I don’t know if it’s just complete coincidence or something more curious, but in the last ten days or so I have had three conversations with men about how some men who leave a relationship leave not just their wife or partner, but their children too.
Most recently, someone named “David” left a comment elsewhere on this blog saying:
“She took her rings off over two and a half years ago. I haven’t given up yet. I don’t know how much longer I can deal with it though. Once it’s over I’ll have to leave the state. My boys are grown, but my daughter is still only 11.”
My earlier conversation with another Dad had quite the opposite skew, and yet…
The earlier conversation was about men who left their children as a result of divorce. Both of us having the conversation are divorcing Dads with children, both dedicated to our children and still very much involved, but I commented that the process of my getting a divorce had really helped me understand why men would walk away from their children when they get a divorce.
He recoiled and without even wanting to hear another word, vehemently said “No way. There’s no reason. That’s BS.”
But the divorce process is one that can and often does feel very alienating for men, as exemplified in “David’s” other comment that “it’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, till death do us part.”
I really can sympathize with men who get so alienated by the process that they can’t separate out their children from their ex and get to the point where they’re divorcing their family en masse. From the outside it’s a ghastly mistake and one where the kids should never have to suffer like that, but I can nonetheless understand, just a bit, why some men end up making that decision.
However, it also seems like it’s always a bad solution. I can’t imagine where it would be the best possible decision for all parties involved, however difficult things are between the divorcing couple. In a nutshell, the children shouldn’t have to suffer because Mom and Dad aren’t compatible, and even if there’s abuse in the relationship, the courts have ways of managing that (like supervised visitation) that’s still got to be better than having one of your parents just vanish.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I just don’t know what it’s like to have your ex go on a calculated campaign of propaganda, turning your children against you, and I certainly don’t know what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship where it would be safer for the children to be isolated from one parent or the other.
That’s not really what I’m talking about anyway. I’m more thinking about the situation where the Dad has a good relationship with his child or children, but leaves them and walks away when he leaves his ex because he just can’t cope or just doesn’t want to.
That just seems like a tragedy.
What do you think?