A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child.”

why father doesn't see kids

Bring up the fatherless epidemic in the United States, and the arguments are as diametric and unrelenting as bipartisan politics.

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.

After studying this issue for the four years I've had this blog, I understand that the issue is complicated and nuanced, and there is plenty of legitimate room for both points of view, outlined above.

Ready to take action? Join MomsForSharedParenting.org — an activist org devoted to changing policy, law, culture and attitudes around parenthood. Time for 50/50 default parenting! 

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 commenter on the above posts:

Related: Resource guide about parental alienation

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

From John G:

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.’

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.

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.

Consider online therapy to help you through painful challenges>>

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.

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 judgement, 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.

Consider online therapy to help you through painful challenges. Very affordable, convenient and anonymous (no one will see your car parked in front of the counselor's office!), get the help you and your family need via video, phone or text therapy. Find a counselor now >>

How fatherlessness affects children

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:


Other ways to listen: iTunes  ♦  Stitcher   ♦  TuneIn   ♦  SoundCloudGoogle Play


Read more about Emma Johnson's stance in favor of shared parenting, empathy for absentee fathers, and other related topics here:

The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

How to get dads involved in divorced and separated families

Related books:

Kickass Single Mom, Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, By: Emma Johnson

Blend, The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, By: Mashonda Tifrere

Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, By: by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Paul R Fine, LCSW

Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, By: Dr. Richard A. Warshak

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?

Here is my advice to moms and dads whose other parent is not involved.

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 healthy co-parenting.

Are you a child of a father who is not, or was not, around? What do you say to this dad?

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

394 Comments

  1. I tried/I failed on September 14, 2019 at 1:48 am

    At one point I had primary physical custody of my son. Then, as I was transitioning to a new job; All he’ll broke loose. Nevermind that I had just returned from an out of state vacation 5 months earlier. My ex wife accused me of kidnapping my son. We we’re going to the San Diego zoo. She also said I was going to “sacrifice” him.

    Next thing I knew I was served with having a hearing in 10 days to determine my rights. So now I’m using a 401k distribution to not only pay standard bills, but a lawyer.

    I was ordered to create a family tree, and also my ex wife denied knowing anybody that we mutually knew. So I was ordered supervised visits as her as the monitor, or I could pay $300 each for admin, and then $50 an hour.
    .
    I couldn’t handle this. I’ll admit it. I couldn’t handle how insane this was. I partied and ended up in a hospital, having three life saving surgeries on my leg. My ex said I was making all this up. I finally made it to a final court hearing. Explained why I missed the previous ones. In hospital.

    I had nothing left. All materialistic and relationship gone. I started from scratch.

    I met a beautiful woman, I thought. She had a daughter the same age as my son. I was introduced to something I never had as a child. We regularly ate lunch with her parents, went to church, holidays. Actual family holidays. And eventually my ex decided I could have my son visit, since there was another mother that allowed me to be around her child.

    Horrible events hapo need that I won’t say. Horrible. Heartbreaking.

    Both of us responsible. Yet the dagger.. Is we move into a new place, and I am told I need to move out. It was a 3br. My new woman had decided that she didn’t want me there, only wanted her daughter there on weekends, and didn’t want my son there at all.

    I’m not old, but I’m damn to ok’d to try and recreate an environment to see my son on weekends. It’s going on four years now.

    Now I’m in a studio apt. I keep my son’s pictures up. I read somewhere a Dad saying being a Disneyland Dad. Honestly, I had to come to terms that I’m not a good person. I saw my son as a sweet boy. He behaved like it. I didn’t behave like that, as my parents act like me. I realized I didn’t want my son around a man with mental disorder. I realized I shouldn’t be around my ex gf daughter. I have cone to accept life on life’s terms. I made bad decisions, and I have consequences. My child support is current, he has health, dental, and vision, and I have TONS of pictures and videos of me and my son from 1 – 6 years old.

    I’ve come to accept that I don’t have much to offer a woman or a child. That’s not self pity. That is acceptance. The reality in life is some people aren’t playing with a full deck.

    Mentally. That’s me. I’m sure some think that it’s BS. But I write my son, I call, and I let him know values, but that he will be successful if he loves himself.

    I’m not going to be one of those people living in my eighties. My son will be my sole inheritor to my life savings in 30 years. I live as meager as possible and put as much back for him.

    All I can do now is keep going on and try and be there for him in the next phase of his life. Teens and early 20’s.

