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Are You Staying For The Kids? Some Thoughts From Someone Who Left.

One of the most common refrains here seems to be the line "I love my kids" or "I love my family", or "I don't want to destroy my family".

There are plenty of reasons to not get divorced. If your sexless period was just a bump in the road, only 6 months, a year, right after your first child, you should probably try to make things work. It may not be too late. Divorce is inconvenient and expensive. Your ex will definitely hate you, and you will need to live with that. And you must have liked something about them before, perhaps you can get the magic back.

But if this has been going on for years, if it was a unilateral decision by the other party, if the lack of sex is combined with a lack of intimacy and a general lack of support for YOU by your spouse, a lack of fun, a regular barrage of criticism, the millions of small details you read about here that go well beyond the lack of sex, you might want to face the fact that your marriage sucks. You may have a good (or a bad) system in place for the raising of kids, but you do not have a partner.

And that is a shame, because a good relationship does wonders for you. It makes you feel better about yourself. You are not alone in the world. You have someone to talk with, rely on, feel good with, have fun with, snuggle with, spoon with and, (if you can remember this far back,) have sex with.

But you think maybe you should suffer for the sake of your family. Or because you can't stand the thought of having your kids part-time. Because you don't want to "destroy" your family.

I want to share my experience with my kids in separating, as for me, things have been stunningly great. This might not be the norm, and your situation might be worse. But so far, for me, I couldn't be happier.

I separated about 10 months ago. Details are posted elsewhere, but this is a different story. My ex definitely hates me, to the point that she can't even stand to be in the same room as me without getting shaking mad and needing to leave. Despite that, I have been firm, and I get just about half of the time with my kids, and thinks are working out.

We are alternating nights with the kids, we are alternating weekends with the kids. We are alternating vacations with the kids. It took a month or two to settle in, but the kids have adjusted. We have a regular schedule, and they know where they will be, who they will be sleeping with, where they will be waking up and where they will be spending the weekend. There is a calendar, the kids can see it, and they have certainty in their lives.

On the nights that I am not with the kids, I call them at my ex's place before bedtime. Spend 5 minutes on the phone with each, tell them I love them and will see them tomorrow. My ex does the same.

Both of us have been good about being supportive of the other in front of the kids. If the kids don't want to talk to Mom when she calls, I tell them that it isn't a choice. If they are watching TV when she calls, I shut it off so they pay attention to her. She does the same.

When my ex took the kids on vacation, I skyped each night with the kids. When I took them, she did the same.

We both go to the parent teacher conferences. We are splitting up the sporting events, recitals, school presentations, etc, so that we don't need to see each other (she hates me, remember?), but so that at least one of us is at anything important.

We email regularly about the kids (and nothing else), and if there was any issue the night before (illness, sleeplessness, etc..) we text. We send each other pictures of the kids so that we can both be proud of them.

Occasionally, the 5 y.o. tries some version of "but mommy said.." or "I hate being with mommy, I want to be with you", or "I hate being with you, I want to be with mommy". But neither of us is letting her get away with that. I calmly say "now is your time with me, this is a daddy night. So why don't we snuggle for a bit, read a book, and maybe you will feel tired after that". Or "I love you dearly, but tomorrow is a mommy night. She loves you, and you will have a good time." I have heard my ex do similar things.

I have found that I am capable of taking care of 3 kids on a weekend by myself. I can schedule play dates and take care of 3 kids + their 3 friends by myself. I now laugh at the parents who seem to have trouble with both of them managing their one child. I have had 7 in the house by myself.

I have found that being fully responsible for bedtimes, being fully responsible for making plans for the weekend, is a level of parenting that I didn't do before. There is no one to bounce ideas off of, it is now my responsibility to make sure the kids see friends and get out of the house, and have a good time.

Occasionally, we split them up, and get one on one time with one of the kids. The kids love that also. I took my daughter skiing last week. She loved getting out with just me.

