How Absent Fathers Feel About Not Having Been Involved In Their Children's Lives

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Do absent fathers feel guilty?

There’s nothing more stigmatized in today’s society than absent fathers who skip town on their kids. They are seen as selfish. They are often painted as failures, or just downright sociopathic. If you ask anyone about their opinions on absent fathers, it’s most likely going to be negative.

The effects of growing up without a father have been well-documented.

Children, especially young boys, really should have a strong male role model in their lives to show how their adult life should be. A father’s absence is linked to higher rates of juvenile delinquency, lower incomes, as well as higher rates of depression.

But do absent fathers feel guilty? Do they feel sadness or regret? The short answer is yes, most of them do.

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Though single mothers can do a great job raising healthy kids, help is always needed. Society hopes men stick around for their kids and learn how to be a good dad, but in many situations, they don’t, and the kid ends up being raised by single parents.

We all deserve the love, support, and encouragement that comes from our fathers so, I decided to find out why guys bailed on their precious time with their children, and how they feel about their decisions.

I did this to find out the real answer to the question: "Do absent fathers feel guilty?"

Here’s what five of them had to say. (Due to the nature of the interview, names have been changed to protect anonymity.)

Mario, 67

Q: How many kids do you have?

Two. They were twins.

Q: Why were you absent?

I ran away from my wife and children because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was young, she was needy, and we didn’t see eye to eye. She was getting awful. She nagged me, she whined, she gained weight, and she also publicly humiliated me.

Having children wasn’t even my idea. She purposefully skipped her birth control and expected me to just put up with it. What I did next, I’ll admit I wasn’t proud of. I started having an affair with a woman at work, ditched my family, and left the country. I only let her know when I arrived in the United States.

Q: Did you ever see your children again?

No, and it’s eating me alive. I tried to find them, but so far, they don’t want to speak to me. They want nothing to do with me. I lost out.

Q: Do you feel bad for what you did?

I can’t forgive myself.

Jayden, 33

Q: How many kids do you have?


Q: Why were you absent?

I told her I did not want kids. She told me if she got pregnant, she’d abort it. Well, she started to talk about having a baby, and I was getting ready to leave. I knew I didn’t want to stay with her much longer. She picked up on it, I assume, and got pregnant.

She was talking about marriage. I refused. She started using the pregnancy against me. I told her that she needed to choose between being a single mother and having an abortion. She knew I didn’t want a kid. She made her choice.

Q: Did you ever see your child again?

She occasionally sends me photos and tries to guilt me into seeing him. I’ve no interest in him. I paid money to her after I got a paternity test, but I have absolutely no desire to see them.

Q: Do you feel bad about your decision?

No. I don’t care how bad it sounds. A baby should not be a unilateral decision, nor should it be a way to tie someone down.

RELATED: To My Father Who Should Have Been There

Julio, 35

Q: How many kids do you have?

Three. One, I bailed on.

Q: Why were you absent?

My first child was conceived when I was 17. I was young. I panicked. I just wanted to party. She kept the baby, and I decided to enlist in the Marines just to get away from her. I agreed to pay child support after she threatened to tell my officers, but aside from that, I refused to see the kid.

It wasn’t her fault. My daughter just reminded me of all the failures that I had. It took years for me to get okay with the idea of seeing her.

Q: Did you ever see her again?

I sought to meet her when she turned eight. Her mother begrudgingly allowed it.

Q: What was it like?

It was hard. She clearly was curious. She wanted to know who I was and have a relationship, but there was a lot of very obvious resentment. After that, our relationship has been stilted. At times, I vanish again because I just don’t know how to handle her.

Q: You said you have two other children. How did that go?

My other two were conceived while I was in my 30s. I promised myself that I’d never walk out again. I’m trying to be better, but I don’t know if I can keep it up.

Q: Do you feel bad about what happened to your first daughter?

Yes. I’m not proud of what I did. People who know treat me differently. I’m not the respected man I probably should be.

Q: Would you say it affected your dating life?

The moment women heard that I left my daughter, most leave. Not all, but most. I can’t blame them.

Lenny, 25

Q: How many children do you have?

One girl.

Q: Why were you absent?

I just couldn’t deal. I wanted to be ready. I wanted to have a “sow the wild oats” period. I just stopped caring about the baby mama and, well... it just wasn’t really translating to my daughter.

Everything just felt wrong, and I didn’t want to be forced to pay so much money and spend time with her. I mean, everything just felt like it was “game over.”

Q: Did you ever see your kid again?

No. I had the opportunity to, but I just don’t want to.

Q: Do you tell others that you have a kid you don’t see?


Q: Do you feel bad about what happened?

I feel awful. I’m not proud of myself. I’m trying to pick up the pieces and continue with my life. I like to think that I’ll do better next time, if there ever is a next time.

Q: Do you ever think about her?

I try not to.

Gary, 30

Q: How many kids do you have?

I don’t know.

Q: Try to guess.

Three? They’re probably by different women.

Q: Why were you absent?

Some of my girls didn’t tell me they were pregnant until after the fact. Others wanted me around, but I wasn’t about to give them my money for kids I didn’t ask for. They gave birth to them, they better figure out what to do with them.

I have a drug problem — a bad one. What kind of woman would have a kid with me? I blame them.

Q: Did you ever see your kids again?

No. I don’t care to see their mamas, either.

Q: Do you feel bad about this?

A little, sometimes. But that’s not why we’re alive. We’re here to have fun.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats.