Divorced, jobless, need advice.
September 19, 2009 8:52 PM   Subscribe

Stuck in a rut. Help me find meaning, direction, and help me get back on my feet.

My husband cheated on me, and after months of trying to work it out, I left him, and moved back to the town where I grew up (2000 miles away from where I’ve lived for the last seven years), to be near my family. As the first one to get divorced, they don’t know what to do with me, or what to say, though they have tried to be supportive. They often leave me out of plans , because they think it will hurt my feelings to be invited, and even though I’ve explained it hurts more to be left out, they don’t seem to get it.
After our marriage ended and I was forced to move back home, I lost a lot of friends, and the handful of girlfriends I have left have small children, are married, and can rarely talk on the phone. We facebook.
I got laid off, so I get unemployment, but have been unemployed for months. I have been volunteering, taking classes, and taking care of my elderly grandmother, who has cancer.
I met a nice guy at the dog park, and even though I like him just fine, and he is a good person, there is no spark.
Luckily, I have a great dog companion, and a kitty has adopted us. I am never lonely at home. They are endlessly entertaining, and are wonderful company for the hour or two I sit on the couch at night.
I have no furniture, I have few clothes, I'm sleeping on an air mattress. I miss the house I carefully decorated, and the kitchen utensils I saved up for. I miss my stand mixer. I used to enjoy cooking, but don’t have the tools anymore, and don’t see the point in cooking for myself.
I'm broke. I don’t have a job. I don’t really have a boyfriend, but I'm okay with that. I miss having girlfriends. Its hard to not have coworkers at least. I'm thinking about trying internet dating. I just turned thirty. I spent my birthday with the dog.
Its nice not to have much junk; its nice not to have a bunch of near-meaningless material things. I was living in a mild climate, working a jeans-and-tshirt job. In the next few weeks, I'm going to need a winter coat, heavy boots, new tires, and hopefully I will need work clothes. I can shop at thrift stores. I don’t know how I will afford much. My husband has the savings account.
I feel lost. I need direction. I need motivation. I need to read books or watch videos about living frugally and surviving divorce. I used to have goals, but now I don’t see how I can accomplish them by myself; many are no longer applicable (have kids, vacation together, etc).
I went to therapy, but cant really afford it anymore, and didn’t get much out of it. I was hoping for feedback and inspiration, but all I got was a sympathetic ear (wow, your husband was an unbelievable jerk!). sympathy isn’t bad, but wasn’t what I needed.
Where should I look for inspiration? I need guidance. I need to get out of my rut. Please don’t tell me to just ‘get over it’; I get that from my well-meaning family members.
I need to conjure a job. I’ve actually been offered a few – and I accepted, right before they called me back to say the position had been cancelled by upper management. Its hard to even apply when I know the odds of my application even being looked at is so slim.
I have been successful before, but I don’t know how to be again.
I know part of this post is a pity party, but please ignore that. I really need help, and have tried to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and have tried to lean on family. Now I am here to humbly ask the meta advice.
Have you been through this? How did you get through it? Advice is appreciated, links to helpful books or websites included. Please keep in mind that I cant go out and buy a bunch of books.
posted by saragoodman3 to Work & Money (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
There is a huge difference between 'talk therapy' which it sounds like you had, and cognitive behaviour therapy, which it sounds like you didn't have. Look into it, even if it's only internet research and books from the library. It can make a huge difference.

I have been in your shoes, minus the divorce (i.e. back to hometown, no job, broke, living with parents) and it was hard. But you can get back into the game! Some things you might try:

- Large goals can seem overwhelming. Break it down into small tasks and then focus on one small task a day. You will feel a sense of accomplishment from taking action, even if it's only one thing such as calling two people about a job, or leaving the house to go for a walk with your dogs. Just focus on one thing at a time and it will have a cumulative effect.

- If you are serious about meeting people, you need to find a positive in your life that you can nurture and focus on. People can sense the energy you put out there, and if you are putting out mopey energy, you won't be able to nurture relationships as well. I am not going to tell you 'get over it' but see if you can find one oasis in your life (maybe a dog group?) that will give you something positive to talk about with other people.
posted by JoannaC at 9:20 PM on September 19, 2009

WHY are you left with no money, and none of your things after divorcing your husband for adultery? Are you truly divorced, or did you just leave him? If that's the case, the first thing to do is get a lawyer and get your stuff back! I'm shocked that your family hasn't said anything to you about this.

