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Coping with loss of wife and kids
Hi, this is my first time on here and I think I just needed to express all this. I have 3 kids. The eldest 12yo boy isn't biologically mine but I have always treated him like my own son as I have been with him since he was 2. I also have an 8yo daughter and 2yo son. In January 2015 my wife told me she wanted a divorce. I had been struggling with anxiety at work and had been distant. It was also my birthday that day. She and the kids left a few weeks later, moving a half hour away. I struggled to talk to my kids on the phone and see them due to the fact I was so crushed. I worked hard on this and after a couple of months I was seeing the kids at least a couple of days a week and (I think) being a good dad. We agreed I would pay for full time child support for the 2 children that are biologically mine, even though I was financially supporting them when I had them. It worked out to be more than if I paid for all three if I declared when I had them. She was initially happy about this arrangement. I waited for a year before deciding to date again, I had been trying to get back with the ex but even when I did I still had that hope in the back of my mind that someday our family would be whole again. As soon as she found out I was dating someone, she immediately started going out with the only non work friend I had made since living in QLD.
A few weeks ago she decided I wasn't giving her enough money for child support so threatens me that she will keep the kids from me if I didn't start paying child support for all 3 kids, at full time custody rates. I refused; I have been giving her extra money the whole time whenever she needs it to the tune of at least 2-3 thousand dollars over the last year. I can't even afford to fix the broken windscreen on my car even though I earn plenty. Because of this, she now has made plans (without mine OR my children's consent) to relocate back to NSW. I can't take holidays that often and can't afford to travel that far numerous times a year. By my calculation I'd probably only see them once a year. So the kids think I don't want to see them which is untrue. She has taken all my money so I can't even afford a lawyer. My kids were the only thing keeping me going after the divorce. I feel like my toddler is going to forget who I am. I feel so hopeless right now. I have no support up here, no family and the only friends I have are colleagues (a very boys club environment). It feels like I am just keeping my head above water.
Firstly, its important to acknowledge that you are doing your absolute best...based on all that you have been through...the fact that you havent 'drowned', is commendable.
You are a good man, and possibly at times, too kind for your own good.
Healthy boundaries, are really important, and if you have no way to implement any healthy strategies into your life, professional help...helps!
Do you have a counselor or psych that you can speak to?
Also, BeyondBlue has a freecall number, and there are plenty of great resources available as well...just take your time and have a good look...find the right and best help, that suits you.
Stay in touch, and know that you can always reach out to people here on these forums.
When life gets us down, we can start to get really depressed...and if that is left unchecked, it can become, full-blown depression, so take good care of you now.
Your kids know your heart, and your love for them will always be what matters...in time they will recognise the truth.
We always do.
I was full of hatred for my bitter, angry Mum...but after I got over myself...I saw that she was really hurting too.
Its a shame when parents play 'games' like this...they forget the cost and the casualties, are usually the kids!
Stay healthy and well.
Find the right and best support - its here for you.
Take care brother.
SourceShield has replied with some good comments such as 'When life gets us down, we can start to get really depressed' and how true he is, and because we can't find a way to escape, it then excalates that even the smallest problem turns into a major concern.
With your anxiety there is definitely depression as well, so it must have happening long before your wife decided to leave you so communication between the two of you had become less and less and seemed to be growing apart, however that's not your fault, that's what this illness does to everyone.
The pain and disbelief that she has taken your children away from you is devastating so as soon as you want to talk to them, you fall to pieces.
Separation and the possibility of a divorce isn't what we would ever dream of when we got married, it was meant to be a life long union between the two of you, a life-time filled with ambitions and goals, but now suddenly it seems to have ended.
To get back together with her may last a few weeks/months but then all the old routines, habits and what we want to do come back so you're back to square one and no better off than you were before she left you, that may sound to be cruel, but I could never live with my ex-wife ever again, because I know that our situation would never improve, even though I still talk with her.
The only reason why your kids don't want to see you is because of what she is telling them, completely the opposite to the truth and how you feel, but unfortunately you can't stop her from doing this, however as kids talk to each other at school, their mind may not be made up, because circumstances for each one of them may be the same as you or the opposite, and I'm sure that there is someone who tells you that he misses his dad and wants to see him, but mum prevents this from happening, and when this happens you will always be in your child's memory, and when they turn 18 off they go to find you. Geoff.
Hey Proper Etiquette. At the moment your depression over what's happening has taken over, clouding your ability to think clearly. I suggest now would be a good time to see a lawyer about where your rights are as a father. From what you say there was no violence, you were a good hubby and father, you even accepted her eldest. You mentioned that at one time, you looked at the possibility of reconciling. Reconciling sometimes works, providing both of you want the same things, however in your case, as Geoff pointed out, old problems often resurface, arguments can bring out previous hurts etc. Most lawyers will make application for legal aid if there is a case of financial hardship which appears very likely here. Unfortunately, I don't think you can legally prevent your ex relocating interstate. Through a lawyer, I think (don't quote me) but I think your wife can be asked to negotiate terms for you to see the children. The laws today do stipulate terms for access for the non-custodial parent. Also the kids telling you they don't want you in their lives is complete baloney and doesn't even rate a reply. Kids often repeat things they hear, without knowing what they're actually saying. Maybe too a visit to a Dr for some short term AD's to ease the depression might be a good idea.
You really need legal advice. Most lawyers will give you a 30 min free consult. Maybe try hat first.
Have you contacted Dad's in Distress??
Guys, thank you so much for the support, it's great to see that people out there do care even when you feel absolutely alone. I was blown away when I got home after 12 hours of work and saw your replies.
Something SourceShield said hit really true with me in that I can be too nice for my own good.. I actually get told that a lot. Unfortunately its not something that I can change, that's just who I am- I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing but unfortunately you don't get the same in return from most people.
I know that I will have some access to the kids, the problem for me most is the distance as I don't have much money due to rent/child support etc. And I work a rotating shift roster so finding a big block of days off to go see them will be very difficult and put me in an even worse financial position.
Dads in Distress I haven't contacted, however I actually got onto this site as a link from their website.
I don't think I am in love with my ex wife anymore, I did for a long time after the divorce but I could never be with her after this. I would never try to keep her away from my kids as I believe they are better off having input from both of us. If I knew me being out of their lives was best for them, I would not object to it.
I have programmed the beyond blue number into my phone, just in case. I know that I need to be strong for my family, they might not know it now but if they do need me one day I have to be here for them. I have thought about medication, I think anti-anxiety meds would be better for me, I do feel anxiety more than anything else at the moment- kind of that crushing fear that you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Unfortunately due to the nature of my job I can't have my phone at work and I work 12 hour shifts. I next have a day off on Friday and I think I will call around and see if anyone in my area does those free consultations- even if I have to call legal aid I will have to swallow my pride. At least I will know exactly where I stand in this.
Again, thank you guys so much for the kind words and I hope I can be similar support for others with the issues that they face.
Glad that youre feeling a little less alone!
Being a kind and generous person...is actually much needed in the world today.
But you must include yourself in the whole picture.
So its all about giving what and when you can, but never allow yourself to be another persons fool...unless you choose to be, thats all.
Because as you mentioned...not everyone out here, thinks the same way, as you do!
I guess this is what the people in your life are really wanting to communicate with you - you have a big heart, and now that heart must offer some kindness back to you.
Relationships are the greatest mystery of them all...and you also have kids in the mix, this must be rather stressful for you...so make sure that you do give yourself some time, and space to process what is happening, and create a plan to move forward.
If you ever need a sounding-board, we are here for you.