When par­ents sep­a­rate: ‘I am a week­end fa­ther and I have to come to ac­cept that – it’s a hard pill to swal­low’

The Irish Times - Tuesday - Health - - Parenting | Splitting Up -

One re­gret The one re­gret he has is that they didn’t both do “par­ent­ing when sep­a­rated” cour­ses ear­lier as he found once they did, “ev­ery­thing calmed down”.

He did his with One Fam­ily and found it “re­ally ef­fec­tive”. Not only does it give you strate­gies but it takes you out of the con­flict “bub­ble”, he adds.

An­other fa­ther of two, Fin­tan, had an over­whelm­ing sense of fail­ure when his mar­riage of 20 years ended ex­tremely ac­ri­mo­niously. He still gets up­set talk­ing about what he went through.

They had grown apart as his wife was very so­cial, en­joy­ing nights out, while he Cri­sis Mean­while, the older boy took his mother’s side and the younger boy was act­ing out when­ever he was with his fa­ther. Fin­tan sought help with his par­ent­ing at One Fam­ily and, more than five years later, still at­tends reg­u­larly, find­ing it a huge sup­port both as a fa­ther and per­son­ally. “You can’t do the best for your chil­dren un­less you’re right,” he points out.

Like most peo­ple in a cri­sis, he found out who his friends were and one has been his con­stant “go to” through­out. Fin­tan also rec­om­mends find­ing hob­bies to oc­cupy your mind and to get you out of the house.

The cou­ple reached a di­vorce agree­ment four years ago that cost them ¤20,000 each in le­gal fees but both of them, he says, were sat­is­fied with the out­come.

It was two years be­fore he started dat­ing again but he be­lieves an­other long-term re­la­tion­ship is un­likely. “I never want to get mar­ried again be­cause I never want to go through that pain again and I don’t want any more chil­dren.”

How­ever, four years af­ter their di­vorce, he and his for­mer wife have gone a full cir­cle and be­come friends again, en­joy­ing a sup­port­ive, co-par­ent­ing re­la­tion­ship. “I still love her, she is the mother of my chil­dren.

“The mar­riage was great,” he adds, “it just didn’t work out”.

SHEILA WAY­MAN

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