    Life is as Life does. Life is difficult. And that’s okay.

  2. Leslie on September 9, 2019 at 2:42 am

    Thank you

  3. Military Mom and Grandma on September 6, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Let’s get REAL here…..Divorce is usually ugly and suppose to be about how to settle taking care of your children financially fair and equally share your children’s time with eachother as seperate parents.
    Since you both cant trust eachother for whatever reasons, the Divorce courts put it on paper for you to follow so both parties are not throwing their selfish emotional motives at eachother ultimately getting no where….except damaging your children in the process of being immature, resentful and angry in front of your impressionable children….with that being said…..
    A bigger picture to consider is that obviously just because you both could not be a Married Couple does not always make either horrible parents….and with that we need to really dig deep and be honest with ourselves when we act on situations negatively that we know in our hearts that our ex spouses aren’t bad parents or bad people WE just weren’t a good Married Couple and not good for eachother or to eachother…and the reality is it hurts and were angry and our emotions become tactics to get back at eachother “mud slinging” maybe more maybe calculated ways to make you suffer for what you did as husband or wife? Either way let’s be honest….if there was really NO abuse…No Neglect…No alcoholic abuse….No Cheating….Nothing major, except that you just couldnt get the marriage to work and the Father or Mother WANT to be a part of the child’s life that YOU both Created and most likely the ONLY GREAT thing you both did RIGHT while married, why not celebrate eachother for the one thing in your lives as a married couple that WORKED????
    I get it….Divorce sucks and we get so wrapped up in the “who does more, pays enough or who is better for the child!!!
    As a parent we need validation and money to give them the best and nothing will be enough from either of you in each others eyes.
    What you do for your children as a divorced parent will always seem to be a competition and it’s not. I just have seen and know alot of people who are divorced and the Father and even Mothers just give up their rights to their children because of these reasons and they cant afford to fight or they have just bashed each others reputations to friends and family who repeat these damaging things so much, your children grow up hearing and believing it’s TRUE about their Fathers or Mothers.
    It saddens me to see this happen to so many Fathers and Mothers who truly just weren’t good married couples but would be loving parents!!!
    If we could just be honest to ourselves and everyone who supports us positively and NOT use our kids against eachother we would ALL be in a better place… mind, spirit and most important our children’s hearts.

  4. Janet on August 21, 2019 at 6:53 am

    The courts usually give children to the mother, father’s only right is to pay child support and usually every other weekend ( even if joint custody). This isn’t fair, how is that joint? Any more time has to be mutually agreed upon, if the mother doesn’t want the father to have more time with his children, he doesn’t get it. How is this fair. Far to much power for the mother, this just tells men and our society that dad’s don’t matter, only their money matters. This is wrong in so many ways.

    • Scott Wilson on September 1, 2019 at 3:52 am

      I’m a separated Fad in Australia. My wife and I separated in 2015 due to financial pressures of a business failure.

      My kids a boy 11 and his sister 13 were shell shocked.

      It was never my intent to just be removed from their lives. I had hoped that my ex a d I would do some sort of counseling with the kids but this did it occur.

      I set up e rent home not far from the family home but from the day of seperation never had my children stay with me.

      The process of alienation had begun…my children were exposed to financial critisisim of me they should never have been allowed to hear. I tried my best to rise above it all and only focus on my love for the kids but would get continual comments from the kids relating to financial issues.

      After 2 years of not seeing my kids I tried to take my own life. I connected a LPG bottle to a plastic bag over my head and sat on the couch breathing in the gas.

      I text my daughter during this.

      I was found by police and friends and spent some time at hospital. Its now almost 5 years since having contact. I pay child support.. I pay all my boys private school fees and I pay 50% of my daughter’s private school fees.

      Today is Fathers day…no messages…nothing..

    • Kevin on September 14, 2019 at 11:45 am

      I am a father in North Carolina and all of this is scarily accurate, so I am going to impart advise I was given in the beginning and ignored.

      Listen carefully……..

      It’s not the family court but greedy Plaintiff Family Attorneys (hired guns) who control the courts……..

      If a DVPO is filed against you to kick of divorce proceedings, accept it’s a custody order.

      There is a new world order, so

      I was told

      “Walk away, don’t look back, its not your family anymore, the only person who doesn’t know it is you”

      Naturally you will ignore this, but after a long protracted battle through the family courts and losing you will be preaching it.

      The article with the four-way cross roads is an excellent summary and thankyou to the author.

