The only thing tougher than divorce, is divorce when you have kids. If you think your time, money, energy, negotiation skills, and your sanity is at it’s breaking point, you are not alone.

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54 Comments

  1. It hit me today. I realized that I do not have a social life and do not know how to go about fixing that. Ever since she walked out so long ago it was just me and my kid. I set my life around my kid, lived for her and tried to help her through her mom abandoning us.

    And now I do not know how to just go out and start a social life with anyone. I like to mingle with friends, but I need to get out there and start living my life also, so what do I do? How do I go about this?

    Reply
    • Well, Andrew, all I can say is get out there. Get up out of your chair, visit the local brew pub, restaurant, bar, etc. Sit at the bar. Mingle with the other patrons and bartender. Over time, you’ll get into the grove. Meet your guy friends there and over time, meet your female friends there too. It’s all about just making minimal efforts. And, it’s somewhat like riding a bike. You just have to get up, climb on and give it a whirl.

      Reply
    • Online dating. Tinder dating. You will probably do a lot of bad ones, but it gets you back in the swing of it, and helps build your confidence. Go on a pile of them, and just plan to meet for a coffee/drink and nothing else.

      Reply
      • That scares the crap out of me but I’ll do it. I fear it could hurt my kid but I feel it’s time to do something for me. Thanks!!

        Reply
        • It can’t hurt your kid if you don’t get sloshed and bring that some loser friend home to him. Go out. Have fun. But moderate your fun so as to not hurt yourself or anyone else.

          Reply
  2. My wife and I have been separated going on 4 m (her choice). She’s moved out and got an apt. It took me a while, but I was finally starting to do a little better.

    A week ago she came to our house to see our boys and was crying, saying she loves and can’t be without us, is sorry and she hated being alone, and that she shouldn’t have ever left. She stayed over a few nights, things were great, then we don’t talk for a couple days.

    Last night I call her, she basically says she still loves me but it was a mistake and she came back too soon, and it we need to go back to being separated again. Throughout this, she’s been diagnosed with depression and is not taking meds or seeing a therapist.

    Her words and attitude from last week to last night are like night and day, she was mean and was yelling last night. She insists there’s nobody’s else. We’ll be married 11 years in nov. and as stupid as it sounds, I still hold on to hope that she’ll want us back. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • Depression is an ugly beast. And, it requires treatment. You and the kids deserve a break from her and her mood swings. Don’t take her back until she finds treatment and you know she’s taking her meds.

      Reply
      • She came back again. It was awful. The kids saw her and she hugged him and told him again how she love them that one of them back and wanted to come back home.

        Once she tucked them in bed, I asked her about depression. She said it was nothing and she just needed space. I made her leave.

        She screamed, threw a fit, refused to go and woke the kids. She told them I was making her go. They cried and ran to her. So she’s her tonight. And I’m waiting for a few days to pass when she’ll leave us again. And I’ll have the broken pieces to repair.

        Is there any legal way to make her not come here again?

        Reply
  3. This is my first Halloween separated. My ex insists on doing trick or treat in her neighborhood. I’m ok with that but think they can come over after and hit some houses in my neighborhood. Gives them some time with me and more homes for them.

    She’s claiming this will ruin it for them. Too much traveling, too much stress, just let them enjoy the holiday.

    It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. Plus I’m worried about giving in so early in our separation. Thought we could always work this stuff out, but here we go!

    Reply
    • Interesting perspective you have about not giving in too early in this stage of your divorce. This isn’t about winning, it’s about what’s best for your kids. You don’t mention where the kids are staying: with Mom or with you? Or which house they’ll be at Halloween weekend, your’s or her’s, and whether her house is the old marital property or not. If the kids are with Mom at the old marital property where their friends and their families are, then what’s best is for them to feel comfortable where they are out trick or treating, not which parent or which neighborhood they’re visiting. Think about the kids and their comfort, their friends, their acquaintances, their happiness. There’s much more time for you to win the war over where they spend their time.

      Reply
  4. I’m so crazy with all this crap! Just had another ditch from my ex! Lost track the number now

    She screws with me at least every other time or so I’m supposed to have the kids. Either a magical sleepover on my night or a late plan that she can’t bring them to me.

