My Recovery: My Children


I have two grown sons who won’t speak to me.  Nicholas is 24 and Matthew is 22.  The last time I spoke to them or saw them was the day after Thanksgiving, 10 years ago.

They lived with their mother at the time and over that previous 9 months I noticed a serious turn for the worse in their demeanor towards coming with me on visitation.

Never mind that the ex-wife would schedule every possible sporting event so that I couldn’t really schedule my own events, as I was essentially a cab driver.  So Nick, who wasn’t that athletically inclined, pretty much checked out on us.  Add to that that her father would show up to all the sporting events–he hated my guts–and make things very awkward.  She would often do the same.

As the ostracized parent, hated by anyone and everyone having to do with my kids (my ex lived with her parents who hated me and told those kids any chance they got, as did her sister and their aunts, etc) Nick and Matt were getting a steady stream of poison relative to me.  As they got older I could just see the resentment growing.  This was more the case with Nick than with Matt.  I think it as because Matt was younger.

Anyway, long story short.  It was after one of Matt’s hockey games that he, my ex’s father, and my son Nick were standing around together and I heard them making fun of me.  It was two days after Thanksgiving, which the ex had not bothered to drop them off to me for.

lonely2I finally realized that pulling them apart between two homes was NOT doing them any good.  And here is where you will judge me, but oh well.  I told the boys that I wanted them to stay full time with their mother.

That I wouldn’t be picking them up anymore.  Nick was unfazed, Matt seemed to be slightly emotional.  That’s right, I made the decision to allow my kids to stay with their mother and have no contact with them.

I saw that they hated coming to me.  They hated being with me and my then long-term girlfriend Maria.  She tortured those kids any time they would get things from us they weren’t even allowed to bring it home with them.  Anyway, I felt that I was doing the right thing.  I wrestled with my decision for a few years.

I tried to reach out to them over and over and over again.  They told me where to go on Facebook and blocked me.  I have missed almost half their lives.  It is time for me to contact the ex and bury the hatchet.  I am not going to second guess my decision.  I did what I did for what I thought were the right reasons.  Right or wrong, I’ve lived with my decision and now it’s time to get my boys back into my life.

When I brought up in my small 6 man relapse prevention group, the fact that I would be writing a letter to my ex-wife–and she is a separate post completely, soon I promise–something unexpected happened:  I started crying!  WTF!  I don’t think I’ve ever cried in front of a man before.  I was horrified.  Yes, I understand it’s ok to cry, blah blah blah.

crying in group on justruminating men's blog

However, NOT in front of relative strangers!  Anyway, I’m over that.  I was just completely taken aback that I just lost it.  So, obviously, this is HIGHLY IMPORTANT to my recovery that I write this letter.  But it will be very difficult.  She did hurtful things and could have fostered a mutual parenting agreement.  Instead, she was contentious, evil, ruthless once she found out I had moved on with a girlfriend.

The venom lasted for at least 7 years.  There is also some suspicion she may have faked her first pregnancy (with a child we supposedly later lost while I was waiting for her to come to Germany, where I was serving).  Anyway, in spite of all that, I am the one with guilt and remorse over how I treated her.  She is the only relationship I had in which I truly feel this way.  I have had fairly decent relationships since then (except, of course, with the infamous recent ex).

So, dear readers, my emotions are raw on this.  I do feel guilt over my decision to leave my children with just my ex, but I hope that you might possibly see why I did it at the time.  I do feel trepidation at contacting her; however, I have to get to her to get to them.  I am just not sure if I will be prepared for their response or not.  I am not even sure if now is the right time, but I think I am going to do it anyway.  Sorry, I don’t usually write such long posts, but this one just wrote itself.



  • Hi Rob,
    I think you will find healing no matter the outcome. It’s your honest intention that matters. They need to know that you love them and wanted them and that you are sorry. Well done for making the amends, ultimately that paves the way for self-love and forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

  • They’re adults now, they can decide for themselves. Any peace you need to make with the ex is a good thing … for you and for your kids to see.
    Involving kids in our divorce / bitterness is a horrible thing but happens pretty frequently. I too left my children with their father. Me and my kids, had left him, 2 years prior. He made it such a hell for my oldest in particular, by discussing with her all my failings and what he didn’t like about me … he was just hurt though, i get that now. In the end i just said to him, if you can do a better job, way you go. He lasted 2 years and then gave them back. All this did a couple things … yes i carried guilt … but I made peace with him … the kids hated me, but got over it … and they also got to see what his real intentions were.
    Today, they have tentative relationships with him … and he’s since apologised to them and me for being an asshat. But through all of it … I never said a word against him. And thats what won out in the end.
    I wish you well on next part of your journey ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  • Your story is heart wrenching, I can’t even imagine it, and yet it is also hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I honestly can only imagine this kind of pain. I’m so glad you are releasing this. In my prayers, Rob, that they will want to hear you. ๐Ÿ’

    Liked by 1 person

  • The most powerful words in the English language are “I am deeply sorry for hurting you” and “I need you to know that my door is always open.” Good luck Rob– making those amends takes bravery, humility and vulnerability. Good for you that you are ready to take that first step.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Oh, how painful. As you go through this process, keep in mind that you can only control your own heart, choices, and actions. She will or will not cooperate. Same with your sons. You can’t go back and change the past, you can’t undo anything already done, and wishing so will only keep you stuck. But you can go forward and extend an invitation to your sons to do the same. It may take some time and they may not accept despite your best efforts, but you will know you tried. My best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I can’t find the right words here to offer comfort and support – but that’s what I am trying for. It’s not something I am comfortable sharing publicly – I am on the other side of this situation with my eldest son…minus me poisoning my child because I felt that as hurt & bitter as I felt it’s not a child’s burden to bear. This is a very long story for another time (but to get at the heart of what I’m trying to say to you) I think it was right to not force children into an uncomfortable situation: you gave everyone a chance to be free, and that’s love. What is really awful is that you had no control or no way to protect your kids from being fed poison – and that my friend, is not on you! I had to “fake it till you make it” in my situation, because I didn’t want to damage my child with my bitterness – and I had plenty to be bitter about! This was probably a huge overshare, but I really feel for you in this situation! I support you

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved your share! Thats why i have a blog, so thank you so very much. Your words brought tears to my eyes even as I type this. Your words mean so very much to me. Thank you Kate!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so happy that I was able to share with you (I’m not good at it!). Reading your perspective is helping me…I have so much guilt & confusion with my own situation. So thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so happy for you! Guilt is a very crippling emotion. It can bring you to your knees. I hope and pray you can release yourself from it eventually. I am proud of you for the incredible post you shared with me. It deeply affected and touched me

        Liked by 1 person

  • Good for you, Rob. Your HP forgave you along time ago, it’s time for you to do the same, make whatever amends you feel are necessary, and get on with life. I qualify my advice ( I hate sounding preachy) with the fact that I was the son you are talking about. My mother and her parents turned the natural love I had for dad into hatred. When I was 34 years old I finally contacted my dad, we kissed and hugged and, more importantly talked for hours. He died 1 year later. Did I do the right thing? You betcha. Meg’s thought is spot on. Your sons are adults now.

    Liked by 1 person

  • They are men now, not boys. The maturity they have gained may allow that door to crack open. I hope that time has softened the feelings of your ex-wife as well. Especially if she knows how you are working so hard at changing your own life. It’s good that you cried. That buried pain needed a release. Peace my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  • Yes. Do it. ! Great decision. The very thing to do now. Happy for you, really. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

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