      Fathers have to accept the facts and move on quickly.

      Conversely I heard from many many women I dated the irony is divorced or separated women who later try to date men, men who now can’t avoid this family court ordeal, first sign of trouble and the guys gone.

      ” Getting a guy is easy, keeping one, the good ones, seems impossible. What we have done to men simply isolates us women”

      Good luck.

  5. english dave on August 19, 2019 at 10:44 am

    I could relate to this story.. My daughter lives with her mother around 400miles away. My ex decided to move to her sisters saying she was going to spend a week there to see if I felt any differently about her giving up her job to look after our daughter. this was not something we could afford to do. She left and took my daughter, a week later I went to collect them both. on the drive back, she asked if I had realised that her choice was the right thing to do. I disagreed, She went ballistic! she lasted a few days and then tried to leave without saying anything. I came home to find her clearing out with my brother in law helping.
    she instantly set about claiming for child maintenance which effectivly crippled me financially. I was making around £2000 a month and the upkeep of mortgage and other bills came to the tune of £1700. Her sollution was to cut the internet off and get rid of the phone which saved a grand total of £40 per month. The remaining £360 a month was meant to feed and clothe me… Unfortunatley child services did not see this as a necessity so they took £340. leaving me with £20 to live on. my debt increased and I slowley sank.

    My ex decided that she wouldnt tell my daughter who I was because ai wasnt able to make regular monthly trips. she never understood how little money I had. we ended up selling the house and my solicitor at the time advised me to give her all the equity on the understanding that she doesnt claim spousal maintenance. My ex recived around £80000. I walked away with my clothes and a tv. I rented an appartment for a bit but couldnt make ends meet. My debt was unmanagemable. I probably got to see my daughter around once every 2 or 3 months. beleive me, fuel in the car took some saving! I tried the train once but that proved to be more expensive and meant I only got a few hours with her. My daughter didnt know who I was… just some random that would come and say hello.

    visits got further apart and slowly fizzled to nothing. She doesnt really want to know me. She asked to be admopted by her new stap father. this hurt a lot… I was hoping that one day she might get curious and want to know me. Ive kept up phone conversations and sent her emails and the likes but when I got this news, that little light went out.

    people say “you should fight for her” or “how could you let this happen” but it’s all easier said than done when you have no money, not circle of friends (she saw to that one) and an overwhelming feeling that she’s probably better of without you. If I could have given myself a bit of advice back then, it would be dont listen to what she says! dont let her get away with stealing this form you and most of all, make sure you look after yourself.

  6. Shaun on August 16, 2019 at 10:43 am

    “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. ”

    This is the route I took. It is very hard — to have to think like an attorney — to swat away constant allegations and to work collaboratively to heal a child torn by parental alienation. Early on when our daughter was three years old, I realized the best path forward would be to continually work through the courts to increase time as I could, bide my time, and always be present.

    10 years later with $50K spent on attorney fees, there is now 50/50 shared parenting time and decision making. This was achieved *without* my ex’s consent. Each time I requested additional parenting time through the court the ex fought me … vigorously with lies, extortion, and alienation … and she lost.

    Today, I am very much a part of my daughter’s life. The ex remains unstable.. but our daughter is secure in my love for her and I am very proud of her. I would do it all again — but I should *never* have had to go to such great lengths to be a father to my own child. I completely sympathize with the father above, and I understand his struggle.

    My fight is for all the men who couldn’t … due to limited resources or insurmountably odds. The parents out there who think parenting is a one way street .. the mothers who think you shouldn’t have to co-parent — your days are numbered.

