Father of three determined to stay positive after separation

Divorce and separations are much more common now than they used to be and while many are settled amicably some aren’t.  William Shaw separated from his wife in May 2011 but instead of moving out on his own like many men do he stayed in the family home with his three daughters while his wife walked out.

William and his daughters in summer 2011

William’s daughters are aged 25, 23 and 19.  After the separation they all chose to live with their father and they don’t visit their mother at present.  William was reluctant to go into detail about his marriage, “I don’t like discussing it really.  My wife was an alcoholic and we all tried to help her.  She didn’t admit that she had a problem and things got worse from there really and we ended up separating.”

William described how hard he has found the last year, “It’s not been easy.  I was married for over 20 years but for the health and happiness of myself and my children I had to call it a day.  The only thing that matters to me now is my girls and providing for them the best I can.”

William knows he is in quite an unusual situation in that usually children stay with their mother following a divorce or separation, “I don’t like to discuss my wife with people I don’t know that well but it wasn’t possible for my children to go live with her.  People are sometimes a bit surprised that she left on her own but they don’t know the situation.”

Although he puts a brave face on in public William admitted that it can be hard to manage at times, “Things are really tough at the moment.  I need an operation on my knee but I can’t afford to take time off work.  I’m taking pain killers every day.”

William with his eldest daughter

William has worked for a shop window fitting company for the last few years and has recently had to take training to work in the offices more to take some of the strain off his knee, “My boss has been really supportive, he knows that some days I’m in agony so he arranged for me to get up to speed with the computer programmes to work in the office for a few days of the week.  I’ve found it difficult as I’ve worked in manual labour jobs all my life but I knew I had to do it or risk severely damaging my knee.  The doctors have said if I don’t take it easy I could end up in a wheel chair for a while.”

William stated that for financial reasons he can’t have the operation he requires, “My eldest daughter is at University and although she gets a loan she still needs support.  I have the bills to pay and I also have my other two daughters at home.  Although they are working I need to save because my youngest also wants to go to university.  I simply can’t afford to stop; I’m even working away fitting windows at night and on Saturday’s sometimes.”

Although at times the struggle of William’s current situation threatens to become too much for him to handle he knows he has the support of his family, especially his daughter’s who he now says he is closer to than ever, “I used to work away more than I do now.  I try to come home almost every night now.  I need them as much as they have needed me.  We all support each other.”

Written by Michael Clarkson

Follow Me @M_Clarkson

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2 thoughts on “Father of three determined to stay positive after separation

  1. such a lovely and well written article. Great sensitivity and care comes across from the writer. It is nice to hear that fathers also struggle and do help to look after their children, as there are a lot of stereotypes in society these days.

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