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The comment thread on this post is jam packed with personal stories from long distance parents.

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  • Carrie on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

    It is always a really really difficult decision to make. In general, if parents aren’t set up for success, we are limited in what we can provide for our kids. In many cases, the support we can provide a child in a more ideal circumstance but at a distance is better than what we can provide while living near them in a less advantageous circumstance. But that decision and the pros and cons of it is always uniquely personal to the people involved and the situations they are in. This post talks a little more about that : It was really great to find this paper that collated other research in a way that is meaningful to long distance parenting. But of course, research is only as good as the sample and the biases involved and an individual case may not conform with the statistics. Each parent and child and situation are different. Best of luck in your journey.
       - Read more on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

  • Liza on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

    I’ve been looking at research on this.. I moved with my then 12 yr old to a different city to his dad( not that far 10 miles) He would visit his dad at wkends.. He’s now 28 & says it was difficult at that age.. I’m now contemplating moving back to that city and visiting my now 13 yr old regularly 3/4 times a wk. His dad would put up a massive fight to not let him move & his friends are here.. My parents split my dad moved to another town , and I was much more secure staying in same house , not going between two.. My dad just visited for the day , but obv all not too far from one another .. As a mother it’s a very hard decision , whether to stay in a financially abusive relationship , for the child or to get out. I have same issue as couldn’t afford to stay in separate flat & Will Ned to fight for my rights financially.. For now I want security for my son., For now I’m in a separate room of same house.. It’s v tricky.. as I may have to wait 3-5 yrs before can move , until son is 16-18..
       - Read more on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

  • Susan molina on The Judgement of a Long Distance Mom

    How are you doing now? Your words are exactly what I am feeling. Having to make the decision to get out of a place full of memories of abuse. Afraid to go to a local establishment in fear of running into certain people. My husband was relocated for work to Oregon. I am still in Texas for the past year traveling to see my husband while being here for my kids. I am at the end of my rope. I feel stuck in the mud.
       - Read more on The Judgement of a Long Distance Mom

  • Jenny on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

    Hi Christina, I am in a situation where I am highly contemplating leaving to be with my partner who’s work was transferred to another state, but I am having the hardest time fully making this decision because of my son’s age and how I think he is going to feel about me if I actually do this. How old are your children if you don’t mind me asking. How are things going? This is the first site where I have seen other moms making this decision, and I appreciate you being honest about your decison.
       - Read more on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

  • Joe on When The Custodial Parent Blocks Communication with the Kids

    What if the ex works for the county we live in as a county treasurer and is close friends with the judge that handled our child custody agreement, also close friends with every other county clerk’s and sheriff’s dept? Since day one she’s made every effort to keep them from me going as far as lying to the judge multiple times just get emergency ex parté orders in put in place one after the other expires? I’ve had one of my lawyers even tell me that it’s difficult because the judge is known to bend over backwards for his “work family”. It’s been 5 years and I’ve basically thrown my hand up because there’s no progress gained with a spiteful difficult ex, her ties with the county judge, and lawyer fees.
       - Read more on When The Custodial Parent Blocks Communication with the Kids

  • GeeAng on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

    Hi i’m glad I found this place. I loved in Los Angeles and moved to Kansas city 3 years ago when I divorced my ex husband. I met a woman here and we are engaged. I moved here with her and wanted to take all three of my children to live here with me, but my two girls didn’t want to move here because understandably they have their friends there and one is a high school junior and the other one an 8th grader. My son who’s 4 came with me. Since then i’ve been good at going to visit my girls during holidays and summers even some weekends. They come here for the summer as well. I sometimes feel so guilty and feel horrible cuz they are girls abs they need their mom. We co parent great but theirs times that he makes remarks about how much my girls need me and I should move back. I don’t know what to do because my fiancé has three kids of her own and she can’t move with me to cali. besides I wouldn’t be able to afford it there because it’s too expensive. I do miss my family there and my girls so much and it does come to mind to move back, but I own a home here and I would never own one there, because it’s too expensive, mind you I don’t like the weather here but I love the cost of living. I just feel like i’m in limbo not knowing what to do. I feel so guilty and feel like my daughters hate me, which they say they don’t. We talk on facetime, text and I have them talk to their brother on the phone with his dad whenever his dad wants to. Sometimes I feel depressed because I wish I had the money to travel more or move back there. My fiancé and I wouldn’t be able to afford it there even if we moved so it’s been so hard. I will be there for their graduation and I do my part to be in contact with them. Any advice, is anyone been in this situation, as a mother I feel like i’m a bad mom.
       - Read more on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

  • Scylla and Charybdis on How do I Talk to My Child About Moving?

