“Should I Move My Daughter Away From Her Dad?”

I’m a single mother who got out of a bad relationship with my child’s father about a year and a half ago. We are currently battling for custody of my 4-year-old daughter and I am trying to get sole custody. Anyway, I live in Canada and my mother passed away two years ago, and the rest of my remaining family lives in San Diego, California. I have traveled there several times and have now fallen deeply in love with my cousin’s best friend/roommate. They’re both in the military.

We are doing the long distance relationship thing because we love each other, no one else compares and the small amount of time we do get to spend together makes up for the time we are apart. I have visited four times now — two times with my daughter and two times alone, but when I have to leave him, the pain and overwhelming emotions I feel are almost unbearable.

I would ideally like to move there but don’t think I can unless I win full custody of my daughter. I just got back from seeing him yesterday and I feel like my heart is broken. I only get to see him around every four months or so and it’s sooo hard. Please help me with any advice you may have! — Mom in an LDR

I’ve written a lot about LDRs, especially how I believe they can work (my marriage is proof!). But, because you are a single mother, you aren’t — and never will be — in a relationship with just one other person. You and your daughter — and to an extent, her father — are a packaged deal. What’s best for you and your relationship with this man may not be what’s best for your daughter, and as a mother you have decide whose needs are most important. Can you be happy if you don’t pursue a relationship that brings you immense joy? And if not, can you still be a great mother to your daughter if you sacrifice a relationship so that your daughter can stay close to her father?

Let’s say you are awarded full custody and you’re able to move to San Diego with your daughter to be with your boyfriend and close to your remaining family. How often will your daughter get to see her father? Will you be willing to give up summers with her so she can spend them with her dad? What about major holidays and other school breaks? You also need to take into consideration that if you were to eventually marry your boyfriend, you’d be a military spouse, which carries a whole other bag of issues to deal with. You will have to be prepared to move frequently — perhaps even halfway across the world. How would you manage visitation between your daughter and her dad then?

These aren’t impossible hurdles. People cross them all the time and are able to live happy lives. Divorced or separated parents live far away from each other and their kids shuttle between them, sometimes going months and months without seeing one parent. It happens. It could happen for you. It could “work.” But you have to do some soul-searching and decide whether the gains — a potentially happy relationship/ marriage — would be worth the sacrifices.

You also need to have some serious conversations with your boyfriend about where you both see this relationship going. Would you move you and your daughter to San Diego without some kind of commitment from him? Are you prepared to make a commitment to each other after only seeing one another a handful of times? How does he feel about potentially being your daughter’s stepfather? What if you move there and he is deployed right away or given orders to move to a different base? Would you stay in SD? Move with him? Move back to Canada?

There are a lot of practical questions and issues here that you need to very thoughtfully consider. It can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of a long distance romance, particularly if you’re on the heels of a bad breakup or a nasty custody battle. There may be a factor of this long distance relationship feeling like an escape from the stresses at home. So you need to be very aware that by planning some kind of future with this person, you are adding stress to your life, not avoiding the stress you already have or trading that stress for a different stress. You are adding more to your plate to deal with.

Is this guy worth it? Is the relationship worth carting your daughter away from her dad and then potentially moving her from place to place? Only you can answer that. And my bet is you don’t know enough yet about your new boyfriend — or what your custody situation will be — to answer that question completely. So in the meantime, continue seeing your boyfriend when you can and begin having these important discussions with him. Talk with your lawyer about what kind of custody agreement you would need in place to live the life of a military spouse to a man who isn’t your daughter’s father.

Maybe most importantly, talk with your daughter about her feelings. Does she like your new boyfriend? Does she like the family you have in San Diego? Does she like traveling and seeing new places? And what’s in it for her if you pursue this relationship and move her away from her dad? If you want to avoid at least some potential drama, you need think about how to sell this idea to her should it become a reality. But make no bones about it, there will be drama. And it may be too much for you, your daughter, and your boyfriend to deal with. Prepare yourself, as much as you can, for this not working out. That way, if it does, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and more ready to handle the inevitable challenges. Good luck.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. That was a perfect answer.

  2. It sounds like Wendy has given you a lot to think about.
    FWIW, I have a 4 year old daughter, and in the eventuality her father and I were to separate/divorce there is no way I would move her far away from him.
    SIngle parent letters on DW usually have a pretty even split in the comment section, I´m on the side that says your kid/s have to come first. 4 is a tough age, they´re stopping being “little”, but they´re also not “big”. And change is hard for them. Is it worth putting your 4 year old through a huge move like that for a guy you barely know???

    1. zombeyonce says:

      A huge move is a big deal, though for a four-year old not as big of a deal as an older child or an adult.

      What worries me in the letter is how LW says that leaving him causes pain and emotions that are almost unbearable. If they get married this could cause serious issues. Being unable to cope when your partner leaves is a terrible trait for a military wife! I was a Navy brat and my dad was gone for six+ months regularly and it was difficult on our family and my mom, even though she’s a very strong woman and a great parent. This could also be really hard on a child to have their new parent leaving regularly for long periods of time especially while they’re still adjusting to rarely seeing their father. There could be abandonment issues and who knows what else.

      I’m not saying that being married to a military member is a bad thing, far from it. But taking a child far away from their parent that they have been used to seeing regularly and giving them a new parent that suddenly leaves for long periods of time is something LW really needs to be ready for and consider before making this change (if she ends up with full custody).

  3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Um no. Stop being selfish. Think of what’s best for your daughter – not you.

