This essay encourages men to consider what divorce will do to their relationships with their kids. I’m surprised that HuffPost Divorce even published it. Normally they are full-on cheerleaders for divorce. It’s very different from what they normally publish.
This author does a good job describing what it’s like. If it helps even one person then I’ll be happy.
Have you met someone else? Are you tired of the fighting? Does she just not ‘get’ you? Could you be more of a cliché?
There are plenty of reasons you may want to get divorced and for all I know yours might even be valid, but I’m here today to tell you about something you don’t see right now. You can’t possibly unless you’ve lived it and by then, the damage is done.
I’m sure you’ve given the idea of divorce a lot of thought but I want to add some perspective here. This is the real stuff they don’t tell you about. If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll know I’m all about learning from other people’s mistakes and experiences.
It’s why coaches exist. You shorten the learning curve by benefiting from their hard earned experiences.
Let me coach you on this one.
Think it over, real hard. You’re giving up a lot. More than you can know.
The first time you say goodbye to your kids and watch them walk away with their mother is when you’ll fully realize what you’ve done. That’s your family walking away, son.
That’s when it will hit you. Did you just f—k up beyond all measure? What were you thinking?
Those are your kids and they are literally walking away and leaving you behind. Just like you did to them.
There is a certain pain you will have to live with when you realize you are not the influence in their lives that you had hoped you would be. This realization will slowly creep up on you.
What on earth made you think you could be any sort of real influence in shaping their lives?
Are you there to tuck them in at night? Do you give them a goodnight kiss each night, even if they are already sleeping?
Are you able to notice that something went wrong at school today and to get them to talk about it? Are you able to see that they are proud of something and want someone (you) to make a big deal of it?
Of course not. You aren’t there. Those are the subtle clues you’ll have the privilege to act upon when you’re there for them every day. That’s when you comfort them, build character and form the relationship and trust you’ll share.
It’s these little moments in life that you share with your children that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
So don’t be surprised about how your kids are growing up and who they become. Don’t you dare even have an opinion about it, you weren’t there.
Eventually you’ll find you’re happier to see them than they will be to see you. You’re just a stop in their busy schedules. You may even be an inconvenience. They’ve got school, homework, after school activities, tutoring and friends they want to hang out with.
Your mid week visit will likely be filled with getting homework done, getting some food into them and getting them home on time.
That’s a lot of getting. Welcome to feeling like more of a hired baby sitter than a dad with his kids.
There will be certain times you or they may have to cancel a weekend or mid week visitation and then a bigger block of time passes before you see them again.
Who cares? They don’t.
They hardly see you anyway. It does wonders for your relationship. Wake up friend, they’re slipping away.
Do you think they won’t resent you when you have to discipline them? In there eyes, you’re a part time figure in their lives and now you think you have the right to tell them what to do?
Had you stayed married, your values would likely be aligned. Apart, those values will diverge and now, “Mom let’s us do this all the time!”
When you drop your kids off and say goodbye, don’t be surprised if they don’t even turn around for that final wave and kiss as they walk in the front door. They’re too happy to be home.
You’ll know where you stand when they are busy making a handmade Mother’s Day gift on your weekend while you get nothing for Father’s Day.
Are you ready for this one? What about when your ex remarries? There will now be a new man in the house that will be with your children more than you are. Over time, he will have spent more time with them than you ever will.
Do you really think he is not going to instill his values in your children, even if just by osmosis?
Your kids will spend holidays and weekends with his family. What are they like? Are these the sort of people you want your kids to be around and learn from?
What happens if he’s more successful than you? Do you retreat? Do you overcompensate and make poor decisions?
Wake up friend, they have a new full time family now. They are together and they will build new memories as you fade even more.
At some point you may see your kids slipping away from you and turning into people you hardly recognize. You’ll wonder if maybe you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life – and theirs.
Look, I’m not pretending to know what your circumstances are. For all I know, you should be divorced and if that’s the case you can only focus on being the best dad you can be given your circumstances.
Staying together for the sake of the kids? I’m not a big fan of that move. Kids aren’t dumb. They’ll feel the stress.
Making your decision knowing all the possible outcomes? Count me in. If you can save your marriage, you benefit. All of you.
So, let me coach you on this one.
Do whatever you can to save your marriage and your relationship with your kids.
Think it over, real hard. You’re giving up on a lot. More than you can possibly know.
Al writes more on the things you’ve got to know about divorce on Divorce Candor