Life outside children

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    Im sure I’m not the only one in this situation but I’m a single parent with residency of my nearly 11yo daughter. I find myself in a position where my daughter has been my life for nearly 11 years. I have been her primary carer for pretty much her entire life and wouldn’t change that for the world.  When my wife left a few years ago she went on a bit of a campaign to isolate me as much as possible from family/friends etc and I just let her get on with it. Therefore most people took her side and she got custody of all the friends. I work with children so that is pretty much my life. It’s not the best paid of jobs so money is tight and what I do have goes on my daughter and activities while she is with me. When she goes for contact with her Mum (half the holidays), whilst I have plenty of work and chores to do I don’t do anything else. No socialising or going out. No pubs or hobbies. No real friends and with huge social anxiety, none of this is likely to happen. Most of my family is older than me so the time will come when they are not around anymore. My parents died a long time ago. All of the pursuits I have are solitary and to be honest I do seem to prefer it that way.I do have autistic traits and scored highly for this through a recognised test but have never dealt with this officially. Not that long ago when my daughter spoke to my ex about the fact that I was always there for her when she needed something my ex helpfully chipped in with “That’s because he’s sad and has no life.” My daughter told her that was rude and got a very unhelpful response. My ex has been involved with social services due to physical child abuse (at the lower end of the scale) on our daughter so I do worry about my daughter when she is there.

    I have recently been reading about empty nest syndrome and whilst that is a long way off, I am realising that outside of my daughter and work I have nothing and that may be building up a lot of problems for the future. I’ve never really thought of myself as lonely but just recently that seems to be changing. I really don’t want another relationship though. Maybe when my daughter is older and more independent I may think differently but for now my focus is on her and giving her the best childhood I possibly can. We have spent a lot of time together over the past year due to all the lockdowns so that may be why I’ve started to think about the future.

    I’m really not after sympathy but I am wondering how others have coped in similar situations. Have you found a way to be happy and alone or has it been necessary to find other interests and people in your life.

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