    1. Yeah, what concerns me about this letter is that she doesn’t really mention her daughter’s interests at all – just how hard it is for herself to be in this LDR.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I know. It’s really sad. I want to tell her she’s a bad mom in hopes of shaming her into acting like a good mom – but for some reason it’s not appropriate to say stuff like that to people. She didn’t mention one thing about her daughter in the whole letter. Nothing about how well or not well her daughter gets along with her father – nothing about pre schools in San Diego – nothing about how she’s handled the split. Nothing. It’s sad.

      2. I think people are being a little hard on this LW. What she failed to provide though is the existing relationship between the daughter and her father. If the relationship isn’t really established then that’s another story. In addition, moving and change really depends on the child. My mom remarried when I was 6 (biological dad not in picture) and it was hard for me and I think my relationship with my mom suffered growing up. I was/am an introvert and change is hard for me. On the other hand though, I look at my four year old now and she is the exact opposite. Every day I pick her up from school and she wants to know the next place we’re going. She likes to be the center of attention, she likes to be out, she loves meeting new people, and she likes new experiences, etc. Honestly, its hard for me to keep up 🙂 But even still, its important to provide a level of stability and at the end of the day, the child comes first. Period.

      3. Sheesh…and another point is that the LW and her daughter could really benefit from being closer to her extended family and having them as a support system (even if the boyfriend doesn’t work out). The letter didn’t specify if she was completely alone in Canada. But again…it all depends on that relationship between daughter and dad. Nothing will compare if he’s a great dad.

  4. I suspect there may be more here than just missing someone you’re in love with. If you’re experiencing overwhelming sadness and a broken heart every time you say goodbye, it’s not healthy. You sound desperate. I have an ldr and it shouldn’t be this painful. You’re in a difficult time in your life – the end of your marriage, a custody battle, loss of family where you are… Perhaps you are placing too much pressure for your happiness on this relationship – it seems like you want this person to rescue you from the difficulties of your life.

    But the truth is that only you can make you happy. You need to create a happy, calm routine for yourself and your daughter, then decide what to do about dating. Once you get yourself together, you may find that you dont “need” your bf quite so desperately.

    1. I agree– I wasn’t really feeling the dramatic language in this LW’s last paragraph (“the pain and overwhelming emotions I feel are almost unbearable”). To me, that indicates she’s not thinking very clearly.

    2. WSQS.

      it should never be so dramatic. never. thats not healthy.

      1. Thirded, again!

        I was thinking the same thing as you, SuzyQ. So that, added to what Wendy said is pretty much all this LW needs to read.

    3. You also have to think about the distance the military is going to cause for you even if you move to San Diego. I am going to assume that he is in the navy since you are talking about San Diego. I speak from experience when I say that this life you are signing up for is not easy. I was in the navy before and I am currently a navy spouse. Deployments are rarely 6 months long any more… they are usually longer. Also, when your guy isn’t deployed he’ll be expected to get underway for things such as work ups, inspections, and training. I am sure he told you shore duty would be better? When I was on shore duty I worked from about 6am till 7 pm every day. My husband is currently on shore duty and he usually works till about 7pm and is gone three to four days a week. You need to think about this stuff before you move your daughter to another country. Military spouse/girlfriend life isn’t easy… you have to be ok with being alone.

      1. All of that will depend on the rate he is in. He might be a CTN who pretty much never deploys, or he might be in a shore duty billet with different hours or responsibilities.

    4. LanaPants says:

      Also, the LW has only been separated for a year and a half, and she’s already “deeply in love”? This sounds like a rebound and could maybe account for her feeling so awful when she leaves him. I’m not convinced the LW has processed all her emotions from the divorce, and I would caution her against taking drastic steps this soon, *especially* with a young child in tow.

      LW, if you haven’t already *please* get some counseling to help you process your divorce and help you think about the tough questions that Wendy gave you to consider, because they are very important ones.

  5. Perfect answer! WWS!

  6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    One thing to also consider is the terms of your custody agreement may prevent you from moving out of the country.

    Also I find it interesting that you say you “got out of a bad relationship” but never say if this guy is a good, responsible father.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Oh yes! In my well very thought out answer above I forgot to mention that, haha. You might not even be allowed to move out of the country.

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Agree with GatorGirl, I feel like a lot of custody battles are almost a way of punishing the other person through the divorce. They want to “take the kids” not because the other parent is uninvolved or a poor parent, but because they want to seek revenge, which I think is really unfortunate. Kids are not a commodity to be bargained with. I would like to know why she is seeking full-custody.

      Oh, and she does need to consider the immigration issue (is she Canadian? American?). How will you get a green card and eventually citizenship? And marrying someone does not *poof* make you a citizen. Please remember that if you ever over-stay your Visa in the US you are considered an illegal immigrant and will *never* become a US citizen, ever, even if you marry someone. This is something my sister deals with on a daily basis, and she’s dealing with US military staff who make this mistake and their spouses get deported.

      1. yes- using kids as a bargaining chip is the lowest, most selfish, most disgusting thing you can do as a parent. that makes you a bad parent. the mature, adult, good parent decision is to let your child have a relationship with the other parent/extended family if they so choose- and that means that they get to have one until they are old enough/able to choose.

    3. Many are stricter than that. I have a friend who has to gain court approval if she wants to move her kids to a neighboring county in Ohio! It’s pretty ridiculous.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Definitely. I think that’s sort of why I asked about the “good dad” thing. Like why does she want sole custody? If the LW and the father had a bad relationship because he say cheated- that doesn’t equal sole custody in my head. But if it was a bad relationship because he was hiding a drug addiction then yeah- I would argue for sole custody too. (generalizing here people)

        And sole custody doesn’t nessisarily mean the dad would have a termination of parental rights and he might still be able to dictate to a certain degree where they live. And custody agrangements get re-evaluated on a regular basis so…

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah I agree. Whenever I hear people are fighting over custody – and then I hear it’s because of relationship drama and not about one of them being an unfit parent I shake my head. It makes me really sad that people can be that petty and vindictive when their kid is the one that suffers.

