The Loss a Father Experiences After Moving Out

by | Jul 11, 2017

Grief is a normal part of divorce, so it comes as no surprise that you’ll need to grieve the loss of your relationship with your former spouse. However, if you’re a dad, there may be some loss you haven’t prepared for. Often times the father is the one to leave the family home during a divorce or separation, and with that comes a deep sense of loss of the life you built and the home where you find comfort. Furthermore, losing the daily interaction with the children you love is no easy task, and if there is any breakdown in communication, fathers can often miss important events and milestones in the lives of their children. If you’re a father going through this you’re not alone, and author Sinta Ebersohn has some further insight for you in the article below.

A common divorce scenario for families with children, looks like this: Dad moves out of the marital home into a small apartment while Mom and the kids remain in the family dwelling. While it seems like a sensible option, it is important not to underestimate the severe sense of loss a father has to deal with. This also applies when the roles are reversed and the mother moves out.

Below are some points for careful consideration when going through a divorce.

When spouses separate in this manner, with the intention to divorce, a father not only loses the home and safe haven he proudly provided for his family, he also no longer enjoys the familiar home environment that he inhabited for a long time. The effects of down-scaling to a tiny living area, compared to the space and creature comforts he was accustomed to, are far reaching.  He might suddenly find himself without his favourite things, such as the big screen television, reclining chair, braai facility, swimming pool and even his carefully cultivated garden. On top of this, he will face the challenge of providing a comfortable second home for his child(ren) under these circumstances. Along with divorce, moving house is regarded as one of the top five stressors in life.

Ending a marriage, results in the devastating loss of a life partner and lover. Add the loss of a parenting partner and the joint decision-making process when it comes to raising your children and a father might very well feel completely isolated from his once intact family unit. It takes time and effort from both parents to establish a new co-parenting relationship and while that process is unfolding, valuable parent-child time and bonding opportunities are lost.

Daily contact with children is a thing of the past and with it the consistent and regular influence in their upbringing is undermined. A father’s opportunities to guide, mentor and set an example to his children is severely diminished. In many cases it is lost completely through active parental alienation. His ability to instinctively care for, support and nurture his family, is suddenly reduced to a schedule of pre-determined intervals of visitation. Spontaneity is sacrificed with the limited, rushed and seldom private interaction of the normal alternate-weekends arrangement.

As a result of logistical changes and a breakdown in communication, fathers are not always informed of their little ones’ progress, activities, schedules etc., and sometimes miss out on events and special occasions.  Institutions are not equally aware and sensitive to the unique challenges of a dual-household family and this contributes to the gradual deterioration of parent-child relationships due to his unintended absence. Here are some practical tips on Divorce Etiquette for Special Occasions.

Read the full article on The Good Men Project.