E's picture

No Life After Divorce

I've been divorced for almost 3 years.  I am the custodial parent of a 15 year old girl.  The other daughter is grown and gone.

My marriage consisted of taking care of the children, taking care of the house, taking care of him (he was gone a lot in the military).  Our friends were his friends.  We saw his family - hardly ever saw mine. When I got around my brother I was told I talk too much!  I was also emotionally abused - told I wasn't worth anything and I could leave anytime I wanted.

Thank goodness I had the courage to leave after 19 years and start over.

I am finding that although I live in another state now I am still being controlled by my ex.  He told my daughter's old counselor he was stalking me (and the counselor made no comment about that)!  He wants to know what I do with the child support (which he has been spotty at best in paying).  I am expected to have no life - no friends, no boyfriend, no nothing - if I do than I am being a bad mother for not spending every waking moment I have either at work or with the 15 year old.

I am tired of having no relationships with normal adults.  Of course I see adults at work - but that's work.  I am tired of sitting around every evening in front of the TV, watching my 15 year old get older, knowing that one day she will be gone and I'll be an old lady and all alone.  By that time I'll probably be so emotionally/socially stunted by lack of meaningful conversation that I'll be about as interesting as a tree.

I had one girlfriend for a short time after the divorce, but if I left my then 13 year old at home while I went to see her, I got accused of all kinds of nasty things.

Anyone else been through this?

It seems like I've never been good enough, and I can't be good enough no matter how hard I try.  I make a middle income class living for my daughter - more than my mom did for her kids after her divorce when I was seven.

Isn't putting a roof over the kids head, making sure they got food, medical, dental, and spending 7 nights a week and all weekend with the kids enough?  What am I supposed to become - a professional child psychologist?

And, yes, I pay for my daughter to fly to see her dad several times a year at my own expense so as not to alienate her from her father.  He knows my cell and home number and can call anytime he likes.

SnglDad's picture

You say you finally got the courage up to leave the marriage, but you have only left in a physical sense. As you said, he still controls you. Though he may be your ex-husband, and the father of your daughter, you no longer have to answer to him. You have broken the relationship legally, and emotionally, but it seems that the hardest one is the psychological grip he has on you. After 19 years of living this way it’s understandable that your having a hard time breaking this unhealthy cycle. Other than where your daughter is concerned, your ex has no right to ask you about your life. You have the right to go out and have fun with friends. You have the right to pursue a new relationship. You have the right to tell him that what you do is none of his business.

If he is truly stalking you I would file a restraining order. Your ex has as much say over your life as he does over mine. It is time to empower yourself to start living again. At the end of the day if you feel you have been a good parent, that’s what matters. I would stop discussing anything with him except for your daughter. If your daughter wants to stay the night at a friends, that is a perfect time for you to go out and have some adult time. We only have one chance to live a good life, don’t waste another day of it. If he is miserable, let him be miserable alone. You not only have a duty to take care of and provide for your daughter, you also have to take care of yourself. When my kids are at their mothers I am usually out doing something. One of the problems of ending a long relationship is we forget who we were. We forget what interests we had, and sometimes we forget what a fun person we used to be. It’s time to find that person and quit worrying about what he thinks.

E's picture

Thank you SnglDad.  One of the reasons I left the state was to get away from him in my daily life and his stalking.  I looked into a restraining order long before I left and could not file it because there had been no physical confrontations.

You are right - my ex still has control over me.  I think he's using the daughter as his implement of control.

It wasn't enough that I had recorded him threatening to snatch the daughter and leaving I don't know how many messages about how "wrong" I am in so many ways.

I so long to have a girl buddy I can talk to.  And, after a long and non-sexual marriage, I want to find a guy - a guy I can talk to, watch tv with, have a cold beer with - have a companion like a normal woman.

I even put myself in counseling for several months (my boss was kind enough to let me go during work hours wtih pay) and that counselor told me to take 3 or 4 hours a week (one night a week) just for me.  But then I got accused of hanging out in bars.....

It seems, as a culture, women are never young enough, never pretty enough, never skinny enough.  And now that I left this controlling-you-know-what, it seems like I can't break the invisible chains he had on me for so long and continues to have.

Heck, I think I'll jump in the car tonight and go see a movie -by MYSELF!!

gail's picture

One of my dearest friends is in a similar situation (2 kids still at home).  I see her so worn down with care. 

   so I tell her jokes, because at least she can laugh.  Here's the latest one.  I was talking to my husband, he's been working for the same company for 30 years, and it has been sold for larger and larger amounts to bigger and bigger companies, so I said "I guess you are a real asset!"  And my 16 year old son said "Oh, isn't that a girl one?"  (drum major, majorette) 

  It sounds like maybe your ex is an asset, too.

I really admire what you are doing.  A lot of parents think that they would give up their own lives for their kids, but some of you really have to.  I know it doesn't help, but I think what you are doing is amazing. 

Hang in there!


gail's picture

Another funny story

  I was doing the crossword this morning.  52 down, three letters, starts with "E".  Clue is  "a poached item."

  I'm thinking, "Deer doesn't fit,  venison, moose, ELK.  It's ELK."

No, it's "egg."

gail's picture

My neighbor's crossword story.  Three letters, starts with M.  clue is "cleans up sticky messes."   She put MOM.   No, it's mop.


  A penny saved -- is not enough for a down-payment.  A penny saved -- will not get you to Rio.  A penny saved is -- better than nothing, but only 1 cent better. A penny saved -- is not a good reason to do your taxes over.  Find a penny, pick it up, that's one less deep knee bend you have to do in your workout.  Find a penny, (music up) just walk on  by yy yy yy, walk on by . . . walk on by . . .

lovemoms's picture

If you don't make time for yourself, you willl be put into depression. I suggest that you find a good bible believing chuch and make relationships with them. Pray that God will deal with your ex's heart that he would work with you not offend you. I hope everything works out.

tamz's picture

E - Stop trying to be "good enough" in your ex husbands eyes and start being good enough in your own eyes. You will never be good enough in his eyes anyway. My ex husband controled me just as you have described and I too divorced him. I have been divorced for 12 years now. Take the advice that has been given to you and stop answering to him. Feel fee to say "I'm not having this conversation with you." You will help your daughter become independent and strong by modeling your own independence. She would enjoy hearing about your outing with a friend and she would admire that you have places to go and people to see. I have made friends in some unlikely places. I met one of my best friends on public trasportation. If you don't have any friends just yet, take a class at the rec center. You are divorced and independent you answer only to yourself!

vbaker's picture

and had hoped that by moving on myself he would be forced to also.....apparently not the way it works at all, so am seeing a solicitor on the 14th May, not what i wanted but overall for the best.....sometimes it pays not to feel guilty about having divorced someone as the reasons were fair at the time i guess.....and start looking at the effect it has on your own mind and that of your kids aye......and totally agree with what your saying too i work, am the only provider, have a home to pay for, activities to get them to, but at the end of the day it is human nature to crave emotion from a male....and i for one would enjoy that now....it is hard though as it is trying to fit it all in and find a healthy balance for all concerned....my ex hasn't paid a penny for over a year and in England we have the CSA which by all accounts isn't a lot of cop lol.....still it is a question of sink or swim sometimes isn't it