A manifesto on absent fathers

Parenting isn’t easy. Anyone saying otherwise has never been one  – or at least a good one. When I became divorced in ’05 my children were 10 and 22 months old –that’s young by any standard. And I can still remember the trepidation that initial weekend alone with them. Would I be able to do this on my own?

That first year was frequently agonizing and consistently chaotic. It’s sad to say but early on I regularly dreaded those Friday afternoons and Sunday night couldn’t get here fast enough. This single parenting thing wasn’t something I signed up for and without a local support network I was doing it on my own. The simple act of going out to eat, the three of us, was such a production with diaper bags, strollers and bottles it was grueling at best.

There were lots of times when I wanted nothing more than to unload them both, head south, and never look back. My entire life had been turned upside down and not only was it physcially taxing it was seriously cramping my re-emerging social life.  Who in their right mind would date a single dad divorced less than a year with two toddlers in tow?

There’s been seven years of water under that bridge since those first days and I now look back on all of it with a sense gratitude. I’m thankful my kids were too young to remember all my mistakes and I’m still amazed to have even survived with my sanity. Those close to me at the time readily admitted the whole thing was a tragic situation. Today I wear those years like a badge of honor because I know what I’d be missing without them. I surely wouldn’t have the kind of connection with my kids as I do and I wouldn’t have those past experiences to frame today’s decisions. Lastly, and arguably most importantly to me, I rest confident in the fact that the majority of men would have bailed the first chance possible.

This post was prompted by a single mom blogger’s recent article about the disappearance of her ex husband from his responsibilities and his children. It’s a heartbreaking read indicative of the current state of so many single fathers. She ends with these words:

“So like that, with the plague of child support haunting him, he’s gone . And as I’m finishing up this post, I have Claire sleeping next to me after crying herself to sleep, asking why he can’t come back and be with us. And I quietly ask myself, “How does he deserve these tears?”

With every ounce of composure I could muster I responded:

“Let me give you my first reaction after I finished this post “I want to find this man and personally beat the shit out of him”. I now understand where your response came from to my post about single dads. As much as I push for father custody, its guys like this that make me consider murder for hire. I’m going to say this…”he’s a loser”. Not only is he not a man but he isn’t worthy of the designation of being in the same conversation as a daddy figure.”

As hard as I try to put myself in other people’s shoes I just don’t have it in me to understand how a boy (he isn’t worthy of man) can so blatantly walk out of his children’s lives. I can think of no other human act more selfish nor is there a solitary excuse that would justify it. This is made even more infuriating for me because I’ve been there; I’m familiar with the many options that could pull a single father away from his children but in the final analysis there is nothing that condones leaving. I don’t care if…

  • there are no good jobs where you are.
  • that big promotion is waiting on the west coast.
  • it’s the best move for your future.
  • she’s the love of your life.
  • you’re depressed, lonely, and need your mommy.
  • you’re scared of being a single dad.

You may fabricate any reason you like but the fact remains if you walk out on your kids you’re a disgrace and deserve little more than a rope and a tree. Frankly the term ‘deadbeat’ isn’t a strong enough reference and jail isn’t a sufficient enough punishment. An absent dad is a child molester – you’ve abused your children’s trust and stolen their innocence because you decided comfort and self-interest were more important than sacrifice and parental responsibility.

It’s because of your dishonorable behavior that little girls grow up with a distorted view of boys and ultimately men. Because of fathers with your miserable character there is now a world of women searching for love and affection in destructive ways. I now have to prepare my daughter to be wary of the sons you left behind because you’re not there to show them what true manhood looks like. And worst of all because you felt being a single dad was too much work there’s now an abyss in your child’s soul and you’ve forced them to believe that your absence is somehow their fault.

It’s because of your irresponsibility that I have to fight for extra time with my kids. On account of derelicts like you court systems automatically award custody to the mother while I’m downgraded to ‘visitation’.

Let me ask you a question, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?!?

You think that you can just walk out on your duties without consequences? You think that you can simply create a whole new life for yourself while those you left behind fend for themselves without ramifications? You might be able to leave, but you can’t out run your conscience. When you lay your pathetic head on the pillow you know what you’ve done and you know what kind of person you really are.

And ladies how could you be with someone like this? If you know that the man you’re with has walked out on his children and you continue to stay with him – you’re not an ounce better than he is! Through your acceptance he can come to grips with his behavior and is able to hide his shame and disgrace behind your love and affection.

I don’t have an easy answer that will stop men from walking out on their kids. But in a society that regards abusers of mistreated animals with more disdain than the parents of mistreated children the first place to start is with us. Michael Vick got almost two years in prison while these losers freely roam the streets every day.  Public opinion equates deadbeat dad with money but an absent dad is a deadbeat.

For the follow-up to this article go here… Deadbeat Dads And The Women Who Still Love Them

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89 responses to A manifesto on absent fathers

  1. Very well written. I do still believe that sometimes it’s best for a creep to get gone than to hang around and pretend or force himself to act right. It’s the difference between raising your child with an asshole and raising your child without one. Sometimes.

  2. Just wow, is all I can say. While I hate that my circumstances inspired this post, it is well written and you have said everything that I have thought. Amazingly done, and it is going into an e-mail TO HIM. 

  3. Excellent post. I so wish that my second ex could have read this. Granted I kicked him out (he was an abusive alcoholic) but I did everything that I could to allow him to be a father – he chose not to. Instead, he ran 1700 miles back to Mommy’s house and stayed there until he finally drank himself to death (literally). He claimed to never have the money to pay his child support, but he sure had enough to stay drunk the entire time. He never got his priorities straight, and it sucked.

    Thank you for writing this. It is awesome.


  4. Amen!  Well said.  I know your focus in this post is on the “men” who truly leave their kids to grow up without at dad at all, but I think “absent” can be defined even more generally.  Dads who are not engaged in their kids lives, in nurturing them, training them and preparing them are also shirking their responsibilities.  They may be physically present.  They may even provide an over-the-top material life for their kids.  But in the end they are driven by the same selfishness as the dad who abandons his kids.

    I admire you for being a man now and especially seven years ago.  Your kids will be blessed beyond measure for your strength and courage – and we’re all blessed to have you write about it…

  5. 3GKnight

    Great post even if the subject isn’t.

    I completely understand the stress and frustration a dad can feel when he’s dealing with young kids by himself. Completely. What I don’t understand is how some guys can not want the absolute love and devotion kids feel for their dads. Having experienced it myself, I’m not sure I could live without it.

  6. Wow.  This post brought tears to my eyes.  Your children are lucky to have a father who clearly cares about them unconditionally.  I wish my son’s father felt even a smidge like you.

  7. THesweetthesour

    Great post. Great passion. I wish more men thought like you.
    I do have one question… What say you about a situation where the father remarries and has another child. While his new wife is pregnant his ex takes off out of state with the kids without telling him. He fights to get them back but loses. He continues to see them regularly and pays child support but does not move. Is he supposed to follow his ex wherever she goes whenever she feels like it? Will he forever be deemed a bad father, a deadbeat, a child molester?

  8. We need more post like yours.  It’s not enough for women to call men who walk out on their kids every bad name in the book (and we do), but MEN need to collectively stand up and say, no.  Not cute, funny, acceptable, excusable.  Men (and women) who skip out on child support and/or visitation are jackholes.

  9. I never can understand it either. My boy’s mom abandoned them. Turned out she was suffering from mental illness. At least she had an excuse!

