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Five months on....

(11 Posts)
willdivorcesoon Tue 30-Apr-13 10:38:28

Five months ago I discovered by accident that my h (of 7 years) had been leading a secret life and gambling heavily whilst he was meant to be at work. He has always had addiction problems (smoking & drinking) and in his more lucid moments will admit this but mostly he denies it and says he doesn't have a problem, its under control etc. He says that because he doesn't drink every day he is not an addict. My understanding is that because when he does drink he doesn't have an 'off' button, he literally drinks until he passes out in a near coma, then he does have a problem. I have had to rescue him from dodgy situations in the past, plus he has come home from nights out drinking in a very bad way, beaten, bruised etc with no or very little recollection of what has happened.

Anyway that's by the by, I discovered he had been gambling, had amassed loads of debt, lied and lied to me to the point that I doubted myself and thought I was becoming a 'nag' as he so often pointed out so I asked him to leave. Which he did. We had been in marriage counselling prior to this for a year, not because of the gambling but because of the drinking, what it did to him, his moods, his clear detachment from the marriage. With the gambling discovery I just felt I couldn't take anymore.

We have 2 dc - aged 5 & 2, and I am at sahm having given up a really good career to raise our family and run the home etc. In the immediate aftermath I threw myself into securing the finances for myself and the dc. I was worried with his debts that I might become liable for them, or worse he would/could gamble and put our house at risk. We have considerable equity and I didn't want to risk that. I contributed enormously to the value of the house when we moved in (65% of the purchase price) so I wanted to make sure that this was protected. In hindsight I focused so much on the 'practical' side that I probably neglected the emotional side of things. Plus I think I was running on adrenalin for quite a few weeks.

Finally after Xmas, with the finances secured (as much as they can be for now) and an agreement in place I started to try and face up to the emotional side. I have great friends - although awful family support - so I am not entirely alone but I am alone in this situation. I literally have no friends who are single parents at the moment. This is part of my problem. The feeling of utter loneliness and the overwhelming panic I have for the future. Our house is currently on the market which I'm devastated about as it was meant to be our 'forever' home and I love it. I need to find a job but with a 5 and 2 year old and being out of the job market for 6 years now is not so easy. I am not even getting shortlisted for any jobs that I am applying for even though I could quite easily do them as my skill set is pretty high.

My stbxh told me last week that he has gone on and bought himself another property an hours drive from where I live with the children. This has bought me crashing down again into the pits of despair. I don't know why. I guess I am still devastated that the marriage failed. Devastated for the children that their daddy isn't living with us. I feel as if I have no worth, no direction and nothing to start building on as a foundation for the future. I have no job. I don't know where I will be living. Or what I am going to live on. I don't know, everything seems so hopeless and yet there is my ex, moving on and buying himself a property with seemingly not a care in the world. I know this might not be true and he may be upset but friends have reported back as him being really good, getting on with life, and pretty much together.

I don't know what I am expecting really by posting this. Some support perhaps for what feels like a pretty bleak hour. Some reassurance that things will be right in the end. I know in the grand scheme I am lucky, I have 2 gorgeous kids and a lovely house (for now) but I still feel bereft. I've been having some counselling but don't feel like it is working. I just feel worse and worse as the weeks go by.

Help!

TimidLivid Tue 30-Apr-13 11:09:54

if its only been five months he cannot have totally changed a lifetime of having these problems so you are still better away from it and long term you will be okay, he wont be bringing you down, setting a terrible example and spending all the family money. it must be hard but things will get better as you dont have his issues making you worry all the time.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 30-Apr-13 11:54:46

I wish I had a magic carpet to show you yourself in a year's time, you have already hauled yourself up, you know you did the right thing calling a stop to where your life was headed. What good is a marriage if you dread what the next week will bring whilst trying to maintain a civilised front of coping and happy families? Re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic I think someone called this. Don't you and your DCs deserve a safe environment, continuity?

Fuckwit ex may prosper or he may crash and burn but he won't drag you down with him. I am sorry your family is unsupportive but your friends will be there for you. An organisation like Gingerbread may have some advice for you. And sections on MN like Lone Parents can offer constructive advice and support. Btw have you checked on the Local site to see if there are MNers in your neighbourhood?

willdivorcesoon Tue 30-Apr-13 13:55:02

Thank you both for replying. I don't know what I wanted anyone to say but perhaps it was just that reassurance that I did do the right thing by asking him to leave and that things will start to get better for me at some point. It is early days I guess. Just when you are living it, it doesn't always feel like that.

