Being a victim of Domestic Violence has severely impacted my life. I ended up losing my home, my job, my life’s vocation, my reputation and good name. I even ended up losing my faith. The one thing I was determined not to lose was my children.
Although a large part of my life was horrendous, by sharing my experiences I am trying to draw greater awareness to the reality of domestic violence and its impact on all genders, INCLUDING men.
I have been rebuilding my life. My relationship with my ex-wife hasn’t coloured my view of women. I have been fortunate enough to meet a fantastic woman who really is my soul mate and much, much more. She makes me realise just what I’d missed out on for all those years. I am a lucky man to have found such a loving, caring and understanding partner.
My ex-wife has also moved on. She has a new boyfriend. This places me in a little quandary which isn’t motivated by feelings of jealousy. I don’t know her new man. We do have mutual friends though, and they tell me ‘he is a good bloke.’
My difficulty is this: Do I find some way of warning him about the anger issues that will manifest themselves should their relationship develop or do I let him find out for himself? Is it fair to him and his children to remain quiet? I honestly don’t know. I suspect that were I to make any attempts to give a warning, they would be discarded as coming from an embittered ex-husband. That is not the case, and to my way of thinking, certain clues already exist such as why have children chosen to live with their father rather than their mother?
I have spoken about my new partner. She fully understands that the relationship with my children is important and accepts that they need quality time with their father just as much as she does. I hope that I’m getting the balance right.
However, in my mind, it also poses another question in new relationships. Parents should not place their new partner/new partner’s family before their own children no matter how difficult the situation. I can’t imagine why any parent would do this but I see it happening quite often around me.
Irrespective of my own emotions, I’ve always tried to encourage my children to see and maintain contact with their mother. If the roles were reversed, and the relationship with my children was fragile, I would like to think that I would do everything possible to mend it.
My ex-wife still lives in what was the matrimonial home. The children had separate rooms and their own beds which are still there. When they go there to stay overnight (which is rare and infrequent), they now sleep in the same room and sleep on the floor. When I found this out, I asked them why they were sleeping like this when there were empty beds available. The reasoning was that when their mother’s new boyfriend had stayed over, he brought his daughter who was given full use of that bedroom. They felt that they were being pushed out and were no longer fully welcomed in their mother’s house and they didn't want to use that room.
There are other little things. Their mother has tried to integrate her boyfriend’s family with her children. She first introduced him to the children at a church event before the children knew she was seeing him. He knew who they were, they had no idea who he was. They did resent their mother for what they saw as an underhand tactic . Consequently, they refused to speak with him on the telephone when their mother asked them to and refused to co-operate in any plans to meet him and his family.
My children aim to spend one night alternate weekends staying with their mother. The last time this was supposed to happen, I was told that their mother couldn’t have them because she’d planned to go away. It transpired that she was away with her new boyfriend. What sort of message does that send to her children? Surely, she could have planned a different weekend when her children were not scheduled to stay with her.
If you was in a new relationship, and your new partner was prepared to cancel children’s access in order to spend time with you, would you question that relationship? I know I would.