  10. Very well said. 

    I have to say, however, that I don’t think all “absent” fathers are deadbeat molester-types.  There are certain scenarios where such men deserve a little more compassion.  Fatherhood isn’t always something a guy signs up for.  And “absence” isn’t always a man’s first choice.

    I know a man who had a fling with a fellow college student before graduation.  They parted ways and the following year she showed up in his life with their baby- surprise!  He made an honest effort to make things work but before long she took off with the child and he didn’t follow her.  Decades later he reunited with his son and they made amends.

    The other scenario you have to account for is alienation and/or hostile mothers.  Sometimes the only way for children to experience peace and stability is if Dad keeps his distance so Mom can keep her cool.

  11. Thesweetthesour

    Exactly. Totally agree. Well said.

  12. Thanks Tara, however I think we’re off on one vital point here. My post is in reference those fathers who ‘blatantly walk out” of their children’s lives. The SweetandSour’s situation, in my opinion, doesn’t fall in that category. And to your point if the mother is alienating the father and he wants and seeks to be with his children that is far from walking away. He is being kept away. 

    I would argue that as tragic as those situations are, they are more rare than the father who simply feels over burdened with being a single dad and jumps ship. 

    Those people I have absolutely no pity or regard for, whatsoever. 

  13. SweetandSour, Thanks for taking a few minutes to share.  Whether this situation is your own or someone else’s, the father in this case didn’t voluntarily walk away. His kids were taken away and that is far, far different than the fathers I am portraying above and what is admittedly the usual circumstance. 

    From the limited information provided I’d have done no less that this man did you refer to. Given he has another family it isn’t as simple as just picking oneself up. Unless he is willing to move his new family away I don’t see another option especially if he sought an injunction and lost. 

    The single mom whose situation prompted this post was where her ex husband simply got fed up and wanted to move to another place. HE made the decision to walk away from his children and responsibilities and he, in my mind, is utterly worthless for doing so. 

    At the end of the day the father you reference should be able to look himself in the mirror and say he’s done all he can and is in his kid’s lives based upon current circumstances. I don’t think the person in my post can say the same, do you? 

  14. This really is a great post. I am flabbergasted at people who can willingly walk out of their children’s lives. I have three real-life friends who are doing it on their own, the fathers of their children are gone, and I am so sad for those kids. In many ways, I want nothing to do with my ex-husband, but he is very involved in our son’s life–I think probably even more involved than he would have been if we’d stayed married. I think if we’d stayed together, he’d be one of those “present but absent” parents that Brad mentions. I would like him out of my life, but it’s so important for our son that he be there. I’m a great mom, but I can’t be a dad.

  15. wow – i totally can relate to this and the single mom you mentioned. that is exactly what my ex did when our marriage ended. his only concern has been child support and how to avoid it. hasn’t paid in months yet goes on to the children about his new tattoos and the hockey games he’s going to.

    i have no respect for him. at all…

  16. This post is right on target. But I wish its title were “A Manifesto on Fathers Who Walk Out on Their Kids,” rather than “A Manifesto on Absent Fathers,” because it’s really about the former.

  17. Wolf, I like it and I’m going to change the title. Thanks for the advice. Thanks for the comment. 

  18. Excellent post!

    I’d also submit there are a high number of deadbeat moms out there these days. 

    And robo-judges often auto-defer custody to the mother.  I’ve witnessed many scenarios where dad wants to be more involved, but apparently “the parent with breasts” is somehow deemed most fit to be primary parent, leaving dad slim pickings and a few hours of visits every other week.  I’m lucky in that I have near full-custody of my daughter (90% of the time).  But I’m in the minority. 

    One of the most blatent forms of discrimination in 2011:  fathers blocked from fair custody of their children.

  19. Wow. Hard words here, Papa, but I agree with many of your points. I feel certain the my custody issues were influenced by a judge that automatically assumed “Mom was best,” despite her unstable behavior and antics. I had to fight like crazy to get to joint custody.

    I don’t agree with your stance on leaving for a job, however. I’m personally in the middle of this, having been fired without cause a year ago. I’ve turned down MANY job opportunities out of state to stay close to my kids, but the reality is that my line of work isn’t hiring where I live. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out what is “best” for my kids, knowing that being a provider for their needs is still top of the list. But, I also figure you aren’t directing your post at a situation like this.

    Keep on rocking, man.

    – DT

  20. Because they have turned into self centered a*holes, or were always that way and just hid it while they were dating and early in the marriage. 

  21. From what I know about you DT, you are clearly not who I am referring to. I pray that you’re able to see your way through this. In the end game, your presence in your kids’ lives far outweighs the financial incentives you provide. 

  22. It’s an issue that is virtually ignored in the media. It’s far easier to focus on the dads instead of focusing also on the moms. 

    Great for you, your daughter is blessed to have your type of involvement. 

  23. Thanks Karla, please forward this post to him. I want to get these peoples attention. And I pray that he comments, which I doubt however, that he or any of them will. 

  24. I believe your making the right call. I’d rather chew glass than deal with my ex but it is what it is and it’s better to be civil for my kids than vindictive. 

    Please send this to your friends, I hope it will give them encouragement that not every father is that way. 

  25. Thanks Single Mamma. Please send this post to him, if it only causes one father to pause for a moment it will be worth it. 

  26. Loribuehler68

    I bought her gifts and signed his name, thinking it was not fair to a 3 yr. old to know that her father could not even send her a card.  I told her over and over again that I know he loves you and one day hopefully he will get his act together and be the Dad you want him to be.  I made sure she kept in touch with his family across the country, they are her family and she needed to know where she comes from, they are and always will be in her life.  He called on her 18th birthday, she was not home she I asked if he called to see if the car he bought her had arrived, the money for college?, a gift, a card?  He had no answer.  I held her soooooooooo many times he let her down after not hearing from him for months.  I never went after him for child support, I didn’t want that to be his excuse for not being in her life.  Now she is going to become a mom, and her boyfriend is going to be an amazing father.  One day I hope they get married and my husband her “step dad” and my best friends husband will be walking her down the aisle.  My daughter is strong and solid.  She is beutiful and compassionate, smart and loving.  She has grown into a woman that I am amazed at.  My Dad, my husband, my brother and my friends husband filled, no overfilled his shoes, I am lucky that they have been able to show her what a real man is.  Now today this morning I will find out if she is having a boy or girl, and her dad will not be on her list of people to call, he will not walk her down the aisle, he will not have the honor of babysitting, he will not pictures to put on his firdge, nope We get that…………. He lost the most amazing love anyone can ever experience because he walked out and abanded his daughter………..I struggled, I had to cash her savings bonds when she was 7 to buy food, we had paper christmases, a paper tree hung on the wall, we had camp outs with candles and flashlights when the electic was shut off, we read books and played games when I couldn’t pay the cable bill. Going to Cosco, was going out for lunch.  Now we have a good life and I made it thru college twice, my husband is her Dad and she is the woman I always hoped she would be and more.  I don’t know if this makes any sense or where I am going with this.  I did it, I raised her with my parents love and support, I want to scream from the roof tops, “Bite me, I did it and now I get to enjoy her future and love every minute of it, you get to sit at what ever bar is open on Christmas and drink your regrets away, I get to watch MY daughter, her baby and the father, Alex, of my grandchild open her gifts on her first christmas, and feel completely content with my life, my family and our futures.  It is the most amazing feeling in the world………………………………pure happiness. 

