Feeling lost after divorce (OW)(12 Posts)
I got divorced two years ago due to OW. I have been struggling ever since to get my life back on track. I never dreamt it would be this hard. I am really struggling emotionally and not being able to re-enter the job market has felt like the final straw.
I have two boys (5 and 7) who are lovely but hard work. I have reasonable childcare help but practically no RL emotional support except for STBXH who has been very supportive and amazingly patient. I hate having to rely on STBXH after what he has done but he is the only real source of support and I feel so low at times. I have no support from family, and I have few friends because of frequent relocations for STBXHs job.
The relocations also made it impossible for me to work whilst we were married. I used to have a high flying career which I worked bloody hard for. I have done all the obvious things to improve my marketability but I am not even getting interviews and its looking increasingly unlikely. In the meantime I have been doing some low paid work to try and improve my CV. I just feel that my life is nothing but an endless cycle of childcare and work and that everything I have ever worked for, or wanted, has gone.
I know I am lucky to have my boys and it frustrates me that despite my lovely boys I feel so unhappy and lost. I just don’t know what to do anymore. I have always wanted a happy home life and a loving husband but that is gone. I am ok financially for the moment, but long term I do worry. I have tried counselling and various ADs but with little success. I have been feeling so bad that my hair has even started to fall out.
Sorry you are feeling so low. I've been there. Sometimes, you just have to be determined to be happy. Think of the positives in your life. Get out in nature. Get involved in your kid's school and meet other mums. Be there for other people. When I reach out to other people, I feel it adds meaning to my life.
You can make a happy home even without a husband - as long as there is love. I wish you well.
Have you looked at the website Upwork for employment opportunities?
Firstly, I found out recently, that if a CV is longer than 2 pages, it doesn't get looked at! So, is yours too long? Keep applying! My DD must have applied for 50+ jobs, all with no luck, as she's never worked before (she's only 17). And then, a few weeks ago - BINGO! She got a really good part time job at £7.15 ph (she's still at school). Has now completed the training and tonight is her first shift. She is over the moon. It may take time, but you will get there.
Keep applying for jobs. The job market is tough and employers get 100s of applications. It is a numbers game.
Re your happiness. It is early days but you have to try. I took up running when my stbxh left. My young children at the time cycled or scooted with me. We all then joined a running club and now run And help at park runs. I help at school events and have tea dates for my kids. You just have to keep trying. Well done on the divorce I've not even started that step yet.
Don't give yourself a hard time. I used to hate it when people said "at least you have your kids". Kids make you keep going, but sometimes you just want to hide under the blankets.
Have you tried hypnotherapy? It really changed things for me. It was expensive but worth every penny.
Chin up. It'll all be ok.
I recommend building blanket forts, with or without your boys. I'm still partial to a blanket fort 12 years on.
That sounds tough and you sound very, very down. If your hair has started falling out you must be very stressed. You say you have tried various ADs - they are not always the answer but if you find one you get one with it can give you enough of a lift to start re-evaluating your life and your situation. At the moment it sounds as though you are really stuck in a down cycle.
As a starting point I would urge you to go back to your GP and try to find some ADs that work for you - it can be trial and error - as a short-term measure to get you off the floor.
What do you/did you enjoy doing? All childcare and unsuccessfully applying for jobs must be draining. If you could find something outside of the home that you enjoy, some forgotten passion, it might help draw your focus onto something more positive.
And yes, as said above, the job market is tough. But even short-term low paid work is work and it's a starting point. It brings self esteem, it gets you out of the house, you get to meet people and even a low paid job needs to be done - someone is relying on you to turn up on time and do this task that needs to be done.
It will get better.
Hi OP I'm sorry you are feeling so sad and frustrated. FWIW I think you are doing the right thing by working in another job just to have something on your CV, but that is obviously not a long-term solution.
It looks to be as if you have a mix of things going on: job, childcare and friends/social support. It takes time to get over a horrible life-changing event like you have been through. Be kind but firm to yourself. Its OK to feel sad, but you will feel better quicker if you distract yourself by having a lot going on.
As far as the job goes, others are right that it takes time to find a job so stick with it. Have a good think round what you can do - could you work for yourself and consult for people who you came into contact with previously? Could you improve your CV by taking on a part-time voluntary role e.g. school board of governors, marketing and PR for a charity etc? Could you write articles for journals in your field to keep your profile up? Are there return to work seminars in your field? If not, could you organise one? Could you coach youngsters or mentor more senior people in your previous field? These are just examples, but don't assume that you have to do exactly what you did before. Have a look at Reach reachskills.org.uk for a good selection of voluntary posts.
Also, think about what additional skills would be useful: Excel? basic accountancy? Coding? Most things are available on Youtube now. I taught myself Excel (very painfully!) and I use it every day now.
It took me 5 years to find a full-time job after being made redundant at 50 which coincided with my divorce. Oddly enough, the job I ended up in uses every one of the miscellaneous skills I acquired during those 5 years.
Childcare is the bane of the working woman, but yours will start to get easier soon. Does your school have an after school club and holiday clubs? If so, I'd enrol them as much as money will allow. Failing this, can you swap collections with other parents on a rota or just work on becoming very active in a playdate circle? If you have the funds could you hire a teenager for a couple of days a week to play with them after school?
