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The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

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One of the most common and heartbreaking topics I’m asked about is dealing with fathers who don’t see their kids regularly. A mom shared a typically devastating situation:

“My ex-husband doesn’t see his child”

“Biological father refuses to see his child.” 5 reasons a dad does not fight to be involved

How long can a father not see his child?

Absent father? How moms can support fathers

When co-parenting fails: Can you force a dad to see his child?

Bottom line: Get dads involved

Movies and books on single motherhood, divorce and co-parenting:

“My ex-husband doesn’t see his child”

The woman’s 11-year-old daughter’s father would go months without seeing the girl, and instead spent all his time with his new girlfriend. When the mom asked him why he didn’t return the daughter’s phone calls, he replied: “I don’t have anything to say.”

I gave her some ideas about taking the issue to family court, and managing both the daughter’s and her own expectations (stop trying to control him — you can’t). But the advice the mom told me that was most surprising and helpful was this:

Be empathetic.

“Biological father refuses to see his child.” 5 reasons a dad does not fight to be involved

I’m working on that brand of empathy as both a divorced parent and a child of divorce. My own dad was not involved in most of my life — and that devastated me in ways I don’t yet fully understand, but I have harbored a lot of anger about it and so, I have thought deeply about why do fathers abandon their child.

When you recognize that your child needs you — and you are valuable to them — you show up. You take parenting as a responsibility — not an extracurricular activity. Unfortunately, our culture dismisses fathers, and fatherhood. Think about the typical TV dad: Homer Simpson, or Al Bundy, Ray Romano. Nice guys, but bumbling idiots, and as parents, clearly inferior to mothers.

Divorce and family courts reinforce this stereotype, defaulting to visitation and custody schedules in which dads are relegated to every-other-weekend “visitors” with their own children, and told their greatest value to their children is as a breadwinner (the other side of this coin is that women are shoehorned into the primary caregiver role, and forced to be financially dependent on men. More on this in: Why is child support so unfair to fathers? A case for needed reform

Ex feels there is too much drama with kids’ mom

On the surface, “too much baby mama drama” is a petty reason not to have a relationship with your children.

But dig deeper, and you will find many men explain a history of police involvement, restraining orders, and mothers screaming at them in front of the kids. “I worried that all the conflict was hurting the kids more than if I didn’t see them, so I stepped away,” one man told me.

Of course, that is just one side of the story. You, the mom, certainly have your version of events. But consider his. Just consider it.

Here, a dad explains: “Why I don’t see my son.”

Ex did not choose to be a father in the first place

Until June 24, 2022, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, women in the United States have a legal, constitutional right to abortions. That means that women in the United States have a legal, constitutional right to decide if she wants to be a mother or not. While conservatives slash away at that right by closing abortion clinics, state by state, women’s access to abortion is dramatically reduced, in practicality.

However, men have virtually no reproductive rights. If a woman gets pregnant, she can choose to carry the baby to full-term, put a man’s name on the birth certificate (or not — her choice), and take him to family court for child support and visitation. The father in these cases has no rights whatsoever about deciding whether or not he wants to be a father. He can be criminally charged if he does not pay court-mandated child support.

While there is no legal repercussions for a non-custodial parent abandoning their child, it is unjust to expect any person, of any gender, to take responsibility for a person they did not choose to bring to this world.

What to do when a parent cancels visits last-minute

Ex feels incapable as a father

The world tells men they are incompetent, bumbling parents. Think of Homer Simpson, Al Bundy, Ray Ramon — even good-hearted Dre on Blackish are all fumbling, lesser parents compared with their competent wives.

This is not surprising in a time when we still herald the stay-at-home mom as martyr-saint, and defer to women as the primary parent in every family — married, separated, divorced or otherwise.

If you were the primary parent during the relationship, and your ex now has just a few days per month with the kids, it is unreasonable to expect him to get into a groove as a father, understand his kids needs and wants, and understand and grow as a dad. In fact, men often report being much better parents after divorce for all these reasons.

Malicious mother syndrome

Malicious mother syndrome is a real medical condition in which one parent is revengeful towards the other, especially in cases of divorce. Parental alienation is a key example, though any display of revengefulness that makes a relationship with the children can be a symptom of this disorder.

Ex is a deadbeat dad

I have been reading the research on this topic, and interacting with single moms and single dads for nearly a decade. There are very few fathers who actively choose to bring a child into this world, and then choose to abandon that child without any good reason.

There are many men who want to be involved, loving fathers who cannot afford to pay the child support sum ordered by the courts. That does not make him a deadbeat, or a bad father who should not be allowed to see his children. Unfortunately, those two functions are often connected: Men who cannot afford to pay child support and are at risk of being arrested for arrears. That dad is not likely to go to family court to fight for more time with his children, out of fear of jailtime for child support arrears.

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How long can a father not see his child?

If there is a custody order in place, both parents must adhere to the visitation schedule outlined in the order.

Parents who do not follow these orders risk losing custody and facing jail time.

How long can a mother keep a child from seeing his or her father?

Child custody orders typically include rules for whether one parent can move away from the other parent without consent, or travel abroad or out of state without permission from the other parent.

Withholding visitation time can quickly put you in bad standing with the court, and put you at risk for losing custody as well as jail time.

Even if there is no custody order in place, a court will likely look unfavorably on a parent who keeps a child from his or her other biological or adoptive parent or guardian. “Friendly parent factor” is an increasingly common term written into state laws, as well as practiced by family court judges, which means that courts look favorably on parents who encourage a positive relationship with the other parent.

How much time must pass of a father not seeing his child before his parental rights are relinquished?

Biological parents have the legal and fundamental right to physical custody of their child, as well as the right to make important legal decisions on behalf of their child, regardless of involvement with the child.

If a parent is absent from a child's life, whether by choice or incarceration, they will generally still be recognized by courts as having parental rights.

However, if a custodial parent dies, goes to jail or otherwise is unable or unwilling to care for their children, then the non-custodial parent, or another relative or loved one may petition the court for primary custody. Otherwise, the state will appoint a guardian, which may include foster care.

On the other hand, if a non-custodial parent does not see his or her child for an extended period, which varies by state, nothing will legally happen. However, if the custodial parent chooses to seek to have that parent's parental rights terminated, he or she may initiate that process.

The other biological parent, a legal custodian or the state would need to take a court action to terminate the absent parent’s rights.

A state views an absent parent as someone who has abandoned their child by failing to make an effort to see or bond with their child for several months or years. Each state has its own laws in this regard.

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

Absent father? How moms can support fathers

First, let’s address the fact that the “deadbeat dad” stereotype is just that: A a trope, for which the history and explanation is complicated. Edward Kruk, PhD, a shared-parenting advocate, and divorce expert, writes in Psychology Today:

Despite President Obama’s 2011 Father’s Day lament on the irresponsibility of “deadbeat fathers” footloose and fancy-free from taking responsibility for their children, in fact the two major structural threats to fathers’ presence in children’s lives are divorce and non-marital childbearing. More often than not, fathers are involuntarily relegated by family courts to the role of “accessory parents,” instead of active caregivers.

This view persists among many, despite the fact that fathers in two-parent families, before divorce, typically share with mothers at least some of the responsibility for the care of their children. This is both because fathers have taken up some of the slack while mothers work longer hours outside the home, and because many fathers are no longer content to play a secondary role as parents. Most fathers today are keen to experience both the joys and challenges of parenthood, derive satisfaction from their parental role, and consider active and involved fatherhood to be a core component of their self-identity.

Whereas parents in general are not supported as parents by our social institutions, divorced fathers in particular are often devalued, disparaged, and forcefully disengaged from their children’s lives. Researchers have found that for children, the results are nothing short of disastrous.

Father Absence, Father Deficit, Father Hunger

The vital importance of paternal presence in children’s lives. Psychology Today

Kids who miss their fathers is just a surface symptom of deep psychological and societal issue that results when one parent is missing completely or partly from a child’s life. It is not just that the father (in the majority of cases) is not present to be involved, teach, care for and share in financial responsibility.

That child for their entire lives is plagued with the question: Why doesn’t my father love me?

Princeton University scholars’ meta-review of 47 studies, The Causal Effects of Father Absence, found that children raised without regular father involvement suffered:

  • Increased behavioral problems
  • Greater likelihood of smoking, drug use and underage drinking
  • Lower chances of graduating high school, or attaining college educations
  • Less likelihood of working as an adult, and adult who were raised without the involvement of their father had lower job statuses than those who had involved fathers

More research on fatherless daughters and sons finds:

What can moms do about fatherlessness?

The biggest change that must take place before fathers will be equally involved is to change our laws and culture to respect men as equal parents to mothers.

This will not happen overnight, but changes inside of individual families contribute to informing those around us, the courts, the judges and attorneys and mediators with whom we interact, and friends and family members who observe how we behave in our co-parenting relationships. This can include:

  1. Aim for a low-conflict / separation. Divorce and family courts are designed to make attorneys rich by incentivizing all parties to fight to win. If possible, opt for an amicable breakup, in which everyone walks away with a fair deal, and equal time and responsibility for the children. There are several quality online divorce services that we explain and review.
  2. Aim to be financially independent of your ex. Money exchanged between parents increases conflict between co-parents. Studies find the more conflict between parents, the more likely the father is to check out of the children’s lives.
  3. Stop trying to micro-manage your ex’s parenting. If you are in a relationship with him, let him take full responsibility for caring for the kids when it is his turn — he may not do it your way, fail, screw up and try again — just like any parent. If you are separated or divorced, don’t call the kids all the time when they are with him, or otherwise control his parenting.
  4. Focus on mutual respect and truly equal, shared co-parenting. Stick to the rules of healthy co-parenting, and if you need help with a shared calendar, splitting expenses and tracking communication, try a co-parenting app.

Consider this excerpt from The Kickass Single Mom, my bestselling book with Penguin:

There are many ways you can do this, but in Valerie’s case, she actively reached out to her ex and explicitly supported him in being a better father. It worked:

The best advice after my divorce was from a counselor. I was complaining about the burden of having my kids most of the time because my ex (going through a period of self-loathing, pity, and guilt) was not taking the time to be with them.

She told me that my kids needed me to be 100 percent of the mom I could be to them, but being 150 percent of the mom they needed would not compensate for their dad being anything less than 100 percent of the dad they needed. I would be better off investing that extra 50 percent helping him be a better dad.