I'm so angry at him atm. It feels like I'm really going through the mill emotionally, trying to keep upbeat and positive for the dc. Not letting their lives be more affected than they already are.... then there he is... seeing the children once a week, turning up then totally hungover and stinking of drink some weeks but out buying houses to renovate and live in. He has been able to draw a line and move on whereas I'm stuck in no mans land with no idea what my future holds. This is tough sad

onefewernow Tue 30-Apr-13 16:23:06

I think you are in a treading water situation, at least until the house is sold.

It is hard to imagine your new future when you live in a house you wnt be keeping, and are unsure on the work front.

On the other hand, you did start out in a much better place than your H, without all those addiction issues, and no doubt your next home will be safe from the bankruptcy court, unlike his, unless he changes his ways.

Could you drop the price of the house so it sells faster?

One thing- I sold a fairly fancy four story period home last year, in order to get financial flexibility. Prior to that I had set myself a story loop in my head about how the next place would be worse, in the wrong place, not nice, etc etc. Inevitably, it was a load of rubbish, and Im much happier. I even prefer it, a the new house, albeit cheaper, has lots of advantages the old one didnt, and believe me I dont miss those stairs or the winters there. So beware of that story loop: there are other futures, and they are not all worse.

You have done well really, havnt you? You put in the effort at Relate (well done you), you knew where to draw the line to keep your sanity and self respect, you have secured yourself financially, and kept the children stable. You must be exhausted, but you have achieved a lot.

In terms of return to work, we dont have enough information to help at this stage.

Some things to think through:

What is your prior experience?
What is your skillset?
What transferable skills do you have?
Do you want to return to the same sector?
Can you volunteer for a while, even a few hours a week?
Can you update eg doing a new course?
What are your old networks like? How can you gain new ones?
Would you be an asset if you went back temporarily eg for a year, at a lower level?

It can be hard getting work, but it isnt impossible if you approach it right.

Moanranger Tue 30-Apr-13 19:14:14

Wow- you have really done a lot, you have just hit a flat spot in the road, so to speak.
Gambling is a really serious addiction, and most addicts have to hit rock bottom, e.g., lose everything, go bankrupt, before they change, so you are well out of there.
Accept that it will be hard for awhile, but that you will get to a better place. You have been successful in the past & you will be again in the future.

willdivorcesoon Wed 01-May-13 09:37:07

Thanks for your replies.

With regards to the work situation I have pretty much decided that it will be better for the children, and my sanity, if I keep life as uncomplicated as possible at the moment. Primarily that means being around for them pretty much as I am now. The only way I can do this is by working in a school where I can work term time only. That way their lives remain as unaffected as possible, I am still there to drop off, pick up and in the holidays. Returning to my career as it was 6 years ago, would be difficult for so many reasons and no with 2 children impossible to work the hours required, manage the stress of tight deadlines etc. I just think that for now my priority should be maintaining a status quo for the children and not returning to a high position essentially just for money.

With that in mind, and given it is not so easy to get a job in a school as the number of applicants must be high I have decided to start off by volunteering in any capacity in my eldest childs school. I had to submit a letter offering my services which I have done this morning so hopefully I will hear from the Head and I will feel that at least I'm doing something constructive. Luckily for the short term I can do this financially. Long term I will have to get something that pays but at least by doing this I have activated my CV, plus will be able to get a reference, show proof of my desire to work in a school etc. What do you think? The right thing to do for now?

My mental state is just horrible. I am always about 2 seconds and one kind word away from tears. I hate being like this. I am so resentful of my xh's ability to draw a line and bury his head. I know long term this may come back and bite his arse (and by god I hope it does) but at the moment it all feels so bloody unfair. I don't want to drop the value on the house too much because at this stage every penny of equity matters. As it is I can't afford to buy somewhere in the town we currently live. I have reconciled with that but I want to be able to afford something fairly reasonable and with a garden. I live in the SE so property prices are just stupid. I did contemplate moving away from the area entirely but decided I need my friends support network and it wouldn't be fair on the children to do that.

I spoke to our marriage counsellor yesterday as I'm hoping to go back to her on my own next month, and she said that no wonder I am feeling so desolate, lost etc as I had such a huge amount invested in the marriage. She didn't mean financially, it was emotionally. Just hearing someone recognise that helped so much even though it left me crying (again). I think I am just feeling very sorry for myself and my lost life. I probably do need to buck up and stop wallowing but I'm just finding it so hard to do!!

skyebluesapphire Wed 01-May-13 14:40:40

Do you have a Sure Start Childrens Centre near you? Our local one is always looking for volunteers and as part of that, they put you through the Early Years training. All that sort of thing would be great for you to get a job in a school in the future.