I would also like to suggest that being close to the family isn't really what you need right now. While it seems like the smart, healthy thing to do to retreat back into the tribe, it can make getting back on your feet tremendously difficult. Would your job prospects be better where you came from? Can you stay with a friend until you find a job? Dogs and cats are wonderful creatures, but after a blow like this, you really need your friends to be near.

Good luck, I really hope you can get your fair share of what you put into your marriage and that you use it to move back into the world.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:11 PM on September 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I've never been there myself, but I've certainly been depressed and felt like my life is in a rut. I have to fight that feeling off a lot. For some reason, my brain loves to tell me I'm in a rut. It told me that when I was a teenager living at home with my emotionally abusive father without the money to move out. It told me that when I had the money and did move out, it told me that when I quit my job that paid me that money because I needed to go to college and took out student loans. What kind of a loser has to borrow money? Repeat ad nauseum until today, when I'm married to a wonderful woman, financially secure, and working in what I can honestly, without bragging, say are the upper echelons of a demanding and prestigious career that I love. I get kudos daily from people who are household names. And I still, still feel the same as I did when I was working at Pizza Hut and sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a friend's apartment while I tried to graduate from high school.

I've gone over and over it in my head, and I know it's because my parents divorced, and from about 11-20, I lived in pretty ugly poverty while my mom and dad sorted things out. It shouldn't have been that way, but my family screwed it up. They ruined what should have been a stable middle-class childhood in an intellectual, liberal family. I should have spent my summers on the college campus my mom worked at, I should have been able to help my father rebuild cars in the garage, and I should have had all the books and computer time and extracurricular classes I wanted. I was raised to expect the future to be a certain way, and then it wasn't. I felt like I was deprived of a lot, and I spent most of my teens and early adulthood trying to gain back the ground I lost when my parents divorced. I would think to myself "Fine, you can divorce, but I won't be party to your personal crisis, I'm going to do better, I'm going to honorably extricate myself and find a better way to live my life, I won't make these mistakes."

I guess I did. But I'm not that old, and there's plenty of time to make those same mistakes yet, and I've made plenty of different mistakes. The impact and the fear of that inadequacy that wasn't my fault never goes away though, even as all along I've mostly done everything right. I'm a good husband, I'm a good translator, I'm a good organizer. I'm a good landlord. I'm a good friend. I'm good at saving the environment. I'm a good writer (if what I've published is any indicator). But I'm not okay. I don't feel like it. I'm still in a rut. I have to slap myself mentally a couple times a day when I start thinking about how shit I am.

You...what aren't you doing right? You're volunteering. You've got two pets that you love. You're probably a good daughter to your parents, and you were probably a good wife. Now, I imagine you maintain a respectful distance and try not to provoke fights with your ex. You're stuck in an economy going through the worst recession in 70 years. And I read in your profile that you're in California, which, if the news is anything to go by, is going to end up like Road Warrior before too long.

Don't you ever, ever discount the blunt force trauma of divorce and joblessness. If you underestimate that, you'll destroy yourself. It's been years since I was the grimy teenager just off work crying in my car in the parking lot, but I still feel like him. If it's guidance you want, I guess all I can offer is that I know you're reeling. Divorce hurts, and I've seen it happen. It hurts because of all the itinerant changes and deprivations that come after the fact. This sounds like sympathy, but the truth is, so long as you're waking up in the morning and doing good in the world, you're good enough. Hang on to that knowledge and let go of the desire for "direction" and "motivation", because when you're ready, they find you.

Here's another mote of wisdom: right now you're poor and lost, but think about all there is "out there". For the price of a plane ticket, I changed my entire life and perspective. I live in China and get to see and do and experience things most Americans only wish they could. You miss your old life; it's gone. Accept that it's departed, and while you can't have that one, there are other lives out there that are just as good, if not better. Search for a reinvention of yourself. If you can't succeed on your old terms, change your terms. The world bends to your satisfaction if you're willing to leave your old life behind and open yourself up to new ideas. There are other towns, and cities, and countries, and careers and fields and schools of thought that need people like you. My suggestion would be - go be an ESL teacher abroad for a year or two while you experience the broader world. You'll have no shortage of direction or motivation then! But that's just how I did it. Anything could work. Join the Peace Corps. The Red Cross. They'll pay for you to go, and pay for your time. I don't know; find something that works for you!