Something clicked in me and really shifted my perspective. It began with a discussion I had with their dad: “Our kids need more time with you. Our kids need you more involved in the day-to-day of their lives. Our kids need you to be 100 percent of the dad you can be. How can I help you?”

And I kept asking. Finally, one day he asked me to help him move furniture into his apartment so he could make it more of a home for them. I packed up some toys and clothes (and even dishes and cups the kids liked using) and took them to his apartment. I encouraged him to coach our son’s baseball team and I helped with its administration. I encouraged him to take one of the kids to dinner to spend time one-on-one with them while I kept the other two. He became more confident as a parent. Once I started to give, he started to give.

That was more than five years ago. Our co-parenting relationship is balanced and in a very good place. It has been for a long time now—sometimes I forget it wasn’t always.

My ex is an awesome father, but there was a time when he was not as reliable as I would have hoped, related to what I wrote about a little bit here. Over the past several years I have let go of a lot of the rage I harbored for my ex over all kinds of things.

I see now that when he is not there for the kids, it is because forces bigger and darker than him are at play. And those things prevent him from being the parent he wants desperately to be — and enjoy his children as much as he otherwise might. Recognizing that allows me to be kinder to him, spend less toxic mental energy managing the situation. I’m a happier person and better mom because of all of the above.

There is also incredible work being done in the realm of shared parenting, in which courts presume that both parents are equally competent in the face of separation and divorce, and therefore presume that both parents should share in parenting time equally. There are now 60 peer-reviewed studies that prove that shared parenting is what is best for children — including in high-conflict cases (and I know of none that have found in favor of unequal time to either parent).

What to tell your kid when their dad is not involved

The literature finds very clearly that in cases where there is conflict between the separated parents, and when parenting time is heavily weighted in favor of one parent over the other (such as the every-other-weekend, Wednesday night arrangement, which constitutes 14 percent of hours in a month), the parent with the lesser time with the child has a very high chance of checking out of the kid’s life. Argue with whether or not that is fair or ethical. That has been happening for decades or more.

Shared parenting work in both the legal and mental health realms go hand-in-hand with work on parental alienation. A study found that 11 to 13 percent of divorce cases involve parental alienation, in which one parent systematically programs a child to reject the other parent, for no good reason. This is recognized as child abuse, and a symptom of mental illness on the part of alienating parent.

These facts are important to mention here in this post about fatherlessness. The research is there: When one parent is marginalized in their children’s lives, they tend to check out. As mothers — which are granted primary custody in 80 percent of cases that go to court — we can influence these things in powerful and positive ways. When you promote equally shared parenting with your kid’s other parent, that trickles into our culture, our expectations of one another, and that influences policy and court rulings.

When co-parenting fails: Can you force a dad to see his child?

In short: It is impossible to make a non-custodial parent take responsibility for his or her child. That said, when equal parenting time is promoted through courts and culture, men are more likely to use their parenting time, and even advocate for more equal parenting schedules. 

29 ways to co-parent like a pro—even when your ex is a crazy narcissist

When your heart breaks because he stood your son up again, are enraged at his disregard for your time at yet another last-minute cancelation, or your daughter knows her dad is on vacation with the new girlfriend but says he can’t afford to see her, you are 100% entitled to be livid. Because that is bullshit.

It is also a sign of a broken person. And a sign of a broken culture and parenting expectations that go far beyond just your family.

Practice forgiveness. Practice empathy. Get therapy. And activism. Read 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

Bottom line: Get dads involved

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:

One of the most important things you can do to support your kids’ father’s parenting is just that: Allow him to parent. Presuming he has not been legally proven to be an unfit parent, you must operate from the premise that he is capable of keeping the kids alive and is allowed to make all decisions when they are in his care. If you eventually have a great co-parenting relationship, you may find ways to cooperate on special diets, bedtimes, and discipline. Otherwise, he is allowed to be whatever kind of father he likes during his visits. This includes feeding them fast food, letting them stay up late, and letting them spend the night at his sister’s house even though you hate her so much about that thing that happened at your wedding.

Do not call or text him or the kids frequently during their visits. Except for unusually long visits—which could be more than three or four days for very young children, or more than several weeks for older kids—do not call, FaceTime, text, or otherwise ask to engage with the kids. You must allow their dad to get into his own groove of parenting without your interference, and your kids should be allowed to get into the groove of life at their dad’s house.

Advice for mothers raising sons alone

I understand that you may miss them and worry they are having experiences that you will not share. I appreciate that this can be sad. But this is part of separated family life, and the sooner you embrace the wonderful benefit of having an actively involved, loving dad and fill your kid-free time in a meaningful way, the sooner these absences will stop being sad, and all parties involved can relax and flourish in the rhythms of your life. Plus, your children will sense if your calls stem from your own broken heart, and feel a need to care for you. That is not children’s job.

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

And report in the comments how it’s going.

Movies and books on single motherhood, divorce and co-parenting:

Recommended shared parenting documentary: Divorce Corp

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

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

Can you force a dad to see his child?

It is impossible to make a non-custodial parent take responsibility for his or her child.

How long can a father not see his child?

If there is a custody order in place, both parents must adhere to the visitation schedule outlined in the order. Parents who do not follow these orders risk losing custody and facing jail time.


Probably because he lost his kids, his wife, his home, and now he has to make support payments for everything that he lost- because it was all taken away from him. Now, hes expected to provide free child care for the children who were taken away from him. Why should he

Although I understand the point you’re trying to make, I see this as yet again another excuse for a man to not be apart of his childrens lives.

My biggest issue with this is…..there are women and mothers everywhere who behave in the exact manner in which you describe above by men and fathers, but there isn’t a person on this planet that wouldn’t judge and chastise that woman. She would be made to feel inhumane for walking away or keeping her distance from her children.

I don’t have stellar self worth, but yet here I am parenting ALONE and doing a damn good job at it. How would society treat me if the tables turned and my daughter’s father was parenting alone while I went off and searched for my self worth?! People would spit on the very ground I walk on. Making sure I knew what a disgusting excuse of a woman I was. Not her father though, awwwww…..poor baby doesn’t have any self worth, no worries, just go do your thing and come back when you’re good and ready?

This is the mentality that keeps men out there behaving like children, why wouldn’t they when we all treat them as such. Maybe if everyone started spitting on the ground they walked on, held them accountable for their actions, they may think twice before acting like a child, because they’ll have the consequences of an adult.

How are they your children if some woman took them away from you, appropriates your resources to care for them and then commands you to personally provide child care services for them? What if she did ask this against your will?

What if she then publishes a blog telling the whole planet what a bad person you are and how her life is so hard?

“How are they your children…?”

As soon as you released yourself inside her and she popped them out, they are your children. Be more careful about who you mate w ,& suck it up until the kid turns 18.

Hey Emma, what Suzan said, Parent Alienation Syndrome/P.A.S is the real deal. Those who do it are like terrorist and It is a downright nightmare to deal with and requires a lot of energy to counteract. My ex-wife is this way, and I have to be very proactive with everything regarding my young girls, 4&6, to avoid flare-ups with their mom. People with P.A.S thrive on taking the mistakes of a person and use it as a tool for manipulating others. Some go as far as manufacturing phantom mistakes. For instance: Although I made it to all but one gymnastics events, when I missed one and the girls ask their mom why I wasn’t there, the explanation given from their mom is “Well, if your daddy loved you, he wouldn’t have missed” or “Your daddy isn’t here because he doesn’t care.” A phantom mistake is telling the girls that daddy is coming to get them on a day I am NOT scheduled to get them and have the girls waiting for hours, then say “I guess daddy doesn’t want to see you.” Dealing with these types takes tremendous planning. We have a 50-50 schedule, and I follow it masterfully. I have never missed one day, and they always live with me when they are supposed to. I keep up with extracurricular activities ahead of time, and I only miss if it’s an emergency or planned miss. Communication is key with the kids. I let them know ahead of time if I can’t make it to the fall festival, practice, outing etc to avoid any misunderstandings. I have to be very aggressive when dealing with misunderstandings, and it is not for the faint of heart. If the victim parent is passive, gives up or rolls over in defeat, they will get eaten alive by the P.A.S parent. Anything that is false or untrue has to be squashed from the very beginning or things will get ugly quick and spiral out of control. I handle it with the girls by telling them the truth. I never degrade their mom, and I only focus on the truth. Then I call or email my ex to document the situation and let her know it will not be tolerated and it is unacceptable. I often hear from others that I shouldn’t let my ex control my life or allow it to dictate my schedule, but I don’t view it that way. I look at it from the standpoint of taking responsibility for being a dad, and also shielding/minimizing the damage that my girls could get from a full onslaught of parental alienation. Left unchecked and I would be dealing with two teenage girls in the future that really believe their daddy hates them. It really sucks that I have zero room for error, and every mistake will be harped on, but that’s the cards that I am dealt and I have to deal with it.

I can’t speak for myself because I don’t have kids but I have several friends who are divorced with kids.

In all cases where custody is 50/50 or close to it, my friends have good relationships with the kids. However, in the cases where they’re saddled with huge support payments coupled with limited visitation, they have extremely poor relationships. The main problem in those cases wasn’t the child, but the mother. You’re put in a position to cut her a large check every month and you don’t get to see your kids enough to build a true parental bond with them. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. Every visit is an exercise in soul-sucking resentment and subjecting oneself to that routinely is awful.

Meanwhile, the child doesn’t understand it. All the child knows is “daddy isn’t here”. A child doesn’t understand that if dad showed up more he could lose visitation altogether, or worse. A child doesn’t understand “the ruling of the court”.

It should be no mystery why a person whose children, choices and money are taken away from him would want to simply put it out of his mind and focus on building a new life for himself. I have one friend who sends his alimony and child support via automatic payment. He never even has to see the bill, and that’s the way he wants it, because seeing it every month just crushed him.

Love your columns, Emma, but this one struck a chord with me–as well as many of the comments. I know a man who is “broken” over not seeing his children, though not for lack of trying. Have you heard of Parent Alienation Syndrome (PAS)? Check out the symptoms in this link I am sure that many single parents won’t see themselves in this list. But if even ONE applies to you, remember that while you are indeed succeeding in hurting the other parent, you are damaging your child(ren) far more. He has been to court many times regarding visitation; and while there is a LEGAL order enabling him to do so, a child psychologist advised against forcing teenagers to adhere to a schedule. This man is heartbroken, not just for himself, but the negative, long-term effect this will have on his kids.

This is a really important topic, one I don’t know much about but should explore and write about. Thanks for bringing it up.

