Do I have to live near my ex-wife for my son's sake?


My wife had an affair and would not come back to me. We got a divorce. We have a child together.

I am not a people-person in general, and all I want is to be by myself. I don't want anyone around me or even calling me. I just want to be left alone, although I can function in society when I need to.

Another thing about me is that I have always wanted to live outside my current state. Or at least live in another area of the state, a couple hours from where I live now.  My question is would I be sinning if I purposely relocated to another state or even just a couple hours from the vicinity that I am currently living in? The reason I ask, is because if I move away, I will not see my son twice a week like I am doing now, but I would probably still be able to see him on special occassions or holidays. I would still pay child support.

I am not hateful toward my ex-wife. That is not my motive for moving away. As far as I'm concerned, she has custody of our child, which means that I do not have custody of our child. Does this not mean that I am free to act as though I do not have physical possession of a child? In other words, I am free to do as I please, and live where I want to live, just make sure I pay child support and see my son whenever I can, and maybe call him on the phone from time to time.

Now maybe this isn't the "ideal" way of doing things according to some people, but isn't it a valid way of doing things?

As far as I'm concerned, my wife cheated on me, so she's free to take our child and live her life. I just want to live by myself with no outside interferance from anyone at this point. I want to be a Christian and live a quiet life and pay my child support.

Sometimes I think it's too much for me to take, having to see my son and my ex-wife twice a week. I don't want it anymore. All it does is depress and annoy me. I wish them the best, but I want out of this situation.

So, would I be sinning if I moved away? It would make my life a lot easier, and I believe I would not be so depressed and annoyed. I could live a better Christian life.

But I need to know the truth. Would this be sinful and would I go to hell for it? Must I really remain in this area until my son turns eighteen? This is really not something that I want to do. And even after my son turns eighteen, would I then be free to move to another location of the country or state? Or is the biblical way for me to stay with my family at all times throughout my life?

Thank you for your time.


I understand the problem. You are hurting a lot from the wound your wife gave you. Though you don't hold it against her, it still hurts. Seeing her when you pick up your son reopens the wound. Just seeing your son is too much of a reminder.

The damage to your marriage was directly caused by your wife. The sad thing is that your son is the one who will eventually suffer the most from this. At this time in his life he needs his mom the most. When he reaches his teenage years he will need you the most, but if you are a stranger to him by that time, who will he be able to lean on? Though you are not a people person, for your son's sake, you need to involve yourself in his life. Even at a young age, fathers are important in a child's development. See: "The Importance of Fathers", Psychology Today.

Bouncing from home to home is not good for a child. He becomes a visitor in both places. What I would suggest is that if you really need to separate yourself from reminders of your past life, to move only a few hours away. Change the joint custody agreement so that you can have your son visit you in short but regular blocks of time while he is small -- perhaps a long weekend each month, and offer to keep him when your ex-wife goes on vacation. As he gets older you can change it to long summer visits when he is out of school. At that time too he would be old enough to fly, so you can live where you want. There may come a time in his mid-teenage years that he will prefer your company over his mother.

I don't recommend cutting off all ties or becoming a stranger to him. Things can happen. Something might happen to your ex-wife that leaves only you to raise your son.

I'm sorry that such sorrow has come into your life, but don't exclude your son in your grief. You are still his father and should be available to him when he needs you. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). You are in a tough position to live by that command, but for his sake do the best you can. You might not be a people person, but be personable to the little boy who needs you.