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.