  27. Lori, I commend you for what you have accomplished under such difficult circumstances. I have no respect for her bio father. He’s a coward and a loser. Personally, I have he lives with regret for the remainder of his days. He’s a sorry excuse for a man. 

  28. Kaylanm15

    I agree with what he said about dads leaving “for a job”. My mom, brother and I live in Maine. My dad has lived ten miles away for at lease 3 of 7 years they have been separated. The other 4 he lived in the same town. Didn’t matter, After he left he was never there for us. I am 15 years old and when I was little I was daddys girl, but once he broke my heart by leaving, that all changed. This part May he moved to Florida for a “better job.” But my mom called into the state because he hasnt payed child support for about 3 years owes her over $6,000 or more now. This month he moved back because he couldn’t afford it there. The real reason? Florida found him and was taking money out of his paycheck for my mom. He is always jumping jobs to get out of it. 

    A couple years ago my mom told me why they separated, and it was because he was cheating and abusing her. She only stayed with him for me and brother (he never hurt us that i remember while they were together) but she got sick of the abuse, lies, and everything. I also learned from my mom that my dad was bi. she knew for several years (after they got divorced.) and wanted to tell us before kids at school told us. I recently found out that while he was in Florida he had completely come out of the closet. His facebook pictures told me this, and something his friend posted also did. I don’t remember much about my dad, I don’t even know who he is anymore. He thinks my mother is telling us lies about him but he doesnt realize we are 15 and 12, and we can see things, that we know how he is, from hurting us. He likes my brother better because i look to much like my mother, but I look more like him. 

  29. Kaylanm – I agree with Papa’s point about leaving “for a job”… with your Dad just down the road for a good part of your life, it sounds like he was always a million miles away. Those kinds of dads are the ones that give the rest of us a bad name. The point I’m after is that in this economy having “a job” is critical, and sometimes it just isn’t possible to make it all work. In my case, I got stuck with all of the debts and obligations from our marriage, and short of declaring bankruptcy, debts don’t pay themselves making 9 bucks an hour. If they did, I’d already be on it!
    I wish you the best of luck in your situation. I pray that your father has a change of heart and is able to recognize what great kids he has – in spite of not being around.- DT

  30. Nichelle

    Wow! This puts into words all my anger towards my sons father. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “real men don’t pressure women for an abortion”. It’s little reminders like that bumper sticker and this post that remind me what kind of a guy he really is. Just because he was scared of the responsibility, he’s abandoned his son. It disgusts me. And it’s comforting to read a post like this when I continually hold out hope that he will wake up one day and realize the mistake he’s made in abandoning his son. I know I need to give up hope and let go, but there’s a magnet there I haven’t been able to release. Next time I’m feeling that pull, I’m going to come back here and read this post.

  31. Tanpes17

    Great post I completely agree! can you please send a copy of this to my ex (not that it would help)

  32. I’d be happy to send it to him, I want him to read it, then offer up some snarky remark. 

  33. David

    re:  “I don’t care if…there are no good jobs where you are. ”  My ex left and took my kids interstate to live a semi-rural community where her parents are.  I have a good job here in the city where the kids lived, where they were born.  Would you call me a deadbeat for not selling the family home, moving to place where not only do I lose my career but there are no jobs, so I move in with my parents on welfare to be close to my kids??  “Deadbeat” for being a good example, much like military dads posted elsewhere?  Or just plain deadbeat ie unemployed, living with my parents?  That’s my choice  My kids are my first priority along with being self-suporting.  I get to see them two days/one night a fortnight.  SHE could have stayed in the city where there are jobs and not been so self-serving.  It makes me so angry.

  34. David

    I was thinking about something today.  Is it really in the best interest of my kids, or mainly for me that my kids have to come spend time with me each fortnight.  They love it now because they’re young, but when they’re teenagers they’ll want to be with their friends instead.  And as they get older moving between houses (150 miles) for visits is going to be so disruptive.  If my ex meets a really good, decent, stand-up guy, wouldn’t they feel safer/ more stale with mainly just that family unit?  I grew up like that, where my stepdad was Dad.  It would kill me, I am tryign to imagine through their eyes.

  35. Let me first say I hate to hear you having to go through this. Now, my question. Why did she move? Did you attempt to stop it? My ex and I have agreed not to move out of state, she also knows that I’d liquidate every penny I have in fighting her should she attempt to do so. On that there is no negotiation. Period. 

    Deadbeat dads are those dads that VOLUNTARILY walk out on their kids. Meaning they simply up and leave. They have no reason to leave other than their own selfish behavior and interests. Military dads obviously don’t fit into that category. I am critical however of dads that simply let the mom take them away. You aren’t a deadbeat you are involved in your children’s lives. Deadbeat dads usually don’t know their kids names. 

  36. David, I know how you’re feeling. My ex has already remarried, if you read snoop here you’ll find that story. I have several articles about stepdads under “fatherhood” they might help. 

    However, and never forget this, you will always be your kids father – their biological father – and no matter how good of a stand up guy she might meet he will never, ever love your kids as much as you can and do. And believe me when I tell you they will see that. 

    I don’t treat it as a competition but to motivate me to be the best I can be. I try to always be on my game with my kids. I want to give them a reason to keep coming back to me and that doesn’t include being a disneyland dad. Give them a reason to keep coming back when they are teens. You can do that. 

    I wish you the best and hopefully some of these posts will be an inspiration to you. Because you’re not alone. 

  37. David

    She moved to be in the town where we met.  There is no work there which is why we didn’t live there. She figured she’d have her parents and my parents for support, babysitting.  They are retired with lots of free time and energy.
    She left while I was at work.  I worked hard at trying to get the realtionship/ whole picture back together.  She was still dating me, sleeping with me when I visited my kids in their town. 

    By the time I saw a lawyer, they said the kids were established in the other town and it was too late to bring them back.  Their mother told me that she would not move back to the city, and got quite threatening about what would happen if I took her to court to bring them back to me. Two lawyers told me no hope of bringing them back, a third one said maybe but it would ruin me financially (I would have to sell my house to even make a start), and it would be terrible, mudslining exercise. I would never beat her in a mudslinging match, I don’t remember that on June 3, 2004 that she…etc. So now I tell anyone who is thinking if separating to see a lawyer first.  I was uneducated and blinded by still being in love with the kids’ mother. 

    It’s fine to talk tough about bankrupting yourself for the sake of custody, but you’re using up everything you ever worked for.  That means that you can’t redraw in 10 years time if one of the kids screws up and needs a lawyer, or some tragedy happens eg you get cancer, you have no safety net now.  It’s unwise, for you and your kids.

    My kids are proud of me.  I don’t know whether it’s better to live close, spend more time with them but be unemployed or living on the poverty line working in a supermarket, and living with my parents, or live where I do, they get to come to their own house, I have a good job and they get more child support.

  38. Dude, she totally did you wrong and that isn’t right. I wish I had advice for you, we all have to do what we have to do. I wish you the very best. Stay involved in every way you can. 

