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My world has fallen apart at 50. I have no idea what to do.

(269 Posts)
DowntonTrout Wed 20-Nov-19 13:00:41

H left me 2 weeks ago after almost 30 years. I knew he was stressed about work but didn’t see this coming at all.
After our marriage, when we had kids, he asked me to stay home and raise the family and look after him so he could concentrate on building a business and providing for us.
Even up to 6 weeks ago he was still talking about our future together, us selling the business and buying somewhere abroad and finally spending time together. And now he’s gone.
I have no idea about finances. No joint account. Everything is in his filing cabinet at the office.
He is in complete control. I feel like he’s pulled my whole future from under me. I’m relying on him giving me money and I know the house will have to go. I have no qualifications, no experience, have no pension of my own.
I know I’ve been an idiot. Every cliche I’ve heard about women staying at home and being oblivious to finances etc applies to me. I have night terrors and sleep paralysis which was occasional but is now every night so I’m afraid to go to sleep and am having anxiety attacks when I wake up so it isn’t helping. I’m usually such a strong, confident person that I’m struggling to cope with this.
All our friends are couples so it’s awkward, my parents are dead and I have no other family to speak to. My brother is abroad. Our youngest is away in education. The older two are grown up with children of their own.
I’m so sad and scared, I don’t know where to start.

Seaandsand83 Wed 20-Nov-19 13:04:13

Oh OP, I am so sorry this is happening. Did he give reasons? Is he still living with you? I'm hoping someone will be along soon to give you some decent practical advice, I'm afraid all I can offer is a handhold

Herocomplex Wed 20-Nov-19 13:05:18

I’m so sorry, this is a terrible shock I can tell. It’s not the end of the world, even though it feels that way.

Are you in the house and he’s left? Don’t agree to anything he suggests until you’ve spoken to a solicitor.

Deep breaths.

rumred Wed 20-Nov-19 13:05:36

Hi op so sorry to hear what has happened to you, you're bound to be in shock.
Can you talk to a good friend? People who love you will want to help.
I think general advice is get paperwork together and see a solicitor as soon as possible
Sending you strength

Meadow1203 Wed 20-Nov-19 13:07:57

Poor you what a terrible shock, there will be lots if support for you here. Where has he gone? Have you told anyone in real life? I think that is important. And for what it is worth you are not an idiot at all.

Herocomplex Wed 20-Nov-19 13:11:25

@DowntonTrout do you suspect things have gone wrong financially and he’s run away? Do you know where he is?

CoffeeandaBagel Wed 20-Nov-19 13:14:23

I'm so sorry OP. How awful. You're in shock and it's no surprise.

Do not beat yourself up about the finances. You trusted him and he gave no indication that things weren't right. I really hope nobody comes along and says you should have protected yourself etc. You already know that, but you haven't done anything wrong.

If he's in any way a decent man, he will give you a proper explanation. You will be entitled to money. You have raised his children for 20 plus years. Is it a joint mortgage?

Your life is not over. This is a rocky chapter, no doubt, but there will be happy ones yet, I'm sure. I understand that seems impossible right now, but you will get there.

Sending lots of love and strength flowers

managedmis Wed 20-Nov-19 13:16:29

Do not beat yourself up about the finances.



Er, you need to beat yourself up about finances, OP!

Tell us more about the joint account, is your name on the house?

WhatToDo999 Wed 20-Nov-19 13:17:50

Hi OP, i am so so sorry this has happened to you.

Please do go and see a solicitor and get legal advice asap - you may not have qualifications, but you have a load of life experience, and that counts for a lot.

As you did not work to look after H and the family, he will still have to provide for you.

Take things a day at a time, and only deal with the practicalities that you need to for the time being x

HJWT Wed 20-Nov-19 13:18:33

@managedmis you could read the op properly she said NO joint account!

Sandals19 Wed 20-Nov-19 13:18:48

I know I’ve been an idiot.

Well you haven't entirely because you're married.That means you're entitled - get a good family/divorce solicitor asap.

Some do first half hour free but you need to check.

Others may allow you to pay later if you explain the situation.

dottiedodah Wed 20-Nov-19 13:19:08

I think you need to contact a Solicitor ASAP! As far as pension goes you should be entitled to half of his pension the Business everything .You are an "Enabler " and without you he would be nowhere as you have supported him with Childcare ,Home duties etc .Please dont feel scared and you will feel better once you get some legal advice .

Herocomplex Wed 20-Nov-19 13:19:45

She says no joint account @managedmis, he gives her money. Cash? Or into an account?

SuperbMonkey Wed 20-Nov-19 13:22:17

Meadow, reaching out to you. I am in a similar position at an older age. I completely understand how you are feeling. The first step is to breathe and keep breathing. Make yourself something warm to drink. Try to eat. Reach out to someone in real life, perhaps a neighbour or a nearby friend (it doesn’t matter that they are in couples). See if you can go to them or they come to you to provide support. People want to help. Book an urgent appointment with your GP. Call Relate. When you feel able look in the filing cabinets. See a few solicitors on free/low cost appointments to get advice. Do you have any contact details for your husband? If so perhaps one of your grown up children could contact him to find out what is happening for you. You will survive. I have got through things in the last few months that I thought would kill me.

Herocomplex Wed 20-Nov-19 13:22:23

I think we’re all assuming there is any money. Has he given you anything since he left OP?