I have adjusted my head - my "family" is now me and the kids. I sometimes feel like a papa duck, with the little ones in toe, and I love it. I'm starting to build memories for me and for them of my new family - just me and the kids. They will have other memories, of my ex and their times with her, and I want them to have that. It doesn't lessen in any way what I have with them, which is so wonderful that at times I want to cry when I think about it.

I find that I am eager to get to my kids for "my nights", and that I'm far more focused on them than I was in the past when both of us were tired at the end of the day. Getting a few nights a week for myself is recharging my batteries. I love the nights out with my girlfriend, I love my nights in with my kids. Pretty much every day is awesome, and I sometimes find it hard to believe that life is this good.

There are stresses. We have lawyers. I have no idea how much I will owe my ex for how long (or how much I will owe the lawyers). The final custody may look different than this. Occasionally, we don't see eye to eye, and have a fight (over email) about who gets which holiday, or what time the kids will be back to me or her after a weekend with the other. Or who gets to go to a specific game. And that kind of sucks. She may get married some day (or I may also) and new kids and new parents may come into the mix and things may get complicated. But that is for the future.

For now, it is great.

If I have any advice, it would be along the lines of "make an exit plan". Particularly if you are a man who is worried about this, you should step up your game now. Start putting your kids on the bus on a regular schedule (Mondays? Mondays and Fridays?) even if previously you left for work early. If you work late, start coming home early to eat dinner with the kids one or two nights a week, on a regular schedule. Make sure you are at the parent teacher conferences. Do all of this even if it affects your income - she will be getting half of it anyway, and what is that money worth if you are working to support a family you don't get to see? Get onto a regular schedule, get more involved, document it, and it will help you in the long run. Talk with a lawyer to find out what you can do to increase the chances of getting a custody arrangement you will be happy with.

Getting divorced doesn't mean that you are "leaving your family". You are booting your useless spouse out the door. Your life will continue, your family will continue. It will be a different configuration, with a different schedule, but it doesn't have to be worse. Your kids love you, they will continue to love you. YOU will have to put in a bit more effort, YOU won't be able to rely on your ex to do things, but in stepping up to the plate, YOU will be a better and more involved parent.
icancounttopotato icancounttopotato 36-40, M 64 Responses Jan 6, 2013

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You're totally right about the excuses we often make for not taking necessary decisive action. The odds of salvaging a sexless marriage are extremely low... A bad situation affects the whole family, not just the husband or wife. Therefore, living with a bad situation for the sake of others ultimately is a very myopic in the long-run.

I was married for 9 years and near the end I agonized over how a divorce would affect my two children who were 2 and 5 years old. Finally, I woke up one morning with the determination that I would be able to handle being a single dad and I committed myself to the hard work that would come with it. So, I left her. I fought for 50/50 custody and it was granted.

That was 12 years ago. Today, I have been married to a wonderful woman for 6 years now. My children love their stepmother. They know that she cares deeply for them and their needs. My ex-wife and she communicate directly to coordinate all of the children's activities, vacations, etc. I rarely even have the need to speak directly to my ex. I am truly a lucky man and I tell my wife that I know it.

The children appear to have not suffered due to my difficult decision of leaving their mother. (I realize that the children having to travel between two homes is not ideal, but then again, living in the home of an unhappy marriage is not a healthy atmosphere either.)

Today life is good and I feel very fortunate. I am sure others can have a similar success story. It doesn't just happen, though---You have to make it happen. Good luck...

Yes - just because you are a parent does not mean you should be a martyr. You need some things for YOU - like freedom from a soul-destroying selfish refuser who won't love you in bed, but still insists on monogamy.

