The Issue:  Should I stay or go

I am a 40-year-old divorced guy with two children, 10 and 8. When I was younger I married an older woman, who turned out to be abusive older woman. I escaped just over 4 years ago. Should I move away from my ex and my children to start over with my new partner of 1.5 years who I want to marry?

My ex ended up with primary custody, and I have my children every other weekend, I now have a partner of 1.5 years who I am very much in love with, and with whom I hope to eventually (sooner than later) marry and have another child. However, she was recently offered, and reluctantly accepted at my insistence, a job in another state (2 hr flight/8 hr drive away). Should I move to be with my partner and start laying the foundation for a “new life,” or sacrifice that dream to stay close to my children I don’t want to be selfish or a negligent parent. What should I do? How should I handle this internal conflict?

[bctt tweet=”Never forget that a depressed dad isn’t any more effective than an absent one.  Just saying.” username=”wwregg”]

Let your experience lead you

Let’s call you “Divorced Danny”, your mind, O.K. great.

I can relate, somewhat, to the situation you described.  I have experienced something similar and was left with similar choices. While I have never been in a relationship with someone who is abusive, I am divorced with kids. When couples with children divorce, often, men find themselves holding the short straw. This is especially true for custody agreements.

Societal norms have influenced the thought patterns of the family court system, since they are kind of people, and custody arrangements traditionally favor the mother.  This is without regard to what the children want or the fitness of the father to care for the kids.   I was fortunate enough to have a mostly amicable divorce. Even with that , things were often contentious at best, specifically when making “kid arrangements”. I sympathize with your feelings, and I also suspect I’m short on details concerning the intricacies of your situation.

The brakes

There is no way to solve this without dealing with your ex-wife.


I think that is important that you have taken time to consider how your choices will impact your kids, but I also think that parents underestimate their kid’s ability to grasp and understand complex situations. Your kids know what’s going on between you and their mom. It’s amazing how adept children are at reading emotionally charged situations. I think you and your wife should talk to them about their imminent future and their available options and let them choose.

Even if you feel like this putting them in an awkward situation, allowing them to take part, gives them a sense of control over their circumstances and makes them more amenable to change.

If you can’t tell, I’m saying you should move.

I do no believe that going on with your life makes you a bad parent, nor do I believe you should consider this in finite terms.  What I mean is there is some middle ground in every situation.

At this point, you are already a part-time parent so the extent of your part-timeness (it’s a word because I promoted it from letter jumble)  is irrelevant. You can continue to stay in contact with the kids and be relevant to their lives, beyond finance, even if you are not physically there. Your new fiancé and her fancy new job will support your choice, especially since you are willing to move for the benefit of your relationship. Perhaps you can work out a schedule that allows you to visit with them once a month and summers.

Remember what you can’t-do

Whether you decide to go or to stay, there are a couple of things I would like to leave you with.  No matter what, you cannot do the following.

Depressed Danny

  1. Blame the kids for your inability to choose
  2. Get all butt-hurt if they choose to stay with their mom
  3. Remain stagnant in a situation you aren’t happy in

Never forget that a depressed dad isn’t any more effective than an absent one.  Just saying.

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