Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

I need strength to carry on

Community Member

Hi everyone.

I've been commenting on other people's posts and trying to be positive - but my situation is wearing me down.

My marriage of 5 years has broken down. We have a four year old boy. It all started when I told my wife I wanted an intimate marriage and she reacted by saying I had destroyed our marriage by bringing it up. Over the last 4 months it has been horrible - she wanted me to leave the house, counseling failed, she became more abusive emotionally, verbally and physically.

I refused to leave our house. I do a lot for our son and I'm not abandoning him. She thinks I'm only entitled to have our son 2 days a fortnight if we separate. This is our son who I see every day, am with every night, every weekend, cook for him, feed him, bath him, pick him up from kindy. I want him at least 6 nights a fortnight but she won't have that. We've both been to lawyers and the next step is family dispute resolution - I'm just worried it will escalate and she will take it to court which will destroy us all.

I'm pretty lost at the moment. My wife is threatening to take our son to her parents and I won't see him until after court. She's trying to stop me from doing things with him when I am around. I'm using all my strength just to hold up in front of my son and to remain calm and collected.

I hate this unknown, I live in fear of what my wife is going to do next and in particular I'm so worried for our son. I'm dreading the day we/I have to tell him mummy and daddy won't be living together any more, how he will react, how he will cope. What a nightmare. Can anyone tell me if they have been in a similar position? I can truly see why people are forced to leave their own homes and give up time with their children because they feel they have no other choice. Well I'm not going to leave. I have done nothing wrong and I'm going to stand up for myself and my son - who needs his dad in his life just as much as his mum

66 Replies 66

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Apollo

I hope someone has welcomed you to Beyond Blue. If not, then welcome, good to meet you.

Marriage and separation and the complication of children can be soul destroying. I have seen a number of these actions and none of them are happy. When I left my husband all my children had already left home and had partners and children. They were still upset and a bit angry with me for leaving even though they could see why I left. There is never a perfect solution unless you and your wife can either reconcile or agree to live separate lives in the same house. Not that I am recommending the second option.

I suggest you talk to your lawyer about whether or not she can take your son to her parents home and refuse you access. I believe it is not possible to refuse access but she may be able to take him to her parents. You need to find out. Your son will cope quite well with the separation if it is explained to him carefully. You and your wife need to work together on this as I cannot believe she would want your son to be emotionally hurt.

When you do separate it would be ideal if you could both refrain from bad-mouthing each other. That's where the real harm is done. Tell your son that mom and dad find it hard to live together and think it best if they live apart, or something similar. No need to go into all the gory details.

It's a long road ahead of you and I wish I had better news for you. What is your job, does your wife work, what hours do you both work, where will you both live? Start thinking about how both of you can bring up your son together even though you live alone. Please don't use him as a bargaining chip or blackmail.

I wish you well for the future. Stand up for yourself and your son.


Thank you Mary.

my wife has taken our son to her parents and isn't coming back. I have gotten legal advice today. My fear is that although I won't put our son in the middle of this, she will. I won't get the opportunity to prepare him for this change now that she has done this. I have requested that I see him tomorrow and will get further legal advice Monday...

Hey Apollo

I have read nearly all of your posts and you have helped many people in the BB Community

I have been through a identical situation and I really do feel for you right now...This can be a dark period to go through with or without depression.

Mary has given some very sound and wise advice here Apollo....Especially "Your son will cope quite well with the separation if it is explained to him carefully" I did exactly that in the 1990's and like yourself never would or did say a negative thing about my ex in my daughters presence. I was emotionally and physically abused by my ex and was hospitalised in 1996 with a fractured skull. I see you mentioned that you have been abused both emotionally and physically...That makes me so very sad...I even feel more disappointed to see the new federal government campaign about Violence against Women...

My daughter was 4 as well Apollo...okay...in a nutshell...

Until the family court makes a decision your wife can play hardball (to her detriment of course) with contact with your son. She should as a 'mother' still provide you with some 'reasonable' access to your son.

You dont have to leave your home...Period.

Your wife saying that you cant see your son till after court is a travesty of the first charter of the family court which is 'To Look After the Best interests of the Child'...hmmm

Here if you need anything Apollo. I am so over (some) females using the child as leverage against a very kind and caring dad.

Here for you Apollo

My Kindest Thoughts (Hug)


Hi Paul

I'm glad you have commented and thank you for your reassurance. I'm sorry you had to go through what you did and that your in a much better place now.

'm sitting on the couch actually hoping they come home, but I know it's too late in the evening now for that to happen. I hope they come home for my boy's sake, because withholding him takes things to another level. I wish we could have been civil and prepared something to tell him together.

I would divulge more like my profession etc however I'm paranoid that somehow she might read this and compromise my position - crazy I know.

