Guilty feelings for the kids

Your divorce and child custody agreements are final, get practical tips for moving on with your life after divorce.

Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby jumanji » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:35 am

I'm going to leave the CS part to the guys and talk to you about the providing quality experiences for your kids.

As most here know, I'm a Mom. Yes, my ex paid CS and it was greatly appreciated. I also worked FT. However, there was not much left for vacations, etc. The kids went on some nice ones with their Dad, and I was glad that they had those experiences. But it wasn't something I could do. So we did other stuff. We went camping. We planted a garden. We went to minor league ball games (I'm equidistant from both Yankees and Phillies farm teams). We cooked together. Played games. Built traditions - e.g. for years, Thursday night was Survivor and fondue night. Walked the dogs together. Had their friends over and did stuff the other parents wouldn't allow (I still, 10+ years later, run into those kids and/or parents who say "I still remember when you let us/them TP your house!"

You can build memories w/o money. Time is more important than stuff.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Jmotts105 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:26 am

Appreciate all the replies, and putting the money aside, which is something I will work through and have actually gotten more comfortable with in terms of the disparities and the amount ex spends on the kids, buying them stuff, etc.

I agree completely with making memories and connecting by spending time, doing little things, silly things. (Each night I create a new star wars character by finding things in my closet to dress up and an epic light saber battle ensues). I don't have the disposable income to spend the way she does and will be able to, but more importantly, I don't want my kids to be spoiled brats. So they have chores, and when my 8 or 5 year old boys pee everywhere (seriously how do they pee in the places that they pee instead of that huge round opening in the toilet), they have to clean it up.

I guess I was curious though to find out if anyone else had any remaining feelings of guilt or sadness for the kids in terms of ending the lifestyle they knew for a different one. Again, I do not miss the ex one bit. I made the right choice without question. But even so, there are things about the old life that I had that are missed and different for the kids and myself. All in all, I'm actually pretty darn happy.

Thanks all again.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby ib536 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:59 am

If you're happy, and you're able to spend quality time with your kids (doesn't have to require money), then your kids will see that and those same feelings will transfer to them. Kids are resilient.

I have had the "divorce discussion" with my daughter, but, while I know most here will say that is wrong, she is 18 and has seen the "issues" my wife and I have. Her response to it all was, "Dad, I just want you to be happy." Your kids will see your happiness, let it show.

Something to keep in mind though: Your "after divorce" relationship with your Ex will also factor into your kids feelings and emotions. As a product of divorce myself along with my sister, I've seen this first hand. My parents did not, and still don't (43 years later), get along. My sister had emotional issues and I tend to shut-down in high-conflict situations because of the parental fighting. Just try to get along, for the sake of your kids.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Jmotts105 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:08 am

Thanks again everyone for weighing in. I am happy. And the time with the kids (although exhausting as hell sometimes) is what they will remember.

Thus far the ex and I have been able to co-parent well together. Able to take all the kids out to dinner together on birthdays, have birthday parties where everyone shows up, be in the same space and be kind and more than civil. Seeing my ex each time further enforces the path I've chosen of course, but I feel like we do put the kids forward and first. The oldest and middle are going to play therapists (the oldest went to a play therapist several years before the divorce because of anger issues, most likely from seeing the way things were handled in the relationship and a genetic line of people with tempers).

My parents divorced after 30+ years, put me in the middle and still do, not being able to be in the same room together. It disgusts me with their selfishness. I do not want to repeat the mistakes I've seen.

Thank you
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Trevor » Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:40 pm

1. Stop the nonsensical guilty feelings. If their mother or you got laid off, the money would be short and you wouldn’t be able to afford vacations either.

2. The life lesson you need to be imparting on your kids is that Life Happens. There are easy times and hard times. They will not die because they can’t go on expensive vacations. Well over half of the kids they know have two places they call home.

3. In today’s world, cultivating an agility to navigate change is big. People who resist change get left behind. That’s just the way it is. Make it a learning experience to help them with life. No way you can start that too early. Millions of military families move residences regularly, for example. Mortality rates from this are no higher than civilians who move less.

4. Your feelings are normal but completely unproductive. You need to stop the nostalgic wish-thinking. People who drive their cars while staring at the rear-view mirror tend to crash their cars. There’s a reason the front windshield is so much bigger than the rear-view mirror.

5. Why are the kids in therapy if they are doing so well? Seems they’re handling it better than you are. Any lessons there?

6. Part of your problem I think is this facade doing things together with your STBX. You realize you’re getting divorced, right? Co-parenting is one thing, but very few parents can manage to convincingly plug their noses and tolerate each other.

7. Two dinners, two birthday parties, two of every holiday, probably better for the kids. Certainly better for you; currently it’s making things harder (e.g., your misplaced guilt). Rip the bandaid from your skin.
"Personal density is directly proportional to temporal bandwidth."
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby massdad1234 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:43 pm

Personally, I was fooling myself that this was possible as well. Even if that is the case where we can in the future, during divorce is not the right time.
Trevor wrote:Part of your problem I think is this facade doing things together with your STBX. You realize you’re getting divorced, right? Co-parenting is one thing, but very few parents can manage to convincingly plug their noses and tolerate each other.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Optimist630 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:01 pm

I guess you could call it guilt but every time my daughter struggles with any part of this of course it tears you apart. Her mother wanted this but isn't proactive so I initiated and carried it out. If it needed to happen, guilt is wasted emotional energy. My wasted energy has been more on anger at the ex but I am working through.

I think the feelings of guilt are only natural. But you can apologize with tomorrow and how you handle it rather than apologizing for yesterday

It's always an interesting dynamic for a man when the woman makes more money and has to pay. But nothing is gender specific about getting money from the other person and anybody who associates a stigma with it is an idiot. I have a disability and do not work so at times I went through some of those feelings of inadequacy but it will fade.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby WCD7399 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:07 pm

I felt very guilty....
Now I dont (been almost 9 years years).
My kids were 4 and 7. They are now 13 and 16....

Im remarried -The kids only meet 2 GF's of mine. Both of them I was dating 7 months before they met. They met no one for the first 2 years. (Interesting story -My son just told me last week that 1 year after the divorce, because they had no idea what I did when I wasnt with them, and i never talked about dating, or hanging with friends, or anything, they assumed I had another family!! Like they use to talk about it with each other....)

I now have almost 50/50 (My fault -I didn't fight for it ealry. Started with about 33%...now at about 47%). Felt super guilty, paid way to much money to her, kept worrying about the kids....9 years later. Guess what? The kids are ok.

Their mom and I STILL argue about things. She still bad mouths me (Its so one way -Its now a joke with the kids and I. Like they actually make jokes with me about what bad thing their mom accuses me of. I usually say nothing. Im remarried now as well. The kids still love me and their mom. They do vacations with both of us, and look forward to both. We both are active in their life. We both attend most school and sporting events. There is no denying that my son prefers me and my daughter prefers her mom. But thats ok. Prob would have happened if we stayed married as well. Doesn't really effect anything because my son still loves his mom and my daughter still loves me.

We fought a few times about custody -and sometimes still do with vacations and such. But we also adjust on the fly OFTEN due to sports or other events. Both kids seem to have a good group of friends. Neither gets in trouble. Both do pretty good in school (And sometimes not so great. But nothing out of the ordinary).

I could go on...but at end of day - It's all OK. Their life changed, and then it continued...that was it. It will all be Ok.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby massdad1234 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:40 pm

quoted for truth?
WCD7399 wrote:but at end of day - It's all OK. Their life changed, and then it continued...that was it. It will all be Ok.
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