What Long Distance Parenting Is and Is Not

What Long Distance Parenting Is and Is Not

There are many misconceptions about what long distance parenting is and is not. Some of the stigma around long distance parenting comes from these misconceptions. Although there is a ton of information on the site about long distance parenting, I realized it might be good to back up and talk about what a long distance parent is (or is not).

What a Long Distance Parent Is

I have had the pleasure of being involved in long distance parenting community for over 15 years, and of course, have been a long distance parent myself. The parents I interact with in the long distance parenting communities all have unique stories. Some have very cooperative co-parenting situations and some have much less cooperative or even hostile co-parenting situations. Some are legally divorced or separated, some are not – or have never been married. Some are separated by cities or states – some are separated from their children by oceans and countries.

There is no cookie cutter ‘long distance parenting’ relationship. But the thing they have in common is that they all look for ways to bridge the distance between parent and child despite, what can often be, difficult circumstances.

Custodial Parent Move-Away

If a custodial parent moves away, it is hopefully with the blessing of the court – and courts don’t generally make the decision to allow a move away by the custodial parent very lightly.

Of course it also happens that custodial parents relocate out of spite or some other reason that is less than critical, away from the noncustodial parent. Although it wasn’t always the case, current laws go a great distance to protect parents and children from what amounts to parental kidnapping.

Non Custodial Parent Move-Away

This is probably the scenario that comes to mind for most people. The non-custodial parent moves away, becoming a long distance parent. The question I hear most from people who don’t understand this scenario is ‘What could be so important to move away from your kids?’.

I’ve never encountered a situation in which the long distance parent told me “I want to be away from my children, so I’m going to move.” Usually very basic life needs are at issue – like job, family, healing, recovery and rehabilitation or the desire to succeed past what is available in a given area. Long distance parents who relocate away from their children usually have a pressing need to improve their life in some way, with the end desire of making something better for their kids.

Military members are required to be away from home for months and years at a time. Luckily, the military and the surrounding communities provide resources and support for military families separated by distance but individual families often have to find techniques that work for them and the individual circumstances of the deployed military member to keep contact between the kids and their long distance mom or dad strong. In fact, here is a great page on military.org on the subject.

Some non-military jobs require travelling and working abroad. While a particular job is ultimately optional, sometimes the alternatives to doing the job, staying with the company or travelling on the business trip are grim. Or sometimes the rewards of doing the work are good enough to make it an attractive option.

Even if they aren’t legally divorced or separated, military parents and parents who work away from home are still long distance parents and still have the same fundamental issue which is how to maintain a relationship with their child while they are apart.

What a Long Distance Parent Is Not

Every time a long distance parent explains their situation anew to a coworker, friend or family member, they brace for the assumptions that follow. Those assumptions are generally abandonment and being a dead beat mom or dad.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but if we’re using the definition that a long distance parent is someone who is separate from their child by distance but looks for ways to maintain a relationship and bridge the distance between themselves and their child, long distance parents are not to following things.

Long Distance Parents did not Abandon Their Kid(s)

Legally, abandonment, within the scope of child abandonment, means relinquishing one’s rights to the child with no intent of resuming or reasserting those rights. Long distance parents – parents who would use this site or look for ways to keep the relationship with their kids strong, are not abandoning their children legally.

Emotional abandonment, psychologically, is when a partner in a relationship (a parent, a lover, a spouse or otherwise) does not participate in safeguarding one’s emotional needs of being valued, nurtured and loved. To the contrary, most long distance parents have made very difficult decisions to do what’s best in the long run for their kids (or their country, in the case of military members) and go to great lengths to make sure that their kids know that they are valued and loved. Although kids are not necessarily capable of understanding the big picture when they are little, part of the long distance parenting skillset is continuing to communicate with their kids about being apart from one another, in a way that the child can understand, as often as necessary.

Long Distance Parents are not Dead Beat Parents

There is no official definition of a dead beat dad or a dead beat mom – but in our culture, a dead beat parent is generally understood to be a parent who might exercise their parental rights to some degree but does not participate in supporting or raising their children.

Although, again, dead beat moms and dads do exist, lumping long distance parents – parents who are at a distance from their children and who support and maintain positive relationships with their children – in with parents who do not support or maintain positive relationships with their kid(s) is also mistaken.

Unwarranted Stigma

Child abandonment does happen and dead beat parents do exist. But long distance parenting is neither of these. Long distance parents go great lengths to stay involved in their child’s life and to actively parent their children.

Parenting is hard and it’s full of tough decisions from birth and even past the time that the kid(s) are adults. The decision to be at a distance from a child is a valid and sometimes necessary option and is one of the toughest decisions to make. Long distance parents are not deadbeats or abandoning their kids. In fact, the decision to be apart from a child is just the first step of a difficult road. Long distance parents work hard to be great parents.

What is a long distance parent?

A long distance parent is any parent who is not living in the same physical area as their child.  It’s not a single scenario but a variety of situations that could cause a parent to be at a distance from their child(ren) and a number of ways that the situations evolve. It’s not a single scenario but a variety of situations that could cause a parent to be at a distance from their child(ren) and a number of ways that the situations evolve.

What is long distance parenting?

Long distance parenting is using relationship tools and techniques to effectively parent at a distance.

This Post Has 138 Comments

  1. nicole

    Woh thanx a lot for articles like long distance parenting. It shows l, m not alone. As a mother it hurts me to go for mnths n mnths wout my daughter becoz of economical reasons. I cant be w her.

    1. Nina

      Exactly how I feel!

    2. Julz

      It’s interesting to read these reply’s. It’s almost all women and the men make more money as a common thread. But we have had to become transient in today’s society in order to work and survive. It’s just the reality of today’s economy and it sucks big time. I think if women were making the bigger salaries where they reside things would be different. Divorce is never easy and removing yourself from unhealthy situations is healthy behavior and better for everyone all around. My boyfriend is the exception in my experience, his ex because of acoholism and two DWI’s is why he has full custody and she is spiteful and hurtful so moving away is the healthier thing for him and the child. I wonder if more men experience this. Seems the 30 something’s the roles have changed in his situation. Any men out there with the same?

      1. Ron Haupt

        I am currently finishing up on my divorce. My STBXW is a serial cheater and I finally realized I deserve better. We have 4 kids together ranging from 7 to 20. I have always been the primary caretaker for our kids and the one that took care of everything in and around the house. I literally did everything. She would work from 8 am to 2 am everyday. So it was always just the kids and me. I busted her and her cheating ass for the 3rd time I know of. Immediately after that she said she needed space and time. So we separated. Surprise, surprise she wants to be involved with the kids. But of course she does not do anything without her boyfriend and 4 of his kids. So her time with the kids always involves him and his boys. Never any alone time with kids. So I go from just the kids and me all day everyday to me only seeing them 3-4 times a week. I’ve been totally devastated by losing my wife of 18 years but also losing my time with the kids. So she was the breadwinner. I filed and pursued child support & alimony, what does she do? She resigns from her position and goes to casual hours to avoid paying me. With what she has done to me and our family I cannot be around her. I don’t even want to be within 500 miles of her and sparkle dick. I plan on moving almost 600 miles away and I am hoping that my youngest 2 kids want to come with. I need to move for my own health. I mean she wants kids she can take on 4 of his 5 kids and let me take my kids with me. It is a tough decision but one that I need to make.

      2. Dorn

        Hi yeah i am a nin custodial father, the mother lives 4 hours away at her mothers with no car or drivers liscence. So not everyweekend but at least 2\3 i drive to see my daughter at her. Mothers mothers house. It is uncomftorble for me and deffinatly a pain in the xxx driving that far all the time, this weekend however i was helping a freind move and ran out of time to drive 8 hours in one day with no sleep so i decided to stay home. The mother felt the need to tell me that our daughter kept looking out the window saying “daddy upie daddy upie.. “ that really messed me up. Now im crying in the work truck. Im glad im not the only one to feel this… Thanks for reading

    3. NewDad

      thank ypu for the interesting perspective. I am currently in emotional turmoil because of a lose-lose choice i need to make. Option 1 is to be someplace where i am able to support my ageing newly widower father, has better economic opportunities, and where i am generally. But i would be forced to become a distant parent as my partner refuses to relocate, even for a short while (approx 2 years) while she is on matetnity leave.

      Option 2 it is remain in my current situation in a location that is not good for my mentail health, and with only small econom7c opportunities. But i would remain a presebt parent. Regardless im not sure how our relationship can survive. But i will do everything i can to be a positive presence in our child’s life.

    4. Beth

      I’m in a sticky situation to where I have no choice but to leave state, I am not even sure what my rights are. My son father is barely around but does pay childsupport (not through the court) because he does not want to be in the system..yet things have been difficult ever since I dropped majority of my night shifts for my son to do better in school which it worked, he has a learning disability and needs the extra care. Being I do not go through the courts I do not get much of things “state help” as others which also hurts my situation more. I’ve dropped out of college due to I have no one to help pick my son up from school if he is sick and so forth, Now involved with school truancy due to my father had high risk surgeries and I took the risk for my son being out of school for I could not get anyone to help pick him up. During the summer even the kids are mainly with me or my grandmother who helps watch them in the next city/his city, for sure he has one day off on the weekend which one would think you could pick your child up.. He is a dad but not a father if that makes since he toss the money but does not help raise him..I would say there is 30 days out of the year total he sees his son..I also receive my child support infront of our coworker’s (which that’s another story and no I don’t have my job because of him lol) only time he even talks about his son is at work like a pride thing but can’t even call during the week to ask how school is, I know he loves his son but he is more focused on work/sleeping and the bar. While I do everything, not once could I get him to take him at an appointment for me. Anywho now I am forced to move back into a one bedroom with my kids at my grandmother’s because I have no where to go OR can move out of state with a long term friend and have a stable home, better job, be able to work during the day with someone helping with the kids. I fear for I know his pride would not let me move and 8 years I had raised our son by myself and it’s not only our son but my daughter I need to look after as well and she only have me in this world. I know if I stay here in this state I will never be able to give my kids childhood friends to grow up with, a forever home and the life I have been trying so desperately to give them. To make matters worse if he denies me to leave, the state I am is not easy to be allowed to even move more than 55miles. I know he is not ready for the responsibility of raising our child, yet the fear he will take him for spite because in his eyes I will be the bad one and it will all be me..I’m broken apart and working on the guts to tell him once I go back to my grandmother’s. I pray for there to be light. I do not want to leave my son however I can no longer survive on my own here and the pain can not be so real.

    5. Luw

      I am a mother of a 6-year-old son and a 10 -year-old daughter. My daughter has always been with me and was with me before I ever met my ex. My ex and I are no longer together because he was over controlling and then started running around with somebody else. We currently have joint custody of our son. He stays with me for two weeks and then goes to his father for two weeks on a rotating schedule and then we share every other holiday reversing the next year. I had fought for custody for over a year for my son to be able to move away with me. I spent a fortune in lawyer fees And spent every bit of money from my savings until I couldn’t fight anymore. The courts would not allow my son to move away with me given that he was born in the state. I have absolutely no family and no support here. I struggle with my job because I have no support or help here and it’s been extremely hard to find a job making the money I need to and be able to be home for my daughter and my son when I have him in the evenings. I feel like I’m alone in every way here and I feel like I am falling deeper and into depression. All my family is in another state 9 hours away. I am struggling to survive here on my own. I never have any money to ever do anything with my kids. My sons father makes a lot more money than I do and is able to go do everything and everything with our son. My daughter gets jealous of all the things that they do and that she doesn’t get to do because I can’t afford it. His father refuses to let him be with me if I move. I am thinking very hard about moving because I am just not making it here and if I move back home I can gain back stability and be able to start saving for a house and make a future. My daughter will have her family instead of it just being me and her. But It is killing me in every way to ever think of me leaving my son but his father refuses to let him move and probably would prefer if I fell off a cliff so he could have him all to himself. He does not care if I move and in fact I think it makes him happy. I stay here to be near my son but I am constantly tormented by my son’s father and he tries to do everything he can to make my life a living hell. I find myself crying myself to sleep many nights because I feel like I will break my sons heart leaving him but I can’t keep going on like this it is killing me inside and out. The thought of leaving my son versus what is best for my daughter and ever getting any further than where I’m at now. It is not fair that I have to continue dealing with my sons father the way he acts towards me and being all alone here. I am scared I will break my sons heart and that my ex will do everything he can to put the worst images of me because I left to try to get our son to resent me even though I am planning on doing everything everything I can to stay in communication with my son on a daily basis if I can make it through his father and will get him during the summers too. I love my son so much and I don’t want him to hate me because I left. I don’t know if the pain will be worse leaving him and being so far away from him versus the struggle of being alone here trying to make it all by myself and going through the hell I go through monthly with his father. I feel like I am catering my life for one child while the other one is getting deprived of so much more she could have. I am in a war with myself.

      1. Pam

        I am sorry to hear and feel your frustration. I’m in a similar situation but my daughter is old enough to say where she wants to be. its sad that we have to deal with men, who are controlling us in situations like these. Have you reached out to a church or social services organizarion for emotional support? It’s hard going through situations like this but I find my strength in God and support from those in the church. Please pray over your children and their fathers. There is hope in God bc he is faithful. It may not be easy but know that God works all things for good. Remember to stay positive and know that although you feel alone, you are not. Keep trying with the courts. Pray over the judge. Mycourt issues, I let go of that stress. I wasted money that could have gone towards my kids. Let God fight your battles. Most importantly, talk to your daughter if she’s old enough to understand. Find support groups. I’m not sure where you are located but look for free or low cost activities to do with your kids. Maybe a church or social service agency will even sponsor activities for you and your daughter to enjoy together or can help you find better employment opportunities. Be blessed!

