Welcome back to my interview with Derek, a divorced dad of two.
Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it.
DB: What is it like trying to have a relationship? How much more difficult is it now that you have kids?
Derek: Having a relationship is much more difficult with kids involved. First of all the person that you are dating isn’t really your number one person in your life, your kids are.
If I would have a date planned or the kids have something going on that I want to be at, say a school event, the woman I am dating takes a back seat to them. Of course if the relationship was progressed to a level where the kids have met her and feel comfortable, then she would get an invite to come with me to the event.
So if I choose to be in a relationship then the woman first of all needs to enjoy kids in general and can’t be to needy or jealous of the time that I spend with my children, without her. When I decided to have a relationship after my divorce, I wanted to fined a woman that loved kids — that either had her own kids, or was willing to get to know my kids.
So before anything else I need to know those things otherwise it isn’t going to work. My schedule revolves around my kids, then my girlfriend which makes it hard to have a relationship at times. So planning things can get hard at times especially if it’s spur of the moments things. It also helps to date someone that is in the same stage of life as you are, mainly because they will have friends that will have kids usually around the same age.
DB: Your significant other also has a child. It seems like planning a life together is exponentially more difficult and complicated. How do you do it? Do you have any advice for other divorced dads?
Derek: Right now my girlfriend and I have not done anything together with our kids. So when I have my kids and she has hers we do our own thing. We are currently planning to start doing things together so I would probably be able to answer that question better then.
DB: What is the hardest part of being divorced?
Derek: I would say finances have been the hardest part to manage. With all the money you have to pay the lawyers and your ex spouse it really makes things hard to be able to afford to do certain things. But I would say that is the most stressful, and I will see better days as time goes on.
The hardest part for me is not seeing my kids enough — every other weekend during the school year is not enough! I travel on my non-weekends to see them but it’s a lot of running around on my part, which is very tiresome.
DB: What is the easiest?
Derek: Is there an easy part of being a parent? Regardless if you are married or not? I would say no, but the most enjoyable part is the time I have with them, even if it is not enough.
DB: If you could have the children full time, would you do it?
Derek: Without a doubt I would have my kid’s full time. No question asked.
DB: Do you feel you are still making a substantial impact on your kids lives? Or is your influence undermined by your ex?
Derek: Well to be honest with you I do feel as if I am making in substantial impact on their lives. But I do feel that my ex in some way will always undermine me. It’s really hard because if I don’t ask what is going on with them at her house I will never know. I have been the one to communicate issues that we need to work on with them in both households but she seems to not really think they are big enough issues to concern her.
She always thinks she has the upper hand in everything when it comes to the kids’ issues and what’s best for them.
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I’d like to thank Derek for sharing, and you for reading.
If you have a story or situation you’d like to share, let me know.
And remeber, you are not alone…
Fathers Help Hotline
Child Support Savings
Fathers For Justice