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Home Community Single Parent Life Separation My story - Single dad in a small village
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Jonathan's story

Jonathan has been single dad to his six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son, since his ex-wife left the family two years ago.

My ex-wife is Chinese, we met when I was working in China. We got on well and when my contract finished, she came to the UK. We got engaged, then married. Things changed after the wedding. She didn’t like the UK, it wasn’t what she wanted, it was a culture shock for her.

My wife said she wanted kids but she wasn’t very maternal. When our daughter was born, we really tried to make family life work but it was going badly wrong. I tried to make my wife happy but there’s only so much a human being can do.

Rough ride
When my son was nine months, she bought a ticket back to China and left us. Nobody knows what I’ve been through, it was hell. I’ve had a rough ride. I was working full-time for the NHS and explained to my line manager that I needed to cut my hours. But she was abrupt and unsympathetic. I was leaving work, rushing to pick up my son and daughter, give them their tea, they were tired and stressed, so was I. Also, my son got very ill, he was affected by breastfeeding stopping suddenly.

Eventually I took early retirement from my job, I  set up an electronic engineering business but again found it too much combining work and kids. Now I’m on income support and will be until my son starts school. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived on benefits.

I try to blend in but I am unusual, being a single dad in a small village. I sympathise with other single parents, keep your chin up, I say. I don’t have any family around me to help. But by now I’m used to pulling my socks up and getting on with it, so that’s what I do.

So young
My little boy needs a lot of attention, he’s still so young. With my daughter it is getting easier now she’s older. She washes and dresses herself now and is learning how to make breakfast for herself. I’m proud of her, she’s very independent. When my wife first left, my daughter cried when it was time for school and she was still shy and withdrawn this time last year. Now I wait at the school gates and she walks confidently into class.

We’ve got a routine. On Saturdays we go shopping, Sundays it’s swimming. We went to London for Chinese new year, we manage to do different things even though we don’t have much money.
Things are very tough for us still and I'm about to sell our house and don't know what will happen next. The kids have not seen their mum in two years, she phones sometimes but my daughter does not speak to her.

Living on benefits has changed our lifestyle but the kids are much happier than when I was working. Now I can spend more time with them, being dad and mother.


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Michele_petite avatar
21 January 2012 16:48

Wow ur story really touched me johnathon ur a very special daddy & ur kids should b very proud of u I am a single mum & I no how difficult life can get but every now & someone like u makes us all realize how the best things in life r free I wish u & ur kids all the very best of love & luck. :-). Xx

POPPIE avatar
11 January 2012 22:04

Well done Jonathan you are doing really well and your children will be so proud of you in the future that is for sure.

mommaneil avatar
22 December 2011 14:37

Your story is inspiring Jonathan just like all the single parents on these forums. We will keep going as we have beautiful children to keep motivating us

lina avatar
14 December 2011 08:16

You are wonderful father.I am a single mum with two lovely children and I am surprised how difficult the life could be.I have been true a lot,but the smile of my children make me strong and happy.I hope that everything goes well for you.

charliewillow avatar
06 September 2011 17:00

Hi Jonathan, I have a 3 year old daughter and a 9 year old son so I understand the difficulties you experience with the age gap. I also find it hard to find things that they both enjoy doing as they are at such different stages mentally and physically. Being a mother, father, friend, teacher, chief, taxi driver, entertainer and everything else that comes with living alone with children can only be really understood by people who have actually lived and walked in the shoes of a single parent. Just remember that whenever you are feeling low, exhausted or confused, you really aren't alone.

toludc avatar
30 May 2011 14:19

Like all the others have said - well done you. Im inspired by your story

mammybear avatar
26 May 2011 14:03

life will get easier and all you have to do is look at your children and know everything you do and all of life's struggles are worth it because of them. Single Parent (and doing a damn fine job, if I do say so) and PROUD !! Well done to you

lambchops avatar
20 May 2011 21:19

Well done Jonathan,i know how you feel,i have brought my son up on my own since he was 3 years old and now he is a teenager,its been very difficult but worth it.

caprice love  avatar
caprice love
13 May 2011 02:39

Well done, you must be and feel a really proud dad, well done again !!!

smudge758 avatar
10 May 2011 20:02

Well done Jonathon, I am just beginning my journey as a single Dad, my kids are older, but it isn't going to be easy. Reading your story gives me some comfort and I know things will get better. Not many of us single Dad's, so I'll get my story down when I know how it develops over the next few months. Look after yourself and yours, respect - Steve.

Helenal avatar
30 March 2011 22:19

Well done ! The world needs more dads like you! I'm a single mom to an 18 month old and I never thought in million years I would be doing this alone but to all the single parents out there nobody really knows until they have walked in our shoes. Its really really hard but funny thing is most of us would not change it for anything.Keep doing the best you can do and let's remember kids don't stay little forever.

Daniel_4424 avatar
16 March 2011 10:09

You should be proud of yourself Jonathan, your doing everything expected of you and more. I know, I'm also a single dad, and understand what your going through. Like you said chin

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