Long Distance Parents : Don’t Give Up

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Recent events in my own case and life have caused something to become readily apparent. It is darn near impossible to withstand the emotional part of long distance parenting without support of some kind. Ideally one would be surrounded by other long distance parents who understand first-hand but we seem to be few and far between.

I’m a member of a handful of email groups and I email back and forth with as many long distance parents as I am friends with and somehow manage to muster a bit of support. What amount I get from other long distance parents is invaluable. Even hearing their gripes and complaints somehow adds a sense that I am not alone in this.

Each email exchange with a long distance parent usually includes a ‘Dont give up’. It’s encouraging to hear that and becomes apparent, with a little bit of communication, that it really is necessary to give that encouragement to each other. Giving up would be easy. Just giving in and only sending child support and staying out of the child’s life is tempting when you have been slandered, backstabbed, lied to, manipulated and generally emotionally beat up in the divorce and custody process. Sure, it happens in every divorce – but in a long distance arrangement, it seems that there is more bitterness and feelings of entitlement on the part of the child’s primary custodian and their family. It seems as though they usually feel that if we are far away, it must mean we don’t desire to be a part of the child’s life and so they push us harder to step out altogether.

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A parent who moves away, never to be heard from again, would be a parent who must not want to be in the child’s life. But no, a long distance parenting relationship, by definition is NOT when the long distance parent doesn’t want to be a part of the child’s life. If that were the case, there would be no relationship. Us long distance parents, we think of our kids all the time. We write them, call them, email them and see them as much as possible. It’s hard to be away from our kids. It’s even harder when what relationship we do have is made strained by the other parent and our person and lives take constant beatings because of their opinion of the path that we’ve chosen.

So yes, sometimes, it would be far simpler to give up – to just become one of the millions of ‘other parents’ who have nothing to do with their kids. It’s so very reassuring to hear ‘don’t give up’ from another parent who knows, first hand, how easy it would be to give up. It’s even reassuring to encourage someone else and tell them ‘don’t give up’ and know that they are getting the same comfort knowing you’ve been there.

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arlene
arlene
15 years ago

I need advice. I am an American who lives in Egypt with my 3 year old little girl. We live with my husbands family. My husband is having a lot of problems emtionally and financially. (2 LL’s?) He lives in America. I am considering going to America and living our daughter in Egypt for 6 months. I want to work and help my husband fix the mess he is in and then come back here. We love it here in Egypt but we need money to live nicely. My husband’s family are kind and loving people. They adore me and… Read more »

mark
mark
14 years ago

As a dad of 4 living in California, 2000 miles from my kids in illinois I am familiar with all the guilt and guilt giving that goes on. I am a pariah with many of the people i had as friends in Illinois…the most common response has been “i could NEVER do what you have done” Although i talk to my kids every day and see them monthly (travel costs over 15,000 a year, a good portion of my income) i am still considered by many to have abandoned my kids. I feel very alone much of the time, don’t… Read more »