Doing the Best I Can – Why Fathers Leave Their Children

You know there are three sides to every story – your side, his side, and the truth.

Yet, despite that knowledge and awareness, we act like this is not true.

People with different agendas – at work, in love, in politics – are not just acting in their own interests, but they’re “wrong” for even having interests. Worse, men who act in their self-interests are “selfish,” “mean,” and “narcissistic.”

Somehow, I think things are more complicated than that.

I have a close girl friend who is currently stringing along a really nice guy who wants to be her boyfriend. It’s been two months. She’s not bad. She’s not wrong. She’s confused. She knows she wastes time on bad men but is having trouble letting down her guard to receive this kind man’s love and affection. Of course, as a woman, she’s entitled to such ambivalence. She doesn’t want to make a mistake. She doesn’t want to settle. She doesn’t want to break things off. She just wants to keep things as they are.

You know there are three sides to every story – your side, his side, and the truth.

Same with Elizabeth Gilbert of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame. She was dissatisfied in her bland marriage and picked up to go on a worldwide tour of self-exploration. She later left her husband for her best friend. It is well within her right to pursue happiness as she sees fit, even if it ended up hurting two different husbands. The difference is that if a man left two different wives for newer options, I believe women would be less sympathetic.

Which is a long lead-in to today’s article, by the New York Times’ David Brooks, about men who leave their children. On the surface, it’s black and white – men who leave their children are the ultimate in selfishness, deadbeat dads with no heart, spine or morals.

In reality, Brooks says, the picture is far more complex. I thought this passage was particularly powerful and sad:

“The key weakness is not the father’s bond to the child; it’s the parents’ bond with each other. They usually went into this without much love or sense of commitment. The fathers often retain a traditional and idealistic “Leave It to Beaver” view of marriage. They dream of the perfect soul mate. They know this woman isn’t it, so they are still looking.

Buried in the rigors of motherhood, the women, meanwhile, take a very practical view of what they need in a man: Will this guy provide the financial stability I need, and if not, can I trade up to someone who will?

The father begins to perceive the mother as bossy, just another authority figure to be skirted. Run-ins

“The so-called deadbeat dads want to succeed as fathers. Their goals and values point them in the right direction, but they’re stuck in a formless romantic anarchy.”

By the time the child is 1, half these couples have split up, and many of the rest will part ways soon after. Suddenly there’s a new guy living in the house, a man who resents the old one. The father redefines his role. He no longer aims to be the provider and caregiver, just the occasional “best friend” who can drop by and provide a little love. This is a role he has a shot at fulfilling, but it destroys parental responsibility

No one is forgiving fathers who turn to drugs and crime; merely pointing out that, as Brooks writes, “the so-called deadbeat dads want to succeed as fathers. Their goals and values point them in the right direction, but they’re stuck in a formless romantic anarchy.”

The next time you hear about a man who is an absentee father, try to summon a little sympathy for his plight. He may not be entirely blameless, but he probably shouldn’t shoulder all the blame either.

Your thoughts, below, are appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    stacey

    Wow. You know when someone gets something so wrong that you question their judgment as it applies to everything else they’ve ever said? That’s what’s happening here, Evan. I’m all for having compassion for men (and women) who aren’t involved in each other’s lives. As I just wrote to a friend about his absent ex-wife, imagine how much pain she must be in to decide that living the rest of her life with a hole in her heart in the exact shape of her child is better than being a mother to her. But Brook’s article 1) portrays women as harpys, 2) never addresses any sort of complexity–only makes excuses, and 3) is so unexamined that it doesn’t deserve column space–let alone a column about his column. If you want women to open their hearts with compassion to the men who have hurt their children the most, present them with real evidence rather than this Brooks drivel.

    1. 1.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      If you disregard everything I’ve ever written because I passed along an op-ed from a respected, philosophical New York Times moderate, then, well, I’m afraid it’s your loss. Just because you think something doesn’t mean that reasonable people cannot have another valid angle on it.

      1. 1.1.1
        AllHeart81

        There is a much more broad and diverse spectrum of issues regarding broken families. Which we couldn’t possibly cover here. But How is it reasonable to reduce women down to just looking for the biggest paycheck while comparatively saying men just happen to be victims of an idealistic “leave-it-to-beaver-dream”‘ and it’s women’s fault for destroying it? Is it men’s fault when women don’t get their own version of a fairy tale ending complele with prince and castle?

        I am all for compassion on many levels. Do some people who commit murder believe that’s how their live will end up? Most likely not. They still deserve compassion but justification is another thing entirely. Do people imagine they will grow a drug or gambling problem? Does anyone go into a relationship hoping it crumbles? Of course not. People need the compassion of others to heal and change negative behavior. Absent fathers have emotional issues like anyone else. They need help. Help they are often not willing to get and where the resources to help them are also limited. I have compassion for them as fellow human beings making mistakes. But I don’t have compassion for them based on a grim-fairy tale that it’s the mother’s fault for them not being involved.

        And unlike your friend stringing a guy along (obviously not the best choice) and Eat, Pray, Love ( which is a lot more complex then you are representing); the rules are different when children are involved. It seems like we are saying “poor dads! They leave because they got their feelings hurt.they are the real victims of mom’s hardcore practicalities!” Meanwhile, there are lots of kids sitting at home angry and depressed because Dad made the choice, no matter the reason, to not be a part of it. Moms usually don’t walk away from their families. Fathers do. Blaming moms for that is not moderate or reasonable. espectially for the reason that was given in that piece.

        1. CaliforniaGirl

          Great answer.

          Fortunately, I don’t know many divorced families where the father is absent but the ones that I do know, I have no pity or compassion for the father. They are always selfish narcissistic abusers and their kids are better without them anyway.

  2. 2
    Christine Cha

    Evan, in David Brooks article the research cited is referring to a socioeconomic group that is significantly more disadvantaged than what I suspect are your usual clients.

  3. 3
    Adrian

    Here is a situation that I would be curios to the views of others about.

    The stories involving ex-husbands who have to legally still support children that are not theirs.

    I always have mixed feelings when I hear of this because I do agree that a child should be taken care of but at the same time the guy found out that the child is not his so I understand not wanting to be around for something like that.

    I do think a father should “mostly” always put a child’s needs before his but what about step-fathers and boyfriends who date women with kids for years? Or the guy who found out that this child was never really his?

    1. 3.1
      Bob

      I’ve dated single mothers whose children were supported by their biological fathers… or, at least, the guys those women were married to.

      Anyone can give any opinion on who should do what, but another man’s child is not my responsibility. Period. I’m not investing in them when I can avoid doing so.

  4. 4
    DeeGee

    Evan, so many of the things in this post hit home with me.
    I am not a father, I happened to marry the wrong woman in my younger years and stayed with it trying to make it work, with the side effect of being childless, and so therefore I am not a deadbeat dad or anything.

    I have a close girl friend who is currently stringing along a really nice guy who wants to be her boyfriend.
    I feel that I am in this with the woman I am dating right now.  I think I am just going to call it all off.

    The fathers often retain a traditional and idealistic “Leave It to Beaver” view of marriage.
    This is so me.  For all of my entire life I have wanted the house with the white picket fence dream.  But none of the women that I have found along the way wanted the same.

    I read a comment by another man recently, that made me really wonder a lot about my current and possibly invalid view of men versus women.  He said that men write books and movies about romance with poetry and flowers (too many to list here), while women write books and movies like “50 Shades of Grey”.  And that this really shows the differences on what men versus women actually desire in relationships.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      DeeGee… Appreciate you sharing and being vulnerable. However, I wouldn’t take that last quote seriously at all. That’s a HIGHLY skewed and polarized look at the world and I’m inclined to think that it’s generally untrue. You cite men as lovers of flowers and poetry (and romance) and women as 50 Shades of Grey, but you ignore the fact that 30% of the internet is porn and 95% of that porn is consumed by men. Thus, 50 Shades is an exception that illustrates that women are libidinous, too. But the reason you’ve HEARD of 50 Shades is that it’s a STORY. “Man watches free internet porn?” Not a story. Way too common to mention. Anyway, don’t mean to shoot you down, but I think that assuming women are on the prowl and men are sweetly looking for monogamy is a severe misreading of most people’s overall dating experience.

      As for you, my friend: there are MILLIONS of women who want the white picket fence. Choose among those women and you’ll get the dream you’ve always sought. Same thing I routinely tell women who complain about selfish, non-committal men.

      1. 4.1.1
        DeeGee

        Evan.  Points taken.  Thanks.

