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To wonder why so many men lose interest in their kids when the relationship breaks down?

(162 Posts)
dadsnkids Mon 06-Jul-15 08:13:26

I am wondering why so many men seem to lose interest in their children and don't even seem to love them any more after their wife eirher dies or they split.

I've seen this so many times from previously so called devoted dads and it makes me wonder if they are devoted to their wives not the children and then fall out of love with the kids along with the wife.

Or is it that their new relationship(s) take priority over the kids?

Disclaimer - I know this isn't every man but it seems to be true in many cases I have known.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Mon 06-Jul-15 08:19:15

I've not seen this happen when the mother dies (except in films and books) so can't comment on that, but I can only assume that my dad never much cared even before he split from my mum. He can't have cared, or he wouldn't have been able to abandon his kids.

Athenaviolet Mon 06-Jul-15 08:19:21

I think it's because a lot of men are on the periphery of their DCs lives anyway when they are part of a couple.

You see it in so many mn threads- so many dad's never have sole charge of their DCs.

They aren't equal parents. They don't have the same relationship with them the mum does.

I used to think I was closer to my dad growing up but when my parents split when I was an adult we drifted apart. My mum makes the effort with me and my DCs. He doesn't even get me a birthday card!

U2TheEdge Mon 06-Jul-15 08:26:19

I have seen it a couple of times as well.

One of the most devoted dad's I knew basically stopped seeing his children when he met someone else. When he first divorced he had the children loads, then he met someone else and lost interest. That relationship didn't last as she couldn't understand how he went from devoted dad to not seeing them much at all.

He obviously wasn't really that devoted after all was he?

Thankfully my ex husband remained a devoted dad when we divorced and he remarried, but what bugged me was the amount of people who praised him for it! Like it was something special to be a good father when you divorce and re-marry. No one praised me for being a good mum when I remarried! hmm

Teabagbeforemilk Mon 06-Jul-15 08:26:32

There are thousands of reasons

Some didn't give a shit anyway, only when other people were around so the looked like great dads. But didn't do the day to day stuff

Some are punishing the women

Some want a single life

Some may have felt on the outside anyway

And lots of other reasons, there is no one answer

FernGullysWoollyPully Mon 06-Jul-15 08:26:49

I agree with both pp. In terms of my own experiences, my dad probably cared very little about me when my parents were together, he found me to be quite boring and a bit of a chore. He liked to go to the pub and I obviously made it difficult for him to consume as much alcohol as he wanted to. Haven't seen him since I was 12.

My children's father, my ex, couldn't separate being with me and being a parent. Even when he left and I tried to keep up some form of contact between him and them, he would try to have sex with me and argue with me all the time. He wanted it to be exactly the same as before except he didn't want to live with us iyswim. When I finally stopped allowing him to do that to me, he disappeared from their lives and hasn't seen or asked after them since. It's been 5 years.

HootyMcTooty Mon 06-Jul-15 08:32:13

In my DF case I think it was a combination of punishing my mother and refusing to accept family life on someone else's terms. If he couldn't have his family on his terms he didn't want a family. It's sad and harmful, but mostly to him. He's now a very lonely pensioner who has isolated himself from everyone who would have given a shit about him, but that was his call.

ollieplimsoles Mon 06-Jul-15 08:36:50

Lots of reasons why this happens, from personal experience my dad just saw what everyone else was doing (settling down, marriage, family) and copied. But he wasn't ready deep down.

He thought nothing of leaving us after his affair. I agree with fern on the separating relationship with partner and dcs, my dad was suddenly around a lot more when he found out my step dad was on the scene and he wanted my mum back. When that didn't happen he ran off to another country and started another family. He's fucking those kids up as well- maybe some just arnt cut out for it full stop?

The same can happen with women. My aunt and uncle separated and kids stayed with her. She went off the rails in a bad way, started seeing loads of men, partying. Her kids left her one by one to be with their dad. She just acted like the kids were an inconvenience to this new life she was trying to build without her husband.

Teabagbeforemilk Mon 06-Jul-15 08:37:03

Also my dad stopped seeing us for a while because mum threatened to kill herself if he did

in the 1980s the legal system wasn't very helpful to him and it took severa years before he dare. Also mental health support was far worse for my mum.

Emochild Mon 06-Jul-15 08:38:52

My ex used to be a SAHD so being on the periphery when we were a couple is not the answer

He has no contact with DD1 -when we were together he always used to say she's my clone, both looks and personality wise I think her personality is very much him and they are too alike to get along

He sees dd2 once a month or so but generally takes her to visit family or has his girlfriend with him so they never get any time together

Dd2 doesn't like going but also doesn't like upsetting people or letting people down so begrudgingly goes
I can see contact stopping in the next 12 months or so

Ex thinks children should be seen and not heard and now they are 14 and 12 they question things and have opinions -he doesn't like that

Also his scheduled weekend is the same weekend his girlfriend doesn't have her son so if he doesn't have our dds they can have a child or teenager free weekend

dadsnkids Mon 06-Jul-15 08:48:55

My dad was completely devoted to me and my sister. I still can't get my head around him suddenly losing interest in the way he did.

mrsdavidbowie Mon 06-Jul-15 08:50:54

Ex has told them he's not their parent anymore. " your mother has stopped me being a dad".
Then accused me of turning them against him.hmm

ollieplimsoles Mon 06-Jul-15 08:52:43

emo my dad is a 'seen and not heard' dad too!

