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Jewish Journal

Dating 101 – Divorce with no Visitation

by Ilana Angel

May 23, 2013 | 3:17 pm

Ending relationships is a very hard thing to do.  When your marriage ends and you go through a divorce, it is simply crushing, and one of the most traumatic things someone can experience.  When you have kids, there is comfort in knowing that the relationship will carry on in some form or another because you have children together.  By comfort, of course I mean you sometimes want to kill the person that is occasionally comforting.

To clarify, I get no comfort from my ex-husband and he actually irritates the crap out of me, however, he is the father of my child and we are forever connected.  If I didn’t love him, it would mean I did not love parts of my child, and I love every single thing about my remarkable son.  I see his dad in him all the time. They look the same, laugh the same, have the same mannerisms, and I love those parts of him, so I love my ex-husband.

We share a child together and while we don’t really co-parent that much, we both love him and the time we spend with him is important.  It is hard when you are divorced and your child leaves you to visit his other parent.  You eventually learn to adjust and the comfort comes in knowing your kid is coming back and you will see them.  When you end a relationship with a boyfriend, and there are kids involved, the outcome is very different.

My last relationship was more than just dating, we had built a family.  He was incredibly close with my son, and me with his daughters.  We were both parental in a lot of ways to the other’s children and now that we are done, those relationships are also done, and it is painful.  My son feels a loyalty to me and does not want to talk to the man who hurt me, which while lovely, breaks his heart because he loves him very much.  

I love his daughters. The younger one and me were close and shared many meaningful moments together.  I nursed her when she was sick, supported her when she was sad, and loved her and her sister with all my heart.  I have not seen her since the relationship ended and I am heartbroken.  I saw the older sister to give her a gift for her college graduation, but have not see her since, and it makes me sad.  I miss them.

They are not my children, and I was not married to their father, so there is no divorce where I can negotiate time with them.  I lost my boyfriend and I lost his kids, and in doing so I lost a family that mattered to me. It is more like a death.  I went from spending everyday with this man and his children, to them all being gone.  I am mourning the loss of people who are simply living their lives without me in it which is a difficult adjustment.

I have had no contact with him for weeks and while I will truly never understand why he opted to end this way, I must respect his choices.  I can only hope that those girls know how much I love them and my choice to not contact them is probably the same reason as their choice to not contact me, we are respecting their father’s choices.  As for my wonderful son, I am proud of him for putting his sense of decency in front of his feelings.

Relationships are complicated and impossible to navigate properly when there are kids involved.  This weekend will mark the college graduation of a remarkable young woman and I am sad to not be there to share in the moment with her and her dad. Instead I will be at the wedding of a friend and colleague of mine.  I will watch a man I love get married, and will of course think of a man I loved, who simply disappeared one day.

Loss is difficult and everyone handles it differently.  Whether you lose a job, pet, loved one, friendship, or relationship, emotions run high.  There is sadness and anger, but we are also blessed that as human beings we have the knowledge that time will heal and life will go on.  I am grateful for the memories I have and know that even without a custody battle, they are clear on how much I love them even though there is no visitation.

It will be bittersweet, but I suppose the best way to forget a sad ending is to embrace a new beginning.  Love is grand and it is a blessing to be included in the moment that my friend embraces the hopes and dreams that come with marriage.  I am going to have a great time and will dance the night away with my remarkable son, who has stepped in as my date. In the end dating, divorce, death, and marriage, all require you to keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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