    Thank you. I can see the pros and I see the cons, but there are no good answer for my daughter as to why we’d move away from her. It benefits my wife, and her three children. Our child is young enough to where these changes won’t affect her. My daughter though gets left behind, sees her sister and step siblings seldomly, let alone myself. I have to tell her that the move is happening, but there isn’t one positive thing that comes from it for her. And there is my struggle. I tell my wife we don’t move, you cant have your dream job, and live within an hour from all your family because it doesn’t benefit my daughter putting my marriage at risk and potential ability to see our child, and my daughter seeing her sibling? It just sucks anyway you cut it. And we don’t know how to tell her? There is nothing beneficial for her from this move.
       - Read more on How do I Talk to My Child About Moving?

  • Carrie on How do I Talk to My Child About Moving?

    Hi, I’d start with the pros and cons list in the post above. In cons, add how you believe your daughter could feel and really think through the best ways to make sure her needs are fulfilled and in pros, make sure to include the reasons the move makes sense. If at the end of the pros and cons list, there isn’t a compelling reason to move, then you will need to have that conversation with your partner. If there IS a compelling reason to move, it’s really down to coming up for solutions for the cons. Getting a promotion can mean a lot of pros that benefit the kids, depending upon the situation. For example, if you are having trouble paying your bills, your mental health and ability to do stuff for the kids is impacted and a promotion might solve some of that. On the other hand, if the promotion isn’t fixing anything or making the situation for you and your child better, that is definitely worth taking a hard look at whether that makes sense right now. As for ‘selling’ it to her… I don’t know that I’ve ever really thought about it that way. Instead, if all signs point to this being a good move for you and your child, spend time planning how you will be a good long distance parent and really digging into the details of what visitation will look like etc (links above). These details might fill in some of your cons list (ldp is more time, money, and a learning curve, for sure). Have all of that done before you have a conversation with your child so that you can show her that you have considered her in your planning and can give her an idea of how it will work.
       - Read more on How do I Talk to My Child About Moving?

  • Scylla and Charybdis on How do I Talk to My Child About Moving?

    My wife and I have been married four, together six. We came together with my daughter who is 16, and her two kids 7 and 9. And almost two years ago we were blessed by a fourth child together. My wife just got offered a big promotion which would move all of us but my 16 year old daughter who would remain with her mother. We would be several days drive away preventing visitation for most of the school year. This big promotion also results in her being able to move close to her family and her children also being closer. How do I tell my daughter without her feeling like she’s been replaced? Forgotten? Left behind? How do I sell this move to my daughter when there is no benefit? I know if I don’t move we will divorce and I’ll see both my children half time. If I tell her we can’t move she will be unhappy because this opportunity is a benefit for her and her kids.
       - Read more on How do I Talk to My Child About Moving?

  • Christina S. on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

    I am a mother about to embark on a long distance parenting journey and my ex husband will have the kids most of the time. I’m glad to have found this site and I can relate to the misunderstandings about the choice to move away from my children.
       - Read more on How Having a Distance Parent Affects a Child

  • Amanda Sanders on When The Custodial Parent Blocks Communication with the Kids

    Hi, I’m currently in a situation right now with my ex. We have been separated since November of 2020. We have a custody agreement in place that was established when our daughter was 4 months old she is now almost six. We have never followed this custody agreement reason being is because a week after it was filed we had moved back in together and reconciled and remain together for six long years. Even after separating for good back in November of 2020 we did not follow this custody agreement because we were able to co-parent and make arrangements with each other on a daily basis with not an ounce of any issues. Up until about 3 weeks ago when it was announced that he now has a new girlfriend since that very day he has blocked my number from calling and this new girlfriend says that he is requested all form of communication and co-parenting go through her and his parents we are not allowed to talk. Anytime that our daughter is not with me I am forced to go through hoops trying to get in contact with her. I made to call this new girlfriend’s number or text or I have to go through his parents which are very hard to get a hold of a lot of times. I was just wondering if this is legal to do and if he is legally allowed to block me just because he doesn’t want to communicate with me and he would rather it go through somebody else? Any tips or info would be greatly appreciated
       - Read more on When The Custodial Parent Blocks Communication with the Kids