  2. Megan

    I have been searching for a site like this for a while. I am extremely relieved that I found one! I am currently battling with becoming a distant parent and have been looking for support and advice. Thank you Carrie for this site!

    I currently wish to move away from my child and her father. I am also from a small town and would be looking at moving approximately 9 hours away from my child. I discussed this with her father and he is supportive in some ways but also does not want me taking her away from him. We are still great friends and discussed writing a legal document outlining visitation etc. I am stressed because in my heart, I feel like I am doing the right thing for myself and could be a better parent. If I stay in this town, I am going to struggle with providing for her. I would not be able to live in a nice home, give her extra money for whatever (you get my drift), without soaking her father for child support (I would never do that). My parents are telling me “I can’t believe that you would do this!” My close girlfriends are supportive and I know that it will be a struggle at first. I need to be happy in order for her to be happy, and I know this. I am just really struggling with everything. I just want to be able to talk to people who have been in similar situations, maybe not identical, but would be able to share their stories 🙂

    1. Heather

      Hello! I, too, am so happy to have discovered this website! I have lived in a different state from my two boys now for almost 4 years! And I have wanted something like this to know I am not alone. I moved for similar reasons– I was not able to provide for them very well where I was and my being happy would be better for all of us. I am now able to give them more of the life I want for them with the aid of my husband. I have always had a relatively amicable relationship with the boys’ dad. He, too, does not want them to live primarily with me out of state and so I am with my kids every other weekend and the majority of the summer. It is not perfect. I do a lot of driving as I am 4 hours from them. It is hard but for the most part everyone is happy. They have a great Dad and great Step-Dad. My family was not at all supportive of my decision but now everyone has come to live with it. It is very hard not to feel judged as a mother who is NOT the primary parent. Although we have shared custody 50/50. I go to their school and volunteer as often as I can. I go on field trips and help with class parties. It is still not the same as being there everyday for them and making them lunch and dinner and helping with homework. I just set up a Skype account so that we can “see” each other more. Perhaps I can practice spelling words with them or show them something new in our house. I want to be the best mother I can to them given our circumstance. It is challenging, too, to meet other mothers (parents) and try to explain our situation. I always feel awkward as I attempt to explain to someone new the fact that I don’t live with my children most of the time and not only that they live in another state. Mothers living away from their children is a phenomenon on the rise I think. How nice to have support, encouragement, and assistance as I tread through this unchartered territory. Thank you.

      1. Nicole

        I am just starting the difficult process of long distance parenting. My ex husband and I had a 50/50 arrangement which has been less than productive the past 2 years. I am at a major disadvantage in regards to providing for my 2 children, as my ex makes literally 3 times my income. I had initially waived support to just get out of the relationship not taking into account that 50% of the time I am paying for 100% of my children’s expenses. When looking at things in income perspective I never took into account the impact the every dollar had on my income as opposed to my ex. A loaf of bread still costs the same for both of us, but impacts me more etc. My ex husband has made things difficult at every turn and I have found myself angry and resentful more often than not. I have decided to move from my province in Canada to another where I will have the opportunity to go back to school and better myself both spiritually and financially. I am struggling with the worry that my children ages 5 & 8 will feel abandoned or unloved which I am sure everyone posting here does. On the other hand, I feel as though I will implode if I am made to have such a contentious existence with my ex. I do not want to be an angry person for the rest of my life as I feel it is slowly consuming me. Thank you for existing here. I hope the success stories will boost my confidence in my decision.

        1. Josie

          Hey Nicole
          I am dealing with the same problem. I left my 3 year old son to his father, thinking it would be a better life. After I had left my ex I had become finacially unstable. Forceing me countless of reasons to move back home. It’s very emotionally hard for me as a mother who wanted to take my son home with me. I’m 800 miles away from my boy. And 4 days out of the week I try to skype him. His father is somewhat cooperative but then again wanted me to have nothing to do with my child. I just need a person to talk to that is going thru the similar situation I don’t know a day without crying yet.

          1. Brittany

            I have a very similar story! Good to feel like I’m not alone. I hate that I feel judged as a bad mother for moving bask to my home state for a better job and leaving my son 5.5 hours away and not having a cooperative other parent makes it so much harder. I wish I had found this site sooner! I hope we can all feel encouragement!

          2. Ady

            I was a stay a home dad supporting my now to be ex wife while she studied i looked after our son for about a year and things got out of hand now between us. So i flew half way across the world and im alittle worried that the thought of my son not knowing his dad. Im very unstable and all over the place. Need some advice

          3. Claire

            I have a 3yr old living 5 hrs from me but I have 5 children living within half hour 2 of which I see .i have no idea where I should be the other 3 I don’t see are in foster care as I wasn’t well

          4. Trace

            I recently moved over 16 hours away from my kids. I have 3 little girls back home and I hurt so much leaving them, I left last week and this is not easy, I’m constantly getting texts on how aweful I am and how I’m never going to see my kids again. But the people saying this have no idea what life was life for me, never having a proper home, couldn’t get a job, struggling with mental illnesses the works. I left to get away from the traumatic events that happened to me and to make better money to support my kids. I am now finding hope since I found this site. If you ever need support or someone to talk to, I’m here anytime I get it.

          5. Neicy

            Hi. I’m 26. I have a 3 year old son. I’m moving 12 hours away from my son. Leaving him will be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Better job opportunity. Better pay. I wanted my son to come with me but his Dad refused. His Dad was my HS sweetheart but we are no longer together and both are in relationships. We still remain friends. I refuse to go through a legal battle with my ex. I don’t have the money nor want to. I’m just glad they’re are a lot of Mothers in the same boat as I am. I’m doing this for myself and for my son. I have to make myself happy and do better so I can be a good mother to my kid. He loves his Dad and more close to his Dad. I just know I did the right thing but to have friends and family in your ear making you feel bad and think you’re abandoning your kid really takes a toll on you. When clearly the best is for my son to live with his Dad. I’m always depressed and crying and having suicidal thoughts and wasnt happy in the environment I was in. I couldn’t have my son be around that. I refuse to let my 3 year old son see my cry. My son shouldn’t be consoling me I should be consoling him. I don’t want my son around my energy. It’s not healthy.

            It’s just good to see other stories similar to mine. I really thought I was alone in this. But my gut i know I’m doing the right thing. I’m still gonna be there for my son i just won’t be physically there every single day. But it still hurts. My son is my world. He is the reason I keep pushing. I’m trying not to cry just by typing this. But depression is real. Healing yourself is real. Just happy I found a site that give me the correct term. “Long Distant Parent” it makes me feel better. But I’m still in the same city for now. But I’m moving the first week of April and it’s scary. I have my fiancee as a support system and of course friends from home. On to better myself for me and my son

          6. Scott Hutchins

            Hi I have a 13 year old daughter and when she was 3 I gained custody of her. I allowed her to go and stay with my parents in an other state, When my daughter wants something I send it whatever it is I allowed my parents to add her on their taxes because she’s there and when I do my taxes I pay out instead of receiving, When ever my parents wants money from me I send it as a long distance parent, Do this make me a bad parent, mind you I live in Ohio and they stay in Delaware outside of Chesapeake Bay area.

          7. Denise

            Same here. My kids have been with their dad for 9 years now and things are so hard. Two are now teenagers who are fully brainwashed by his lies about me. It’s hurtful, but I just pray one day God will open their eyes to see the truth. It’s such a sad situation

          8. Rayann

            I just went through a long and extremely stressful situation with my ex and the courts(5/14/19). I spent all my savings, time and emotions, trying to convince the courts to allow me to move w/my 2 girls from MO. to TX. of course I was denied that. So now I have to move or stay. If I stay I won’t have a place to live or a job, if I move I have a job that pays 30k more then I have ever made and a home but not my 5 and 7 yr old daughters. My ex is the type that goes by “my way or no way” the country, non educated kind. Since I don’t have family, i didn’t have any support or anyone to talk to. Some people I have told understand and some judge me as a bad mother. What do I do? On top of that I have a 10yr old daughter(father left when she was 2) who will be coming with me and seems okay with the situation but I feel horrible that she will be distant from her half sisters and viversa. Not eating, not sleeping, not able to focus on anything else, I feel like my world has exploded and I can’t get it back together. As a mother of 3 girls, I have been the one to stay at home with each and take care of all the responsibilities of their school, doctors, and extracurricular activities, while working part time to help with the bills. My ex only came home to sleep and to see what bill’s needed paid. He is and never was a family man, his relationship with the girls is if he has them he takes them to his mother’s. It does hurt a little less knowing I’m not the only one going through this but with no family support for me, I am scared. Can anyone talk with me about this? Besides my 10yr old (who I have to stay happy and upbeat for) I’m alone in this world.

          9. Carrie

            Hi! You are definitely not alone in this situation. That decision is one of the toughest decisions to make, and is super common among long distance parents – the decision between health and livelihood and the ability to live and thrive versus staying put where the kids are. My personal opinion is that if you aren’t ok, you can’t support your kids. And in order for you to be ok, you have to be able to support yourself financially, physically and emotionally. That’s what makes many of us long distance parents. Those that judge you as a bad parent have never had to make that decision and have NO IDEA what you’re facing. Shake it off. I once had a friend who TOTALLY condemned me as a bad mother for moving away from my child… and then a few years later, found themselves being a long distance parent and totally suddenly ‘got it’. Seriously, let their feedback roll right off. If it’s someone close to you, set a boundary with them. It is scary – but you aren’t alone. Have you checked out the facebook group yet?

          10. Edward

            Which FB group ?

        2. Sarah

          My ex moved my daughter away from me and now I only get to see her every other weekend! It’s been really hard for me not to hate my ex and his wife. I feel like she gets to raise my daughter and that should be my job. I want to scream all the time. I wish bad things on my ex and his wife for trying to replace me. I don’t want to feel this way but it so hard. I feel like my ex has sabotaged my relationship with her just to get back at me for leaving him. I don’t want another woman taking my place. I just want my child back.

          1. Sheila

            Im in a similar situation. My son lives with my ex and his new wife 1200 miles away. I wasnt able to provide a stable life for him at the time and agreed to the move, not knowing that it would be nearly impossible to get him back. I hate my ex for moving so far away. I wish terrible things on him. I want him to hurt the way I am hurting. I see my son twice a year. My ex refuses to agree to more than that. I was the primary caregiver for 8 years of our son’s life and now Im barely a part of his life. I am consumed with hatred for my ex. He was emotionally abusive through our entire marriage and he continues to hurt me by keeping my son from me. I feel powerless. I can’t afford a lawyer and even if I could, I don’t think it would make a difference. My ex is a master manipulator and will convince the judge that he is the perfect parent, while in reality he doesnt have the capacity to care about anyone but himself. Anger and frustration keep me from sleeping at night. I just hope I will someday have the satisfaction of seeing his heart break the way he’s broken mine. While it’s comforting to know that i’m not alone in this situation, or crazy for feeling this way, I am truly sorry that you are going through this. I wish I had some words of comfort for you. Good luck! Know that your daughter will never forgot who gave birth to her. She might love this other woman, but you will always be her mother.

      2. unknown

        Wow, I have waited 9 months for this site. What a relief to finally find it!! I too am wanting to move 8.5 hours away from son. The plan is he stays with his dad for school since NC is his home state and I take on breaks and summer. I plan on purchasing a cell phone and texting, calling, skyping daily. Even send cards and gift cards to favorite restaurants or shops. I’m just scared the father wont cooperate and my family that has hardly anything to do with me , i have to endure the negativity of their comments. It’s just hard living as a single mother with a family that loves to say they’ll help babysit so I can work and at the same time they really don’t want to be bothered. They don’t mind threatening to take the child away from me or the father and say financially wise they are more equipped to raise him and give him one home. No mother or father wants that. The problem is people judge entirely too much and I’m only 29 with a 9 year old, I want a world of opportunity and show my child there’s more to life than a small town with one stop light. I am miserable with the whole joint custody going here a few days going there a few days. In order to give him stability he can be in one environment for school and be in one in environment for summers. At least he would have something extravagant to talk about when school starts after visiting for a summer with me. Fathers seem to want more control and its difficult for women to find a higher paying job in small towns. Courts and judges are not fair at all. My dad never was in my life for 28 years and when I met him for the first time I realized how much I really did love him. He showed me more love in the 6 weeks we talked on the phone and wrote letters than my mom did for me. After all I was raised by my grandma, i don’t hate either I just wish my mom would want a relationship with me, the older I get I want a mother daughter relationship.

        1. Brittany

          Wow! I feel like we have so much in common! I am glad I found this site! Almost in tears right now!

