Ok, the condensed version of my story. My husband of 20+ years dumped me a year and a half ago for an exgf he'd reconnected with over the internet. (They're no longer together, surprise surprise). I have been a SAHM ever since my kids were born. I did have a career prior to having them, not a high paying one (social work), but a career nonetheless.
The first few months of being separated I was busy mourning, taking care of the kids, trying to get a separation agreement going, etc. There was a lot of instability in trying to get the money stuff settled. Ex-h and I had some tense moments figuring out the money stuff, but we did come to a temporary agreement where he is paying me both child support and spousal support. From day one of our separation he was pressuring me big time to get a job, arguing that we can't afford for me to NOT work anymore. He's a high income earner, but a spoiled little boy who wants to live beyond his means, especially now that he's single again, so this is about him having more money in his pocket.
This was not helpful at the time, as it just sent me even further into a panic. I applied to a ton of jobs, early on. I got one interview, didn't get the job, which sent me into even more of a panic. Finally my lawyer and friends helped me calm down and approach this more methodically. I came to realize that I needed time to get the kids and I settled, to grieve, to negotiate a good separation agreement. Ex-h, among other things, is lazy, so it fell upon me to get that all going. I had to come up with bank statements, budgets, etc....everything. It was a ton of work. In the meanwhile, the support I have been getting from ex-h has been adequate, but barely. No room for frills, but we have enough to survive and to stay in our house. Our agreement is just about done now, and once it's signed I'll be getting more. One less thing to worry about for awhile, until I'm working again.
And, work is really the crux of it for me. I do want to work again, I don't want to be a ft SAHM anymore. I want to work to engage other parts of my brain, to have adult time, and biggest of all for me, to feel self-sufficient and not be reliant on ex-h for spousal support. Child support I have no problem in justifying. But I hate feeling reliant on him, even though I know I'm more than entitled to it. Every once in awhile he lords it over me, but in general he just quietly pays up. Still, for the sake of my self-esteem I need to work again.
I can't go right back in my field, I'm too long out of it. So, I did some research and have decided to take a one year college program that is related to what I've done, but in a growing segment of the field (fundraising management for nonprofits). I start in September. I am confident that once i'm done this program, I'll be working in the field pretty quickly.
Oh, and then there's my love life...for the first few months I was just so happy to be living in a stress-free enviroment, just me and the kids, that I didn't feel the least bit lonely. That honeymoon phase. And then, out of the blue, I met someone online last November. He's wonderful, but it's a long distance thing which makes it pretty impossible from a practical point of view. We've had some struggles trying to define what we have and what is realistic. It's triggering feelings of rejection in me (like, if he REALLY wanted this to work, he'd be more open to finding a way), and insecurity. I dont' like it. Maybe this is a sign that I'm really not ready to be involved with someone quite yet.
I guess that all this rambling is to say that I wonder when I'm ever going to stop being in transition. When will I be stable, working, my own income? When will I have effectively dealt with the fallout of my crappy marriage ending, the low self-esteem and self-loathing that comes with enabling a serial philanderer for so many years? Right now I feel like I am barely treading water, yet there is so much to do. I'm not happy with my weight (I've been binge eating as a coping mechanism, not good), I can't stand my appearance and feel that just physically there's no way I can put myself out there to meet anyone, not looking like this. My confidence is shot, even though intellectually I know I have a lot of great things going for me.
Sorry for rambling and thank you for reading if you've made it this far...I'm just really struggling with this of late, and am feeling so stagnant and depressed about the state of my life right now :(
I just wanted to send some ((hugs)) OP as i have BEEN THERE. My ex and i had been married only 10 years and it was me who left. It took me three years of constantly thinking about it to make the decision to finally leave him...and i didnt give the divorce and finances the attention they deserved and i got screwed for it - so i applaud you for taking the time to secure that NOW. I wound up living in a one bedroom apt with my 6 and 3 yr olds - working three jobs - 1 full time 2 PT in order to afford that.
Being a single parent was very scary during the time i was going through it. When i look back on it now, i wonder what i was so scared of! It was wonderful to be autonomous for the first time - in a very unfair marriage - and to get closer to my kids. It was hard to work all the time and be scared about money and to realize how much more protective i had to be of the kids now. Of course, to look back it - even though i came down to my last $10 every week - we stayed afloat and did just fine.
I would tell you to try and forget about finding someone new - but i can remember really feeling something really lacking when i was single - i was constantly looking for a better relationship - so i guess all i can say is be careful, be judicious, dont settle for crap! and dont introduce him to the kids until you have been dating for 6 months and its going really well!
i think going to college is a GREAT idea! I did that as well during the separation and right afterwards. Its a great way to transition from staying at home to working full time. You were smart to stay in the house and get the finances in order - before long this will be easier that you ever thought it could be. try not to bite off more than you can chew!
Happy at Home Mama to DD 4/95 DS 4/98 and DS#2 8/10
i know how you feel. losing patience. tired of being in the flux. need to move on.
i dont know how old your children are - but can you try and look at things differently?
like this is a present to yourself that you will most probably never get again. now that you have the time explore things around you a little more. once you get back into the rat race let me tell u it will take some getting used to. it will have its own problems.
the 'when' will come sooner than you expected. it will happen with teh snap of your fingers. and everything will change.
start a regime for yourself. at least start a regular walk. pursue some hobbies. the best use i made of that time was i went for anything i had an opportunity for. anything. i didnt let my feelings hold me back. result was what i thought i liked when i got into it i dint really care i found some areas that were interesting. sometimes that introduced me to other opportunities.
the first step is doing. if you stay at home and think you are terrible, you never give yourself a chance to change, to see the world differently. just taking a walk, going for things you otherwise thought you should only as a couple or with friends .... you will find 'yourself' there.
for me separating meant - personal growth. for me personally it was a spiritual growth too. i discovered meditation. i eventually found a temple dd and i fit into and they became my 'framily'.
take one step at a time mama. go out. even if its a picnic with your children to the park. you meet moms. you start talking (oh i so remember just talking to another adult meant soooooo much) and suddenly so many opportunities come your way....
hang in there mama. this phase is temporary.