Good luck. You've just been through an earthquake, but you're alive, and that's a beautiful thing. If you can internalize that, you'll be ready to take the next step.
posted by saysthis at 10:40 PM on September 19, 2009 [13 favorites]

I know for me, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I focus on the one thing that really matters. Namely, taking a breath. I inhale then exhale, really taking my time to enjoy the experience. Once I'm done with my first breath, my demons often return. Before they can strike, I get back to work breathing.

Really, nothing else matters but just being with your breath. The whole world, everything out there, none of that is important. If you stop breathing you will die.

Sometimes, the many illusions of the world seem frightening. I often get so scared I find myself holding my breath.

Breathing is just too important. Inhale...exhale...inhale...exhale, let it all melt away. At the end of the day, its just you and your breath, and nothing else matters.
posted by satori_movement at 11:45 PM on September 19, 2009

What do you need most right now? I'm thinking that it's a job (if it's not, then substitute the [whatever] in place of the word job). So, do everything you can to find a job.

Its hard to even apply when I know the odds of my application even being looked at is so slim.

You don't know that the chances of your application being looked at are slim. You got turned down for a couple of jobs, and that's all. You're projecting. The rest of the potential jobs in the local economy are still an unknown quantity, which is good, because that means that you have plenty of reason to apply and try your hand.

Work up a CV, get it printed, and walk it round to anywhere and everywhere in town. If you don't have a printer, try your family or your local library. Then hot foot it round the town and hand it in to as many places as you possibly can. Also, network the people you meet. Explain that you're new in town, and do they know of any jobs? Doing this will give your brain something to focus on, which it sorely needs right now. It also has the added bonus of getting you closer to a job, which gives you money and independence.


Someone else mentioned CBT, and that's a really good suggestion. It sounds a bit scary (or it did to me, anyway), but it basically teaches you to think in more positive ways. I found the For Dummies book helpful. It really helped me, because it got me to give myself a more positive slant on a situation I was in. The beauty of it is that you can do it all by yourself. I never visited a therapist and still managed to benefit from it.


My husband cheated on me, and after months of trying to work it out, I left him

Good on you. You took a positive step, even if it doesn't feel like one right now. The next step is up to you, but I'd consider talking to a lawyer. Not to start divorce proceedings, unless you want t do that, but just for the opinion of an outsider who knows what they're talking about. Family aren't good at this sort of thing because they're emotionally invested in the situation. Divorce might or might not be an option for you, but talking to a lawyer will help clarify that position. If you have already divorced your husband (it sounds like you just separated), sack your current lawyer and get one who will help you get what you're entitled to from the marriage. Don't listen to advice from anyone who isn't actually a lawyer on this matter, because they very probably don't know what they're talking about.


Please don't feel that you need a man in your life. Wanting one is perfectly OK, but you don't need one. You can and survive the rest of your life without one. Right now you don't have one, and that's OK. You don't need a man to get a job, or walk your dog, or make friends, or whatever. You can do a lot of these things alone, and some of them are better done without someone else tagging along. You have a fabulous opportunity right now to spend some time with yourself and to get to know yourself better than you already do. That's a good thing, because you're very probably a good person.


Right now, it hurts. It will get better. You will heal. The important thing to do now is not wallow, which it doesn't seem like you're doing if you're trying therapy, and to recreate some structure in your life. As long as you keep taking steps towards creating something, rather than looking back on what was (but isn't any longer) you'll come through this just fine.
posted by Solomon at 12:01 AM on September 20, 2009

You sound depressed. There's something quite odd about your writing... almost as if it's computer generated.

Based on the content, and not the tone (depressed), it sounds like you are doing what anyone in your position would do, but that it hasn't "taken" yet. I'm not sure how long it takes to "take", but if anyone's advice here would be to fake it till you make it, keep on keeping on, or go through the motions, you'd be justified in claiming that chore done.

Forget for a minute that you've been cheated on, and you're just like a lot of 30-somethings (and 40-50-60-70 somethings), looking for meaningful uses for life and compatible people to help you get there. Looked at in that light, you've got a problem that's being endlessly discussed in therapy, books, and the internet 24/7 and one which should properly occupy the responsible adult mind: am I using this short life to optimal advantage for me and if not, how do I get there? In short, too large a question for metafilter, which is more suited to "how can I get my refrigerator to work?" kinds of queries.

