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Separated dads have feelings too

When we separate we feel a sense that we have lost our position in the family.  Don’t forget that you are still your children’s father,  even though you do not live with them. You must maintain a mindset and make it clear in your children’s mind that your family continues even though you don’t live with them every day. Your children now have two homes instead of one, there will be some adjustments around ease of access but your love and responsibility does not change and your efforts and determination to ensure that they know this will not go unrewarded.

Feelings of guilt, loneliness and depression can definitely come from separation and for some can be quite intense leading to avoidance and solitude.  There was a study conducted on men who after separating for 2 months, 1 year and 2 years  from the family home all showed similar signs of avoidance i.e. not going home to an empty house, they would more likely work back late or visit a bar with a friend.

One of the loneliest times for separated dads is when they are driving away after returning the children to their mothers, this was definitely real for me.  There are some great books to read on this subject. Reading can help you understand your own feelings and provide coping strategies to help you work through those times.  I spent many a times in book shops in the “self Help” section looking for answers and ways to cope.

Remember, knowledge will help you get through this, so keep searching and reading up. Check out another post on our site that can provide some answers for you, click here Practical Steps to take when separating


  1. Bruce says:

    It has been a lot of years since first separated, your article has reminded me of how challenging those early days and months were and also how, with good support from friends and family, we can move on and maintain a relatively “normal” lifestyle. Although not ideal, separation/divorce, after negotiating a satisfactory parenting plan designed to meet the needs of all concerned can be a relatively positive experience. If both parents are truly committed to “the best interests of the children” which in most cases should involve both parents being actively involved in the daily care, then the future should be a mostly bright one. Children need to feel a sense of certainty whether in a 2 parent household or divorced situation. The sooner we move forward into a state of relative normality the better it is for everyone. 🙂

  2. Esperanca Melo Venceslau says:

    We had our best X-mas present ever this year! Our son was finally reunited with his 2 yr old son after a forced separation of 1 year…
    Those people who feel that they have the right to deny their own children of the other parents love simply haven’t got it!


    Thanks for sharing!
    Esperanca Melo…

  3. Ben Gluyas says:

    It has been less than a year for me, and I struggle with a lot of things and emotions. What I have just read is one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with. I never imagined my role as a parent to be a part-time gig.
    Thank you for sharing. I am certainly going to follow the link to hopefully learn some coping mechanisms and build some strength in these scenarios.
    I never set out to be a single parent. I set out to be the best parent I can be. Even with the limits put upon me, this is still the case.

    • Peter says:

      HI Ben,
      I hear you! We all dream of being the Dad that is at home in a great relationship with our partner and a stable family environment, it does make us sad and disappointed but life does get back to a new normal. I believe in some cases we don’t choose our partners well and we lack real connection with them causing a breakdown of the relationship over time. Even though we become a separated dad, we can still be a great dad. It is about the focus and importance you put on it and it requires devotion to dedicate the time required. Some dads feel they become single again and they have mixed priorities rather than have their no.1 priority being their children. When you don’t have your children, yes be single and enjoy your life but don’t let being single again get in the way of co-parenting your children. There are many times you will need to say “no” to your friends because its your time with the kids. Here is a recent post I wrote that you might find useful Best wishes Ben, feel free to reach out to me if you ever need to chat.

      • Rob says:

        Hi – can you recommend some books to read on self help?
        I have been separated almost 3 years now and although I don’t guilt myself as much over my son as he is doing fantastic and I see him almost 50/50 – I still find it hard to move on to find a new family/miss certain family times.