While I knew in reality being in a home environment with two parents who just did not get along and brought stress to every moment they were in the same room was not 'better' for my children I still worried. My fear was completely alleviated when one of my twins less than a month after we separated said 'Daddy you laugh and smile so much more it makes me happy'. I have to admit I almost cried with joy at that. The younger a child past toddler is the more they pick up on body language and emotional state more than verbal communication. They get it. They know when you are really happy and relaxed and when you aren't. They know when being around someone (even if it is Mommy) makes you unhappy and hurt. Best bet in the scenario you painted (and boy does that sound familiar) is to just accept you cannot be a husband and wife any longer and work on being Mommy and Daddy as best you can. Your solution was my solution as well. I focus entirely on myself and the kids. My relationship with my ex-wife as a spouse is over and in the past. Any painful/resentful feelings from her refusing me for years on end is also in the past. Dragging it around like an anchor does neither myself nor my children any good. I don't forgive my ex-wife for the way she treated me for her benefit. I forgive it for mine and the twins because now we can move on in peace. Cheers!

It is great that even though your wife hates you she is still willing to be civil in front of the children. That isn't going to be the case for everyone.

I have firsthand experience from the child's side of this, and I can tell you that I wish my parents had split up sooner. The damage done to children under the guise of saving them, is often underestimated. Thank you for taking the time to share this. All the best,
TW

How do you know your kids are ok with it? How do you they are scarred or have trust/abandonment issues? I wish I could leave but I would loose custody bc I could never provide enough for them. A dearfriend of mine lost custody of her teenagers bc she couldn't not make enough money

How do you know your kids are ok with it?

I just found this again and decided to BUMP it up. Should be required reading for everyone with kids IMO.

What can I say!! Im speechless and in tears... Reading this helped me so much...ive been struggling, not knowing what to do to get out of a similar situation..and have stayed 4 years longer than I should have because I didnt wanna hurt anyone or end up with my kids hating me...thankyou thankyou thankyou..x

thank you for your kind words, and good luck to you with your situation.

Good write. I admire what you both have tried to do. In fact, we also tried doing exactly what you have articulated beautifully, except that our playing field has never been equal. Our property has still not been sold and she lives in it while I had to rent a seperate place. I moved to live in her country after we got married, now I get to bear the harder brunt of the stick in divorce. She has the family support (even when she needs to go dancing and leaves our son with her parents) and I don't and can't afford nanny services even when I need it even to attend a job interview. I am a man and she is a woman and that implies that she gets more sympathy socially. My job situation hasn't improved and hers is stable. So I am finally leaning on leaving her country and going back to mine (after 4 years of sharing the child and providing him with a stable life). He never liked the back and forth movement from house to house but accepted it anyway. He is aware of my poverty yet shows incredible happiness both privately and publicly around me. He adores the fact that his father is around, but knows we all shared the house his mother lives in now, during his firt 3 years of life (photos). We try to convince ourselves that sharing our child's life this way is good for them. Well, it's the better of two evils. I am wondering when I move to my country, how all three of us would cope. As things stand now I am disadvantaged greatly. I need to strengthen myself so that his long term future would be much better as he grows older because his needs will change. Slowly he is accepting the fact that in the long term I couldn't sustain a decent life with him and that I may have to move and see him less at least until he is 13, which is the legal age in Spain for a child to decide freely who he/she wants to live with.

None of us should underestimate the smartness of our children. They know when we are unhappy no matter how well we try to act differently. We have a responsibility to model maturity, love, and good relationships to them amongst other things. It is our job as parents to set a good example.

My partner left a sexless marriage, his children are slowly seeing how different their parents are and how they are both happier as a result of the split. They see their father happy and loved and as a result, more patient and loving in return. They are finally seeing how a real adult relationship works. They see genuine affection, rows and reconciliations, laughter, acceptance, and growth.

No one deserves to be deprived of sex, the ultimate demonstration of love. make that exit plan and find a real life if you are in a sexless marriage. The world has people in it who are prepared to love fully and selflessly.

