February 22, 2008,
S.R. asks from Brooklyn, NY on April 02, 2007
My Husband Left Me & My Three Kids
Recently my husband left me to move back to NY (which is where he is from). I have basically been raising four kids (if you know what I mean) for the past three years. Now that he's gone, it hurts. I feel bad for my children because I am not sure when the next time they will see their dad will be. I am kind of glad that he is gone because now there will be no more fighting in front of the kids, etc. The bad thing about this whole thing is that he left without saying good-bye to me (should I care at this point?), or without leaving me any money for the kids. He got his tax return and left! Four days after he left he finally decides to call to "check on the kids". I didn't answer his first 10 attempts! I finally p/u the phone, because the kids were outside playing so he was not able to speak to them. He told me that he would call back at 7pm but never did. What should I do at this point? That was yesterday, and he called again today but I didn't p/u the phone. My youngest is asking for him. Any advice?
So What Happened?™
We are a family again. We (me and the children) moved back to NY after being separated frm my hubby for 6 months. He called one day and told me that he wanted us to be a family, and that it was best for us to be together than 3000 miles apart, so far things are going good. Just taking it one day at a time. Thanks to all who gave me some great advice. I pray that you are all well and that your children are healthy. God Bless.
N.N. answers from San Diego on April 03, 2007
Hi S.! Up until recently, I was faced with the same problem. I have four children, two with my husband & two older kids from earlier on. There was a time during the most intense part of our troubles where I felt just like you - like I needed him there to help me secure an ideal family unit. But I also realized that my goal in raising my children was to raise people that would be more confident & self-aware, learn better people skills & make better relationship choices, & develop positive self-esteem. So, then I decided that my goal for my children & the relationship I have with them is far more important than my marriage because my husband was not fulfilling the positive attributes I needed my children to learn. You said that there is fighting in front of the children, right? Fighting is very intense & gets people's attention whether they like it or not. Your children, all children, learn through observation. I decided to play a more active part in monitoring my own behavior & strengthening the bond with our two youngest daughter's (my boys live with their dad) because I am their first teacher. If they see that I accept the way my husband treats me & continue to allow it, they will allow & accept their partner's to treat them in the same manner, whether they know it or not, because it is an environment they are conditioned to.
"He hasn't earned the right to be your husband or a father. I am sorry you have to go through this. But, keep your head high and smile and give your kids extra love and spend lots of time with them playing games, cards, reading and it will be okay!!!"
As for your relationship with your husband. How he left without saying good-bye & how he has treated you is not acceptable. Stephanie is right here! You have put so much energy into "What-to-do" when really there was nothing that you could have done. Your husband's actions are a sign of someone who lost touch with themself &/or they are not secure with their own self - they may be less emotionally developed.
Whatever his reasoning is, it's okay - that is "his" reasoning. My husband spends a lot of energy focusing our problems onto me. That's is okay, because I know now that I am doing what is important for me to raise my kids the way I want & they will learn what is important. It is important for you to now find where you do have substantial & ultimate influence with yourself & that of raising your kids, and then redirect your energy on developing them - what do you want to teach your kids? what will your time playing together look like? what is the message you want your kids to learn when you discuss the new living arrangement? Your kids are depending on you - make this a positive journey for all of you - it is possible.
Re-discover who you are. Make it a game. For example, when the kids are sleeping, make yourself a first date type dinner & while your eating there with yourself, write down some things about yourself you'd like to know, what do you like to do, where to go... etc. I know this sounds silly, but it's now time for you to take back the energy from your marriage to you & your kids. Re-establishing a connection with your kids is vital & will help you all get through this. And if you make it a fun journey, your kids will remember it!
It is also important when the children ask about their father, to respond with the love you do have in your heart & re-assure them that he loves them, but daddy just needs to rest his head - because the truth is, as parents & busy people, we all need a break. Don't put them in the middle as you set them up to feel like they have to choose! They may get angry & resentful & may say or act out in a way that makes you feel guilty - this will HURT! But these are natural feelings for the kids to experience. If this happens, approach them with understanding, listen first & ask what they think would make it better. Even if their ideas seem outlandish, giggle & be open to the fact they want to be a part of the solution, & they won't feel helpless & develop hopefulness. While feeling the pain yourself, as your kids talk about their's, it's important to remember that you are now their only role model, so here is your opportunity to model stregth & courage & that it is okay to feel hurt & talk about it. it'll get easier as time goes on & you should also monitor the conversations your husband has with the kids, as you now will want to be sure they are not getting to confused. Ask him what he thinks is best to tell the kids, let yourself be open to allow him to best express himself & maintain a relationship with the kids.
