Stay or go? Advice please
30 April 2020 at 7:09 pm #39525
I’m a 30 year old single parent of two. Currently I have them every other weekend.
Brief overview of my situation. I moved from Belfast to London five years ago so that my ex wife could be closer to her friends and family. Two years ago she left me for an ex boyfriend. I’m struggling to afford a life in London for me and them. I don’t enjoy living here (I tolerated it for my previous situation) and I struggle with the loneliness of being here when I don’t have the kids. The thought of moving back to Belfast makes me feel like I’m abandoning the kids and I know I will lose out on so much of their life, but it gives me a better support network and them and me more financially. I could move back and have them on school holidays…is this enough? I don’t know what to do. I feel trapped with no happy outcome. Has anyone else been in this position?
I’m really grateful for any advice or experience that people have from similar experiences.
Thanks30 April 2020 at 10:29 pm #39526
How old are your kids? Are they old enough to tell you what they think?30 April 2020 at 10:36 pm #39527
I think it was Oscar Wilde who said, “Advice is what we look for when we know the answer but wish we didn’t”!
It’s a tricky one mate. My abridged answer would be that if you were back home, surrounded by your support network, your kids would see a happier dad (not to mention better off). Plus they would get to have adventures across the water and – best of all – see the home of Titanic!
Two questions; (1), how old are the kids? Are they of the age where you could chat to them about it?
(2), do you have family or close friends close to London with whom you could stay, say, one weekend a month?
My initial thoughts are that it’s not a long plane journey… it might be difficult (and expensive) doing it once a fortnight, but could you hop back over to London every 3-4 weeks? With the wonders of Skype, Facetime etc you could still have meaningful contact…
Who knows, the kids may even decide to join you out there one day!
It’s a tricky one mate…
Steve30 April 2020 at 10:47 pm #39528
3 and 6 😞30 April 2020 at 11:02 pm #39529
I do feel I have to sacrifice quantity for quality. I struggle badly with resentment at the best of times, even more so when I struggle to afford things to do with them.
They’re 3 and 6. I can have the conversation with the eldest, but still too young to understand fully.
There are options for accommodation when I come to London, and I think a combination of trips either way will be manageable.
I mostly struggle with the thought that I’m abandoning them. What they’ll think when they’re okay? Will they see him as dad and not me? Will I cope with missing them on for longer periods? I just feel like I go in circles.
Can I have a decent relationship with my Children from such a distance? 😞1 May 2020 at 12:24 am #39530
I don’t envy that choice at all mate. Although I think you hit the nail on the head when you spoke of ‘quality over quantity’.
And actually, if you added it all up, you will probably find you don’t see that much less of them than you do now anyway! You’d make extra effort to speak to them on Skype or the telephone, and when you met up with them it would be amazing.
I have an idea. I’m not sure what your situation is job-wise, but once COVID is over, could you potentially spend a month or two in Belfast, extended leave or something? That way you could get a feel for what it is like being back home, and see if missing the kids is too much to endure. Would this be an option? You could use the time to reacquaint yourself with Belfast (although I’m guessing you have been back and forth for visits in the last 5 years?)
And hey – if you did decide to go back, there’s nothing to say you couldn’t move back here in a couple of years if your circumstances were to change… nothing has to be forever. I’m sure you would be able to find employment at either location with relative ease.
The subject of the kids seeing someone else as dad is another matter – and trust me, I completely feel your pain there. What I would say is (a), your two are familiar with you and will know that you are their dad, nothing will take that away, and (b) if that was the case, it wouldn’t matter whether you were living 45 miles or 450 miles from them. My little girl lives in Wisbech, about an hour from me, and she’s growing up with another guy playing dad. It breaks my heart but for the time being there isn’t a lot I can do about it.
Lots to think about; often these situations are no-win! What I would say is that sometimes you have to put yourself first so that you can be your very best for others. Whatever you decide in the end, it’s obvious you love your children and you will make an effort to spend quality time with them. Nothing will change that 🙂
Have a think about the extended leave option if you can though… it may answer a lot of questions if you can spend some time back home.