Tell you what: this is very very similar to my story. Thank you for writing this. I had a choice: raise children and set precedents and examples in a home in which there was no more affection and a dysfunctional sexual relationship. Or raise them in a home where I'm allowed to be me ... happy, free, full of interests and laughter ... and now, with my new partner, able to set them the example of a wonderful, communicative, loving relationship where affection is frequent and support of one another's interests — and *liking* one another as well as loving — is visibly to everyone the bedrock of our lives together.

Divorce is hard. So is stepping out into the unknown. But I made the right choice. And I haven't looked back. My children will have to cope ... I don't deny that they will have to live with a great disruption in their lives, just as I lived with the early death of my father when I was their age and younger. I get that. This is a choice between two hard things. But, all the same, my children are getting the right example now, where they weren't before ... and they are thriving for it. Staying together "for the family" doesn't really do anyone any favours.

Wow! Is all I can say. You have hit the bullseye.:) I am so happy to hear there are people out there whom actually so far don't use the kids as leverage or get them involved in "your" issues. My parents marriage was something I started seeing as a kid that I didn't want. They didn't fight or even allow a hint that it was not the best for us to see. But you can tell by the way 2 people interact. Many years later they seperated and still to this day neither one ever said or tried to tarnish the fact of having a great mom or dad. Always reassuring that their indifference was between them as partners and nothing to do with family. Now of course I got older, married, and wiser now know what happened. And there are things that they did to each other that are completely unacceptable and I give them kudos to not being negative around us. But they instilled the fact that "your" kids have nothing to do with the "marriage" aspect of parents. That's a 2 human being only courtship. We all see it everyday kids being caught up in a battle they had nothing to do with . "First comes love then the baby in the carriage". So I wish you and your family the best and hope there is little damage that comes with divorce. Last thing to some one else who is going threw this nothing good will come of "punishing" your kids for something that is your problem. Whether its divorce or "staying together for kids" unhappy parents bleeds over to the kids and it is a form of abuse to provide an unpleasant hostile environment. So either work on fixing your marriage for you both and kids or separate for both of you and kids.

Thanks for sharing the insight that so many just don't seem to comprehend: After divorce, the family still exists, if only in a different form. Kudos to you for having the wisdom to realize and accept the inevitable, and the courage to embrace change & to reclaim you life and your happiness . . It's so refreshing to hear of a positive result for your children, too. Sounds like you have grown as a father and a person, it's all good !!

I was married for 20 years, the last 10 were a living hell. My kids suffered for this and I regret every day not leaving earlier. I was one of those people who believed only those who don't really try or don't really know how to love get divorced. I was wrong. I almost destroyed my children trying to hang on to a very destructive marriage. My ex husband has only seen his children 3 times in 6 years so that tells you what a wonderful father he is...NOT! Now my children and I are so happy, healthy, and full of joy. It took counseling, praying, and the help of my extended family to get us there. Life is good now. I still believe in love and marriage. I did NOT let my ex change my carrying, loving heart! You are doing a great job with your children. Be proud of what you have accomplished!

Great advise thanks.

Thank you for all of your stories. I just read them all and you make it all quite clear. I read the book you did too, found parts that resonated, and I wish we could all see the signs that it's time to take a different path.

I'm so glad your life is healthier, and I'm glad you pointed out that having quality, independent time with the kids is often overlooked as a possible outcome. And I believe that you have shown your children that it is possible to be brave and truly fix your life rather than just bear it.

Thank you for your story.

thank you! I am trying to make the best of a situation I didn't choose.

Check in with your kids a few years down the road and ask how did they feel during all the planning, weekends, and times you and your spouse were separated . That much effort think of what you could have accomplished if you both stayed. . Wonders!

you're a. cheerful one. Imagine how much better of a parent I woul have been if I didn't waste years of time and energy on trying to make my marriage work.

and I see from your profile that you are a lesbian staying in your marriage. clearly you have decided that sexual satisfaction from yourspouse just doesn't matter, which makes you the odd woman out on this board.