I do want to say this: the tone I am collecting from your writing suggests that you might be more of a challenge for the people surrounding you than you think. If it's coming through in casual contacts, interviews and family relationships, don't expect things to improve until you regain common levels of optimism, energy, confidence, joy. Chemistry (drugs) and therapy may be absolutely demanded to get you to a place where you can do that. You just had a relationship death... a 7-year old that you loved died. You are in grief. Grieve, but focus on the 5 year time frame and slowly start moving towards the future you desire... little bit by little bit. You'll get there, presuming you live.

I hope you won't fall for the old technique of just finding another boy to fill the slot. You'll get distracted from the pain of grief and growth by the drunkenness of infatuation, and find yourself in the same position about 7 years hence if you do. It's critical to do a post mortem on the dead relationship and learn what killed it so you can do better in your next choice. (Hint: Why did you choose who you chose, and why did he choose you? Why did you keep on choosing him? How did you both fail to have a mutually satisfying and growth producing relationship? What criticisms have you heard from former mate and the world that should be given some serious consideration as true?)

Good luck with your search for meaning. Please share with the community if you find it, as it is apparently a very common quest.
posted by FauxScot at 4:34 AM on September 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hi there,

How about just going shopping for a coat today? Or go window shopping, and figure out which are the best stores for work clothes.

Optionally, you could call your Mom or your sister and invite her along (I suggest just going with one other person, not more than one). If neither is available, go by yourself.

If it turns out that it's too soon and there aren't coats in the thrift (or other) stores yet, then you can do whatever research you need to for the tires.
posted by amtho at 6:54 AM on September 20, 2009

Sounds like you've been through a lot, and now you're somewhat isolated and depressed. Been there, done that. Sucktastic, ain't it?

What you need is a plan. Here are some thoughts, pick one that appeals to you:

1. Check out any local resources for assistance.

- Grab a newspaper and see if there are ads for support groups. This will give you a place where your feelings are validated and you might make some friends.
- Call around to local charities, even a domestic violence center, to see if there is a place that donates clothing to women in transition for returning to work.
- Use the newspaper to scour for yard sales, I've gotten everything from designer dresses for $2 to a Le Creuset casserole for $10. Goodwill and the like often have cheap kitchen items. Goodwill also sells new mattresses cheaply, when you get into a position to buy one.
- Library: go there. Ask for books on coping with divorce and bring them home. Get some mindless books while you're at it.
- Freecycle: get on the local Freecycle mailing list and see if there are any offers for things you might need.
- Time Dollar or other bartering groups. Trade cooking lessons for a massage, dogsitting for a haircut, etc. You don't have to trade one-on-one, you can give an hour and trade it in for something you want or need. Bonus: you'll meet people!

2. It's not clear if your divorce is final, but even if it is, sounds like you have not sought out legal advice?

- Look up legal aid resources in your area or call the state bar assn and ask about a pro bono consultation. Realize that it's going to be difficult to regain assets when you're broke and 2,000 miles away, but, you may have rights to them and an attorney can at least tell you what's what. Also, if legal aid is backed up, you may have to wait a while for an appointment, but make one anyway. I've ditched stuff in the interest of getting the hell out of Dodge, and while it sucks, it's surprisingly easy to accumulate more crap once you get rolling again. Still, you may be entitled to not only stuff, but some cold hard cash in the splitting of marital assets and now is not a time to say you don't deserve it or it's too hard, etc. Make an appointment, and while you're waiting on that, focus on:

3. Income.

- While you continue to look for a job, see if you qualify for any state and local resources. Food stamps, church or local food banks, United Way, etc. Look under social services in the yellow pages or on your state govt.'s website. Yeah, a lot of programs are only for women with children, but lots of states and counties have different programs and it varies from county to county. You're only doing this to get by until you find a job. Lots of people are in the same boat, so if you feel bad about it, tell yourself it's only temporary.

- Think of ways to earn cash here and there while you are applying for a full-time job. Dog walking? Babysitting? House cleaning? Pick something you feel you can do and tell your family, tell the guy at the dog park (guys can be friends too, you aren't expected to have a boyfriend right after breaking up with your husband, sheesh), put up fliers, etc. Even if you only earn $20 a week walking someone's dog, you will feel TONS better doing something, anything. Also, if people see you have a plan, they will be willing to help.

I went to a therapist too, and I will give you some free advice: get moving - it's not the same as "get over it," it's hard, and you are probably gonna have waves of grief off and on for a while, but it will get better. You sound like you walk with the dog, and that's great! It was more than I was doing. I had to go to a therapist to have someone tell me to go walking every day. Sounds stupid, but when you're lost and alone and grieving, sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is all you can manage. The other best advice I got was: get some fire. Meaning, get a little angry, write down your thoughts and rip them up, sing "wash that man right outta my hair!" when you're in the shower, imagine it's his head when you're beating a rug outdoors.