It does also sound as if you need more of a social life. School PTA's are in many ways a pain in the bum but involvement in them does mean that you get to know lots of people and therefore get invited to more things. Try and play an active role even if it is not your scene because it does open doors to friendships which will probably last for years.
What hobbies do you like? I think you need one evening a week which is devoted to you doing what you want to do (preferably with other people). Apart from this, could you and the children join a family swimming group at the weekends at your local leisure centre? Or a walking group? Your children are old enough to do walks now. Cheap Saturday morning cinema club? Is there a Gingerbread or lone parents group in your area - if not, then start one - there will definitely be other lone parents around who want to meet people; check your local library for events too - reading groups, book days etc. (also a great place to borrow DVD's cheaply for a Friday night film night with the children and one or two of their friends - Other parents LOVE you if you take their children for a Friday night sleepover and you can then ask for babysitting in return). Check at your local council too for a programme of free or very cheap events both for families and children especially in school holidays.
I found it helped to set myself targets e.g. to go out on my own once a week, to do one playdate and one organised event with the children once a week. Go to everything you are invited to whether you want to or not for the next year.
I think you also need to consider how you can look after yourself. Eat the best you possibly can as a form of self-nurturing, maybe take a multivitamin and some biotin for your hair for the next few months, relaxation, yoga etc and maybe something quick but tough like HIIT which I find a great mood lifter - again it's all on Youtube (check out Joe Wicks who manages to make it fun) - perfect for us single parents after the children have gone to bed.
I don't want to sound like a know it all because I really don't claim to have all the answers, but I have been through having to rebuild my life as a lone parent and you definitely do get back what you put in. It's all upwards from here - honestly.
Thank you all for your kind words and support and the suggestions. I really do appreciate it and it has given me a little boost.
Cloppysow- it is hard when people say ''at least you have your kids'' even though I know they are trying to highlight the positives. I am acutely aware of that and it makes me feel worse that I can't get it together for them. And of course they are very hard work and the tiredness makes everything feel worse and sometimes a bit of peace would help! I'd be really interested to hear more about the hypnotherapy. What did you have it for, and can you recommend anyone?
Sounds like you may still be holding a torch for STBXH. Putting him on a pedestal when it was his behaviour that put you in this place.
I may be wrong but if so, you may need some counselling to unravel your feelings and find a way to move forward.
Thank you so much Andrise for your very kind post and for taking the time to write such a comprehensive answer, its very kind of you to post such a long answer with all of your kind and helpful words. I will have to print it out to cheer me up and give me some inspiration!
It does help to know that someone has come out the other side. Hopefully one day things will turn a corner.
I'm a single parent to two boys too and I remember very well how difficult, exhausting and depressing it can be at their age...It's just plain Hard Work. . I did have to consciously decide to enjoy them when I could - so get the drudge out of the way and then decide to do something with them. Board games, cards - My boys are cardsharks now - Building massive lego things, jigsaws...it is unutterably boring at first, and when you're shattered you just think "Fuck no" but honestly, HONESTLY it gets better and then it gets brilliant and then you look forward to that time.
Now for the job stuff. I recently took a job which was quite a big step down from what I was used to and started looking for my next "proper job". These are some of the things I've learned from my recent job search:
1 - Indeed.co.uk - IMO the best of the online job search sites. There's quite a bit of direct applications - which means you don't go through a recruitment agency. I have applied for literally 100's of jobs since August - 100's and I managed to score interviews with 3 x direct jobs (one of which I secured and will be starting soon), 5 x agencies contacted me - FIVE! Out of the hundreds I applied for. Try reed.co.uk as well, they're not too bad and recruiters can search for you on there - so fill your profile out as much as you are able. PLEASE be aware that I believe that recruitment agencies place ghost jobs onto the web in order to trawl for candidates - it's not like it used to be where you joined an agency and they put you forward and helped you get a role, nowadays it's more about finding someone they can fit into a particular role they may OR MAY NOT yet have. Don't lose faith
2 - Your CV. Keep it simple. No personal statement bollocks. Bullet point your experience and tailor it to the job you're applying for. Don't lie, but if, for example, the job you're going for wants someone with a background in accounting and you have some of that but also some secretarial experience, then big up your accounts knowledge.
3 - The minute I changed my current role title to reflect that it was a Temporary post as opposed to a FTC I started getting calls from agencies and lined up 5 interviews in a week. So look out for anything like that on your CV. If you used to be a Teacher but now you're working in Tesco, and you want to go back to teaching then it is acceptable to just skirt over the recent job in a couple of lines and highlight your teaching experience. This is because recruiters literally get 100's of applications and will not have time to sift through your experience looking for something relevant, so they just won't bother.
4 - Try and stay positive - this is really hard I know, but make the decision that when that rat of panic starts gnawing at you make a DECISION to ignore it and focus on the positives - such as that you have managed to secure some work already and that the next step is just around the corner.
5 - Accept that you may have to go in at a lower level. This sucks hard because it's not fair but that's the way it is. In my twenties I was a high flyer, earning good money with great career prospects. Having children, then a failed marriage put paid to that really and I have had to take less exciting, less good paying jobs for the past ten years...I'm coming back now, it's just going to take me a little while.
Good luck to you.
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