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Absent father barely seeing sons

(9 Posts)
Joy5 Sun 05-May-13 08:53:17

Has anyone experience of a father who lives elsewhere barely seeing his sons, (their elder brother died suddenly a few years ago).

Hes not seen our middle son for six weeks, he saw our youngest son for a footie match yesterday, and took him to play cricket one evening last week, but missed the second game, and is missing todays game.

Hes not seeing either of them again this weekend. I know it means his loss is my gain, and that i get to see them instead, but they miss their Dad and want to see him, its him who has excuses i've got to work, i've got to go out. My sons have been through enough, losing their elder brother, i can't understand how their Dad can see so little of them.

Or maybe i can, hes so scared of losing another child, hes doing his best to create distance between the younger two and himself. But it hurts my sons, they're old enough to realise hes seeing his girlfriend and her children rather than them.

Just don't know what to say, or how to make them feel better.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 09:32:35

Do you have an access order in place or has it all been very ad hoc up to now? You mention a football match and playing cricket in the space of the last couple of weeks. That doesn't sound like 'barely seeing' tbh.... however, I think it would be better if there was some legal framework for regular contact that he had to stick to rather than doing his own thing.

I've known several men who, once they have a new girlfriend and new family, try to consign their old family to the past. No bereavement involved either.... mostly just selfishness and thoughtlessness on their part. So I'd be careful about assigning reasons that may not exist.

zxcv123 Sun 05-May-13 12:15:27

First of all I'm very sorry for your loss and hope that you have all had the support you need to deal with it.

If you come over to the "Lone Parents" section you'll find lots of people with experience of absent parents seeing their children hardly ever or not at all. My XH has been through extended periods (several months at a time) of refusing to have anything to do with either of his children; and for the past 2 years has regularly seen one child but has not spoken to the other one.

What you say to them depends on how old they are. Beyond a certain age though, I think it's best to be honest without being too judgmental if you can e.g. "Dad has rung to say he's too busy to see you this weekend" rather than "Your stupid father has let us all down again because he's running around with his new bimbo." (Tempting though it is!!!)

Have you spoken to your XH about your sons wanting to see more of him? Perhaps a contact order specifying when he's supposed to see them would help (although to be honest it would just give him the right to see them at particular times - it does not force him to turn up.)

The best thing you can do is make sure your boys know that they are not at fault in any way.

Joy5 Sun 05-May-13 12:41:48

Sons are old enough to know whats happening, they're 19 (with aspergers) and 14, when i say barely see them, he hasn't seen the 19 year old since March, hes only seen the 14 year old to drive him to a few cricket and football matches, i probably take him to the other games.

Both boys miss him dreadfully, he was a fantastic father until the death of our eldest son, then he became more and more withdrawn from us all, untl he eventually chose to leave.

I refuse to criticise my ex in front of them, i try to be as positive as possible, its just very hard to make it ok when their Dad doesn't ring or contact them on yet another weekend.

Lweji Sun 05-May-13 12:51:51

Has he sought professional help at all?

Otherwise, perhaps your sons could benefit from some counselling?

BouncyButterfly Sun 05-May-13 19:20:21

Can you or have you had any dialogue with him regarding his erratic contact? I know he should not need this pointing out, but wandered how he responds?

BouncyButterfly Sun 05-May-13 19:21:48

And you sound amazing, with your loss you are still being a fab mum to your sons

Joy5 Mon 06-May-13 11:58:18

He did seek profession help, 3 years after the death of ours son, at my suggestion, then when it brought back all his feelings of loss and grief, it was my fault which ended with him moving out.

Sons have tried bereavement counselling, both decided they didn't want to carry on with it, youngest was in the living room when i realised his brother was dead, middle son was asleep upstairs but had to be woken and told what had happened. Worry like mad it will come out at a later date, and have long term implications. Things with middle son came to a head last year, the week after he became the same age as his elder brother was when he died, he was found on the verge of suicide. This was the week after his Dad told him he'd met someone else, and 12 weeks after he'd moved out. Since he became 19 a year older, he seems to have
turned a corner, thank goodness.
Due to his anger towards me, ex has waited outside in the car when he collects the boys. I used to email saying they wanted to see him, or just asking when he was next seeing them, or just ask for details like would they be back for tea. Every time i'd just receive ramblings that something was my fault, criticisims of me, he'd decide with the boys and i had no reason to know anything it was their secret, there just wasn't any point in me asking, so i gave up months ago. Result is he sees even less of his sons.
bouncybutterfly, thanks for your praise, i hope i still am a fab mum, but know in reality i still struggle, i'm either lost in my own thoughts about my dead son, or i'm being too protective and fussing too much, but the one thing i've always been able to do is talk with my sons and i do. But they both don't like criticising their Dad and his behaviour towards then, so i never force it, its more they just shrug their shoulders when they realise at the last moment they won't be seeing their Dad.

Lweji Mon 06-May-13 12:06:34

Yes, I'd completely back off.
They are old enough to keep contact or not.
If they were keen on it, they'd contact him, I'm sure.

By counselling for them, I meant regarding their relationship with their dad, if you are worried. It can be tough getting through feelings of abandonment by a parent.
Otherwise, you can't force it.

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