          1. jackie

            i feel the same

      3. krys

        Heather, I know your post was from a few years ago, but it’s 2:00am and I have cried until I can’t cry anymore. Sleep is out of the question. Your story is almost identical to mine. I moved away 8 years ago, 4 hours away. I have 3 boys, ages 23, 17, and 16. They all live with my ex husband, who never remarried. I have done what you do, as far as traveling and seeing them regularly. They come here regularly. The problem I am having and have had since I have been here is the lack of fulfillment. You know, that true, pure joy. I had a wonderful opportunity to spend a month with them, in their home the last two weeks. Their dad and I have been divorced 14 years. He went out of town so it was just the four of us. All I can say is something changed inside of me. All four of us felt security and stability, completeness and wholeness. By being together. It has really messed me up. I have a wonderful life where I am. I am getting married in December. I just finished college at 40 years old. I just got my first job in my new career and it is a wonderful place to work. I have lots of friends here. I have a nice house and I have put a lot of hard work into decorating it. With that being said, NONE of it compares to what I experienced with my children this past week. As I said, I had been feeling like this for a long time. I think that’s where the decorating comes in actually. I try to fill that void I have with these things and in return, they mean nothing to me. It does temporarily, but it doesn’t last. That longing for my children and to be there with them has only grown stronger. I understand they are at the ages where they are about to be on their own, but even though they are that age, they are still children. And the child in them comes out sometimes. They need me. Just as I need them. On a daily basis. If I moved back, they would live with me, which is something I have dreamed of since they were little. We all have actually. So I am torn because I love my fiance, they love him and vice versa, but it’s like I’ve sabatoged our relationship because I resent him at times because he represents what’s preventing me from moving back home. And that’s certainly not fair to him. I’ve asked him several times to move with me there. It’s in North Louisiana. We are in South Louisiana. He said he’s lived here 40 years and this is home. So he has his mind made up. So even though God has blessed me beyond anything I could ever imagine, this is the one thing that I cannot seem to have a resolution for. I’ve tried to do what you described and it does work, but I want more. I just do. I feel I am where I am supposed to be when I am there with them. I feel content, complete, whole. They even act better when I am there. The two younger ones have lived without a woman in their house since they were 2 and 3, and the oldest was taken away from me when he was 10 and went to live with his real father, who was very abusive to him, mentally and physically. He became addicted to drugs, and I found out his dad was supplying it to him. Giving it to him to sell and to use. And I’m not talking about pot. So, he’s been through a lot. That’s another issue. He just moved back to north la about two months ago. He lived with my fianc and I for about a year. The house is very quiet now. Too quiet. I know I am rambling. My mind is racing and I just need to get it out. So, what do I do? Do I just end everything I have here and move back closer to my boys, or do I stay here and keep doing what I have been doing? This is the hard part because again, I get very resentful and sad, and tend to pick a fight with my ex because inside I am just angry and hurt. Anyway, if you see this, great. If not, it helped to get it out. Thank you.

        1. HEATHER A OELKER

          Hi Krys,
          I definitely understand where you are coming from. As my children get older, it has been 6 almost 7 years that we have been living apart, it in some ways has gotten easier and in other ways has gotten harder. I totally understand what you mean about the feeling of wholeness and completeness when you are all together! My world feels right and then when we are apart again there is a subtle (and at times not so subtle) overwhelming feeling of not being whole. It is hard to take. To know we are living life this way with this incompleteness. I want to be there for them, for the little conversations that come up because of something that happened at school or after they have dealt with something hard. I know they still feel more comfortable sharing deep emotional things with me as opposed to their dad. As my children grow into their teen years (14 and 12 right now) that will be more important than ever. I WANT to be there for them. I have been married to my husband now for almost 7 years. I am away from my kids because he has a good job where we are and because this is his family’s land. He is very attached to where we are. His father who lives accross the road is older now and his health is starting to fail some. This would not be the time to leave when his father is needing help. I understand all of that. My husband has thrown around the idea from time to time that we move closer to my boys. He talks about where he could find a job doing what he does. We would still keep his house/land but have another place nearer. He tries to make that seem possible when I am my most distaught and inconsolable about missing my boys but ultimately I don’t think it works to do such a thing. Lately, within the last year I’d say, I have noticed I am slightly resentful that I have made the sacrifice to be away from kids. He has given us so much a home, a life that I could not provide so I have so much to be thankful for but I (and my kids) are the ones making the sacrafice. I don’t know the answer. I have let myself picture what a life apart from my husband whom I love would be like…a not all the time thing but more time away than now. We also have a son together who just started kindergarten (and he misses his brothers too). I would be fragmenting so many lives by making a different choice than the one I am making right now. I suppose I just have to keep being strong and love my boys the best I can from where I am at. When we are together it is good, so good for all of us but then they leave and we go back to the other kind of normal. A normal where my world isn’t quite right and maybe their’s too. I know what you mean about feeling like you don’t know if you can take it anymore, living separately, living in that void…I have had moments of that. For me to change my life would bring a lot of upheaval and I still do not think I would be able to provide for us very well even with my college degree. At this point in life, my children could choose to live with me during the school year i.e. more physical time but I do not expect them to give up their life, their friends when that is becoming so important. Also, we live in a small town in a rural community and they live and go to school in an urban environment. Life is just totally different in those two places especially as teenagers and school life is concerned. It would be a big sacrafice on their part to live with ne now. My oldest son I think has considered it but not my middle child. He is very attached to his dad. I dream of the day when life will not be so rigid with school schedules and breaks here and there. When visiting them isn’t fraught with such weighty questions: where to stay, how to make it work for their dad, how to be involved when I am not normally there. This is a long response but I wanted to convey all the things I have thought about as time goes on. Is the sacrafice I have made worth it, worth it for the life of my two big boys? I hope the rewards of the life we have had outweigh what was otherwise possible. Maybe the answer for you Krys is too move to be closer to your boys, I get why that would be the answer but for me, for now I just have to do the best I can with the time I have as heartbreaking as it is. I understand.

        2. Shannon

          I know exactly what you are saying and feeling. I cry everyday, because I miss my son. I Need my son. I have the house I always dreamed of , in texas, I couldn’t live like this in nj, but I moved here a year ago thinking it was going to be better, for me and eventually my son. But I hurt so deep longing for him. He is 15, and he misses me. I see him every 10 weeks, but it’s not enough. I do not know how to get back. My new husband was reason we left, his ex wife was too terrible. I feel I lost control of my life. All I want is my son.

        3. HS

          Here it’s a quarter to 4 in the morning and reading this with tears steadily streaming down my face I’m strangely comforted by the reality of others who share in this same pain. A flat out nightmare that I can’t wake up from. Discouraged and broken.

          1. Nicole

            Same boat as so many of you. My heart breaks every day being away from my kids, 14, 18, and 20. Twelve hours away.

    2. Franco

      Good morning Megan. I noticed you wrote this comments two years ago, I hope you read this so you can give me advice. How has it been for you for the past couple of years? I am in a very similar situation. I feel I need to go back home but that would involve leaving my child behind. I love him more that anything and I am really struggling with my current situation. The expression between a rock and a hard place would a euphemism in this situation…
      I don’t know what to do and I need help, if I stay I would see my son very often, but that would involve not fulfilling my aspirations and would involve growing old in a place I don’t consider my own with possibly poor quality of life. on the other hand, if I go back home I might achieve my goals and yet feel very miserable for being a part from my son.
      Can a balance be found? I am really going through hell right now and someone that has experienced this in the past might be able to give a tip or something.
      Many thanks!

      1. Angel

        What did you decide to do? I’m in the same boat

    3. lucy

      oh I feel for you as I am about to do exactly the same thing as you for exactly the same reasons. But I will move from Germany to Australia to a dream job that will give stability myself and my son. My ex will not let me take my son with me even though he has a lot more flexibility and money so If I want to do this I must go now or the job offer is gone. Have you already left? How is it? Can you tell me what works and how your daughter is coping.
      I hope you are ok and I hope you have support where you are. Lucky my family are very supportive and my friends as my ex was not a nice man to me. He is a good dad but he lied his way through court and the the Germans think the best interest for the child to to be in the city he was born in. Not with me.

    4. Viv

      Hello,

      I am in the same situation as you. I am divorced and unemployed for more than 5 years as I was raising my daughter myself and decided to relocate to another country in order to find a job and provide a better future to my 7 year old daughter. Is really hard that to me as is going to miss her so much but I know that this is the right thing I have to do. In the moment I am bringing her up with the money of my ex husband he needs to pay according to the law and some from the welfare and that make me feel so depressed and humiliated as I wish I could have my own money and give her a better life and education. I have the custody of my lil girl but her father is not going to sign her passport to take her with me so until I settle down and find a work I need to leave her to her father.
      I am determined to move and succeed with the price not be there for her when she needs me but hope one day she will understand the reason that should do this. Some times I feel like abandoned her but I am trying to keep my spirit up and be focus of succeed in the new country and be able to take her some day with me when I’m in a job and when I will have created a safe environment for her to start a new life with better expectations.
      Same stories with me with other people will give strength and make me feel am not alone.
      Thank you this site and everyone who will read my story in advance.

    5. Meredith

      I’m in the same boat and have been looking for support too. I am thinking of moving away from my daughter’s dad and his family because after eight years separated, there is still chronic tension between he and I. We’ve seen a co-parenting counselor for eight years (she’s eight) and I met with her individually to ask her advice. It’s as if he thrives on conflict with me and between he and my other ex, my son’s dad, I felt like I was constantly pigeon-holed between them. Once mortal enemies, they “unified” against me this year. Anyway, it was the counselor’s idea for me to move away. There comes a point where we have to take control of our lives and do what we can to be happy. It’s a sacrifice now but parenting is a long term relationship. They’ll understand sooner than later, they get it, kids are intuitive and understanding. And they love us! I plan on sending care packages and letters and photos often, calling, Skyping, etc, visiting, and then of course holidays and summers. It’s a tough road especially as a mom. Everyone wants to judge, especially moms! But we have to do what we know to be true and right for us and for our kids in the long term. Amen, sister. I’m here for you!

  3. Michael

    Stumbling over this site is really refreshing to me. This tells me my situation is not hopeless as i am not alone. I have all my kids and their mum continents away from where i am and i only talk to them via skype and phone calls and regularly chat with my wife. but it is not the same as being with them. I hope to get more tips on how i can continually make possitive influence in the lives of my kids. – Michael

  4. nicole

    Megan u are not alone. U, ve made the right decision. Thats what l did exactly five years ago when l left my daughter with her father cz l knw with him she can get all the support she needs. At first its not easy. But eventually u, l get used. I speak with her daily on the fone. Bt nw finally l, ve settled l, m taking her in dec. Bt for the past 5 yrs l used to visit her twice every year since we live in diff countries. Build yr life 1st n later take her.

    1. lucy

      this makes me cry with hope. thank you for writing this reply.

    2. Maria Fernandez

      Hi Nicole,

      How was it when you visited your daughter? Was she happy every time? How was she over the phone when you spoke to her every day?

      Thank you!

  5. dd

    Hello.
    This is a great site and this article is so helpful.
    I am soon to become a long-distance parent. I am the non-custodial who is moving to a state that is far away. I am looking for advice on how and when to tell my kids who are soon to be 10 and 12 years old. My relationship with their father is strained. I will have lots of challenges because of this.
    thanks in advance

  6. Chris

    “Some are separated by cities or states some are separated from their children by oceans and countries.”

    – Wow, that’s the first time I have ever seen in print a summary of my situation. I am separated from my son by an ocean, a culture, a language, and eight time zones.

    I also closely related to the paragraph on why a non-custodial parent might choose to relocate. I have very much struggled emotionally with the loss of my son, due to my move. It was not my choice. Every situation is unique. Becoming a nearly irrelevant long distance parents crushed me. My son and I are close given the circumstances, but I deal with it every day. In my case, I WANT to be in his life. I need it, and he needs it. Part of my therapy has been my blog, longerdistancedad.com. Check it out.

    I have struggled to find a community of very long distance parents, but for six years have so far felt alone. This article was helpful to read, thank you.

    1. mark

      woke up at2:30 it’s 4am can’t sleep. I will lose my 6 and 7 year old in7 weeks they will be moving 8000 miles away.
      i’m a mess i cant believe she is thinking it is ok to do this to the kids. i would love to talk to someone on how to be relevant at this distance.

      1. Carrie

        Hi Mark and welcome to the site. I hope you were able to find some advise on staying relevant here. There is also a private group for long distance parents on facebook here : https://www.facebook.com/groups/451160188251072/ . The group is really supportive and helpful and there is conversation there all the time on how we stay in our kids lives. I hope you will join us!

      2. Krista

        Mark….did you give permission for her to move your children away? DON’T SIGN ANYTHING allowing it if you are not 100% sure it is best for your kids!! Once you sign, there is no turning back, but there will be years of fighting to see your kids. Believe me. If you want to see your kids grown up, DON’T ALLOW THEM TO GO.

  7. Carrie

    Hi Chris, I hope that, if you have not, you will join us on the facebook group! It’s a really great community of ld parents, including some in your situation. 🙂

    1. Chris

      Thank you Carrie. There is certainly a lot of material here to go through, but I have visited the Facebook page and will participate as I can. It’s good to know there is an active community here! I’d like to talk to some people who have the international component, as things become quite complicated this way. Cheers-

      1. John

        Chris,
        Maybe my story will help. My wife and I decided to move from Maryland to British Columbia to improve our quality of life, give our teenaged son a healthier environment, and get me off the road in a great new job. Six months later, my wife announced she wanted a divorce and to return to Maryland with our son. I had committed to a 5-year contract, and had quit my job back East. After much soul-searching, I decided not to start a war in the courts and allowed him to return with her. I saw that he would have a better education and a bigger support network in his hometown. I felt agonized: my job and my kid were on different coasts. A great therapist guided me through, saying it would be too easy to feel crappy about the decisioneasy to feel like I was abandoning my child, easy to feel selfishbut I shouldn’t underestimate the power of ending a bad marriage, the power of peacefulness our son would have, and the bonding over missing each other. He was right: despite some problems we’re still working on (reluctance to Skype, text), my son has opened up to me in ways he never had before. Some dads would kill to have the conversations I have with my 15 year old, despite only seeing each other every six weeks or so. All the bad things you’re imagining don’t happen. At least teenagers, self-centered as they are, can see two happier parentsso they’re happier.

        1. Mario

          Hello John,

          I hope my situation works out like yours. I’m staying in California and ex is moving to Kansas with our daughter. We already have a agreement written up. We are amicable as possible just have to wait until divorce is final. After you agreed to let your son move, did you have doubts about what you agreed to? If so, what helped you have reassurance you were doing the right thing? I’m having a hard time with the idea of not having my daughter around, even though I know this the best thing for her. Any feedback would greatly appreciate. Thanks Mario.