  • Hurting mom on What Long Distance Parenting Is and Is Not

    I have been searching for over a year to find a support group as I found myself a distance parent last year. My situation is very complicated, I divorced 4 years ago. I was awarded the primary custodian of our 4 children, with my x husband receiving 1 day a week and every other weekend visitation. Per our divorce decree I would need to sell or refinance (solely in my name) the newly built family home last year. Obviously, COVID-19 hit and I took a nosedive in my business as a salon and boutique owner. My employees quit and I was stuck with monthly businesses debts, no income for 2 months aside from receiving just $193 a week to support 4 children. Needless to say without the help of my current husband being able to refinance the house with me I would have to move. The small midwest town where I’d raised my children was all but a ghost town, 1/2 fast food restaurants closed, the heavily dependant coal mining fields were shutting down laying 100’s of people off. I knew if I wanted to keep being the independent strong woman I’d grown into after my divorce I would have to move. My husband and I found an opportunity in a beachside island in Florida where we could advance in our careers. He’s an engineer and received several insane job offers. The average income in our new place would be 66% higher than where we were from. So, I asked my x to mediate a new arrangement as he’s never asked for more time with the children and had suffered from prescription drug and alcohol abuse over the last several years (especially alcohol and jail time within the last 9 months prior to the intent to relocate) He refused to come to any agreement, he wanted me to take care of the kids in his home town regardless of how it affected me and the children financially. I put in my intent to relocate fully believing the move just justified, I’d never kept my children from their father, my intention was purely being able to remain financially stable. Boy was I in for the shock of my life. The judge denied my intent to relocate and kept me the primary custodian. Keep in mind, I had to walk away from my business and sell my home. What a TOUGH ASS PLACE TO BE, on top of it all my husband lost his job. There was no other option for us but to move to where opportunities were, not only for us but our children as well. Well testified and documented were all the opportunities the kids would have in this new place. The kids wanted to move, they even told the judge in-depth why. All of this aside she ended her ruling with “If he lets you move with the kids I have no problem with that” What this judge didn’t realize was she was dealing with a man that thrives on control. I plead with him to allow our children to live with whomever they wanted 17,12,13 & 9. To no eval I had to send them back after summer last year, it was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever done. I appealed her ruling and won a 1 part prong of a 2 part prong test. Her ruling was based on legitimacy, the court of appeals ruled that my move was legitimate and in good faith (this process took 10 months to determine) During this time I had been flying every other week away from my husband to be with my kids. This puts not only an emotional, physical and financial strain on us as a couple but, for the kids as well. They love my husband dearly, he’s been a huge influence on their lives. They only get to see him on holidays and 1/2 the summer. The kids openly talk about their father calling us names in his home, claiming abusive accusations that are baseless against my husband, and endlessly trying to thwart communication between us. The court of appeals still has jurisdiction on my case, so I’m still stuck in limbo. It’s a NIGHTMARE to be controlled by not only my x but by the system. My attorneys have tried to mediate with his side once again after the decision of the court of appeals… still refusal. We’ll be going back to court, it’s now his turn to prove it’s in the best interest of the kids to remain with him (although the judge knew I was moving and kept me the primary caregiver) I guess what I’m trying to say is I love my kids very much, this has been incredibly hard on everyone involved and at some point, I hope we get some peace. I never thought I’d ended up a distance parent, it’s truly the hardest part of life and I hope I’m doing the right thing.
       - Read more on What Long Distance Parenting Is and Is Not

  • Daniel James Meisel on My Two Beautiful Daughters are in Another Country

    Thank you all for sharing! It really does help to hear someone else going through similar gut wrenching situations. The Aussie Dad….your story is powerful. I cant imagine having a language barrier PLUS the international situation as well…Wow. I hope you are well. My ex fiance was two months pregnant with my daughter who is now 18 months old. Everything was going as planned until we broke up. We had been living together for only 2 weeks when she told me to leave. I tried and tried to make it work. This lasted for 3 months and she tells me to stop contacting her because she got an abortion. At 8 mo. pregnant I get a phone call that she moved back to her home state across the U.S. and that she was having my baby girl. I hadnt heard from her in months….I immediately began preparing to move there. I quit my career, sold most of my belongings to get there 4 mo. after shes born but the mother is reluctant to let me see her. I moved there in Feb. right before the pandemic but struggled with finding work throughout the pandemic. I ended up having to move in with family the next state over so I had to give up physical custody but still have legal custody, not that it changes things because she barely lets me see or talk to her. Now, after many nights and days of crying and confusion, I am about to relocate further away from her for a good paying job. The mother hates me for reasons I still to this day do not understand. After battling her in court, I am able to see her every two weeks and video 30 min every week. The mother has continued to cancel on me and does not encourage my daughter and I’s relationship. It breaks my heart that it is this way. But, I know one day she will be old enough to understand my what I have done to try to be in her life.
       - Read more on My Two Beautiful Daughters are in Another Country