  39. Zaharas_mommy

    Thank you. Thank you for proving that there are men who can and will continue to be actual fathers to their children even after a separation and/or divorce. I just wrote a really hard post on my marriage and how I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that it isn’t black and white and there is no one reason why it ended. But what I can’t understand, what I can’t accept is how my ex can say he loves our daughter but then move to another country and not even apply to work in this hemisphere, just so that child support isn’t cut from his paycheck. I can’t accept that he visited his little girl a few times her 1st year of life, not at all the 2nd, and then just barely squeezed her in right after her 2nd birthday. I can’t accept that while he told me to file our taxes together last year and keep the return, he constantly throws that in my face as proof that he’s “providing” for us (although due to his debts and all NY state took a lot of that money and I actually got a much smaller check than he claims.)
    The thing I don’t accept at all is that over the past 26 months while our baby has been on this earth, her father can spontaneously start calling 5 times a day and get us used to his involvement from a distance and then disappear for days, weeks, months at a time while she picks up my cell phone and asks “Baba?” or looks me right in the eye and says in Urdu “want Baba.” My heart breaks each time and I can’t bear her confusion now and the inevitable pain this guy will cause her as she grows up. He’s in and out of our lives, constantly trying to get me back while still lying to me about everything, having me set up a bank account so he can send his daughter money but then not once ever sending it, taking her shopping one time and not shutting up about it, and still living on the other side of the Goddamn world when I’ve told him that zahara needs him here! I’ve left every line of communication open, phone calls & Skype twice a week now so maybe he can stick to that schedule and our baby won’t be disappointed wondering where he went. Even then he misses calls. I can go on and on but I just want to say, again, thank you for writing this. It’s nice to know there are men like this out there. Someone said to me recently that my amazing relationship with my father is clouding my judgment where it regards zahara’s father, that she’ll never have that kind of relationship with her baba no matter how much I try and make it happen. It’s hard to accept but it’s true. He is a deadbeat dad, but in his absence my wonderful model of what a man should be, my father, has taken over that role as much as he can. We live with my parents because otherwise we’d be on the street by now. And I thank God every day for them because even though zahara doesn’t get her father’s unselfish, no holds barred love that she deserves, she is blessed with more love and attention than a lot of kids have these days. Thank you so much for being this guy.

  40. Papa – Author

    I want to give you two pieces of advice.

    (1) as much as you want to you can’t, nor is it your responsibility to come to the defense of her father. Not only is it confusing and frustrating you are in essence condoning his behavior. While I can’t support bad mouthing a former spouse the fact is that he’s in another country, he may never be back, and those are the facts is the way it is. Fortunately, from the sound of it your little one is still pretty young in hindsight you will appreciate that.

    (2) integrate your children into a strong male relationship. Your father is the very best place to start. While he possibly wasn’t expecting to assume the role sometimes circumstances dictate a different course. As your child gets older introduce them to other strong male influences.

    Even though the real father has all but checked out it doesn’t mean that he is fatherless.

    I would encourage you to put your attention on what you have instead of wasting valuable energy on something that you don’t have and forcing the situation. If he doesn’t want to be a father you can’t force him to be.

    That will ultimately be a decision he will have to live with.

  41. kandy

    I looovvvvveeeee this post. My first son is without his father and has been since he was a few days from turning 2 before that he saw him 6 times between the ages 8 months and 2 years. He figured our babysitter (who was suposed to have been my friend) would be a better lay and screwed her when she was suposed to be watching our son. (He had just had knee surgery and could not pick up Zay so I hired her to help out). I tried to work it out but he ended up getting physicly agressive. The physical wounds finnaly no longer show (he had dragged me over broken glass by my hair). My sons father owes around 12 k in child support, does not see him. Might try to call once a year, Oh but he cries during the holidays because he wants to see his son he says yet he can only bother once a year at max twice a year to call? Not only that he moved across the country by his own choice. My son is special needs and I have spent THOUSANDS on geting him testing, and he has already had surgery. yet he never could even send 20$ for a pack of diapers.
    I am soooooo thankful for my current husband. He treats Xzavier like his own child. He has three of his own whom he has custody of. We also have a child of our own. My husband is planning on adopting my son once we can get up the legal fees to take parental rights away from my ex. My son calls him dad and has even asked to have the last name of my husband. I count my blessings to have found a REAL man.
    I will say this comming from the mothers Point of veiw. We offten blame ourselves for “screwing up” our kids lives. While we know it is not our fault we think that we chose the father so yes in a way it is our fault. To the ladies out there never let your guilt get in your way of making a something of yourselvs. Don’t beat yourself into the ground. It is not your fault if a man chooses to have nothing to do with their children. Your the better person. You are the one busting your rear end to care for your children. Your a real parent. Same message goes out to single fathers with dead beat mothers. There are plenty deadbeat moms out there too.

  42. Linn

    I need help! Any advice for a mom? I have a 6yrld girl her father has seen her twice in 6years and that is on his lack of trying I have an amazing husband who has been here for her since she was 3 months old. The past few months my EXhusband all the sudden has been emailing asking about her and wanting to talk to her and acting like he cares. My current husband is FURIOUS with this and I don’t know what the right thing to do is. My daughter knows about her ‘bio-father’ and asks lots of questions and this seems to hurt my husband. He is angry about him trying to all of a sudden come into her life and I myself don’t know why he is ether. He lives in Hawaii and us in MN so not like he can visit on any regular basis.. Any suggestions? Do I allow him in not knowing if he is going to bail again and let my husband be hurt..Ugghh I don’t know what to do!

  43. Papa – Author

    Linn, I didn’t want to forget you. I am posting a response to your question as a blog post tomorrow. Since you placed it as an open comment I assume you won’t mind. I will keep your name out of it. But look for the post tomorrow morning. It will be called – “When an absent dad wants to come back”. I hope my feedback will be of use for you. All the best.

  44. Papa – Author

    Linn, I wanted you to know that I posted some thoughts on your situation. I hope they are helpful. I would love to know how it all turns out if you are interested in sharing.

  45. bob drew

    Wow, the courts leave us dads broke having to work 2 jobs and we’re expected to be full time dad too! not too much to ask at the piont of a gun.

  46. Papa – Author

    Bob, I’ve been there. I know all of the arguments and roadblocks. The courts, don’t get me started.

    But nothing, and I mean nothing, justifies walking out.

  47. Becky

    Do you think these fathers truly will regret their choice to walk out one day? My baby’s father is up to date on child support but has never once met her and told the judge he never wants to. I’ve been told I should be grateful he is providing but I would prefer someone who gave little to no money and gave their time and love instead.

  48. Papa – Author

    Becky, I absolutely believe he will. You see things differently than many women do who would rather have the money. I hope you are able to have other men in Her life who can influence her in a positive manner. I’m convinced girls need fathers more than society thinks they do.

  49. Amazing post! Immediately forwarded this to my ex/father of my child that can’t quite seem to make up his mind about being in our daughter’s life. Fingers crossed this is an eye opener.

  50. lkeipp

    I get your point of view, but I want to point out that YOU were lucky. YOU were given the opportunity to be a part of your children’s lives.

    Now please, explain what a man is supposed to do when the woman who swore to be part of his life always, swore to raise a family with him, into old age, suddenly decides that he’s not good enough and not only divorces him, but also completely disappears with his kids? To the point where every time the father manages to track them down, the mother packs everything up and disappears again? She violates everything in the divorce decree, disallows all visitation when she can be found, but still expects full child support. And then, it gets better – mom finds a new man and the new man threatens to kill the father if he tries to contact the family or see his kids – HIS, not this new man.

    This doesn’t happen, people tell me. Then why have I spoken to so many men that this has happened to? Men who wanted to be part of their children’s lives, men who, even not having seen them since they were infants or toddlers, still love them as much as the day they were born. And the children end up hating this father, who, through no fault of his own, was never allowed to be part of their lives, no matter how many times he’s tried.