  7. Name (required) on August 13, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    life sucks.. Had my parents divorced when I was young, I believe I would have tried to live with both of them somehow, probably played some kind of ‘he’s mean, she’s nice, she’s mean, he’s nice’ scenaio’s and lived with whoever was being nice at the time (no matter where they lived – leaving schools/friends even), because BOTH had their evil ways! And done so even when I was older even though I realized I was just picking the one I liked at the time.. But kids these days don’t care if one is being left out.. they just don’t care.. I actually thought about this type of thing growing up as it seemed my parents were going to divorce sooner or later, who do I want to live with was CONSTANTLY on my mind… (they eventually did divorce when I was 25 (not long after I left home)… a little too late :/ and I’d wished it had been sooner, like how my kids encouraged me to leave their father.. though knowing how crappy I’ve been treated by men nothing would have changed when/if either remarried.. then it would be 4 morons I would hate and have to tolerate!… on the other hand, as I got older I wished they’d could have stayed together… but it didn’t bother me at all that they didn’t because I was done with the both of them, and dad pushed mom…, though I still ‘loved’ them both ‘sort of’ and called/visited when I could (mom never beat us, she made dad do that, all part of her make dad the bad guy probably – made her just as bad allowing it). Not really sure which would have been worse, 4 morons (and extended family bullshit, hateful relatives, etc. – son/daughter had their ps3’s stolen by fathers live in gf’s son type of thing – of which shouldn’t even be living in the home by court order? haha… good call JUDGE – judges are generally ignorant, they have no clue who anyone ‘really’ is) or just my parents when growing up… yes, I was beaten for punishment, made to go without dinner, soap in mouth, punished for things I didn’t do, made to feel like a total idiot (and still treated this way), yada yada at least weekly. Imagine 4 people doing that? But of course, mom pushed dad.. so it’s over and now the child has to very possibly suffer even more at the hands of even more people.. :/ For many kids, It’s not easy being a kid any way you look at it…
    Having 2 of my 3 kids taken from me by my hateful, self–centered, arrogant, narcissistic, vindictive, irresponsible, negligent, abusive ex, their father, for 10 years now and neither really caring to have anything to do with me until they are grown – except to ‘get away from their hateful father for the summer’, 1 now for 3 yrs, and the other is in ‘maybe, we’ll see, I hate dad’ mode… it would appear to me kids don’t give two shits if one or the other parent hardly ever gets to ‘parent’ at all…. because we all suck.

  8. Andy Morgan on August 13, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Scary how close this hits to home.
    My ex wife left with our child.
    My drinking got out of control, then when I found out she was dating someone else. I stopped drinking.
    Now her drinking is out of control. She’s dating a different guy she’s bringing around my daughter again. This guy was a former friend of mine, and the situation is hostile. If it gets physically aggressive, I lose the small time I have with my daughter. My daughter told me this guy Spanish her.
    I’ll Tomorrow’s my daughters first day of kindergarten. All I asked was for her boyfriend to stay home. He’s going. The guy has two kids of his own, does drugs, and is choosing to go to my daughters first day of school tomorrow just to cause problems.
    This is the beginning of me opting out of my daughters life. I’ve jumped through hoops, and my ex has done nothing to take steps forward. My daughters pretty scarred from this, but soon she won’t know the difference. This game is a sick display of power. One person takes steps forward while the other steps back, and my daughter is thrown in the middle of the bullpen.

  9. John on August 9, 2019 at 8:26 pm

    I am in the same boat , just a Disney land dad every other weekend. Its is very hard to only be able to see kids twice a month not enough time! I feel the same way about everything you said all true. She moved away with kids and now we are about 120km apart, try going to a baseball game after work! ……I could go on here but what’s the point. I to have same feelings, sometimes I just don’t even want to look at kids pictures in the home just makes me sad. Hoping one day when they are older and can deside who they want to live with.

  10. Martina on August 8, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    My kids father would actually be more involved, but the kids opted out. From reading most of these experiences, the fathers are dealing with mothers who intervene and intentionally alienate. Not the case here. Issues can’t be left untouched. Hurt cannot be swept under a rug and wished away. Things have to be addressed. I was that parent that kept the lines of communication open for the sake of the girls. I thought that if “if I am good, then they will be good”. Not true. The youngest told me that she had been only putting up with him for me and she was tired of having to pretend with him and “being nice” (I always would tell her to “be nice to your father”). She felt that I was trying to make her care about someone who didn’t care about her. From that day- I allowed her to establish the boundaries that she needed in order to operate. I had one rule: If he calls- you don’t want to talk- you must text or call him back within a day. She didn’t like it, but she did it. They still continued to verbally fight – and eventually communication ceased because a drastic action that he took. The oldest decided earlier on to “opt out”. Because she is an adult – I do not intervene or question her decisions. I did learn something from her experience. Kids will put up a barrier when they’ve been hurt. The barrier is a test! Do you really care? My oldest told me she was expecting for her father to ‘show up” some kind of way to prove that he really did care for her. Interestingly – my therapist had told me early on that is exactly what she was doing. A part of me wanted to tell him “Hey you gotta mend the relationship with “A” in order to smooth out the relationship with “B”….it’s not going to work any other way”……Me doing that would put me back into the “referee” mode that I was once in. I cannot fix or patch anyone else’s issues anymore. Both of my girls have been told- if you want to reconnect and don’t know how- I will help make it happen.