PAS is real. It’s hurtful in ways difficult to put into words. I am a dad who spent well over 100k trying to get joint custody or subsequently more visitation (2 more nights a month). I pay $2,800 a month in CS, am not late on it, am saddled with her legal bills, she makes over 160K a year, and I can barely afford a 1 bedroom apartment.

I get told she does mot need to invite me to parent teacher conferences, she makes veiled threats to me in front of the kids, has released personal information about me to third-parties.

I took my sons at every opportunity, made sure they are well-cared for and presentable at school, mind their manners, and do all the things a dad should do. I get crapped on by her and the courts and told by both to butt out.

You can spout on and on about low-esteem, but when someone is actively alienated by one parent and discouraged by the courts from doing anything other than being a checkbook some people need to get on with their lives to try to find happiness in other ways or places. It’s sad for the children and the father who wants to be engages and is thwarted at every turn.

Yep. I read the PAS article you referrenced in your post. My ex matches three of those behaviour criteria. She routinely defers to my daughter the decision of which parent she wants to stay with (knowing full well that the majority of the time the default choice is with her). She refuses to accept responsibility for her own actions in her financial difficulties and blames me for all her problems. Lastly she frequently schedules ‘events’ with my daughters on days that I have her without asking or even notifying me before hand. And when I object to this she then says that it wasn’t her decision, but my daughter’s. Classic…

Some men are just raised through out their childhood, without a thought about being a father, but as a provider, protector and shamed (by kids or parents, uncles or just what they watched and witness on TV stereotypes) if they cried or nurtured/showed softness. Many good men think that their role is just to provide and be the strong rock for their children, and so many men step aside till the children are adults and they can relate, yet they provide financially, and protect their child when ever they get the call. These are not the bitter men that point blame or shame elsewhere, they are the true men, that just don’t know how to open up, and perhaps, feel if its important the the ones they are providing for, they will let them know. These good dads just need to be allowed, by positivity feedback what they can offer other than the negative junk.
Once I told my father I needed him to call me every Sunday, so I could hear his voice, That I needed him to do that for me, he did after his divorce, I was 5 and starting school, we talked every Sunday for 40 years. He was a Great NC Father

Robin, I really appreciate this: “These good dads just need to be allowed, by positivity feedback what they can offer.”

I am SO GLAD TO see the male population commenting here! Women, we will NEVER grow if we don’t shed our anger and try to see the system through their eyes, hearts & wallets! (I don’t understand why our society is so okay, and at times, even proud of anger. I think that is the biggest obstacle.)
I have a 16 year old with a man who doesn’t exercise visitation, nor pay his court ordered support. I learned I would have to file enforcement paperwork and I have chosen not to. Why? Because $100 a month is the amount ordered and it is NOT worth it. The few times he’s seen her were awful. He told her the last time – at age 12,that the reason he was seeing her was because I was giving her up for adoption and he was her last shot for a home. He made fun of her sweet little beauty mark & tells her to scrub it off… It’s a freckle. These are only the things she recalls anymore. If I were to seek out that cs $, look at what I would invite into her life! No! I am th lucky one. I changed the diapers, kisses the boo-boos, played Barbies, parent teacher conferences, church, family (even his folks saw her through me), and best of all… I am the one that kisses her goodnight and makes certain she hears “I love you.” I am the lucky one. I don’t miss out on this short season of life in which I get to be mommy. My own mother called recently to tell me that child rearing (single or alone – she did both) was the best years of her life & she wished she’d known it at the time. I am now married to a wonderful man who has stepped up to love both of us as his own. (The absence of biodad has allowed bonus dad to really bond uninterfered over the past 13 yrs.) Here’s the kicker, hubs has a son just a year younger than my daughter. I have witnessed the occurrences from several sides. I am a daughter (both bio and step.) I am a mother (both bio and step.) I will tell ya, I Have witnessed how it makes a man like an ATM when biomom has a multitude of demands, complaints, etc. and when it isn’t balanced with gratitude (for the times he does things right) – biomom quickly becomes impossible to please. Hopefully she hasn’t discussed her anger with the kids because that’s always fun and obvious. The man who mentioned PAS is speaking of parental alienation syndrome. As a child of divorce, I can tell you one thing. Everytime you speak ANYTHING that could be perceived as negative beliefs/comments about my father/mother, you are insulting one half of who I am. One half of the blood in my veins. When my stepmother screamed “I hate your mom!” And my dad sat there and watched, I felt hated and humiliated. I quit chasing after Dad. (Although now, stepmom is leaving slowly… Divorce (again) and my Dad is now battling cancer. He’s my Dad. So I stepped up to care for him. Why? Because the cycle of BS WILL END WITH ME! I do not speak ill of my ex. When I do, I feel the anger increasing. I don’t want my daughter to sense that and mistake it for anger at her. It does us both MUCH better to sit back and be grateful that I get to have the memories with her. Period. End of story. I will gladly write checks for college tuition, new shoes, etc. I get to be the one to guide her through these experiences. At the same time, I see tears well in my husbands eyes over the state of his relationship with his son. He has paid his child support, but to actually see his son, he must go before the court & pay $2500 for the judge to cite a “motion for enforcement” when his ex says “yeah, yeah, I’ll let you see him” only to be denied at the door after a 2 hour drive to “try” – we did this until we ran out of money. And then he later ran out of will. And so I am married to the man who doesn’t exercise visitation. And I get it. All I’m saying is ladies, just make sure your hands are clean. Please. (I happen to know for a fact there are a lot of heartbroken, emotionally-wrecked Daddies out there because some of us have chosen to use our blessing as a tool to curse the very men who helped us become the mothers we are. I will keep my hands clean. It isn’t easy, but the lack of frustration, anger, etc. living inside of me makes this life a very good one. And that guy that can’t even manage $100 a month for our beautiful young lady – he isn’t gonna cast a single shadow on my season of motherhood or my daughter’s season of childhood!

Your blog post really resonated with me because my son’s father recently told me that he didn’t think he was a very nice person. I wonder whether the reason he is very reluctant to see our son could be because he is feeling so bad and guilty about himself. HIs reaction when we found out I was pregnant was to try to bully me into getting an abortion. When he didn’t succeed, he left me alone to cope with the pregnancy and birth and wouldn’t even get involved when our baby had health problems and needed major surgery. I had to get myself a lawyer and fight very hard to get a reasonable financial contribution. To this day he shows almost no interest in our son. I have found it particularly hard to understand because he has two teenage children whom he worships and is very involved with: he doesn’t let any feelings of low self worth get in the way there! The other confusing thing is that despite all this, I worked very hard at trying to keep amicable relations with my son’s father. I didn’t want hostility and bitterness to be obstacles that stopped him seeing our son. But this has had the unwanted effect that he keeps turning up to see me when the baby is asleep!

That all sounds very difficult. Sounds like you have done everything you can. Hang in there and maybe he will eventually change his tune, but that is out of your control now.

Well indeed. But it helps (a bit) to consider that it isn’t because he’s ashamed of our son, it’s because he’s ashamed of himself.

I’m eagerly attracted to what is real. Seeing “real” in the title grabbed my attention…enjoyed reading the article…surfed through the comments and wanted to take a moment to show up with my opinion. I have 2 wildly loving children (almost 16 and 13) and my ex husband has seen them 3 (maybe 4) times in the last 20 months. The children and I were living in Vermont a few years back and once I bowed out, the ex moved (back) to Scottsdale. I had trepidation about him being dedicated to seeing the children so the kids and I moved to Scottsdale to be near their dad. Over the 4 years we lived in the same town, I felt my ex was missing out on time with our kids. I always felt like the lucky one and though I was livid at his lack of heart, I was also compassionate for his foolishness. I would think about how sucky it must be to miss out on the evolution of your children. Being a mom has been my most favorite thing and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it. After 4 years, my ex moved to southern California (simply because he and his 2nd wife wanted to) and I had many sad thoughts about it. I was failing to stop the thoughts about what an ass father he was choosing to be and struggled to accept his evolution (so he called it). I was aware of my thoughts and pushed hard to find ones that suited my end game…happiness. I’ve always believed that a parent’s happiness is the key to emotionally healthy children. Since my divorce, I have found Life Coaching to be a huge asset and would recommend coaching to anyone who wants to play the game of life to their best ability. For anyone out there struggling with the reality that their ex is MIA as a parent, take comfort in this article and how it suggests that the missing parent is “broken”…for it’s true…and worth feeling empathy for…even if this person is heartless…more reason to be wholehearted!

The truth lies somewhere between Tom Leykis (if it’s in fact really him) and most of those posting here.

If you’re one of the women saying the ex seldom sees the kids but always seems to find time for other things, I believe you. I’ve seen way too many cases like yours. Unfortunately, there are a fair number of guys who don’t give the male persuasion a good name and I’m sorry you, and especially your kids have to go through that.

With that said…I have been and am acquainted with a number of cases where the ex-wife/girlfriend is a big problem. I have a relative who shares custody with his lazy ex-wife. She often fails to pick up the kids at the designated time and has a history of missing kid appointments that can’t be missed. A number of guys are actively shut out of the kids’ lives by the ex or the ex makes it difficult for them to see the kids. Of course, these women are usually trashing the ex in front of the kids, which in turn affects how the kids are toward their dad when they do see him.

I completely agree with this… not all mothers are decent and put their children first… so many mothers involve their children in issues between parent’s (adults) that they don’t understand and tend to believe their mother (and why wouldn’t they) but the mothers interpretation of a situation is not always correct… so as a result lots of kids grow up thinking the dad is a bad guy instead of the truth… the mother couldn’t control her emotions so let the child to believe his/her dad was the bad guy so that she could feel justified in her actions….

Some dads just don’t care, simple as that. It can be hard to realize as a mother who love their children that there a “fathers” that just don’t give a crap. There are fathers that a capable of not loving and not caring and it that case I think it’s totally wrong to lie to your kids that “father loves you even though he hasn’t seen you in two years.” Your kids will grow up and start thinking for themselves and maybe even be bitter at you for lying.

I also don’t see a point of over-understanding the absent father. That’s a choice they make.

My son’s biological father has not seen him in over 4 years and my son is 5. They do not have any kind of relationship. I never lie to my son that his dad loves him, because it isn’t so. I tell him that his father does not know how to be one.

That is all fair — who are we to say who loves whom? But I want to underscore that someone who simply does not give a crap about their own kid is a broken, wounded person. No need to dwell on why or how. But rather accept that there is something seriously wrong there.

