Years ago, when Shane and Simone Warne broke up, they lived together for a while as separated husband and wife, to maintain some stability for the kids.
It was something I noticed, despite only being in my early twenties, because I knew first hand how difficult moving between the houses could be for children of divorce. So I always joked to my husband that if we ever got divorced, that’s what we would do.
Little did I know that five years from then, I would leave, and take my two-year-old with me, and my son would never spend another night under the same roof as his father.
Because his dad has never, ever asked for a single night – which really shouldn’t come as a surprise because it’s that complete apathy towards our son and my ex’s paternal duties that is the reason why we left. I would have dearly loved to have an ex who was more involved, who wanted to assert his parental rights. That would have been great for my son. My son deserves that.
Leaving my husband and learning that there are so many good men, so many good dads, out there, has been bittersweet. But after a year or so of trying, post-separation, I realised that I can’t force someone to care.
My ex does, deep down inside, in his own way, love our son. He wouldn’t ever do anything to intentionally hurt him. He doesn’t care enough about either of us to do that.
But that’s the part that creates my dilemma: because if anything ever did happen on his watch, it would be a total accident. It wouldn’t be intentional. So I’m lucky, right? Of course. But there’s a small problem with that: it means I don’t have any real excuse to not allow my son to spend a few hours with him each weekend.
So why would I want to?
My ex may be an apathetic parent, but he can do a lot of things in just a few hours.
He can take my son to a pub lunch with his mates and decide to drink and drive home. He can leave him in a parked car on a public street, with the engine off during summer, strapped in his car seat, to “just dash in for some cigarettes.” He can forget my son’s anaphylactic allergies and feed him food that gives him a reaction, because he doesn’t take anything seriously.