Divorced Dad: Lost and Found

Sponsored Content

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Tom Matlack

Tom Matlack is the co-founder of The Good Men Project. He has a 18-year-old daughter and 16- and 7-year-old sons. His wife, Elena, is the love of his life. Follow him on Twitter @TMatlack.


  1. Absolutely riveting story! What a great dad you are.

  2. Tom,

    Really great story. Great pacing, great insights. Seamus was on a plane. . .I was on a roller coaster. Thanks.

  3. Beautiful. Thank you Tom.

  4. Peter-Andrew:Nolan(c) says:

    “I had been kicked out of the house when Seamus was less than a year old and Kerry was just two. Despite taking a large company public, then selling it for billions, I had been a drunk and in no position to demand joint physical custody.”

    You forget to put responsibility where responsibility is due. You say you were ‘kicked out of the house’, presumably for being a drunk. But when you got married didn’t your bride say ‘for better or for worse in sickness and in health until death do you part’? Or did you take different wedding vows to me?

    Should your first wife had lived up to her word? To have cared for you when you needed it? The boy would not be in the snowstorm. The family would not be destroyed. You would not be having this experience. You say you were a drunk. So what? Lots of guys hit the booze at stressful times in their life. It is the WIFES VOW to care for him. Turn it around. If the wife was a drunk and you kicked her to the curb and took the kids? YOU would be hated on. You know this.

    The fact is that whether you were a drunk for a period or not? Your wife had made a vow. She broke it. She is responsible for breaking that vow. She is responsible for abusing your son by removing his father from the house. NOT you.

    Women claim they are equal? Well? When it is accepted “a woman is as good as her word” I might listen. Until then? Nope. Women are NOT equal because women break vows and commit perjury with impunity and the OTHER women allow this to happen. Ergo. Women are simply not trustworthy like men are.

    And by the way Thomas? You over-reacted with respect to Seamus and this little adventure. For goodness sakes, treat him like a young man and not a baby. (And your ex is psycho too.) If you are any kind of father at all you would have texted was something like. “I see your plane is diverted. Don’t be hitting on too many of the girls if you have to stay over-night. ok? I have full confidence in you to handle yourself. But hey, give me a call if needs be. Love. Dad.”

    Lastly? Your father? And that you have not spoken of important things recently? I called my Dad (74) for christmas. He expressed concern I might be jailed or killed for taking on my criminal guvment. I replied to him:

    “Yes, I might, but that’s ok. Lots of diggers (Australian for soldier) did that for me. You know Dad? In taking on the guvment I found out there is not 1 in 1000 men in Australia with the balls to do this now. They are mostly cowards. Did you know that? You know? You could give yourself some credit for raising one of those men. Most of your mates didn’t.”

    I could hear his slight intake of breath from the other side of the world when I told him that. He got that I was acknowledging him for the great job he has done that one of his three boys was willing to put his life on the line for his fellow countrymen and the children of his country. Maybe when you want to acknowledge your dad for the great job he did (if you think he did a great job) you might have something important to talk about?

    • “For better or for worse” doesn’t include putting one’s children at risk. Tom took responsibility for his actions. Not saying Tom hit anyone. Although alcohol is usually a factor in crime stats. See the Crime stats in California at Familylawcourts.com
      Again, Not saying Tom hit anyone…he had other issues. Just talking about reality. For better or for worse does not involve criminal activity.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Hey Peter, I am not going to respond to this here. If you want to discuss directly on email I will, as I have in the past. I don’t appreciate the long nasty quotes on a piece that is intended as an inspiration to other dads in my situation (and just people in general).

  5. Never let another person determine your worth… or your worth to your children. Your ex knows full well that she intimdates you and, at these ages, so do your children. Is that the lesson you want to teach them? Thats its OK to be intimidated in to not getting the time with them that you and they deserve? You’re being emotionally unable to stand up and fight for equal visitation also speaks volumes… if you have the money, you have an obligation to fight for your rights as a father! Pull up your big boy pants, hire a team of attorneys and challenge the system!

    • Peter, cool it with the vitriol. Smart people recognize their failures as opportunities for improvement, but you clearly fail to see that Tom’s life has vastly improved since his first foray into domesticity. I have no more idea than you do what Tom & Colleen’s living situation was like at the time, but I do know that no one should be expected to live with abusive people, emotionally or otherwise, vows or no vows. You might consider all of the above in regards to your own life. Women don’t find festering hatred or a disability to let go of past pains an attractive quality.

      • p.s. – Forgot to say Thanks Tom for a good story. Most of your readers know you’re making responsible decisions that save everyone additional emotional baggage. Maybe Seamus will want to live with you when he’s old enough to make that decision for himself. You’re doing just fine.

  6. Catullus says:

    And on a less bilious note, Tom, I love that picture of you and your son on what looks to be the dome of the Duomo in Florence. Keep taking him to Italy and he’ll be just fine.

  7. Great story. This scenario is exactly what I worry about when my kid travels as UM. I’m impressed with how you handled it – and certainly with the young man! You all did well there.

  8. I lived on Horseneck Road, right on the Westport River, a few years back in college. I love Elephant Rock, and that whole area. Its my favorite place in the world. Where the Westport River meets the ocean, that little cove area, with the boats, and the rocks…idyllic.

  9. it was nice to learn a little more about you, not to mention your family. and tell seamus to call me. i’ll surely need his help w/ my bracket this year!

  10. Really moving piece, Tom. I had a similar experience recently with my own son and ex-husband.

  11. What a wonderful piece, Tom. I can relate all too well to dealing with an ex-wife who tends to fly off the handle at any point with little to no warning. The part regarding mentally wrestling with trying to equal out time I’ve done ad nauseum, and I’ve gotten the same answers about proving it’s in the kids’ best interest to change things. There are times when this breaks my heart, but I try to focus on the idea that what time I do get, I try to make the very most out of it. Fortunately as time has passed, my ex-wife has let go of the grudges and ill-will, and we have settled into a very good working relationship that is focused on the needs of our sons. I wish that (if it hasn’t already) comes to frution for you. As long as your kids understand how much you love them and care about (and for) them, the rest is simply background noise. Well done, Tom, and thanks for sharing so much of yourself and your life with us.

  12. I applaud you Tom for staying in your sons’ life. I also encourage anyone to fight for equal shared custody. I married a legal assistant for one of the countries premier law firms. From a wealthy family,remarried to an engineer. But I stayed in there.Disabled Veteran that ex had arrested for medical marijuana use she didn’t mind B$ divorce.Check out the ACFC.(American Coalition Fathers and Children)File motions.Recovering is an asset, you can guide your kids from the pit of alchohol. I won shared custody after lengthy battle.And 38,000 dollars in 4 yrs legal fees!Only lived on 24k at time. She died a few yrs later. Wasn’t a waste to fight for them.By then she gave me them fulltime anyway.No regrets though.Kids know at least Both of us love them.Appeal to your exwife to give you more time. Tell her the kids need you both. She might just agree. If she doesn’t best luck doing long distance court. But keep faith, and sober! God Bless ALL of you.Amen


  1. [...] We had both become accustomed to goodbyes. As father and son, we had long ago reached a male understanding that a certain amount of emotion was a good thing. Too much was bad—very bad, in fact. The ease of being together could easily turn ugly if the pain of our situation was spoken out loud. We didn’t live together and never would. This was as good as it was going to get. We both knew this, but never wanted to say it out loud—as if the silence would somehow diminish the hurt.  [...]

Speak Your Mind