    I’ve spoken to men who have gone to court again and again over this, only to have the mother violate it the minute it was ordered. men who have driven themselves into debt, complete and utter, trying to get their children back. And of all the men I’ve spoken to, I can only name ONE who was granted full custody of his son in this case. Most never get a change made to the original decree, and nothing ever happens to these women who abuse their kids like this. Because no one sees it as abuse. But if you can call it abuse for the man to not see his kids, I can call it abuse for the woman to deny the children access to their father, who loves them.

    But no, it’s always the man who is evil, isn’t it? Even from your point of view, as a divorced dad, you’ve criminalized all other men who cannot see their children. Yep, some are jerks – they’re given every opportunity and refuse to take it. But the rest? Allmen are not scum, and I’m sure you’d be pissed as hell if anyone ever said it of you and your parenting skills.

    IMO, these women are scum. And I say this as a divorced woman who had a two year old at the time – and our child has always had access to her dad, any time either wanted it. How their relationship remains is up to them now; they are both adults. I never understood women who did that to their children or the fathers. My best friend has had to deal with this all his life – his children are now grown, and their mother has denied their father access to them since the were two and an infant – in fact, he never even got to meet his second child. The younger has contacted him, and he explained how it all was – and she understood. Her brother blames the father. And now, even as adults, they are threatened by their mom and stepfather about no longer having a family if they keep up contact with their biological father. A man who did nothing wrong except be their mother’s ex husband, a man who was never abusive, never did drugs, none of that – just tried his best.

    He is not the only man in this spot – there are thousands like him, and sadly women encourage other women to be this way – or did, 10 and 15 years ago. Thankfully, I see now that women are telling other women that fathers have rights too. It’s a step in the right direction, truly.

    Before you vilify all men who don’t see their children, it’s time to look at the other side too – are they truly scum, or are the forced into a position they would have never chosen for themselves by the mothers of their children?

  51. Papa – Author


    I appreciate your passion and, as a woman, defending men everywhere.

    However, I would encourage you to re-read the post. You are only using examples of men who were/are refused access to their children. This post mentions nothing about those men for very good reason – these men aren’t dead beats, they didn’t voluntarily walk out on their children because they didn’t want the burden and the loss of freedom. If it’s as you say they have/are making the effort and are being refused at every turn.

    To be clear I’m referring to the men who, without provocation, up and walk away – and it’s those types who you must readily admit are in far greater numbers than those who are forbidden for seeing their children.

    I too am familiar with those men who are challenged with seeing their children. Often the mother is the problem, other times we only receive his side of the story.

    No, I’m openly vilifying the father who refuses to be a part when he can….there is a world of difference between this father and the ones you are speaking of.

  52. Papa – Author

    Thanks for reading!

    I’d love to know his response.

  53. Words cannot describe how much this post has changed our lives. My life, my child’s life and her father’s. After sending this link to him I doubted even receiving a response, but surprisingly he had the reaction I had hoped. In one week there has been a complete change. The most change I’ve seen from him in six years.

    Today I learned from him that he thought your manifesto was a great read. Although, there were a few things he did not agree with he continued to shared the link with friends on facebook and overnight received a message from a woman his biological father raised. She stated to him that she hoped his intentions for sharing your post were not to prove a point to anyone that he shared the same view about his father. She went on to explain the circumstances surrounding why his father wasn’t able to be in his life and basically summing it up to: “he was busy raising my brother (his biological son with his new wife) and I (new wife’s daughter from previous relationship)”. She told him that his biological father was a man she looked up to and loved as her own father.

    He was terribly upset with her because he had not even associated the post with the man that chose to walk out of his life before he was even born and her reasoning as to why he didn’t attempt to raise him was ridiculous. There are no circumstances in the world that should keep you from raising your children. And that’s when it hit him…


    My daughter’s father does not want to be the man she looks back on as someone that chose to do anything other than raise her into the woman she deserves to be.

    I thought that I had stumbled upon your blog by accident but I know without a doubt I was meant to find it just like you were meant to write it and live it.

    Thank you.

  54. Papa – Author


    When I started writing this blog just over a year ago. I did it with the intent of giving other people, most notably, men something to think about and consider. I am a nobody telling dads they can be a somebody. In that time since I have written what can only be described as words from my own soul and narrative.

    Your comment has made every bit of effort and toil worth it. I’m deeply touched that you took the time to let me know the impact my thoughts had on your daughter’s father. From your website she is a beautiful little girl whose mother obviously loves her very much.

    Thank you sincerely for sharing a part of your story with me. I honestly hope that you will visit again and share with me the progress and change he has made. If you or he ever needs words of encouragement or perspective please do not hesitate to email me. You can find my address on the ‘about’ page.

    All the best

  55. northern Cali

    Although I like your post ChopperPapa, I also agree with Brad. I am going through a divorce and my ex husband is and has been doing everything he can not to pay child support and spousal support. He has always been the breadmaker. He always wanted me to stay working 24 hours a week to take care of both our kids and cover the medical insurance through my job. Which we are 100% covered through my job. 18 years later I got tired of the lies and deceit. We have been separated for 8 months before I filed for divorce. Tried doing it the civil way at first and going through a paralegal. But my ex did not want to show all of his income. He works for his parents and he gets paid two checks one regular salary and the other commissions. The commissions they pay him under the table so they don’t have to claim it on taxes. So it led to me getting a lawyer and for him to subpeona his accounts. so on the declaration he lied stating his mom has to give up the business and he will be unemployed for the first time in 21 years. But in fact he has been working ever since and is now the new owner of that business. His mom moved it over to him and their other son. She is moving out of state. He still stating he has no money and can’t give me anything. He went as far as saying tell me what you need in groceries and I will pick it up for you. Then of course I had a few ticked off words to say to him. Then he decided to give my daughter a check for me. Says here’s $30 dollars for groceries for our daughter. What the hell… I ‘m trying to wait patiently for my lawyer to have him subpeonad for all his accounts including business. Yet he likes to put on facebook his pics of him golfing and going to casinos. And again tells me he has no money to help with anything. In fact he has been telling the kids he has no money and yet he post this crap on facebook and treats his new little gf around. Although he hasn’t left our kids behind he is still a dead beat father.

  56. Karizma

    All I have to say is I wish my kids had a better father. Im a little confused about the situation Im in and maybe you could help.
    Well I left my ex and stayed away for 4 month due to our bad relationship, during that fourth month i asked him for all my belongings because he decided to bring his high school sweetheart out to visit from his hometown so i was ready to just move on with my belongings. I only received a few things from him. Well during the week his high school sweetheart was to leave and go back home he was telling me he wanted to work things out with me and of course I was ready to try AGAIN because we have 2 kids together. I told him he needed to tell HS sweetheart what his intentions were and that we were going to work things out, he agreed and said thats what he would do. I also told him if he didnt that i would tell her. It came time for her to leave and well he got locked up for a DUI and possession of a controlled substance so of course she stayed and I couldnt get ahold of him because I didnt know he was locked up. well I called HS sweetheart and informed her of what I was under the impression what was going on she wanted proof so I showed her his txt messages to me.

