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Life after divorce - what do I do with all this time??

(18 Posts)
Pembroker Wed 18-Jan-17 01:24:05

Greetings! Brand new to MN. Start of my 'new' divorced life, and I simply don't know what I'm to do with myself...
I was married for 10 years, separated for almost two, newly divorced and the agreement is now in place. My Ex has the DC equal time. I didn't want to agree to equal time as I always did the majority of the childcare. His live never revolved around the children, mine did. But he was insistent and I didn't want to go to court. Frankly, I thought he would change his mind as he has a demanding job and he's not patient with the children's activities.
We are now 3 weeks in and it seems that it is all going smoothly. I know I should be pleased, but I can't help but feel upset a bit - how is he able to manage? If he was so bloody good at childcare then why didn't he help out more during our marriage and perhaps we could have given it a go!? More than anything, I feel rather lost. I don't know what to do with all this time....
Yes, I know I should throw myself in activities and stay busy, but I can barely manage to get out of bed in the morning and I am just counting the moments until I see the children again. I am kicking myself at agreeing equal time, but everyone kept telling me it was the best thing for the children.
It's early one and I'm sure it will get better, but right now I am feeling quite low and could use some sage advice.

HennaFlare Wed 18-Jan-17 01:32:58

It's really early days. You've gone through a huge change and it will take time to feel normal. For both of you. 3 weeks is not equivalent to years of being the primary carer and it probably has big novelty value. I hope for the children's sake that he maintains his interest. Is there anything you've always wondered about or wanted to try? Now's your chance! flowers

Hermonie2016 Wed 18-Jan-17 12:16:50

Oh bless, so firstly you need to just try to understand if you felt pressure for equal time. And if so if you can make peace with that?
How old are the children? Potentially they can choose at a later stage to make different arrangements.

3 weeks is honeymoon period, no sick children, no school disasters.However managing half the time is not as draining as managing all the time.The ability to recover when at the other parent is so valuable so he will benefit from this.

It's also early days for you but each day without the children try to do something for yourself, even if it's a walk or trip to the library for a good book.

Do you work?

It often takes a while however most women really start to enjoy life once their marriage has ended, even the time without the children can be good.It's best not to focus on what is missing but on what you have.Try a gratitude diary as it can help to focus on mind on all of life's positives.

Tex111 Wed 18-Jan-17 12:21:52

You're experiencing a loss and it's normal to go through a grieving process. Be kind to yourself. Perhaps you need to metaphorically catch your breath after the whole process of the divorce. You're doing the right thing by talking about it. Keep chatting here. Plenty of wise women who've been through it to help you out.

LucyLocketLostIt Wed 18-Jan-17 13:08:25

If it makes you feel any better, the courts would very likely have awarded him equal time anyway if that's what he was pushing for. You've probably just saved yourself a lot of hassle, stress and expense.

All the best for your new life.

MistressMaisie Wed 18-Jan-17 22:07:59

Just wanted to say that it would be good for the DCs to see you as busy, happy and getting on with your life. You don't want them feeling responsible for making mum happy.

Pembroker Wed 18-Jan-17 23:34:56

Thank you all for the encouraging words and advice. I will try to follow it. It is helpful to hear that the courts may well have decided equal time and that I haven't agreed to something foolish. I keep telling myself that it is in the children's interest that they spend as much time as possible with him and that he be a good and active parent. They are 10 and 7 and love being with both of us and I didn't want them to be caught in our dispute or feel guilty for wanting to be with either of us.
I work part-time but now I am looking to work full-time, however I was told it could impact my spousal maintenance. There seems to be nothing easy in divorce. You try to do what's best and become independent quickly, but then there's a catch 22 with the clawback.
I have to start wearing make-up, colour my hair, go on dating sites, and gain some confidence. I know time will heal all, but it's just been just a long road to get to this point and I feel there is so much more to go. What is especially difficult is that I think my Ex is fine. He seems fine, acts fine and doesn't act like he even has any sentimentality towards me. It's so cold and uncaring. I wish he were more kind to me. I don't believe I would want him back, but I wish I was able to feel like I still mattered to him.
MistressMaisie, you are absolutely correct that the DCs need to see me happy as that is what will make them happy. Poor things have been through so much.

Hermonie2016 Thu 19-Jan-17 13:23:41

I suspect that your H is not showing his true feelings, men tend to struggle with divorce more so than women but we do the grieving upfront.