      3. yeah GatorGirl when I hear sole custody my brain usually goes straight for something was’t quite right. Because in most divorces I’ve heard of there is split custody. My Mom had sole custody of us but there was abuse, so I guess that’s why I always think of it like that! Otherwise I don’t understand the benefit of only one parent have sole custody, maybe a lawyer can shed some light on that 🙂

      4. doesnt sole custody also mean that the parent gets more money for child support as well? i think thats also why its pulled for a lot

      5. EscapeHatches says:

        You are correct. Child support is calculated by income, number of overnight visits and cost to raise a child in your area.

      6. Guy Friday says:

        Actually, that’s not true, nor is the idea that sole custody means more money for child support. First of all, custody is different than placement. Custody deals with who gets to make the major life decisions for the child (i.e., what religion to raise them, medical care, etc.). Placement deals with the actual physical location of the child.

        As for the calculation of child support, cost of living and how many overnights the child gets has NO part in the calculation. It’s based on number of children and income. Period. There may be deviations downward based on the non-placed parent’s ability to pay, and other factors (i.e., are they the ones with the medical coverage for the kid? Etc.), but not on that. Now, if you want to argue that the closer you get to 50/50 placement the less likely it is you get child support, that might be fair, but even that’s not generally the case; usually, whichever parent ISN’T granted primary placement pays support.

      7. is sole custody typical? and how hard is it to get? i only ask because like with my mother there was a conviction for abuse (father) and it was still pretty hard for her to get sole custody. he was fighting for unsupervised visits (with sexual abuse charges ?1?). the judge basically told him he was crazy, but they let him petition for them.

        and it would be interesting to know if his parents are around. because my father’s parents filed for grand-parental rights. thankfully by the time the criminal trial and divorce were over I was 16 and i got to make my own decision.

      8. jlyfsh: in my experience, sole custody is extremely rare. It took us a year of court dates and calls to our Guardian ad litem (and 3 sex offenders in the mothers home) to get sole legal and physical placement of my step-daughter. The judge was really hard on my now husband because technically, he was a single father.

      9. Yeah, I think she should have waited until the custody agreement is worked out because this might be a moot point…

    4. EscapeHatches says:

      Any move of a parent (custodial, joint or non-custodial) in our state (AZ) of more than 100 miles requires court consent. I imagine similar requirements exist in most states and in Canada too. You may be SOL or have to give up custody, assuming you are granted it, in order to move.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        In Wisconsin, some counties set it at 50, and others set it at 100 miles, unless the parties stipulate to another measurement (I, for example, tend to draft custody stipulations based on travel time, since 30 miles in rural areas is TOTALLY different than 30 miles in urban areas.)

  7. kerrycontrary says:

    I think the LW is thinking about herself and her feelings more than what is best for her child. While it’s great to find love again after a divorce and a custody battle, is moving really the best thing for your girl? Is it really better for your child in the long-term to be moved away from her father and possibly his extended family so that you can go try it out with some other guy? Would you be ok living in San Diego if it weren’t for him? And being married to someone in the military brings a whole host of issues beyond what you already have going on. You don’t like being away from him for 4 months? Try a year where you can only speak to him once a week through a blurry skype connection, because that’s a very real possibility and don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s not. I just think the LW needs to put her emotions aside and think more practically about this. Plus, it all depends on the outcome of the custody case, so all of this could be a non-issue.

  8. Wendy has given you a lot of things to think about with respect your relationship with your boyfriend and your relationship with your child but I think the key factor is the relationship your daughter has with her father. Is he involved in her life? Is she close to him? Does he treat her well? Because while the new relationship with your boyfriend may be the best thing for you – you need to be governed by the best thing for your child… and ripping her away from a loving parent – either loving parent – is not in her interest. And for right now – her needs trump yours. It’s part of the sacrifice that parenthood entails. And while it may not be fair to your new relationship to stay – it is definitely not fair to her and her relationship with the man you chose to father her for you to go. If the new boyfriend is the man for you – then the sacrifice might have to be on his part to relocate near you. You say it is sooooo hard to only see your boyfriend every four months – think about how many o’s your daughter will have to type when she talks about missing her father.

      1. 🙂

    1. AndreaMarie says:

      Boom, your last line said it. The LW should flip it around and think about how her daughter would feel being away from her father for months.

  9. I agree with others that have said this. It isn’t a good sign that you are so distraught over leaving. Instead of viewing that as how perfect and awesome he is for you – you should be looking internally and asking why you are feeling such intense emotions over this / projecting those emotions into a need / adoration for this man. It isn’t healthy to feel that way about someone at this stage in your relationship and even then it is strange without extrenuating external circumstances.

    1. Eagle Eye says:

      I agree, but I also think that the general newness of the relationship is to blame perhaps? I mean, would I say something similar about missing my boyfriend of three years? Probably not, I mean, I love the crap out of him, don’t get me wrong, but we’re far enough along in the relationship to know that if its going to work out it will.

      That said, the language she uses, like unbearable, sooo hard, and hearbroken is worrying, because I don’t know if those are really signifiers for a healthy relationship. In that, I don’t think that I would ever use words like that to talk about my relationship, even when we were long distance (East Coast to Japan) for six months (early on in our dating) – did it blow, yep, would I have talked about how much I miss the boyfriend in those terms, probably not.

      Ugh, kinda ramble-y…sorry..

      1. yes – I’m not saying that you can’t really miss seeing an LDR S/O, but the terms she uses are definitely a red flag to me.

