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Featured: 4 Tips for Coping With Separation



We love a business called Amicable and the work they’re doing for those going through separation. They describe their mission as ‘to provide a better, kinder, affordable way to divorce, separate and co-parent’; something that would have benefitted me so much when Evie’s mum and I split.

We’ve been working them for a while and I was even featured as guests on Episode #25 of their, ‘The Divorce Podcast‘.

Recently, I wrote a blog post for them entitled, ‘Four Tips for Coping with Separation’.

You can see an exerpt below, or read the full article here.

“It’s over.”

These two words, when used in the context of a relationship, can have a deep, lasting and upsetting impact on both the person receiving them, as well as the person delivering them. The end of a relationship marks the end of your journey with that other person and, instigator or not, dealing with the fallout and moving on…is tough. Let’s face it, whether you’ve spent weeks, months or years together, unpicking the dying weeds of romantic entanglement is tough, particularly when there stood a blossoming relationship in their place.

The bad news? Separation never gets easier, whether you’re the ‘leaver’ or the ‘left’.

The good news? There are things you can do that’ll help you cope with separation in order to find a path forward towards a life that not only do you want, but you deserve.

1. Embrace your emotions

There are few times in our lives that are more stressful than the dissolution of a relationship. It doesn’t really matter whether you were the ‘leaver’ or the ‘left’, both sides are likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions at some point or another.

Whilst it might feel like you’re trapped in a “glass case of emotion”, to quote the fictional philosophical genius that is, of course, Ron Burgundy, it’s important to acknowledge those feelings instead of hiding from them. You might be feeling bitterly angry, desperately upset, horrendously hurt or furiously focused on a new and unknown future; let me tell you this: All of those feelings are normal and part of the process, so don’t suppress your feelings.

I’ll say that again, louder: Don’t suppress your feelings.

Make a conscious effort to surround yourself with a strong network of supportive people. It’s vital that you feel comfortable enough to let them know how you’re feeling. The good, the bad and the ugly.

A true friend will feel comfortable just…listening. Remember though, if they’re your friend they may feel the urge to try to fix it for you and present ideas and suggestions as to how you can move forward. You might not be ready to heed that advice just yet and that’s absolutely fine. Just gently let them know you appreciate them, but you need them to just hear you right now. If they’ve been through anything similar before, they’ll understand.

In my experience, there are few situations in life lonelier than the immediate aftermath of separation. Nobody else understands the gravity of what you’re going through because they don’t have the same emotional investment in the relationship as you do. Expect there to feel like there’s suddenly a huge void in the place of your relationship – it’s perfectly natural. Let’s face it, after sharing such a significant part of your life with somebody, there’s you’ll need to re-learn how to be ‘single’ and how to be alone.

It’s part of the process. Embrace those feelings by acknowledging that they’re to be expected and you’ll find it infinitely easier to move on.

Like what you’ve read so far?/ Full article continues here

Co-Parenting

Two years of coparenting

The first time I came home with Evie after the separation, I was totally and utterly lost.  I had absolutely no idea what the future would hold, how on earth I was going to deal with it or whether it was even worth fighting for.

I just put on a brave face and tried my best, one day at a time (I think the strained smile in this photo is clear when you know where I was at emotionally at the time). 

Evie was just two and a half years old, she looks so young here. I was absolutely stricken with guilt at the thought of her having to deal with our separation at such an early age.

We all go through hard times in life; it’s part of the journey. 

Remember this: Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. 

Eckart Tolle, author of this game-changer of a book called, ‘The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’, writes, “As soon as you honour the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care and love – even the most simple action” 

When bad things happen, people are often bitter or resentful towards the person(s) or that caused it. When the future suddenly seems uncertain, we tend to believe the striving for more will lead to happiness. 

The truth is that you can only control this very moment. What you do RIGHT THIS SECOND is the only thing that really matters – everything else is a distraction.

You can AIM for those bigger things, but you must work towards them day-by-day by knocking off smaller objectives and goals. 

You can LEARN from past events, but you mustn’t let them consume you because they’ve already happened and nothing will change it. 

This strained smile was the face of a parent brimming with uncertainty, until I learned to let go of it all and focus on the only thing that really mattered: Making my daughter smile, one day at a time, until I can’t do it anymore.

What a difficult few years it’s been, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because it made me who I am today: A proud father to the most beautiful little girl I could have ever imagined. 

Dan holding a copy of The Sunday Telegraph
Co-Parenting

Featured in the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine!

On Sunday 21st February, we were asked to contribute in a feature for the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine called, ‘Being brought up by a single dad was nothing like people expect

It’s a fantastic piece in which Zeena Moolla explores what it was like to be raised by just her father, along with some of the stereotypes she faced as a consequence.

We’re all so used to the idea that women just are the nurturing parents and the carers of the house, despite the fact that this stereotype is archaic and outdated.

Zeena found people couldn’t quite get their head around the fact that she was being raised as a man and the limitations they thought this would present to her life…

“…We lost count of the number of people who inferred that as a man, he couldn’t be as caring as a woman. ‘Do they not miss having a mother around?’ was the impertinent question often posed to him. It drove me inwardly mad. It felt as if my dad was being undermined.”

