What Father’s Day Means To An Ex-Wife

Father's Day

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

When I think of Father’s Day, I think of my father and always will. But there is another father who celebrates Father’s Day: someone who really doesn’t like me at all, someone with whom I have had a turbulent relationship-in marriage, in divorce and after divorce, but someone who shares the love I have for two treasured gifts: our children. Yes, that would be my ex-husband, who will celebrate and get recognized for being a dad this weekend.


What will I do? I will spend Father’s day alone. I don’t say that because I want people to feel sorry for me. I actually embrace time alone. I will work a little bit, spend time outside, walking, jogging, sunbathing, run errands, and probably have dinner with all my divorced girlfriends.


But what I want to say to all divorced moms is, just as Mother’s Day was about motherhood, Father’s Day is about being a father, not an ex-husband. So, whatever you feel he did to you, however you feel he wronged you, however awful your current relationship is, however much the site of him pisses you off, take the day of Father’s Day to appreciate him as a father.


Why? Because as much as you resent him, as much as he is constantly a source of anxiety in your life, and as much as he can drive you insane, your children adore him. Do they see his faults? If they are over 10 years old then yes, they most likely do. Do they still adore him? Yes. AND THAT IS A GOOD THING!!!


Want Financial Security After Divorce?


Children need their fathers (and mothers) regardless of faults and imperfections, and regardless of what happened in your marriage. Why? Because the minute they came into this world, they earned the right to have the love and nurturing that can only come from parents.


The thing is, in most divorce cases, there is a little (or a lot) of resentment and bitterness that is ever present on one or both sides (usually both). Some of you reading this will say, “Speak for yourself. I don’t have any resentment. I’m over my divorce.” Uh…yeah…OK.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it is wonderful if you can move past the divorce, be civil to your ex, even friendly. Trust me, I’m a huge proponent of a good post-marital relationship. However, let’s be honest. There are underlying causes of constant resentment that stay in a divorced couple’s relationship: child support checks, parenting schedules, a new girlfriend, a new husband, stepchildren, ex-in-laws and of course, resentment from the past.



It is very hard to hide it from the kids. It is very hard to pretend you think the same about your ex as they do. And it is very hard to relinquish control and hand over your kids to your ex for a weekend when you don’t approve of a lot of things he or she might be doing and saying at their home. But, keep trying. Hold your tongue. Be a little fake if you can see it makes your kids more at peace. And make it your mission to separate your ex as what he was as a husband and what he is as a father.


On Father’s Day especially, call for a cease-fire. Let him celebrate how much he loves being a dad, just as you celebrated being a mom last month. Let your kids have a fun day with him playing ball, swimming and grilling, without that sad, worried look on your face when they leave the house—afraid they won’t want to come home, that they will like being at daddy’s house more.

Remember that your kids love both you and your ex dearly, and they have this inner-struggle to make sure you both know that. A lot of burden for a young kid to handle, don’t you think?


Divorced Girl Smiling Trusted Partners


In closing, remember that even if you feel your ex was a shitty husband, even if he hurt you beyond belief, and even if you can’t even look at him without wishing he would jump into Lake Michigan and swim to Canada, he is the father of your children and they need him.

If you don’t think he’s a very good dad, remember that barring mental or physical abuse or the risk of harm to the kids, having dad in their lives is always better than having no dad at all. And if you think he’s a really great dad, what’s wrong with putting your personal feelings aside and telling him that on Father’s Day? Nothing.


Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there! I know you work really hard to balance everything out. You’re doing great!

Like this article? Check out my article, “Happy Father’s Day to my Dad in Heaven”



Buy novels by Jackie Pilossoph
Divorced Girl Smiling Trusted Partners

Sign up for the Divorced Girl Smiling newsletter to get weekly articles on divorce and dating.

Sign up
Listen to the Divorced Girl Smiling podcast! a weekly show about divorce and dating Download the Divorced Girl Smiling mobile app


Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

9 Responses to “What Father’s Day Means To An Ex-Wife”

  1. Lynnette

    This is EXACTLY what I say!!! It’s so difficult at times for me cuz Ididn’t want divorce but you read my mind!!!!

  2. Bev Walton

    My ex-husband is, was and always will be THE most awesome father to our daughters.I certainly wasn’t an angelic ex-wife, but I am proud to say that I NEVER poisoned my daughters against their father – the way many ex-wives do. I did my best to encourage and support a healthy father/daughter relationship. To all the great dads out there – Happy Father’s Day!

  3. Tom Leykis

    What I love about women like you is that nothing is ever your fault and you never take responsibility for your part in a failed marriage. You’re pathetic, irrational, delusional, histrionic, shrill and clueless.

  4. Missy

    Just starting this divorce thing and I am so lost. I agree with the importance my ex will play in our son’s life but, i”m not feeling real good towards him right now. he has moved out and moved on and i”m lost and stuck in this quick sand that was our life together.

  5. Bev Walton

    Hey Tom, I think you may have misunderstood. Jackie’s article was aimed at both parties involved in a divorce. As for my situation, I was to blame for many things that went wrong in my relationship. Finally, over time, I was able to admit my faults and shortcomings. And put my pride in my pocket and apologise to my ex-husband. He is an awesome man – it was just not meant to be. Sounds so cheezy, but: it takes 2 to tango.

  6. Mike

    Thank you so much for this article. I’m in my first year of divorce and have made sure the kids make a deal of their moms birthday and mother’s fay. Unfortunately this has not been done by her. Your article helped me through the day.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      You just take the high road and let your ex do what she is going to do. You won’t ever regret being nice, and your kids will see it also. Hang in there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.