I find this advice very helpful but it’s so hard to not obsessed over the why or how this person can be so broken and not step up to the plate.

I think this blog is interesting. I just want to know why would a father acts this way? Broken… If he is; how can we help this person that keep making lots of mistakes? I feel he loves his children but he doesn’t care to visit them…how can you help a broken person who does not communicate either?

I’m actually a father in a similar situation. My kids live with me 100% of the time but my ex wife doesn’t make much of an effort to spend time with them. There were some things that happened in the past that caused us to go to supervised visits for her but since then she asks for them to call but doesn’t answer most of the time, then schedules visits and either no shows or cancels last minute. The kids have gotten where they don’t want to talk when she calls now. I struggle with how much I should push them to have a relationship with them. I encourage them to talk to her and reasurre them that she loves them but I’m not sure if that helps at all and almost feels pointless. I have a boy and a girl with her and she has 2 other boys from another relationship. At one point my daughter accused one of her sons of trying to force her to perform oral sex on him. She said someone came in before it happened. We went to the police and had a bunch of hearings about it and there’s a no contact order between them but her mom doesn’t believe my daughter and unfortunately my daughter knows this. Just a terrible situation all around. The hardest part is watching my kids hurt because of her.

Joe, that is really a heart-breaking situation. Your kids are fortunate to have a steady parent in their lives. Seems like it is best to stop pushing your kids to have a relationship with their mom since she is so troubled. Maybe later she will be a better place where she can be an involved parent in some way, but now clearly that is not the case.

Right probably is broken, but the caring parent whether male or female does not have the luxury to feel sorry for themselves…sick of excusing bad behaviour… look at the state of our planet…who’s in charge…the majority of the decision makers are men!

I’m sorry but no. Broken or not you make time for your child. I often feel “broken” and without self worth but I also don’t have the luxury (or want) to never see my kids or go months or weeks without doing so. I have anxiety & depression. I’m sorry but this is making excuses for another person and I refuse to do that. There comes a point in an ADULT’S life where they have to take responsibility for their own actions (or lack there-of). The entire time I was married to my ex I made excuses for his behavior and I’m sorry but no I don’t think that is any kind of healthy for yourself or your children. :/ just my opinion obviously.

That said I also do not sit there stewing over it. I think it is what it is. If my kids are upset about their dad not seeing them I tell them to ask their dad what’s up with that the next time they talk to him. I also NEVER refuse my ex to see the kids when he wants to. I will even cancel plans I had with the kids so he can see them if/when he asks. I figure it doesn’t happen a ton and I won’t deprive him or our 3 kids from seeing him at any opportunity that does arise. I think that is wrong (unless their is danger in the kids seeing their father). Regardless of your relationship with him you put that aside for the greater good of your child. It is the same reason that as much as My husband and I would love to move out of state we won’t because it WOULD make it impossible for the kids to ever see their dad.

I agree with never standing in the way of the ex’s relationship with the kids, but there is something to be said about tough love, forcing the parent to stick to his word, a schedule and respect for your time. It’s like parenting an unruly teenager, but they need boundaries and guidelines, and you deserve respect.

I have my 2 daughters 100% of the time but I have cried all day because I found out that their dad will be moving
2 hours away in a few weeks. Why? Because I know that it is important for
them to have some type of
relationship with him and it’s just going
to be more difficult if he is farther
away. I think your article describes exactly why he hasn’t been there in the past but I have hope that he has finally dealt with some of his demons and will be able to make some of it up to them in the future. I have no doubt that he has always loved them but he was dealing with too many other things to be able to show it. It’s not an
excuse, but a reason. Thanks for writing something that showed me someone else feels the same way. (and believe me, I have had more than my share of anger about this but I think I am mostly past that – I don’t think you can ever completely be if your kids have ever been hurt)

Thanks Laura – I totally relate to your mourning the closeness of your kids’ dad. It is complicated and our feelings about it are complicated. Your new life and routine will be worse in some ways, and better in others. I have a new appreciation for flexibility. Hang in there.

I don’t buy that he has “low self worth,” or even if he did, that is no excuse not to visit. He is the captain of his own ship, and he makes his own shitty decisions and he will be held accountable for them in one way or another.
I don’t always feel great but being an adult, I put on my big girl pants and get the job done.
He doesn’t visit because he’s a grown man with free will, and he’s consciously making this choice out of selfishness. No excuses.
I will be sure to tell my child that bad choices are not hereditary!

It’s tough to both be empathetic for people and also hold them accountable. Can you do both?

I agree completely. I don’t doubt that they have their own emotional issues. But that is their problem,not the child’s. I sure as hell don’t get to ignore our daughter and wallow in my own selfishness. You fathered the child,now grow the hell up and BE a father.

I agree, but if it were that easy more men would do that. Look at the number of comments and FB ‘likes’ for this post — this is clearly a huge issue faced by many women, and some men.

“He probably doesn’t even realize what he’s missing.” Yes, that is huge and sad.

I totally get all the rage. I’ve been there, and am probably not 100% past it. But the goal is not to make him ‘get it’ or change or pay. The goal is to accept what is, and to go and make a great life with your kids.

Thank you. As true as it is, it is so hard to do. I loved this article and relate to it immensely. <3

I will never understand how a father can distance himself from his own flesh and blood, but I guess this is why women have the nurturing instinct: To be sure that her child will be taken care of, regardless of the father abandoning his child. My kids are older: 19, 16 and about to turn 13, and my divorce began about 5 years ago. My two older girls seldom see or talk to him, while my son is still required to go on visits every other weekend. My ex is from a foreign country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but recently he demanded to have our son for the celebration. We’re supposed to split school breaks but he kept him until Friday after Thanksgiving. He even put my son on the phone to try to get me to allow more time “to go to the park” Friday morning. At this point, I’ve learned to deal with my narcissistic ex. It’s not about seeing our kids happy, but all about “winning.” And for a guy who earns six figures, goes on vacations and buys new cars every few months, yet owes $25k in arrears, he has a lot of gumption bringing another child into this world. Yes, he’s 40 and just had his 4th child. The last time one of my daughters spoke to him, she asked what he wants for Christmas, he said, “A new wife!” and laughed it off.

Moral of the story: happiness isn’t collecting stuff. It’s about collecting memories with those you love. And I’d add that if you see your ex fails as a father, feel sorry for him. He probably doesn’t even realize what he’s missing.

See my links above. Women never believe they’re in the wrong and are loathe to take responsibility when they are. They constantly project upon others and extracting an apology from them when they make a mistake is akin to removing a wisdom tooth without painkiller, it never happens.

Preach brother. Studies indicate updwards of 60%+ of divorced women REFUSE to take ANY responsibilty for said divorce. Men wake up. Go MGTOW.

Because most women would prefer the father is gone/dead but that his money continues to flow. Most women see a father merely as a life support system for a wallet.

Yeah, I call bullshit on that one, Tom. Nice try at vilifying women who are raising children on their own and victimizing the men who are abandoning them.

Was not aware of the gender difference in support payments … stay tuned for future posts.

humm, I came to share your article and ran across tom here.
What Tom does not point out is that women, who have stayed at home and was a housewife, thus gave occupational support to the husband, (ie moved where ever employment needed him to be) upon divorce received less in percentages of spousal support) than a husband that did the same for the wife. Most often, a husband that was a stay at home househusband and moved and relied only on the wife’s income usually received 100% of spousal support. Child support is usually 10% of the other parents income, and while the custodial parent have the children responsibility 93% of the time.
As I did not come prepared as the trolling tom, a simple Google can produce the accurate stats.

I agree with that Tom. I am a woman on the other end with a husband who has a child with another woman who bailed the state, and then asked for child support. Because his ex lives across the country, and we also have a family to provide for, we don’t even get to see the kids which is her preference anyway.

LOL so because the kid is across the country the dad shouldn’t have to support him? Or because the dad isn’t willing to travel to see the kid he shouldn’t have to pay support? I understand that it sucks horribly for one parent to move far away, but that does not mean the other parent shouldn’t pay child support. It has nothing to do with being money grubbing, both parents should be responsible for the care of the child.

Exactly Rachel…. All the dead beats get a pass and understanding. However, the parents who are active in the parents life, has to pull it together and get over the fact that they’re raising the chil(ren) by themselves.

So,since you know all Tom,please explain the fathers that are not being legally required to pay child support. The fathers that have moved on with their own lives,girlfriends,their kids,plenty of money to spend on all that,while their own blood does without,but still has no interest in their own child. The fathers of children whose mothers beg them to just call the kid,or email or Skype with them,just so the kid will know who their father is.

A woman can obtain an enforceable support order with little effort and the guarantee that it will be issued and enforced, wages garnished, etc. It’s the shrill, histrionic, irrational musings here that me so very glad that: I required my ex-wife sign a prenuptial agreement protecting my IP, properties, income, assets/investments, bank accounts and brokerage accounts and that I decided not to have children (though she wanted to). I’m also glad I hit the eject button after 4 years. Marriage is vastly overrated, utterly pointless and financially risky for me(n). Marriage never makes a relationship better. The best you can hope for when getting married is a lateral move but, typically, the relationship deteriorates and degrades due to marriage. I prefer not to have to go to family law court to break up with my girlfriends. My brothers all have sons and I will take them for 1-2 days of introduction to family law court before they marry to have them see how bad it is and why it’s pointless and to insure they get a prenuptial agreement if they decide to forge ahead.

Unlike your other commenters I cite actual empirical data and verifiable statistics to justify my comments and I don’t pull them from my rear. The data doesn’t lie.