When we started to question things he used to make nasty comments to us about how my mum had brought us up, this I when we were as young as 11. My sister and I still talk to him occasionally but I can't sweep things under the carpet like she can.

Howsithanging Mon 06-Jul-15 08:52:57

I agree with all the reasons teabag gives. Certainly the case for my exh and dc.

Preciousbane Mon 06-Jul-15 08:53:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mimishimmi Mon 06-Jul-15 08:55:33

The only dads I've seen like that are ones who left because they thought their family, wife and children, were a burden. I've never seen a widower abandon his kids shock

dadsnkids Mon 06-Jul-15 08:56:33

Mine was a widower mimi

It's quite common.

FaFoutis Mon 06-Jul-15 09:02:00

With my dad it was because he put his new woman first. My mum left him and he was still a good father for a couple of years. As soon as new girlfriends came along he mainly forgot about us. It depends on the woman too - if she is the family type he bothers with us more, if she doesn't like children he doesn't.

deriant Mon 06-Jul-15 09:06:26

My dad left his first family for my mum. His ex wife used to bring his children to our house so they could see him, but he never travelled to see them, or seemed that bothered about them. Both of them have no contact now with their dad as adults.

I think he was fine with children if it was made easy for him. But that he couldn't be bothered making much effort. Both myself and my brother grew up thinking that if he and my mum split, he wouldn't bother about us either.

differentnameforthis Mon 06-Jul-15 09:06:32

Does it apply to men who have lost a partner? I don't think so...

My father lost his wife (my stepmum) and raised their 3 children by himself.
My friend passed away & her partner continues to be devoted to their girls.

FenellaFellorick Mon 06-Jul-15 09:08:10

I think it's because those particular men really weren't bothered about the children in the first place.

I think there are men who simply accept the children as the price to pay for shagging the mother.

That's why you see men who walk out on their own kids, then play happy families with the children of their new woman while ignoring their own children. They aren't with the mother so they don't care about the children of that woman, they just play dad to the children of the current woman they are sleeping with.

Until or unless that relationship breaks down then they walk away without a backward glance.

For those men, I would have to say they have no love for the children, it's simply the relationship with the mother.

That's not all men, of course, a lot or most men I think love their children very much. But we're just talking about those particular men who don't care about their children post break up.

feckitall Mon 06-Jul-15 09:09:53

I haven't seen my 'father' since I was 18 months old and he hasn't been mentioned by DM. I have no idea of what kind of man he was. I only know his name.
I have no idea why he left or why he didn't keep in touch.

Although I do wonder if in some cases the mothers make it difficult. My DS is in the process of splitting with his partner. .she has made it clear that she doesn't want him around. DS is a SAHD/student. It looks like he will have to come home for a while as he doesn't have any money to rent. He doesn't have the money to press for contact.

They separated briefly once before and she refused/made contact difficult. I would imagine some men if they don't have the funds to fight for contact don't have any option but to accept it.
I doubt then the mother is going to admit to being an selfish and vindictive woman. ...any more than men admit to being arses.

noeffingidea Mon 06-Jul-15 09:12:15

My ex is like this.
He does love them, but he doesn't make much of an effort to see them. In our case, he was never a 'hands on' dad anyway. I did 99% of the childcare. He never fed them at night, rarely changed their nappies or even 'babysat' (his words) them much.
To be fair, he also worked away from home a lot so he got used to being physically apart from them at a very early age. I'm with my children virtually 24/7 until they grow up so it seems strange to me. I remember the sense of seperation when my 1st child had his 1st night away from me. He was 8 ,and it was almost like a physical pain to me.

DirtyDeedsD0neDirtCheap Mon 06-Jul-15 09:15:01

yanbu sad

TheFormidableMrsC Mon 06-Jul-15 09:26:06

My STBXH is an absolutely feckless father. He put significant pressure on me to have a baby, it didn't turn out how the thought it would. DS was a very very difficult baby and he has since been diagnosed with autism. Ex had an affair several actually and walked out in the middle of the diagnostic process for DS. He specified what contact he wanted minimal and thinks he's an amazing father for buying endless presents that DS doesn't play with ever. He is also involved with an utterly vile woman and gives no thought to the effect of their behaviour on DS. He hasn't attended a single one of the ASD courses that we were both invited to in order to support our DS. He pays minimal maintenance, having actively manipulated his finances to do so yet bleats on about how much he loves DS, blah blah. His idea of love and parenting is far from what I would consider normal. He offers me zero support and was just as bad when he was here. The fact he has abandoned his two previous relationships in a similar cutthroat fashion and has now had a total of 7 step-children should have been a huge red flag to me. He should never have been a father and I feel desperately sad for my DS that he is. He now has yet another stepchild, it is just a continual pattern of abandonment and bad behaviour. I can only thank the Lord that he's had a vasectomy and can produce no further children.

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