    This weekend was supposed to be mine and then she didn’t show. I called and finally Saturday she called from her sisters house (3 hours away) and said she forgot. I offered to come get them and she said they were having a blast with their cousins, but I could come.

    So we arranged for tonight. I took off work early and tomorrow. Then she calls and says they don’t want to come.

    What can I do?! Now they don’t want to come?

    Reply
    • I’m thinking you need to start keeping detailed records of your parental exchange. Document your emails and correspondence, detail the texts, etc. and detail the events when she makes it apparent she’s not complying with your parental rights by denying you access. With all this documentation, I’d advise you to get some super, father’s rights advocate/attorney to represent you and file a complaint with Family Court. Let her sweat the bullets while you are completely covered with the facts. The Courts are coming around slowly to Dads and their parental rights and parenting time, but nothing will change with simple accusations and no documentation. Document, document, document. Then file.

      Reply
  5. I’m struggling with the divorce or not divorce decision. Does anyone out there have experience staying married for the kids?

    I read your stories and am scared to death at why I might do to them. Or I wait 12 more years and then move on once they are off to college.

    Reply
    • Been there, done that, got the T Shirt. Yeah, well, you might think you’re doing the kids a favor by hanging on, but that really depends on you and your wife. How is your relationship? Is there a lot of discord in the marriage? Is it visible and audible to the kids? Do you argue in front of the kids? Either of you involved in a relationship outside the home? Any suspicions being levied to this effect? Look. Kids are a lot more perceptive than you realize. And what you think you may be hiding is many times obvious to your kids. If you’re really interested in staying together, then I suggest you read “Divorce Busting” by Michelle Weiner-Davis. If properly applied, the strategies in this book can help you focus on you and your kids and keep your head on straight.

      Reply
      • Yeah I get it Bud. But I’m not ready to step aside as my kids’ dad. I don’t want them bouncing between houses, putting up with this BS mentioned here and others, and definitely don’t want to just see them rarely on weekends. Plus my wife told me she’s just take the kids and move back to her hometown. I have a good job and can’t just up and move so there they go! No way!!!

        Reply
  6. My oldest is having more nightmares, but this time she remembers them. She tells me that in them she’s with her mom and then there’s her new baby. Her mom leaves my oldest on the floor and ignores her, after a while of trying to play with her mom, she leaves with the baby and closes the door on my daughter, leaving her alone.

    I knew that she would be feeling this eventually, but I had been talking with her about what she’s feeling and how she’s loved by her mom, me, grandparents, etc. I had hoped it would help, but apparently not. When she finally told me what her nightmares were about my heart sank. I told her again that mommy didn’t replace her, that her mom still loves her and her sister, and that she’s not alone. She cried a little more and held onto me pretty tight. It was all I could do to not start bawling myself.

    My big girl is hurting and I can’t help her. I can’t even get her the help she needs yet because I’m nearly broke. I’ve never felt like such a failure in my life. Not even with the divorce.

    Reply
    • It’s obvious that your daughter is young by your post. Divorce is a life shattering event for young kids and they don’t understand why their loving parents seem not to care about them anymore. They feel dejected, alone, unwanted. If therapy is not an option, provide all the reassurance you can. Show her that you love her and care for her. Chat with the Ex if that is possible to gently encourage her to provide your daughter with the attention and reassurances she needs. The two of you may be separated or divorced, but you still have children that I’m sure you care deeply for. Show them you care un all the things that you do.

      Reply
  7. How long does it take for kids to stop being rude to your new girlfriend?

    I’ve been divorced for over 3 years. My girlfriend and I have been dating for over a year without my kids real knowledge. We did our thing while the kids were with their mom.

    Over the past month I’ve been bringing her around, mainly for dinner or to hang out.

    They are awful! What can I do?

