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Life After Divorce(18 Posts)
Hi all. I'd love to hear peoples experiences of getting over abusive relationships and divorce, especially with young children.
How did how did you move on? Where are you now? What can you do that you didn't do before? What is better/different/worse than before? What advice would you give to those gping through a divorce? What do you wish you had known at the time? What did you learn the hard way? What are your experiences of new relationships?
I'm coming out of a 13 year relationship, and need a bit of motivation from you amazing people in my phone.
Life gets normal quite quickly, it’s so nice not having to walk on eggshells all the time. But It takes a long time to let go of all the little defences you build up in that kind of relationship. The little automatic things you do to protect yourself. These came out a lot for me when I tried to start a new relationship too soon. But at the same time a steady relationship where you feel safe with someone nice and normal is a good way to teach yourself you don’t need them any more. Bit depressing soz
@blue30 I can deal with depressing. I'm a realist.
hope you're doing ok! I've been separated from ex dh for just over a year and a half and currently still going through divorce proceedings (delays!), I thought it would be most helpful maybe to bullet point the things that have stood out to me about life after the most in the last 1.5 years!
- living alone gives you the time to start to slowly unveil the person you probably haven't realised you lost, it's amazing to start to see certain strengths you forgot about in yourself
- not having the pressures of a difficult relationship really improves the quality of mother you are, I have a much calmer, more fun, more loving and less stressful relationship with my two ds (5 and 3)
- I generally feel a lot more confident in myself and my ability to do things (this is coming from someone with anxiety and crippling social anxiety!) but the ability to have complete control over things I do and things I'm comfortable with without the judgement of someone else is really helping with those issues.
There are obviously incredibly hard times to go through, especially when it comes to dealing with young children, for me being in an emotionally abusive relationship and being gaslighted and lied to a lot, it is very very difficult to get back into a normal mind set and realise what is normal behaviour and what is not! I still really struggle sometimes but when I start to realise myself his behaviours that are like this and can stand up to it it really gives me strengths and empowers me. It takes time to sort of realise behaviour you've come accustomed to isn't normal.
I have found a new relationship now which is just night and day from the relationship I was in for 12 years, everyday he makes me feel empowered to be the real me and it's such a relief and a breath of fresh air.
Everyone's situation is different, for me I went from being financially very secure, expensive car, didn't have to worry about what I was spending money on to not being able to pay all my bills, but I am a much happier person now
- separation is more important than divorce. For the first year or so nobody is in a very rational state of mind so unless the split is mutual focus on whatever is crucial in your situation and don’t sweat the small stuff
- use 20:20 hindsight to examine where you might have made better decisions in the marriage you are leaving - the things you now realise were red flags, the thin end of the wedge, things you let slip to keep the peace. Vow to yourself To watch out for those in the future and not let them get past you.
Everything is better when you are not in a marriage with someone who scares or hurts you, although it did take quite a while to realise that. I had never been an adult on my own without him, so everything was a bit odd to get used to. I also, as pp said, went from a certain standard of living to living in quite different circumstances, which was an enormous shock for dc in particular.
I have chosen not to find another relationship. My ex has had lots - left for an OW, she dumped him immediately, so he has had a string since then and it has been difficult for dc for many reasons, so I dont feel it is appropriate that their 'stable' parent also introduces someone else into their lives. It is a decision that I am happy with and I feel has ensured dc's home remains a safe space. I do have lots of dates and have had FWBs, (one lasted 5 years) which has been so much fun and much more what I need than a relationship.
It does take a while to rebuild yourself - I think it was maybe 2 years before I felt I was out the other side. But 10 years on, I do still shit myself if I have to see my exH and I don't know if that will ever go.
I think it takes a year to start to feel normal. When I look back to that year immediately after H left the house, it's all a blur. And it's ups and downs, not a linear journey.
I think I got 6 months in and thought I'd date - that was an experience, and I don't regret it, but I'm not sure it was the right time! I have dated since and have mostly found it a lot of fun. I've learned a lot about myself in the process!
It takes a while for things to become the new normal. And of course you still have to navigate the divorce, the children's feelings, practicalities of moving house, money, bank accounts - all that stuff. It's a lot to do!
And it's lovely not to have a toxic person in the house, a toxic relationship. It's so nice to be with just the children, to develop your own routines, to not be reliant or worried about another person. I'm 5 years down the line now, and I love it. I look back at that first year, and I achieved so much. I look at my house and life that I've built for my children, and I feel so proud of myself. They are so secure and so happy, and we're such a lovely unit.
The absolute relief when you are out.
Becoming independent and learning to pay your own way even though it might take a while with small children.
The freedom to do whatever you want.
Learning to go out and do things and make friends without a husband attached.
I moved back south with our ds, to be near various family, to be on home ground (I was miserable in the midlands) and for work.
I still had enough friends and contacts locally to settle fairly easily.
I bought a house and the freedom to redecorate in clean cheerful colours rather than put up with his previous wife’s dreary rubbish was wonderful.
Other good things are no walking on eggshells - God, the relief -, lighter food, music (he kept turning it off) and having friends round comfortably. Being able to relax.
Downsides - very few. In the early days, I suppose needing to find a babysitter if I wanted a haircut. Ex did very little else, so I didn’t miss him.
Having fallen for a quite intentional lie, I haven’t trusted any one since. But me & ds are happy, free and settled. Life is so good. I’m not sure I’ll ever bother with a relationship again.