I highly recommend the book Re-Directing Children's Behavior, by Katherine Kvols, go to http://www.incaf.com to learn more.
I know this was very long, but I am currently dealing with the same issue. My focus is now on my responsibilities & to manage how I, or even whether I should, react to my husband's behavior. Many of the things I love to do, that make me "me" - those things I can do for myself that no one else can do to make me happy (writing, art, volunteering) - I am doing again. I have realized that whatever the outcome, my goal in life is to have ultimately happy resilient people around me & develop that in my kids. I've given up on the "how" but rather knowing that it is possible & that I can have these things, without a doubt, makes my days much easier.
C.S. answers from Las Vegas on April 03, 2007
Hi S., Sorry you are going through this. I am confused at your daughter missing dad and he has called and you are not picking up the phone. IMHO you should pick up the phone and let him explain to the kids where he is and why he has left, afterall, he is the one who decided to leave. If you are avoiding his phone calls, you are taking away their opportunity to talk to their dad. I understand you are hurt, but you have to put that aside and give the kids the chance to talk to him, as long as that relationship is there.
He has called quite a few times, is he wanting to talk to his kids or is he calling for you? Does he have regrets about his choice?
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J.M. answers from Los Angeles on February 22, 2008
My sons and I were also abandoned by their father, Years ago. He also left without ever saying goodbye. I was devastated,to find out that he had left with a woman he had met at work. My sons, of course were crushed.You know S.,it's so hard sometimes,to know what the (right thing) is to do.If your a Loving mother like me, you want to do whats best for your children. For their happiness and well-being. My thought was,ok...its over for him and I ,BUT Keeping the children completely away from the only man they have called father.How Was that going to benifit them in the years to come? Would they forever recent me for keeping them from having any contact with their father at all? Even though their father lived a distance away, I felt that they needed to know that,while their father and I fell out of love, that We both still loved them very much.Children need to feel that love. They need to be reasured,that their father didn't fall out of LOVE with THEM.I know how your feeling right now, but if your feeling abandoned,imagine how those children feel.It would be a very unselfish,heartfelt act on your part,and your children will better cope,and grow,knowing THEY ARE CARED ABOUT AND LOVED,by you both.I wish you the very best S.
M.H. answers from Los Angeles on April 03, 2007
Sorry to hear about how selfish your husband is being. He is not taking into consideration HIS children's feelings. Marriage is hard. The way I see it, fine walk out on the marriage, but never walk out on the kids. He should have sat down with the kids and explained tha he needed a break but that he stills loves them.
Now what he did puts you in a hard place.I'm not sure how old your kids are, but you have to make sure they know that you will not leave them too. In their eyes, if daddy can leave so can mommy. As hard as it is thoug, do not bad mouth him in front of the kids. Thye will find out for themselves the kind of person that he is.
As far as your marriage goes, really look at it. Is it the kind of relationship you want to be in. Do you deserve to be treated the way he is treating you? NO! You and your children deserve better. What kind of man walks out in his family without looking back? Thats not a man. Its a child. He needs to grow up and be responsible for his kids whether or not you two stay together.
Its hard now, but you can do it. Like you said you've already been doing it for 3 years.You'll be OK. As far as you husband goes, for the sake of the kids, I hope he grows up and fast.
A.F. answers from Sacramento on April 03, 2007
Look I am not giving advice per se. I really do not know anymore than you. But if I had to answer your question, I would say pursue him in the courts for child support and to establish visiting rights. If you don't, he has just as much rights as you do right now. He could take the kids out of state if you do not begin establishing custody now. It can be precarious and I don't want to scare you, but I want you to protect your kids and yourself.
S.L. answers from Los Angeles on April 03, 2007
Hi S., a big hug to you! Let's look at the positive side shall we...? You have been raising these kids alone for awhile, so this is not new, whewww that's good. Being a mom is the hardest job ever. Hmmmmm... its hard to say what to do. The first thing I say is be honest to your kids and DO NOT LIE TO THEM OR MAKE EXUCES for your husbands behavior. You have to find a way to tell them " he moved away " w/o them thinking its their fault, and scar them. Personally, I wouldn't let him talk to the kids ever again on the phone. I'm assuming he left w/o saying goodbye to them either. Big man can run then call on the phone, nope sorry. Even when he was physically there he was "checked out" anyways, right. So, what is he gonna tell them on the phone, " Love you, miss you, see you at xxxx? Yeah right, trust me they will be empty promises, just like he already said he would call back at 7pm. He hasn't earned the right to be your husband or a father. I am sorry you have to go through this. But, keep your head high and smile and give your kids extra love and spend lots of time with them playing games, cards, reading and it will be okay!!!