  8. Kay

    I find myself having to move 200 miles from my 11 year old son for work. I am moving from a rural area with extremely limited job opportunity for a professional. My ex (divorced 6 years) says that he will fight if I try to move our son. Attorney says that there is little chance judge will approve for my son to move.

    1. Carrie

      Hi Kay and welcome to the site. That is a common story. I hope that you’ve found some helpful information here – and if you have a mind to, please join us on the facebook group!

  9. Erin Margaret

    Hello

    I am about to become a ld parent and I am having a difficult time with everything. I relate to many of the above stories. I too see that my move will, in the long run, be better for all. My siblings do not support me at all, they see my decision to move (800 miles away) as a selfish move. All about me with no regard for my children. I’m told I’m making the worst decision of my life, one that I’ll regret as long as I live. Those are some pretty harsh statements. I love my three children (twins age 4 and a 5 year old) more than anything. But I am not a happy woman. My soul feels lost and dull where I live now. I feel a relocation is just what the dr ordered. I am recently divorced(about 6 months) but my marriage has been over for years. A new relationship is also taking me to another state. I feel in my heart its the right decision. My boyfriend has a great career where he’s at. I was a stay at home when I was married so I have no career or great job here. I’ve held random jobs mostly in retail. I feel like I need to get out of this small town. My spirit is too big for this place. I need to spread my wings and fly somewhere new and refreshing and breathe life back into my soul. I plan on visiting my children multiple times throughout the year, skyping, talking everyday, mailing goodies, etc. etc. My boyfriend’s family lives here too so we’ll be traveling constantly to see everyone. My heart is just very heavy right now. My body hurts from the worry, the guilt. I keep telling myself it’s for the best and that years from now I’ll be so glad I made the move. I know it’s gonna be hard for awhile getting used to this new life but I just have to keep positive and have faith that everything will work out. I just want my kids to be happy, not feel abandoned. I’m gonna do everything in my power to make them feel loved everyday, to make them feel like I care about what’s going on in their life. Thanks for being here. I found you in a rather dismal mood but now I feel slightly better. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

    1. Erin

      Erin,

      I realize you wrote this over a year ago, but I just discovered this site today and in reading this comment, it was like reading about my own life. Even more of a coincidence, my name is also Erin. 🙂

      Curious as to how things have progressed for you?

      Thanks,

      Erin

  10. Adam

    I have been looking at all of these sites for months now. I divorced 4 years ago and immediately upon our seperation she took the kids to the town in which she grew up yo be close to family. Shortly there after, I found myself at a long distance as I moved 500 miles away. I spent a little over a year in that scenario with a new born and a 3year old. I made regular attempts to communicate regularly and I flew to see them every month. I also sent my support money on time and always. Then I made moves to get back to where they live. All the while I have also developed an amazing relationship with a new woman. We have been together for 3 years. The chance to fulfill her career dreams have finally come to fruition. I want to be able to move there to support her in this and I do not want to lose my relationship with my children. I am also so unhappy in this town as I have been in the past. Can I make that move and still be the Dad those children deserve?

    1. Mario

      Adam I write you because I’m going to dealing with a scenario similar to yours. My wife and I going to be filing for divorce in the next couple of days. She wants to leave to Kansas with our daughter to be closer to her family. I’m going to a long distance father. Im really struggling with the idea I won’t see my daughter on a regular basis. How did you deal with being apart from your kids? What was the hardest part? What got you through it? Any advice would be much appreciated.

      1. Adam

        Hello Mario. Im sorry to learn that you are in a similar scenario. The biggest factor of being able to cope was a constant form of communication. I used to send letters because the children were too young for the phone or technology. I also, because back then the relationship with my divorcing spouse was rough, used to employee the help of caring family members to send me picture updates of events and visits they had with my children.

        I was also fortunate enough to have a career position that I could freely travel to them 1x a month and could afford such an endeavor. These days, I dont have that same luxury and unsure how I would manage at such a difference.

        Oddly enough, since the time I wrote my post, I made a decision to stay in Pittsburgh and the young lady I mentioned moved on to Boston and we determined it our point of separation.

        I could write another post soon as I find myself in need of my own career advancement and financial gain that this area doesnt seem to provide.

        So, as I determine my next move and the implications of moving away for work, my plan if needed will be to utilize technolohies such as Skype and Facetime in addition to as regular a visit schedule I can muster. I will also return to writing letters and sending pictures, because they bridge the gap of seperation and can be kept for a lifetime.

        I want to tell you its easy. Its not. Its awful. But you can do little things to lessen the heartache

        1. Mario

          Thanks Adam for your response. I also plan on visiting my daughter 1x a month and pay child support. I wanted to do 2x a month but I can’t economically. For me, the hard part is afraid my daughter will forget who her dad is. I also know I’m going to miss out on a lot of important milestones, and it’s hard to accept that fact. How is your relationship with your kids, especially your youngest? When they see you do they get excited? It’s already hard, I could only imagine what’s its going to be like when my daughter is gone. I’m trying to stay strong and positive. I’m okay but struggling to maintain a consistent balance.

          1. Adam

            Oh Mario, they/she will never forget who their Daddy is, so long as you maintain the relationship. My kids go absolutely bonkers when they see me. Its the best feeling ever. Now, I spent a critical 2 years of my son’s life being away, but because of the consistency in communication and visitation and an unquestionable love and concern from him, it is ALMOST as if I was never away.

            You love them they love you back. And eventually they will be old enough to be able to explain it to them/her, but now they are young enough to,love unconditionally. Just do what you have to do as a Father and you will not lose. Its when we dont keep our promises, especially on a consistent basis that we lose.

        2. Franco

          Hello Adam and Mario.

          How is it going for you two? I am between a rock and a hard place at the moment. my relationship with my son’s mother has broke down and I am really homesick, so I am planning to return back home. My professional aspirations are there as well as my home. However it is hard to make the step as I love my son more than anything and the prospect of only seeing him once a month breaks my heart.

          I don’t want to stay and regret never trying to accomplish my aspirations, but i don’t want to grow old and miserable because i couldn’t cope with the pain of leaving him behind…
          Any words of help/advice would be much appreciate guys.

          Thank you for your time.

  11. Christine L Roe

    Hello, I’m glad I found this site… I am a mother of 3 wonderful boys. I am facing a decision to leave one of them with his father while the rest of my family moves 7hrs away. I don’t know yet that it will happen, but I’ve been told by an attorney that it’s unlikely that unless my ex-husband agrees to a long distance parenting plan, the courts would agree to allow me to take my son. I don’t know whether to go through a court battle or just leave my son with his father. I’m very torn. I know that he will be well taken care of, but if he were to come with me I’d be home with him everyday. The reason we’re moving is because my husband and I believe that it’s important for one parent to be able to be home with the children as a stay at home parent. But the only way that is possible is for us to move to where my husband will be able to make significantly more money. The job opportunities for him where we’re at will not allow that. Him and I are currently both working full time and it’s becoming a strain as we feel ALL

    1. Christine L Roe

      of us would benefit with me staying home.

  12. Christine L Roe

    I don’t know what I would do if I had to leave one of my boys but take the others. My ex and I have a decent visitation schedule worked out right now and we’re with our son pretty much 50/50, but that’s with both of us working full time. I have drawn up a long distance parenting plan to present to him this weekend, but I am so scared that he’s going to completely disregard my reasoning for wanting to move so that I can be a stay at home mother to all of my boys. I don’t want my son to feel abandoned if I leave him here while his brothers are able to come. I don’t want him to feel left out and alone after being with his brothers and I consistently for the last 9 years. And if it were to be brought to court, would I have a chance of being able to take him? I just don’t know. I feel like it would be more beneficial to my son for him to come with us as me and his brothers are a huge part of his life. I feel like it would be more detrimental for him to stay here alone with his dad only to be in daycare for 10+ hours a day. I just don’t know what to do. How can I balance what’s good for our family as a whole with what may happen with my son and his father?

    1. Gale

      The court rules in the best interest of the child. If you have come up with a fair and well thought plan for keeping your son’s father involved in his life and you are not moving out of malice to hurt your ex….then your son has a great chance of moving with you. It’s not a court battle. Just present the court with your plan and reason for moving. It’s unrealistic for courts to honor your divorce but expect you to stay in the same town for 10-18 years, never remarry or have a career. Please ask the judge first. You’ll feel better if you do regardless of the outcome. You’re amazing! And I hope everything works to keep your boys together

  13. Michael

    Hi Christine, come over to the facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/451160188251072/, there are folks finding ways of dealing with different varieties of essentially the same problem. It’s tough, but being surrounded by thoughtful people trying to do the best for their kids is a big help.

  14. Brandi

    I live in Washington state and all my family lives in the same city in Texas. I have struggled for almost 9 years up here alone. My son is 6 and so amazing! His dad is a great dad, a stable role model who can support him and right now we split our time 50/50. I only manage to find menial jobs and need to live with a roommate to survive. I’ve recently just ended a relationship and now have nwhere to go. I am debating on going to Texas and living with my family for a while until I can get on my feet, get counseling, figure out how to be better for my son. His dad said our son can Skype me all the time and come visit on his school breaks. I feel this is right but it’s breaking my heart. I don’t want him to feel like I abandoned him or I don’t love him.

  15. Jessenia

    I’m glad I found this website. My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship (3hours) for 7 months. I have never been so in love. I’m in my late 30s never been married or had kids. He has a 16 yo who he has custody 100% of. (The mom is in Tenessee and see him on holidays) the other son is 8 and his ex lives in his town. He is a good father and sees his 8 year old every other weekend and all Wednesdays and whenever the ex needs him to take care of him. I am a doctor in a successful practice and bought a new house right when I met him. For 7 months our plan has been for him to move here with his 16 yo and commute (3hrs) to see his 8 year old. On Christmas night he told me he didn’t think he could move away from his son. This was after two weeks of him having him everyday and returning son to mom when she got out of work. We ended up basically breaking up over this because he couldn’t wrap his head aroundoving 3 hours away. We are so very much in love and he feels that he cannot have his kid suffer for his own personal happiness. I don’t know what to say or how to council him. How does one “compete” with leaving his son…. I need to know any good books or sites where he can get advice on how this can work

  16. Lisa

    I am the mother of a 7-year old boy whose father has become a long distance parent. I’d like to share my story here and offer what might be a different perspective.

    My son and I live here in the US. His father moved from the US back to his home town in Africa last July. My son’s dad and I never married but we were good friends and he was actively involved in our son’s life before he left. While in the US, my son’s dad was a pastor of a small church but was otherwise unemployed and made very little money. Although he was involved in our son’s life, he did not financially support our son nor the 3 children he prior had with his ex-wife which obviously concerned me.

    My son’s dad always said he wanted us to marry, but he never formally proposed to me (i.e., with an engagement ring). I wasn’t sure I wanted to marry him anyway, mainly because I was critical of the fact he wasn’t willing to do whatever it took (e.g., take a more menial part-time job if necessary) to support his children. I also observed other apparent character flaws in him (e.g., lying) and although I cared about him a lot, I didn’t believe I could trust him as my husband.

    When he got the job offer to be an executive at a large religious organization in Africa, it was difficult for him to turn down. He could finally be the religious leader he knew he was meant to be, and he could earn a living for himself and his children. Although I understood why he wanted to take the job, I thought he should stay or at least agree to come back frequently so he could continue to be a part of his son’s life. But he said he would only stay if I married him. I told him I was not ready to marry him, so he left.

    He had promised to return in October, but then the Ebola crisis struck. Thankfully he didn’t get sick with the virus, but we both agreed he should wait until December when he could spend more time after the 3-week quarantine period when he got back to the states would be over. However in December, he cancelled his plans again as he had become very involved in the work he was doing in Africa, providing homes and taking food to children who have been orphaned by Ebola and other missionary work.

    He now says the work he is doing in Africa is his “calling” and he cannot return to the US until May when another of his sons (the youngest of his 3 children with his ex-wife) graduates from high school. Unfortunately, though, he is still unable to support his children as the pay he is receiving is much less than expected he says.

    He does Skype us occasionally but not regularly although I have requested that. The 5-hour time difference makes it very difficult for us to reach each other without setting a regular time to do so.

    Meanwhile, my son is showing the effects of this separation from his dad. He’s sad more often and expresses missing his dad a lot. He also seems to have low self esteem and has been having more behavior problems in school. But when I share my concerns about our son with his dad, he’s sad to hear it but seems to be unwilling to do anything about it. He tends to romanticize the fact we miss him and he us, but he still makes no effort to come back any sooner.

    So I feel helpless. I am my son’s mother. I cannot be his mother and his father, and I believe children are meant to have both parents in their lives for their physical, emotional, academic, social and psychological well being.

    Based on this, I have considered going ahead and marrying my son’s dad. Everyone says not to, but I wonder if I too am being selfish to not be willing to put up with my son’s father’s imperfections in order to give my son a balanced two-parent home. Make no mistake, as a Christian I regretted that I conceived our son out of wedlock and often wondered if I should have married him long ago. And even though my son’s dad and I weren’t married, whenever the three of us were together, my son seemed so much happier and fulfilled. It breaks my heart to see him struggling and so unhappy now.

    So I share all of this for two reasons. One — I would appreciate any advice others can offer who are in the same situation or maybe on the opposite side of the fence as a long distance parent. Two — as the custodial parent of a child whose father is not present, I urge you to consider your child carefully before going too far or staying away too long. We all love our children, and I believe my son’s dad loves his son too. But love is not just about bettering ourselves or even missing our children a lot while we’re gone. Loving someone is doing what’s in that person’s best interest. Love is leaving or staying or coming back home because that is what would benefit my child most.