    Well when he got out of jail Id say about a couple days later they both called me on speaker phone and he began to tell me how I was just trying to ruin what he had going on, and that he didnt want me he wants her. So as you could imagine I moved on and so did they. HS sweetheart stayed and lived with him and had their first child. We went to court and agreed on 50/50 custody. And I was fine with the 50/50 because he was still taking care of his kids and doing his part.

    about 7 months into the 50/50 court order I get papers served to me saying he wants to relocate my children out of state to his and HS sweethearts hometown. wanting me to only see my kids during the summer. Of course I fought back got a lawyer and won. And I gave him exactly what he was trying to give me. visitation during christmas and summer. He left my children in May 2011 and court wasnt untill August 2011. 3 months. He says he left for a coal mining job and more money to provide for his new family. He always told me he would never move back home and leave his kids and he did. And as far as him making more money well thats not true and he didnt get the coal mining job. Hes ordered to pay me child support and still has not to this day. I have not received any financial support from him for 1 year now. however he did pay for them to fly out(court ordered) and visit for christmas and has arranged for their flight for the summer but I am also ordered to pay for them to fly back home. I want my kids to be able to see their dad and visit but I also want him to help financially. He has now had his second child with HS sweetheart and always has many excuses as to why he cant help me. Frankly Im pretty sick of it and to top it off I have to deal with the hurt and sadness from my kids because he is not here anymore and Im the one they take it out on. I dont know how to answer my daughters questions when shes confused why he left. All I can tell her is her father is the only one that could answer that question for her.

    Is he a deadbeat dad?
    Do you think he will ever come to his senses that he did walk out on his children and put his new family first?
    Honestly I feel like my kids are not his priority anymore =(

  57. Papa – Author

    What a challenging story. Let me first say that yes, he’s a deadbeat. The chances are that he doesn’t feel like that because he is taking care of his other family and his HS Sweetheart is probably telling him he is a great father and either placing all the blame with your children on you or completely ignoring the situation entirely.

    You have legal options available to you to get child support. Possibly the threat of legal action may get him to move (I am not an attorney) I would, if possible, pursue that option.

    Now onto your children. I wrote a post recently called “You can’t make him be daddy”. Read that and see if it provides you something to consider.

    Thanks for commenting and participating! I hope all the best for you and your children.

  58. Karizma

    Thank you.
    The state is in the process of making him pay but they say it will take much longer since he is no longer in my state. they have to now go through his state and locate him even though i have given the state everything they need like his home address work address and phone numbers. Its just a matter of time.

    Its just sad that he has to be told by the state to take care of his kids. He cant just do it willingly. what a shame.

  59. Carolina

    almost a year ago my sons dad walked out on us for the second time since my son was born in December 2010 he wants nothing to do with our son and refuses to pay child support instead he decides to party hard with high school kids and other deadbeats (hes 23) and spread rumours about me and my son (totally juvenile behaviour) he has seen our son for 1:30 hours in total since we split and never bothers to ask how he is doing or if he needs anything. luckily his best friend or should i say ex best friend and i began talking and he was disgusted with how selfish someone he knew and loved could be so utterly selfish and satisfy his own needs and happiness before his own child. we began talking more and more and im happy to say that we are now engaged, living together and expecting what he calls our second baby, he loves my son to pieces and treats him like his own. he’s an excellent role model a hard worker and a great partner. He’s a real man, willing to love,nurture and support a child that is not his own. they even have little things they do together like their bedtime ritual where all of my sons favourite stuffies dance and say goodnight or they stick their tongues out at each other or when he pulls up to the house my son starts singing daddy daddy! so cute 🙂 I don’t understand how some men can give away something so precious but im glad to know there are still some good men out there, all hope is not lost 🙂

  60. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Carolina, I just don’t understand the mental capacity of a boy (he isn’t a man) to walk out. I hope you forward this article to him to maybe, unlikely, get his attention. You are truly blessed to find a man who will assume the responsibility your son’s father refused to accept. I hope you celebrate Father’s day with him for the daddy that he is.

    Thanks for your input.

  61. tylair

    This is amazing my sons dad wants nothing to do with him

  62. My daughter’s father used to tell me two things – it was not important for my daughter to have a father because he grew up, largely, without a father. (He was 16 when his dad died and his parents were together throughout) and that it was more important for him to be a dad to his other kids over to all three (better to hurt one than the two). Neither of these reasons ring true. The reality was and remains, he didn’t want our daughter and he couldn’t get past that to see what he is missing or the miracle that she is. So he hides her and denies she exists to the extent possible and has largely now disappeared.

    I don’t think that this is a situation that the courts or women can fix – I think it is really a circumstance that has to come from within the male community itself. For men to let one another it is not okay, it is not acceptable – it is peer pressure that can help this because it doesn’t seem that anything else is working.

    I am all about dad’s rights and he knew that; he knew I believed that any love he could give her was better than none – and I might have been wrong about that…
    My dad stepped in from day one and she has strong ideas of relationships and of what a “man” is but I am not sure if that is a result of his really not ever being involved or if that is because of the role my dad has played. But I have no doubt that there will be times when she wonders, when she doubts herself, and when she has issues of being rejected (which she alreay does) does to some extent) as a result of her father’s behavior.

    Fortunately, we have an open and trusting relationship that is more about communication than she would like at times. I do wonder what his other two kids are feeling and experiencing as a result of his behavior – his choice to walk out on a child about which they are aware… and how their mom deals with the reality that he has another child that is out there?

    Life doesn’t always work as we anticipate or plan, but I will never be able to accept or wrap my heart around the idea that there are people (in this case a man) who do not find their own children to be a blessing or a gift?

  63. anonymous contributor

    Not all men who walk away are deadbeats bags of crap.

    Some simply gave up on the women-centric societal and judicial systems, and chose to walk away to keep their sanity and to actually protect their children from the confusion mentioned.

    Many women abuse children and their ex’s through the system and are supported by activist judges, manipulated public perception, and unfair legislation. There are dads who have court ordered visitation the women ignore and never get disciplined by the court, but if a Man misses a support payment or heaven forbit he keeps the kid and extra minute or two, he should be killed then the body caged.

    For 50 years Men gave women what they wanted, without complaint, just to get them off our backs. We gave them an inch and they took a mile.

    Until the injustices men face are fixed, expect more men to completely walk away when faced with blatant bias and unfairness. Men no longer should “lump it” or “take it like a man”.

    If women want alimony and/or child support, they will take an active role is solidifying and guaranteeing the importance of the father in the lives of the child and make equal access a standard…

    anything less, then Men arent interested anymore.

    Women do not define what being a Man entails. Other Men do not define it. The individual Man does, and He is sick and tired of the bias. His lobbying and bringing the issues to light have not worked.

    When the pen fails, what do you have left but the sword?

  64. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Every man who walks away from their children is a bag of crap. No exceptions.

    “Some simply gave up on the women-centric societal and judicial systems, and chose to walk away to keep their sanity and to actually protect their children from the confusion mentioned.”

    So if I understand you correctly you believe that no contact is better than partial, out of saving confusion.

  65. R

    Ugh. Where to start.

    My son has a deadbeat dad. And I mean that in the most maternal way possible. It’s one thing to walk out on your child, but the neverending moving away, coming back, moving away again, coming back to another random living situation, random sketchy roommates bc he can never live on his own, etc. Oh, and let’s not forget the 6 month stint in rehab for painkillers…which he is back on, but impossible to prove to a judge.

    We have been to court literally over 38 times for custody, child support, child support modification, contempt, you name it. And it always comes down to this: he honestly believes that child support is optional and still does not take responsibility for anything. I’ve had an Income Deduction Order for over 2 years but have never been able to use it bc he is constantly bouncing around. It’s such a joke.

