Dad's tend to have a different experience of it, as we are usually the ones asked to leave the house. The rest of the crew sails along as if we're just on an extended business trip. We dads, on the other hand, struggle with finding a new home, a new community of friends, a new job with more money so we can actually afford a place to live and make our child support payments. While they go on without us, we are left to fend for ourselves.
My ex-wife and I don't see eye to eye on a lot of things. But one thing we've kept relatively clear over the last 5 years of divorce is THE KIDS COME FIRST. Always.
As I prepare for my back to school, end of summer, dip I know that I am better prepared for the eventual final departure of our kids. I just wish it hadn't come so soon in my marriage.
We tore up the 50/50 schedule that I brought into the counseling session. We started again with the SPO and the non-custodial rights and responsibilities. And while I gave up a huge piece of my "dad time" that day, I've never stopped working to show up for my kids at every opportunity afforded me.
The non-custodial parent is treated a bit like a second-class citizen in the legal system. If you want to go for 50/50 divorce parenting, I think you'll need an attorney. I also think it's worth it, if you want to spend as much time as possible with your children.
Your kids are learning about life from how you behave, not how you tell them to behave. So behave honorably. Be respectful of your former partner. And love them with all of your heart when they are with you.
She doesn't need to force me into a plan. And I don't need to buck against her plan or freak out when it hasn't been put forth. We are indeed already married in every way but two.
My dream in all those years of aloneness, in all the workout-cardio tennis classes, was to get myself in good enough shape to attract a woman and get her on the tennis court. BOOM. At that moment, even before we'd struck a single ball, I GOT IT. This is what I was missing.