I just can't understand how it came to this. I keep going over it over and over. I tried all I can to fix things. Where did I go wrong.....all irrelevant now really

I miss him so much already.

Thanks again Paul. It's good to know I can get support here

Hey ...Apollo...you dont have to say anything about your profession..I have seen you speak from the heart...you are a kind and caring guy. Sorry if I had a bit of a rant before...I just really empathize with you right now.

Sometimes its just good to have someone 'there'.

Your words and advice are spoken from the heart....especially as a great dad...

Here for you Apollo...I wish we could talk in real time as your situation is exactly the same mine was...

Paul (Hug)

Thanks Paul

managed to get as good a sleep as I could last night. No sign of them yet - I asked if she could drop him to me today. I know she won't this will allow me to put a case forward for urgent access.

Hey rants are good. I think it's important to put these stories out there because I'm hearing more and more of it. Sure not just men, but there appears to be a hell of a lot of them affected.

I've lost count of the times I've heard her say to me "just be a man and do the right thing and leave". When I filed a police report for abuse the domestic violence unit rang me to follow up - and even the woman who rang said that I should move out and that the advice to stay in the home was "old fashioned".

what astonishes me is that despite the abuse and what I have endured I am more than willing to continue a civil and amicable environment to sort this out in the best interests of our son - but all she wants to do is hurt me by cutting our son out my life and putting him right in the middle of this.

I've read everything. Even a book a psychologist (who agreed he couldn't really add anything to help me) on children and divorce (which my wife refused to read) says that 50/50 is great - only in a cooperative divorce. So basically if the other party wants to sabotage things they can work to damage the child by maintaining high conflict, effectively forcing the other person to accept less time with their child so they don't get damaged.

The response of my lawyer to that is - you are getting equal time with your son because why would you want him spending more time with a mother who is prepared to use him as a tool for her gains?? She has a good point

Hi Apollo. I really feel for you. I had no idea you had such a lot on your plate. With regards to where your son is now, do you have any form of contact with your in-laws? Could you approach them about seeing your son (possibly without his mum knowing). My ex had a similar problem years ago when his first wife ran back to N.Z with his sons. Because financially, you're responsible for your son, you should be entitled to have some say as to his health and general well being. I would maybe ask your lawyer to see about contact with your son while he's with his g'parents. Until it is settled through the courts, I think you may have to 'play her way'. Once she is given instructions about your access, she has to follow the instructions or risk punishment, which is at the discretion of the court. She could be fined if she ignores a court ruling on your access. The fact that you have a son and he is four means he is no longer considered a 'baby'. You can ask for weekend visits which include o'night. Don't quote me, but the courts are pretty liberal now about father's rights. Your wife would have to have really strong evidence of abuse before the court would say 'no' to you. Just her say-so won't wash with the courts these days. She sounds quite emotionally unstable herself, perhaps a visit to your Dr re: her emotional state might hold water. I know you don't want to fight dirty (I admire you there), just be prepared for anything. I'm sure if you show yourself to be a responsible, loving, caring dad, this will go in your favour.

Best wishes.


Thanks Lynda

its a very long story. I'm certainly not without my faults but I think expressing my concerns about our intimacy should never had led to this.

the battle I face is doubting my actions and always wondering if I've done the right thing - like staying in the family home and not leaving like she wants me to.

I have considered taking to her parents however I'm not sure what that will achieve and whether or not it will make things worse. I tried to talk to her mother right at the beginning but she was very cold to me - and very soon after everything went really bad.

i just hope I'm doing the right thing. I think when I talk to my lawyer she will likely arrange an urgent hearing to get me access to our son. I never wanted to go down this route. I've been nothing but reasonable but my wife has made it impossible at every turn. Worse of all she's trying to paint me like I'm unwell and being the unreasonable one. I'm afraid there is no way I can influence her medical treatment. Unfortunately I don't think there is any treatment that can help her to be honest.

Unfortunately I also have to think the worst about what she might do to unbalance me - so I really need to listen to the legal advice I'm given, particularly if she is prepared to keep me from seeing him

Hi Apollo. Have you read any of the threads concerning narcissism. It sounds as though your wife may have this personality disorder. If she does, perhaps warning your lawyer might be wise. With narc's (as you're probably aware), they're inclined to fight rather dirty. The way you've described with her description of you being unwell and unreasonable, narc's will often do this so they can be seen to be the one who's tried everything to make the marriage work. You mentioned something about the intimate side of your marriage, not sure quite what you mean. Did you mean lack of? I agree, if that's what you're referring to, her response has been totally unreasonable, but if she has the personality disorder I mentioned, turning the blame onto you, rather than admit to there being a problem, is par for the course. Have a look at the threads re: narc's, see if your wife does have this problem. It would explain a lot.