FVFrog Wed 20-Nov-19 13:23:47

flowers and a handhold. I am 18 months down the line of my DH of 24 years leaving me. I too gave up a career to support his and raise DC.
First see your GP and get some help if you need it to sleep. You cannot function without sleep and you need to function. Reach out to friends in real life. Be kind to yourself and take each day (or hour) at a time if you need to. You are in shock at the moment (trust me I have been there). Look at the stages of grief you go through after someone leaves you, it will help you understand what is happening to you and why you are feeling as you do. Allow yourself to scream/cry or whatever when you need to. Try and get outside each day and get some fresh air and daylight.
Get a recommendation for a good family lawyer and get an initial (usually free or fixed fee which isn’t too much) consultation as soon as possible.
Do you have access to money for food etc? Do you have your own bank account with money in it cards in your name?

Didiusfalco Wed 20-Nov-19 13:24:04

I think what a previous poster meant was not to beat yourself up about things that have happened and can’t be changed. You should go to your doctor to get something to help you sleep/function, it’s impossible to think clearly when exhausted. I feel like you need to get more information from your H to gauge what is going on. Is he having a break down, going bankrupt, folding the business, having an affair? You need to get to the bottom of it. Aside from that I’d be going through every computer, filing cabinet, bit of post to find out what I could and then taking advantage of free half hour with solicitor. I’m so sorry - you must be reeling.

Chocmallows Wed 20-Nov-19 13:24:36

When you panic try writing down lists of things you need to do and then put them into a plan, where you do one thing at a time.

Drop anything from your list that is not important.

It may sound strange, but ask your friends if they know of others in the area that are divorced. Speaking in person with others that have gone through it can help.

DowntonTrout Wed 20-Nov-19 13:26:23

Sorry to have not given details in my OP. There was so much to say it would have been an essay.
I walked in on him texting late at night after we’d been at a family party.
He admitted it was “a girl, but it’s nothing” then said he had been unhappy for 4 weeks, wanted to be by himself and was leaving. Nine minutes later he was gone.
He’s been in a hotel since but I don’t know where. He isn’t telling anyone what happened (because that would look bad wouldn’t it?) so he’s just saying he had no me time and wants to be alone.
I do have friends but there’s a limit to how much I can put on them. A couple of them have been amazing but they have lives too. My best friend is 200 miles away though. My DD has come to stay but has 2 kids and it isn’t ideal.
My H has phoned me to tell me not to involve the kids so I feel like I can’t even show my feelings in my own home although he has sat them down and explained his side to them. I feel trapped.

TheABC Wed 20-Nov-19 13:26:41

You are not an idiot, although you were naive. The good news is that you are married, have a claim to half the house and pension and no young children so no childcare costs to think of, when you do start looking for work.

Positive steps forward:
- Find a bloody good solicitor. Get recommendations and be prepared to hire a forensic accountant or similar if all the records are at the office.
- Start writing your CV. Even without formal work experience, you will still have something to offer from volunteering, household organisation and any hobbies you have pursued.
- Book a session with CAB about benefits. He may be nice about this or a complete bastard, but it's going to be a while before you get the settlement. Don't be dependent on him any longer than possible. Getting onto jobseekers etc. also restarts your NI record for pension contributions and gives you access to council-run courses at reduced rates that will prove to employers you are able and ready to work.
- Check your NI record online: to get the basic state pension you will need 30 years of contributions. I think you can "top up", but either way, you don't need any more surprises.

The brutal truth is that you have another 16 years of work left to go before the state pension age kicks in and spousal maintenance is not so commonplace now. By taking steps now, you can reduce the panic and feel more positive about the future.

TheABC Wed 20-Nov-19 13:27:56

Your DH does not get to control your interactions with your family. Talk to them! Why are you putting his reputation over your well-being?

Ylvamoon Wed 20-Nov-19 13:29:42

Hi OP,


I agree, go and see a solicitor. If this is not possible, please contact citizens advice, they will point you in the right direction.
As for the house ect. Do you know if it is mortgaged or are there any other debts? This knowledge would be really helpful when you go and see someone.

On the basis of finding support, how good is your relationship with your older DC? Maybe they can lend a ear?
I know it's difficult, and their world is about to be shuttered. But it's not your fault or doing. He has left you. They are adults and might even know more than you think.

Didiusfalco Wed 20-Nov-19 13:30:09

‘My H has phoned me to tell me not to involve the kids’

Your H isn’t on your side anymore. You do what you think is best with no regard for his opinion - this is how he is behaving. You need to stop thinking of yourselves as a team, and look out for your own interest.

Nancydrawn Wed 20-Nov-19 13:31:00

I am sure you want to be strong for your kids, but please know that for me, I would be happy to be as supportive of my mom as I needed to be. In the short term, that means staying with her for a week if she needed company, lending her money (I know it seems humiliating but I wouldn't blink for a second and wouldn't think the least bit less of her), helping her find an attorney, or whatever else she needed. Your kids are grownups--if you're close with them, don't hesitate to lean on them a bit.

Encyclo Wed 20-Nov-19 13:32:28

He doesn't get to control your reactions to this. He's dropped a bomb in your life he can't dictate your response.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you OP. I'm the same age as you and I can only imagine the pain.

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