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No job, now no family

Sir -- One day in September, a few months ago, I had a tragedy in my life. Without any warning my wife of 10 years left our home, taking our seven-year-old daughter from my life. As you can imagine, my heart is broken ever since.

We had our differences, and what couple hasn't, but there was no real good reason for my wife to leave forever and take my little princess away from me.

I'm not saying I'm without my own faults and that I am perfect, but I'm not a smoker, drinker, drug-taker, gambler, violent person in any way, a big spender or a lazy layabout.

My 'fault', as it were, is that I have been unemployed for the past three years after over 18 years working. My wife has a great job with a salary that is worth more than the joint salaries of many couples in Ireland.

I have done everything I can do to get a job and am still doing so.

While I wasn't working I did everything I could do at home. I made breakfast, dinners and teas. I kept the house tidy and operating inside, and took care of all the ground works outside. I got up with our little daughter early in the mornings and let her mother lie in on Saturday, Sunday and holiday mornings. Even as I was doing all this, I was frantically applying for jobs. Despite all the above, which I got no thanks or credit for, I had to put up with a daily tirade of abuse for not having a job.

Soon it got even more personal, and the way I walked, talked and sat at the table was mocked in front of our daughter.

Over the past few months I have come to the conclusion that my wife stopped loving me, if indeed she ever loved me at all. Certainly, looking back, she never loved me as much as I loved her. When we met I had been many years in a well-paying job and I had my house already built, was three years living in it, and it was almost paid for.

The first thing I did when we got married was make my bank accounts joint accounts with her. What was mine was now hers too. I've never been possessive or materialistic. I just took it for granted, like most people do, that she was like me in that regard.

If it had been the other way around and I had a job and my wife couldn't get a job, I'd never have given her the hell she gave me.

If it was myself who took our daughter away one day and disappeared, it would have been a different story. I'd be in jail now, or at least in big trouble.

I'm at the mercy of my ex-wife, who decides whether and when I can see our daughter. Men are treated like dirt in this country. Why did my wife stand up on the altar all those years ago and lie and then break her contract? She was supposed to stay with me, 'For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,' like I would have done and was doing, and would still do, for her.

All I can hope for at the moment is that things will improve and that I will get to see a lot more of my little daughter. I would say to anyone reading this to cherish every moment with your children. I would also say to any woman reading this to try and take your husband and children's welfare into account before you leave him, because he isn't perfect like the men in the movies. Maybe you aren't perfect like the women in the movies either. A child needs their daddy too.

I hope that there is a message here for someone that will prevent it ever happening to them.

Sunday Independent