Good luck! It's a tough hill to climb, and I hope some of these tips and resources help you get a little closer to the top. You will make it, trust me.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 8:10 AM on September 20, 2009

Honey-you are depressed and shell shocked. You are also wallowing (I can say this because I am the QUEEN of wallowing when I'm overwhelmed). One of the basic principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is to act "as if" you feel something when you don't. You act "as if" you are confident you'll get a job. You act "as if" you aren't still grieving your marriage. Another big issue with wallowing is that you have to, have to HAVE TO do something, anything to get yourself moving. If you aren't divorced yet, find an attorney and just ask what the next step would be. (I'm with the others who wonder why you have ended up without any of the financial and material things accrued during the marriage).

Get this book-you can get it used very cheaply on Amazon. Get a composition book and do the exercises every day. This can be your job until you get one-to be able to change your thinking. If you can figure a way to find a therapist, go to a different one. The right therapist can make a dramatic difference in your life. My therapist challenges me, she doesn't sympathize (unless it's warranted)-her job is to help me make the changes in my life that I want to make.

Memail me if you'd like to talk more-sometimes just pouring it all out to someone who's been there (and I have) helps you make sense of it all.
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:22 AM on September 20, 2009

Response by poster: Clarification:
I'm in the process of getting divorced. My husband has stalled and caused as many problems as he possibly can, and we’ve got another court date scheduled soon (who knows, it’ll probably get cancelled and rescheduled again). It’s not reasonable to ship material things halfway across the continent, so I have asked for cash to replace the things I left, and cash from our savings account. Who knows when or if I will ever get any money. He asked me to leave (so his girlfriend and her kid could move in), but didn’t let me take much, except dog stuff and my clothes and craft supplies. He was physically abusive, and much bigger than me, so I left in one piece, but without my stuff.
posted by saragoodman3 at 8:44 AM on September 20, 2009

There is lots of good advice above. It sounds as though you are doing a lot of the right things. You obviously have what it takes to be hired, if only jobs weren't disappearing. So hang in there and make the most of what you have.

Use your volunteering experience to get a steady "job" as a volunteer -- that will provide you with colleagues and help with the CV. It may also help to counteract the terrible drag you feel when you fill out your umpteenth job application -- it really is hard to keep going. If you can commit to helping the Girl Scouts, the adult leaders are a wonderful source of good friends guaranteed to come with helpful, generous attitudes.

Don't abandon all your dreams, readjust them. Choose a vacation spot for when you are back on your feet. What is it about the "have kids" bit that attracts you? There is plenty of time yet, but in the meantime can you have the fun parts with other people's children? Babysitting, helping family -- perhaps saying you will take the kids out while the parents spend quality time with your sick grandma, helping with outings for disabled people, volunteering at an animal shelter (OK, not actually kids, but loving).

And yes, Freecycle some more furniture to add comfort to your new home. It doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough to tide you over for a while.
posted by Idcoytco at 9:37 AM on September 20, 2009

He asked me to leave (so his girlfriend and her kid could move in), but didn’t let me take much, except dog stuff and my clothes and craft supplies. He was physically abusive, and much bigger than me, so I left in one piece, but without my stuff.
posted by saragoodman3 at 8:44 AM on September 20 [+] [!]

Was it a joint account what about now? Is there a way to access the account online? Set up a new one, transfer $, and boom, it's yours.

Seeing this is September 22 and this was 2 days ago, do you have bruises? If so, go to the police and get pics and a restraining order on him. Even if he doesn't have bruises, ask them their advice. He is the one who has to go, not you. Then grab as much as you can, including $/account and put it in a new account under your name only.

Is the house joint or only his?

I'm glad you're out of there. He sounds like a real "winner". For stalling in the divorce, my lawyer told me if he stalls and keeps refusing the divorce, the courts will say "well he's non participating" and immeidately give you that divorce AND your right to YOUR stuff.

Don't let him take advantage of you. The courts could care less if he's cheating (although it isn't going to look good). They do care about domestic violence--mental, physical, any type of abuse. Use EVERYTHING you can to tell the tale of his ways. Remember every incident, even if it's minor.