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I didn’t think her language was odd at all for someone who has no idea if their LDR is committed or if it’s going somewhere. I think it’s less about her feelings for him and more about her levels of uncertainty in their relationship. It rings a bell to me of the feeling I had when my then-bf of only a month got a job offer in a city five hours away. I had already let myself fall for him, and when he left, I had no idea if it was going to continue or if we’d ever see each other again. I definitely would have used those words for the couple of weeks when we didn’t know what was happening. People always give the advice in LDRs to set another date before leaving each visit, and it’s mostly to avoid the problem that this woman seems to be having. Anxiety in her heart over what’s going to happen.

      3. Eagle Eye says:

        I don’t know, like I said in the above post, about 3 mos into my current relationship, my boyfriend left for Japan for 6 mos, and while I did get to visit him at around the 4/5 months, the distance really sucked, and I swear that there were friends (at the time) who were seriously making bets over whether or not we would make it. But, even still, I really don’t know if I would have used those words.

        Now, that said, on that scale of feelings mine are rather limited especially in how I express myself, so perhaps I’m more turned off by the language/ feelings then most people.

      4. Avatar photo theattack says:

        But did you know that he was coming back after 6 months? And had you already decided to try to weather the long distance with each other? For this LW, she doesn’t have even three months of a foundation with him, and she really doesn’t know if he’s willing to stick it out with her. I imagine that she’s scared because her feelings are growing deeper, but it doesn’t sound like she’s had the benefit of increasing stability in their relationship.

    2. could you imagine this lady as a military wife when/if he was deployed? god… that would be most annoying facebook posts ever.

      1. I’m already unsubscribed from a few people in those situations, haha.

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        But didn’t you know? There love is better than yours because they’ve withstood deployments and still stayed together.

      3. Something More says:

        They’ll be divorced in a few years.

      4. painted_lady says:

        I wonder if she’s thought all that through – it’s so different in theory than it is in practice. I dated a guy in the Air Force through two deployments, and to be honest, it’s probably part of the reason we broke up. It’s not just that you have to go long stretches without seeing them – though knowing you don’t even have the option of spending too much money on a plane ticket is its own kind of hell. You may go as long between phone calls as you do between visits, or longer, depending on what he does. No texting during the day or facebook chats, probably no Skype. And being deployed changes some people, depending on the assignment (which can change, so one deployment isn’t evidence for how he’ll handle another). So the few phone calls may be distant or depressed, or even angry or hostile. My ex put up this wall, and our chats usually went, he called, I tried to reach out and connect, he shut me out, I spent the rest of the chat wondering what I’d done, and he did nothing to make me feel more secure. It’s not like in the movie where the wife or girlfriend suffers nobly while the husband or boyfriend writes longing-filled letters. For me, I spent 6-12 months wondering why my boyfriend all of a sudden wanted nothing to do with me but feeling unable to say so because who picks a fight with a deployed soldier? And then he came home and we were fine and he didn’t even want to discuss what had happened, so I had no idea…until he deployed again and he did the same thing. I just couldn’t live like that eventually, not knowing whether or not my boyfriend still even loved me and not being able to even ask because he refused to discuss it.

        I’m not saying every deployment is like that for every soldier, but she seems to think moving will help fix things permanently so that they’re together forever. And Hollywood has so romanticized being the parter of a soldier that no one thinks about the day-to-day practicalities.

      5. YES.

        i just witnessed my two best friends almost divorce because of deployment. and it is exactly how you describe it- you cant connect, the solider is under stress, there is all this pressure to keep everything happy and loving, the spouse in the states is saddled with all the bill paying/child rearing/whatever responsibilities usually shared by two people- its hell. my friend (the wife) said she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown everyday.

      6. painted_lady says:

        I can’t even imagine that part of it. We were long distance even before he deployed, so there was no extra responsibility that I had to take on…it was just the emotional distance. I probably would have greeted his return with a punch to the face. Seriously, 6-12 months of never knowing if my relationship was on the rocks was plenty, thanks.

        LW, if I were you, I would recommend you try long distance for a little longer before making any major decisions. As much as I hate the idea of this happening to him, I hope you have the chance to see your relationship when he is deployed before you make any major decisions. Because this is part of his job, potentially for another 20 or so years, so it’s not like it’s just a one-time thing. This is what he does, and you need to know all the facts before you uproot your daughter and yourself.

  10. i agree with wendy very much!

    this is not as easy as a long distance love. there are many, many more factors to consider. that being said, me and my sister did the long distance parent thing, and now that we are older, i am not close with my dad and my sister is. so it is possible to still have a good relationship with them even with long distances just as it is possible that the distance will be too much to overcome.

  11. If you take the boyfriend out of the equation, would you still want to move to San Diego? Like Wendy said is it about leaving a situation that doesn’t hold the stress and sadness that your home in Canada does? If you moved to San Diego would your extended family provide help to you and your daughter? Are you close to them? Is that part of the driving force in the move. Because, moving to have a better support system can be a good idea. Moving to be with someone who from your timeline seems you haven’t been dating very long is not.

    Has your boyfriend visited you in Canada? How long does he have left in the military? Is he making a career out of it, or is he planning to put in a certain number of years and then work as a civilian?

    Personally I think you need to put any decisions involving a move off until you are done with the custody battle. Divorce and court is hard at any age, and despite what you might think your 4 year old will remember this. My sister vividly remembers having to testify in court at age 4. Unfortunately this is one specific time where she needs to come first. I think remarrying can be great for kids, but the timing has to be right as well. I just don’t think personally while in the middle of a custody battle is the best time to be making these kinds of decisions.

    1. lindsaybob says:

      “If you take the boyfriend out of the equation, would you still want to move to San Diego?”