I am 12 months on from a marriage breakdown, husband walked out with no prior warning and I divorced him last November. I still struggle a lot with the end of the marriage, the loss of the husband I thought he was and that DD 5yo has lost her daddy in her life on a day to day basis. I am sad for the loss of the future that we had planned together.

BUT - I also know that I am now free of any future debt that he will incur (built up £20K since last May) and in a lot of ways I am happier without him around. I secured the house too, it was 2/3 mortgaged and the 1/3 owned was all capital put in by me. It was such a relief to sort all that out and know that we would have a roof over our heads. However, I do still sit and cry because he left me!

It's a weird paradox, but time is the only thing that can work it through and ultimately, you will be better off - both financially and emotionally - without him.

I think that volunteering at the school is a great idea, they are usually looking for people to help with reading and breaktimes etc. Please do look into the Sure Start thing, it may be just what you need

willdivorcesoon Thu 02-May-13 07:09:57

Thanks skyebluesapphire , yes I do have a Sure Start Centre near to me that I have been using a lot. They have helped me get the free-for-2-year old funding so my dd can go to nursery for 2 days a week which has given me a much needed break. I am using this time to look for a job at the moment but its also these two days that I am going to use to volunteer. They have also sorted out 12 sessions of free counselling for me which I am attending at the moment. I will ask at the Centre although mine does always seem to have a lot of ladies helping so they may not need anyone. It won't hurt to ask though.

I have read some of your posts and am shamefully lurking on your current one that I stumbled across - so much of what you say resonates with me. I too am acutely mourning the loss of our marriage, our future plans, our childrens idyllic childhood, the man I thought he was etc. It certainly is tough going. I do have good days now which is great as a few months ago I would have thought that inconceivable. I try to focus on the horrible things he said to me 'he never loved me' for example, and also the years of lies, gambling when he was at work and while I was going through numerous IVF's, drink driving and crashing our car whilst I was literally in the middle of an IVF round (I only just found that he had been drinking driving when he had this crash, having vehemently denied it at the time despite my suspicions).

I just can't seem to get my head around the 12 months of lying through counselling - can't see what the point was if he had 'never been happy' or loved me as he says. Why put me through that when initially we started going to help him with his drinking issues, his emotional blocks, his detachment from the marriage. I just wish he had walked away then rather than delay a year and let me believe that things were improving. It was cruel to do what he did and even now he is continuing in his lack of respect, regard or consideration for me. He has had months to tell me about the house but didn't. He only told me when I called him to discuss the monthly maintenance. If I hadn't called he probably wouldn't have bothered and left me to find out through friends. Which is horrible. I haven't done anything wrong yet feel as if he is punishing me for his shitty behaviour.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 02-May-13 09:17:03

Watched a tv programme once about bad drivers. One person summed up the attitude of the reckless and as yet unharmed, "The sort of driver who boasts they've never had an accident, but coincidentally they look in their rear view mirror and frequently see carnage behind them".

Men like your ex and Skye's ex are like this, charging along selfishly without due care and attention, leaving a trail of emotional and sometimes financial damage in their wake.

Something I heard recently, if you don't conveniently happen to own secluded acres in which to let out a primal scream, why not invest in a beanbag type floor cushion. When the DCs are out of sight and earshot, kick and pummel it or gather it up and scream into it. Or a punchbag if you prefer as long as you're careful not to hurt your hands hitting it. We abhor violence but it feels remarkably satisfying letting out some rage in a safe setting.

skyebluesapphire Thu 02-May-13 14:48:25

It is very difficult when they lie to you and when they tell you things solely to make themselves feel better. Apparantly I had hurt my Xh "many times over the years with your sarcastic comments". Those same comments that he used to laugh at, those same comments that his brother makes. But as soon as he decides to walk out, then all of a sudden it has been a major problem for years.

My posts on my threads have always been me pouring out my feelings. I can advise on other people, I know what I have to do myself, but I cant always do it.....

I met a friend today in the local town and ended up in tears. Like you say, just a few seconds and a kind word away from tears, all the time.

We just have to keep thinking, that whatever we thought we had with our men, it wasn't real, that they dragged us down, that we WILL be better off without them and so will our children.

I have no doubt that my ex will end up going bankrupt again at some point. He has amassed 20K of debt in less than 12 months, so who knows where he will be in the future. He has gone into an IVA, so cannot get any more credit, so therefore at some point, he will just run out of money.

But it will not be my problem then. and your H's debts won't be your problem once all ties are severed. I was lucky to keep my house, but its a small 2 bed bungalow, so not much else on offer round here anyway. You have the chance to make a fresh start, with no memories hanging around.

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