off with all the kids, who didn’t want to leave.. they wouldn’t communicate with me and I knew the kids weren’t really being taken care of and were at the mercy of their meeting mom’s triggered state. All fall I did my best to navigate things with her and legal people and stuff but it was a losing battle. I was just the enemy and couldn’t see the kids. I’d like to mention here that unfortunately due to a life of hardship and trauma, she has complex PTSD and as a result there were many times I was seen as a threat just because I was frustrated at something. I felt I was a bit of a support person to her a lot of the time but now that she was basically living in her PTSD, which is how she worded it, it was worse than impossible to work with her. Eventually on Thanksgiving I was alone, and even though I was doing well by choice in life, I did not have her OR MY KIDS in my life and I wasn’t in Thiers, and I had a hole in my chest. I decided then that no matter what, from that moment forward I was going to work with their mom first and foremost, excluding all others and their opinions. I placed the experience of my children’s mom as most important and became willing to listen to and hear whatever they had to say and accept their feelings. It was not easy. I had to stay upright in life just to be seen as valuable in the first place and then I had to take whatever opportunities I got to communicate in a new different style. Communication happened more and more. I didn’t argue, I said ok a lot, I said sorry a lot. I said how I felt about the most important things like needing to be in the kids’ life and not wanting her to be scared or stressed and that I would work with her no matter what it took. It was a hard winter. She and most of the kids stayed in a motel. I helped with money and meals. Then in December she became pregnant from a “fling” but the guy she hooked up with was a dishonest person. Either way I told her I would be honored to be the dad of any of her kids. I just worked so hard to be there for her. Eventually with this dedication and a little pleading she heardy thoughts and became open to a future together. We became more functionally relatable again. And I helped her start her new life. She decided to stay in town and I got to maintain dadhood with the kids. We are not in a relationship at this point but now we can be around each other in front of our kids and I have way more room to move forward in a way that might bring us all together again someday. I know I was “in the right” a lot of the time through this but I know accepting my partner’s experience as real and acting like I actually cared how she felt and what she thought was the right thing to do. It takes a lot of understanding and patience and unconditional love to hear someone be upset at you mostly because of abuse they sustained before they met you and to not take it personally or let it affect how you think of the person. I know sometimes it seems like the mom is an unfair gateway to the kids but she also is thier mom and has her own experience. And if the dad shows some priority to receiving it, it just seems like oil t an engine. Maybe needed sooner than later. By it worked for me even after it all seemed over for my family.

What’s the point of writing anything? Seriously. I’m a dad who hasn’t seen his oldest daughter in 4 years. The ex did a “job” (mental) on her and destroyed our relationship.I took her (ex) to court about five years ago and came out paying more and seeing my daughter less.

I have two younger kids and 1 is special needs. The judge refused to consider the added cost to take care of my special needs son.

What I’ve learned through all of this is to lean into the pain. Toughen yourself and keep going (left. Right. Left). There are other people who depend on you. You have a responsibility to them as well.

Life ain’t fair brother! But guess what…it beats the alternative. Soldier on dads.

You are a saint. I’m with you but some times the ego and self preservation gets in the way but then I think if it’s not me who knows who the kids will be subjected to

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