    2. 4.2
      CaliforniaGirl

      There are women who want a house with the white picket fence and traditional family, maybe just those women do not attract you initially? Maybe you are attracted to a “50 shades of grey” (which is an absolute fantasy world)  type of women and this is not what you are looking for? I just had Airbnb guests, a young couple, just got married, both in early twenties and they want a lot of kids and a house. They looked perfectly on a same page.

      1. 4.2.1
        DeeGee

        CaliforniaGirl said “maybe just those women do not attract you initially

        I don’t really have a type.  I am attracted to a very wide range of women.
        I am 55 now.  Divorced 20 years ago, no kids.  Two medium-term relationships since then.  I’m 5’9″, red hair (look like David Caruso in CSI:Miami), fairly fit (I work out daily).  I am an IT Manager ($90k), a published author, professional composer, own a software company.
        I have recently given up after about five years of online dating, women on there are absolutely crazy.  In the past year I have chatted, skyped, and dated a decent number of women, everything from 46 to 56, blonde to brunette to grey, thin to BBW, and everything from stenos to teachers to medics.  I would be just fine with someone sane.  And in almost all cases they rejected me after the first through third date (telling me that I’m not tall enough, not good looking enough, don’t make enough money, my house isn’t big enough, etc.).

        1. Emily, the original

          DeeGee,

          And in almost all cases they rejected me after the first through third date (telling me that I’m not tall enough, not good looking enough, don’t make enough money, my house isn’t big enough, etc.).

          Really? You mean women, after 1 date, have said, “You’re not good looking enough”? I don’t think I’ve ever said that to someone. Usually it’s a generic “not feeling the necessary chemistry to move forward.” And do you discuss salary that early on? Does the dating site require that you list what you make?

          5’9″ is average height for a man. That’s not short and $90k is a good salary. Surely, that’s quite a big more than a teacher or a medic makes.

        2. Fromkin

          “5’9″ is average height for a man. That’s not short and $90k is a good salary”

          Not good enough for older gals who are all waiting in line for that tall, affluent soulmate. Without history, dependents, baggage at our age, and with a full head of hair.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Did they REALLY say such things, or did you infer those as being the reasons from something else they said or did ? If they said such things, then they are RUDE and SHALLOW and you dodged a bullet.

          I have NEVER said anything beyond “I don’t think we are a match” if I met them in person, and if I didn’t care to respond to someone online, I either ignored them, or if I did write back with a reason, it was usually something in my profile that I had already listed as outside of my preferences.  (Too young, too far away, or smokers).

          I never looked at height or income on the profiles, as I am not very tall, and I really couldn’t care less about height or wealth.  Financially, all I care about is a man who lives within his means. I have been called a liar on this board for saying that, but all of my long term relationships have been with men approx 5’8″ or under, most of them low to middle income.  Match didn’t allow  a “no preference” under height (they did for almost every other category), so I just picked the lowest and the highest height from the drop down box as my range.

          I hope you don’t give up for good DeeGee and I wish you all the luck in the world if you go back and try again, online or IRL. There are women who aren’t looking for stinking rich or 6 feet tall, I know because I am one of them. And I am not the only one.

          I took many a “guyatus” because dating in your late 50’s is no easy feat for either gender. So glad I didn’t give up for good, because at age 59 I met and fell in love with a ginger haired man, 5’8″, retired, 8 years my senior, and living in a tiny duplex.  His top income was a little less than yours before he retired, and he lives within his means, and has a very generous heart.  (not just towards me, but his family, friends and the larger community)

          I do think he has quite a handsome, masculine face, and he is very physically active and he has dynamite arms, but I love him for reasons far beyond his raw physical features.  It was the twinkle in his eye that made me swoon the first time I saw him in person.  So initially, I was taken in with our witty e-mail exchange, his handsome face and his muscular arms and the twinkle in his eye, but it is his kind heart, his sense of humor his dedication to his family, (children, grand children) and his unabashed, unambiguous, love for me that made me stay.  I never doubted for one moment where I stood with him.  He made his intentions clear from day one, he pursued me, and my response was always an enthusiastic YES.  Stupid cat and mouse games are ridiculous at any age, but seriously, who has time to play silly games like that in your 60’s ?????)  I walked down the aisle again at age 61.  Never expected THAT to happen (wasn’t even sure if I WANTED marriage, but I did want to fall in love one last time) but I guess miracles do happen. As for me, I am now a white haired 60 something year old woman, with a few extra pounds. (White hair was my hubby’s idea, he encouraged me to stop coloring my hair)  MOST men would reject me for my age, weight, twice divorced status or my white hair although I hope they wouldn’t be rude enough to say that to me.  But who cares what MOST men want, as I was only looking for ONE.  And he thinks I’m gorgeous and I think he is the sexiest man (to me) on the planet !

           

        4. KK

          My goodness, the negativity sure does get old. If you don’t like women, don’t date.

          @Fromkin

        5. Emily, the original

          Fromkin,

          Not good enough for older gals who are all waiting in line for that tall, affluent soulmate. Without history, dependents, baggage at our age, and with a full head of hair.

          Well, if they want all that with more than $90k in salary, they’d better be bringing quite a bit to the table themselves, although personally I’d trade out the height and the salary for no dependents and a full head of hair!  🙂

        6. Malika

          Hi Deegee:

          You sound like a good catch, based on outward appearances. Dating is not for the faint hearted, and we can be rejected for all kinds of reasons that seem irrational to us. Just to show that you are not the only one having to hear the rejection list,  here is an overview of the ones i have heard in the past couple of years. ‘not feeling the attraction’ (i’m fine with that as there is nothing to start if there’s no mutual chemistry), I didn’t wear heels on the first date, i did not invite him up to the apartment on the first date (this has happened more than once. Facepalm.), I came over as a bit prissy, I went to a therapist for a very sound and healthy reason (it was date 5 and he had asked me specifically if i went to one), I wasn’t into BDSM (he could maybe have asked that before we met up in the cafe), he didn’t like my voice, he didn’t realize I was foreign (that was a bullet missed), I seemed like a slow cyclist, and last but not least I seemed cold. This was all unsolicited feedback, as i just make a point to move on quickly if he’s not interested and never ask for details.

          In all these cases, i did not deem them ‘crazy’. In some cases maybe a bit nitpicky, but not clinically insane. For all of them, it’s a potpourri of words that signify quite simply ‘he’s just not that into you’. Because if the woman of your dreams sails into the bar, you are not going to reject her because she’s wearing flats. If the man that is IT is sitting accross you, you don’t care if his house is the size of a matchbox. The illusion of choice is something we all have to deal with when dating online, but honestly it’s difficult to find your true match whichever medium you wish to use to meet potential dates.

        7. Emily, the original

          Malika,

          I came over as a bit prissy, I went to a therapist for a very sound and healthy reason (it was date 5 and he had asked me specifically if i went to one), I wasn’t into BDSM (he could maybe have asked that before we met up in the cafe), he didn’t like my voice, he didn’t realize I was foreign (that was a bullet missed), I seemed like a slow cyclist, and last but not least I seemed cold.

          There is being honest and then there is having no filter. If it’s really early in the process, a simple “I don’t think we’re a match” is sufficient. (Although by date 5, you would expect a more specific reason for ending things. But the therapist excuse is ridiculous.)

        8. DeeGee

          Although some of this comment may sound negative, I am not that way at all.
          I enjoy the dating game, I love meeting new people and finding out about them, I have absolutely no issues with rejection from women, in fact I laugh about it and I have even been known to ask out high maintenance women just so that I can hear their reason for rejecting me, which is often hilarious.

          I have been on six online dating sites for more than five years now, and chatted, skyped, and dated more than 50 women.
          I also find it funny to see women who will hit the “I would like to meet him” button on the dating sites, only to have them never reply to my message.  Seriously?  🙂

          I am going to sign off of using dating sites for two reasons:
          1: women simply use it as a shopping list to look for the highest rated male they can find, they base their choice on who to respond to simply on looks and/or income and not on who the person is (they have never even met me).
          2: women simply pass you over for the photos or some piece of information on your profile, without even meeting you to see if there is even any chemistry, even if your compatibility is 90% or higher.

          Evan should do more blog posts on chemistry versus compatibility. Chemistry lasts six months at best, and women almost never base their choice in a mate on compatibility.

          Now on to answer some of the comments:

          Emily the original said: “You mean women, after 1 date, have said…

          Yes they have.  Along with you are not tall enough, you don’t make enough money, etc.

