Hands down, the most heartbreaking aspect of any divorce for a man is the fact that, if he does not win full custody, he can no longer live with his own children every day. If you are facing the prospect of shared custody or simple visitation rights, it can seem as if an insurmountable rift will open between you and your children, and that your relationship can never be the same.
But you can follow the example of the countless fathers in our society today who have managed to maintain a good relationship with their children after the divorce – and in some cases, even have a better relationship now than they did before.
Keeping the “quality” in quality time
When you were married, chances are you spent time with your children like most men do – only for a few hours in the evening, after a full day’s work, perhaps when you were already tired and stressed. Even the weekend often didn’t offer as much time for quality bonding as you might have hoped, since yardwork and other chores often took up much of the day.
Now, you see your children much less often. Perhaps you get them every other week, or perhaps you only see them one weekend a month. Despite this situation being heartbreaking, there is a silver lining to it.
This limited schedule means that you want to maximize every second of your time with your children. When you’re with them, you can now give them your undivided attention, and focus on creating memories with them that they will carry for the rest of their lives. Fishing trips, hikes, games and other one-on-one activities that truly reinforce a relationship – and form them into capable and well-adjusted adults – might seem more possible now than they were when you were still married to their mother.
You can be present daily
The miracle of modern technology makes it much easier than it was even a generation ago to maintain consistent contact with your children on days when you don’t have them with you physically.
No matter how toxic or cordial your relationship with your ex-wife may be, hopefully she will recognize the value in allowing you to video-call your children on a regular basis while they are with her. Being able to see your face and hear your voice asking them about their day will help your children to feel that you are still an integral part of their daily life despite not living with them.
Your divorce, and its consequences, may be the most challenging thing you ever go through in life. But your ability to be a fantastic father to your children doesn’t have to be diminished by your circumstances – it can flourish despite them.