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Single dad question

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bmb73, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    This is really off topic, but I've been a member on her awhile and really value what can be found talking to folks with life experiences. It will be long, so thanks in advance.

    I am Active Duty in the military. Was married and have to kids (10 and 8). We divorced, and my ex moved back to Ohio, I am in California. The distance sucks, I call every day and FaceTime also. She will not answer when I call often, and there will be periods of 4 to 5 days not in contact. She told me that "I'm not a good father, you are not there enough for them".

    Needless to say, I feel like everything is coming unhinged. My kids are everything to me, and I feel like my hands are tied. It is hard to save up to fly them out. Is being a good Dad possible with the contact I have?. When I do have the kids, I make it a point to have them call their Mom everyday. Am I unreasonable to expect she does the same?

    I'm going between anger and feeling like my hands are tied. Part of me wants to call up and cuss her out, but that will not solve anything. I have a feeling that she is instilling these feelings in them. Her dad made zero efforts to be in her life, it feels like I am being compared to him.

    Wall of text, but thanks for taking the time.
  2. BigDanT

    BigDanT Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2011
    The fact that you are worried about this says a lot in itself. Keep trying to stay in touch with your kids whether she lets you or not. If necessary go back to court to maintain contact. Right now you are in a career that limits your exposure to your kids but it doesn't always have to be that way. Write them letters, send them cards and call all the time. I know it's easy to get discouraged by your ex's behavior but if you truly want to be a large part of your kids' lives moving forward you have to do everything you can to stay in contact with them. So many guys just get fed up when the ex throws up roadblocks and give up trying. Don't let this happen!!
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I can relate. My ex lives in Louisiana and I'm in France.
    After a few years we finally got along pretty well. My son is now living with me, after living with his mom for a few years.
    My advice (if I can give any) is asking her if she'd consider leaving you time with your kids for extended periods of time, say for a month during vacations.
    If she refuses straight, consider relocating and maybe even changing career or you will never get to know your kids.
  4. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    I will definitely keep doing what I can, it just gets me really angry that she can't meet halfway on this
  5. Instead of cussing her, you should try begging her.
    I was lucky that my ex never denied me contact to my daughter, especially since she was halfway around the world.
  6. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    If you are paying child support, one way to shut her up is suggest that since she thinks so poorly of you, release you from your support obligations and you will quit trying to be a part of their lives.

    I've seen that ploy work both ways when flaky exes were being turds just because they could.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Bad move IMHO. You should be polite but firm toward your ex. You don't owe her anything and certainly don't want to fall under her power.
    Now this is just horrible. Child support money is the kids', not the mom's. Depriving your kids from support because their mother is acting badly is a very wrong thing to do.
  8. Icemanaroonie


    Sep 6, 2015
    I'm not married, but I have divorced parents, so I'll toss in my $0.02 from a different angle. Make sure to try to reach out to your kids whenever possible. When my parents got divorced, my mom said I could see her whenever I wanted. But her making the effort to talk to me and see me is what made me really believe that. If she said that I could talk her or see her whenever, then just waited for me to contact her, things wouldn't haven gone as well between us.
    Dogbertday likes this.
  9. You could always resort to snail mail, but remember to ask if they've received your letters when you are able to talk to them.
    Even a quick postcard from CA would be cool.
    crucislancer likes this.
  10. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    I wouldn't ever consider that...
  11. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    Great idea! I appreciate the advice, for real.
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  12. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Depends on the state. In Florida you can give things for the child like clothes instead of money, but in Alabama it's strictly cash and it goes to mom and she can use it for whatever she wants.

    Besides I believe you missed my point, which is not to deprive the child, but to make sure the ex understands that tug-o-war with junior as the rope works both ways, that you are not going to become their personal punching bag by putting up with unreasonable demands. They have to understand that it's no longer about the adults, that was resolved by the judge when divorce was granted. After that they are obligated to work together for the child.
  13. I don't live so far away from my ex, but I know what it's like to have a vindictive, hypocritical, self justified ex who tries to make things difficult for seemingly no reason at all.