    Here’s the problem with Skype and phone calls and text messages. You see a snapshot of a happy face or hear a cheery voice on the line or read an LOL and everything seems fine. You don’t see the long face at bed time when you’re not there to tuck them in, you don’t hear the sobbing voice that says I miss daddy, or the texts you didn’t receive because wifi was out of reach and there was no other way to reach you. Skype, and all other technologies notwithstanding, nothing tells a child he is loved and worthwhile like our being there for him and right there with him as he develops in life.

    I know the decision to leave is never easy, but I guess all I’m saying is, it really shouldn’t be.

    I hope this helps. God bless us parents all and our children.
    Lisa

  17. jeremy

    Is this thread still active? Ugh where do I begin. Wife and I got divorced 2013. We have a 5 yr old boy and 7 yr old daughter together. My kids are my whole life. Every since the divorce I have been here completely alone. I’m in a state where I have no family or no friends. Besides me having my kids 2 or 3 days a week I have nobody. To the point where my excitement for the weekend is going to the grocery store. I have been doing this for a year and a half now. I go to school full time but don’t currently have a job. I have been thinking about for the last year and a half moving back to my home state which is 3000 miles away. Its been the toughest decision I’ve ever made in my life. Where I am, theres no opportunity. Back in my home state there is tons plus I can finish up school. I do have in my divorce decree that I can have the kids every summer and every other christmas so thats nice but going to be tough finacially. I’m just having such a hard time coping with this situation and the thought of leaving my kids is absolutely painful. We have such a good relationship but I feel like I can’t do anything for them out here. I also don’t want to live the rest of my life completely alone staring at the wall all day. UGH! I’m so upset but I feel like its the right thing to do to get back on my feet. Just don’t know what to tell my kids and how all this is going to work out.

    1. Debra

      Hi Jeremy. I also just found this site and don’t know if it’s active. I’m thinking about joining the Facebook page mentioned in the replies but I have some privacy concerns.
      I can completely understand wanting to move, even away from our child(ren)’s hometown. I hate where I live and know for a fact that I will be happier if/when I leave. I feel guilty just thinking about it, but justify it because I’ll be a better long-distance, less frequent mom than a crabby, angry every-other-week mom.
      My son is 12 and starting that normal but painful process (to me) of emotionally separating himself from his parents. While I know he still needs both parents, I wonder if his father is more influential (learning how to be a man) and my son will adapt fairly easily to my physical absence.
      How to tell him of the upcoming move? I’m going to get a psychologist involved, just like when we announced the divorce. It will look different from telling 2 younger kids, but will still completely suck. Good luck to you.

      1. Carrie

        Hi Debra and welcome to the site! It is an active site in that I post as I am able and there is a pretty steady trickle of member conversation and posts. 🙂 The facebook group is set to private so that only other group members can see your posts. I hope you will join us there!

        1. Maria Fernandez

          Hi Carrie, what is the name of the facebook group if you dont mind me asking?

      2. jeremy

        thank you! Good luck to you. Toughest decision I’ve ever had to make and don’t wish it upon anyone. I keep going back and forth on my decision but I really can’t spend the rest of my life in a city where I no absolutely nobody. I can’t stare at a wall all day anymore with no interaction except the 2 days a week I have them. Such bullshit. She has all her family and friends out here. Cold hearted. But glad she’s gone. Decisions, decisions. Also my other big issue is if I want to move back to them further down the road I’ll be in the same situation I’m in now lol. Can’t win.

    2. Vandyke

      I too agree. I am going through the same thing and it is tough. Im a navy veteran who is divorced from my ex wife who i have three kids with. I now have a new wife and a son. We are looking to move to another state due to more job opportunities. Were i am at has no job opportunities and i need to provide for my 3 daughters. I pay no child support right now but moving i know i will however to be happy i feel i have to and to be financially stable i feel i have too. My children are too young to understand why but i pray they will eventually as they mature. I too feel your pain.

  18. Jeremy Davis

    Anyone that has made the decision to become a long distant parent could you please comment. I’m about 3 weeks out from moving about 2000 miles away. Anybody felt the feeling of “what if I move and don’t feel like being a parent anymore or I’m not going to be able to commit to this long distance thing. I’m having these thoughts now and haven’t even left yet. They are consuming me and I feel completely numb. Pretty sure I’m going through a nervous breakdown because it’s taken me a year and a half to come to this decision. Anybody felt this? I already feel like I’m not a father anymore. I love my kids more than anything so I’m not sure what’s happening

    1. Mario

      Jeremy what you are feeling and going through is quite normal. You are going to question your decision no matter what. As long as you are part of your kids life you will be their father. Always keep in touch with them and make it a habit to reach out them. It will get easier once it becomes the norm. Try to visit them if possible. You are the only one that knows why you are making this decision. Be strong and take it a day at a time. Another thing try to see a therapist if possible. If you can’t afford it, there are many affordable resources in your area. Good luck and hand in there.

    2. Luce

      Jeremy, I’m reading your desperate post, wondering if you have moved?
      My experience has taken me continents away from my children, 4 years have passed and my one regret is not taking them with me, or at the very least making legally binding commitments between the other parent before I moved. If I was your friend or family member I would tell you to stop staring at walls and go out, build a life where you are, make new friends there close to your children. Get over the pain of your ex. Fill your spare time with work and study. A familiar city will not take away the pain you feel, moving closer to your family will not fill the hole in your life, the void leaving your children creates is far greater!
      Maybe not what you want to hear but from my experience leaving your children makes the emotional demons you face bigger, so unless you’re leaving your children for work or school, something that will make their lives better at the end of the day, think twice!

  19. Jason Naumann

    Jeremy,

    I’m 5 days away from a trip from Detroit to Oregon, and I’m struggling with the same questions. The most important thing to remember is that you are moving for them, because a healthy, happy father is what they need, not a resentful one. As long as their mother can keep them sheltered, fed, educated and comfortable, you won’t do them any good by worrying about them. Just be as available as you can be, keep them in your heart, and trust that they will always love you.

  20. Dea Anderson

    I am so thankful to have found this site. My mother has ALS and I am 850 miles away. The conversations are quicker, the breaks are longer with nothing to say, the day-to-day conversations seem boring to them (to me). So, I look up crazy animal stories, and fun apps like fliplip from itunes. (Makes you talk funny). What else have I got, right? God Help Us All.

  21. Rod

    Thanks for this site i am separated from my daugther her mother decided to move away from me so now i cannot see my daugther every day like before this come by the economical situacion and i depress

  22. Angela

    I have two long distance parenting situations, distinctly different from one another.
    My oldest son, lives 1400 miles away from me while his brother with me ( and 1400 from his dad)The boys spend the entire summer together and half with me, half with my ex. there is zero child support and all works out pretty well. yes i miss my oldest, but it was his choice to be with his father, and i respect his decision. his father is more stable, income etc than i have ever been, so i am unsure as to what caused our other son to want to live with me in the first place, although i am glad he did.
    Then i have situation 2, i have two younger children with a different father, we were married for many years and just couldnt be together anymore. i met a wonderful man that lived in another state and my ex let me take the children 500 miles away. But my youngest son isnt dealing with it very well. he wants his daddy, and when he is with him, he wants me. he cant understand why he cant see his dad more and i feel terrible. my boyfriend cant leave because his ex wife would NEVER allow that. im lost as to what to do.

  23. Lucy

    I am a mother of a 4 year old girl and I am also thinking to immigrate with my daughter from UK to US to be with my husband and am pregnant with our first child together that is more the reason why I want to move to the US to create a family with him and to start my life afresh after going through a difficult first marriage.

    My daughter’s dad was from my first marriage, he is a good dad by giving her good times when she is with him every weekend and we both are in good terms for our daughter’s sake. I am the main carer of our child as I have always been the more patient one and caring one for our daughter. I want my daughter to have a good relationship with her dad so I am happy when I see my daughter happy.

    All my family and my ex husband’s family are all here in the UK. So by moving to the US indeed I will be with my husband but by taking my daughter to immigrate with me, I am basically removing her physically from all the people she loves too ie: relatives from my side and her dad’s side.

    If ever my daughter will be with me in the US, I still want her to Skype or call her dad everyday and visit her dad during her school holidays and other holidays as she wishes. My husband has a stable job and is able to provide.

    So my question, is what I am doing to my daughter not right ? I am battling back and forth. I know I can better take care of her compared to her dad but I don’t know if it’s right for me to take her away physically from people she loves and have only me in the US, although my husband ‘s family in US are good to her they are still new people in her life so not as close yet.

    I have been double minded about this that I even thought of just staying here in the UK for my daughter’s sake and just follow my husband when my daughter is 13 yrs old and in that way she can decide if she wants to come with me or not and in that way I am not damaging her emotionally as she has better understanding then. But is this right for me to do to my husband ? My husband does not want to move to UK because he is responsible to his younger brother there in US.

    To be fair with my husband, I even thought that if he divorce me because I do not want to move to the US then I will accept it but then my unborn child will experience having a long distance dad.

    I believe husband and wife should be together physically but I feel my situation is so complicated and emotionally draining that it is just making me think 100x on this.

    I would appreciate if someone could advise me on this please. Thank you.

  24. Erica

    Hello,

    My name is Erica and I have two daughters, 7 and 3. My situation is a bit different. My husband and I are still married and that isn’t in any danger of changing anytime soon. Our children live in the Caribbean with my husband’s family right now. We live in a city where the schools are not so great and we are not yet able to afford private school. Our 7 year-old had a really tough year in kindergarten last year dealing with racism, being taller and more advanced than the other students, it was very difficult for her. We wanted to do something better for her and her sister but felt like we were trapped. Then our childcare dried up and we basically either have no family support, or those few family members that do help us (my family) complain about it.

    Finally my husband had had enough. His family has always been there for us. When we got married, they purchased all of the furniture for our first apartment, they paid for our honeymoon, and when we were both laid off while we were pregnant with our first child, they paid our rent for 9 months. When our second daughter was born, my mother-in-law came to stay with us for a month so I could go back to work. Then, just before she left, her sister, my husband’s aunt, came and stayed with us for 3 months, then my sister-in-law came and stayed with us for 6 months!! All for the purpose of staying at home with our girls so that I could go back to work because we were unable to afford childcare. I have awesome in-laws.

    Now, our girls go to an excellent private school in my husband’s country. They are learning about their culture and heritage, getting to spend time with their family, making new friends, taking dance classes, learning Mandarin (our 7 year old is), and playing sports. Many of the things they are doing and are able to do now are things they would not have been able to do here in the states with my husband and I. We don’t have the family support, child care costs are an issue, I work AND go to school right now, and we just can’t offer them the richness that they are getting in my husband’s country. I talk to them several times a week, either by video chat or over the phone (technology makes this possible…and cheap!). I ask them are they happy, are they having a good time, and they are. Sometimes they are too busy to talk to me! All of this lets me know that my husband and I have done the right thing by allowing them to stay in the Caribbean with my husband’s family.

    All of that being said…I miss my babies so much!! I can’t even talk about them without wanting to cry. I miss their loud thumping/stomping/running through the house, I miss when they used to come into my room in the middle of the night and try to crawl into bed with me. I miss them so much I feel like I have a gaping hole in my heart…sometimes I can’t sleep. I start feeling depressed and I don’t want to do anything but crawl into my bed and cry. I keep reminding myself that they are doing great and they are have a wonderful time…but that doesn’t really make it any easier. They are coming home for Christmas and I can’t wait. I’m so looking forward to seeing them. I know my situation is different…but I felt like this site applied to me too because this is harder than I imagined. I’m glad I found this site…I’ll be coming back again…just wanted to share and get that off my chest. A lot of people around me don’t know, and some of my family that do have yelled at me and said all kinds of crazy things to me. Which basically gurantees that I won’t be seeing them on Thanksgiving. I don’t regret my decision. I think it was/is an amazing opportunity for my kids, and if I had it to do all over again, I would do it again. I can’t allow my selfishness to damage the excellent quality of life they have right now. I just need to know how to get through it….*sigh*. Back to work. Thanks for reading (assuming you got this far, lol).

  25. Rob

    Hi, I’m not sure if this is too late for a response, but I have searched for months to find a website like this. Perhaps if I could tell you a little about my situation, hopefully I can gain some advice. I’m so conflicted I just don’t know what to do. Also, sorry in advance for the essay…

    I grew up in a small town in the UK where very little opportunity existed. Not being academic, I didn’t make it to University, and so I ended up floating from one dead end job to the next. A situation I hated. I always had a keen interest in the Film industry and decided to work on building a career there, with the plan of eventually moving to London where the industry is based here in the UK. Over the course of a few months, I made some strong contacts and was offered many full time jobs, if I were to move to London.

    From the age of 16 – 24 I was in a relationship with a girl whose life ambition was to get a council house. That’s it. Nothing more. As you can tell, we didn’t have a great deal in common, but we got along and loved each other dearly. When I was about 23, I explained my desire to move to London to work in the Film Industry. She was openly opposed to this, not wanting to leave her family. The issue waged on for months, and I started to question whether, in reality, we wanted different things in life and whether we should remain together, and then suddenly, and I mean suddenly, she fell pregnant.

    As she had used the contraceptive pill for our entire eight year relationship, I found this one hell of a shock! And somewhat suspicious. How could this possibly happen? But as it turned out, as she admitted to me years later, she wasn’t prepared to let me end things wit her, even if it was to pursue my life’s dream, so she simply stopped taking her pill to fall pregnant on purpose and to keep me tied down, as it were. The ensuing arguments, which were unavoidable given what she had done, caused us to separate.

    Now, six years later, here I am, still in the same small town I have always wanted to escape, floating from one dead end job to the next, with a daughter to support and a bitter ex-grilfriend who is indifferent to me one day, and hates me the next. I try to remain civil, but it is incredibly difficult with someone who; hacked into my Facebook to stalk me for two years after our breakup, used our baby daughter to blackmail me into spending time with her because she openly still loves me, and goes out of her way to scare off the few women who’ve had a romantic interest in me since we split up. Simply put, she makes my life a misery, and goes out of her way to achieve this all because after six years, I still do not want her back. But I have no choice but to endure it because she has custody of my daughter.

