Struggling to accept the situation
13 August 2020 at 7:31 pm #42923
Sorry this is so long.
I am really, really struggling at the moment.
My children are now at an age where they don’t really need me & want to much time out of their bedrooms. Lockdown accelerated this situation as I have been working from home full time with both of them at home. They (understandably) got bored of listening to my work calls so took themselves off to do their school work. Now it is the holidays they are content to just sit on screens all day. My job is very busy, demanding & stressful & I am also trying to manage a small team all working remotely with various challenges of their own. It has been extremely difficult.
My ex works in a school so during the holidays the children stay with him 4 days (3 nights) which means I can focus on work & then have long weekends with them. This hasn’t been so bad previously but this year it feels different. I think in part due to Covid & how the situation has negatively affected my mental health & made me feel so isolated. The other major difference this year is that my ex has his own place & a girlfriend that he introduced them to in January. The children come back with stories about days out with Dad & girlfriend to places & activities that I would have suggested when we were together & often been given a reason why we couldn’t do that.
When the children are not with me I mainly throw myself into work partly as it is so busy but also as a distraction from the fact that I am busy enough not to be left alone with my thoughts. Lockdown rules are still easing here but I began to get anxiety last Summer & I find it very difficult to drive anywhere & catastrophise about most visits out, generally causing me not to do much & other than visiting my Mum, going to a supermarket & walking I don’t really do much.
When my husband left, I had a period of about 9 months that were hell & at first hoped he would return, then I started to take control of the situation & seemed to improve & achieve things such as decorating the kids bedrooms & taking them away on my own. I also rediscovered some things I used to enjoy pre kids. Although I turned up at work each day, I put in the bare minimum of effort as my focus was my children & navigating them through this major change. I think not having the demands of work allowed me to focus on other things.
Even in those early dark days, I was adamant that I did not want to end up bitter & I did not want to be defined as someone whose husband left her. I can’t help but feel that over 4 years on, I am becoming that person that I desperately didn’t want to be & I don’t seem to have any motivation or tools to fight it. I have very low self esteem at the moment.
I know I am incredibly fortunate that my ex is such a good Dad & is there for the children & I would never want to say or do anything to damage their relationship or make them feel awkward. When they talk about their days out, I always respond with something positive & ask questions but I am careful not to ask anything leading or that could be taken the wrong way especially in relation to his girlfriend. Inside I am in so much pain & it is slowly tearing me apart. I feel like I am alienating myself from my only 2 good friends & my siblings as I feel as if I should be over it & they must be sick to death of hearing me talk about it. So generally I just bottle it up & cry when I am on my own. I feel such a failure & feel like I am also failing my children as all the memorable experiences they have with their Dad & I feel as if they spend more quality time with his girlfriend that they do with me.
Sorry, that this sounds like a pity party. I used to be very much a glass half full person who was often described as laid back. Now I sometimes struggle to leave the house & find it so hard to accept that I may never get over the breakdown of my marriage & will forever mourn the life I thought I would have as it firmly remains in my head the life I should be living.
I find myself daydreaming about running away to a different county where no one knows me & starting again but with 2 children & a hefty mortgage I doubt that can ever happen.
If anyone has any suggestions on what I can do to change things for the better or even if these thoughts & feelings resonate with you please reply so I don’t feel as if I am the only one.13 August 2020 at 10:23 pm #42927
Hi. I think lockdown has made everything worse because there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. It sounds like you’re a great mum but now that your children are older you deserve to have your own life too. Have you thought about another relationship, maybe online dating or taking up a hobby or project so that you have something you enjoy to put your time into. I know it’s difficult to get started with something like that when you don’t feel motivated but once you got started it would probably help and then things would become easier.14 August 2020 at 9:14 am #42932
I think I know what you are talking about. The biggest danger is the fear of the fear. What if, …. Yes what if? Your siblings will still listen to you, even if you anoy them. You will always be your childrens mother no matter how wonderful their days out with their stepmother will be and do you think you will fall apart if you don’t want it to happen. None of us is perfect and however bad things look at the moment, if you keep going there will be a way out. May I suggest starting Park run, look for classes in your council’s swimming pool, taking your children to football club or Athletics Club. If you are afraid of leaving the house, leave it as often as you can. Make routines that take you out without any reason, just for the fun of it, if it needs be, buy a camera or a dog. Being unhappy is part of life. Some people get badly injured by accidents or worse. You are unhappy and scared. You can focus on that and don’t shy away from it. It won’t destroy you. It proably doesn’t kill you.There are still many things you can do, even if…..14 August 2020 at 7:04 pm #42948
Hi there. Having read your post a couple times I noticed you started by saying “sorry this is so long” You really shouldn’t as this is what we are here for and it’s very beneficial to get these feelings and thoughts out.
