Children are not baggage after a divorce, and for that matter a man trying to hold on to part of his family should not be considered baggage either. The term “baggage” should be reserved for the bad things that happen in your life that affect you in some way later in life. For example, if you were abused as a child you may struggle with intimacy in later relationships. Or, as in my case, because I was cheated on during my marriage I may have trust issues in subsequent relationships (yes, I do).
A behavior that was once considered good can not all of a sudden become bad and turn into baggage. Specifically, if during a marriage a Father is considered a “good family man” and exhibits all the behaviors normally associated with that label, it is not all of a sudden baggage if he wants to continue doing those kinds of things. Once children become adults and have their own lives it is still important to do at least some of the things that would have been done anyway had a divorce not occurred. That includes celebrating weddings, graduations, and just times to get together to share some laughs about the old times. A very important part of that is also the joy of watching the family grow as the children have their own relationships, marriages and children.
I couldn’t resist buying a book a while back called: “Dating the Divorced Man.” Of course children are seen as one of those baggage things that you must deal with. I suppose my biggest problem with this book is that it does not put the dating of a divorced man with children in context with other choices a woman might have. My other problem is that it says a woman “shouldn’t take second place to his children when it comes to his heart and his time.”
As you might expect I rank pretty high in the difficulty index according to this book. But let’s put my behavior in context with a couple other choices a woman might have. I know a man in his early forties who has just gotten married for the third time. He had two children by his first wife and willingly gave up all custody to his children to her. He is also behind on child support. He does have some contact with them but I would for sure say that it is not a priority for him. He had another child with his second wife but I don’t know too much about their situation. However, he certainly seems to be able to make a clean break with each family, and doesn’t seem to have any of that pesky baggage related to his previous children. In fact, he recently purchased a boat so he and his new family could have enjoyable times together.
But let’s look at the other side of the spectrum. I know another man in his early forties who has never been married. He sure has his share of short term relationships and one night stands, and he likes to drink and gamble. He has a little bit of difficulty holding a job and got evicted from his apartment not too long ago. He wanted to move in with me but I didn’t think that would be a great idea. I know, however, that he is looking for that special relationship. He is currently having an affair with the wife of someone he works with. Maybe she will be that special someone.
Okay, so there you have it. Three choices. Is the divorced man who wants to maintain some sense of family really that bad of a choice? Is the man who can easily jump from one family to the next the model we want to create for our children of what a Father should be? I would hope that at least some would agree that the answer to both those questions is no.
But the author also says that a woman should not take second place when it comes to a man’s heart and his time. Now, actually, I don’t have a problem with the idea of time. I have all kinds of time for a relationship. However, a woman being worried about where she places in a man’s heart makes absolutely no sense to me at all. To me the love for children and the love in a relationship are two completely separate places in a man’s heart. I don’t even know how they could be compared. However, it is not the first time I have heard that. It is just one of those things that makes me go “huh”.