I agree with Tom in that marriage is pointless. Stay away from having children. It only complicates matters…leaves one discouraged after divorce. I made the big mistake 12 years ago with three kids to boot. What a waste. Tom…make sure you educate about having kids as well. Going through a divorce with little ones leaves a lot of emptiness inside. Way too risky and not good for children. Protecting assets. No more assets. Kids r the asset now. :)

Emma, I have read the many responses to your article and as a woman I will be regarded here as a traitor, but I will put in my 2 cents. My husband and I married 27 years ago, second marriages for both of us. I was the one who wanted my divorce from my first husband after 17 years of marriage, so I paid for the lawyer, left my ex everything in the marital home. Every knife, fork and spoon. I took my clothes and my car, that’s it. I wanted out and I was working so I made it as easy as I could for my ex. We had one child who was 17 at the time. He treated our son like gold when I left him, it was a ploy to get me back. When I filed for divorce, he dropped our son like a not potato and never had anything to do with him again. My son told me I was being selfish and should go back to dad. I felt heartsick for my son. Now………. here is where the other ladies will want to tar and feather me. My current husband was screwed royally in divorce court. And screwed is an understatement. He had to pay alimony for life, pay a large sum of up front money, child support for one child, all the while his ex took him back to court so many times the file had to be hauled into court in a wagon. And each time she took him to court for stupid things, we had to pay her attorney fees and ours. She even took us to court because we got an answering machine. She said we were avoiding her calls. Ya Think. She called morning, noon and night. She would show up on our doorstep all hours of the night and day. I was not involved with my husband and didn’t start dating him till a year after his divorce, so I was not the other woman. This woman got away with murder. He had one child at home who was a minor and every time we had her for the weekend all she did was cry. She used to tell us that “her mommy told her to tell her every thing we said and did”. We went to court to stop this, but it never did. So in the best interest of his daughter he stopped seeing her. He said he would not let his daughter be used or to suffer. So please, ladies, maybe just maybe your ex doesn’t want to visit your child because of the grief you give him or the anger you won’t let go. This woman carried this anger and revenge for 27 years. In that time, my husband lost his daughter, she didn’t die, rather her mother saw to it that they would never have a relationship, ever. Ex’es should understand when they seek revenge and use a child, the child is the one who suffers the most. I am in awe of ex’es who can be courteous to each and treat each other with respect in front of their children. I believe in child support 150%, but I do not believe in alimony for life. In the 27 years my husbands ex received a large alimony payment each month she did nothing to better herself, go to school, open a business or travel. Her main purpose was to as she put it in divorce court “to ruin him personally, professionally and financially”. Now……….does this sound like a situation that a man would want to stay in touch with his child for? Not all husbands are at fault, but the courts most often side with the woman.

Yep, sounds like your husband got screwed financially, and he screwed his child emotionally. His poor feelings towards his ex wife– for whatever reason — are zero reason to abandon his child. Sounds like you drank is sad Koolaid.

Actually, you are incorrect about child support being something simple to obtain with little effort. It can take months and months, some fathers are able to dodge it for years by moving around/not working etc.

You’re absolutely RIGHT!! I WOULD love for him to be dead and gone!
He walked out the VERY same day we BOTH discovered that I was expecting… To find himself a fresh piece!
Heaven forbid this new life get in his way of freely plugging in the donor rod where ever and whenever he wanted without interruption!
“Right or wrong, no one must know about this pregnancy.” That is what he’d said to me.
So YES, I forced him to pay support as I didn’t get pregnant all by myself…he didn’t want to initially! He didn’t even want anything to do with his child UNTIL he was MADE to pay support!

But guess what…I’ve got him by the short hairs now…and the ONLY thing he ever has to say is “Yes/No…I understand, and Thank you.”
WHEN I decide to give him any info concerning his child!

He’s NOT a Dad…he’s BARELY a father…he makes non parents look like saint…HE’S NOTHING MORE THAN A DONOR!

Really? Who are these men? My son’s dad has’nt supported my son, nor his two daughters from another woman. He is 40 years old. Lives with his daddy and gets paid tax free money cash under the table from his little side ” jobs” a jackass of all trades. Never will he even think of seeking to work for a paycheck because he hates the idea of his money being garnished to help support anyone but him. Sorry, Deadbeats pull the plug on your life support theory.

Really? Who are these men? My son’s dad has’nt supported my son, nor his two daughters from another woman. He is 40 years old. Lives with his daddy and gets paid tax free money cash under the table from his little side ” jobs” a jackass of all trades. Never will he even think of seeking to work for a paycheck because he hates the idea of his money being garnished to help support anyone but him. Sorry, Deadbeats pull the plug on your life support theory.

that is because men have made it that way…since money is the only thing they give then that is exactly their fault….if men want to be vaulued for something more than they need to show up on time…have a plan….be affirming and positive….when they show signs of having more than just money..women will want more than that

No Tom that is not correct, men use this as an excuse not to bother with their kids when a new woman comes along and demands all their attention and gets very jealous of the ex and especially the children from the ex, usually said woman comes along and says choose me over you child, the man does so and then a few years later realises what an idiot he has been marrying the idiot woman and his children no longer want to know him, duh wonder why. I am fed up with men blaming the ex for them disappearing out of a childs life, it is b/s.

As Don Corleone said ‘A man is no man at all who does not look after his family’.

What about the women that use the court to force the man out? In my first custody hearing with my ex I had domestic violence against her, she had threatened/faked needing an abortion, threatened suicide, harassed me, used my son as a weapon and a way to get what she wants. With all of this what do I get? 6 hours Saturday and Sunday every other week and a $610 a month child support bill, oh she lives at home with her parents and doesnt want to have a job. If she cant have me I cant have my son…says how ruined her life is being a single mother so I say if your life is so bad with a child sign over full custody to me and go about your life as if you never had kids, but that would eliminate her power over me so she wouldnt do that. I would do anything to have my son 100% of the time. The whole system is a joke and women play it to their advantage, men arent given a chance.

Right. She was resource hunting all along. Had nothing to do with love or a family. When your role is done you get dumped out like yesterday’s trash no holds barred.

Look, you do what you can, then you have to let go. You cannot control him. And you cannot fully control your son’s environment and childhood. That is hard, but the sooner you accept that, the happier you will be — and not spending so much toxic energy trying to change someone who you cannot. Plus, you’ll be better rested.

I love this post. I too have struggled with this. I work with divorcing/divorced families, for crying out loud. Every day, I deal with parents fighting desperately to split the baby where there is not enough baby to go around. Why didn’t my kids’ dad fight for this? Why did he seem to just hand over the parenting to me so easily? It was heartbreaking (even when I was secretly relieved to have more time with them myself). Like you, I’ve noticed him start to step up and step in in smaller ways as time has gone on. I work hard to stay encouraging in this regard. I have noticed that when I am not, he can easily retreat to his old ways. Because of this, I have recognized my own responsibility in keeping our relationship as positive as possible because he seems to need this in order to make an effort to be more involved. This is good for our children. So when I’m angry or frustrated, I remind myself it starts with me. Specifically, it starts with my relationship with him. Still. Even after divorce. But the benefits flow to our children, so it will continue to be a priority for me to work at having the best relationship I can have with him, for the rest of my life.

I don’t know — you are not responsible solely for your co-parenting relationship, or for his lackadaisical approach to parenting. You do all you can — yes, more than your share — and then the rest is up to him.

No. Not solely responsible for the co-parenting relationship. However, I am responsible – in all relationships – for recognizing which parts I can do better than the other person. Sometimes, that includes being the leader. Almost every relationship requires one, and in certain relationships that role may change from time to time. But if I ignore the fact that my kids tend to get a better, more involved dad when I do a better job leading the co-parenting relationship (at least at this moment in time) then that is on me. Not that I can control or should ever try to control his behavior – that is totally on him. My point is simply that personal responsibility is not simple.

It’s really hard to know what to say to the 4 year who says “Daddy hasn’t picked me up from school in a really long time. Not since I was a little girl. Why he not do that Mommy?” I can feel empathy for him but I don’t know how to answer her questions. My priority is making sure she knows it is not her fault. Right now, I blame his work, but often he is unemployed and there is simply no excuse that I can give her. Daddy has poor self esteem is not going to cut it.

I’m all for being honest with kids — including your own feelings. I have said this to my kids:

“I get really mad that your dad didn’t see you today. I don’t always understand why not, but it has nothing to do with you. You are a wonderful kid and I love you very much and daddy does, too. But sometimes it is hard for him to visit.”

Never make up reasons why he can’t be there, and also don’t try to diminish your own feelings, because that creates shame in your child for having negative emotions.

I know most of these are old but I couldn’t help reading and noticing how wrong I’ve been thinking not many endure what I have..a year ago my ex and I split for good after a 15yr relationship ,divorce etc very complicated !! We have 3 kids ages 6,10,15 for the last year I’ve watched as he has lied to not spend birthdays or even farther a day instead he stood my daughter up on her bday lied about his scheduling changing the day our son turned 15 only to later find out it was bull!! I caught him trying to have me agree to a schedule change after a year ago forcing it changed dragging me into court again this time I agreed again to it til he got himself caught up lying on his work schedule .i couldn’t believe how far he went and all I had to go thru to change my own schedule but yet when I confronted him I was called every name possible as always .i bend backwards for my kids why can’t he as well? We have 50 50 custody yes he pays support no I’ve never modified it as I should but now he not asks me he tells me the dates he will be gone next week and basically tells me I have the kids a extra week! He always does this since he knows I can’t afford to haul him to court and I’m barely making ends meet he takes full advantage of me while I just allow it loosing so much. I told him I usually wouldn’t mind but this time I can’t I have a busy week and I take care of elderly people he said oh your refusing and I asked you first so we will c so I said who ever you leave them with I need the name and number of sitter which he never gave I have a feeling he won’t allow the kids to return to him since it’s happened before he just won’t be home saying well I told you I was on vacation even though I said I can’t help this time ! I appreciate any feed back or advice from you guys sorry so long

I’m not personally in this situation, so cannot comment with first hand experience, but this article hit a chord nonetheless.

This completely makes sense and I can see that a lot of parents who do not have main custody of their child in situations like this may feel a lack of self worth and/or connection with their child if they don’t see them as often as the other parent.

That said, we all have responsibilities and sometimes there are things in life more important than your own self-importance. I think that your conclusion sums it up perfectly!!

Hi, stumbled upon your blog and it’s a great! I’ve had the same thoughts and realizations as what you have described. It has been very hard for me to be empathetic given that my toxic relationship with my ex was enabling him, making excuses for him, and dealing with him not taking personal responsibility for anything. I still don’t think he takes personal responsibility for most things in his life, including being a consistent, involved parent. But I do also see the side of my trying to control the situation, being critical, making it not so easy all the time for him. So I feel like I go back in forth with understanding his inconsistent behavior, to being so full with rage and it being unacceptable. I go back and forth and up and down like a circus ride and it gets exhausting.
I recently realized what a good single dad looks like. He takes responsibility for his children 50% of the time during the week and weekends. Takes 50% of the expenses. 50% of the school holidays and vacations child care. 50% doctor visits. 50% after school activities. He is truly a 50% parent but a 100% co-parent. I’m talking about my boyfriend. He is a great example of what a father after divorce should be like. It’s possible, even with a difficult ex spouse! I think men are good fathers when they choose to be. And some will just never get it.

