Moving Abroad without my Daughter

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      I split from my ex-wife in early 2016 and we have a 5 year old together. I’m not her biological parent, her mum is her mum and I’m like her dad. Traditionally in the LGBTQ community you’re both mums, but I didn’t feel it was right, so I’m her dad. Our DD was an IVF baby and as such always will be a little miracle, but I’m the MacDonald’s Dad these days; I see our DD every other weekend and my fiancé has her over most holidays as he is a teacher and has the same term dates. My fiancé had a call recently with a recruiter in New Zealand, he’s an SEND teacher and they’re in need of them out there. He could walk into a job next week and they have a placement ready. I’ve been to NZ before and loved it and we were ironically already planning a trip to visit in February next year.

      I’d like to go with my fiancé if he gets a job out there, DD would be 6 by then, but the decision is killing me daily on the inside; most in terms of my ex as she is very strict in her parenting ideals. When we split we provisionally agreed we’d try and make it as 50/50 as possible, but soon learnt that as she was mum DD was with her more and I did the best I could no longer being there 24/7 as I had been. I’ve moved house three times since the split, initially when we separated and to buy two places since with my fiancé, but I have always stuck to the 30 minute maximum distance my ex put in as a rule as I respected her logic whilst DD was small. My ex’s fiancé moved in the day after I moved out, which was cool by me as then she wouldn’t be alone, she’d have support and a big family. My ex’s fiancé adores DD too, in fact all four of us are like two mums and two dads.

      My relationship with my DD is something I absolutely cherish and maintain, she loves coming to ours and we have good times of a weekend, but I feel I could be doing better by her (mostly in terms of my mental health) and that I’m still slightly under the rule of her mother (well that’s never going to disappear is it!!). My relationship with my ex was plagued by my mental health issues (I lost my dad at 19 and my mum at 24) and her OCD and restrictive behaviour. I believe I was subject to mental and emotional abuse that has left scars. We are reasonably amicable these days, because I leave all the communication to her to my fiancé about child care timings through a shared WhatsApp chat with myself, him, my ex and her fiancé. This was to stop some of the essays coming through to me personally about how things are not 50/50 as we said they’d be and how I need to do more, take more of an interest in DD’s school life, attend school events (I do attend parents evenings, I would never miss them, and I’ve done an event when work permitted), get to know other parents and their kids etc. Other than childcare arrangements and birthday invites that fall on our weekends we don’t talk about other stuff, she’s intensely private so this is no surprise.

      I feel that if I broached this moving subject with her she may just flip her lid. In fact, I don’t even know where to start. I’ve researched online about dads moving abroad and how they keep up regular contact with their kids. Pretty much no one has anything nice to say about it and no one has posted an update to let us know what happened or how it turned out. There’s simply nothing to go on and I guess because my situation is slightly niche I have nothing to go on. I know there’s no crystal ball out there to say if you go everything will/won’t be alright, likewise if you stay everything will/won’t be alright. I want to be the best parent I can be to my DD, and I know NZ will be no different to here with work, eat, sleep, repeat, but at least the quality of our time together would be sweeter, a fact my ex may be overlooking with her 50/50 quantity focus. She has a spreadsheet she populates every year which calculates how many days we have DD between us in to a percentage and every year it’s not 50% each and I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it. Other than move in next door and live my life exactly how she lives hers, which is just not what I want. I actually feel bad for not wanting that way of life, I feel guilty, but having lost my parents so young I can only feel like you only get one shot at this life malarkey and currently mine goes by second by second and I’m not living it how I’d like. And ultimately I’d like to have my DD involved in that way I’d like to live my life and for her to be part of it. It is a shame I cannot take her with me, full time, I’d love to as would my fiancé but I do feel like she is not mine to take, she’s her mum’s and that it would not be right. So to have her over on holidays would be the only way I could see it working, and of course to Skype and have regular UK visits throughout the year.

      I feel the pull of moving, and she is the one thing keeping me in the country (unhappily, but still present and correct). Any advice? I think I know what’s coming but I’m going out on a limb as I’ve no other place to go.

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