Guilty feelings for the kids

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Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Jmotts105 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:36 am

First post here. I appreciate all the posts and advice that people have shared. Thank you.

Background: I have been separated for approximately 15 months, divorce should be finalized and signed by the court any time now. (I'm in Virginia with minor children so I had to wait a year from separation before filing). I am the one who asked for the divorce and separation. I have 3 children, ages 8, 5 and 3. Was married for 16.5 years, together with ex for 20. Long story short, we sought counseling, each of us have also done therapy individually as well. I wanted a divorce because after many years of verbal abuse (exp. being called a burden in front of the kids in relation to finances as a result of my small business having issues with my partners), lack of physical relationship (2 times a year despite me trying to initiate, being told when I touched her on rear in the morning and two of my kids were sitting in the other room that I was being inappropriate and disrespectful; physical relationship was probably around 6-8 times a year before kids, sex on honeymoon 1 time), never feeling appreciated despite all that I would do in terms of kids (given our work flow and income, she earned more than me for a significant part of our marriage thus I was the one who was primarily responsible for many of the main tasks with the kids each day, I cooked dinners every night, cleaned, etc.), never truly addressing my feelings or needs (she is a very selfish person in terms of only thinking about her own emotions). I do not want anyone to think I'm without issues. I'm forgetful and stubborn and can be a pain in the < hindquarters >. But I deserved to be treated better, and frankly my ex obviously wasn't happy with who I am and our relationship, and not happy with herself, so she deserves to be happy and pursue what makes her happy and I truly hope she finds that despite the issues that still plague us in dealing with each other.

We share 50/50 custody and I would not accept less. The kids are doing well, transition well (most of the time, there are some issues here and there), are seeing their own play therapists just to give us a high level view and we are told they are doing well, doing well in school, and seem to be happy. We co-parent well most of the time. She has a much better standard of living still and makes a decent amount of money, so she buys them a lot of toys, etc.

Here's my question though: I know I made the right choice for myself and my kids so they don't have to be in a house where two people obviously are not in love or care too much about each other. There was fighting, and ugly words, and when the tough times hit, she would tell me in front of the kids that she was done and sometimes she would walk out of the house. I made the right decision after working to maintain the relationship for years. She put in effort too here and there. But she never thought I would pull the trigger whereas I always thought she would based upon the number of "I'm done" occasions.

I still feel guilty or sad for the kids. I feel guilty because we don't go on the vacations we used to go on because I cannot afford them. That we don't get to do the things we used to do, which all involved spending money. I personally miss the vacations and the outings (even though one or two nights out of each vacation always had me or her sleeping on a couch). I feel sad for them that they don't get to have us under one roof, despite how much strife and tension there was. When I was trying to figure out what to do, my therapist said this to me: "do me a favor, when your wife gets home from work tonight go up to her, grab her and kiss her passionately." I told her that thought made me sick to my stomach. She told me there was my answer.

Is this guilt or sadness normal despite the fact that I made the right decision and the kids are doing really well? I do not miss the ex at all in the manner in which a man would miss a good relationship.

Thanks for reading/listening.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby lovingfatherof2 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:47 am

You bring up money often in your post.

What is she paying in child support?
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Jmotts105 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:58 am

She is paying $500 a month. We settled in our separation agreement on all aspects of custody, money, etc. I just wanted to be done. You're right, I do mention money quite a bit. Thanks for pointing that out. (I mean that). It's an inadequacy I need to obviously deal with and was made to equate to my worth in my marriage.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby afc » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:04 am

Your kids will be fine if you avoid dating for awhile.

So no dating for awhile
No introducing them to anyone you date for a long while after that
No blending families should you ever date a woman with her own kids.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby lovingfatherof2 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:45 am

Is that $500 less than your states guideline amount?
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby MegaDad » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:49 am

^^^^^ This is an important question. It doesn't make you a greedy money grubber if the state guideline requires her to pay more than $500 a month and you ask the court to grant you that higher amount. That money isn't for you after all, its for your kids, and they have a right to it.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby Jmotts105 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:49 am

Lovingfatherof2 and MedaDad to answer your questions, the child support payments are less than the state guidelines. I accepted that amount during the course of negotiating our separation agreement. I know I was entitled to more. I walked away from marital assets as well because I wanted to be done.

There is a clause in the separation agreement that if I file something in court seeking to change this amount or any other financial amount, I forfeit the remainder of the final dollar settlement payments which is a small amount on top of the child support on an annual basis.

Moving beyond the money issues, I am more curious about people's emotions. That was the real purpose of the question and I think that got lost in the issue of money as a result of what I wrote.

Thanks
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby lovingfatherof2 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:58 am

The reason I want to talk about money with you is because it seems obvious to me that it is causing you and the kids financial issues and is compounding all the other issues that you have.

I would recommend that you try to fix this and good news for you is that CS is always modifiable. Most states have red tape but in most cases its doable to fix and make right. I don't know of any state that says "this is what you agreed to and this is what it will always be, sucks to be you".

Unfortunately you fell on your sword to get the divorce over with and now you and the kids are suffering the consequences of doing that. The clause in your order may not even be enforceable anyways, wouldn't be in my state at least.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby afc » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:58 pm

This is also a good opportunity to teach them that fun doesnt mean spending lots of money.

Some of the best times I had with my girls were very low cost. Fishing, restoring an old dresser, messy outdoor stuff, volunteering at the animal shelter, etc.
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Re: Guilty feelings for the kids

Unread postby dofb » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:14 pm

I am going through the same emotions as you OP - I have three kids your kids' ages and a 1 year old as well. I didn't ask for the divorce, she did and we are still in the middle of it. People tell me that it gets better, but that remains to be seen. In the mean time, I hope you are seeing a good counsellor and have friends and family helping you. The feelings are normal - that doesn't mean they are easy.
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