No truer words have ever been spoken. Congrats on finding a great guy :) Keep us posted

Sounds like what I’m dealing with, with my ex. He kicked the kids and I out then that weekend the new girlfriend moved in. He put our son around her without my knowledge. It was bad. Since then things have gotten worse. He cut off contact to me which cuts off contact to his kids. He hasn’t paid any child support yet. He wrote one check and it bounced. He has skipped weekends or changed them so him and his girlfriend can do stuff and go on trips. I’m having a hard time explaining to my 5 year old why he isn’t going to daddy’s again on a weekend. His dad should have him and his sister every other weekend. I get really angry because how can he just dump his kids like they mean nothing to him? But then I think they need me more then I need to be mad at their dad. Do I have a right to be angry yes but I can’t let my anger control me.

This is a daily endeavor, but when successful I find peace and in return am a better mother to my daughter. That said, livid is a perfect description of how I feel when my 1 1/2 year old daughter’s father says he is exhausted after only spending 4 hours with her in almost two months. Even more infuriating when he says he can’t afford to see her more, but money is never an issue when taking vacations and long weekends for himself with his plus one. The anger, I feel, is simply the result of knowing my daughter deserves better and there is nothing I can do to convince him of that. Solution: forgive and try my damnedest to at least be the mother my daughter deserves.

Yes, totally human to be angry. Trust me! In fact, I suggest you be angry for yourself, too — when he misses visits, you don’t get a break, a reliable schedule, or the co-parenting arrangement most of us crave. It sucks. But it is life.

Here’s what I think. When a father let s go of the mother emotionally, spiritually, the relationship, sexually etc., he lets go of the children. I believe there IS love but not enough. The men who do step up are the responsible mature ones with a moral compass and integrity. Let go and let god.

You nailed it. My daughters mom clearly told me she didn’t care if I visit my daughter and that she was going to do as she pleased with the money I’m paying in child support which is over $1200 a month plus medical insurance. She even said it was a blessing having this child because of the money she now receives. I want to see my daughter but I now have to move far a way so I can afford rent. The courts don’t care if you live under a bridge. All they care is the money. In the long run it will be better for the child not to have me present because the few times I saw her, the mom was always threatening she will destroy me completely financially. She was even happy when she found out I lost a family member. How could I want to have anything to do with such an evil woman?

I totally agree my 14 yr old gets no money from his father who is a construction worker takes his four other kids on vacation with their mom tell my son about it but will not take him treat him awful sometimes come get him sometimes don’t will not answer his calls for months one time for 2 years when he does come get him he buys the other kids things not him nothing for Christmas birthdays but the other kids whatever they want hate to see my son so hurt but yup nothing you can do but forgive and watch your kid hurt and cry.

Kinda just taught me to never have another kid again or else ill be left alone to care for them and struggle alone I have one and its been a long ride he’s 14 now . struggling and all even when he turns his back on my son he’s always allowed to do it again because the door has to stay open to continue to let him hurt him over and over again because he’s the father have to keep the door open and take the hurt and pain and deal with it I guess .

No dear u dont have to do that to your son try by all means to push this man out of your lives otherwise he will grow up with anger.cut contact with him please

I am a dad and i pay 1200 every month on time and ex will not make sure i get my time .But if she needs something she will start to let me see my son and as soon as she gets it she takes him from me so wtf

No sorry you do not keep the door open for the ex loser to keep hurting the kids, no father is better than a crap one – end of story! It will make the kid tougher and they will eventually stop asking about their loser dad and be happier for it!!

I absolutely wouldn’t allow someone to hurt my child like that. No matter who they are and my ex knows it. He tries that crap with my kids he can kiss goodbye to us/them pandering to his crap ever again

Women like you aren’t just shittyBad mothers straight up. U let man ruin your life for what? becuase u pushed his kid out your vagina? Get your own life n close the dam door your kid is old enough to go look for him if he wants to be abused u don’t need to facilitate that anymore. Go get counseling and try Ginsburg a new life 14 years u sit there miserable n u think that’s being a good mom? You head is Fu**ed up

Kuddos to for trying…some men and women don’t want to be involded and it sad…we need laws that encourage involvement. Picking winners and losers creates losers

Kuddos to for trying…some men and women don’t want to be involved and it sad…we need laws that encourage involvement. Picking winners and losers creates losers

You don’t get why he is mad. And this is how he is punishing you for his limited parental role. Offer his equal custody, equal visitation and be amazed at the results.

Lol I beg my ex to take the kids half the time and he can even pay half support but he refuses. He only visits them when he’s free so 2x week never a sleep over. Selfish and lost soul. It’s very sad. Trust me I am very accommodating so my kids can see their dad but some men were so spoiled they are still all about them.

I agree. My husband has a child with his ex (she has 5 from 3 different dads!) and they live over and hour and a half away from us. He is military so gone a lot and does sometimes have to cancel because of his job. She does nothing to help us see his daughter, nothing. It is easier to be a parent when you get to have the child actually living with you! It seems like kids always go to the mom in most cases and its not fair. She has used seeing his daughter as a ploy to get more money from us. Also, ex’s, you can be upset about a father not staying in touch with/visiting their kid (whatever the situation may be) but I’m sorry, you cannot be mad at them for having a life and having more children or new girlfriends or wives. That is why people that don’t want to be married forever, shouldn’t have children together. I know we can’t all know that a marriage or relationship may end but obviously when a relationship or marriage ends and a child is involved, it is not ideal and most often, one parent will be in the child’s life less.

You should’ve considered what kind of Man YOU were BREEDING WITH. Your probably boring or annoying so what if he found a new partner how bout u try to do the same instead of sulk n Bitch for 14 years. Pathetic… my dad didn’t show up for visits u know what my mom did? Cut him off n find a new life which she did

Honestly … How dare you judge someone you know nothing about. Get down off of that high horse of yours. If you can’t say something constructive, don’t say anything at all. This lady has come here for help, not for people like you to judge her.

First off all, the statement “My husband has a child with his ex (she has 5 from 3 different dads!)” has nothing to do with the story itself. Your husband is a PARENT, he need to parent his child, find time, call, and etc…she does her parenting. If there is a will, there is a way..

Um so he can just move on and say screw his other kids. If he really wants to see his child he would fight her in court. He would make arrangements to see the child.

My husband let go (except he still asks for sex) and let go of our 3 child’s (12,9 & 2 yrs old). I forgive him for everything he has done to me ( I have a permanent restraining order). Inside im happy he don’t see our kids per court agreement, and even happier he moved on with new girlfriend and kids., but feel sorry for my children as they do miss their dad but one day he will have answer his 1st daughter and 1st son questions.( i.e. Why did you leave us too when you left mommy?) the eldest has most heartfelt questions. Even though my kids father and I are in the process of divorce, I LOVE
my CHILDREN more than I ever have before my life is devoted to only them and choose not to get enrolled with anyone, as of now it’s been over a year, and As I still do love my estranged husband ( not in love) for giving me our children. I forgive him and leave it in the hands of the Lord God Almighty.

Well. Let’s see, you got a restraining order and had the court limit contact with him……..hmmmmmmmmmmm

The Bible is against divorce unless of adultery and porn. My wife left because I worked out of state to support her and the kids. I flew home on weekends and holidays and summers we had a great time cause I fly for free. I no longer see my kids because of distance and the EX. no one thinks of what this does to kids. As a ex dad I’m happy again. My kids don’t write call or email. ages 9, 13 and 17 and two are boys. The wife’s new boyfriend just wants the child support, she is his problem now and hopefully when they turn 18 or more they might look me up. My divorce is to be finalized this Christmas and not heard from my kids in two years all the new boyfriend has to do is keep the nintendo games coming.

Exactly. My bio dad didn’t give a fuk about me and N gave up my half sister for adoption. My mother cut his ass out my life and I ann so thankful for that. She met a man who became my step dad and raised me for years before he was murdered by our neighbor. The point in making is that he loved me because he loved my mother. When a man is finished with a woman he will love his kids yea but it’s not the same as daily raising. a child who doesn’t see their dad hug n kiss their mother grows up missing the link of human connection how it’s suppose to be instead they blame dad n go on to have daddy issues or anger issues. I personally am thankful my mother cut my bio dad out the equation it gave us the opportunity to have a real man who showed us true love regardless of the DNA link. My bio father later killed himself n then I found out at 30 years old I had a sister he threw away along G with the Whore he was cheating on my mom with… toxic much? Yea. So lesson is just because a man gave sorry doesn’t mean he will give much else. Find true love stop putting so much hype on blood.

Melisa, I think many mothers WISH this were true. But the mother and the child are NOT the same person, no matter how much you may feel it. Most fathers NEVER let go of their children emotionally. Even when the pain of missing their children hollows them out emotionally, and when the grief of having that relationship damaged or severed becomes an unbearable weight carried day after day, they still don’t let go.

Hi Emma,
I love your post and have read posts by many of the men and women that have responded. Divorced mom, living with our daughter clear across the country from her father (unfortunately). I relate to so many of the posts (by both men and women) in so many ways… For me, Forgiveness is essential to happiness. Forgiveness of self and other. Forgiveness and letting go… I recently read this post by a single dad and I love it.
Come on divorced parents, let’s all get over ourselves enough to say we all suck sometimes, we all rock sometimes and deep-down we love our kids more than we will often let ourselves show–for whatever reason. We all love imperfectly (and that’s ok), we are all imperfect (that’s a fact), and being entrusted with the lives of our kids is not an obligation but a privilege… My ex and I do not get along since the divorce but I have never once said anything negative about him to our daughter. Regardless of his behavior (with which I often struggle) I always ask God to forgive me for not being forgiving and I ask that love heal the wounds and rifts. He loves his daughter. He’s hurting and angry… My own relationship with my father (parents divorced when I was 11), had been horrific for years and is now healed. I know what’s possible. Keep the faith.

So they create all this pain and we get told “this is life”….and you want us to empathise with them!!! I think you have that the wrong way. We have all the same feelings as men. When did it become ok for men to take no responsibility for their life choices and women have to empathise with them.