    I think what makes me so angry is the excuses. “I never had a dad growing up.” etc etc. Umm, so your solution is to NOT be there for your son so he can have the same lame ass excuse when it’s time for him to be a dad??! No. History repeating itself stops right here. I will devote my life to raising my son into a man, dad or no dad.

    And what still baffles me is that he makes NO attempt at maintaining a relationship with my son. Literally nothing…doesn’t call, doesn’t ask me how he is, never comes to his events, can’t even tell you his teacher’s name or any real details about my son. I can’t wrap my head around how a so-called parent can be so voluntarily detached.
    I have surrounded my son with numerous positive male role models in his life…my dad, my boyfriend of 3 year (soon to be fiance) and my 7 brothers who adore him.

    My son is only 5 and he knows from watching his Dad that he isn’t a real


  66. Kyle Bradford – Author

    R, I can sense your frustration. I can’t tell you the number of time I hear stories similar to yours and it never stops upsetting me. I’d ask you to send this post to him. He needs to read it. Often.

    “I have surrounded my son with numerous positive male role models in his life…my dad, my boyfriend of 3 year (soon to be fiance) and my 7 brothers who adore him.” — you are doing EXACTLY the right thing. I wrote post once titled ‘You can’t make him be daddy’ that speaks to this very thing. A man who will take a boy under his wing and show him what true manhood looks like is the best possible alternative when his father chooses not or can’t do so.

    You’re a wise mother.

  67. R

    Thank you. I know that the positive male influences will eventually outweigh his dads absence.

    I don’t mean to step on any toes with this, but I am honestly envious of moms whose “co-parent” is totally 100% out of the picture. That sounds like a dream compared to the incessant back and forth (he leaves for 4 months, comes back for 3, leaves again for 6 months, comes back for 2, etc) it is draining on all involved, and it is beyond unfair to my son to never actually believe that his dad will show up or participate like a normal dad would. My son is only 5 and doesn’t trust that his dad is here to stay…why would he? I honestly think it would be better if I could tell him that Daddy left and will never come back…at least then he could process the information and move on.

    Today is a perfect example. His dad is “back” living here again and I asked him what time we were meeting today for his one night of visitation…no response. He honestly thinks the world revolves around him and no one else is taken into consideration. He simply chooses not to prioritize time with his son.

    We have another hearing coming up at the end of the month and I can’t imagine this judge will give him any more chances. He already has a bench warrant out for not paying a contempt charge for his half of my son’s outstanding medical expenses and also a failure to appear at the last hearing. I’m not pushing for jail time, but that’s the gamble with family law…you’re letting a judge make those decisions about your situation/child. Unfortunately, there is no other way to deal with him. He seriously has an excuse for why he makes so many excuses…it’s kind of comical. I could have my PhD in excuse refutation 😉

  68. Krystal

    I find this post both inspiring and sad.
    We are a blended family, one kid each and two of our own. My son is very lucky as his dad has always been apart of his life, and both his bio dad and step-dad are both fully committed to being there with/for him.
    My step-daughters story is very sad though. My husband spent two years and a half years with her absent from his life. Not because he left, because his daughter was taken into hidding. Her mother, quit her job, changed all contact info and just left. It took years of involvement with the police, children’s aide, lawyers and judges to get access back. And then the courts went very slow, one day a week because, through no fault of their own, it had been over two years of noncontact.
    Just shy of one year after my husband regained access, a court awarded him full custody, and two months later, her mom moved across the country, leaving her daughter behind with us.
    While she still sees her mom (summer holidays and christmas), her mom has now become the deadbeat parent, making herself both physically and emotionally unavailable to her child (and not paying child support either, although the money doesn’t really matter in the end).

    Now this child, who went years without seeing her dad, was forced to call another man Dad and punished if she called her real Dad anything other than his first name is trying to adjust to a whole new life.

  69. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Krystal, it’s interesting, because stories such as your never make it into the media. It’s only the dead beat fathers who are put under the microscope. Deadbeat can refer as much to a mom as it can do a dad.

    All the best with you and your family!

  70. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Krystal, the notion of dead beat moms aren’t nearly talked enough. Thanks for commenting.

  71. KSTP

    Here´s my story:

    Fice years ago my ex partner, we were friends with a fling back then, told me she was pregnant and that the child might not be mine because she had been with another man (a one night stand she said). Incidentally the other man walked away with “I am sterile and cannot have children” excuse. So the baby was probably mine right? We did a DNA test and, behold, the test results came back negative, I was not the father. Nevertheless I saw her defenseless and collapsed. I decided to register the child as my own and take care of the both. We moved in together after she gave birth to a beautiful girl. Since then I became her father through heart and soul. After almost three years of being together we decided to call it quits only we found out, a month later, that she was pregnant. We tried to work things out for a time but it just didn’t work out (I am not a drunk, a drug addict, nor am I abusive Although I am not perfect, like everyone else). My main issue was she just never quite realized what I had done for her and her sense of entitlement was simply too much. After I left the house I paid about 80% of her expenses, she never sought a stable job and blamed me for having to borrow money from her family to pay the remaining 20%. Not to mention, all that time I was living from a friend’s house to another because I couldn’t afford to pay two full rents.
    She told me that she needed to go and live with her parents, where she would feel more “secure”. So i heeded to her request, she moved with her parents in another country and now I had to pay support and plane tickets to visit my children. The family was kind enough to allow me to stay with them sleeping in my daughter’s bedroom.
    Second baby was born healthy and strong, a boy. I should add that I felt strongly about a paternity test since I had accidentally (seriously accidentally) seen flirtatious texts messages between her and an ex of hers.
    The last time I visited them was last december, I was not allowed, for valid reasons, to spend Christmas with my children, or my boy’s first Christmas. After that hell broke loose, she started being more and more rude towards me, treating me with disdain. She dissed me every time I told her I was not seeing enough of my daughter through Skype (sometimes a whole week went by without speaking t her) and that my reasons for a paternity test were just the insecurities of a lesser man. I have always sent her every cent I could and paid for my daughter’s tuition and swimming lessons. I even complied to her whim of getting a new stroller and all because she didn’t want to have a used one. She constantly rubbed in my face the long nights she spent taking care of our child and all the efforts her family went through to take care of the children. She even sneered at my suggestion that she should find a job. I finally cracked one day and told her that it was not fair to mistreat me or hold me up against her decision to leave the country. I added that I needed her help to establish a better relationship with my daughter and that if she felt that I was to much of an inconvenience in her life I would just walk away at her request. I regret this now terribly as I realize my paternity is not mine, or her’s, to decide on: IT BELONGS TO MY CHILDREN AND NO ONE ELSE. As I came to this realization, she did request me to leave for being a coward and even considering walking away. She simply did not want a father like that in her children’s lives. I am a super villainous filth in her eyes, even before I lashed out at her. Ever since it has been a serious struggle to see my kids. I finally got her to agree on days and times to speak with my children through Video-Chat and still send her money. All I’m saying is that we can all cave in under bullying ex-spuses and finally snap, often acting in the worst of manners. But: How do you deal with an ex-spouse that has no understanding of the importance of a father in the children’s lives? How do you deal with a woman who believes she has all rights and no obligations?
    I understand that by not thinking strategically and rather acting from the gut I am now in the position I am in, but I am ripped apart from not having my children with me, specially when I work so hard form a distance to at least try and secure their well-being… BTW: I am still living from friend’s since I still cannot afford to pay a rent for myself as all my income goes to paying for tuition and support, I can’t even afford to pay a plane ticket and pay for a hotel and rent a car (I am no longer welcome at the house) to go and see my children. There is not a feeling in the world that is more castrating than that…
    I do not feel like a coward, but I do feel like an idiot by having given her the option on my paternity.