          Emily the original said: “And do you discuss salary that early on? Does the dating site require that you list what you make?

          Most dating sites have you list your income.  If you leave that as the generic “I refuse to answer” then most women will take that as a red flag that you make minimum wage and you can be guaranteed no message replies, unless you look like a 1% top male model.

          Emily the original said: “5’9″ is average height for a man.

          Google any statistics on women who were polled about how tall they want a man to be.
          6′ to 6’2″ is the most popular height that most women want in a man.

          Emily the original said: “$90k is a good salary.

          It is not good enough for most women, especially not those who are 50+ in age.
          Where I live, unless you make $150k and live in an upper class $400k+ home, most women won’t even look at you.
          I make $90k and live in a $250k average home.
          Women who are 50+ are looking for a guy who is a millionaire who lives in a nice home, so that he can treat her to the style of life that she wants for retirement, which includes jetting around the world on trips and holidays and vacations for the remainder of their adult life.
          A large number of the dating profiles for 55+ age women that I see on the six dating sites I am on, they even say this, that the man must be wealthy enough to support the type of world travelling they want to do.
          Women believe they are entitled to that even if they themselves are no where near that level of status and income.  This is where equality falls apart in my opinion.

          SparklingEmerald said: “Did they REALLY say such things, or did you infer those as being the reasons from something else they said or did?

          Yes, they really did.
          And as far as “dodging a bullet” as you put it, these things I listed are the responses from most of women!  That is a lot of dodging.  🙂
          I have dozens of dating stories I could tell you.  Unfortunately that would take up too much space here on the comments.
          To give you a few examples:
          After a few dates with M, she actually held a small box up to a wall, adjusted it to her height, then asked me to stand next to it, because she didn’t believe that I was two inches taller than her.  She said she would only date guys taller than her.
          J and I chatted and skyped a few times before our first date, after which she texted me after the first date and said she didn’t think we would be compatible because I was not tall enough.  The exact reason.
          One the first date with C, a minimum wage waitress that I knew for more than six months, she walked around my house pointing at things and saying “I don’t like this, I don’t like that”.
          I went on three dates with F, on the third date she was telling me how she and her manager pulled some strings to falsify her government role so that she could make $65k a year instead of the $45k she is supposed to be paid, when I said that I make $90k she rolled her eyes, and said she wasn’t interested in another date.
          K, a receptionist who makes $35k, who knew how much I make, actually laughed in my face when I asked her out, and said she doesn’t date guys who make less than $150k.
          And there are many many more like this.

          SparklingEmerald said: “Financially, all I care about is a man who lives within his means. I have been called a liar on this board for saying that.

          I believe you.  There are some women like that.  But consider yourself the exception and not the rule in women.

          SparklingEmerald said: “I hope you don’t give up for good DeeGee.

          I am giving up on the dating sites.  All of my subscriptions but one have already ran out.
          I just don’t like the fact that women use it for shopping lists.
          I think I will have better luck at some local adult mingling events, or even if I attend a local church.
          It will take considerably longer, but I am not the type who needs someone to fill any hole in my life (I am a whole and happy person).
          I have mentioned before, I am a published author, professional composer, photographer, filmmaker, I own a software company, I have two YouTube channels, so I have a full life.
          I have just been looking for someone to share my life and time with, but if no one wants in to that, then I am not going to be upset or angry about it.  🙂
          I have no issue sharing information about myself, including links to my company website, YouTube channels, etc., so that you know that I am being honest.

          Emily the original said: “they’d better be bringing quite a bit to the table themselves

          Women don’t have to bring anything, that is part of the problem.
          Women are naturally hypergamous.  I don’t say that negatively or mean-spirited.
          It has been part of the human social construct for centuries.
          Women almost always “date up” and expect, or believe they are entitled to, date up.
          Whether that includes looks, physique, finances, or all of the above varies by the woman.

          Malika said: “Dating is not for the faint hearted, and we can be rejected for all kinds of reasons that seem irrational to us.

          Thank you for your comment.  It was interesting to hear some of your results.
          I am a very easy going and very chill guy.  I tend to see the positive in anyone that I meet or date.  It takes some serious red flags for me to drop out of dating someone.
          Out of the 50+ women I dated in the past five years, only two were discontinued by me.  One of them was because the woman claimed that she heard voices telling her what to do in her life (seriously!).

          Malika said: “If the man that is IT is sitting accross you, you don’t care if his house is the size of a matchbox.

          This point I would disagree with for most women.
          The vast majority of women are looking for comfort, and a man who will provide it to them.
          And most women will not go backwards in comfort.  If she has been with a guy who has a car, the next guy must have a car that is equal or higher.  If she has been with a guy who has a nice home, the next guy must have a home that is equal or higher.  The same for income, especially.  Women will usually divorce men who go down in income.
          The top 10 reasons for divorce, of which women file for 70% of the time, are exactly these things.

        9. CMV

          I’ve never heard of the behavior you’ve described in my life.

          I polled my close male friends (one is 5’7) and they’ve never heard of such behavior either.

        10. Yet Anothe Guy

          @DeeGee

          There is quite a disconnect between height requirements and population demographics on female profiles on Match.  The fact is that most women cannot tell the difference between a 5’11” man and a 6’0″ man.  In fact, most women are quite horrible at guessing male height because they have been lied to most of their lives.  Male height inflation is rampant in society.  The average sub-6’0″ man inflates his height by up to 2″ on his driver’s license, not just on dating sites (shorter men reach further).  Height is not a static measurement.  Most people our age are around 1 to 2cm taller in morning than they are in the evening due to spinal disc compression.   I am around 182.23cm (5’11.75″) at my tallest and 181cm (5’11.25″) at my shortest.

          The problem is that male height just like female bust size is a primal trigger.  The number one female primal need is to feel safe and secure.  A man’s size is a visual cue for his ability to provide protection.  However, height is a poor metric for size because men come in three builds, and most tall men are ectomorphs.  That is why they are tall.  I can assure you that build and the ability to handle oneself are more important than height.  I have never had a woman tell me that I was too short, and the only time I have exceeded 6’0″ was straight out of bed when I was younger.  The reason being is that I wear 48  jacket for my shoulders and chest, not my stomach.  Herein lies another female primal trigger; namely shoulder-to-waist ratio.  On average, women prefer a mesomorph’s more robust v-shape to an ectomorph’s straight up and down, more delicate build.   Women love a man with broad shoulders and well-developed arms.  Trust me, that is one thing a woman notices when she is enveloped in your arms.  A man has more control over how women perceive his build than his height.  That is why I encourage men to fill out their frames. You would be surprised at how much packing on 20 to 30lbs of muscle will change how women view you.  That much weight on a 5’9″ to 6’0″ man will not result in him looking like a freak show, but it will result in him projecting more masculine energy in the most basic primal way.  Show me a woman who claims to not like muscular men, and I will show you a woman who is in denial.

        11. Fromkin

          “Well, if they want all that with more than $90k in salary, they’d better be bringing quite a bit to the table themselves, although personally I’d trade out the height and the salary for no dependents and a full head of hair!  🙂”

          Well, 40 or 50% of us are in Patrick Stewart’s boat by age 50, right? So if hair is a dealbreaker, you’ve limited your own options. No dependents? You’re limiting your own options a lot more. No kids by 50, seriously?

          Median height is 5-11 or just under. A 5-10 height requirement is another hit in your number of options. Your call. And the salary requirement is a thing.

          Older women choose to remain single if they can’t be dazzled. That’s not me disliking women, KK. It’s an unfortunate conclusion.

           

           

           

        12. DeeGee

          Yet Another Guy said: “You would be surprised at how much packing on 20 to 30lbs of muscle will change how women view you.

          Seriously?  How many 55+ men do you know who can put 30lbs of muscles onto their bi’s and tri’s, unless they are dosing with HGH.

          Now not only do I have to be tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, have all of my hair, own an expensive new home, own an expensive new car, be charming and funny, now I also have to be buff and ripped?
          So tell me again, what is the woman bringing to the table??

          It’s no wonder that so many men are just opting to be players or dropping out of the race and dating game entirely.

        13. Yet Another Guy

          @Fromkin

          Median height is 5-11 or just under. A 5-10 height requirement is another hit in your number of options. Your call. And the salary requirement is a thing.

          The Internet is one of the biggest sources of misinformation on the planet.  Median height is country specific.  Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the median height the United States is 5’9.2″ (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/body-measurements.htm).  The CDC is the only accurate source of this information in the United States because they collect actual measured barefoot heights from medical providers, not self-reported heights, which are almost always inflated (even tall men such as football and basketball players inflate their height because the need to be tall is so ingrained in our society).  Average height is indicator of public health, as disease can stunt growth.