@Ulrikaka I do also agree about people coming in and out of the children's lives, no one has been introduced to children by either myself or exh, we agree that no one will be introduced to them until we're certain of a good future with them and there's been a relationship that's lasted a decent amount of time (18 months ish) at least that's one thing we agree on!
I’m 10/11 years on. My Dc were pretty young...7 and 5.
It’s hard to remember all the stress, there was a lot because he didn’t ‘just stop’ when we separated, he continued his campaigns for many years.
But a couple of things that I do remember as being helpful..
The outcome I was searching for was peace. Peace of mind. Immediately at separation I had more moments of peace than I’d had in 15 years...that was progress, and then it was just about how to navigate the ongoing situation to create as much peace as possible. Get the divorce, work out the most peaceful way of communicating (email for me), pick your battles and don’t be gaslighted. I found having that as the goal really helped me.
Then, keeping a job / progressing your job was really important. You are on your own, likely reeling from the betrayals from your marriage so unable to trust someone else. You need that independence of being responsible for yourself and your family now and in the future. I’ve worked ridiculously hard to be in a place where I can easily look after myself and my boys...did the lot...first person dropping off at breakfast club, last person to pick them up. Getting them to do their own breakfast and dinner from a young age so I can go to work.
Some people may read that and think that’s some sort of neglect, but it’s balanced with peace in the house, and general respect. I have an amazingly grown up relationship with dc now who are 18 and 15. They are loved, kind, respondible and confident young men, and they respect what I had to do and bear no grudges.
Finally, work out why you let it happen. It’s awful to look at and some people say that’s victim blaming, I say fuck that, you did play a part. Your boundaries were off, your twat radar wasn’t working, you weren’t able to be assertive and get out. You need to work this out to move on. It took me a couple of years and have a great relationship now, we don’t live together but it’s peaceful, loving and always positive. It’s helped me grow a lot
I've been divorced 10 years, haven't been in a relationship for 5. The feeling of not having to please anyone but yourself is unbelievable, having a home that is yours, not having to clear up someone else's mess, eating your choice of meals.
It's really interesting to see people say it takes about a year to feel normalish. I'm 15 months out and I was feeling like I should be more over it now. I'm glad to see what I'm feeling is normal.
I like say pros are being able to do what I want
Not walking on eggshells
Not rolling over to keep the peace
Personal one for me I was able to get a job and learn to drive which were things I'd been prevented from doing in the marriage.
The anxiety of never knowing when he would be home is gone. We just get on with our day as our little unit of 3.
I'm separated almost 5 years and still struggle. Sorry to say.
A year is very short and is dependent on a lot of other factors at play in your marriage, so go easy on yourself if it's not happening quickly
Ex took almost 18 months to move out. Went to a 2bed flat (hello, 3 kids???) And was there for 3years. In that period of time he was sacked from his job, lost a parent and spent months doing FA. I had been contracting and was looking for permanent employment at the same time. It was horrendous.
This massivel delayed our progress. I've dated a bit but I don't have any confidence with men. However I've watched my boundaries tighten which is a great thing.
All in all I'd say look after yourself and choose your confidantes wisely. Trust yourself x
I'll have my Decree nisi in a couple of months and I can't wait
I'm 2 years out, my H died 8 months after we separated.
What I noticed at once, the moment he had left the house, was the way everything lightened. Nobody was walking on eggshells or worrying about how much he'd been drinking and what he would be like. I nearly cried when I heard DD2 singing in the bath a few days after he'd left. My DDs were older teens, but they blossomed at once - they laughed, played stupid games and made up stupid dances, shared music with me, generally became normal teenagers again instead of stressed, anxious creatures. There's been consequences - both are still in therapy - but life is so, so much better.
Financially it was tough at first, I was working full time but income was suddenly cut in half because I had the house (and yes, he would have signed it over to me in exchange for no maintenance). But we were coping. Now of course I also have his savings and payouts from his life insurance so we are very comfortable. And life is great. We don't miss him.
It takes time... I was 12 years ish relationship, separated at 39, divorced at 40. I forget the actual dates but it was about that! Felt like that stereotypical 40 year old divorcee !
He wasn't exactly abusive, but controlling, belittling, bullyish. Someone above said once their's had gone it was like the house lightened - I can agree with that ! No more walking on eggshells, wondering if I'd done the wrong thing. I could eat what I wanted, do normal things, so much less worry.
It took me a while tbh - no kids but it was still a massive thing. Really stressful job at the time and it all combined into a big meltdown. Combined with nearly losing the house. I ended up with time off work for stress although managed to get counselling and avoided anti-depressants.
Then I did the online dating thing (that's just horrible was my experience but that's a whole other thread!), went a bit manic with it, found new hobbies, reignited old friendships, and built new ones. Looking back I felt on a high but it was a crazy time, and all a bit blurry. I'm not sure it was very healthy!
Now 5 years on and life is fabulous. I'm married again (having said I never would) to someone I've known for years and is my soulmate it turns out. I learnt so much from the first time around - I'm stronger, I am myself, I know my mind, yes there's some damage/baggage from the last time but we all have that ! I now know what a "normal" relationship should be like, and wow I'm so annoyed I waited so long to end the previous one!
I would say don't underestimate the impact it can have on you emotionally, and give it time to settle down. Not just a few weeks or months, but maybe longer. For me I think a year or maybe even 2.
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