  72. Kyle Bradford – Author


    That is a heart wrenching story and I empathize with your current situation.

    Let me ask, what is keeping you in your current geographic location? Can you not attend a school, find a job in the country where you children are? I think often times we have solutions to some of our most pressing problems right in front of us but, in the moment, we simply aren’t able to see them.

    Clearly I don’t know the entire dynamic of your relationship, but it certainly seems that there may be opportunities to prove to her that you are serious about seeing your children.

    And to your question of ‘women who don’t see the value in fathers’. They are fools, selfish fools, who will, in time, bear witness to the folly of those decisions. In those cases, I believe that it takes a more ‘structured’ i.e. legal process to get these women to see the err of their ways.

    Good luck KSTP, I’m pulling for you!

  73. I love this post! My husband has chosen to leave us and move over 3 hrs away to live with the girl he is having an affair with. I am left to pick up the pieces of our (three) small children’s hearts. My oldest (6 yrs) is now in counseling because of her dad’s choices and cries herself to sleep while holding onto a picture of him many nights. He does come to visit maybe once a week for a few hours but in my book that is still a deadbeat dad. Now he is fighting me over money…says he doesn’t have enough after he pays us what it states in our separation agreement. What happened to this amazing man, father, and husband of almost 9 yrs (our anniversary is in a few days)to change him into this person he is now? Any insights from a male perspective?

  74. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Sarah, stories such as yours infuriate me. There are countless reasons why he changed, and none of them justify walking out like he has done. Feel free to use the contact form if you want to provide more detail. I’d be happy to offer any feedback I can.

  75. KSTP

    Thanks for your reply Kyle.

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS on such a great blog!

    Moving abroad is not an option, my mother is not so well and I want to be here for her. I also have my life here: my job (start-up company).

    A legal maneuver is out of the question for three reasons:

    1) I’d rather spend the money on my kids’ well-being.

    2) I believe I’ll eventually get more in good terms.

    3) I am terrified a legal process will backfire and leave me with much less rights and many more obligations than I already have.

    Anyway, thanks for reading me out and giving your advice.

    I am sure time will eventually set everything in place. In the meantime I must make sure I can provide all I can for both my children.

  76. Divine mama-to-be

    My ex-fiance and I had been in a long distance relationship for a year and a half, and we became pregnant, with my first child. Before my pregnancy ,we always talked about having a baby, so this child was definitely wanted by both of us from the start (this will be his second child as he already has a 7 yr old son from a previous relationship). So when I told him I was pregnant,he reacted totally different from how I expected him to, saying he was unsure about me and the relationship etc.Around this time of the breakup he had lost his job unexpectedly also and is still currently unemployed. He said to me that he would be involved in my pregnancy and in raising the baby, so I believed he would be true to his word. I was totally blindsided however.He broke up with me several days later and I’ve been on my own since. I am now 7 months pregnant, living alone and my ex has only sent me a handful of ‘hi how are you, how’s the baby emails’. I’ve invited him to antenatal appointments in an effort to involve him in my pregnancy like he said he wanted but he he no longer even replies to my email. I never shut him out or made my feelings of abandonment and rejection deny him from planning coparenting with me for the sake of our unborn baby. Because he has a good relationship with his seven year old, and they live on the same island, I’ve said to myself that he is ignoring me because maybe he feels he can’t contribute in anyway to my pregnancy from a distance. But I feel like his lack of action now is a reflection of what things will be like in the future. Have I indeed defined a deadbeat?Would love to hear your thoughts on the matter and any advice. Thanks!

  77. Edcny

    I agree with most of what you have said, but unfortunately a lot more plays into these things then just a guy leaving… Now don’t get me wrong I don’t agree with men leaving their children and being “deadbeat”, but there are two sides to every story. A lot of woman and men alike hate to admit their issues. I am in the Army, have deployed 4 times for a year each time and am a single father to a beautiful 14 year old girl. I am not the greatest father, will never win father of the year, and yet my daughter is growing into an intelligent, caring young woman. But if you were to ask her mother “I am a piece of shit deadbeat dad” fortunately I am in a relationship with a woman and her son that has one of these father’s that you speak of. I wouldn’t ask for it any other way he will be my son eventually and I am grateful for his deadbeat dad walking out on him so that his mother and I can raise a successful, intelligent young man. Unfortunately your article here misses a few points that I think need to be made. It is both of the parents responsibility to ensure the child remains in the other parents life. Yes you read that correctly BOTH parents. Where as my significant others sons father will never be in the picture the son will know his father and we will never speak ill of him in front of the boy, my daughter will also know her mother even though she has had her parental rights removed from all her children I will continue to go half way across the country and supervise visits with her and my daughter because it is the right thing to do. Your article is spot on about somethings however I think there is a far bigger picture and as time goes on the single father also becomes more prevalent in our society.

  78. Kyle Bradford – Author

    Edcny, thanks for engaging in the conversation and thank you for your service to our nation!

    “It is both of the parents responsibility to ensure the child remains in the other parents life. Yes you read that correctly BOTH parents” — I agree that as divorced/single parents we should NEVER prevent a child from seeing the other parent (unless in cases of abuse), but that is for a different article. What I’m talking about here is parents that relinquish that right for selfish reasons, they abandon their responsibility for their own indulgent passions.

    You have inspired me to write about the responsibility that divorced parents have to each other and the children. thanks!

  79. Julie

    I came across this blog today and am extremely impressed with the honesty of your post. My father used to say “If it’s wrong some of the time; it’s wrong all of the time”.

    My 20year old daughter is in a bad place right now. Her fiance left her in August. They had one child together and she was 5mths pregnant with another. She had the baby premature(Oct) and moved home with me. The baby developed a respiratory virus and almost died. He just got off a ventilator yesterday. The dad waited ten days before coming to see this beautiful baby; and then it was only 20 minutes. I can’t imagine your child being on the brink of death and not getting to the hospital. Distance wasn’t an issue!

    I know my daughter is young and made choices on her own but she believed him and they moved to the country. He convinced her to quit her job and be a stay at home mom. He left her the day after we purchased her wedding dress. She had no income, no savings and no transportation. He has given her no more than $500 since their split in August. He has convinced her that they should handle things outside of “FOC”. He promises he’ll give $50 on Tuesday and ends up giving her $25 a week later. He has her convinced that if there is any chance of them ever getting back together(why she would want to is beyond me), it will never happen if she screws him with child support. Oh, and he does have and 18yrold girlfriend. He’s 23yrs old! He promises to help out with the kids and then cancels at the last minute. She wants my husband and I to mind our own business but that’s difficult to watch someone you love allow people to treat her that way.

    She won’t listen to me; maybe she’d listen to others. Any advice would be appreciated.

  80. Leta

    I would like to add a comment about inconsistent parents. Although, I don’t feel right using the word ‘parent’. My ex shows up when he feels like it – when there isn’t something more important going on in his life. He contacts & visits my daughter constantly Dec-Feb…then disappears. He doesn’t answer her phone calls and doesn’t return her messages. He sends a text message on her birthday in July. Then there’s nothing again until Christmas. He feels completely entitled to constantly hurt her. Over & over she has to deal with her ‘father’ leaving for no good reason. He lives 10 minutes away from us.

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