    Reply
    • I’m guessing by the tone of your post that your kids are teenagers. Typically, younger kids are not as prone to voice their opinions on your dating partners. They may have feelings but are less inclined to voice their opinions. Teens on the other hand can be ruthless. And, it’s not necessarily that they don’t like your date, but they’re just not ready for Dad to be dating. And, don’t try to use logic like – “Mom is dating why can’t Dad?” That just won’t fly. I’d suggest backing off from introducing what the kids might think is a romantic partner. They’re not ready for Mom to be replaced by your new girlfriend just yet. Let time pass and wounds heal. They’ll likely let you know subtly when the time is right.

      Reply
      • You nailed it! Except for the youngest (7), but she is a repeater for her older sisters.

        A friend told me that one of my problems is having teenager girls. They thought boys would be easier.

        I don’t know about all that, but these girls are vicious! They are well mannered around my friends, even girls that hang out in my fantasy football league. We rotate houses for games and football parties and my girls are always awesome around other adults!

        Add that romantic potential and now they are witches! AND, their behavior spilled into my football parties. They are still nice to the men, but it seems they think the other women are threats now.

        I’ve tried to bring it up but they deny it or just say nothing and go cold for a day. I’m thinking we need to talk to someone as a family. Maybe with ex or just us?

        Reply
  8. My wife and I are divorcing and I feel on the wrong side of it with my kids.

    We are divorcing because SHE cheated. I agreed to keep that part to us and we told the kids we decided mutually.

    Now the kids think it’s me! I overheard my girls talking the other night. And it sounds like my wife knows they think this, but doesn’t say anything.

    Should I tell them the truth?

    Reply
    • Feels like I’m reading my history when I read your post! Bad dreams all over again…

      So I’m just one man and it’s my opinion, but here’s what I did. I talked to my ex. Told her she needed to take steps to nip that, or I would be put in a corner and have to correct. Told her I didn’t want to “out” her, but I wasn’t going to go down as the bad guy either.

      Call it a threat but it worked. She overheard them I guess and shut it down. She went back to the party line and all was good.

      For what it’s worth, they found out the truth anyway, from a friend’s parent. Point is, might as well tell the truth up front.

      Reply
      • Thanks dude, right in line with my thoughts…figure I’ll give her a chance to correct before I have to clear my name!

        Reply
  9. Someone please point me in the right direction. My son is in jail and will be there for a while. I’m not making excuses for him, he got hooked on pills and ruined his life. His wife took the kids and left him and got a divorce. By the time he ended up in jail, he was way behind on child support. Now his wife won’t let us see our grand kids unless we pay the child support our son owes. We just don’t have it. It’s breaking my heart. Is there anything we can do?

    Reply
    • Grammy: I don’t know where you’re from or where your son’s Ex lives, but check to see if your state or the state where the Ex lives has laws pertaining to grandparents rights. If so, find a good lawyer and seek visitation. Legally, she cannot withhold visitations for the lack of child support not having been paid.

      Reply
  10. Anyone have an ex wife with family out of the country? My ex wants to take my kids to Mexico to see her grandparents, but I’m afraid she might not bring them back.

    Is there anything I can do to keep her from taking them?

    Reply
  11. Anyone know a good lawyer in Maine who can stop your ex from taking your kids out of the state?

    Reply
    • You don’t mention where in Maine your located so I’m taking the best guess I can. Go see Edward Brown in Portland. He’s a Father’s Right certified advocate. If youre not ner Portland, I’d suggest to do a search for a Fathers Rights advocate in your local area.

      Reply
  12. May sound odd, but I have a question to help my ex (I know, but it makes sense).

    I’m in the military, divorced, and my wife lives in another state from me with the kids. I move too much and that’s just how it is.

    Lately, my 10 year old son has been arguing with her very heavily. When he gets mad, he tells her he wants to go live with me.

    I’m all for that and will make it work. But, I want it to be because he wants to, not to make mom mad or out of anger.

    Any advice about how to tell the difference and work to help him (and her) figure this out, and then us figure it out?

    Reply
    • Well, I have no crystal ball in determining anyone’s real interest or internal motivation. I gave up mind reading years ago because I totally failed at it. If the condition persists and your son is intent in moving to Dad’s place, what does Mom say? Does Mom want this too? If so, then you can work out the details. If not, there’s simply nothing for you to do. You gave up the kids because of your military deployments and moves, and that’s understandable. But, until your Ex suggests that your son move in with you, I would not recommend you step onto that mine field.

