I never thought I would be the divorced guy that comes up very occasionally in conversation.
But, yes it has happened to me, and may happen to you (though I hope it doesn’t).
But if separation, divorce does happen to you, like anything which impacts an individual, there are ways to handle the impact. That last sentence is so stating the obvious. It doesn’t tell you anything. I agree completely.
I’m just over three years into the split, separation, impact. Whatever you want to label it.
Three years ago, the clarity I have now was not there.
One minute i’m living in a family situation, as in mum, dad, and two children in the same house, then i’ve moved out, and I no longer have a home.
I think (for me) the emotional shock, upset, upheaval was masked by the practical things which had to continue. I still had to pay the mortgage, go to work, and try my best to carry on with whatever normality is.
It’s late at night when you think “what if”, what if i’d been a better husband, what if….. This is pretty normal.
I mean, you are in a state of shock. I was doing normal things, looking after my daughters two nights a week, doing school dropoffs, and then going into work. This situation was confusing. In fact, for me, most of the first year was confused. It took me a while to work through what had happened.
After six weeks of separation, I moved into a room in a shared house.
This took some getting used to. I’m forty something, not early twenties.
The sheer downsizing, moving from a family house, to a single room in a shared house, was one heck of an adjustment.
But (and this is important), you are adjusting. Adjusting, adapting, questioning, learning, and developing - this is the key to moving forward.
I don’t care at what speed you move forward, as long as you do, “move forward”.
It’s OK to look into the “oh my goodness abyss”, for a little while, but you also need to look forward.
I hope i’m not sounding like a motivational speaker. Not my intention, but you do have to get your backside in gear.
I’m a dad, and I quickly started to see the fallout, when two childrens lives are impacted. It’s not just me, it’s the children too, and they don’t have the life experience, which I have.
My children never asked for this to happen, so as a dad, I have made strides to keep my relationship with my two children solid.
Be reliable, and stick to a routine (if you can). I still had my seeing them two nights a week, and taking them to school routine. This routine has helped me, and them to keep our relationship.
Yes the relationship has changed, but we still have a relationship. That’s important.
But it’s important not to over-analyse this. Things have changed, children will ask you questions, you will feel emotional (heart broken), and yet you have to keep that reliable routine going, developing, and moving forward.
I do some simple things which help me, and my children. It doesn’t cost much, and money is not what children need, they need to see a dad, and keep some semblence of a normal routine.
Writing to my children works for me, and them. I send postcards, or cards, all hand-written, there is no special occasion. I enjoy hand writing a card, adding some small illustrations, doodles, drawings, putting it in an envelope, and either posting, or hand delivering it.
I’ve continued to do the same things as i’ve always done with my children. We have always enjoyed going for a walk, or a cycle up to the the nearest playground, and maybe an ice-cream, if there is enough money.
I’ve always tried to walk as much with them, even when they were babies, I used to take a small childrens buggy, and we would walk all over the place.
It’s partly because it was the way I was brought up, but also simplicity, and it feel right.
Being separated is tough (i’ve already acknowledged that), but i’ve kept (true) to the things I did before I separated, and this includes being a hands on dad.
For reference, i’m not super-dad. Far from it.
But I do know that my children have only got one dad, and i’m not going anywhere.
There is nothing which says that a dad, and his two children cannot be as successful, accomplished, whatever phrase you may wish to use.
If I can keep a solid relationship with my children, you can too.
It’s not easy, but if you stick to what works for you (concerning the relationship between your children, and yourself), you will move forward.
Just because you are separated, divorced, …whatever… does not mean your relationship is null and void. It’s not.
milesd, February 19th, 2020.