    Now, I love my daughter more than anything in the world. I see her every week, and she stays with me every other weekend. I have always paid full child support, even during the many times when I have suddenly found myself out of work for the billionth time. Put simply, I try my hardest to be the best Father I can be. Every birthday, Christmas, school play, you name it, I’m there. But I simply cannot stay in this little isolated town for the rest of my life, with little to no money, no real job prospects, and frankly, no future.

    London is a five hour train journey from where I live. Longer by car. But if I moved there, I would have permanent, full time, well paid work, in a dream industry, working alongside people I have become good friends with over the last few years, and just as importantly, I would be able to distance myself from my ex and begin a life away from her interference. But if I did, I would be leaving my daughter. I wouldn’t be just round the corner to come see her at the drop of a hat, or there if god forbid there was an emergency. And I don’t want my life choice to have a negative impact on her life. I don’t want her to ever feel that she wasn’t important to me.

    Put simply, my question is;

    What the hell do I do? Give up my dreams to be here for my daughter, or do I move away to follow me dreams, knowing it will have a negative impact on my daughters life?

    1. Sean

      Sorry I just joined and read this today. You have to do what’s best for both you and your daughter in the long term. That means you have to pursue your dreams. Go for it. It won’t be easy but the fact that you are doing it for truly the right reasons will help you hold your course.

  26. Sonia

    I have one of the rare situations where I have primary care of our children but joint guardianship with their father who is going to move 171km away from our children to be closer to his new wife’s family when their child is born.

    I have contacted my lawyer regarding what can be done to prevent this move and found that this type of restriction is so rare that I was advised it may not be financially worth me pursuing in court. This seems ludicrous to me! If I went in court to reduce his parenting time, I would likely loose primary care of my children to him but if he wants to choose less time, its acceptable???!!!?? Is the court really looking out for the best interest of the children or is it just that the pendulum has swung so far the other way that its the best interest of the Father.

    We have been divorced since 2007 and at that time he had fought to have 50/50 so that he wouldn’t have to pay support. He ended up agreeing to 34% with support payments. He has a much higher income than I do. In that court order he restricted me from moving from the city we both lived in, however; I regrettably didn’t restrict him from moving. In 2013 he left his 3rd wife and moved 37km away to be with his current 4th wife, despite my objections regarding effect on our children. His time with our children reduced to 23% on paper but was actually far less due to not picking them up for many of his parenting times.

    Since Feb he again reduced his parenting time to every other weekend due to a new position he took with current employer, all part of strategic plan to attain similar position in the town they want to move to. Since he married last year he has been telling our children he and his new wife will be moving closer to his wife’s family and will do his best to see them on a regular basis. His current parenting time on paper is 13% but actually has been 11% since Feb, again due to parenting time given up.

    Although he convinced our children, over the last year, that all will work out, I have doubts. Here are the main reasons and my concerns: the 171km distance involves mountain passes that go from dangerous in the summer to extremely dangerous in the winter-this will limit parenting time during winter months; once their baby is born I’m sure being away from his new family will become an issue for his new wife and to appease her he will cancel parenting time with our children; I will have to undo the emotional effect on our children of not having their father in their lives; more of our children’s living costs will fall on me; and the biggest concern..abandoning our children as he did his biological son from his first marriage.

    Please if there is anyone else with experience and advise…should I pursue restricting him from moving or just let it go?

  27. Rebekah

    I need advice on how to not feel an overwhelming sense of guilt over making a decision to better provide for my son. I have been the custodial parent for almost 5 years since my ex-husband upped and walked out on us. I have chosen to become a long distance parent for many reasons. If there is anyone who has gone through this or is going through this I would love some advice and to talk.

    1. Chantelle

      Hi Rebekah,
      I have a almost 2 yr old and almost 3 yr old. I’m in Australia and their father is in the United States. I returned to Australia from the United States in June of 2016 after my ex-husband and i decided to divorce. I was very unhappy in the United States and thankfully my ex-husband allowed me to return to my home country with our boys. I am struggling with guilt though – should I have stayed in the US regardless of how unhappy I was. My boys are much better provided for in Australia, but does that out-weigh their need for their dad? They Skype 3 times per week and their dad sends videos for them to watch. At this point visits will be once per year with their dad visiting them in Australia. Once they’re older I plan to take them for visits to the United States to see their dad. I’m concerned how their emotional development will be effected by not having their dad physically there day to day. The whole situation is very confusing and a bit of an emotional roller-coaster. Anyway, that’s a bit about my story. I’d love to chat.

  28. Bernard

    Im 44 year old divorced father my daughter is just turnin1g 10 years old and im moving to New York city from Puerto Rico due to find a better economic life and i finally found true love. My daughter and I are very close and see eachother at least 15 days out of the month . My daughter lives with her mom and boyfriend who all care for her trully and dearly. My daughter is not taking the news so well as she is.going to.miss daddy…. i.plan on travelling to Puerto Rico or her mom is willing to send her to NY for longer intervals. When possible… but right now.my daughter is sad., all other circumstancies are justifiable towards my move. Any suggestions on how to avoid emotianal distress on my daughter.

  29. Paloma Viola

    Hello everyone, I am from Australia and have just found this site and I have to say that has given me some comfort. My situation is; I am originally from Uruguay. I have been in Australia for 20 years and I have become very lonely and homesick. On my last travel to Uruguay I found the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life with. I have 2 children to an Australian man, aged 5 and 7. I love my children dearly but I am not happy in this country anymore. I am not happy with my job, I have been very depressed for a few years now and I feel the urge to change my life and start a new life back at home. The father of my children wouldn’t let me take them with me, he’s a good dad and gives a lot to them, although not perfect. I am fenced with this hard decision to choose to continue in Australia being very unhappy or to move away and live my children with their dad. I want to at least see my children every 6 months, come to visit them and also take them over to Uruguay in the summer holidays. I really want them to part of my culture and traditions as they are theirs too. Anyone can give me any insights..? Thank you in nadavnced.

  30. Gale

    I don’t know if this thread is still active but I have to talk to someone. My soon to be husband is being transferred 8 hours away. It’s a huge promotion and a good opportunity for our family. My daughters 12 & 15 want to stay in their hometown with their father and his fianc. Both are great with the girls. He is an excellent dad and very involved. I chose not to take him to court for many reasons. I can’t afford it, none of us deserves a battle and while my girls didn’t choose the divorce, I felt it right to give them and their father the option to stay together. Even if it means I hurt for my girls every day. I’m trying to see this through their fathers eyes and how I would feel if my kids were being removed from my daily life. So here it is. I know I can Skype and call and talk, FaceTime and text. I will get to come home for the school play and every other month. They will have summer (42 days) Christmas and spring break with me. But it isn’t the warm feel of a hug or the teasing and laughing of the everyday mom moments.
    If I stay…my kids still want to move with their dad. They’ve expressed that the every other weekend, chopped up weeks and all are exhausting and they want consistency. In loosing child support which will be the case and my menial paying job…I can only afford a small studio and will not be able to give anything to my girls, while I’m going to have a very poor quality of life in low income housing. If I stay my ex who has a great job will seek child support from me. If I go, he will not, as he has his attorney stating that travel costs for the girls will suffice.
    So, I move and be the best damn long distance and cyber/electronically connected and time sharing (not visiting…hate the acquaintance sound of that) mom I can be, have a better job and way to provide for them not just monetarily but with memories too. I don’t want to leave my girls. But my fianc and I want to provide the best way we can and this is the only way we know how.
    If your lost and hurting over this gut wrenching decision, remember…this is your story. Write the pages of it your way. This doesn’t have to be horrible!

    1. Michael

      Hi Gale – if you want to crunch it through, come over to the facebook group

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/distanceparent/

      There are plenty there who have had to various iterations on the decision you’re facing.

      Whichever way it falls out – good luck…

  31. Lisa

    Hi, I’m Lisa from South Africa. My ex husband abandoned me and our 3 children 6 years ago. He moved in with another woman and they chose to have a child a few months after our son was born. We never had a good relationship and it was marred by his abusive behaviour towards me (drinking, drugs, adultery ect.) and yet he was a good dad to my first 2. He saw the kids maybe twice a year and took them then on fun filled holidays, then deposited them back with me to raise. His maintenence payments have always been very sporadic and sparse. This year he moved to Shanghi, China and married the mother of his other child (in order to stay in the country), He is a lot more stable now, financially he and his wife are in a much better position than myself. I am living with my parents and struggling with an anxiety disorder. The last 3 years in particular have been very stressful. My almost 15 year old daughter started rebelling 4 months ago very badly and has declared that she hates it here in this small town, she blames me for moving her from the city to here…and is saying that she wants to live with her Dad… 22 thousand kilometers away in Shanghi, China. I am so torn. On one hand perhaps he can give her the lifestyle she needs right now, she can go to an international school and safety wise she will probably be better off. My concern is that if I stop her, she will rebel further and ruin her life here. It is such a difficult decision to make. I guess it will be best to let her go. My ex is very keen to take her in and make up for lost time. He is stable and working and seems to have matured since we were married. To be separated from my daughter by such a distance scares me but our relationship is not what it should be at the moment and she is asserting herself and pulling away from me. I guess I should let her go… Not easy though, is it? ???? Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you and God bless

    1. Shannon

      I feel for your distress, children will never know the depths of ouright sacrifices until they are grown up and have children of their own. Young girls are particularly difficult during teen years, especially with their mothers. In your situation, it seems best if you are ok in your heart with it….allow her to go. Giving her the space she needs to re establish a relationship with her father is good. Perhaps in that space, she may she things in his new wife that she doesn’t like, in a motherly way. I am learning that as a mom to a 15 year old son, he must learn to feel his way alone. I have to let him go in some ways, so he can grow. It’s so much harder on me!!!! Being a mother is the hardest job, we carry the burden of everything. Men can’t be expected to ever get it. I am assurring you that touch are in good company.

  32. Kristen

    Don’t know where to begin. I am struggling so hard to make my decision. I am married with two kids. My ex is remarried with 3. I am struggling where I am at now. I am trying to make a better life for my family. My ex, whom I have a 7 year old with, is remarried and has always had strong opinions on me not taking my son away. I have never given him the thoughts that I would do so. He is a very active father and would never think about taking him out the picture. I need to make a move that will be about 8 hours away from my current place of residence. I am scared and nervous of speaking with my 7 year old as he is a bit more on the sensitive side and I am scared he will hate me for leaving him. I don’t know if he will understand fully why I would be doing this. Of course I would want to take him for school breaks and the summer. I need some advice on how to approach this subject with my 7 year old. This move would not be permanent but more of a start for the long term. I want to get life back on track and well at this point if I stay where I am at I will drown myself and our family even more in debt. I need to make the change soon before it’s too late. Any advice?

    1. Shannon

      I certainly can feel the pain of uncertainty. Let me share my story with you. It’s not intended to influence your decision. I can attest from my personal experience……I left my place of residence for what I hoped would be a better life, leaving my 14 year old with his father. His father and I never got along, nor married. My husband wanted to get a new start, as he too was suffering from ex issues of his own. I was certain moving to another state would offer me the opportunity to give my son better. I was seriously mistaken. I did find a better life, in terms of financial and material needs; however, the hole in my soul was darkening with each day. I returned via air to see my son every 2 months over the course of a year, until he asked me to come home. My pain, as a mom, was becoming increasingly inconsolable. I missed him so much, all the comforts I had achieved meant nothing. I decided last month, to leave my husband of 2 years, and my beautiful home, to return to my son. I am now living with my dad, in a less than comfortable home, no job, no car, no country club life. And you know what? I am happier than I imagined I could be. I chose my son, my child, over everything. And something amazing is happening, life is offering me different opportunities. I am feeling the love fill back into my heart. I never imagined how much it hurt my son the day I left him. Nothing is ever worth absence in our childrens lives. If we love them, and show up for them, God will make a way for us. The time is something we can never buy back. I hope my experience helps. I know it’s not easy, life is not, it’s always a struggle. I will keep you in my thoughts

  33. Lisa

    Hi, I’m 17 and my mum, dad and brothers are all leaving to go to America soon. (We live in the UK at the moment) what kind of long distance parenting is this? And do you have any advice because I’m finding it very hard to come to terms with the fact that they’re leaving

    1. Carrie

      Hi, Lisa. That would definitely be a long distance relationship with your parents. When I was 15, I moved to live with my father, away from my mother so I have experienced being a person in one’s late teens and managing that relationship. I’ve also been a long distance parent of a young child and custodial parent of a now 17 year old son who’s father is at a distance.

      It’s tough to be away from your family. However, you have some advantage in being a little older. Not only will your parents (hopefully) do their best to maintain a strong relationship and communication with you, you are in a position to kind of determine how you want to be communicated with.

      My best advise is to think through what kind of communication you need in order to feel connected to them (video calls, a daily phone call, text messages, shared instagram or whatever the thing(s) might be that will help you feel connected), tell them what that need is… and also be willing to readily reach out to them when you feel like you need to hear their voices or see their faces. If it’s possible to plan a trip to visit them, that can be a good thing to look forward to together when you have loved ones at a distance. Turning my attention to planning the trip can often take the edge off of missing them.