      Reply
  13. Anyone deal with a flow of clothes, toys etc from your house to your ex’s? My ex doesn’t provide much for the kids. When they come over, I make sure they have things at my house for them to do and wear.

    I can’t help notice that new clothes and toys go from my house back to their moms. I feel like I’m always stocking up.

    I don’t want to tell the kids they have to leave my stuff here, but seriously?! Can’t my ex buy any clothes?

    Reply
    • It’s simple, really. What Dad buys Dad maintains at his house for the kids visits. Just ensure as best you can that packing for return to Mom’s house is without the toys and clothes that Dad had in inventory before their arrival. If need be, inspect their packed things to ensure Dad’s stuff for the kids stays Dad’s stuff.

      Reply
  14. Can somebody tell me why I pay so much child support , yet my kids come to visit without decent clothes?

    It’s hot out now, and I get the kids this weekend. My ex just informed me that I’ll have to take the kids shopping for shorts and bathing suits. wtf??

    I’m not against getting things for my kids, but I’m not made of money. I pay high child support. Plus, I don’t need to take marching orders from their mother anymore. This sucks.

    Reply
    • Wow. I know how you feel. It’s more important to take care of the kids and their needs that to fight over how the Ex is using the child support. Buy the kids the clothes that they need but ensure those items stay at your place. No reason to give the Ex MORE when she appears to be spending the money on herself rather than the kid’s needs.

      Reply
  15. I cheated, I get it. I screwed up. But should I have to pay for it for the rest of my life? My ex is turning my kids against me and making up lies. They don’t even want to come to the phone to talk to me about their day when I call. Yes, I messed up with the wife, and yes, there’s nothing I can do about that, but how can I stop her from turning my own kids against me? It’s killing me and I can’t handle them not wanting to talk to me. I would never hurt my kids, I love them more than anything, how do I make her stop this crap!! Can I sue her for slander or something?

    Reply
    • Dude, you cheated on your FAMILY. You broke up your FAMILY. What lies does your ex need to tell your kids for them to be angry and resentful? The truth is that Daddy wanted to be with another woman instead of mommy and his children. The truth is enough to make them want to stay away from you. No lies needed!!

      You would never hurt your kids?? You have already caused serious hurt and damage that may take years to repair. Your kids will have lasting scars.

      Got a daughter? You just taught her how she can expect to be treated by men. Got a son? You just taught him that honor and integrity can be tossed aside for selfish pleasures.

      You broke up your kids home, deprived them of emotional security, and blame thier mother?

      Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you should be apologizing and begging to be allowed to participate in professional family counseling with them.

      Reply
      • Wait, I call foul! I’m the one on the receiving end of a cheating wife before our divorce, so I also can call foul!

        He’s owned up. The cheating is between the two adults. She is clearly in the wrong bringing the kids to her side. What logic are you applying to the son teaching moment above? The failing of the marriage is between them. It is NOW a teaching moment for his son because she brought the boy into the conversation. I can think of NO child therapist that would recommend bringing children into these adult issues!

        Reply
  16. I’ve been divorced for more than two years and I have two kids, a 12 year old daughter and a 9 year old boy. My ex and me don’t talk more that absolutely necessary because we had a nasty breakup. Now the ex wants to talk with me about my daughter. She’s trying to tell me what she thinks I need to say and do with a teenage girl. It was her constant picking at me and trying to control everything that wrecked our marriage. But I don’t want my daughter to get messed up either. How much should I listen to her mom?

    Reply
    • Warning: Female response. But trying to help!

      None of us want to listen to our ex. But you are not a woman, so you have to get over the bitter feelings with your ex and figure out what she’s trying to tell you about your daughter. Maybe she’s finally able to see past the bullshit she laid on you in the past (and you likely laid on her) and is trying to help your daughter. Maybe this is the first of many steps where the two of you will finally be able to parent your kids together. You can’t go it alone, and whether you like it or not, the parent that likely “gets” your daughter and her issues best is the mom. Bitter pill, but true.