Lol no. Bisexual. Not married and I'm with a man. I used to be in a sexless marriage and left and haven't regretted it since. I spent 6-7 years on my marriage before deciding it wouldn't change.

Before using the word "useless spouse", she at one time was useful. The thought that you imply her no longer being of use to you stems to reason why divorce was not suppose to be. Men call the shots, this one is useful, this one can't have kids, this one is too heavy after having twins, this one is not handy in the bedroom as the kitchen, this one has too much to say, this one has an yelling problem, this one has an issue with my size.So if one is not useful then make sure they know it. Tell seniors, people with disabilities, people who are sick, people who are mentally challenged, you know what..in a few years guess what the edge wears off...the flair, flavor, the hype, wanes and you will wonder are you still useful...I love women....useful ones and the ones you guys throw away.

A lesbian who is not in a sexless marriage - Wow! That sure makes you the "expert" in these matters. And nowhere is the term "useless spouse" used. Your posts make NO sense.

Getting divorced doesn't mean that you are "leaving your family". You are booting your useless spouse out the door. I think that people in sexless relationships are still in them for many reasons...Especially those who are disabled or away in prison, or not able to perform. Just be aware that they are people who have feelings and to be referred to as a "useless spouse" hurts.

@enna30
Getting divorced doesn't mean that you are "leaving your family". You are booting your useless spouse out the door. Your life will continue, your family will continue. It will be a different configuration, with a different schedule, but it doesn't have to be worse. Your kids love you, they will continue to love you. YOU will have to put in a bit more effort, YOU won't be able to rely on your ex to do things, but in stepping up to the plate, YOU will be a better and more involved parent.

@letstalkaboutit, I'm not sure what your issue is. Can you truly fail to comprehend that most of the people driven to this board are here because their spouse is NOT "disabled, away in prison, unable to perform" or "a senior, people with disabilities"?

There is some percentage of marriages where one spouse unilaterally decides to cut off sex for the other. Either because of a lack of interest, a desire to control, they fell out of love, or other reasons that are entirely in their control. Rather than communicate, seek counseling, trying to work it out, these sex deniers make a choice on their own. That choice is devastating for the partner getting rejected. It also typically expands beyond sex to limiting intimacy and other controling behaviors. At some point, the rejected can no longer live without human affection. If they have the strength, they boot their useless spouse out the door. That is hard to do because of all sorts of reasons, including fear of what they are doing to their families, and the judgmentalism of people like you.

For you to read this as somehow being about old people and the disabled means you have no idea what people on this board are living through.

You guys are being a little harsh. I think she was simply offering another perspective which I found refreshing in this thread. I was in a terrible marriage myself and often thought of leaving. Ironically it was my wife who left and gave many of the same reasons that people on this thread have given. The funny thing is she was never able to see that she was a big part of why things were so troubled in our marriage. It's been a year and a half and it seems she is starting to realize the damage that divorce has done and continues to do to our kids and to our finances. She has also learned that I'm a pretty good guy when she makes an effort to get along with me and not act like a spoiled child. I have remained distant and tried to withhold my anger, although not always successfully. I have also tried to remain supportive even though she was having an affair and left me to be with the new guy. Well the new guy moved 500 miles away. I think the reality of the wreck and damage that this has caused is sinking in. I too have learned much about myself in our time separated. The point I'm trying to make is I think we should consider both sides. The original poster of this article has been separated only 10 months. He is already dating and pretty much ruined any chance of fixing things. I will tell you that after a year of separation my wife and I get along great and our family is still together in many ways. It has only proven the point that with a little perspective magical things can happen. I am still not sure if we will get back together or not. But I will say that my wife is more beautiful than ever and to see her having matured and grown is reassuring. I think her choice was a terrible one. However, I think it is really important to consider that a break up or separation can be great therapy although terribly difficult. But if you decide to move on and date others you ruin the wonderful opportunity that is there. I think if my wife had simply wanted separation instead of cheating then we could have actually worked out and been best friends. All that is needed is to look inward, face your own flaws and see how you contribute to the problem. Divorce is really terrible.