Was SM linked to your earnings
or change in circumstances? If it's court ordered it should be pretty clearly documented.

I think you will start to see the benefits of your life but it takes a little while. The loss you feel is natural and a stage which will get better.

Pembroker Fri 20-Jan-17 07:40:57

I feel better this morning, mainly because I get the DC back today. Hermonie my maintenance was negotiated between the lawyers. My lawyer told me he could make an application to lower my maintenance if I get a much better job.
I am afraid of indulging the children too much when they are with me so that they like being with me more than him. How do others manage to keep discipline and not turn it into a contest of spoiling children?

MistressMaisie Fri 20-Jan-17 07:51:36

My DCs are grown up. I'm pretty sure it's the fun and laughter they remember and not whether they got the latest gadget or fashion. They don't appreciate parenting until they try it for themselves ime. I just wish I'd laughed more myself and been more demonstrative.

WhatsGoingOnEh Fri 20-Jan-17 14:01:03

I work part-time but now I am looking to work full-time, however I was told it could impact my spousal maintenance.

Well, yes, it might. But why would that matter? You'd get more money from work so you could afford to lose some in maintenance.

You try to do what's best and become independent quickly, but then there's a catch 22 with the clawback.

Becoming independent is best. Independent COMPLETELY. So, not staying in bed in order not to rock the spousal maintenance boat, but jumping with both feet into a new life/career/financial outlook, so you'll no longer be reliant on anybody else.

Pembroker Fri 27-Jan-17 04:42:08

Thanks you What's. You are correct. I should become fully independent as soon as I can't. Of course I want him to pay financially so that I can feel some vindication and feel that he is paying for all the pain and suffering he put me through. I didn't want the divorce. I would have stayed and worked on the marriage. He gave up on me and had an affair and then tried to re-write history. I am amazed at how easily he can just walk away. I feel that by my working full-time I will be making it even easier, and cheaper, to walk away. Honestly, had he been willing to work on our marriage and agreed to counselling then truly tried, and if we still couldn't make it work, then I am sure I would have a different perspective. I would have been able to walk away as an equal and I would have demanded less. After the humiliation he has put me through, I know I am not yet recovered and it does cloud my judgement on things.

Justdreadful Sun 29-Jan-17 09:22:42

Pembroker I know how you feel. I agreed to 50/50 cause he's an excellent dad but I feel like I have a while in my heart when not with my son. I will say the time that I'm with him now though is pure, I give him 100% of my time, I don't pick up the phone. I am still getting used to filling my free time, but start small , a walk, a manicure..any little thing that makes you feel good grab it with both hands and hold on tight. It will get better for all of us xxx

Pembroker Mon 30-Jan-17 14:40:44

Thank you Justdreadful. How long has it been for you? I find the nights and waking up alone particularly hard. At least one child if not both would crawl into my bed most nights for a cuddle. I know they will grow out of it soon enough but that makes it even more painful now as I am missing out on the few moments like this that are left. I love waking up to the chatter of my kids.

embod Tue 31-Jan-17 21:50:25

I separated from my husband two years ago and divorced a year ago. In the early days it was a 50/50 split but I find most weeks there's always 'something' that prevents him having the kids.
I understand what you mean about filling your time and I found it hard but made myself do 'stuff' - running, Zumba, seeing friends - even when I didn't want to too. Now if I'm honest I resent the times he cancels on the kids. Not because I don't live having my children but because it affects I time I've come to enjoy. As a single mum you're non stop - so make the most of time for yourself. X

CremeEggThief Tue 31-Jan-17 21:55:34

You don't have to go on dating sites at all. Sounds like you're far from ready for that anyway, from your posts. Learn to enjoy your own company. My XH left for another woman nearly 5 years ago and it took me 4 years to even go on dating sites, before deciding it's not what I want right now.

Hellothereitsme Tue 31-Jan-17 22:30:24

I took up running and joined a running club. Means I've made new friends, got fit and even the kids will indulge me and run a park run with me.

He is being a good parent now because he has learnt from you as to how to be the best.

Start inviting some friends round for wine and pizza girly nights. You will fill the time up but it is hard st first.

38cody Wed 01-Feb-17 00:01:27

Dating sites! Why? Enjoy yourself and find some peace, Avoid relationships for a while.

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