      Reply
      • I’ve got news for you Bev, being a woman doesn’t make someone an automatic expert on parenting. I’m lucky my kids are boys, because my ex is a cheating mess and is not anyone who should be raising little girls, or any kids for that matter. Wish the courts would see that.

        Reply
  17. I feel like I’ve made a huge mistake. I divorced years ago, met someone, and then remarried. Looking there today I feel I missed or ignored too many warning signs. Today my new wife is horrible to my daughter. They can’t stand each other.

    Now my son wants to come live with me full one and my new wife is very resistant to that. I believe she wants our new family going forward, with me as dad to her son and our baby, and my precious kids are an inconvenience.

    I’m tempted to punt, tell her to piss off, and just go it alone, but in fearing failure…again. Thoughts?

    Reply
    • Hey, I know how you feel. My second wife was horrible to my son from my previous marriage. Even after professional counseling, she just couldn’t get past being a nasty, evil step mother. So, I dumped her for the sake, sanity and welfare of my son. Good luck with it. This is a huge issue for all of you.

      Reply
  18. I’m very recently divorced. I have three kids and just settled into a nice apartment. With the divorce, I have 50/50 custody of our three kids, with the oldest being 11. All is good, I’m no longer walking on eggshells around the house, but I have one problem…the 11 year old.

    She won’t come over. She won’t speak to me. The other two come and are doing well. I don’t pressure them about their sister, but she refuses to even see me. I did nothing wrong!!!

    She’s in therapy and the therapist has told me to be patient and they will let me know when I can text her little messages.

    This is driving me crazy! I know my ex is part of the problem. This is MY BABY GIRL! She used to rush to me when I came home and the way it is today is ripping me apart.

    Any advice about how to keep my cool? I’m heartbroken and mad all at the same time!

    Reply
    • I HAVE LIVED IN YOUR SHOES. I’ve been there and trust me, it takes years to turn this around. I don’t know your situation but my guess is that either your daughter is just purely angry about the divorce and Dad leaving the house, Mom and the other kids all alone or there is some parental alienation going on. Losing the anger is key. Changing your heart is essential. You love your daughter with all your heart, I can hear that. The fact that she’s in counseling is a good thing. She’s working through her feelings and emotions and trying to sort all of this out, just as my oldest daughter had to do. If I could offer any advice to you at all it would be – RELAX. Be patient. Don’t pressure or even bring the subject up with the other kids. Let your kids know you love them. Ask your kids how their sister is doing. Always express your love for her, even to her siblings. Always keep an open mind when it comes to your daughter. When you do start texting, never ever talk about Mom or the divorce. Just your openness and desire to be with your daughter. Invite her to lunch or dinner. Don’t become angry or defensive if she doesn’t reply. Just keep the positive spin on everything that you do for her. It took me three years of open, positive, inviting dialog with my daughter to see her start to turn the anger into trust again. It will happen, but this too will take a lot of time, effort and patience on your part. This might be 10x harder than the actual divorce process itself.

      Reply
  19. Third time in 2 months and I’m pissed (out of 5 visits)

    She’s called with some lame excuse why she can’t bring them over today and either I need to come get them or wait till the next day!

    She’s over an hour away and we agreed to share the back and forth. This time she’s sick!

    Am I over reading into this or is she just screwing with me?

    Reply
  20. This was the first year that I didn’t get to spend Easter with my kids. They were with their mother and her family. I get them next weekend, and I’m going to do Easter with them, at least the basket and candy part.

    I decided to tell my kids that the Easter Bunny came to my place, too, because the Eater Bunny goes where kids have a mom or dad that loves them. I figure that might work for Santa, too.

    Do you think the kids will be okay with that?

    Reply
  21. I’ve been divorced over 5 years and thought I was over the anger and nastiness from then. It was the worst time of my life. I never knew my wife could be so spiteful and vindictive. She dragged me through hell during the divorce. She’s evil.

    Now my 15 year old daughter is turning into her mother right before my eyes. I can’t hardly stand to be in the same room with her. by the time the divorce was over, I hated her mother. I don’t want to hate my daughter, but it makes me sick to be around her. What should I do?

