A few weeks ago, I moved away from my wife and two sons. We’ve been having marital spats and I just couldn’t stand being around my wife anymore. Having her in the same room makes my blood boil. I can’t control it. I talked to my sons about it, and their reactions couldn’t have been more different.
My 18-year-old didn’t say much, as is his personality. My 13-year-old said that the move was a waste of money since their mother and I barely saw each other. True, my wife and I only saw each other on weekends, but that’s more than too much for me.
I also told them that I am dating this wonderful lady and that their mother had known about it. I don’t know why I had to tell them this.
On our usual Sunday lunch the younger one asked me if he could have my room for his pets. I could only say it was a good idea.
My issue is, I’ve not been gone long and my kids seem to have accepted my departure so easily. There were no tears, no telling me that I should stay. Wouldn’t they miss me and my presence at home? Have I meant so little that they do not want or expect me to go back? How can this be? Have I failed as a father?
Goodness, you have sons! When did males generally succumb to histrionics? That’s not to say they have no feelings. Anything resembling emotion to them slides down like water on a duck’s back. They have better things to focus on. Your young son said it best with “what’s the difference now?”
And when you mentioned to them your “wonderful new lady,” it probably sounded like a point of no return as a family, and being practical, thought your vacated place will be useful for the pets.
Take this time to be an understanding father to them, if you weren’t before. Your eldest is on the cusp of adulthood and, in a little while, will be free to do whatever he wants to do—with or without your guidance. Your younger is still a kid, still malleable enough for you to groom into a well-behaved, responsible human being—should you be there for him.
You were neither suddenly unloved nor disrespected by your sons. It was just their nature. Their relationship with you all depends on what kind of a father you will be to them, from hereon.