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How do you cope when you just can't cope any more?

(19 Posts)
ShillyShally Thu 29-Sep-11 06:43:15

My husband walked out for the OW in June leaving me and two of our (three) adult children at home. We are mortgage free (thankfully). I really need your advice on two issues, if you would be so kind.

1. I work 26 hours a week and have trying so hard to find full time work but so far have completely failed. I cannot afford to run the house, pay all the bills, a car (needed for work) and feed and care for three adults, three cats and 6 chickens! My middle child has been very good, she is promptly handing over a third of her wages to help. The youngest is being hugely difficult - doesn't see why he should have to pay for his keep, has smashed in my bedroom door, will do nothing to help around the house but expects to have food on the table. This is all a bit of a re-run his father's attitude - he was verbally and emotional abusive and some days I feel like I have just replaced one abuser with another. This makes me sound very weak and pathetic but I honestly didn't think I was! I ended up crying down the phone to the ex yesterday and I am now cringing with embarrassment but I just really need some help.

2. My ex "cant remember where he lives" so I am stuck and can't make any progress with divorcing him. This means I am stuck in the above situation with not enough money to keep body and soul together with no end to it. Ex ignores me completely unless I break down and contact him. He is paying nothing towards the keep of the house, pets or children (and yes I know they are adults). Any ideas, please?

Reading this through, I seriously sound like I need to grow a backbone, and I am trying but I feel that I have no resources left to call on.

(sorry this is so long). Shil

FabbyChic Thu 29-Sep-11 06:53:09

Sorry but he does not have to contribute anything, he is only responsible for children not adults.

Consider down sizing i.e selling the house and moving somewhere more affordable, bear in mind though that your ex will be entitled to half the equity that you realise from selling.

Your adult children will have to contribute to their keep, if they do not then sorry you do not feed them.

As your children are adults you are not entitled to any benefits.

The only way forward is to move to a cheaper property. If both your children work perhaps it is time they considered leaving home.

IWantWine Thu 29-Sep-11 07:04:10

I would just like to add as well, next time your son starts behaving in an intimidating way - call the police.

I live under fairly similar circumstances to you sad and I know how hard it is. I posted a week ago that I had had to call the police because of my son. It wasnt easy but it was the right thing to do.

Take care

Punkatheart Thu 29-Sep-11 07:39:19

Sorry that I cannot add any more constructive help. Grow a backbone? You have one my love..it is your OH who was the coward. I have chickens and a cat too and I have had to write to my MIL to force him to help some more financially....

mumsamilitant Thu 29-Sep-11 11:06:45

Yes, why not go down the downsize route? How old is the son who acts like a prat? Does he work? Are there any mental health issues with him? If not, downsize and tell him why you had to do it and sorry there's no longer space for him as he doesn't pay his way.

porcamiseria Thu 29-Sep-11 11:14:49

I dont think your OH needs to give you any money, sorry
I think your 3 adult children do! you cant be expected to support them, simple

I dont understand how the wages of 4 adults cannot run a house? if you are mortgage free you are looking at bills, food only no? Lay down the line and start to think want to live solo?

as for younger son, gosh I feel for you. It must be horrible situation to see your baby being such an arsehole. Whats driving his behaviour do you think?

I think you need to really get some advice on how to be assertuive, fuck get a book from amazon! read it, and do it

Pakdooik Thu 29-Sep-11 11:24:41

Kick the arse of a child out of the house if he can't behave and contribute. If he's ever abusive again - call the police. You deservce better than that

gaaagh Thu 29-Sep-11 11:53:48

I cannot afford to run the house, pay all the bills, a car (needed for work) and feed and care for three adults, three cats and 6 chickens!

I don't know many people who could.

Your DH shouldn't possibly continue to contribute to the financial wellbeing of an ex-wife (or soon to be, re: the divorce issue) or 3 grown adult children.

You shouldn't be expected to either. It's not literally possible in your case, but neither is it desirable.

Your son is a seperate issue to the money side of things, but perhaps the silver lining of your reduced financial state can help - if he's never moved out of home and expects to be fully funded at home, there's clearly a life lesson you've failed to teach him, both, as parents (or maybe you've tried and it's just not sunk in).