Whilst reading, a few things struck me. Firstly, from what you say, I get the impression you have made your family and work your sole focus pretty much, and over the last few years on your own whilst doing it. I think you could do worse than to move the focus onto yourself a bit, even if it’s just being kind to yourself, asking yourself what do you really want? Or what is it going to take to get me feeling more like my usual self? You mention you go out walking. Is this something you enjoy? Walking is proven to be good for your physical and mental well-being but you probably know that. When I first came on here over 2 years ago, somebody told me to take baby steps, so whatever you plan to do to give yourself a lift, take your time.
You are certainly not on your own in feeling like you do and you mustn’t be too hard on yourself because you are doing a great job.15 August 2020 at 3:00 pm #42962
I have felt very similar things and empathise completely. Have you tried some counselling? Some do sessions via Skype / zoom. Also maybe see your gp in case they can suggest something to help you even if just for a while, maybe just to help you sleep (if that’s even an issue for you). There’s no shame in asking for help.
I did the above for the short term then for longer term have a dog to walk, reduced work to part time (I’m lucky I can just about afford it for now), see more of my friends and brothers and do some self-esteem meditations / yoga. Online dating is worth a go but you need a thick skin to cope with the learning curve and a few possible knock backs. Joining a friendly meet-up group or running club are excellent ideas suggested above.
Hang in there. You are not alone.16 August 2020 at 7:48 pm #42986
I bet it was a huge relief getting all that written down. It sounds like you have thrown everything into raising your kids, working and maintaining a long term relationship. These in itself are great achievements.
The kids are older abd more independent but they still and always will depend on you
Sadly your husband is now seeing someone else but it doesn’t mean that she’s better, fun, whatever than you.
Splitting up with someone you really love does hurt and it feels like a death. That doesn’t mean you wont be happy with someone else in the future.
My guess is you’ve thrown so much into your work because you are a ‘yes’ lady and maybe took on too great a workload? I’m that person too ☹
You need to find out what really makes you happy. What are your interests? Is there any hobbies you’ve put off? Make time for yourself and try not to think about your ex and his relationship. Don’t forget the kids only see him a certain amount of time and I’ll bet his new relationship isn’t a garden of roses. What relationship is?
Good luck to you hun let us know if you find a new hobby (mine is card making) 😀16 August 2020 at 10:46 pm #42997
Yes yes and yes again, this resonates with me so much and you are definitely not alone.
I love all of the responses and the idea of finding out what makes ME happy or what can help me feel like less of a failure at life but I just don’t know what the answer is or how to even start looking for it.
I also know exactly what you mean about stopping talking to your friends because you worry that they are sick of hearing it and being so scared that you are becoming bitter but not knowing how to stop it.
It is so difficult!
I am on antidepressants which have helped a bit because I am able to function better now but just the fact that I take them makes me feel like more of a failure and that my ex ‘won’ the separation because he is happily living his new life.18 August 2020 at 12:48 am #43024
Piling on here, to praise you Howisthismylife, you sound like someone I would love to hang out with! My kids are turning 13 and I’m definitely going through much of the same stuff you are, only I don’t have a fulfilling job to feel proud of. You might be focusing on the negatives right now, but you’re coping with so much at the moment and successfully, pls give yourself some credit!
As far as suggestions, I’d say keep a journal so you’ll be able to see how with time as you note more and more positive things coming up in your life, stuff you take interest in, and feel good about, you’ll be spending that much less time focusing on the breakup and him and his new relationship etc. Er, that’s my plan anyways. I also read that while the kids are away with the other parent, we should try to plan something fun to look forward to and also something enriching or otherwise good for us – whether that be taking in a gallery (or online tour) or buying better lighting or rearranging furniture or getting a facial or even making fun future plans is an accomplishment you can feel good about having achieved. It does suck being in the middle of a global pandemic, not being able to get out or meet new people, but I actually think there are a lot of like-minded ppl in similar situations. I have a divorced friend from high school who I recently reconnected with and now we Zoom once every other week, it’s like free therapy but with a lot more laughing; I know she’s not getting sick of hearing what I’m going through because I’m just as interested in her story, insight and perspective.
You are so totally not alone!