  11. Tara on August 7, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I am a woman going thru this same exact thing! It horrible and dehumanizing. I have not been invited to graduations, first day of kindergarten, nothing! And to add to everything he has a twisted relationship with my mother. I have never been convicted of a crime or been on drugs. Yet , I am treated like a criminal and drug tested 4 times bc he likes to call child services and make false allegations. I am so torn between, I miss my kids so much and this is going to eventually kill me if I don’t walk away.” All of this is happening because he can afford a high dollar attorney and I was simple stay at home mom.

  12. Jake on August 6, 2019 at 8:19 am

    I gave up trying to spend time with my boys. Working a job that broke down my joints and waiting on weekend hoping my ex will let me come pick them up. They were always sick or had plans even when it was my weekend. She said they didn’t want to spend time with me even though they gave me hugs and told me they loved me. I’m moving on too. I don’t want to be let down all the time and to be miserable.

  13. Allan on August 5, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    I’m a father of five with my ex, and two step daughters with my wife. I haven’t seen my biological kids for nearly three years because of her serious malicious lies and accusations.

    The legal system, from the ground up has failed my kids massively. Not one department has dared challenge her, all passing it up the ladder until I am now due for a fact find hearing in a heart breaking struggle which has cost me over £10.000. I’m struggling with what to do next. Walk away and save the anguish on both my part and the kids, not to mention the financial burden this is putting on my wife and I, or keep fighting and refuse to give up on the chance to have them in our life. Even if I believe this will not be the end of the attempts by my ex to have my character ruined and my kids ending up hating me.

    The system in England is so one sided. She’s now even asking for her testimony in court to be from behind a screen, or on video. The fact she is even being able to concoct this picture makes me think there’s no point. K might as well give my statement strapped to a trolley wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask.

  14. Dana on August 4, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Opposite side of the coin. There have been many times my kids would sit and wait to see if their father showed up. Many games. From kids age 12& 14 , the kids are 19 & 21 now. I was fine with the decision to divorce. I think he wanted me to beg him back? Constant emailing texting and calling me. To check and double check and change arrangements within 1 hr if pick up drop off. I still don’t understand the fighting. He did not hurt me ,he hurt his kids when they didn’t have jackets or shoes. He kept no clothes at his house or toiletries. He would tell the kids he pays me child support so he will not pay for anything. He makes over 120/150 k. But was paying based on making 75 k. When I have a bad break up or dislike someone I avoid them. Not mean but I would not be seeking the person out. It seems he needed to know what I was doing all the time and was on some type of mission to make sure I was punished. I can only say I feel very sad for him. I know the truth. The kids would have to go to visitation because he threatened to call the police for years my son thought he or I would go to jail and was too scared not to go. My kids were always packed ready to go on visits. I still don’t understand why any parent can just forget their parent duties. You can buy your kids clothes, shoes, and toys. There is no excuse for abusing children, they don’t understand. My ex even went as far to take the kids to GameStop. And when they asked for a $20 game( the kids know we can get a $20 game usually 1 a month) he would say it’s up to me and would have to ask me first. He never asked when we were married, of course I trust he could buy an appropriate toy. But it was like telling them I want to buy you this but your mom doesn’t want you to have it. She’s the reason your not getting these games shoes etc. so sad. So the kids do without and still do without. But we don’t have a crazy yelling abusive man living in our house anymore. As a family our stress and yelling and fights all went down to basically zero. It was all him stirring the pot again and again. Sad.

  15. Familyvalues on July 24, 2019 at 12:12 am

    What a selfish, self serving sorry a** person is who wrote this. I won’t even call it a “man”. You notice he pays no attention to the pain and suffering his child will go through because of abandonment by him, because he can’t get his way. A good father will take a bullet a hundred times before he will ever let go of his kid. He will lap it up any way possible to make sure his kid is safe. This person should just get a vasectomy and be done with it. Winy baby, blah blah it’s all about me and my fight with the mother. Not one word about how much he loves and misses his kid. That poor child. I’m the kid of this guy as a grown up. I despised my father ( he’s dead, yea!) and so do all his children. He was the most selfish, lying b*st**d that ever lived. Rich, powerful, manipulative and when he couldn’t make us love him he wanted to just punish us. We suffered very much when he decided to just move away after a couple of years. (Parents divorced by his constant cheating). Never heard from him for 25 years (25 years too late). Well, we danced on his grave and he died with no friends and no one misses him. Good luck buddy. Look in the mirror. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

    • Steven on August 11, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      I am a father who went through the same thing as the first story. Your father story is different then this one. You sound upset still. The guy in the story wanted to see his children and be part of there lives. He was not your father. When you have a child one day and you do go through custody or divorce get back to us and let us know your story. But your dad story is not everyone’s story. We are not all the same or selfish.