Although family dynamics are definitely changing, I was asked to comment on how I feel men are perceived when they take a nurturing approach to parenting…

“Blogger Dan Betts, founder of thebreakingdad.co.uk, says that after he and his partner separated in 2019, and started sharing custody of their daughter Evie, now four, he was struck by the reactions of strangers. ‘People are often very surprised by how dedicated I am to Evie,’ he says. ‘It tells me there’s a very clear perception that men can’t be “maternal”. [But] as men, we’re just as capable of being nurturing parents.’

His time as a single father has, he says, taught him that there is no such thing as ‘mum jobs’ and ‘dad jobs’. ‘Being responsible for everything to do with Evie’s care, 100 per cent of the time she’s with me, has helped me to appreciate the difficult balancing act many mums face every day. And it’s not about being perceived as “good for a dad”; it’s about stepping up and being there for your child, because that’s what a parent should do.’”

I was so proud to be able to contribute to such a progressive article; it’s so important to challenge the way we view fathers in the UK.

Society is changing and the stereotypical, ‘Dad who sits on the sofa with a beer and watches sports, whilst the mum does everything else’ just doesn’t fly anymore.

At least, not in my book.

Just as in the workplace, we’re challenging long-standing and historic unfairness when it comes to the gender gap, we need to be confident to do the same at home too.

We were so grateful to be involved in this article and, perhaps one day, Evie will read it and know that I did everything I could to be the best father I could be.

Co-Parenting

A year of the Breaking Dad on Instagram

On the 27th January 2020, I was stuck in traffic on the way to work when the name hit me.

For those of you that have followed for a while, you’ll know that the run-up towards Christmas 2019 was one of the hardest few months of my life.

I’d sunk deep into depression and struggled with being a ‘co-parent’.

The thought of the first Christmas not waking up to see my little girl’s face hit me in September and got worse…and worse.

Unexpectedly, Christmas came and surprisingly, it was one of the best Christmases I’d had in years.

I was no longer in a relationship that wasn’t working, which meant I was in total control of the time I had with Evie.

Sure, it was less time than I wanted, but it was OUR time.

I realised focusing on what WASN’T was never going to help me.

OK, It may not have been the ‘happily ever after’ family life I’d hoped for, but for the first time, I realised the power was squarely in my hands to own every second I had my with daughter.

No more moping. I’d been slipping down a self-destructive path for a while; now was the time to face into it.

I decided 2020 would be different.

“The Breaking Dad”

Breaking, but never broken.

I thought it summed the journey to that point perfectly (And it conveniently rhymed with the name of one of my favourite TV shows).

This Instagram page is a journal. It holds me accountable to my daughter and my mission of raising a strong daughter. It forces me to be creative and focus on enriching her life.

12 months and just short of 12k followers later, I’ve been blown away by the sheer volume of fantastic people who use this platform – Kind and supportive people who embrace their roles as loving parents and inspire me to be the best that I can be.

What started out as a journey a single dad’s journey with his daughter evolved organically into finding love again with the most wonderful human, @always_rosie_ and her beautiful children.

2020 will forever be known in history as the year that COVID-19 struck. But to me, despite the hardshps we’ve ALL faced in the last 12 months, I’ll always remember it as the year I found myself as a father.

Thanks for following our journey.

Dan & Evie

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Evie, Rosie and Tilly baking cakes toogether
Co-Parenting, Parenthood

A blended family: All the ingredients

I remember the feeling of sheer dread the first day I introduced Rosie to Evie. The idea of a blended family seemed scary.

Up until that day, I’d been living two lives since separation: Dad and Dan.

In my days with Evie, I’d be focused solely on her from the moment I’d collect her to the moment she went home.

In my days without Evie, I’d just wish the days away until I saw her again.

This phase of my life was a real journey of self-discovery; I’d always been terrible at being alone and then, here I was, alone…a lot.

I found mindfulness and yoga and really focus on finding myself and who I am. Lots of the answers were covered in this post, ‘10 things you should start doing for a happier life‘.

Then I met Rosie.

Things were great from the off and we spent (and still do spend) most of our time together and just enjoying each other’s company.

All-of-a-sudden my life outside of Evie mattered a little more.

You can read more about how Rosie and I met here.

We waited a while until introducing Evie to Rosie. I was so worried because it was uncharted territory. I’d never introduced a child to a new partner before so how would I know I was doing the right thing!?

I spoke to Evie’s mum first and made sure we took things VERY slowly – completely at Evie’s pace.

They met, hit it off beautifully our two little world’s collided.

My introduction to Rosie’s beautiful daughters came soon after and I’ve been blown away by how quickly they’ve become little best buddies.

It’s just so effortless.

We had such a lovely day making cakes together yesterday and life, it seems, is moving in the right direction.

I don’t know when it’ll be the right time to use the ‘blended family’ label, but it certainly feels like it’s not far off.

And you know what? That feels good.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, we made these Butterfly cakes.

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