  • SLC on The Judgement of a Long Distance Mom

    I’m in a situation where I may leave my girls and I’m terrified of the emotional fallout of that decision. I am considering a move from Illinois to California. And while I will attempt to take my girls with, my ex won’t allow that to happen without a fight and there is no real likelihood a court will rule in my favor. I’m struggling with the selfish aspect of my choice. My fiancé has a slew of business opportunities there and I am looking to go back to school for medicine. I am worried about how my daughter will view the choice and I fear they will see it as something or someone else taking priority over them – because they are always priority. Always. But, I have struggled with my mental health for years and I need to get myself healthy and happy so I can be my best self. I have always feared that I was disillusioned to think that my needs mattered as much as my kiddos. Or that my explanations for why I needed to make such a big move would be viewed as excuses to validate a selfish choice. Honestly, it’s really nice to find a community of people who struggle with, and in some cases, have found some peace, in their decision to be a long distant parent.
       - Read more on The Judgement of a Long Distance Mom

  • Brittany on The Judgement of a Long Distance Mom

    I feel compelled to reach out to you because I also moved out of upstate NY for Florida. I was actually born and raised in NY but it doesn’t make the inhospitable environment any easier. I left my two young boys there with my soon to be ex-husband because he is financially able and willing- rather fought to keep them. It is the best situation for my sons to remain in NY for now, but I had the same thoughts as you regarding being a shell of a person there. I also thought that it is better to have a happy healthy mom in FL where they can come experience something far beyond what NY has to offer. Anyway, I just had to say thank you and I am really right here with you.
       - Read more on The Judgement of a Long Distance Mom

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. alex

    hi guys. im new here. i have 3 kids all under the age of 6 living abroad. i havent seen my kids in such a long time and every day this hurts me worse and worse. it literally kills my soul. my kids are in the Caribbean and i have to fly out to see them. i get the pictures and videos of all of them. i put on a brave face to everyone but it gets harder and harder to deal with. anybody else in a position of nearly 5000 miles from theirs? im scared that they will all especially my daughter forget who i am.

  2. Ashley

    I really need some advice. This is heavy on my heart and I can already feel the critisms coming from my family. My ex and I were not married 11 years ago when I got pregnant with our son. I had full custody, then when he started school he got full custody. I had to relocate to Alabama awhile he stayed in PA. We had an okay plan for me seeing our son. He relocated to FL with his wife, daughter, and our son. (Job transfer) he said if I move my family bc I married have a son and sole custody of his children he would do 50/50 custody. Well we moved here 5 months ago and we are drowning trying to stay okay financially, but it’s not working. My husband is 100% disabled veteran and together we have 6 kids. I work full time and see my kid (my ex n i’s) whenever our son wants to come visit and when he is grounded he punishes me of not seeing him bc he is grounded from going anywhere//which means my house. I didnt sign up for this kind of relationship with our son to be controlled or him controlling the situation. Our son is ADHD and borderline spectrum disorder. We financially cant afford it here and it’s taking a strain on my marriage. I don’t know what to do and really need advice. My husband has been supportive but he is real and he knows we are struggling. We also take care of my 70 yr old mom who lives with us who just ripped me to shreds about wanting too move. I love my 11 yr old more than words can Express but we can’t afford it here in FLORIDA.

    1. Carrie

      Although my situation is different, I can totally relate to being in a tough situation like that and there are certainly lots of other long distance parents in very similar situations. Being able to take care of yourself and those you are responsible for is paramount, IMO. If you are in a situation where you can’t afford basic living expenses, then you can’t do that and sometimes that means totally reevaluating the situation and rearranging things to make that possible, which sometimes means moving. My own opinion, clearly, is that moving doesn’t mean abandonment and it is possible to stay super involved in your child’s life while being at a distance. Family sometimes does criticize… as does the rest of our surrounding society. Sometimes, you just have to put your head down and do the best thing despite criticism.

      If you haven’t done the pros and cons list, maybe start there. And check out the facebook group for a bunch of really great support from others that have been there too. 🙂

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