      Yes, this. If a big part of your motivation for moving is that you want the support of the family and friends that you have in San Diego and that support is something that will still be there for you even if this relationship doesn’t work out, it may be that on balance the best thing for your daughter IS for you to move.

      The reason for your move shouldn’t be so that you can pursue this relationship, but if there are other reasons that moving is a sensible decision for you and you daughter, being able to also see your boyfriend regularly is a nice bonus.

      But I agree with the people who have said that your emotions seem to be very intense and that you should take a look at why you might be reacting so strongly to being separated from your boyfriend.

  12. LW, someone smart once said “don’t mistake longing for love.” Sounds like that might be what you’re doing. Of course it’s fun to be with someone new, and of course you miss him when you’re not together…but how much time have you actually spent together. In real life, not in vacation mode?

    Like others have said, this is a big move, and comes with all kinds of custody and immigration issues. If you’re moving to be near to your family and get support while raising your daughter, that makes sense. If you’re moving because you think your life will be magical with this guy (who, frankly, you don’t know all that well), I’d reconsider. Mostly because you have a child now and can’t just go wherever you want without consequences for her.

  13. LW, I agree with everyone else that your daughter has to be first in this situation. I also agree that you seem to be projecting something about your distress over your current situation onto your hopes for your boyfriend. It’s not healthy to be so upset when leaving your boyfriend after a visit.

    Does your ex know that you have this new boyfriend that you are so attached to? If he does, it’s likely that he’s going to bring that into the custody battle and use it against you to keep his daughter near him- either to hurt you or simply because he doesn’t want the distance from his daughter. If he doesn’t know yet, you probably need to keep this toned down so that he doesn’t get the chance to use this card against you- especially since you seem melodramatic in this letter. Add to this that your boyfriend is in the military- he’s probably NOT going to be able to move to you, so if you get stuck with a custody agreement that doesn’t allow you to move, you’re going to be out of luck.

    And here it comes, I’m playing the therapy card: You clearly need therapy. Going through a divorce and custody battle is hard enough on its own but you’ve gotten yourself mixed up with a military boyfriend in another country and seem to have pinned unhealthy expectations to the relationship. While it might work out, I see the chances of that as being VERY slim. Do yourself a favor and see a therapist to work out your emotional issues and prepare yourself for the whole situation unravelling. And get your daughter into counseling as well. It’s hard for a child that young to be caught in divorce and when you add the boyfriend to the mix, she’s probably very confused.

  14. My husband is a Marine and I see military couples getting divorced left and right because they move way too fast. I understand why — the separation is hard, and if you get married, the military will pay for your living expenses. It’s very tempting. But marriage is hard, and marriage in the military is even harder. You’re in that blissful new period of a relationship…long-term decisions should not be made in that period, especially when you have a child. Also, if you absolutely cannot stand the heartbreak of being away from this man…how will you deal with deployments? Pump your brakes. Try and think clearly.

    1. Eagle Eye says:

      Exactly, I think that she’s still in the blissful, “we’re different” phase, but, truthfully, people are rarely different, and before engaging in life-changing decisions that will effect, her, her daughter and her ex-husband, she’ll need to carefully and thoughtfully consider ALL of the pitfalls her relationship with the new boyfriend may encounter, to do any less would be a great disservice to her child.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Isn’t it funny how everyone thinks their different? Everyone wants to believe they’re the exceptions to the rules. Everyone thinks the love they have is the greatest love that has ever been experienced. Barf.

      2. Eagle Eye says:

        Ugh, I hate how apparently everyone else’s relationship is so much more meaningful than mine, or some other shit.

        Psst, I’ll tell you a secret.

        It’s not.

    2. BriarRose says:

      Not to mention, sadly, that many military marriages DO end in divorce, so the LW could be dealing with this all over again in a few years, if she’s not careful.

    3. And how will she deal with the heartbreak of being away from her child when she goes to visit her Dad in Canada?

      1. Better yet the clusterfuck a friend of mine is in with one baby daddy in Canada one in the US and both having a dick measuring contest to keep her life as miserable and controlled as possible :-/

  15. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:


    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I love that you are in the euphoric stage of love. It’s the best feeling in the whole wide world, besides when you have to be away from each other to do normal things like work, bathe, and poop.

      1. Addie Pray says:

        No, it’s the shittiest, shittiest, shittiest feeling in the world. I need to end this. No good can come from this. Only disappointment. I’m never satisfied. It’s too hard to restrain myself. He still thinks I’m normal, remember. Though, I might not be hiding it well enough, he called me a spitfire; what does *that* mean you think?! I can’t handle this. Do you know how hard it is to NOT say things like “I want to kiss your face over and over and over again until it falls off!” It’s so hard.

      2. Spitfire is good. It means he thinks you’re spunky and either fought Nazis or would fight Nazis if you saw some. You would kick the s#@* out of some Nazis probably. Plus, think of the opposite : Drymouthice. That’s bad.

      3. hahaha, Drymouthice. That’s amazing.

      4. My husband thinks I’m a total freak/weirdo, so believe that there is hope!! Say all that stupid stuff that you’re thinking, because at some point, he’s going to find out that you’re totally out there. And who knows, he might even love you BECAUSE of it. For some odd reason, my husband does!

      5. I agree, it’s like something Wendy posted on Facebook the other day. Everyone is crazy, you just have to find someone who appreciates and loves your crazy 🙂 Because, yeah I don’t think anyone else could put up with mine or my husband’s brand of crazy but each other, haha.

