‘I took my children from their father and I should never have done that’

“There are several things in my life that I regret, but one thing really bothers me. My children currently know their father again after not seeing him for twenty years. All this time they were not open to it. Like me, they were furious with him and wanted nothing to do with him. To me it felt nothing but fair. Then my ex shouldn’t have messed up like that. My own fault, big bump, I convinced myself. But now that I see how happy my children are that they have contact with their father again, how they are blossoming and even indicating that they have found a precious part of themselves, I think: I should have done things differently then . Instead of thwarting contact between my children and their father, I should have encouraged it… Unfortunately, I really couldn’t do that twenty years ago.”

“I was once very happy for Michel. He saved me from a bad relationship. After literally fighting for my life for years, I found peace with him. Michel spoiled me to the bone and would do anything for me. When we first moved in together, it wasn’t long before our first child was born. The second followed two years later. How happy I was.”

“But after ten good years it went downhill. Michel had a job that often required him to travel abroad. I was alone during those periods. Parents’ evenings, getting the kids into sports clubs, taking care of them if something went wrong… I managed everything on my own. When Michel came home, we often argued. I thought he changed, he was so distant. But I still trusted him completely. Michel was the most sincere person there was, I thought… But eventually I discovered that he had been having an affair with a colleague for a few years. When he was abroad, she was with him. I think it would be a blow to any woman. But it was unbearable for me that after my previous experiences with a man who abused me, I was again disappointed by someone I trusted so much.”

“When it turned out that Michel wanted to continue with the other woman and not with me, not with our family, the humiliation was complete. I was furious and did everything I could to make it as difficult as possible for Michel. And let’s be honest: the pain from then is still there. I don’t rule out doing everything I did back then again. Kun: I didn’t want to involve our children anymore. They were twelve and thirteen at the time. They loved their father even though he hadn’t been there for them for a while. I know Michel really wanted to keep his father role. He really did his best for it, twisting every corner. But I was so hurt that I couldn’t give him his father role. So I would tell my kids after every game what a terrible father they had. What he had done to me, us. I told them they weren’t important to him either. Otherwise he wouldn’t leave us, would he? The children agreed with this so much that they did not want to go to him anymore. I rewarded them by doing fun things with them. After much tug-of-war, which went wrong for Michel, he gave up and disappeared from our lives.”

“Somehow I knew I couldn’t go that far. But I was so bitter. So disappointed. And I truly believed that my children were better off without a father like Michel. My outlook only changed when I found love again a few years ago. A sweet, clever man, reasonableness itself. He grew up without a father and has always missed it. “How can you never want to hear your father’s story?” he would occasionally ask my children when they came by. The first time I was furious. What was he involved in? He caught me calmly and understandingly, but didn’t shut up afterwards. “Find your father,” he advised my children. “Soon he will be dead and it will be too late forever.” I saw that this made an impression on my children; they have it very high. And when my son became a father, he decided he wanted to see Michel. When he told me, a little embarrassed, I saw my new love staring at me sternly. And instead of arguing with it, I said, ‘It makes sense, do it’.”

“The relief I saw in my son’s eyes touched me deeply. For the first time I realized that I had made a mistake. My goal was to take my ex’s children away. But in doing so, I have also deprived my children of their father, and that is harmful. Meanwhile, my son and daughter have visited their father several times, who has welcomed them with open arms. And it does my children good, that’s for sure. I find it difficult, but I let my children feel it as little as possible. Because it’s not about me right now. I have rebuilt my life, I have nothing to do with my ex anymore. But whether I like it or not, Michel is and will be their father. They have had to do without him long enough. By the way, my kids say they don’t blame me. That the breakup with their father was their own choice. It’s cute, but I know better. Fortunately for them, there is now contact again. Better late than never. I don’t need to see Michel anymore. But I will not put anything in the way of my children.”

Lydia van der WeideEditorial

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