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Disruptive life = unhappy dad

227 replies

r1kd · 31/01/2019 14:59

I need help. I’m privileged, and I should be grateful, but I’ve hit the lowest ever point. This is my sitch:

  • I have been separated for almost 2 years
  • We have 2 daughters aged 12 & 15
  • I own a house in the Yorkshire which is where we tried to settle as a family. But failed.
  • It is 1 hour away from anyone I know
  • I feel like my home is in Sussex (300 miles away).
  • My job is in the sussex
  • My new partner is in sussex and we have a flat there
  • My friends are in sussex
  • I am incredibly unhappy with the disruption joint custody has

    Our current custody arrangements are:
  • We have 50/50 custody with some flexibility
  • I travel 300 miles to my house in Yorkshire
  • I pick up the kids from their mums
  • I stay for 2 weeks
  • Often alone, without my new partner.
  • I drop them back at their mums
  • I drive back to Sussex.

    I then spend 2 weeks trying to re-adjust and get comfortable. And often I do. But then the next day I have to disrupt again.
    It’s extremely stressful and upsetting because of the disruption it has to my friends, myself, my relationship, and not least of all, my kids. They also have to live in two homes, albeit in the same town, but I still understand their anxieties. I really dislike it in Yorkshire and can’t find the mental strength to try make that better.

    Me and their mum do not get along. I want to, but she’s still very bitter about the breakup and is only negative when we talk.

    Very recently my current partner and I have been having relationship troubles. And while not solely to do with this, it has had a huge impact on us. She’s incredibly supportive, but it obviously takes its toll on her too.
    We both love our lives when we are together but we are not very good at being apart.

    At the weekend just gone, I felt like I was having a mental breakdown at the thought of my relationship ending because of my past and it felt horrible. So I vowed to fix it.

    I have to be happy for my kids to be happy too!!

    And while that was a satisfying bit of honesty with myself, it made coming up with a solution that whole much more difficult. Making me happy isn’t easy, but I think I know what I need. But that has a profound effect on my kids and my ex-partner.

    I feel like I’ve turned a corner in admitting to myself I have to get a grip on this to be happy. But I don’t know where to go next.
    I am incredibly lucky that my job is flexible, in some ways I wish it wasn’t.

    If I spend more time with my partner, I spend less time with my kids, and visa versa.
    If I keep it as is, I will increasingly become more unhappy and my relationship is certain to end
    I am afraid to ask my partner to move up north with me for the sake of my kids because we both love it in the south and that is our home. They are also not her kids, although she does love them.

    I would love some observation, guidance, advice and criticism from anyone who may have had similar experiences.
    I just want everyone to be happy, and if possible, keep hold of my incredibly loving and amazing relationship with my partner.
OP posts:
DoctorDread · 31/01/2019 15:03

I'm confused? How and where does work and school fit in to this arrangement?

TheQueef · 31/01/2019 15:07

I'm heavily biased because I'm Yorkshire.

The kids won't be young forever, how does that factor in? Can you wait until they are older before making a decision?

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:07

They go to high school in Yorkshire. The kids never leave yorkshire except for holidays.
Their mum works locally.
I work in Sussex, but I am allowed to be flexible and work remotely for two weeks at a time. They're very accomodating. But it is difficult to keep on top of work when my mental state cannot cope with the disruption.

OP posts:
r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:10

Yeah it does factor in. I want to enjoy them while they're young and have an influence on them becoming an adult.
But I am worried this will ultimately cost me my relationship, my mental health, and stifle my career prospects due to not being able to find other work which is as flexible.

As I started the post, I'm very privileged and I am aware of that. But i'm still not happy.

OP posts:
MostlyBoastly · 31/01/2019 15:10

Who up and left? Did you decide to move to Sussex?

MostlyBoastly · 31/01/2019 15:11

Where did you work for the initial year that you were attempting to make it work in Yorkshire??

TopBitchoftheWitches · 31/01/2019 15:13

Your children come before your partner.

Your post does seem very selfish as in it is all about you and then your partner. Your children should be your priority always.

Who moved ?

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:13

I have worked at this place for 10 years.
We all moved to Sussex about 8 years ago. But my ex got very sick and wanted to move back to Yorkshire. Which we did.
Our relationship was already broken then and the move just killed it completely.
I went back to Sussex initially and came up at weekends. We went through a period of changes to try find a balance which is where we're at now.

OP posts:
Hollypink · 31/01/2019 15:14

So basically you want us to say yeah it's ok don't feel guilty to not see your kids as much so you can be in Sussex with your new woman and to make your life easier?

Do your kids like the set up you have now or has it came to the point they realise 50/50 when you live further away isn't really working

TopBitchoftheWitches · 31/01/2019 15:15

So, ideally what would be your solution to this arrangement you currently have?

