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Reply To: Estranged Relationships

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Hello everyone.

I live in Australia but I have a five year old son in Europe who I cannot see. His mother will not allow contact with me, her own mother or her own brother. I do not understand the reasons why but it is distressing for those of us who are excluded. We are all loving people who just want to have a healthy relationship.

I feel intense loneliness and isolation, even when around other people, and feeling that no one can truly understand how I feel. I have spoken separately with another guy in a similar situation, but all the support groups I have contacted centred around domestic custody disputes etc and weren’t relevant to me.

I have seen my son only three times, the last time when he was 6 months old, and not in the last four years. It is a pain in my heart that doesn’t seem to fade.

I feel like I have tucked away these feelings, because every time I would see a friend or peer with their children I would fall into a crippling sadness, barely able to maintain composure. I would often go and cry silently somewhere alone afterwards. This has repeated a lot and my coping mechanism has shifted towards just not thinking about it and slightly disassociating from my situation. Keeping head above water.

It is incredibly difficult to visit Europe and try to see my son and fail time and time again. Being emotionally broken and then going through those motions on the other side of the world without any support. I am unsure if I will be able to maintain my sanity and keep trying.

I have found it difficult to find resources particular to my situation, with a child overseas and a vengeful ex. I am aware there exists a legal remedy however it is not like here in Australia, some countries take a different approach. For example the European Court of Human RIghts forced Germany to change it’s laws as unmarried fathers essentially had no rights. Going legal would require to prove I have a residence in Germany with a job there and spare bedroom for my son to visit etc. Anyway I see going legal as an absolute last resort in getting some access, as the process usually hurts everybody.

I have been trying to find a psychologist to work with however even with a medicare rebate it is challenging for me to afford. I have also been struggling to find a psychologist that can help with what I am going through, however I recently learned this would be classified as Grief and Loss.

What I do find helps, with all kinds of sadness is action, taking action and being active. Sitting around focusing on my sadness is crippling. Looking after myself, eating well, getting lots of exercise and being in nature, fresh air, sunshine, swimming, friends, and being kind to other people rather than let my pain become expressed onto others. I am so grateful for the relationships that I have in my life. I just wish I could see my son.

I am not sure what I am trying to achieve sharing on this forum. Maybe someone knows something that might be useful for me in coping with this situation. Maybe for those who may come after me to know that you’re not alone, and things will get better.

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