Without question, the biggest downside to divorce from the male perspective – no matter what your relationship is/was with your ex – is the loss of connection with your kids. I don’t care how cooperative and collaborative your relationship is with your “co-parent”, the fundamental nature of your interaction with your children is going to change.
Even in the most supportive scenarios it will. To some degree it’s just a function of proximity. And when you start factoring in human nature and skewed perspectives and the millions of ways they can shape those relationships … just know that many things will never be the same.
If you’re used to being “the provider”, you still get to carry on some of that role. But it feels hollow. Payroll deductions twice each month and cutting a monthly check for miscellaneous, definitely does not breed a Ward Cleaver level of self respect. Plus, when this is the role into which you’re cast, when that well runs dry, your part is done. And you’re left feeling shame and inadequacy for not being able to do more.
If you’re used to being “the protector”, your chances get limited. There are only so many bad dreams you can soothe away when you’re only together two nights out of every two weeks. (It’s even worse when you have to hear about how terrified and traumatized they are on the other 12 nights.)
The whole scenario qualifies as emasculating.
So the dream of every divorced dad is to get the chance to be Daddy again. Just a small opportunity to be a hero – that’s all we’re looking for. I know it’s shallow and gender-stereotypical. I’m not defending it. I’m just writing about it.
I was pulled from a deep sleep the other night by a late-night phone call. A tearful cry for help. “I’m cold. I’m alone. I’m scared. I don’t know exactly where I am.”
In the end, it was nothing – some roommate drama/confusion/abandonment. No one was hurt. No frostbite ensued. No property was damaged. No cars were crashed. No punches were thrown. No voices were raised. No laws were broken (well, no big ones). No police were involved.
There was just a frightened and frustrated young woman who, for at least a few minutes, needed her Daddy one more time.
I smiled the whole way home.