  16. Antonio on July 11, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    So to the guys how did you guys in the beginning get over the feeling of being used as a babysitter to your child. I mean she doesn’t try to keep me away from my daughter but if it was up to her I would have my daughter 6 days a week.

  17. LG Powers on July 7, 2019 at 10:23 am

    Sometimes, a father doesn’t possess the resources to adequately defend against this kind of rampant injustice. It seems like a never-ending defeat. In my situation, my wife claimed she was in danger and gave up guardianship to her attorney father. I was dead in the water even before divorce proceedings.
    Jump forward, after her father fixes things for his daughter, she plans to dissolve the guardianship and act like I never existed. Then things can be “normal” for her again.
    This is an epidemic; exacerbated by the family courts. Unfortunately, my finances don’t allow for 5 thousand dollar retainers and 50 thousand dollar bill after possibly unfavorable outcome. I’m devastated.
    At this point, I just have to give it to God and be a financial source. For others, keep your head up and do what you can. God knows your heart and he will act upon his time and place.

  18. Missie on July 2, 2019 at 6:54 am

    It is sad that so many men cannot see their children but not all men or women care about their off-spring. My father and mother divorced many years ago, after my father left the marriage for his secretary, whom he subsequently married. My mother never stopped him seeing his two children, but he rarely did. His parents, my grandparents remained involved in out lives. Indeed I’ve always considered my paternal grandparent to be my father.

    After 30 years of not hearing anything from my father, except through my paternal grandparents, my grandfather past away and my father attended his funeral. By this time, he had moved on to wife number 3. Who had no knowledge of wife 1, my mother and myself and brother. At the funeral he made all sorts of promises to keep in touch, needless to say he did not. My mother never asked for any financial support from him, even though he is very well off. We were lucky that his parents, my paternal grandparents were always there for us, however this gave him a way of abrogating all responsibility.

    Another 10 years further on and my brother is extremely ill, he nearly died. My mother called him, being mindful his current wife doesn’t know he has two children, she attempted just to speak to him. He never got back. I too have made various attempts to no avail.

    Finally today I spoke to her and told her the situation. Im not prepared to cover for his callous selfishness any longer, i doubt it will make any difference. And contrary to what he said at my grandgather’s funeral, it sounded like she already knew.

    The hurt and pain, this has caused over the years really affectsed me and my brother. But you cannot discount the inate selfishness of some parents.

    So for men that feel blocked from seeing their children, I hope things improve and you can atleast show them you care. Because whomever is involved in a marriage break-up, it is not the fault of the children and we are the ones that are eternally scarred.

  19. eric on July 1, 2019 at 11:58 am

    wow, everytime for the last few years, i come back here to read personal stories to remind myself if what iam going thru is actually just a feeling or the fact. at the very beginning i read a father describing himself as a visiting uncle or a disneyland dad, in his words: 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.
    it breaks my heart deeply to hear it as i have been going thru this for the last 12 years and still going thru it. for the last 12 years, i have tried my best to be the best father possible even tho my career in the military took me away for months and years at a time. From the very begining , the mother of my child has used the court to control all visitation saying i was dangerous and an alcoholic. I have never had a criminal record and i havent touched alcohol since my daughter was born and i still get letters from her lawyer even after 12 years stating i shouldnt be left with my daughter alone and refuse to let my daughter see me for the summer. I can honestly say its been the toughest 12 years of my life, I have been hospitilized for wanting to commit sumicide, I have been hospitilized for having panick attacks that were uncontrolable to the point of not functioning at work, I went banckrupt financially trying to re-established myself, I was getting letters from her lawyer oversees while on deployment with the military with absurbed financial request, and I mean, this is only the tip of the iceburg I am sharing with you here. So my heart goes to all fathers who are still with us today and the ones who never had the chance to share their stories before it was too late. my daughter is now 12 years old and after much consideration, I have made the descision to stop all direct contacts with the mother of my child which directly affect the relationship between my daughter and I. the pain and the suffering for me has lasted long enough, its time to start a new life for myself. Today my hapiness and my well being is now priority and as i read earlier: 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. God bless us