No one should be abused. Nail him to the wall. His abusive ways on paper (restraining order) will be a great present to give to his girlfriend with the kid. She needs to open her eyes that her stupidity will affect her kid too if he's an abusive jerk like you're describing.

What state/town are you in? Perhaps someone here can forward a job or a better lawyer referal.
posted by stormpooper at 1:18 PM on September 22, 2009

Stormpooper, I think the abuse happened several months ago, that's why she left and moved 2,000 miles away. It was either leave and take what she could, or be beaten some more. No, nobody should be abused, but when you're a woman who is being threatened, just leaving is a brave act. It's also typical of abusers to keep total control over the bank accounts so that the woman doesn't have the ability to leave or if she does, the ability to get back on her feet. This is a societal problem, not just an individual problem. Then continuing the abuse/control cycle through the court systems is also common.

For what it's worth, saragoodman3, I went through many similar emotions/situations after I left my abuser. Family told me to just get over it. Missing my old life, my home, my stuff, my cats (whom I couldn't take with me). People acting awkward around me and me, and me walking around in a daze, jumpy at weird things, depressed. Looking for friends and wondering if I should do internet dating, etc. In reality, I was suffering from the after effects of going through a long term traumatic experience. So consider that if you are feeling numb and depressed, you could have sort of PTSD stuff going on. It's also common, unfortunately, for some therapists to gloss over abuse and trauma and just affirm things, but you need help. What I found is that there is is a ton of help out there to help women leave an abuser, but not a lot after she's done so. Still, there are some state programs, depending on where you live.

Really, it's getting the patterns out of your head, which as mentioned above, CBT can help with, but it takes time, and surrounding yourself with people who support you and don't judge you (which is why I recommended finding a support group). The physical scars heal. The internal scars of being subjected to a constant mindfuck everyday take longer, and not too many people really get that. It took me a long time to feel comfortable wearing sweatpants, because my ex wouldn't "allow" me to wear them. And a list of other things I couldn't do that would cause most people to go "what?"

There is life after abuse, saragoodman3, memail me if you want to talk more.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:20 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

Marie, I understand your point. I misunderstood assuming that post time in relevance to leaving time.

As an aside, my mom took over 41 years of abuse from my dad and is still with him. She has terminal breast cancer and is still putting up with his shit. Trust me, I get the cycle. I was not exempt in marrying the best either. I'm doing way better than my mom but it baffles some at the crap I put up with. You reap what you see and are used to.

I really hope everyone, including sarahgoodman3, can live a happy, productive, and no more abuse life.
posted by stormpooper at 12:44 PM on September 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you for mentioning 'being jumpy at weird things'!
I had a total panic attack when I came home today.
Someone was sitting in their car outside my apt - it looked like my husband.
Long story short, it was just my neighbor talking on the phone, on a hands free device - my FEMALE neighbor, who I have seen at least every other day for the last seven months.
I wish I had photos, I wish I had told someone, but I didnt. I didnt want anything to think anything bad about HIM!!! If you can believe it.
posted by saragoodman3 at 6:27 PM on September 23, 2009

I've been there.

And all comments about the ex aside - we have only gotten one side of the story, so let's focus on the you, and not the you guys.

There is a period, where you go through what you are going through. It is normal. The emotional separation is painful - the process of separating, of tearing yourself apart from the previous relationship, good or bad, is not easy, no matter how much we try. The financial/legal stuff is so difficult too. It's a control point for the other spouse, and just reminds us how much we want out, and how "stupid" we were for staying in.

I can remember my exwife soaking in the tub, arrogantly demanding $130k as "payment" for 13 years of childcare and "services rendered". Then all the niggling over "stuff". It was difficult. And it will be. I am sorry you have to go through this. Try to separate the two. The legal stuff is business, the emotional stuff takes priority, for how you heal there will set the stage for your life going forward.

This is a period of change and transition for you, and no transition is easy.

The big question is, what do you want? Where do you want your life to be? How do you see yourself in a year? Two years?

Seek out cognitive therapy. Embrace your quiet time. It can tear you apart, but sit in a recliner, close your eyes, and just listen to yourself.

Everything takes time.

As for your family, realize that they love you, and don't want to cause you distress, even though they are. It is unintentional. Divorce is never solely about the couple, but the family too - your parents ache for you. They just don't know how to deal with it. Give them some patience, and know that in time, as they become more comfortable with the situation, and how you are handling it, that things will normalize. Know that they only want the best for you, and that they love you very much.

Take care.
posted by burhan at 10:45 AM on September 28, 2009

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