        14. Yet Another Guy

          @DeeGee

          How many 55+ men do you know who can put 30lbs of muscles onto their bi’s and tri’s, unless they are dosing with HGH.

          That is not just biceps and triceps.  It is possible for a man age 55+ to put on 20+ lbs of muscle spread over his entire body, not just in his biceps and triceps.  Twenty pounds of muscle is a noticeable size difference.  The reason why this kind of positive weight gain is possible is because progressive resistance training leads to an increase in the release of  human growth hormone and testosterone, even in older men.  Most age 55+ guys concentrate on cardio at the expense of muscle building exercise.  Cardio burns fat while exercising.  Muscle burns fat 24x7x365.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2796409

        15. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          Show me a woman who claims to not like muscular men, and I will show you a woman who is in denial.

          I like a man who is in shape but not muscular, and I am not in denial. Rock-star skinny has always been my preference, though it does of course depend on the individual man.

        16. Emily, the original

          Fromkin,

          So if hair is a deal breaker, you’ve limited your own options. No dependents?

          It’s not a deal breaker, just a preference.

          You’re limiting your own options a lot more. No kids by 50, seriously?

          Yes, kids would be a deal breaker.

           

          Median height is 5-11 or just under. A 5-10 height requirement is another hit in your number of options. Your call.

          I don’t care about height. I thought that was implied when I acknowledged that 5’9″ was not short. I’m 5’5″ and I would prefer he was at least as tall as I am. That’s not an unreasonable preference as that is short for man.

          Older women choose to remain single if they can’t be dazzled. 

          Everybody does.

        17. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the original

          I like a man who is in shape but not muscular, and I am not in denial.

          You appear to be the exception to the rule in every area. I can tell you from personal experience that most women prefer muscular men, especially good looking women who have yoga hottie bodies.  I am not talking about steroid-using freak show bodybuilder big.  I am talking about anything from male fitness model up to true natural bodybuilder size, which is like a bigger version of a male fitness model.  I had my pick of the litter when I was a natural bodybuilder.  It was a shallow existence  that revolved around sleeping, eating, working out, f***ing, and working, but I enjoyed every minute of it.  Picking up an HB8+ was child’s play.

        18. Fromkin

          Older women choose to remain single if they can’t be dazzled. 
          Everybody does.”

          No, we don’t. I’m not dazzled by cranky women my age. But there are quite a few I could be happy with, based on what I remember of married life, if she thought that way as well.

        19. Emily, the original

          YAG,

          You appear to be the exception to the rule in every area.

          My preferred male body type is thin, but I would take someone like Alec Baldwin who, while a bit overweight, is still handsome (and he has great hair!) over a muscular man who wasn’t as attractive. And keep in mind, most movie and rock stars are short and slight, and women fawn over them. Granted, the fame and money give them a huge advantage, but I don’t know many women who would have turned down Johnny Depp in his prime, whether he was famous or not.

        20. Emily, the original

          Fromkin,

          But there are quite a few I could be happy with, based on what I remember of married life, if she thought that way as well.

          That shouldn’t be that hard find. Your aren’t expecting to be dazzled (reasonable expectations) and men, as a general rule, are attracted to a much larger number of women than the number of men women are attracted to.

        21. Yet Another Guy

          @Emily, the orignal

          My preferred male body type is thin, but I would take someone like Alec Baldwin who, while a bit overweight, is still handsome (and he has great hair!) over a muscular man who wasn’t as attractive.

          Luckily, I still have a full head of hair that is its natural color in my mid-fifties. 🙂   Several women have commented that I stand out while browsing a dating site because of my hair.  I had assumed that women were the less shallow of the two genders.  Now I know that women are more critical than men when it comes to sexual attraction.  An OKCupid report claims that women find 80% of the members to be of less than average attractiveness whereas men only find 20% of the women to be of less than average attractiveness.  Both results are statistical anomalies, but I do not want to hear women claim that men are more critical than women when it comes to looks.

          And keep in mind, most movie and rock stars are short and slight, and women fawn over them. Granted, the fame and money give them a huge advantage, but I don’t know many women who would have turned down Johnny Depp in his prime, whether he was famous or not.

          I did not know that Johnny Deep was that short (talk about height inflation in bios).  He cannot be much taller than 5’8″.  Here is a photo of him with Tom Cruise who is a confirmed 5’7″ in bare feet.

          http://www.celebheights.com/pr1/johnny-depp-tom-cruise.jpg

        22. CMV

          @YAG

          “Show me a woman who claims to not like muscular men, and I will show you a woman who is in denial.”

          Count me in the denial pile then. I’ve had a lot of bodybuilder types hit on me over the years and I learned quickly to always turn them down.

          My fave type is dad-bod even through chubby. I can’t stand skinny men.

        23. Emily, the original

          Yet Another Guy

          Luckily, I still have a full head of hair that is its natural color in my mid-fifties. 🙂   Several women have commented that I stand out while browsing a dating site because of my hair. 

          Hair is definitely an asset!

          I do not want to hear women claim that men are more critical than women when it comes to looks.

          As a general rule, no, I don’t think men are as picky about appearance. However, there are some who are very particular, and, can I say this? I think it’s ego and the feeling they get from being seen with a really good looking woman. I don’t know if it’s good or bad that most men find large numbers of women attractive. It does give you the feeling you could be any one of many.

          I did not know that Johnny Deep was that short . Here is a photo of him with Tom Cruise who is a confirmed 5’7″ in bare feet.

          Unless Tom is wearing his lifts!  🙂

  5. 5
    Heather K

    All this illustrates is a need to redefine the role of a father – that it be a role separate from how the relationship with the children’s mother works out.  Fatherhood cannot be reserved only for the times where one feels successful in the role, or the role makes one look good.  Obviously, there will always be parents of both genders who are not stable enough to be a parent, and, in fact, pose a danger to their children.  But I don’t think this is exactly what Brooks is getting at.  Sometimes we end up parents in less than ideal situations, or situations that start out ideal and end as less than ideal.  This doesn’t mean we should get to pick and choose which child or parenting situation ‘fits’ us, and which doesn’t.  Parenting and children are not like a sweater color, or a stint in a career  that doesn’t  quite  work out  as  we want.  We are still a parent.  We will always be a parent.  The question is what kind of parent do we end up being.

  6. 6
    Jenn

    I have gone on dates with plenty of divorced fathers who are there for their children and would never consider being less of a father, regardless of the relationship with the mother. I know men who make sure to live in the same neighborhoods as the mother. Men who go to school functions, either alternating with the mother or with the mother. Honestly, nearly every man who I know of, who is a deadbeat, makes little income (sometimes as a choice), drug-addicted, alcoholic, never worked much when in a relationship with the mother, and was never much of a father even when still in a relationship with the mother. One marriage that I know of, split when the full-time working mother came home to her husband sitting in front of the computer while the baby was sitting in a dirty diaper and the toddler had wandered outside alone in a dangerous situation. Another marriage that ended up with a deadbeat father–well, the father was around for some fun stuff with the kids occasionally, but he never changed a diaper, never financially supported the children, never made sure that the house was cleaned or the kids were fed. Some things happened in that house, and the children ended up living with the father’s mother and the father is no longer in the picture. In another situation, the children also live with the father’s mother after their own mother passed away. The father was never in the picture, began to come around, but his mother had to put a stop to it due to his alcohol problems. I feel that this article is nothing but an excuse. I know plenty of great fathers who would never become absentee no matter what.

    1. 6.1
      K

      Jenn — where I live there was a local news story where a man shot at police and they later tracked him to a home where he barricaded himself inside.  A standoff.  They realized that there were 4 children in the home with the man — because he called to order pizza for the children to make sure they were fed for dinner.  It was a long standoff, he eventually released all 4 children to their mom and surrendered to police.  Police felt children were never in any danger.

  7. 7
    K

    Some consider listing the possible reasons for a bad/absent father an excuse — because there are other men in the world that continue to be great fathers even when split from the mother.  Therefore **all** men **should** be able to be great involved fathers, no matter the difficulty or obstacle.

    Some consider the possible reasons for a man to behave as a bad/absent father a way to possibly understand the situation from a different standpoint.

    For myself, I find that when someone actions or behavior get my judgment going, where I feel they are wrong (of course they are because they don’t agree with me, and everything is black or white) — I try to imagine how they are feeling and what is motivating them.