  20. Chrissy on June 30, 2019 at 9:53 am

    WOAH. Wait a second. This might come off “uneducated” and I couldnt even read the entire article. But lets be real. This man who is and will always be the father picked a “6 figured” attorney to fight his “crazy spiteful” wife. Sure, she may be all these things. But did you ever take into fact the statistics or abusive narcissistic men (who may sincerely love their children) but legitimately are out to make their wives look like the enemy. This man is clearly manipulative. 6 figures on a lawyer?!??! And he still stopped fighting. This is a bold face lie. He doesnt see his child because he “lost” the game. This women might suck but he is a liar too. My husband is doing the same thing against me. Were was all this money when our daughter needed clothes ane food? I went into personal debt because I had postpartum depression and couldn’t work. I fought ror my life! And now the father of my child is crying the same wolf. I struggle to keep my child while I am beint severed papers to talk about why I needed additional help to take care of my child during my postpartum depression. Like me reaching out for help makes me an unfit mother. This dude might love his son but he cares more about winning the war. The court sided with her and they had their reasons. I seen some angry women. But statically women are far more likely to be abused emotionally, physically and sexually. The writing is on the walls and as women we cannot sit quiet. I was not the bread winner, I was told by my husband that he will take my child because I am “crazy” I dont make as much money and he has the ego to see i happen.

    • Chris on September 2, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      You are right Chrissy, you do come off as uneducated. You couldn’t even read the whole article. He spent six figures because he was desperate to see his kids and it still didn’t work. You are part of the problem. You are assuming he’s a liar just because he’s the man.

  21. Tawny on June 28, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    While I don’t doubt that some women can be vindictive and attempt to remove father’s from their children’s lives, most women want to share the responsibilities. My grandchildren’s father walked away and never looked back, but he can sure play the victim game. He even went so far as to post a “letter to my daughter” on his Facebook page, though he have never sent a letter, gift, or called any of the kids.
    He told my daughter he wanted a divorce and to leave their house while he was stationed overseas, about 4 weeks before he was due to come home. She was 5 months pregnant with their son at the time. We moved her and the two girls home with us since that’s what he demanded. She left almost everything behind. When his mom found out what he did she was livid, and pushed him to immediately file for full custody. He had a new girlfriend immediately upon arriving back home. She had 3 children that she had sporadically lost custody of due to her drug use. She became pregnant almost immediately and they married BEFORE the divorce was finalized. Court was a joke, the allegations they threw out were constant and ridiculous, but easy to prove as lies. He and his mother actually bribed friends that didn’t even know my daughter to testify. Not being very smart they didn’t actually realize that we could prove that 3 of them didn’t even live in the state during the supposed time period. The ONLY thing my daughter asked for was to have her and him drug tested the first day of court. Our lawyer said if we wanted him tested she would also have to be tested. We were told from the get-go we would be sharing custody with her having physical custody. Except that’s not what happened, she was awarded full custody and he was awarded limited visitation.
    At that point it was all over. He washed his hands of the kids, as did his mother. His father, on the other hand, was so disgusted by what his wife and son tried to do in the courtroom he moved out and filed for divorce. The ex and his wife had their son, and have lost custody at least twice due to drugs and care concerns. His wife’s 3 kids prior to their marriage are spread out among family members. The oldest boy is with his grandparents, the teen girl is with her mom’s sister, and the youngest boy is with his dad.

    The saddest issue here is that it didn’t have to happen this way. Given the distance and school schedule frequent visits would have been impossible. The limited visitation is problematic because of his ongoing drug use and negligent care of the child he does have custody of. Yes, he would have had to have supervised visits if he couldn’t stay clean. But he didn’t care; there are no phone calls at Christmas or birthdays, nor other special occasions. no gifts, cards, Facetime or Skype calls. We don’t even have a phone number or address for him.

    You dad’s think walking away is better for your well-being or the kids? I can assure you that whatever the circumstances are (unless there is abuse or negligence), it’s not. We have had to put our oldest granddaughter in some counseling because of her anger at her dad. She doesn’t care “how he feels about anything”, she’s angry he walked away. It’s not the first time I’ve heard what teenagers say about absent fathers. If you think you tried enough and were justified in walking away…as far as they are concerned you didn’t. You could have and should have tried harder, they should have come first, no matter what.