Basically, you need to start making pro-active steps to getting your financial affairs/stability in order. If you can't find fulltime work but can't afford your bills, ensure you're getting any benefits you're entitled to, and seriously consider downsizing, renting rooms, doing odd jobs, setting up another business on the side (you have access to the internet) - anything really, which is what everyone has to do to make ends meet. You've just been shielded to this fact before now if you've only ever had to work 26hrs a week and expect an ex to continue to fund an unsustainable lifestyle.

The best of luck to you.

gaaagh Thu 29-Sep-11 11:55:39

I dont understand how the wages of 4 adults cannot run a house?

This only works if those 4 adults treat the family home as a communal residence, and the bills are split accordingly e.g. each pays 1/4th of the council tax, each pays for his/her own transport, each contributes a roughly fair amount to energy bills.

It would be hard going from the parent/child (even if they're adults) setup for the OP in a normal family, and she clearly isn't in one, her abusive ex and his son following the same path makes me think that this option isn't workable.

CactusRash Thu 29-Sep-11 12:02:09

Going by yur title, I think people have been harsh so far.

In some ways, you are in a more difficult situation because you are not 'entitled' to any support (either CSA for the dcs or benefits) but as you were not financially independant when he left, you have very little to stand on.

You also have to deal with one of your dcs who enacts his father's behavior, something else that is very difficult to deal with. Probably even more than with a H because you can leave a husband but you won't stop loving your dc.

Unfortunatly the only way up is to get though with the dcs. Have you actually calculated your outgoings and check how much having your 2 dcs at home costs? Could have a rule where you take it in turn to make the shopping for the week so that you know they will all contribue 'equally' at least to the food.
The you can give them the bills for the electricity/water etc..., show them how much it costs and agree on how much they will for that too.
It might be that the only option you (as all 3 of you) will have is to move to different houses (your dcs becoming independant and yu living in a smaller place).
FWIW, your H doesn't have to give you CSA. But he was living with you, he was quite happy to pay for his hildren food/accomodation. By refusing to financially help, he is in effect saying he doesn't want to help his dcs which isn't good, even if they are adults.

Have you thought about going to see the GP? They might be able to refer you for some counselling, which would help you a lot. Both to come to terms to an abusive relationship and to deal with your yougest dc.

And what is going on with the divorce? If you can contact him, why is it impossible to move on with the divorce?

CactusRash Thu 29-Sep-11 12:05:35

gaaagh actually you have a point. If one of her dc is going down the route of the abusive behavior and has a big sense of entitlement, working out a viable financial solution will be near impossible.

gaaagh Thu 29-Sep-11 12:10:11

Thing is, I don't agree with this bit entirely, really:

"In some ways, you are in a more difficult situation because you are not 'entitled' to any support (either CSA for the dcs or benefits) but as you were not financially independant when he left, you have very little to stand on. "

I'm not saying I dont have sympathy for the OP, but she is an able-bodied woman of working age, with her own home, transport, with grown up children who are emotionally and physically capable of fending for themselves (or should be).

She's not been left in poverty on the brink of retirement, or being kicked out of her home, or has children just over the age where the government will allow you to stay home or work part time.

The OP is undoubtedly in a tough situation, but things can look brighter for her, she just needs a little helping hand (advice), make sure she's getting any benefits that she might be entitled to, and to make a pro-active long term plan to sort out her finances. At least she has choices - that's a very very powerful thing here, and I hope the OP takes comfort in the fact that rather than have no choices, she does have some out there.

CactusRash Thu 29-Sep-11 12:38:29

She's not been left in poverty on the brink of retirement, or being kicked out of her home, or has children just over the age where the government will allow you to stay home or work part time.

The OP actually hasn't stated how old she is, whether she is close to retirement etc...

I know for a fact that becoming a LP with 2 dcs, I would get some support re tax credit etc... that will help me during the time when I will move from working part time to a full time salary. So things might be thought but I have some financial help. The OP has none because she is an 'able adult woman who can work'. So i that way I think things are harder because there is no safety cousins to help her during this transition period.

