Need support – dad trying to cope with family

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  • #58372 Report


    Sorry to bother. Briefly: me and my wife have two small children, one just starting school and other in daycare. We live far from our home country and have no family around.

    I got a good permanent position for myself abroad, in a very good city. My wife decided not to move with us straight away, since she got a good temporary job in her dream field in the country where we live at the moment, but in a different city.

    3-4 months ago we decided that she would take her job, be there for experience and contacts, and use this to find a job in our new hometown. Meanwhile I became a “single dad” during weekdays, taking care of the children, household and my job until our move to the new country. She visited us in the weekends and occasionally on weekdays (a short holiday and 2 weekdays during a sickness period of our younger child). For now me and the children did not move yet, so we live on the same country as she but on different cities during the weekdays.

    Here is where I need support: to my mind, this situation would be temporary. She would take her time to get all needed and focus on being able to move with us. But in practice I feel that she is becoming comfortable with the non-parenting life while I get depressed and buried in parenting. She gets here on the weekends and barely take part in our routine. Wake late, does not have patience with the children, if going out with then usually needs me to support (as in bringing snacks, or cleaning the house, or making meals). Sometimes even asks me to babysit while she goes out with friends. She does not clean stuff in a regular basis, does not do laundry, tends to be angry at minor things (like not finding cheese on a Sunday morning) and worst of all, repeatedly use “I will leave” or “I will not come back next week” with the children if they misbehave. I can see some signs of abandonment on them, and definitely feel left to the side by her.

    I also do not see much energy being used by her to be with us after we move country. She says she wants to, but takes no action in finding jobs there. For example: there are groups there working with her subject of interest, and she could try to make a bridge between them and her current job. But so far she did not even contacted them, and gets annoyed if I ask about it or offer help to start.

    In a way it feels that our home is now her summer cottage. She come to be on holiday, not to be part of the family. And sometimes it feels she sees me as a household employee, not a husband to share the family and duties. As examples: while talking about hobbies for the children in the new city, she said it is better not to be on weekends, since she might be there and it would make it harder for travelling (in other words, it is better if the hobbies become my responsibility as well during the weekdays to not make her tourist activities hard). Also, this week she has an important thing in our city. To celebrate she is making a 3 day party in a cottage. And out of the blue she casually mentioned that 4 of her new coworkers are coming to the party and will stay in our apartment. She did not ask what I felt, just told me as if my opinion does not matter. Then these people leave on Sunday, she on Monday morning, and I am left behind with the mess and children for the whole week.

    Getting help is being very hard. By being a man, and also by being a family (not divorced), I could not get enough priority in the family counselling services. But our move to the new country is coming, and I feel that I am becoming depressed and anxious about everything. I need to reach out and ask for help to avoid a breakdown.

    please, if you can, comment on this case. Let me know what you think. Disagree with me if needed. But leave me some sort of feedback, experiences, suggestions. I cannot keep thinking I am the only person going through these things.

    #58376 Report


    This is what many single parents go through. In your case the tables have turned and now you are experiencing the bread of the single mom.

    You generously agreed with her taking on the job she likes, and there she found a new meaning smthg she probably did not have for a v long time or even ever. Have you ever tried sitting down and speak heart to heart (no blaming, no anger, no accusations)? Ask her what is there you could do to inspire her desire to be home more often? And what as a couple you both could do to inspire each other?

    New country, new experience, new people… Maybe she is afraid she will not be valued there and appreciated by you and others that’s why she hesitates with making efforts? That’s fear speaking. Change can be v v difficult.

    You didn’t mention the name of the country.

    It is a 2 way road and sometimes one side needs to put in a bit more genuine effort to inspire the other to come closer. It is definitely a challenge but when 2 people love each other, they can overcome anything.

    #58398 Report


    To me it feels like you are a single parent already and she may be considering separation which is a very hurtful thought.. all I could advise you is that you try to speak to her about how you feel. If that doesn’t work then you must consider how you want to live your life from here onwards and make some decisions that change things for yourself and the children. You sound exhausted by the situation and it would be good for you to know what she really wants out of this so you can set up a more settled life. Nothing is worse than coping with every day life and not knowing where the relationship is going. I know too well… I hope something will change for you.

    #58447 Report


    Thank you for the replies, they mean a lot. Good to feel I am not alone.

    For Jollie, I prefer to keep the details unspoken. The country we live in and the country we move to are very similar in relation to quality of life, both being higher than the one we come from. The reason the children are with me are more practical than emotional: my job will be stable and closer to a 9-5 routine, while my wife’s job is not tenured and with more variation regarding amount of working hours. So it made sense that the sacrifice from child care came from me, besides the fact that moving with me they will already be settling where they will grow (as oposed to moving with my wife, settle down, then eventually move to where I live and need to settle down once more). You mention “getting the bread of single mom” and it brings me mixed feelings. I feel awful thinking about all single moms out there left by their partners, and never would be this type of guy. But on the other hand I am feeling that because of so many bad men being absent, my position as an almost single father is not taken serious or even seen as deserved since so many women suffer so it is fine if a few guys like me get into the bad situations.


    To newbeginning, thank you very much for your words. Speaking is something we are doing, slowly to avoid unnecessary conflict. Also, your suggestion of making decisions for me and the children fit perfectly with I am doing at the moment. The move will be a perfect excuse to get rid of old stuff and habits, and build us a more focused routine.

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