You know, I don’t think your article could be more dead on. I myself have witnessed the struggles of a man who knows what he should be but can’t seem to get there (and that’s putting it lightly). I know undoubtedly that he loves his daughter. But how do I explain to her his absence? When he says he’s going to come and doesn’t? What about missed holidays? I don’t. I can’t. It speaks for itself and I know that. I feel helpless. I feel sad. I know I’m strong enogh to figure this out, to help them out. So that she’ll understand why he isn’t there but still feel loved. What kind of magic is that? I know he loves her, why is this so hard, maybe I’m not doing enough, maybe it’s me that’s bad. Damn him.

I know how you feel. I feel that way too. Except you and I are very different. That girlfriend you speak of? I’m the 15%of women dating/married to a guy with kids, I want you to succeed in all of this. I want to figure it out with you. I’m trying like hell, it feels like it’s not my place, but he’s struggling so I’ll be the extra push. We talk, I try to explain we’re struggling too, I have my own family to look out for, but your daughter is a priority to me too, believe it or not it is to him. He feels like a failure and seemingly is just giving up. He doesn’t know what to do. You said she’d be better off without him? Remember? He’s a sperm donor? Those two sentances have resulted in a year long battle on my end to speak your child’s name above a whisper. We talk about it more openly now, but I had to put in a lot of work. I had to ask when I know he didn’t want me to, I had to start the hard conversations. Can’t you see I’m pulling for you? I’ll never forget the day we started talking. It was simple, polite. It still is. I’m trying my damnedest over here, but it’s hard. Just know when I’m explaining to you why he’s not there, I want to work with you, stratagize, let’s do it together. I will get you as much money as I can as soon as I can get it. I changed jobs, I have an infant and I’ve got this man to manage. I’m not asking for your sympathy, I agree, this should be easy, it was immediate for us, I don’t know why it’s not that way for him, but we’re working really hard here, we’ll get there-you’ll see.

Sometimes I don’t feel like we ever will. But I can tell you that I won’t stop trying.


The Other Good Woman

Why would you be with a man who doesn’t love his children enough to be present in their lives? He may love them. But he doesnt love them enough to be present. You don’t think his ex feels broken? Needs a break from parenting to ‘get herself together? Wake TF up! nHe will do the same to your children, if you end up marrying this guy. I was there. I did that. I thought he loved his kids so much but was broken. I tried to push him. We had a child and he is not available for her either. Don’t do it to yourself!!!!!!!!!!! Run for the hills

I totally agree. I’m tired of hearing “he’s broken” or “he has nothing to say”, etc, etc, blah blah blah. I have sympathy for people who OWN their crap. Not for people that are narcissistic douche bags. Unfortunately there are too many of those types in this world. It’s sickening.

Thank you. I’ve already seen a change in my ex and it’s due to his new girlfriend, who is also a single mum.

I wish it were that way for me. My ex is living with a single mom and her son and she has pushed him away from paying chic support. She up and asked him to move 3 hours away from his daughter knowing that would put a toll on me and his child. I wish he was with a woman who cared about other single mom’s but I lost out and he found one that doesn’t care at all about someone who is in her same boat. Losers they are together. Karma will get her. He should be man enough to tell her to deal with it and yet he isn’t. It’s hearthe wrenching for me to see my child be pushed aside so he can play full time daday to another kid. Men!

My wife has two kids from other men. My steps sons do not receive even a penny from him but somehow they still love their father. I as their step father do not treat them bad i even do not talk to them because i feel like this way… I do not have my own kids, because i wish i could have a woman with not kids so we can start real family like it is supposed to and not raise not kids from someone else. Here is the thing, and honesty i do not know what to do. Every-time i see my two step son, all i see is their father. I feel i am the second on every thing- The second husband, the second baby father, the second on give me a kid, the second of everything. i have 3 years dealing with this and i can not get over it. i am tired of being the second, tired of being out of the picture, tired of waiting until $ is enough to have my own child, TIRED!!! but nobody pay attention to me because i am the STEPFATHER which is crap, the second and the one who apparently receive all the failure from others but i am suppose to be okay with it.

Well my ex married the other woman and she convinced him to love from Cali to Hawaii. Now he barely sees his kids. I feel it is all her doing. I feel she wants him and his money all for her and her kid. My kids feel very sad and angry at him as they see what’s going on. It kills me to know this is happening. My boyfriend sees his kids every weekend and u am amazed there are dads like him to want so much time with their kids. Too bad he has nothing to do with mine cus he says they he a dad already. Ugh.

My story pretty much summed up. I thought my ex was a good day and felt sorry for him when he said he couldnt see as much of his daughter as he’d like ( i knew he could have made more effort if he wanted to) we had a child. He left us for someone else when my son was 12 weeks. Hes made no effort to see my son in 8months now.

Well you are an obvious evident of being the former girlfriend of a jerk. That jerk sounds exactly like my ex. He said he loves his son, but never make the effort to see him. I always said the same thing to him, if you want to see our son, you know where to find him. I never stop you from coming to see him. He was never been consistent with his own presence. On and off. Making our son confuse. No one is stoping him from seeing his son. He was making tons of excuses trying to blame things on me. Well, typical old tactic that doesn’t work on me anymore. I am now more aware than ever before. I am go glad that we are no longer in any relationship anymore. He can marry and date whoever he wants. That’s not my business, I don’tgive a damn. I am just glad that I don’t have to deal with him anymore.

My ex doesn’t see his boys or ring them, I don’t understand him how he could not want to see his children,
It was my youngest birthday not long ago and no present no phone call. How do you explain that to a six year old when dad doesn’t ring him on his bday. I try to encourage him to see boys but never get a reply, some men are not big on responsibility, let me say there are some good guys out there, some good single dad’s who care for and support there kids and who want to be in there lives ,guys who don’t walk away.

Same situation here and I find myself looking for excuses as comfort because seeing my daughters hurt, hurts me. This did not start until he entered in to a relationship with the woman he is with now. He entered in to a relationship out of convenience and someone to help pay his bills to compensate for the child support he was paying and since she was paying bills she felt it was her right to control the whole situation with the children. This sicko is in school and wants to work with children who have suffered from abuse and have mental illnesses. Yet, she obviously does not care too much about kids because look what she has done to mine. His fault because he has allowed it. She claimed she could not have children, but conveniently ended up pregnant within a few months of their relationship-if she has not figured it out by now, maybe she should, that he will do the same to her child.

I totally agree. If you marry a man who keeps blaming his ex for not allowing him to see his kid and he doesn’t pay child support. Then a woman like that is very sad and desperate because he will loose interest the minute she gets pregnant!!

So so so true! I’m in that situation and he made it out to be the ex that was unreasonable… I’m the new unreasonable ex and he is spinning the same stories and lies to his next victim. All while refusing to see his two year old daughter that he claimed to love.

I really dont know what goes on inside mens head that dont want to be a parent. Pull your emotions together, shouldnt have kids if u cant afford to take care of them. Men need to take responsibility for there own actions they are not kids. My ex has new gf our bby is 7 months and he clearly has 2 kids before ours he never seen them because of the mothers, but im here open door he complains. His relationship with a girl who has 3 kids is more important he barley met her…ugh… She stated its none of her buisness its between us.

Thank you for this article. I’ve struggled with huge amounts of anger & resentment after my partner left me in May. He is living 60 miles away with his new girlfriend, who has children but not actual custody of them. He initially promised to visit every weekend, but so far, has only been to visit us twice; he claims lack of money. I had convinced myself it was ‘her’ stopping him from coming down, and went through a rainbow of emotions, from ‘Damn you, you need to step up’ to ‘Sod you, we don’t need you anyway’. Your article gave me the first feelings of calm since all this began. No, I can’t control him. Threats, emotionally blackmailing and self-pity will not change anything, and only make me feel miserable, which in turn affects my parenting. From now on, I will try & keep an ‘open door’ policy. I know, deep down, he wants to be a good dad and I need to find a way of encouraging this, without having expectations of him. I’m doing it alone anyway – but having support from him would be the icing on the cake, and so enormously beneficial to our little guy. Thank you; food for thought X

Thanks for sharing this – such a common situation, good on you for being open to new perspectives …

You’ve put into words the way I have been feeling. I just wish I could communicate how important it is to be there for me daughter. I am learning to let it go…

It is so hard, I really feel for moms like you. Hang in there – you’re doing a great job!

Well, I just don’t understand my situation. I was with my ex bf for 3 months before he said he was ready to have another family. (He has two girls from a high school sweetheart) after I “thought” carefully to research whether or not he was a good dad/father, I was pleased with the results and during our 4th month into the relationship we tried having a baby. Success!! I conceived this July and my ex bf was elated with joy. He told all his family(cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, mom and dad..and even his baby mama) he told his Co workers, his church and even close friends, both men and women. He wanted to move in together and I agreed, however I mentioned getting married and his response was “not until we completely know each other” I knew that was an excuse but like most women I allowed it…guess is why I got burned badly.
Well, after 4 months of being pregnant it’s November and two days before Thanksgiving he and I both went for the ultrasound and was told I was having a girl. Now this is where things got complicated. Before finding out the gender, he had it in his mind, set and stone, that I am having a boy. He was convinced, he even convinced several others as well. Everyone, meaning his immediate family, kept saying to me “we hope your having a boy” but everytime I heard it, I never felt confident, I felt more like a warning. Arguments began in mid october..transitioned into November and during the ultrasound my ex bf fell silent the whole ride back to the house.

Slowly he became distant, wanted to get two jobs (that would have him gone from the house all day), he began drinking with his brothers, going to bars with Co workers and worse when I became ultra emotional he started to tell me “I don’t care” I knew it was soon to end.

Well December 12th, 2 weeks after arguments, let down, not coming home every night and no compassionate in regards to my pregnancy he calls to say, “I’m tired of pretending to be someone I am not, I am doing me now. I want nothing to do with you because the real person I am..I’m an ass hole and I will not be with you any longer.” When I asked him in regards to our baby girl, his response “I don’t want to be in her life, I’m sorry but this is my decision and I made up my mind”.
Now I’m 6 months pregnant, no apartment (he was the one with the employment and decided not to pay rent any more) I got kicked out, and I’m living back with grandparents. So tell me, what went wrong and how can a man go for about..let’s see 9 months of “pretending”. Getting a gf, palnning a baby, getting a place together, and lastly having soo many people involved, and then next minute BAIL! And when asked what happened he ignores it and totally moved on.
I’m 27 years old, first time being pregnant, going to school and only working on part can I raise her in this economy on my own…
Rely on God and Jesus when “man”(which includes women here too) decided freely to let you down.
I put my trust in my ex bf and I became very dependent, especially since I wasn’t working due to possible miscarrying. I feel ashamed, embarrassed but mostly just sad. I will possibly be a single parent for my baby girl…how can a man be so cruel and have no remorse. .guess that’s why we all need Jesus.thanks for reading.

