Hello Aunt B,
I am a 43 year old divorced dad with 2 children who I love dearly. Here is my problem. 3 years ago after finding out about an affair my wife was having, her and I split up and she moved in with her parents and she has lived there ever since. She has a large extended family, sisters, cousins and the house is always full with people. During our divorce we settled on shared physical custody. Unfortunately I do not see my children as much as I would like. Without sounding bitter, my children who are 9 and 5 have chosen to stay over at my ex's parents home quite a bit more often than what we drew up on paper. Basically they have more people to love and spoil them there than I have here. I know they love me but, I guess if I was a child I would stay where the grass seemed greener, but it hurts just the same. My ex receives a good chunk from me plus her own salary, but has yet to move out on her own. Tonight, just as many nights, I went to pick my children up only to learn that their mother was not there and the grandmother was watching them and the kids wanted to stay there. The bitterness over the affair has subsided, but not seeing my children is really getting to me. I don't really know if I am looking for advice or just someone to tell. If you have any wise words for me I would be glad to hear them...thank you...John
I would imagine, you have many, many emotions right now. You may feel dejected, ejected and rejected. I wouldn't blame you. Time does heal all wounds. Try not to blame or have resentment for the children. I believe you are trying to work through all this, logically but it still burns.
Your children are behaving quite typically, so do not be alarmed. Try not to take it personally, kids are like this and believe it or not can surely tend to be selfish. But they don't realize the ramifications, of their tendency to push you out.
I do encourage you to exercise your rights. If you were awarded visitation, you can be held in contempt, in many states for not exercising or adhering to the court order. That goes along with the fact that it may not be reinforced on their end, either. I guess the problem comes down to feeling like the bad guy, if you feel the need to force them?
This is a disparaging situation and if I were you, I would speak to your ex and inform her that she needs to make them aware, that you will become diligent when it comes to visitation. You let her know, that you want visitation and to have them ready. It is almost a self-esteem issue, for you to walk away and not refute the kids want to stay where they are. The court says that you Must exercise your right, not when Mom or the kids feel like visitation. The law is in place to protect you as well as your ex spouse and children. It is not a one-way law to be taken lightly or interpreted as the Mother or children deem suitable. So do it and state this is your intention. Once you get the kids out and away from their surroundings, they just might have a good time. Do not deny yourself, they are your children too. I am going to say this;
Quite often, the Father wants nothing to do with the kids. Statistics show, that they move on, more so than women, of course. Don't allow them to run over you. Stand by your rights and make them aware, even if you have to use the law on your side, that by not adhering to the court order, everyone who does not abide, can be held in contempt. Make them think, it's not gonna be you. In turn, you just might have a wonderful and fulfilling time and build upon the relationships with your children.
No matter what happened, with you and your ex, those children are still yours. Don't be bullied and stand your ground. You have the law on your side.