      6. It´s kind of like that Dr.Seuss quote “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
        (I LOVE Dr Seuss)

      7. Exactly! 🙂 I love Dr Seuss too

    2. Addie Pray says:

      Seriously, people. Wendy, how do you let Drew go to work every day when you know you won’t be able to see him again until MUCH LATER IN THE DAY?! How do you people go out to dinner with friends when you could have dinner with your love instead? How can this LW *not* move to San Diego immediately? Like today, can’t wait for the weekend. How does everybody function so effortlessly? How? HOW? THAT’S IT. I’m quitting everything. Bye, guys. This time I mean it. There are too many distractions happening right now. I can’t deal.

    3. I assume things are going well with Texty McTexterson?

      1. Addie Pray says:

        Yes but also it’s tragic. TRAGIC. The world is conspiring to keep us apart. Work, the time it takes to commute from point A to B, SELFISH SELFISH SELFISH dear old friends who come to town and expect to hang out with me for at least a meal, other fucking plans that get made – it never ends. I can’t handle it.

      2. Is it bad that I would rather hang out with my friends than the new guy I’ve gone on a few dates with? I’m thinking that’s a bad sign. But I do like him. Hmm.

      3. Addie Pray says:

        No. It’s a good sign. My new theory is we should only date people we are moderately interested in. If you really, really, really like someone, move on. That way you don’t have to live in agony – A G O N Y.

      4. Oh good. I’m ok then. Because I only really like him. Not really, really, really.

      5. Addie Pray says:

        You’re in the clear. Continue.

      6. too well?


    4. Addie Pray says:

      Alright, re-reading my comments above, maybe I’m being a little silly. I’m not really THAT pyscho, I promise. A little, yes, but rest assured I’m proceeding with caustion and thinking with my head and not just my penis.

      1. does he know you have a penis? 😛

        also, you need to chill out, lol.

  16. BriarRose says:

    As a former military spouse, now single mom with a daughter who sobs in my lap about once a week (and twice yesterday) for her deployed Daddy, I urge you to be cautious on all fronts here. Take things slowly!

    When I got divorced, I remained in the same town as my ex-husband, so my daughter could see him as much as possible. Sadly, he didn’t really take advantage of that, and has now volunteered for a position that will take him first to DC for training, then out of the country. So not all single moms can stay nearby to their exes, even if they want to. And we, as humans, just like the rest of the world who are not single parents, should be allowed to live our lives, including seeking out companionship someday. That being said, the LW needs to exercise EXTREME caution here. Seeing her boyfriend every few months is probably complete and utter bliss, because their visits are so rare. But how do they know how they will feel about each other on a rainy Thursday when they’ve both had bad days at work? How about when the daughter is sick and no one got any sleep? It’s difficult to start out a relationship as a LDR in any circumstance, even harder when there is a child invovled. Moving the daughter away from her father and presenting this new man in her life is going to be confusing at best, disastrous at worst.

    As Wendy said, you need to consider how you feel about living in San Diego in general. If you move there and things don’t work out, what will you do? Will you stay there? Will you have a job so you can support yourself? I could go on and on, but I urge you to be mature, and think this through clearly. You want to move across the country (to a new country) for a man you have seen in person less than 10 times (if I read correctly), all with a 4 year old who will no doubt be crying for her dad, her friends, her old town, etc. Please take this slowly.

    1. Yes, this.

      I also feel like you’re moving way too fast. To me, a couple of questions remain. Your daughter has seen this new guy what, 2 times (the 2 visits)? And I wonder, how long exactly have you been dating him? How long do you even know him? Also, you say you’ve had a bad relationship with your ex but don’t mention if he’s good dad or not. We’re left to assume he isn’t, as you’re seeking sole custody. Battling for it, no less. Right?

      Take it easy there.

    2. AndreaMarie says:

      Thats my other concern. The daughter needs a father figure. If the LW moves the daughter away from her father only to introduce a man who will then be gone for months doesn’t seem super healthy for the child.

  17. I think Wendy summed it up perfectly so I’m going to use this space to say WHEEEEE! I’m glad to be back!!

    Also, if you do plan to move to San Diego, I would def plan to live away from the bf first, either alone or with family. Moving, leaving her dad, and leaving her country (we don’t have POUTINE in so cal, remember? It’s terrible. And we’re lackluster on cheese curds in general.) are gonna seem scary and adding in the other element of having her live with a man she might not be ready to live with will just make her less likely to adjust happily.

    Plus, not to be paranoid, if you have a little kid, its always better to date a guy for years before moving in together. That way he’s had enough time to figure out how to be a good step-dad, you’ve had time to figure out if you could spend the next 50 decades (we live that long, right?) with each other and your daughter can have a consistent and steady home life.

    1. I´ve missed your comments so much!! And totally agree with your last paragraph (except for the 50 decade thing haha)

      1. Addie Pray says:

        WJKS. (Aw, Sarah doesn’t even know what that means! Sarah, it means “what JK said,” which means I missed you and hope you’re back for good. I always enjoyed reading your comments.)

      2. I DIDN’T know what WJKS was!! I need to caaaatch uuuuuup. Somebody write a new slang term so I can be a part of it. I got one: WCWJD? What Car Will Jackson Drive? I say a Roadster.

      3. Addie Pray says:

        Don’t be silly – Jackson is a New Yorker. He won’t get his driver’s license until he’s 40 and only then so he can rent a car and drive around an island for a long weekend to make his wife happy.

      4. @%# good point.

      5. Addie Pray says:

        Here’s one, Sarah: WWRRCB? When will Regina Rey come back? That fucker has been MIA for a couple of months now. And in her absence, I’ve made a lot of stupid, stupid, stupid decisions. It’s really hard to go about life without RR’s daily wisdom to look to. Wendy can’t bear *all* the responsibility. (Wait, bare? bear? I’m changing it to “have”.)

      6. WWCUORSA? Will Wendy Clean Up Our Relationship Sh%t Again?

        IRROGL? Is Regina Rey Off Getting Laid?