Hi Candace, I’m not sure how long ago you wrote this response, but here it goes. You have completely blown me away! Your situation hun isn’t the first and unfortunately won’t be the last. The key thing that you mentioned though is to put your trust in Jesus. Only he can change a heart. Continue to pray for your ex and God will do the rest. How did everything turn out with your baby and how are you doing? I can relate and when you let go and let God take over miracles start to happen that you never even thought of. I have two daughters 4 and 16 months old and no matter what I never have to worry about them because God ALWAYS has them covered girl honestly. I’m not saying that your life will be easy but I will and can say that with God all things are possible and where you are weak he is your strength. He will Never lesve nor forsake you either………Never! People will but he wont! Put God first and you will never be last. You’ve really encouraged me and I pray that you will be encouraged as well. Your disappointments and hurts will always turn out for good for those that love the Lord and it will encourage someone else like myself . As for your ex, pray for the areas where he is held in bondage and under strongholds because without God we are all nothing. Stay Encouraged

Oh dear, I wish I could give you a hug and your baby girl a big hug. I feel you. His reaction was just like my ex, except that he has never been married before or have any children before. Told everyone he’s becoming father but things were not as I wish it was. My son is 3 years old now. I’m finally over him. Three years is long enough for him to show he care his son enough to be in his life but he never did and kept making excuses and blame everything on me. I’ve been a single mother all these three years. His very brief presence on my son make no impact on him. My son is the happiest cute little boy in the world. Hang in there girl! I can do it and so are you. Hope you will come to a stage where he won’t affect you anymore. Focus on your daughter. Put your trust on JESUS, not a man, not any man.

Don’t give up. I realize it has been a long three years for you and your son. But people do change. Don’t ever totally close that door to him being in your son’s life, while also not holding out hope — does that make sense? Tough balance for sure.

Hey everyone this is Candace and I want to share what had gone on this year since my last message.

Moving forward, it was about Feb of 2016 and I was about 8months…and through the Grace of God I was comforted by the church and they began praying over me and surpinsgly my ex, which I was still madly in love with(men huh lol) for the past 2 months. I didn’t have family support because I was suppose to be a Christian, the friends I had were very biased and more angry than even I was, but I still didnt stop believing in Jesus and knowing that He will make a way for me and my child, since I thought the man (my child’s father) was stronger than God; I got the slap of a lifetime from God Himself when my ex left me, broke and homeless.. so here it is summer of 2016, my beautiful and healthy baby girl was born in April and surprisingly I got a call from my only male friend of 2 years returned back from the service and he offered to support me and aided me since my baby girl was 1 1/2 months.

I wanted to tell my story to encourage young, old, super young and super old women of all ethnicities to put your Trust in the Lord because when the men we seem to trust more than our God fails us, God has already forgiven us and we must make the move to “stand” FOR God. I found out around the time my daughter would be born in April of 2016 than my child’s father met an older woman of wealth and began sleeping with her around Thanksgiving of 2015 which was why in December of 2015 he acted so badly towards me. I found out he never told her about me, and when the church, his family and friends and even some co-workers ( I guess people of his life really did care for me) tried to reach out, he “dismessed” them all to go and finally have that money he soooo worships. The older woman bought him a car, moved him into her home in just 2 weeks, 2 weeks!!!!!, she also spent loads of money on him and of course, bought him newer phones, clothes and accessories..he went on vacations and of course was a “father” to her boys than his own children (2 from his 1st baby mama, and 1 from me, his 2nd babymama) and lastly decided to marry her during the same month our daughter was born. All of this “good” came on to him, and though I was so lonely I was also staying strong for our Lord and tried my best to have a forgiving heart. Well, here it is almost the new year, and in less than a year my good friend proposed to me and told me, my family, my babydaddy’s family and God Himself that he will be the best man for me and the best father for my Lil girl. I ended up getting the dream I wanted, a family and marriage, because I stayed Faithful to the Lord…

Oh and my ex, turns out his precious wife, was actually a lie and she never had the money but her sister has it, the house she has is now being evicted or foreclosures or whatever it’s called, lol, the car she bought him was used for a title loan to help keep mortgage payments and the lies he told her about me well the truth was revealed by the kindness I showed him regarding our baby girl. Now my ex wants me to get a divorce, A DIVORCE!!!, because he wants to return to me, the one he said got away..sorry hun, no thanks, eventually I found out she did me a favor..

In your post, you said “So tell me, what went wrong”
Seriously? Are you genuinely asking this question?
Honey, as you’ve now figured out, YOU DON’T MAKE A BABY WITH SOMEONE YOU DON’T KNOW. His response says it all. He won’t get married because you guys didn’t know each other. What were you thinking trying to bring a child into the world with someone you didn’t know anything about. At 27 years old, you have got to have some common sense. While it is not your child’s responsibility to teach you responsibility, but you have saddled him or her with that job from day 1.
I wish you the best ans really hope things work out for you, but please think before you act next time.

I’m a father and I always read this stuff like its gonna change how I feel. Sadly what’s done is done. Being a dad I thought I’d chime in to shed my thoughts. I’m 34 and have a 6yr old little girl that I liv more then anything. My ex and I were together for 17 years and one day she just got up and left. Sad she fell out of love. We grew up since play school together and went to the same school all through the years.
We had a great life, house, businesses, 2-3 vacations per year. There was no hitting or cheating, sure we argued but then again, after 17 years together and 26 years of friendship, who doesn’t. I begged her not to split my family up. I said we could go to counciling or take a break. She was done and that was it. I found out she found another man and that was the reason. I told her I didn’t have a child to be in a broken marriage and would not have it. I told her I didn’t have a child to be raised by another man, or for me to have scheduled times for when I could spend time with my kid.
It’s been a year and a half and I’m finally tossing in the towel. I’ve deleted all social media and isolated myself as I can’t stand seeing picture of my family and her new boyfriend. So when you women think us dads are dead beats, yes absolutely we are cowards and are not manning up and doing what needs to be done. But never think that it’s easy and that every guy asked for it this way. I can’t speak for every father that you guys speak of I can only speak for myself. I would have gave 20years of my life not to have my family split up. My life literally has not been the same. So if you are a mother that walked out on your husband, and he didn’t want it, and you broke the family up, then maybe this can help you understand why some men are the way they are.

I think the important thing here is the kid(s). My wife left the kids with me after the divorce. She also found another guy (in prison now) while we were married and it drove me crazy, but I dealt with it. It’s easy to hate her or all women for when she left me or the kids, or to shift blame on to her for how hard it is being a full time parent of two girls. But I know my kids miss her. I know I wanted to be in contact with both of my parents when they divorced. Life changes and forgiveness (which I’m still learning to do) is necessary to move on and to give the support needed to the children involved so they can be successful, happy, and healthy.

“Life changes and forgiveness (which I’m still learning to do) is necessary to move on and to give the support needed to the children involved so they can be successful, happy, and healthy.”

Very close to my story. Three years it’s been… I struggle daily just to cope and try to live between the lines.

Amen brother… The only difference between your story and mine is ; my ex-wife was a closet homosexual that came out of the closet. Threw me out of my house while I was incapacitated in a wheelchair after a car accident and brought her lesbian lover in. All in front of my 5 year old little boy……… Divorced for two years. Physically I’m healed but psychologically still devestated …….

I hear you on the social media thing. The ex husband cheated on me with a woman 14 years younger than him (I didn’t know until later). Now they are living together and I’ve seen a picture pop up on my newsfeed. It’s maddening to see them!

One thing people might not realize is that sometimes, the new woman in your ex’s life is the one footing the bill for the outings, so that she can have alone time bonding with him. That is my situation with my boyfriend, with whom I live. He works very hard, both at work and at home, and yet my life is easier and I have more money, so i can afford to cash in for a ticket for him and all he has to do is accompany me. So, this particular sticking point is something that might upset single moms or dads who see the ex going off to have fun, but might not know that the ex is not paying for those outings.
And I was clear from the get-go that I would not be paying to take his kids on vacation. I am not obligated to do that. We provide a good home (courtesy of me) and good, healthy food, and we spend quality time with them, but we are not obligated to vacation with them as well. They are not the center of the universe, and there is nothing we could do with both of them that they would enjoy.

This is a very touchy subject with me! I do not see my kids on a regular basis!! This is a bullshit reason! My son Kyle is 20 and I talk to him a little now thank God that they grow up and figure out dad isn’t the evil POS he was portrayed to be! Kyle was 12 when I stopped seeing him! I went to his graduation univted because he was 18 and in control of his own life,LOVE HIM!!!! I have a precious daughter named Emma who is at the age of 14 and I seen her recently because I was in a relationship with a woman who had a daughter the same age she came up to me and hugged my neck at another little girls birthday party ,and I hugged her so hard I didn’t want to let go,I told her that I wanted her to know that I loved her very much!!:) Of course I cried! Now this is just an answer here your giving is someone who doesn’t want a relationship with that little girl! Basically he is a dumb ass who doesn’t realize when he gets older he will have no one!! That is punishment enough for this poor bastard!! There is a thing we call ALIENATION OF AFFECTION!! And I pity those who do this to LOVING caring FATHER’S!!!!!;

Here is the deal. You divorced him and he moved on. Now it sucks he doesn’t visit but he has a now woman in his home who resents you and your kid. So, you divorced him and now the consequences are your kid gets to grow up without a daddy.

Brian, you are right about new wives bring jealous. My exes new wife is revolting and insanely jealous of my daughter and I and has made sure he is self employed so he doesn’t pay child support. Second wives can be much more devious and possessive than the first mum/wife!

No matter who initiates the divorce, being an ex-spouse does not mean the person is an ex-parent. In my case, I initiated it, because I did not care for the fact he was sleeping with my good friend. In some ways I will always love my former husband because he gave us three wonderful children. But I will never understand why he ignored their existence for decades when he was with wife #2 and wife #3. His current wife encourages them to have a relationship, but a lot of water has gone over the dam, so to speak. he would do things, such as, promising to come see them or take them someplace, then not showing up or even calling. I eventually quit telling them when Daddy was coming, so that their hopes weren’t dashed when he didn’t show up. Now, 30 years later, he is sorry and trying to foster relationships with our children, but they all tell me, it’s too late to bond now, sadly.