I also think that it's not just her who has to adjust to the situation financially but also the dcs. Easy to say they are adults so tought.
But if both parents have always said they would be there for their dcs and both parents have decided it's Ok for their adult dcs to stay at home whilst <<insert agreement- perhaps until dcs finds a full time job or has paid some of his student loan back>>, then it is harsh for the OP's H to suddenly put all that responsability on her shoulder, knowing full well she didn't have a full time income.
So there is some adjustement in expectations to do on the children side and the OP is left to deal with it on her own.

ShillyShally Thu 29-Sep-11 19:08:00

Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I do, very much, take on board what you are all saying. FWIW, I'm 49 and the house is a two bedroom house, the two adult children at home are 18 and 20.

I do agree that yes I could and should work full time and believe me I'm looking. I'm also looking for a second part time job (anything at all) that I can do around my main job. I'm not unfortunately terribly able bodied as I am living with cancer (but I'm bu**ered if I'm going to let that hold me back smile ) I think the main thing is that there has been no period of adjustment for any of us.

I have spoken to my son again and explained that, much though I love him, I cannot afford to keep him and its a case of "welcome to the real world" for all of us. I am hopeful that he will see the light!

In the meantime, I am budgeting furiously, and praying I will be able to find full time work. I'm not entitled to any benefits, which is fair enough. I think, that when the house is sold (and I have asked my husband if we can move on with this), I will come out of 25 years of marriage (in which I have always worked and contributed) without sufficient funds to buy even a one bedroom flat and obviously with my health history I'm not a good candidate for a mortgage. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it and try to build up some savings in the meantime.

Thank you again for your input.

verytellytubby Thu 29-Sep-11 19:16:31

My children are much younger but my gut feeling would be to kick my son out if he treated me with such little respect.

Good luck with it all. I hope it all brightens up for you. You sound fab.

Punkatheart Thu 29-Sep-11 20:46:02

I have cancer too Shilly (incurable lymphoma) - so I really do understand.

I wish you all the best...you deserve a good life, love and comfort. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Everyone talks about the practical elements but hello, we are the mother of their children. We deserve respect and help, if we should need it in tough times. Morally at least.

cecilyparsley Thu 29-Sep-11 21:02:05

ShillyShally, sorry to hear about the problems with your 18 y/o, mine are a bit older but I did find that although I was quite tough with my boy and made him stand on his own feet he resented it alot.
I blame his friends parents, for letting their kids live the soft life at home not paying their and making my lad feel hard done by in comparison to his peers.

Hopefully if you stick to your guns he'll see sense!

kunahero Thu 29-Sep-11 21:15:07

My 19yr old son kicked off at having to pay £15 a week for his keep! He works full time and eats £20 a day for breakfast! Luckily he is not violent in any way justa moody git! We have sat him down and shown him a print out of household budget and how we cant afford to keep him. He decided to move out into house share but when he worked out finances and the amount of work he would have to do he backed down and paid his fair share.
Dont wash his clothes, dont clean his room, dont cook his dinner and see how long he lasts.
Do you get any support from Macmillan? They should be able to help with all sorts of things including £££
Good luck, be strong, you can and will get through this.

ShillyShally Fri 30-Sep-11 06:57:05

Thank you again for your kind words and advice.

Punkatheart - I'm not really a "huggy" person but have an enormous squishy hug to put in your stock pile for one of the days when you need one. I have GIST (soft tissue tumours).

I think part of the problem with DS is his age - they just can't seem to see anyone else yet, the world is still all about them isn't it? and also he is acting out how his father behaved as "man of the house". He has been told that it isn't acceptable, has repaired the damage he did and hopefully will cough up his contribution towards the house on pay day. He even voluntarily did the washing up last night shock

I'm trying to look on the positive side.

In answer to the earlier question about Ex and contact, I can speak to him on his mobile but the conversations are brief (1/2 minutes) because he is busy. I don't know where he is living and he states that he can't remember. To have the divorce papers served on him personally would be difficult because he is a driver so out and about and expensive (I'm not entitled to legal aid and just can't afford it at the moment). My worry is that the marital home is a handy second string to have if things fail to work out with the OW.

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