        IIBOB? Is It Bear Or Bare?

        OMG, that gives me an idea, DW should have a Mascot and it should be a BEAR. If he likes a relationship idea, he roars contentedly and rubs his paunch. If he doesn’t, he mauls us.

      7. Addie Pray says:

        Yes, a mascot – that is genius! A bear is the perfect mascot. His first name could be Bear and last name Wendy — Bear Wendy. Get it – get it? Like Dear Wendy but Bear Wendy. And when he growls the sound can be MOOOAAAAAAA – like MOA. Get it – get it? Also he could wear a tutu b/c I think animals dressed in tutus is hilarious.

        F.M.I.A.T.M.A.L.A. (Fuck me I ate too much at lunch again.)

      8. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ooooh lets talk about lunch. I like talking about food almost as much as I like eating it.

      9. Addie Pray says:

        Burger day! I had: rice and bean soup; a burger with blue cheese, bbq, sauteed onions, and bacon; some spicy tuna roll, a cucumber salad; fries and onion rings; and to go I grabbed an apple, two bags of chips, and these disgusting gluten free, carb free, everything-free chocolate chip cookies. I keep thinking maybe this time they’ll taste ok but then they never do. But maybe this time they will.

      10. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        You had me at sauteed onions, cucumber salad and fries.

      11. Ooh, I had a cheeseburger and fries today.

        um, and that’s it. I wish our cafe was all you can eat like yours. but maybe I don’t.

      12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Has anyone seen the Checkers commercial for the $1 cheeseburger that comes with fries ON THE BURGER?!!! I have got to get one asap. I’m not supposed to be eating fast food but mmmm I need it.

      13. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        WHAT?! That inventor is a genius. I used to love putting potato chips on my sandwich – this is just the less healthy/better version. I love BK fries. They’re my favorite. Oh and Arby’s curly. Delish.

      14. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I put chips on my sandwhiches quite often. I usually get weird looks. I settled for Pirates Booty and a bottle of water instead of a fry and cheese filled delicious burger.

      15. you guys, i just teared up laughing so hard about this… omg.

      16. also, sarah, to clarify- you can say W_S about anyone- so WAPS is what addie pray said, WSS is what sarah said, ect. WWS is used most frequently, obvs.

        we are also getting DW mugs and Tshirts at some point in the future and we came up with hilarious sayings to put on them.

      17. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Like you can’t have your cake and bang it to. (Remember that one?) (Anyone?) (I’m so funny.)

      18. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:


      19. painted_lady says:

        Too. But yes, you are hilarious. I forgot about that one. Do I have your permission to use that with my high schoolers? I think they’d enjoy it.

      20. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Absolutely. And also you sound like a much cooler teacher than the ones I have.

      21. painted_lady says:

        I’ve been known to have a fucking blast in class. I assume my kids enjoy it as well, but as long as I’m having a good time, at least one of us is happy.

      22. yes!! i love that one!! im going to get it just because it has the word cake in it. and also you made it up (right? thats how i remember it.)

  18. stilgar666 says:

    But I bet the military dude is quite dashing, with a hard body, and San Diego is so beautiful…and little girls don’t need to see there fathers.

    If the EX wants to be an active involved parent, it is in the best interest of all parties for him to have the opportunity. But sole custody is unhealthy, if both parents are stable and nurturing they should share. Whatever happened between the parents couldn’t be more irrelevant to the present. (barring abuse)

    LW sounds like she makes mistakes with relationships, and is immature…


  19. katiebird says:

    Do not move your daughter away from her father. My parents got divorced when I was 11 and only being able to see my dad a few times a month was painful enough, I can’t imagine how your poor daughter would feel if you took her away from her father for such long stretches of time at such a young age. You are a mother, your needs don’t come first anymore.

  20. AndreaMarie says:

    I agree with what many of the other posters have said. The larger issue the LW needs to deal with is the emotional issues still left over from her breakup before she’s in the right state of mind to make huge life decisions for herself and most importantly her daughter. Like others have said, the fact they your are miserable, longing, heartbroken after visiting this guy is a red flag. It seems as if you are putting enormous amounts of emotional dependancy on a very new relationship. Not to say that this man isn’t womderful but could your feelings be magnified because the time you have with him is an escape from the bad emotions and stressors you are dealing with? You are in a LDW for a short time and have only spent a handful of days in person with this man. You don’t know nearly enough about him or the future of the relationship to make serious plans for your life and your daughter’s life. Being in love is amazing and wonderful but you have some bigger priorities infront of you to resolve before worrying about moving for a boyfriend. First is the custody battle. I’m not familiar with the laws in Canada but I know in many states in the US the court will order that the primary parent can not move out of the country with the child. That could be a possibility in your case, the judge might rule that the child must stay in Canada. Are you willing to end the battle and give primary custody to the child’s father so that you can move to San Diego?? Until the legal issues are squared away I don’t think there’s much you can do regarding moving. Also, would you move to San Diego even if it wasn’t for the man? Do you want to live near your family regardless? I ask this because again, you know very little about him or the future of the relationship. What if you uproot and in 3 months you break up? Or he is immdeiately deployed? Do you have any other reasons for being there?

    I think the LW needs to take a step back an evaluate her feelings. Maybe speak to a counselor about unresolved issues from your breakup and figure out if thats the core of your dramatic emotions regarding the BF. Also, worry about the court case. You’re not in a position to make any real decisions about moving your child until there is a judgement.

    In the end, put the best interest of your daughter first. She might only be 4 but I’m sure she already feels the stress of this bad break up and custody case. If its best for your daughter to live near her father than that is more important than any longing and desire you have for a man.