    Honestly, just keep it professional. Tell her that your goals are to just maintain as much of a healthy relationship with your children as possible.

    That you don't intend on making HER life miserable, as you are beyond those problems due to the fact of your future needing to be investing in the children you made together. To ensure that they have a good upbringing in which they understand that their father loves them.

    Tell her she's allowed to have her feelings toward you, but ask that she tries to keep that from disallowing your children the opportunity to have those comforting exchanges that help your difficult situation seem a little more stable.

    The children have a right to have both parents in their lives, to not have the truth obscured by either parents desires/biased perspectives, and can make decisions of their own when they are old enough.

    If both parents are healthy mentally and nonabusive, then there should be nothing keeping them from at least speaking with their children. As long as it's their wish as well, that is.

    Everyone's situation is different... However, I know that I have a rather fair situation with my ex. An individual who has anger issues and is immature/somewhat selfish. I could have our daughter taken into my custody and never have to share her, but I do because my little one deserves to see both sides of the family.

    Sometime it takes a bit of reasoning and civil conversation to convince the more emotional party that you're not out to ruin them or make them a bad guy.
    Texan and jchrisk1 like this.
  14. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    Great advice. It's hard trying to reason and be civil, she can take that and see how far she can push things before I snap. What a pain in the ass it is.
  15. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    There is also the possibility she may take you up on it; then where would you be?
  16. Alexander


    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Well, your parenting plan probably should have a section around this - at least it is standard starting language here in WA. My ex and I are required to keep landline phones in the house and kids to have unmonitored access to the away parent at all times. Violating this because of any animosity your ex may carry toward you constitutes "restrictive gate keeping" - at least it does here - and judges frown upon this behavior in a major way. My ex doing this was part of why a judge blocked her relocation a few years ago.

    Same with disparaging the other parent - my ex was trashing me to my kids constantly and they talked about that with a parenting evaluator, whose report was part of our case. The judge told her she was violating the parenting plan (and just being a self-centered ***hole).

    You should consult your parenting plan to see what protections you may have already. You can always haul her back to court if you need to, but I find a heart-felt appeal followed by a warning letter from your attorney is pretty effective.

    When my case (and relo) was pending, I had a friend tell me that she had grown up in a broken home and her mom moved away with the kids. She talked about how great of a relationship he maintained with her, even to this day - along with all the things he did to make this happen. Find ways to invest in that.

    My final two pieces of advice:

    First, do not EVER threaten to not pay your (court ordered) support payments. Judges really frown on this too for obvious reasons - the person recommending this above clearly doesn't have a ****ing clue of how this all works.

    Second, do what you can to process the negative emotions with your ex and let it all go. You're now in a business partnership with her and need to figure out how to make it work. All the negative emotions do is eat you up inside and keep you from moving on. Easier said than done, but "what's on the other side" might just be pretty fantastic. At least what I found there was. I live with an amazing woman who hung all my instruments in the living room of her house because she thinks they're beautiful. We're expanding her house to accommodate my kids living there. And she's never torn me down - not even once.

    Keep your head up dude.
  17. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    I guess it is finding that happy medium with her, but that "happy medium" can fluctuate with her at a moments notice..

    Will always pay child support, that's a given and set in stone. Just really wish she could see where I'm coming from...
  18. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
    Man, don't take this like I'm bagging on you. Your situation sounds pretty stressful to me and its natural to feel poopy about it. If you're on TB with this, it seems like maybe you don't have anyone to turn to and talk about this with. Is there some kind of life coach or councilor that the military offers that you could talk to? Not a shrink. You're not crazy. But someone to be a sounding board and help you navigate this? This might be one of those situations where you can't change the other person, you can only change the way you're internalizing it. Sometimes the only way to figure something out is to hear yourself tell it to someone else.
    Immigrant likes this.
  19. bmb73


    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego
    Not bagging at all. It is kinda hard finding people to bounce this off of where I am currently stationed at.
    48thStreetCustom likes this.
  20. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Use your Platoon Sgt, 1st Sgt, Cdr, or Chaplin, even if they can't commiserate they will direct you to those who can; that's part of their job.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
    48thStreetCustom likes this.

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