    Just because I try to understand the other person’s reasoning, logic (or illogic) and feelings that motivate their behavior, doesn’t mean that I have to agree with what they are doing.

    If one dad is a deadbeat and the other is involved, could it be possible that he is a flawed human being doing his best?  Even though there are people who were parented badly who rise above it and become better parents, I’m sure there are people who don’t or become worse parents.

    Have seen women who nag, complain, threaten and tell their ex husbands they are always doing this or that wrong with their kid.  He could never do right by her and without any encouragement (even for small positive actions) he was not strong enough to do what was right.  Should he have?  Yes.  Should she have been more encouraging?  Yes.  If he took child shopping for clothes, they weren’t the “right” clothes or it was something they already had, very nitpicky stuff.  Overall, he was still a very poorly involved father, but consider that it takes 2 people to have a relationship.

    1. 7.1
      AllHeart81

      Of course, men who don’t show up in their own children’s lives clearly are flawed human beings who obviously have old struggles and wounds to work through. I have compassion for that. But many men refuse to acknowledge these issues in the first place. It’s the reason Evan made a business out of helping women, not men, in the first place. Men don’t want the help. How many excuses do we need to make for men before they become active particpants in healing and working on their emotional selves? How much compassion do we offer men when they refuse to help their own issues? The same is true for the women who don’t go easy on their ex husbands by nagging them. But is complelety leaving your children a reasonable response to nagging? My mom nags me sometimes even as a grown adult. It’s annoying as anything. I could never talk to her or I can find solutions that I am in control of.  I learned to not let her nagging affect me. It takes practice but it’s possible.  This comes back to being responsible in managing your own emotions. And yes, women should be managing their emotions too but so should men. Often we use men’s lack of willingness to heal their emotional lives as a reason to blame women for things men are responsible within themselves, too. I am not saying men are responsible for women nagging, but they are responsible how they react to it. Especially when it comes to children.

      1. 7.1.1
        Yet Another Guy

        @AllHeart81

        Men don’t want the help. How many excuses do we need to make for men before they become active particpants in healing and working on their emotional selves? How much compassion do we offer men when they refuse to help their own issues?

        I know that men my age struggle with asking for help.  We are only one generation away from a time when men had very little interaction with their children.  Men of my father’s generation were responsible for providing for their families, mowing the lawn, fixing things that needed to be fixed around the house, and teaching boys life skills when they reached adolescence.  Raising children was primarily a mother’s domain.  Our role models never asked for help because doing so was a sign of weakness.  I too struggle with asking for help.  There are things posted to this blog that make me shake my head at first; however, if given a little time to sink in, start to become acceptable.

         

  8. 8
    Chance

    It’s a big problem that people too often rely on the mother’s word when forming their opinions regarding who is a deadbeat father, which is probably the most non-objective source on the planet (especially in situations when the father initiated the break-up or divorce).  Parental Alienation Syndrome and maternal gatekeeping are real, and these phenomena should be brought into more urgent focus.

  9. 9
    Jeremy

    Years ago, my wife and I were squabbling over the dishwasher.  She had her way of loading it and I had mine.  The difference was that while I declined to comment on (or be interested in) her method, she would constantly berate mine and offer “helpful suggestions” of how I should do it better.  Suggestions which I heard, evaluated, and decided were inefficient.  I eventually became tired of the constant “helpful suggestions” every time I loaded the dishwasher.  I turned to my wife and said, “either let me do this my way or do it yourself, but I refuse to be nagged or berated over the way I load the dishes.”  Amazingly, and much to my surprise, she elected to just do it herself, and has done so ever since.  In fact, when I sometimes start loading on my own, she will jump in and take over.  She does this because she believes that she is primarily responsible for the dishes, that her way is better, and that if I don’t do it her way she’d rather I not be involved.

     

    Children are not dishes (obviously).  But parallels apply.  The point is not that absentee fathers are making good or right decisions, or that they don’t bear the brunt of responsibility for their problems.  They aren’t and they do.  The point, as I understood it, was that often times the behavior of both the mother and the father contribute to this phenomenon, and that in order to begin to address the issue, both the mother and the father often times need to adjust their behavior.  She, to acknowledge that she is not the only parent, nor are her priorities necessarily more correct than the father’s.  And his, to understand that his contributions are just as essential as the mother’s, both financially (which most men understand), but also emotionally and practically.

  10. 10
    FG

    Here’s a thought (merely an exploration): might it be that for SOME fathers, their wish to disconenct from kids is directly related to a desire to completely remove any association with their former partner? Whether from emotional distress / pain / suffering at the loss / failure, or from rage at an exploitative system, or serious misgivings about who the former partner really turned out to be and a want or even need for a clean break?

    One of the issues with ex partners when kids are thrown into the mix of outcomes lies with the inevitable, continued presence, often argumentative or confrontational, that will plague the man (or woman) for decades to come. Any happy occasion (birthdays, graduation, weddings, births, etc…) brings a dose of “seeing that damn (fill in the blank: person, bitch, cad, fool, bloodsucker, airhead, etc.) yet again”. That, in and of itself, may justify some people (not everyone is equipped in the same way) to distance themselves forevermore.

  11. 11
    KK

    “The next time you hear about a man who is an absentee father, try to summon a little sympathy for his plight. He may not be entirely blameless, but he probably shouldn’t shoulder all the blame either”.

    I choose to have sympathy for the abandoned children and their mother whose heart is broken over her children’s broken hearts.

    1. 11.1
      Chance

      The problem with this is that too many men who are perceived as having abandoned their children are actually suffering from the mother restricting access.

      1. 11.1.1
        dandy

        If the mother is indeed restricting access, dad needs to document dates/times he did not get the kids when he should have, and then go to court. Judges don’t stand for that – my mom did this when my parents divorced and after about a year, my dad got full custody of us for that very reason. So ladies when a man says “mom won’t let me see them” – do some digging.  Is that really true? Or is he just saying that to garner sympathy? Unless there’s an order signed by the judge saying dad CAN’T see the kids, then dad indeed does have rights he’s just not exercising them. usually too busy chasing a new piece of p*ssy to be bothered with the kids.

        1. xxxxxx

          Yup. Courts cannot force parents to be involved in their children’s lives, but they sure can if one parent wants to be, but is prevented from doing so by the custodial parent.  I can see how this may be a problem for a parent wanting to enforce his or her rights, but for lack of money to engage lawyers and such.

        2. Yet Anothe Guy

          It depends on the age of the children.  In my state, the court cannot compel a teenage child to spend time with his/her father.  A mother can add fuel to the fire by garnering sympathy from the children if the father was the one who left the family home.  I am personally experiencing this problem with one of my teenage children. I have not seen her in months.  She blames me for breaking up the family when it was a mutual decision to divorce.

      2. 11.1.2
        KK

        Chance,

        I’m not sure where you’re getting you’re information, but it is ILLEGAL for either parent to restrict access to the child(ren). As soon as one party files for divorce, temporary custody orders are put in place. If either party violates those court orders, they can be charged with being in contempt of court.

        I have a friend whose brother is in the middle of a very messy, high conflict divorce with two children. It’s nearing the 2 year mark and they haven’t settled yet.

        At the beginning of June, his (estranged) wife informed him that she was taking the kids on vacation with her parents. His next scheduled weekend visitation was to begin on a Friday at 6:00 p.m. She told him they wouldn’t be back in town until Saturday afternoon and wanted to know if he was okay with getting them a day late. He wasn’t okay with it and told her no. She did not show up with the children that Friday. She texted him Saturday to meet her. He got his kids, spent the rest of the weekend with them, and contacted his attorney Monday morning. His attorney filed contempt charges on her. She was fined $500 and threatened with 3 months of jail time. His attorney told the judge that his client did not want her to go to jail for her first offense. But the judge was very clear that if it ever happened again, she would in fact be spending some time in jail.

        That said, I know this man. He is a good, responsible, and involved parent. He’s holding his soon to be ex accountable, as he should. There are men who don’t. They would rather avoid conflict at all costs instead of taking responsibility. Then they’ll go on men’s blogs and whine about how they’ve been victimized by their evil ex, leading others to falsely believe this same fate awaits them if they end up divorced.

        It is disgusting when either parent uses their children as pawns to hurt the other parent and fortunately, we have laws that protect those parents and their children. So just exercise a little healthy skepticism the next time some Joe Schmo gives you a sob story about how he’s being forced out of his children’s lives, because I can assure you it’s B.S. He is opting out.