  21. LW, everyone has said what I would say, but I do have a question: why are you the one doing all the traveling in order to spend time with this guy? Even military dudes get vacation days or a long weekend upon occasion, don’t they? Tell him it’s his turn to come see you and let’s see what happens.

    1. Excellent point, Mimi, I wondered about that, but wasn´t sure about how vacation days etc. worked in the military.

    2. BriarRose says:

      I can’t speak for other branches, but the Army gets plenty of vacation days and usually there is one 4-day weekend a month (in conjunction with a federal holiday like Veteran’s Day, etc). BUT! Getting permission to leave your unit/area (about 50 miles) is essential, even for a 4 day weekend, and not always granted. Getting permission to go out of the country is much harder/less likely. If he is in a unit with any sort of recall (has to be able to report for duty within 24-48 hours), he probably can’t go anywhere. Not saying it’s impossible for him to visit her, but certainly not as easy as it would be for a civilian.

  22. Have you thought of the legal side yet LW? Are you an American citizen? If you are not an American citizen are you going to be marrying the guy right away? If you do you can get permanent residence, I believe, which will put you on track to citizenship and allow you to get a job. IF you are not marrying the guy right away you are going to have to get a Visa. To get a Visa you usually need a job that is going to vouch for you. Do you have a job lined up down there? Extended family such as uncles, cousins are not considered part of the family visa – that is usually for immediate family such as kids, spouses, brothers and sisters. Therefore you will likely either need to be engaged/married to the guy or get a job before moving. And things aren’t easy in the state jobwise.

    And finally, be prepared for a court order that does not allow you to take the child to a different country from your ex. It can happen.

    This is a very helpful website for the different kinds of visas and applications to immigrating in the US: http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.php?act=home

  23. Moneypenny says:

    I can’t add much more than, listen to Wendy! She knows what’s up.

    But seriously, I agree with the others who are concerned with how intense things are right now. Your primary concern should be for the well-being of your daughter, first and foremost. Uprooting your daughter (or leaving her in Canada) is a huge move, not to mention moving yourself to San Diego for your ldr.

  24. I want to know what prompted the LW to decide she wanted sole custody. Is the father an unfit parent? Abusive (physically towards the mother or daughter, or just mentally towards the mother and uses the daughter as a pawn to get to the mother)? These are all factors in how I would respond to this letter and I can’t respond unless I know more details.

    I make a long distance relationship work between my kids and my 2nd ex-husband work. It takes a lot of work. I have to make my own phone calls when the kids aren’t around in order to fill in gaps, update him on things that the kids may have said, but didn’t fully explain, or just to catch him up and give him talking points so it seems like he’s there (even though he isn’t).
    Skype is a great facilitator. The kids can see him and talk. Of course, the time difference sucks and they can only do it a few times a week (at best), but it still helps.

    Is your boyfriend willing to handle the communication? Actually be a PART of the communication? There may be times where he has to answer the phone, or be a part of calls. My SO sometimes has to be the one to get the Skype calls going because I’m running late from the office and he’s home. Or I’m dealing with a family emergency and can’t attend. Or he answers the home phone before the kids do. *laugh* Or gets to play host when my ex is in town physically visiting the kids. Luckily, my ex and my SO get along, so I more worry that my house is going to be destroyed because they were sitting around playing video games all day while the kids may have been fending for themselves.

    If your boyfriend isn’t going to want to handle another adult male in your life making demands on you and your daughter, then it isn’t worth it. It really isn’t. I don’t begrudge you wanting to be near a support system (your family). And that should be your main reason for going. Not because you want to get laid on a more regular basis.

  25. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Everybody else pretty much covered this one — especially Wendy and iwannatalktosampson.

    I say — No. (Surprise, surprise. Right?) No, you should NOT move your daughter away from her father so you can play happy family with somebody you for all practical purposes barely even know. Sure, it sucks, but too bad. Look, when you make a baby with somebody, you give up a good deal of your freedom — or you should at least. Meaning you are supposed to actually put your kid’s need above yours… Start doing that.

    PS — Four measly visits? Please! At this point you are both largely just projections and fantasies to one another. And lets face it. Your track record with picking men is LESS than stellar. Seems to me like odds are that you’ll fall out of love with this guy just as quickly as the last. And it won’t be your fault again either. No, it’ll be another “bad” relationship… (Of course — all this will go down only AFTER making another baby! Gee, where will the three of you will move next, I wonder?) Hey, you wanna pursue this relationship? Fine. Go for it. But take it SLOWWWWWW. Start dating like a grown woman and not some silly school girl. Those days are past. For the sake of your daughter, start thinking like a mother. And not the heroine of a trashy romance novel…

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      This might be the first time I whole heartedly agree with everything you’ve said.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        Oh dear… Does this mean I must rethink my entire post? 😉

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        haha. perhaps 🙂

  26. No. The way you talk about this guy sounds a lot like infatuation. It might be different if you were talking about shared visions for the future or signs that he would be a good and willing father to your daughter, etc. But you don’t. If the reason for moving was about you wanting a better support system in raising your daughter, then I’d think that was a good move.

    You may not like your daughter’s father, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t her father. It’s important for kids to be able to have as good a relationship as possible with both their parents. LDRs are not innately sketchy, but if you’re with a guy who you’ve only known in a long-distance capacity, it is extremely difficult to determine how serious he is about you. For all you know, he gets laid by a different woman every night when you’re not there.

    When you have children, you can’t make impulsive decisions like you can when you’re single. You just can’t. You are the sole person who is responsible for making your child’s life good or bad, and you should be a little more worried about that, I think.

  27. Something More says:

    Before you answer your question, LW, answer this one.

    If your ex gets sole custody of your daughter, would you still consider moving to San Diego away from her for this guy?

    Just think about it.

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