      1. Lisa

        Thankyou so much – that was very helpful

  34. Christina Snyder

    After the Strategic Air Command closed in my town, my dad was forced to take early retirement and work at a gas station. Not making enough money for the family, he took a DOD job in California for a year and visited home only a few times. He finally got a transfer to a job only 4 hours drive away from home and came home every weekend. We did not move with him supposedly because I was doing so well in school and the plan was for mom and dad to live together again somewhere once I started university. The funny thing is that this moving away and “plan” started when I was 9 years old. The weekend visits got fewer and fewer but continued even when I moved out and was in college. My mom sat at home for almost 12 years married to a man that had no intention of ever coming back. The last straw was when he nonchalantly mentioned he was getting a transfer to Ohio of all places. What the hell was going to be so great in Ohio and why wasn’t he taking mom? As a young adult that could take no more of the charade, I confronted him about a divorce. He said if she wanted one he would be happy to get it done and promptly did. My poor mom that had been threatening divorce for years behind his back to all us kids was furious with me for setting it in motion as he would be the petitioner and it shamed her. But she was never going to do it so I did. Turns out the woman he would marry a few months later lived in Ohio! And she had worked with him back before he retired and she also had lived near his “closer to home” commute back in the day. Not only did I get neglected by my father due to his physical distance but he was emotionally distant and secretive. And my mom was struggling with being a working single mother and slowly going crazy from abandonment and justified paranoia. So long story short, long distance parenting did not work out well for me.

    1. Carrie

      Hi Christina, Welcome to the site. I think you highlight something really valid. There is a difference between a long distance parent, someone who is actively engaged in parenting their child at a distance, and someone who is just an absent parent, someone who just vanishes or doesn’t actively engage with parenting at a distance. You describe what sounds like a really intimately complex relationship between you, your mother and your father and I can only guess at the intricacies that one or another side might not be aware of. In my own childhood, my mother, by today’s standards, kidnapped us from our father. Today we call it parental kidnapping – then, parental kidnapping was not really a thing and it was assumed kids would live with their mother. So my father was also at a distance but was not a long distance father until he finally found us around age 12. So, I can totally, 100% relate to having an absent parent who isn’t a long distance parent. Their divorce was also messy with lots of he said she said and intricacies. So, I relate to that as well. I’m so sorry for your experience. I hope that the site has at least highlighted, for you, what a long distance parenting relationship should look like to give you some context or point of reference in processing your own situation. For me, having been an actual long distance parent and supporting my son and his father in their long distance relationship was extraordinarily helpful in calling out what happened to me as what it was.

  35. Dannii

    I met my partner 2 years ago and we have been living together for a year. All is going really well. I have a 13 year old who lives with us and he has a 7 year old who lives with his mum. My partner talks to his son on skype and they see each other every few months. Sometimes the 7 year old comrs to us and sometimes he goes to visit him.

    The 7 year old keeps asking when his dad is going to move to his state and my partner doesnt know how to tell him that he isnt.

    How do you explain this to a 7 year old?

  36. Robert

    Hello. I stumbled across this site, and I am glad I did. Here is my story. I am the non custodial parent of a 14 and 16 year old. I am extremely involved with my children and see them at least 2 days a week. my son (16) would tell you that we are best friends, as I would say the same also. My daughter not so much. She is still very angry about the divorce. Anyway I had met the love of my life four years ago. At that time we both lived in the same state. I never moved in with her due to concerns about the reaction of my ex, and my children. You see this love I found I was not looking for, and ultimately led to the end of my marriage (which I was totally ok with). My ex harassed this woman and threatened her very badly. I was legitimately worried what she would do had I taken the next steps in my new relationship. Well to make a long story short m inaction caused my love to move out of state. We continued to see each other although the caveat was I would be moving to Tennessee in November. I tried as hard as I could but just couldn’t leave my kids. My son told me he wanted me to be happy even if that meant me moving away. It was a cryfest. What an amazing young man to say that to me.As it got closer though he was getting more and more upset. I feel like I didn’t give him enough time to digest and adjust to it. So this past Tuesday I told my love that I can’t come down as planned We are now broken up. I can’t sleep, can’t eat, function at work, you know the deal. .I feel like I made the biggest mistake of my life, and I lost the love of my life. I feel hopeless. . I just wanted to share and see if my story resonates with anyone. I feel like I made a mistake

  37. Karen Webb

    I’m in a tough situation I have a 16 year old who I have sole custody of he’s dad tells me my son has to take a week off he’s new job to spend a week with him because that’s what the parenting time states.

  38. John Clark

    In February 2016 my whole life changed when I suffered a freak accident, and broke my neck. I had a successful business that I had to shut down, and it was up to my wife to support me, our 3 kids, and pay my child support for my 1st daughter from another relationship. It has been almost 2 years since the accident, and I have made a full recovery. I have finally landed a job with a railroad company in Montana, and I am moving in a few days. My wife & I decided it would be best to let our 3 kids finish out the school year here in southern CA, then move up to MT next summer. MY oldest daughter who does not live with me (About an hour away) is sad that I am moving away, and so am I since I will not be able to physically see her on a regular basis anymore. She is 16, and a Junior in HS. I said I would never leave her, but life had other plans. I tried to find a job for 8 months to no avail. This article has helped me tremendously since I was so upset saying goodbye last night to my daughter. She has one more year of HS, and will be an adult very soon. I am hoping to persuade her to come stay with me after her HS graduation, and take some college courses at Montana State University since I will be living in Bozeman. Anyways, thanks for the article. I can now breathe a little easier!

  39. Quentin

    I am not a parent but, I am researching separation for my class, and I can’t find anything about long distance parenting with some siblings living with one parent and the other siblings live with the other parent, which is what I’m dealing with right now. I just can’t find research or any information about long distance separation of siblings after divorce

  40. Jraye

    I am happy that there are persons with stories of commonality here. I have just recently moved away from my children to a new country in hopes of, being able to better provide for them as I struggled on my own as much of the assistance came from the extended family of my children’s father. Many times I felt so defeated and sad as we all lived together and the kids grew up to a certain way of life. If I took them they would not be catered to in the same way. My 5 and 8 year old currently live with their grandparents which love them dearly and do not wish to part from them as they were around from whence they were born. I had to make a difficult decision in hopes to better my life and chance for a consolidated family and support system of my own, which happens as I just recently got married. It’s hard on me as I know I am being judged as a bad mother for moving, but I wish to someday have them with me share this new life and experiences…I try to have them know they are loved and that mommy went away to build a life they will be happy to be apart of but they are young. I don’t want them to feel abandoned and un loved however they have really loving grandparents and family, that I am so grateful and happy for. I just could not participate financially as much ass I wanted as I helped to provide for themi i whatever way i could i don’t wish to fail by them, as even traveling to them as often as I would like is not as easy and costly, and going back will incur costs that I am not in the means yet to facilitate.
    It’s no easy feat as a parent to want something by your kids and it’s difficult based on circumstances.

  41. alyssa

    Good evening,

    i am writing because i am neither of these currently my boyfriend and i have been together for 4.5 years. he has 4 children with two different moms. i live about 500 miles away from them. he has traveled for work for the last 8 years of the kids life. the youngest (twins) he has traveled all their life. we have talked about him moving to be with me and trying to have another baby. every time something gets too stressful he up’s and leaves and tells me that he isnt going to be away from his kids and he can’t be a dad and be 500 miles away. I have tried to think of different visitation plans we could do to see them often and him to gain a relationship with them all again. .

    what advice can i give to him to help with this? i have tried to be supportive and make sure he knows that i want to be apart of the kids’ lives as well and that it is always going to be hard at the beginning but we will make it all work. someone please help me. my heart is broken that he just up and leaves when he gets stressed out about all of this.

  42. Adam

    This is something thats tearing me apart, my son is 5 years old, and im planning to move to another state, with a better job and to be more financially stable, but infear my son will hatebme for leaving him with his mother, not tonsay bad things but hisnmother makes nad decisions in life and feel it couldeffect my son. But with a better job incan help my son for the future and I still plan on having him every summer and every major holidays. But again mybfear is that he will hate me for moving.

    1. Lisa

      Hi,
      I’m 18 years old and my paresnt and 2 brothers moved to Texas a month ago, I can tell you that once your son gets used to it he should understand that you’re doing what is best. I was really resentful of my parents at first because it was unexpected and I felt abandoned but given a bit of time I realised they have to do what is best for them. Your son will have plenty of time to adjust to the change and will probably not even remmebe it actually happening it’ll just feel like the norm. So if you feel like you can handle it go for it 🙂 nothing is forever if it’s all too much coke back… xx

  43. Malcolm

    Hello all,
    I just came across this article while trying to wrestle with a decision. I’ll try to keep this as short as possible while I keep my fingers crossed that I get some responses. First off, it was refreshing to come across this article after reading so many other articles that only want to focus in on the negative aspects of long distance parenting.
    Anyway, my story:
    I moved to Indiana about 10 years ago. Met my now ex-wife and we had a daughter together. She is 6 years old. While still married and when my daughter was just over a year old, I joined the army and left for basic training. I was under the impression that my now ex wife and I had come to an understanding that it would actually be really good for the family. However, this was not what happened. What ended up happening was that I got stationed in Georgia and the ex wife decided to stay with our daughter in Indiana. Without going into any specifics, things happened and we were over. I slowly picked up the pieces and tried to put my life back together. I ending up meeting someone new while still in Georgia and we just had a baby together 8 months ago. After I got out of the army in 2016, we briefly stayed in Texas while we were getting on our feet and adjusting to post-army life.
    My end goal was to move back up to Indiana since that is where my daughter is. So, we did just that last year at the end of July. Since then, things have been less than perfect. Nothing horrible has happened but the move just hasn’t worked out. And this is made even worse by the fact that my daughters mother and I have no relationship. When I pick my daughter up for our weekends together, she doesn’t even come to the door and say hello. When I call, she never answers. So trying to talk to her just isn’t a thing.
    So, here comes the part where I need some help. I own a house a Georgia. It’s a nice little 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house. My girlfriend’s family is less than 2 hours away and she has a biiiiiiiiig family. And there is always stuff to do in the area and Florida is just a short drive away. I have tried to weigh the pros and cons. But so far there is just an abundance of pros and only one con and thats that I would be leaving my daughter for the second time, only this time would be voluntary. Unfortunately though I don’t think I can have much of an impact in her life because of the things her mother tells me (she hates me and tries to get my daughter to feel the same way). My daughter calls me by my first name because that’s what shes been raised to call me.
    With the way the parenting time guidelines work in Indiana, if I lived out of state I would get her for basically the whole summer, a week in the fall and a week in the spring. This is obviously just about as much time as I would have with her if I get her every other weekend like I do right now. But the difference is that I feel as though I could have more of an impact on her life by seeing her for bigger chunks at a time. Obviously talking to her mother about this isn’t an option and as with everything else it will be handled in front of a judge yet again.
    My family keep telling me that it’s my decision and I need to do what’s best for me. But they also caution the effect it could have on my daughter. But I’m not sure it would be any worse than the effect that her mothers negativity has on her. And as I mentioned, bigger chunks of time with her and away from her mother could possibily have a more positive impact than every other weekend.
    And finally, my girlfriend and I have so many memories together down in Georgia and Florida and everything just felt right when we were down there the first time. Not to mention the fact that her family is there so we would have plenty of babysitters so we can have some time alone together. This would be a nice break since up here its just us with no one to help out.
    All signs point to moving back to Georgia. But to be honest, I feel as though I am being a horribly selfish person by leaving my daughter. But then there is also a part of me that hopes that maybe if she gets to experience life outside of Indiana, she will decide when shes older that she wants to come live with us.
    This isn’t a decision I am taking lightly. And it obviously isn’t something that is going to happen over night. I would obviously need to secure employment first. But there is no stress when it comes to finding a place since we have our house down there. The house is being rented but the lease expires next month and the tenants want to switch to month to month. So it seems like the signs are pointing towards Georgia. I want to become a police officer and there are 3 of them hiring down there right now in the town where my house is and the next towns over. If I do get a job with one of the police departments, it won’t be a quick process which kind of works out well since we would have plenty of time to get things together. Also, both of us are in college. And she there is a campus to one of the big universities right next to our house that has the degree that we are both pursuing.

    So, if you actually read through that whole thing then I would like to say thank you (I didn’t even proof read it since I rambled on too long). And if anyone has any advice, it would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks again,
    Confused and conflicted.

    1. Derek

      Malcom,

      Seems like we are in somewhat similar situations. I want to leave the state where I moved back post military to be closer to my son as well. I posted below here and we can share advice or stories. I know that I will probably get shamed at home with my family or friends(not that I have many of those) for even contemplating this decision. Although I am able to physically provide for my son on paper here…. I feel like I am not because I am so unhappy. I have the means to do long distance parenting and think this is a viable option. I like you, have weighed pros/cons of this and can only find the one con as well. I will be closely following your post to see if any advice given pertains to both of us. I also cross posted this to reddit to get some more feedback and the majority seemed to shame me for even debating it. While a good bit of people agreed if it is doable, then i deserve happiness too. Because a happier parent cant bring more to a child then one who is just going through the motions. I wish you the best and will be checking this frequently.

