Long-Distance Dad

Ideas for keeping a connection with your children while you're away.

Q. I recently remarried. My new wife lives in another state and I moved to be with her, taking me 600 miles away from my three children, who are 16, 13, and 10. I'm having a very hard time with the separation. I can't help but feel I've let my kids down. We see each other as often as possible, but obviously it's not the same. How can I maintain a close relationship with my children? And how can I deal with the guilt I feel?

A. Well, you have a challenging situation on your hands. I want to start with your feelings of guilt. You need to ask yourself if the guilt is from God in the form of true conviction or a false feeling that you are carrying with you. Since you're the only one who can answer that question, I'd recommend taking a half-day private retreat to consider the pros and cons of your move, your life goals, your marriage goals, and what you want people to say about you in your eulogy. That last question may sound morose, but it is a good way to align your life choices with your life goals. After your retreat, you should have a better sense of where God is leading you right now.

If you still feel unsettled about the move, you may want to reevaluate it. Talk with your wife and see if she's willing to work with you. Perhaps she would consider moving to be near the kids after a year or two. If you still feel the move is the best choice for everyone involved, ask God to give you peace about the situation and help you accept it.

If you stay, here are some ideas for keeping a connection with your children:

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May 25

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