When Dads have to say Goodbye

An anonymous – yet true post

“I dread saying good bye to my sons” says a divorced dad I’ll call Michael.  “It hasn’t got any easier since my wife and I split up eight years ago.  Because of this I always have mixed feelings about the holidays.  I get really excited about planning the holiday, it’s one of the few times I get to spend alone with the boys, but knowing we will have to say goodbye can start to spoil it before we set off.”

“Sarah and I met at university.  We dived into marriage and had the boys quickly.  We never stopped to think about whether we would be okay in the long run.  But we weren’t.  I started working crazy hours trying to make partnership in my firm.  We both come from the North of England and don’t have any family down here and Sarah felt a bit isolated.  We ended up having enough money but our marriage fell apart.

The divorce was messy.  Sarah and I seemed to fight all the time, all our love turned into arguments and anger.  She started drinking heavily.  There were some unpleasant scenes.  The hardest bit for me was moving out of my home.  The moment when I stopped living with the boys.  I got very stressed, had physical problems with blood pressure and shingles.  I slept very badly for a long time.  I took sleeping pills and they didn’t work very well.  I used to wander round my flat like a zombie in the middle of the night.  In the end I had to change jobs, sort of start again.”

 “I used to try to take the boys on foreign holidays, sailing and so on.  But this year work has been much slower so we are staying in England, going camping in the Lake District.  The boys are really up for it, we are all looking forward to sailing and walking.  But as soon as they break up from school I start to worry. “

 “I know the feelings I experience when the holidays come around are to do with the divorce.  I feel excited about the time we are going to be together, and at the same time I feel this dread of having to say goodbye to them at the end of the holiday.  I really hate saying goodbye to them.  I have got used to living apart from my wife, to moving out of our home, to a lot of lonely nights, to a new job.  But the thing that still really upsets me is having to say goodbye to the boys again.  It is hard to enjoy the holiday when that is hanging over me.”

Michael’s poignant story reminds us of the painful psychic adjustments a divorced father, committed to his relationship with his children has to work through in order to come to terms with his new circumstances.

About onlydads

Single Dad living near Totnes in Devon. I founded www.onlydads.org in 2007 and live with my daughters Priya, 14 and Anya 11. I write about single parenting, work, overcoming trials and tribulations and sometimes not overcoming trials and tribulations.
This entry was posted in Family life, Guest posts, Putting children first, Talking to kids. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to When Dads have to say Goodbye

  1. Oli says:

    Bob, if you could pass my thanks on to Michael for sharing this.

    The one and only holiday I have taken my daughter on was amazing but also highly stressful. Handing her back every time is just heartbreaking. It has got harder since my ex got the lawyers involved to sort the finances out.

  2. ABeautifulMind1 says:

    Gosh; this is hard, I’m going to struggle with what to say but my heart is in the right place. I think, deep down, a man always wants to provide for his family (is that too old-fashioned, I don’t know, I just think its nature). You were trying to do everything you could, for your family; hence the crazy hours…to get partnership…to provide more for your family. Sometimes, I think women may forget this…especially if they are on their own all day with little ones, and may see the man’s escaping into the world of adults, sanity and interrupted toilet breaks as an ‘easy ride’!!! But, of course, it is not. Each role has it’s own stresses and strains. Please don’t blame yourself for doing what you thought was right.

    And don’t worry about the lack of foreign holidays. The boys won’t care where they are as long as they get to spend time with you. I bet this camping one will turn out to be one of your best ever!

    I don’t know what to say about the goodbyes because I hated saying them to mine and they hardly ever went. It doesn’t get easier no matter how much ‘practice’ you have though, does it? I can only suggest that maybe you could try living the holidays day by day. Don’t even think about the next day until you wake up on the following morning. Just concentrate on being happy with them, one day at a time. Then on the last day, when you wake up and feel sad, you will know that, at least, it hasn’t clouded the other days. You sound a great father and who knows, maybe, one day those boys will be living with you full-time – and the last day you wake up on your holidays, well, it won’t be goodbye. X

  3. urbanvox says:

    I know that feeling oh so well…
    I was married for 7 years before the divorce… It hurts me tremendously having to say goodbye to them every Friday… and when they stay with me for the weekend is like a HUGE part of me stays behind with hem when I leave them at their mum’s house…
    It makes it even harder by the fact that I used to be a stay at home dad, so I would see and experience with them every single milestone… and I seem to be missing out on so much ever since…
    Living alone kind of accentuates the loss…
    reading that article brought tears to my eyes… I miss them so very much.

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