      -Derek

      1. Malcolm

        Derek,
        I read over your post and it definitely seems like we are in similar situations. Well except for the relationship with the ex. My ex wife and I have no relationship. She doesn’t answer the phone when I call to talk to my daughter. She doesn’t even come to the door to say hi when I pick up my daughter. So that’s what I am dealing with.
        But, since I made my original post I have actually decided to make the move back to Georgia. I plan on moving next month. This is obviously not a decision I have taken lightly.
        Before I ramble, there are two things that made this decision slightly easier. My sister helped me come to the realization that my daughter is still young enough (6) that this will just become the new normal for her. And secondly, my mother told me that it is time I do what is best for me to make myself happy. I’m 33 years old and I have never really done things for the benefit of myself.
        So here goes the rambling part, if you can make it through this I hope it helps you…..
        The relationship I have with my daughters mother is never going to change and she is essentially turning my daughter against me. She never calls me dad because the only time she hears me referred to that is when she spends every other weekend with myself, my son and my fiance. And then I have to hear the ridiculous things that her mother is raising her to believe. For example, she is being lead to believe she has two dads. Me and the father of my former stepdaughter who is in a relationship with someone that isn’t my ex wife. I am not even on the list of people that are allowed to pick my daughter up from her school. So that should suggest to you the kind of woman I am dealing with. For whatever reason, she is unable to separate her hatred for me from the fact that my daughter and I need a relationship. With that being said, I came to the realization that having my daughter for longer periods of time (i.e. summers, etc) then I can have more of a positive impact in her life. 48 hours every two weeks away from her mother just isn’t enough. Another tidbit about the woman. My former stepdaughter is 10 years old and has had some serious issues with her body (thinking she is fat) since she was about 5. I came to visit one year and she cried in the store because she hated her body while we were trying to shop for clothes because her mother never takes the time to pay attention to whats going on. As long as she has the latest coach bag she is happy. She has two kids and the only thing she cares about is money. I could ramble on that forever, but i’ll save that. These are things a little girl should not be worrying about and the source of the problem was her mother.
        I also have a son that I need to think about. In Indiana its just me and my fiance. In Georgia we are less than two hours away from my fiances very large family. And my mother and sister (with niece and fiance) are talking about moving to Georgia after I get there. So my son will be surrounded by family all the time. Not to mention the fact that he will grow up in a house with a yard rather than a third floor apartment. And he and my daughter will have their own rooms. And my daughter will also be surrounded by family that will have a positive impact on her life when I have my time with her. Up here she never gets to see my family. She saw my mother and sister at christmas for the first time since she was 3 months old.
        My goal since the divorce has been to do everything I can to be as much of a positive role model in my daughters life. But that is difficult to do partly because of my daughters mother and the fact that I don’t want to be here. As you said, just going through the motions. And, I really hope one day my daughter will go in front of a judge and say that she wants to live with me rather than her mother. I don’t say this out of spite but rather because I truly feel that my daughter would be better off with me. So the way I look at it, I have 6-7 years to make that happen. And I think I can increase my chances by showing her a world outside of Indiana and by having her for bigger chunks of time and having her around family that can be a positive influence in her life.
        Right now it is always the same. She is not very well behaved but by the time the end of the weekend rolls around she gets better. But then two weeks later we have to just start all over again. But having her for the whole summer I feel as though myself and my family can have a lasting impact on her that her mother cannot undo.
        You also mentioned that you got a lot of negative feedback from people. I may not be the best to give advice on this but I am the kind of person that has never really cared what other people think about me or my actions. You have to do what is best for you sometimes. And if someone doesn’t know what this is like then they really have no place to say anything. This is a decision I have tried to make as rationally as possible rather than making an emotional decision. With that being said, I don’t look forward to telling my daughter and then having to leave. But no matter what I say to her, her mother will find it away to turn it against me and she will tell my daughter how horrible of a person I am. Which is just yet another reason why I need to leave.
        Anyway, I could go on and on but I think I have rambled enough. Feel free to reply if I can be of any help.

  44. Derek

    I am completely lost on what to do. I left the military service in the middle of last year to be closer to my child (5). I honestly wish I fought harder to stay in and still work out a custody agreement that works because I am truly lost/depressed since departing. In a sense of providing I am a great father on my own. I have my own place, financially stable…. but involving my son I am just going through the motions. When he is with me we just go from daycare to home and back again. I am so lost/depressed inside that I don’t even know what I’m doing. I have been in a relationship with another service member for about 2 years (currently long distance) and would love to marry her. No need to go into details about her, she is amazing and we want to eventually have a family of our own, but is planning on staying in the service.

    If I were to marry her, I would join her at her duty station. This would change the current custody plan around. Long distance parenting worked well prior to me getting out of the service. Myself and my Ex are very amicable and I strongly believe we could again work out another long term parenting plan. It would be something like 2 weekends a month I would travel back to my home state, as well as summers + school vacations with me. In the even I could not make it back for 1 of the 2 weekends, my family would take my son for the weekend to ensure they are getting time together too. The cost of traveling is not an issue nor will my work schedule. I am just looking for advice on how to proceed. Obviously remarriage happens as does long distance parenting, but am I just being selfish? I know im barely functioning and have to hide it from everyone here….I think im properly equipped to stay active in my child’s life from a distance with frequent visits home. Someone please help with advice

  45. anonymous

    This really helps me. I’ve been feeling like such a monster for even considering moving away from my children. My ex and I moved to a small rural community in Missouri to help her father. Well the divorce happened while we were living there and I was forced into a small apartment only 5 minutes from my children. As things go time has passed and my ex found a new man. Hes a good man and treats my children well, so im not terribly upset about her moving on. The issue is he lives in another state 2 hours away in Kentucky and he has asked for her hand in marriage.

    Further more my degree and career experience all though open for my field, is very limited in the rural community I am in. That career is in information technology. The company I have been working for was bought out and it is their policy to downsize and out source to their call center and I have been slated for termination. For years the question of what to do weighed heavy on me. Ive stayed close to the kids, but have struggled for awhile now. I mean im not in the gutter, but im one emergency away from possibly being out on my butt. I have support back home in my home state of Oklahoma, but that puts me 8 hours away from the kids. A relative has been offering to let me live with them rent free so I can get back on my feet. The issue being naturally the distance from my children.

    Well the time has come with the termination looming, my ex moving with the kids, and several other smaller factors I think its time to take that relative up on the offer. But my heart has been aching and so many people dont understand why I would move. I have been called a monster for even considering it. But I have few options and they are becoming less as time rolls on. Where my area in Missouri and her area in Kentucky is weak in IT, Oklahoma is strong. I mean the guy she is with has a degree in IT and isnt even able to work it in his area. He works as a locksmiths apprentice. The job market here is horrible and where I am making enough money to survive on being over minimum wage, any other job i take will put me under that and ill struggle harder to only see my kids twice a month and thats only if I dont have to work weekends. I have no sitter out here or any one i would trust to. Where as in Oklahoma I have tons of friends that their wives who stay at home have offered to watch my boys for me if i have to work during visitation. My ex has agreed to meet me half way to let me see them once a month and allow me to have them the entire summer and during holiday breaks.

    For me the choice is painful, but for the bigger picture like this article has stated. For me to get on my feet and gain a stronger foot hold. I feel like my best option is return home for the time being. It hurts… Alot! The thought of being that far away is crushing. But I would be doing it for the betterment of my children in the long run and im not intending to stay for too long. Im going to further my education and try for other opportunities. Oklahoma has a welding college and one thing im seeing is there is a huge need for welders out here and in Kentucky. Maybe if i expand my skill set then Ill have better luck and can move closer to my children in time. Thank you for this site. I share my story in hopes that maybe it will help others and also out of appreciation that there are people out there who understand what its like to have to make such a difficult choice.

    1. rob

      Hi, I feel for you.
      I have been living in Germany since my ex and I split up, she lives in the UK with our kids. My initial feeling was I have failed my kids, eventhough I visit them once a month on a weekend. We also agreed that I could skype my kids once a week, which had worked until communication between me and my ex broke down 4 weeks ago, since then nothing…She has full control in regards to our kids and knows that she can hurt me through them…
      Anywho, everyone I speak to understand why I moved away and have also praised me for keeping in touch with my kids.
      It is a hard thing to do, to move away from your kids, but end of the day you also have to carry on living and then hope the kids understand later on in life…

  46. Shawn

    Ive been looking for some place to get help coping. My wife just recently asked for a divorce. A little backstory. She is in the military and im a civilian. Ive been a stay at home dad for 4 years. Before that i was in college and dropped out to get married to her and move from oregon to illinios. When she told me we were done she also said she wanted me out. She doesnt want to keep our kids from me. I wasnt great with my duties as a stay at home dad. I didnt clean and failed to change the ways we decided to raise our boys. After a couple years she got fed up. After a couple days she said i could stay if i got a job in a month. We now live in arizona and im 27 with no job experience. Ive already talked with old friends back in oregon who want to help me get on my feet. I told her i thought it was best if i did leave because the tension between the two of us is so thick. Our kids have picked up on it. And every night after we put the boys to bed she goes to what used to be our bedroom with the cat and dog. And im out in the living room on the couch suffering for my failures. It hurts so much i think its best to just leave. My problem is i grew up without a dad. My brain os convinced that im horrible for leaving my boys. Ive been with em everyday for 4 years. Ones 4 and the other is 2. She wants me to be a part of there lives and i want that too. But i need to get somewhere where i can change my lifestyle for the better of myself and my kids. I dont want to leave my boys but it hurts to much to be here. Its gonna hurt just as much if i leave though too. I feel like my world is ending and i cant stop it. Im just hoping someone can talk to me.

  47. Rob

    What a brilliant site and remarks.
    My marriage failed back in 2013.
    My ex-wife wanted me out the house initially on a trial basis. Well… its 2018 now and we ended up divorcing. Meanwhile she has a boyfriend and I am happily married again. The marriage didn’t end because she had a new boyfriend or me girlfriend… well I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time, if she was already with her boyfriend at the time I can’t say, what I can say is that we both knew him at the time… Anyway, after 15 years of marriage and having 3 wonderful kids the marriage broke down. 8 months after the split and that we both knew the trial separation was over, I ended up meeting an old friend on Facebook whom I had met, now about 28 years ago, her marriage had just broke down and we got talking. I was living in digs at the time and when it was my off shift, I stayed at my old house, looked after my kids whilst my ex went off, and stayed with her “friend”. I kept in touch with my old friend and our relationship grew stronger. Now she lived in Germany and I in the UK… I started taking time for myself after my shifts, so after my friend came over for the first time to visit me we kicked off straight away, I then started flying to Germany for 3 days during an off shift and then coming back to spend 4 days with my kids before going back to work for a week. This went on for about 6 months, I got to a stage where we were trying to figure out if she should come and move to the UK with her kids (they were 11 and 13 at the time, mine 4,6 and 8) or if I would move out to Germany. My work helped me with the decision in the end. They wanted to relocate my work to the north of the UK, which would have made my kids visits and keeping my relationship with my then girlfriend going pretty difficult…so I decided on moving to Germany. I have been here now since 2015 and have been flying once a month to visit my kids, I have been skyping with them regularly…until recently, due to communications having broken down between my ex and me. Not talking to my kids via skype is now taking a toll on me and its only been 4 weeks … I just wished I had the funds to go to court now and place a contact order, she knows I don’t as I spend all I have on visiting the kids and bills here in Germany…
    She is upset that I left the country and keeps on letting me know what a bad father I am because of it… I hope my kids will understand when they are older that I tried to balance life for them and myself. That said, perhaps on the day of reckoning I will be punished more trying to live a kind of normal life….

  48. Jordan

    My ex wife is moving with our 3 month old across country. I’m signing an agreement for her to go just so she will drop a restraining order that she placed on me made up of lies. I have to do this or I will loose my job. There is a parenting time schedule in play but between airplane, hotel, rent a car and not knowing the area I truly know I will never get to see her. By the time my daughter is old enough to skype or whatever she won’t know who I am. Any advice on my situation.

  49. Mike

    I am in a very similar situation and have been for some years now. I presently live a whole continent away from my two daughters and it really does hurt, however, they live in Italy and being a foreigner as it pertains to Italy, there just not any jobs. The Italian economy has been in crisis for like thirty years and so even if I was Italian, I would have a problem finding a job there. I do pay child support and try to contact my daughters at least once a week, but it seems that I still am looked at as a dead beat dad.

  50. Undecided

    I am a not custodial parent with joint custody of my children. I have remarried and live with the 50 mile radius allowed by my divorce decree. My children are 14 and soon to be 17, youngest is my son and oldest is my daughter. & have been divorced now for 7 years but was separated for 4 years prior to that. My kids go back and forth between our homes and it is a rather crazy schedule as my ex is a police officer who works shifts. Our relationship is the say hi and socially exceptable in front of our children but otherwise toxic. My children’s father has been controlling since day one. I have no family in this area and my now husband was my high school sweetheart who I reconnected with 3 years ago. We both have family that are getting older and need our help. Where we presently live in the state of nj is difficult to make ends meet though we are we just don’t have the extras which we are both ok with. However my stress levels due to our crazy lives and living under the control of my ex, make living here a challenge. For every lesson I try to teach my kids about money and responsibility and self discipline all get thrown out the window. I know my ex loves our children but at the end of the day he is a narcissist. I am considering moving out of state and back home to be near family and opportunities that will allow me to provide better for my children. But I fear leaving for fear my ex will convince my children I am abandoning them. I need to take care of myself in an environment that will allow me to be a better mom and be able to do more for my kids. But o fear I am doing the wrong thing, because my children’s father will surely twist it that way. Am I being selfish? My children’s father loves his kids and provides for them and both my children love him dearly. But he and I near each other are a challenge like no other. My husband and I have only each other and no support system of family here to be there for us and for us to be able to be there for them as well. In my heart I feel my kids lives would be better without all the back and forth and being able to come and visit and me coming for visits. If it was at all possible I would want them to come with me, but he would never allow that ever. I just don’t know what to do and fell ashamed to be even thinking about moving somewhere where I could have a better life and be able to better provide for my kids and I know I would be a better mom. Thoughts?

    1. Carrie

      It can look selfish from the outside – but it’s kind of selfless to face being apart from your kids in an effort to better support yourself and therefore your kids, with the caveat that you stay very involved in their lives. Being away from our kids is awful. There is no parent that faces that feeling great about it. But sometimes the need to do it is desperate too. I don’t think you should be ashamed. I think this decision is a SUPER hard one for every long distance parent for exactly these reasons. Best of luck.

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