There seem to be an abundance of channels online supporting and servicing Single Mums. So, we thought it would be timely to start seeing things from a Separated dad’s perspective. Without educating the impacts of Separation for both Men and Women, change/high conflict experienced will not get better.
For quite a few of us, dads seem to take on the cycle of every 2nd weekend, perhaps a midweek visit and some time during the school holidays. With my own experience in mind I went looking for some statistics and found this from the Australian Institute of family studies (not that these numbers do not indicate which parent specifically):
It was devastating to see that 28.2% saw one parent less than once a year.
Some take on the role 50/50 and share all responsibilities. My experience was the first scenario, one that seems to be the setup for many Separated families within my own circle of friends/acquaintances. Irrespective of the setup, the shift in no longer seeing your own children daily or maybe even every couple of days (for those that travel for work) is likely to be a tough situation to get used to (at least during the initial stages of Separation). For me being a mum, not seeing my kids on the alternating weekends when they were with their dad was EXCRUCIATING!
Meet Jack, we asked him our curious questions:
Newly Separated Dad, Jack 30 (ish)
How many kids do you have?And how old were they?
2 kids, aged 11 and 9.
What was the most challenging issue relating to the kids that you had to navigate through?
Getting used to their absence. Phone calls become awkward, once you get past the usual “how was your day?” questions. And I can hear it in their voice as well.ner table or around the house.
How could you ex have helped/supported you during that early stage?
I don’t know if I’m the one who was supposed to be supported during the early stage. I mean, she took custody of the kids and I imagine that would’ve been a massive challenge and burden in itself. But she didn’t ask for help. Well, not to me anyway. Not for at least a month, before she asked for monetary contributions. But I don’t think there was anything I needed from her at that stage. Except perhaps upfront honesty, as I discovered less than a month after our official separation that there was a guy she was seeing who was visiting her new house (with our kids around).
What were the kids finding it hard to deal with?
Trying to appear “normal” throughout this whole period. I also discovered that my ex had started seeing someone (I imagine this was going on long before she left) and that this person was visiting them in their new home. I imagine that that would’ve been very jarring for them, as well as keeping it from me, so as not to hurt me. My ex assured me she never asked them to keep it from me, but to this day my eldest hasn’t mentioned this guy.
How did you navigate through the challenges that you experienced with the kids?
Played it by ear. Didn’t really have anyone to turn to. Most of the advice people would give was either too vague, too irrelevant or just plain useless.
What would you now do differently?
Not have gotten married!
Too late for that?
This is a bit of a trick question, because in an ideal scenario, I suppose I would have looked for signs ages ago that this relationship wasn’t going to work out, maybe even before kids.
But if we’re talking about what would I have done differently regarding the separation and the kids, I’m not sure really. I know I’ve done my best to put the kids’ interests and welfare first. It’s still a nagging concern as to what the new guy’s presence and influence will have in the long run. But there’s no way I could have anticipated it, I don’t think.
What support would have helped you help your kids?
I think I received a lot of support from my family, who would participate in lunch time or movies outings.
How did you feel during that transition period as a dad? Was it hard to get used to not seeing the kids daily? How did you manage?
Alone. Very alone. I tried not to dwell on it by burying myself in work and then scotch.
What new things did you learn about the kids post separation that you did not know before?
I think each fortnightly visit brings discoveries. Seeing how they’re growing. Sometime small details I might not notice if I had them around all the time. Definitely as my eldest approaches her teenage years (shudder!) I can see how she’s becoming her own individual self. And as for my youngest with autism, I can see progress in her language and behaviour.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is general information only and is not provided as a substitute for legal/professional advice. If you have a legal/financial/ any other issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or professional before making a decision about your options or personal situation. TheSeparationExchange.com cannot provide legal/professional advice.
ABOUT the Blogger:
My name is Anju, after going through a “surprise” separation and divorce was a rebirth which awakened me!
After a period of sadness and struggle, revealed a person who was forced to sort her shi# out and find the strength needed to raise 2 young kids without a partner! And so, a new journey began with new dreams: www.TheSeparationExchange.com
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