Tinty · 31/01/2019 15:15

Did you move to Yorkshire for a year? Or have you lived in Yorkshire a long time? ie have the DD's lived their whole lives there?

Did you move to Sussex and leave your family when your marriage broke up? How did you end up working in Sussex when you lived in Yorkshire.

This is going to be another case of you met your DP and moved to Sussex to be with her isn't it?

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:16

@Hollypink thank you for your contribution. But no, I am not asking for anyone to tell me that.
I was hoping other dad's in similar situations could help me understand how they got through it. Thank you, anyway. But there is a lot of nuance and I have sacrified a great deal to try and make this work.

OP posts:
TheQueef · 31/01/2019 15:18

True you are lucky to have some choices but it doesn't help you in all ways.

It may end up costing you emotionally but being present, having that time and input with the kids and knowing you moved heaven and earth to make it best for THEM will have its own reward.
Be that best Dad, it doesn't last forever and although it takes something to give you'll enjoy the relationship it makes with D.C..

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:18

Me, my ex, and my kids are originally from yorkshire. we moved as a family to sussex. health and relationship issues made us move back to yorkshire but my head, my heart, my job and life remained in sussex.

I got my job as a remote worker. I moved there because i loved it. I kept my flexible remote job. But I really miss being in the office with my colleagues.

OP posts:
r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:21

Thank you. Is the emotional cost worth it?
Technically I can move here permenantly, give up my current partner and my love of the town i live in down south and be present for my kids.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, has full control over their mental health. And I fear mine will take a major tumble if i have to be in a town i hate permenantly, regardless of if my kids are there.

Is it worth it? I don't know. This is exactly why I'm asking for constructive discussions to help me understand.

My kids would be far better off with a happy dad than a sad one. But between that, how much time i spend with them, there is a really fine line between getting it right, and getting it horribly wrong

OP posts:
TopBitchoftheWitches · 31/01/2019 15:23

Is invisible today Grin

CalamityJane10 · 31/01/2019 15:24

If your children are 15 and 12, you only have a few more years of their childhood left. Soon they will be able to travel to see you. But they might not want to if you don’t put in the effort to see them now.

Your DC need you more than your DP; I don’t understand why she can’t support you. Why is she trying to make you choose between her and your DC?

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:24

@TopBitchoftheWitches. Not so... I replied to one of your messages :P

I do not know what I think I want.
I know what my head wants, and what my heart wants. they're not the same. I also know that whatever i decide, it's going to take persuading other people that it's for the best. That in itself will be a fraught challenge to get right so i want to be absolutely sure my head knows exactly what i plan to try and achieve before i ask someone else to give something up.

OP posts:
MostlyBoastly · 31/01/2019 15:25

Presumably your ex has tried really hard to be accommodating given that she’s agreed to two weeks on/ two weeks off - a scenario that benefits your need to be in Sussex greatly.

50/50 is a great arrangement. Anything less and, at the age your kids are, they’ll read between the lines quite capably. It sounds like your family are really settled in Yorkshire - so that’s what you’re left with. If you want the best for them, you do your best for them.

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:26

My Current partner is ABSOLUTELY NOT making me choose.
She is one of the most supportive women i have ever met.
But she also has a life, a career, friends, ideals and values. And that is exactly why I love her.
Asking her to completely change her life for me is not something i am going to do lightly.

OP posts:
rainflowerstar · 31/01/2019 15:26

Why can't you ask your partner to move up for a few years and when your kids are old enough you both move back down.
Do you have family and friends in Yorkshire? Where abouts in Yorkshire?

r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:27

My ex is far from accomodating. She won't contribute to discussions and then slags me off behind my back.
I have tried to engage her by offering her anything she wants in terms of custody, but she wont engage.
I have had to come up with changes and risk wether the backlash from her is worth the positive outcome.

OP posts:
r1kd · 31/01/2019 15:28

@rainflowerstar see my reply just above. I could... And she might... But I'm not sure I want to put her through that...
I'm not ruling it out. I just don't know.

OP posts:
MostlyBoastly · 31/01/2019 15:29

But in the space of two years, you’ve tried out a number of different arrangements? And she was/ is unwell? And presumably, you left her? Is that accurate?

1Regret · 31/01/2019 15:29

Talk to your children. They are old enough to have their opinions taken into consideration. Where does the oldest want to spend the 6th form years? Yorkshire, or would she be interested in Sussex? How do they find the 2 week shift around? Would they prefer term-time in Yorkshire with mum and a good portion of the holidays with you? Could you handle that work-wise?

Talk to them, but don't try to push them in any direction - the last thing you want is for them to think you don't want them.

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