        1. KK

          And I’d like to add that my real life example of a mother who felt the rules didn’t apply to her, is just that. One example. There are dozens of different scenarios. Most of these dead beat dads are CHOOSING to abandon their children and the mothers wish that wasn’t the case. In my opinion, it isn’t helpful to anyone to excuse bad behavior, when there is literally no excuse.

        2. Chance

          They aren’t always opting out, and it’s inappropriate to assume that the man is always doing so.  The problem is that judges have so much power in the family law arena, and that the “best interests of the child” is highly judgmental and subject to misuse.  Depending on the judge, if the mother says you are a bad father, then that makes you a bad father.  This is the type of restriction I am talking about.

        3. Chance

          KK, but I do agree with you that too many men are too quick to acquiesce to the assertiveness, demands and expectations of the children’s mother during divorce/custody proceedings, and then complain that they got shafted when – in actuality- they didn’t put up enough of a fight.  More men should be prepared to go to the mat in these situations, and fortunately, it appears that this is the trend.

           

          I think some of this had been due to the fear that men would be perceived as sissies if they go up against a woman.  It’s your kids and your financial well-being, man.  Who cares about the shaming tactics that your soon-to-be ex or her friends try to employ during this process?

        4. Chance

          “Most of these dead beat dads are CHOOSING to abandon their children and the mothers wish that wasn’t the case”

           

          I don’t know how you could possibly know this.  Also, what do you consider to be “abondoning”?  Does this include mothers who choose to have a child against the father’s wishes due to an unplanned pregnancy?  In these cases, it is the mother who is primarily responsible for the child’s conditions.

        5. KK

          “Depending on the judge, if the mother says you are a bad father, then that makes you a bad father.  This is the type of restriction I am talking about”.

          Chance,

          This just isn’t true. If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re referring to a father legally losing his parental rights. That’s a completely different topic than what I discussed earlier and it is incredibly difficult to lose your parental rights. If one parent accuses the other parent of misconduct, they have to have proof.

          Examples would include chronic unemployment, alcoholism, drug abuse, and physically abusing the child(ren).

          A judge does not “take your word for it”. That’s ludicrous. And even in the most severe cases, the “bad parent” still gets court ordered visitation. Granted, it’s supervised (for the safety of the children) but it’s regular visitation nonetheless, and it is enforceable by law. It cannot be denied.

          I’ve only heard of a handful of people who have lost custody, but I’ll give you another example involving a mom.

          I had met my cousin and his girlfriend for dinner. She was very pretty, well-dressed, intelligent, personable, etc. I liked her. Weeks later, he was telling me he was thinking of popping the question. (If I remember correctly, they had only been dating for about 6 months or so at this point). He mentioned that she had a son that her ex-husband had full custody of. This was the first I had heard about her having a child. I asked why she didn’t share joint custody. He gave me a sob story about her being a struggling nurse who ended up with a crappy attorney, that she couldn’t afford to continue to fight her very wealthy ex-husband, blah blah blah….

          I told him what I’m telling you and that I was pretty confident she was feeding him a line of B.S. He listened and asked to see all of her divorce records. She refused, but eventually confessed that she had been charged with a DWI while her child was in the car. She was arrested, went to jail, and served her time and THAT’S HOW her ex was able to get full custody.

        6. Emily, the original

          Chance,

          I think some of this had been due to the fear that men would be perceived as sissies if they go up against a woman.

          Actually, I think most people would think they were sissies if the DIDN’T fight for their kids.

        7. mgm531

          KK,

          Here’s my story of parental alienation if it helps you to understand that not only is it possible, it’s easy to manipulate the court system into forcing a parent into giving up their right to custody of their child.  My ex and I seperated in 2013,  Initially she agreed to 50/50 custody, but steadfastly refused to agree to any set schedule.  Over the next 3 years I requested the court on numerous occasions to force my ex to agree to a schedule.  It cost me thousands of dollars in legal fees to do it, but after three years I got my wish.  But during that time my ex did an excellent job of poisoning my daughter’s mind against me so by the time I finally won the legal right to have 50/50 custody, my daughter decided that she just wasn’t comfortable with spending much time with me.  After numerous attempts to change her mind and convince her that I in fact was not the evil father my ex made me out to be, I finally was advised by a family couselor that I should just give her time to figure it out on her own.  My ex refused to support me in anyway.  Instead after a few months of this arrangement she filed a request for full custody with the court because my daughter was spending the majority of the time with her mother, but not because of my negligence, mind you.  Despite my argument to the court that the custody arrangement was against my will, the court assigned full custody of my daughter to her mother and doubled the child support payments that I had to pay.  So please, don’t lecture me about negligent father’s.  Because quite frankly, you have no idea how difficult it is to do the right thing when the court system is so biased against fathers and so easily manipulated.

        8. KK

          Mgm531,

          “My ex and I seperated in 2013,  Initially she agreed to 50/50 custody, but steadfastly refused to agree to any set schedule”. 

          Did you hire an attorney as soon as she changed her mind? Did your attorney file an emergency custody / visitation hearing? Temporary custody orders go into affect rather quickly as soon as you retain an attorney and get the ball rolling, regardless of how long it takes to actually divorce.

          “Over the next 3 years I requested the court on numerous occasions to force my ex to agree to a schedule”.

          Are you saying you were unable to see your child for 3 years or that your visitation schedule was other than the 50/50 custody your ex originally agreed to?

          “But during that time my ex did an excellent job of poisoning my daughter’s mind against me so by the time I finally won the legal right to have 50/50 custody, my daughter decided that she just wasn’t comfortable with spending much time with me”.

          I’m sorry that happened to you and your daughter. It’s unfortunate that one person can be so hateful and hurt their child in that way.

          I have a lot of empathy for your situation. Unfortunately, your counselor gave you some really awful advice. I wish you would have gotten advice from your attorney instead, because he / she would have told you not to give up your court ordered visitation for any reason. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the situation, judges have to make their rulings based on facts. The facts (regardless of how good your motives were) show that you quit exercising visitation and that was used against you.

          “So please, don’t lecture me about negligent father’s.  Because quite frankly, you have no idea how difficult it is to do the right thing when the court system is so biased against fathers and so easily manipulated”.

          I don’t believe the court system is biased against fathers. I believe that a lot of cases, such as your own, don’t turn out well because of a lack of understanding how the court system works. It may surprise you to know that I spent several years actively involved with a father’s rights organization. Situations like yours exist. There are a number of steps one can take in order to have a successful outcome.

          Again, I am sorry for your situation. I can assure you that if you maintain contact with your daugbter, she will eventually see through all the lies. Whether that means calling / texting every day, sending cards, inviting her to the movies or out to eat, she will eventually give you a chance. Be consistent.

           

           

           

           

           

        9. Emily, the original

          KK,

           I can assure you that if you maintain contact with your daughter, she will eventually see through all the lies.

          And she will probably go through a phase where she feels very angry at the mother because she’ll realize how manipulated she was because of the mother’s selfishness.

        10. mgm531

          @KK

          In answer to your questions I had every legal right to the amount of custody granted to me by the court.  The problem is unless you want to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars to fight EVERY instance of a custody schedule violation there is little you can do about it.  True, in the instances I was denied access to my daughter by my ex I could have easily gotten the police involved and FORCED her to come stay with me, but by doing so would have caused such a traumatic experience that it would have ruined our relationship for years.  This would have also allowed my ex the perfect excuse to play the martyred victim and claim that she was ‘only doing what a mother would do’ by protecting her child from distrupting her life.  In the end I choose not to do all this because by doing so would have played right into the hands of my ex and made the situation far worse than if I just took the high road and let the situation play out as it did.  As of now I have a pretty good relationship with my daughter and since she is a teenager she spends most of her time with her friends anyways.  So in the end it worked out okay, but it has been a very turmultuous last few years to get to this point.  The point I was trying to make is that the family court system is legally unable to be versatile and quick enough to deal with custody violations that occur unless one party goes ‘nuclear’ and invloves all kinds of legal and government agencies and department.  Some times acting on a legal right causes such much trauma to a child that doing the right thing is better, even though you end up being the loser legally.  My ex knew this and used it to her advantage.  She knew that in order for me to fight every single BullSh*t thing she did would take YEARS and cost thousands of dollars to fight.  So after a while I just stop fighting and just accepted it.  Thus far I have spent $60K in legal fees fighting and I if I had kept on going the way all I could see was 10’s of thousands more.  So I stop fighting and just accepted.