    Reply
  22. How can I get my child support reduced when I can’t afford a decent lawyer? The one I used for the divorce didn’t keep me from getting screwed. They’re even taking it out of my paycheck. I know dam well all that money isn’t going just for the kids. It’s not right.

    Reply
    • I was right there with ya! What helped me was the Internet. I just started plugging away looking for calculators for my state. Took a bit, but found one, along with several for others (marylands was online. Not my state but it was a good example).

      Then I laid out my budget to the penny and ran these calculators. I found I was $100s over what I thought was fair and right compared to these numbers. All this on my own and cost nothing but time!

      Then I paid a different lawyer for 1 hr to ask if I was on the right track. He was wishy washy, but I got the impression I was on right track (he was pushing to represent me).

      Now I’ve filed on my own. The court had some handouts to help. I’m pressing ahead on my own to file and get before a judge if needed.

      Not there yet, it’s a pain, but I’m trying! Will let you know!

      Reply
  23. This is my first time posting here and I am not generally the type of guy that “shares” online, but I feel like I have to share this because I don’t know what to do. I first met my ex over 10 years ago through work and we quickly became friends. Nothing happened between us then and a few years later I switched jobs and we didn’t really keep in touch. Fast forward 3 years, she reaches out via Facebook and we reconnected and eventually started dating. Everything was good we ended up getting married and 2 years later had a little girl. It was amazing and I love my little girl too bits, the 4 years we were a family was the best of my life. Then 6 months ago it all blew up … My wife served me with divorce papers out of the blue and went for full custody with no visitation!!!!!!! Why you ask? Well it turns out my baby girl isn’t biologically mine!!!!! And she knew for a year!!!!!! My whole life blew up in a matter of hours. Basically, she had an affair around the time she was conceived and hid it all from me. Then a year ago the guilt of not knowing got to her and she had a DNA test done with my daughter and the guy she had the affair with and he was the father. My life has basically stopped over the last 6 months and I haven’t been able to deal with anything, but the hearing is getting closer and my lawyer basically says there is nothing I can do. Is this true?!?! Any help you guys can give me would be amazing. Thank you.

    Reply
    • This is definitely one to take up with your attorney! You are established as the father for your girl. In her best interest, does she deserve a break from her dad? No!!! Paternity test will grant him access, but should not deny her the right to see her dad….aka you!!!

      Reply
  24. First let me say that I’m a huge fan of the forum being added. Your site has been a big source of help for me over the past months since I found it, but I am looking to see if others are really going through the same shit as me with their ex.

    Ok, so maybe not ex, but she will be soon enough if I could only get the damn court to actually move on our paperwork (another issue).

    We split and are headed for a divorce because I was sick of her finding a new dude to shack up with anytime I had to go on a work trip to pay for the house while she sat on her butt, or pleased the neighborhood. That’s fine, it happens, and I’m looking forward to that being well behind me.

    But my kids are still feeling the pain from it. My work is busy, so it made sense for them to be with her during the week, and I see them on the weekend. Everytime I pick them up, they talk about “New Dude 1” or “New Dude 2” hanging out at the house or having a sleepover. WTF?!!! On top of that, one of the b*stards actually yelled at my daughter the other day for not picking up her mess. I’d kick his ass except he’s out the door for New Dude 100 now.

    Anyone else dealing with these issues with their ex in front of their kids? It floors me what they are living, but I feel powerless to stop her actions and their witnessing her train wreck of a love life. My lawyer says I’m stuck…unless they hurt the kids, wasted fight. Are you serious?! Is our world that f*cked up?!

    Reply
    • Dave,

      The short answer is YES, the world is that effed up. My husband’s ex is doing the same thing to his kids, so we are trying to get custody. If you think your kids are in an unhealthy situation, you need to go for primary custody. it will probably cost money if your ex fights it, but if it’s better for your kids, then do what you gotta do.

      Maybe you’ll get lucky and your ex would rather have more time with her boyfriends that dealing with her kids, and will let you take them.

      Talk to your lawyer and make arrangements for daycare. Better your kids are with a sitter than a trashy mother, IMHO.

      Reply

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