    Yes, you may be able to have a relationship when they are older and can better process their emotions, but it won’t be the relationship you think it will be. How do I know? My daughter had an emotionally distant dad. He was never interested in his visitation, but his other wives were and did a great job with my daughter. But it was his wives and his parents and siblings that were involved in her life, not him. He didn’t come to her graduation or her wedding. He had no other children and he thanked my husband for being the kind of dad he couldn’t be. However, it still hurt my daughter, as a teenager she just couldn’t understand why he didn’t really care about seeing her. Today, they go to lunch or dinner a couple times a year…that’s it.

    However hard it is, kids need their dads. They need them to fight for them, to care about seeing them, and to not walk away.

  22. connieJustine on June 27, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    My fiancee came back to me after 3 months breakup, she left me because her ex husband was pestering her to dump me. But I am glad a witch I met through facebook did a love spell that brought her back to me. (sangopriestesslovesolution @outlook. com) reunited my ex back to me. We are getting married next month. I just want the world to share my happiness with me. Love is a beautiful thing. We are getting married in Beverly Hills Ca. because we just relocated, everyone is invited.
    Connie Justine

  23. Pesach Kleiman on June 27, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Why they’re all so who get to see this.
    I just reached out to my father after not seeing or speaking to him in 19 years. I did saw people search on the internet got several numbers of him some cousins and finally got through.

    what gave me the courage to do all this is the landmark worldwide.

    I will be meeting my father Sunday I’m currently 30 years old. I have not seen my father since the age of 11.

    I’ve only been talking about this for many years and I buried emotions so deep that I thought they were non-existent no more.

    This is all to make it short.

    I wish you all the best of luck and I’m currently on the verge of tears writing this up.

    Fall of those who need some help to get through this landmarkworldwide.com is the best way to start. it’s a 3-day weekend I did it this past weekend they gave me the courage and not be scared of no and to keep an open mind of a world of possibilities.

  24. Ana on June 25, 2019 at 11:21 am

    My son’s dad rejected him since the day I told him he was going to be a father.Wr lived together,joint tenancy together,and he was courting a barmaid near his workplace while coming home and making love to me.I found out about this the day I tole him I was pregnant,and he told me imediately that he wanted me to abort because he loved this woman.He left me alone and pregnant at home to go live with this woman.She now forbids him to see his 2 month old son and said for him to choose…he chose her

    • Steven on August 11, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      If you are the custodial parent and never been through court, visitation and never had to pay any child support you can’t really speak on why men just give up.

      My son mother said so much shit about me when he was growing up now that he is 22 years old he has made his own judgements of me and who I am.

      If you went through this battle you would understand it’s not a easy choice to give up but sometimes it’s the only one you have to keep your sanity.

      • Haks on August 22, 2019 at 7:09 pm

        I agree with the blog so much I am on two minds right now, I won my court case today to have supervised contact with my baby one every week so they can supervise me while I watch my child untill the final hearing were she has contested the cafcass report.

        I have spent over 8 thousand pounds, and all her allegations got dismissed and she is still saying they are true and the cafcass report is wrong is what she is saying.

        I made my application to the court when my daughter was 1 month old, she now 9 months old, because I said to the mum I didn’t want a baby I am not financially ready, she kept that in mind and led me on to buy all the baby essentials all of the clothing kept me sweet ask me if my family suffer from any health issues so that she can tell the midwife 6 months into the pregnancy I was amazing I wanted to be a dad, I messaged my girlfriend everyday before she went to sleep.

        Soon as she gave birth and I slept in the same cloths for three days she said I don’t want you no more I said what about baby I love my daughter.

        She said I can’t let you see her, I took her to court after 6 hearings November is my last hearing were she’s going to contest the caffcas report.

        I’m court today my ex told her solicitor that is legal aided to tell me one of the days I will have contact with my daughter one hour can’t happen as it’s her first birthday, imagine how I felt.

        The judge has already dismissed all crazy allegations but why am I going to supervised contact I feel I am digging a hole for my self, if she can do this she will in the future make up other excuses, what about brain washing her to call me by my name ,and not daddy my daughter will always be raised by her what about me.

        I’m in two kinds what I should do. I’m thinking to leave it all together and wait till she’s older.

        I’m 28 years old I’m from London I need to move on and have a wife and kids will I still be able to do this knowing my emotions will be played with because of my ex ? I am very confused

        Any advise pleas help

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