@icancount..thanks for your share.

Divorce can also be a blessing in many ways . .

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Its nice to see situations where people choose to be mature and realize that for the sake of the children, sometimes being apart is better than being together. You are a very awesome father to your children. I hope all goes as planned in the long term for you and your family.

Thank you so much for this kind comment.

The children feel the chill, the bitterness, the emptiness whether there is open conflict or not. They are learning what a relationship should NOT be and for that reason, "for the sake of the children" allow them a respite from the stress. My children have adapted, I believe they are far happier and confident since the separation. They understand and we must give our children the trust that they can understand because they can. Talk, share, be as open as their age allows. They will feel your sincerity, your love. Our children are human beings that can appreciate and understand what the people who are closest to them have experienced.

Jeez, You must be living on a different planet. My wife hates me too, but I can only see the kids for 12 hours every 3 months supervised and only Skype them once a week for half an hour. What country are you living in? I am in England.

You've either been convicted of some heinous crime, not living close to each other, been such a rotten and irresponsible parent in the past that it is beyond nerve-wracking to leave them with you, or...she hates you more than she loves the kids.

I would have said the same thing as you 2 years ago. But when your wife wants to get you the family courts will back her. There is no compassion or kindness and they dont care about the children

I guess option #4 applies then. I' m very sorry for you and your kids having such a strained and imposed upon relationship. I only have your account of the situation to go on, so based on that, your wife should be ashamed. Perfect example of complete self-centerdness.

I think you 100% did the right thing by leaving. My friend's parents stayed together "for the sake of the kids" and it has messed her up big time. We are both now in our mid 30's and she still has massive issue from it, I think. Not that I can tell her. In high school she didn't realise her parents relationship had gone sour. Her parents were very careful to remain civil to each other in front of her & her brother. She did realise her parents rarely spoke direcly to each other. Once her & her brother went to Uni they divorced. She can't handle any conflict what so ever. She get anxiety attacks because her manager yells at other people. She can't handle boyfriends or friends saying they disagree with her. She likes to pretend everything is perfect all the time. She had a long term boyfriend but never wanted to get married and broke up with him when he asked for a commitment. She keeps everyone at arms length. She come accross to most as a very cold person apart from when she's "on" and being the fake life of the party. She binge drinks at social functions still while the rest of us sip a couple of glass of wine. I think she'd be a much healthier person today if her parents had divorced even if it turned a bit nasty and they yelled at each other and showed some emotion.

I had never really thought of the results of stoicism. Thanks for pointing out that the fear of conflict can be caused by never seeing conflict properly resolved.

if u would have put tat much effort before a divorce than may b ur spouse wont be tat useless

You clearly have no idea what he has been through. Do not let your husband shape your opinion of all men.

I think that in your relationship with your children, you need to be mostly selfless. in your relationship with your spouse, there are obligations on both side, and neither of you get to be a "free rider".

From the perspective of "what did my spouse deserve", I feel the answer, after years of neglect and denial is "not much". She drove me away.

The question of "what do my children deserve" is harder, and the one I'm attempting to help others with through my post. If you believe that a two parent, biological parent household (even one suffused with tension) is by far the best for the kids, you have a dilemma in choosing to leave. Particularly if you believe that any divorce, no matter how civil, will scar them. In my case, so far, the divorce is being handled well by both of us, and I think that the kids will end up more than alright. This may, of course, be self interested wishful thinking, and you can choose to believe that, if you want. But I thnk that with a lot of hard work and selflessness, life after divorce can work out for the kids as well as staying together would have done.

Also wanted to add "you are a wonderful father" not sure about the husband part (since you mention that is discussed else where) but definitely an excellent father!