        11. Yet Another Guy

          @KK

          I don’t believe the court system is biased against fathers.

          I do not know where you live, but the court system is absolutely biased against men in my state.  This bias is well documented.  For example, it is darn near impossible for a man to get sole custody of his children without spending a fortune on legal representation and expert witnesses.  A woman never has to deal with the same level of bias when she seeks sole custody because women are almost always automatically granted primary caretaker status.  A woman who remarries and moves out of state will almost always be granted sole physical custody by the court, even though she is uprooting the children from the school system and friends that they know.

          Let’s look at the case linked below.  The woman in this case not only remarried and moved the children out of state without first notifying the court, she attempted to place a 72-hour notification restriction on her ex-husband visiting the children’s school and extracurricular activities.  I am sorry, but that is just messed up.  That is a blatant attempt to drive her ex-husband out of their lives.  Luckily, the court threw the 72-hour restriction out.  The court justified its decision to grant sole physical custody on what is some of the most paternalistic and antiquated family law in the United States (Maryland may be a blue state, but it is not liberal).  Until recently, a couple had to be separated for two full years in order to quality to file for no-fault contested divorce.  It is still a year for all couples with minor children, even if the minor children have reached the age of consent.

          http://mdcourts.gov/appellate/unreportedopinions/2016/0326s15.pdf

        12. KK

          Mgm531,

          “The problem is unless you want to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars to fight EVERY instance of a custody schedule violation there is little you can do about it”.

          Again, this just isn’t true. First, it doesn’t cost anywhere near that much to file contempt charges. Second, the vast majority of the time, each party is responsible for their own legal bills (for the actual divorce). Third, contempt charges are billed separately, and if found guilty, your ex would be responsible for both her own legal fees and yours for those particular charges that were incurred due to her breaking the law.

          “True, in the instances I was denied access to my daughter by my ex I could have easily gotten the police involved and FORCED her to come stay with me, but by doing so would have caused such a traumatic experience that it would have ruined our relationship for years”.

          Calling the police is only one option. IMHO, it isn’t the best option. Not only for the reason you’ve already mentioned, but because it is much more effective to actually file charges against the ex through (your own attorney) the courts. She will be punished immediately, and would only repeat that behavior if she’s an absolute idiot. And if she’s an absolute idiot, by all means, file again and have her put in jail.

          “This would have also allowed my ex the perfect excuse to play the martyred victim and claim that she was ‘only doing what a mother would do’ by protecting her child from distrupting her life”.

          That’s dumb. Denying you whatever type of custody (visitation) you were awarded is disruptive to your child’s life.

          “As of now I have a pretty good relationship with my daughter and since she is a teenager she spends most of her time with her friends anyways”.

          Good to hear!

          “The point I was trying to make is that the family court system is legally unable to be versatile and quick enough to deal with custody violations that occur unless one party goes ‘nuclear’ and invloves all kinds of legal and government agencies and department.”.

          This is where we should agree to disagree. Although imperfect, the family court system is as just and fair as it can be. They can only enforce custody and visitation orders when they know they’ve been violated. And believe me, they will punish the offending party quite harshly, regardless of the offending party’s gender.

          I’m glad you and your daughter have a good relationship now and that you’re nightmarish divorce is in your past.

           

           

           

      3. 11.1.3
        SparklingEmerald

        Parental court ordered visitation and or joint custody should be as vigoursly enforced as court ordered child support. Interference into a parents access to thier child should be punishable by the courts.  As should parental alienation.  A child has a right to a relationship with both parents, even if the parents do wish to have a relationship with each other.  In my state, divorcing parents are required to take parenting classes if there are minor children, and they are counseled to NOT bad mouth each other to the child or interfere with access.  I have no idea how it is enforced as my son was grown when we split up.  Parents need to love their kids more than they hate each other.

    2. 11.2
      dawn

      Well, said, as I have 1 child and he was abandoned by his father at 2 years old. He is a dead beat dad, who refuses to pay 1 dime in child support for his son. I have been in court for 18 years trying to get monies owed. His ” father ” for the lack of a better term has also not had contact or wished to see his son in over 8 yrs. I was always the Super mom who raised my son on his own. Now my ex husband has come back in the picture only via text message. My son has now turned his back on me. Breaks my heart, at all the grief and heartache this DEAD BEAT DAD has caused, there are no 2 sides. It is a pure act of violence, and criminal by law, contempt of court. DEAD BEAT LOOSER DADS are the worst breed out there. Stay far away.

      1. 11.2.1
        xxxxxx

        Dawn, sorry for your situation, but why did you get invovled with this man in the first place and have his child ?

        I got pregnant to an equally psychopathic man who now has very little to do with his children. I take full responsibility for shacking up with him in the first place, due to poor self esteem problems caused by my own psychopathic and nacisstic mother (whom I still detest to this day).

        I took responsibility and now raise my two children on my own without continuing to have hopes and expectations that my children’s father would “man up” and do the right thing by his children. It is a price I and my children continue to pay for my own dysfunctional parenting.

    3. 11.3
      mgm531

      @KK — I’m sorry, but have you actually been through a custody battle and have had to deal with DCSS and the Family Court system?  Becaue if you have, then you would understand EXACTLY how long, frustrating, inept, bureaucratic, inadequate and EXPENSIVE a slog it actually is.  And if you haven’t then forgive for saying so, but you haven’t the slightest idea how few options father’s have and how difficult and expensive it actually is.  So please stop lecturing me about how ‘easy’ and ‘painless’ it is because I can assure you it was NOT!

      1. 11.3.1
        KK

        Mgm531,

        I wasn’t lecturing you or even telling you how easy and painless it is. Quite the contrary. And yes, I have been through it and my legal bills were almost as much as yours, which is absolutely ridiculous.

        My point is that when someone complains that the legal system is biased and gives their tale of woe, often times, they are unable or unwilling to see their own situation objectively. That’s why I asked you the questions that I asked.

        I’ll reiterate that I have empathy for your situation but to be brutally honest, you could have had a much better outcome if you had handled the situation differently.

        I think the difference between how men and women (generally speaking) handle high conflict situations is very different. When it comes to their children, most moms take a no holds barred approach and it seems a lot of men take a roll over, play dead, hope this goes away approach.

        Again, the only reason I questioned you after you responded to my comments was because I was pretty confident there was information missing. That’s usually the case when people claim they got screwed. They’re either leaving out a lot of pertinent information or they didn’t follow proper protocol. Just my observations.

        1. mgm531

          And do you know WHY most men roll over and play dead?  Because the mother has NOTHING to loose and everything to gain with a custody battle — especially when the father makes more money than the mother.  Whereas the father is fighting an uphill battle that will cost him $10’s of thousands of dollars to fight.  When a father looks down the barrel of a endless legal battle that will more than likely cost him a fortune if not ruin him financially is it any wonder they’ll take a pass and just ‘roll over’ as you say?  I tried my best and it cost me a small fortune in legal fees — I even had to pay $5K of my ex’s legal bill!  But in the end I cried uncle and cut my loses.

        2. KK

          Mgm531,

          Bullshit! My divorce cost me $50k. I paid for my own attorney. My ex paid for his own attorney.

          My own divorce took about 2 years. It was an incredibly stressful time. It isn’t any easier for women than it is for men and quite frankly, it gets really old hearing men play the victim card without one shred of evidence to support their claims.

          Nothing you have said in any of your comments shows that you were treated unfairly by any judge. Things didn’t go your way because YOU screwed up. If it makes you feel better to complain about the unfair treatment of men, have at it. But getting angry with anyone who points out the logical flaws in your argument, is quite fruitless.

  12. 12
    Dina

    People should use their brains, not just reproductive organs before having children. Yet many take it lightly, and as a result we have damaged children from damaged families, who continue the cycle of damage in their own broken marriages.

  13. 13
    Morris

    Agree and makes sense. Not sure why some of the commenters are trying to make absentee father the same as a dead beat dad. Acknowledging that things are more complicated doesn’t take away from what single mothers go through. I feel like there are a lot of ’emotional’ responses going on. Which really doesn’t help the discussion.

    1. 13.1
      Stacy

      @Morris

      There is no situation THAT complicated that should warrant a man being a passerby in his kid’s life. The only way I can see this as possible is if she lives in a completely different state or country and even then, there are other ways of getting even past that. It is not an emotional response. It is fact. Life is hard at times, but guess what, you suck it up and make lemons out of lemonade like the rest of us.

