I 'broke up' with my stb x husband 4 years ago, but we still lived under the same roof for 3 years, until just over a year ago I was able to rent an apartment for me and my 2 daughters. For reasons due to his total lack of introspection/denial he has only just realised that I am not just 'being difficult', and that we are not together. Anyway, once he had come to this belated realisation one of his first responses was that he would like both of us to be able to move onto new relationships. His second response was to agree to legal separation.
Now, Although I have been emotionally separate from him for a few years and economically independent for one year, I am now dreading how I will feel when he moves on to a new relationship. Maybe because of how our whole relationship played out, I feel like it would be yet another huge blow to my self-esteem. I don't really know what my issue is, but I know that even though I felt like most of the hard part is over (moving out and facing his family, etc...) I feel like this is going be another big deal for me.
Maybe I hold so much anger towards him and feel it would be really unfair for him to find happiness in a new relationship while I work two jobs and take care of the kids 24/7 and don't see any chance of meeting anyone (I live in an isolated rural location too), while he doesn't have a care in the world other than his work (his mum does his cooking, cleaning and laundry).
Anyway, although I can't suppress or deny any of these emotions/feelings I'm experiencing, I could do with a hand in reinforcing the side of me that wants to be ok with whatever goes on in his love life and get to a point where it doesn't affect me.
I find that not seeing him at all, or having very little contact with him is better for me and I dwell on things less. Although with the kids and everything I would say I see him at least every other day because he does not want to/is not capable of coming up with a regular schedule and basically comes and goes as he likes.
So, if anyone wants to share their experience of moving on and ways of coping would be helpful! I would like to get through it and heal.
Thanks and hugs!
I can relate to feeling resentful about XH "not having a care in the world," and like my responsibilities as a mother make my dating prospects...more limited. My two kids are with their dad two nights a week, so I have a little time for myself, but I work late one of the nights so it's really just one day a week. I think sometimes about how easy it is for a single, attractive man to go out and find a date, and how his parenting responsibilities are so minimal that he could conceivably leave that OUT of his conversations with new women as long as he wanted! There's no way I can date someone for any period of time without the fact of my being a mother affecting things. And not that I want to date men who would mind that, but it does make things a little more challenging.
Letting go of my anger (and conversely, my strong attachment) toward XH was (and continues to be) one of the hardest parts of our divorce. I don't think of myself as a controlling person, but I can see in hindsight how I was pretty codependent in our relationship and that not having him around to focus my energy on anymore left me a little stir crazy and led to me obsessing about what he was or wasn't doing more than once. Having a lot of physical space (we hardly communicate at all and have arranged kid exchanges mostly with other people so that we sometimes don't see each other at all during the week) has helped that immensely, and on the weeks when we happen to have more contact, I can really tell the difference in my anxiety levels, my obsessive thinking, my feelings of powerlessness, jealousy, anger, etc.
Some of the things that have been the most helpful to me, in terms of letting go of our relationship and taking care of myself is: regular attendance at Alanon (a 12 step group for friends and relatives of alcoholics, and my XH is not even the alcoholic in my life) THIS HAS BEEN THE NUMBER ONE HELP. Regular and consistent contact with female friends. Putting self-care routines in place--like, taking a bath and reading at least once a week. Getting exercise. Picking something I'm interested in and taking a class or volunteering. Giving myself pedicures, getting a new shirt (I only shop at the thrift store, otherwise this wouldn't be possible), doing other things to pamper myself and make myself FEEL like an attractive woman and not just a Tired Mommy. Also, praying for my XH, and asking for all of the things that *I* want in my life--that has done wonders for reducing my resentment toward him.
You say he "comes and goes as he likes." Is it possible for you to set some boundaries about contact with him that allow you to take care of yourself and to maintain that detachment? Like, never come over without calling? You can insist that he agree to a more formal custody arrangement?
Hugs to you, Mama. Hopefully some of the experience, strength and hope that can be found within this forum will give you some comfort.
I have no contact with my soon to be x, and neither do my boys, but I can relate to the feelings of it being difficult to find someone new. For me, being single is a new thing, only three months now, so it is too soon for me to be looking, but even when I think about how lonely I am, I realize I will never have anything to offer a man anyways. I am nothing to look at, I am never able to get out b/c I have no one to watch my children for me to go on a date (I had to work very hard to just get babysitters for me to go to school, which is my priority now), and what guy is going to want to date someone with three little kids who isnt pretty...no one I know.
Animegeekmom: never say you're not pretty and that no one is never going to want to date you! It's soooo not true!
I have a friend who got pregnant with a man she wasn't even really dating, and as she was raising her baby alone she said exactly what you said (except that she had 1 child). Just two years later she was dating a great man, and they have married and had 2 more children.
You have a whole life ahead of you, never think those things about yourself!
Your split is very recent, I think having feelings of low self esteem is normal, I guess that's what I'm going through in a way. Because even if the split is ultimately a good thing, it still feels like rejection.