Congrats to you & ex wife in handling things the "civil" way. I have two boys from my previous marriage and the divorce did not go smooth at all, however I am proud of myself for NEVER saying anything negative to my boys about their father, not even when he decided to stop seeing them for 16 months (no calls, no visits, no nothing). Now 8 & 6, their father is back in the picture. To make long story short, after being mad to eachother for a long time, today we finally have a "civil" divorced parent relationship. It was not easy to get where we are today but I am happy about it since we now communicate in s respectful & effective manner.

After reading your post, I can say that I have a new respect for husbands. Your clarity in this situation is awesome. I would like to share my story with you for your insight. I have not had the input from anyone about my current marriage. Please read my story and offer some insight if you can.

Hoping you can help.

I moved out when my son was a junior in high school. I made sure that I lived nearby. He opted to spend very little time staying at my place, because he had a life of his own centered on his friends and "his house." I made sure that I spent time with him at least weekly, and spoke to him on the phone 3 or 4 times a week. We took several golf vacation together. He loves golf, and I'm proud to say that we started playing together when he was a little guy. His Mom and I remain close, thankfully. We took him on college visits together. When he graduated, I moved about an hour away. But he decided to attend college very close to home. He's in his second year now. I feel SO guilty about all of this. We still speak on the phone several times a week, and do our "vacations" together. But I've missed so many little things. This young man is the greatest thing in my life.

Sometimes, I think about the fact that I wouldn't really see him appreciably more now than I would if I lived closer. I also reflect on the fact that he is a well adjusted, bright, sociable young man. But I also think about the fact that he saw me at my most depressed many times. What does he really think of his old man? We say, "I love you," every time we chat. But I still feel like I let him down.

I'm just sharing, and don't expect you to answer my question!

Hello, I don't mean to intrude in any way yet just wanted to say you sound like a wonderful father! I am sure your son loves you and appreciates the fact that you have been involved in his life! Again, I do not mean to intrude here, but perhaps just perhaps one day you could open up to him & ask him about what his thoughts about the whole situation. (you could have easily walked out on him, but because you loved him & cared for him you decided to be there for him, regardless of the fact that you moved away etc..) & I congratulate you for that!

Thank you. I guess I'm not sure if it would be fair to him to foist such a "heavy" conversation on him. I've tip toed around the subject a few times, and he always brushes it off with, "There is no problem, Dad!" I guess I need to accept that. It isn't really his problem, I suppose. It's mine. Thank you again.

What a great model! Thank you for sharing your story... I wish you the best.

I am in agreement with you and am one of those who separated with a child. The reason I made the decision was because I thought "How can I raise a happy child when her mom isn't even happy". Our emotions totally project on to our children, not to mention, me being the mom with a daughter, I would "traditionally" be the parent she models after.

She's 12 now - We split when she was one...I raised her to age 3, then she moved in with her dad and has been there ever since (he started a new family at that time, I hadn't). It was tough getting over the stereotypical thoughts of "I'm the mom, I should not only have her, but WANT her full-time". I find not having her full time makes the time we DO spend together SO much better.

It's about quality not quantity. It's about being there when they need you in whatever capacity you are able to give. I have taken on the role of shaping her emotional intelligence, her self-acceptance.....basically anything psychologically related.


Times they are a changing...and children are not mini-extensions of us, they are individuals. They will handle new situations the way they are going to. All we have to do as parents is be there for comfort support and security. Children are new at this LIFE thing and they will adjust to each and every situation thrown at them. It's the adults that have to stop being so emotionally immature and take an honest look at themselves.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Sometimes it is because of the kids parents should split; if not for their physical safety, then for their emotional safety. We under estimate our children sometimes, they sense when something is wrong between parents more than the parents want to admit. If the parents don't get along like they once did the children see this. If there is new tension between parents the kids feel it as well. It sounds like splitting up with you spouse was best for the three children as well as for you and I love the way you handle the visitations, fights only threw e-mail, and not bad mouthing your ex in front of the children, this will help you and your ex in the long run as the children grow.