      1. 13.1.1
        KK

        “The only way I can see this as possible is if she lives in a completely different state or country and even then, there are other ways of getting even past that”.

        Good point, Stacy. The topic of family law can get confusing on here since laws vary from state to state. Where I live, the primary custodial parent cannot move outside of the county (of the marital residence) unless they get permission from the other parent AND get it approved by the judge. No exceptions. There are no such restrictions on the non-custodial parent.

      2. 13.1.2
        Morris

        @Stacy – “There is no situation”/”The only way”… Thanks for proving my point and further fueling the unfortunate stereotype that women are emotional and not logical.

         

        If the issue is with the parents, it can very well be better for the child that one parent, usually the father but that’s a different topic, stays away. Seems completely logical to me.

  14. 14
    Stacy

    You would have to KILL me for me to abandon my children. Excuses, excuses.  There is NO justifiable reason for a man to be a casual observer in his children’s lives. I don’t care how much of a bitch a woman is. Sorry, any man who chooses this IS narcissistic, selfish and full of shyt. Unless you are on drugs or have a proven ability to hurt your kid, a court will not (and if there are exceptions, it is VERY, VERY rare) block a man from reasonably spaced visitation (at minimum) if that is what he wants. There is no excuse for a man to be a bum regarding his own offspring no matter who the mother is involved with period.

    1. 14.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Did you read the article about the human beings who are put into this position? Have you no ability to sympathize with someone with problems different than yours?

      1. 14.1.1
        xxxxxx

        Evan, lots of women have problems – financial, emotional, professional… you name it. But they still put these aside to take the best care of their children – even if they are not perfect parents. Women have no choice. It is certainly less common for women to abandon their children due to their personal issues than men are wont to do.  If you posed an article about how women should be afforded sympathy for choosing to abandon their children due to their own personal issues, I think you will have pretty much the same response from Stacy and the majority of the posters here.

        And yes I have plenty of sympathy and empathy and understanding for men. Heck, I am a regular reader of MRA sitee. There are plenty of issues men can raise to elicit symapthy, but this is not one of them.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          “Just saying” this is the most “Androgynous” post you’ve ever made, “xxxxx.”

  15. 15
    xxxxxx

    Yes, I post under different economic sigantures/names. Not sure what your point is.  Yes, I am Androgynous to the extent that I apply the same standards and sets of rules to both men and  women while totally accepting that they are different and approach dating and romance differently. However , the interest of minor children supercedes the interest of both male and female parent equally

  16. 16
    Mrs Happy

    Parenting is very hard work, and many people don’t want to do it.  So they leave.

  17. 17
    John

    Most dads are not dead beats.

    Family court is a controlled by the lawyers and the judges to drain the parents bank accounts. If you dare, watch the documentary “Divorce Corp.” It will open your eyes if you have an open mind.

    I have male friends who have lost their jobs due to downsizing and had to spend weekends in jail because they missed their child support payment by no fault of their own.

    Imagine facing jail time if you missed a mortgage payment or a credit card payment because you were down-sized.

  18. 18
    Ali Allan

    Okay, so the overriding message here is choose carefully your life partner.  Make sure you get it right and invest time and love and respect in that relationship before having children.  Being a parent is a tough job and you need to be on the ‘same page’ and in my opinion, having a solid foundation is crucial.

    Love and nurture your kids.  However, don’t neglect your relationship.  First and foremost, that is the key to a beautiful family.

    Ali

  19. 19
    Ljsrmissy

    I am so over the excuses and playing the helpless victim.  If a man is a father of a child, regardless of how he FEELS about the woman, his DNA some how was found to be “at the scene of the crime”, and let me tell you, it sure wasn’t by osmosis or immaculate conception. The man has as much responsibility for his ‘seed’/DNA as the woman has for her womb so the whole crock of crap about a man’s dream of a white picket fence( reverse psychology, we know it is WOMEN who stereotypically seek the white picket fence in relationships) was dashed by some woman he was not that into who ‘made’ him a father and who is “bossy” when she tells him that his child needs school shoes or he needs to give time effort and attention to his children, that he is just as much of a helpless victim as the children he abandoned…..gtfoh.  And what does that Sarah Gilbert story and the story of the Girlfriend stringing some guy along have to do with a man leaving his kids? Using those two examples is like attempting to compare the two grown men in those situations to children who get abandoned by their fathers. Thats trying to put grown free choosing and thinking men in the childrens seat/position and thats not right.

  20. 20
    CMV

    I’ve been struggling in a friendship recently because my friend is getting a divorce. His stbx wants to move back to her home state with their children and he’s fine with it. (???!!!)

    Parental alienation is repugnant but I’d guess these examples are a drop in the ocean compared to the number of men who just don’t care (enough) to be in the child’s life.

  21. 21
    Aly

    I have to agree with the person who applied this to single fathers and dating. I’ve been with my single dad boyfriend for awhile now. Dated a few single dads before that. If you meet a dad who rarely or never sees his kids… Run run run. I thought the article was interesting.  I don’t really understand why a man’s bond with his girlfriend or wife or ex would cause him to leave his child.

    1. 21.1
      dandy

      I’m watching my friend go through this with her 21-year son and it’s ridiculous.  Within a 1 1/2 year timeframe he got 2 women pregnant, babymama#2 was the lucky winner -he chose her, and they moved out of state.  He has a son that he never sees (bm#2 knew he had a kid before sleeping with him – why do women do this?), and my friend never gets to see her grandson anymore.

  22. 22
    Ross

    I totally agree that a father that is not present in their kids’ life is not necessarily a loser at all. I have dated many such men (in certain races they represent the overwhelming majority of the population above 25). I have also seen with my own eyes the rudeness and bossiness of their baby mamas and could totally understand why they wanted to minimize contact despite each guy stating they missed their kids a lot and they still provided in child support etc. I have no kids and don’t want any, ever, so I may not understand the full anger of those baby mamas. But I guess they get overwhelmed and frustrated and also many had kids when young, so they traded self development for motherhood responsibilities. Which makes them not particularly good at dealing with issues maturely.
    Child support also strips down a lot of guys and often that money is not even used for the kids. So the fathers are frustrated and overwhelmed too.
    Whenever I see for instance my boyfriend dealing with his baby mamas dramas, it makes me so grateful I never wanted kids. One can say it will never happen to me to have fatherless kids but relationships often don’t work so whenever you have a kid there is always that risk…

    1. 22.1
      dandy

      Too many of these men think fatherhood is some cool, fun thing to do – until they knock someone up and then realize they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives with this woman, they then take off.  Yes some of these mothers are young and immature, but most of them are tired, stressed, overwhelmed, and need some practical help that the father is usually not providing because “well mom is difficult I can’t deal with it.  I didn’t mean to get her pregnant it was an accident, blah blah blah”. Next time you date one of these “men” ask if they help out, do they see their kids every other weekend as they should? Are they using their court ordered visitation to be an actual father to their child (and mom can get a break in the meantime?). Or do they whine about how the mom is difficult so they don’t want to bother?  These aren’t men, they’re boys, and I hope they don’t leave you in the same position as these women that you’re criticizing. Oh, and a lot of these dads have their wages garnished and CS taken straight from their paychecks, so yes, technically they are paying CS, but ask yourself why they can’t be trusted to pay directly?  The courts do this because they, at some point, stopped paying voluntarily.

  23. 23
    Ross

    Dandy, you made up this whole story based on SOME losers that we all know about. Of course some people are like that and some are not, which is the whole point of this article.
    And don’t worry I won’t be anyone’s baby mama because I don’t leave it up to fate to become a parent or not. If a woman does not want to have kids, there are plenty of ways not to have any. Calm down your bitterness as the article says. Nobody forces you to deal with these types of losers so no need to get bitter. By age 10 we all know the world is full of trashy people. Deal with it by simply avoiding those.

  24. 24
    Marissa Chaseau

    Interesting reads we never knew a father smile Jamaica

  25. 25
    Marissa Chaseau

    Women not growing up with a father something bad in Caribbean when fathers leave their children alone.

  26. 26
    Marissa Chaseau

    Fathers are important to people and daughters need fathers I never knew mine and I am living example of the pain not having one brings to people

  27. 27
    Alex

    I was and am labeled as a dead beat father.   The truth is I am not.   There are women out there who turn their personal issues out on the person they are divorcing –

    what happens ….. eventually it will  hurt the children and only the children.  Many fathers who are labeled as dead beats are in fact amazing fathers who have broken free from the psychological abuse they have endured for years.  You have to have experienced it to understand One love ❤️

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