Animegeekmom: I can relate to the feeling of "Who is going to want to date me when I come with this whole package of two small kids, XH drama, low-income, etc." And it felt like, for my XH, it would be so much easier for him to date, because he is not their primary caregiver.
But, honestly, there are lots of men who are open to dating single mothers. I have met several for whom my being a mama is not a big deal. Most have had children of their own, a few not. Being willing to date other single parents opens up the prospects quite a bit, I think. And ultimately, I know that I don't WANT to be with someone who isn't absolutely thrilled to be involved (wayyy later down the road) in my kids' lives. Or who doesn't like me for EXACTLY who I am, who doesn't judge based on history or circumstance. I know loneliness is difficult, but I would rather surround myself with supportive friends and buy a vibrator than have a lover who doesn't appreciate the whole of my "package" and experience.
And honestly, I was ready for a lover before I was ready (still am not) for a RELATIONSHIP. Those are easier to come by.
Thanks for the words of confidence...and no, I would never be with someone who didnt accept my boys as part of the "package". They are everything to me, and it is just us against the world now, so where I am, they are. They are such great boys.
Maybe I hold so much anger towards him and feel it would be really unfair for him to find happiness in a new relationship while I work two jobs and take care of the kids 24/7 and don't see any chance of meeting anyone (I live in an isolated rural location too), while he doesn't have a care in the world other than his work.
There's probably no way to completely side-step negative feelings about his next relationship. And, given the facts, he will probably wind up in one before you do. But I'd say the most important thing is to look realistically at your two situations.
Men commonly jump into new relationships after a divorce, or even after their spouse's death. Sometimes people assume these men consider their spouses "easily replaced". However, many times it's just the opposite! It may bother the man so much, to be without his spouse, that he feels driven to try to fill her shoes...even with a poor replacement!
But of course all "relationships", all "happiness" and all "love" are not equally valuable. Some are shallow and transient, while some are life-altering: deep, powerful and satisfying enough to sustain you through the worst hardships life can throw your way. Which kind do you want? Which kind does ANYONE really want?
If your ex is taking the easy route - as a partner, as a parent, as a son; in his personal responsibilities, from managing his finances to cleaning up after himself...exactly what kind of woman will find him attractive? And how long is she likely to find him so? What quality relationship is he headed toward, on his current path?
Whereas - whether you desired to walk this path, or not - you are honing the skills of independence, hard work, putting your children's needs first, surviving adversity and frustration, and doing what needs to be done, even when it's difficult and you feel alone in the task. Perhaps you have always been a strong and admirable person, but you are on a path to become even more so. True, you will not have the time or opportunity for much casual dating in the near future. And, with the kids and the busy schedule, you may not be someone hot, young, fancy-free party boys at the bar are lining up to date! But when the right man comes along, he will see valuable things in you. He will be attracted to you for reasons far deeper than you being easy to hang out with (like your ex is, now). And, since you will have spent plenty of time on your own, you'll know you're not just attracted to him because you can't deal with loneliness!
That's how it was, for me. Hang in there!
Jeannine, I love how you explain that, and it is a VERY accurate 'analysis'.
This is so true, but I only ever saw it from the partner point of view. But you're right, it touches all aspects of his life, and that's why I am also so resentful against his family as they try to make up for all of his shortcomings, instead of educating him!
Again, so true, and yet I never thought of it that way. Tahnk you for that!
It might not be as bad as you think when it actually happens. I wondered how I'd feel if XH found someone before me, and then he did. He brought her to one of our court dates, and she shot daggers at me with her eyes, and it was absolutely hilarious to me! I didn't spend another moment thinking about what his life might be like after that. Even the "he got all the freedom and I got all the responsibility" feelings went away. I could have had some guy to sit next to me and stare menacingly at XH across the court room... but I think the kind of guy that would have been eager to be involved with me at that point, to be part of the drama, would not have been a good long term partner. Anyway, you might surprise yourself and not care that he's moved on.
u know ex has always been nasty to me - but GREAT as a dad.
i just wished he'd find someone so he'd 'ignore' me.
well he has dated quite a few women but he still continues to be nasty to me.
It took me a long time to let go of the thought that he gets all of the fun and I get all the work. My ex was in a relationship within weeks of breaking up and he was living with his girlfriend a few months later. And, I was still pregnant with my daughter at the time. I was very resentful, as I felt I had given so much of myself, forgiven so many things, and had really wanted the relationship to work. It was shifting the focus on myself and what I wanted, and really examining what kept me so hooked to this relationship that was unhealthy and unfulfilling. By continually doing this inner reflection and having many realizations about myself, my past, my beliefs, and my self worth, I have been able to fully let go of the relationship with my ex (we had rocky on again, off again relationship for years).
Now, I feel good about myself and the life I am creating. I do not feel ready to date yet, but I know that when I do, any relationship that I enter into will be far healthier than the one I had, because of all the work I have done on myself. I am grateful for what I do have, and that I get to spend so much time with my kids.
Also, I used to make up all these assumptions about ex and his relationship with his girlfriend. When I was able to look at their relationship clearly, I was able to see that it was dysfunctional in many ways, and that I did not want what they had.