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Divorce has felt like the breakdown of a family and now the FMH is going

S Updated
The FMH which I have been living in for the past 3 years has finally sold. I feel like it has been a symbol of our family life and with its demise, I feel the family structure goes with it. Well, I suppose the family structure broke down some time ago. My daughters are 22 and 20, both at university which is good and they return in the holidays. My younger daughter who lived with me for 18 months after the split goes to uni in the same town where my ex resides with the ow. The ex and I have a hostile relationship with virtually no communication. He has been much more confident with our daughters recently and took the elder one away in the Summer where they had a repeat style of holiday to the family ones we used to have. I feel as if my ex has tried to erase my very existence and erode the place I have in my girls' minds. It is not good for me when the girls see their father more because he seems to be so very vitriolic about me and of course, he buys them expensive presents and wines and dines them, modelling a much happier man because he has got away from me. When the girls are home with me, he sends them drunken messages warning them to get out and away from me before it's too late. The sad truth is that I don't feel like a good mother anymore. I have turned into the preoccupied, self-centred (it's all about me) person he tells them I am. Why is this? It's because I think I am on Maslow's lowest rung, fighting for shelter and survival and this is all I can think about. I watch my accounts like a hawk as I am trying to pay back divorce debt, this makes me very tight with the girls but one or two slip ups and bang the overdrafts (3 of them) are maxed out. I hunt down affordable properties and try to manage estate agents; I have cleaned and prepared the house 60 times for viewings; I look after the pets and walk the dog; I am self-employed and do all the bits required for that. I never go on holiday, I rarely go out (can't afford it). In this anxiety-ridden world I confess I am not a good mother. I am not good at listening anymore, find it hard to think about my daughters. I miss the old me where I could treat them, help and support them as my ex was out in the jungle. Now I'm out there and it has had its consequences. In many ways the FMH has been a brick mother, helping me out with its spacious rooms, garden and a bedroom each for the girls. It has been such a haven for me too, a welcoming place to come back to after exposing myself to the dangers of the outside world (well it can feel like that sometimes). As I have to let go of it and it's benevolent presence, it looks like I will be exchanging it for a flat with only 2 bedrooms, a galley kitchen (nicely done though), a cellar and garden. The ex is buying a family home with 3 bedrooms and large communal spaces. I fear for the family framework - how will it work in this new living space? I am sad that the girls will loose their brick mother which has stood firm over the turbulent years. In this there is at least some semblance of the past and its meaning. I used to love going home to see my parents in our family home throughout my twenties and my girls won't have this. I also feel sad about splitting our wealth and knowing that the OW will benefit from my ex's share. I would have so liked to have left it all to our daughters. It's funny isn't it how protective we are when are children are small. My ex and I were so conscientitious and ironically we could not protect them from the fall out of our divorce.

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reading this made me so sad for you.i am just managing to hang on to the family home after he forced me to buy him out,thanks mum for helping me out and he then took me to court for custody of my youngest boy.he has tried everything to make the older two hate me and i feel like you too that my head is so full of the stress of trying to make ends meet that i dont have time to listen t the kids and i am no longer the good mum i used to be.

but all we can do is the best we can and hope that the kids see how much we love them and that their home will always be their home no matter wether its a flat or a tent,

know that you are a good person who loves your kids and is always there for them.
i wish you all the luck in the world in your new house and stay strong.
sorry i have no wiser words for you.hugs
Stem I'm sorry to hear you have to leave the house that you love, but you will be able to make yourself a new place a haven, even if it might take a year or two to feel really settled and like it's home.
I think you are being tough on yourself, look at everything you are juggling and what you have achieved! Selling and moving is emotionally draining, expensive and time-consuming, even when it's totally your choice and not precipitated by divorce and financial necessity. Please don't start to believe what the ex says about you or worry that you are a bad mum- he has a serious problem with alcohol and needs someone else to blame. If he were truly happy would he need to demonise you and send drunken messages to your daughters? You're the better person here, fire up that indignation Stem!!
I can also relate to the unfairness of the ex and OW living in a large house and splurging on ostentatious cars and overseas trips but it bothers me less now as I have my own smaller place which he has never placed a foot inside. I wouldn't wish to be in their shoes for all the money in the world, and can truly say now I am glad OW came along and (almost) feel sorry for them.
Hi Stemginger

Your blog brought tears to my eyes, the devastation and destruction that divorce brings with it is all to evident in your words. The reality is you have to deal with the aftermath of divorce and circumstances being what they are for yourself means that you have had to adapt and cut your cloth accordingly. This does not equate to you being a bad mother. If your ex is able to take your daughters on holiday then that's ok but he is still drinking so whatever is happening in his life the drink is still very much a part of that. He can afford a holiday and a drink, what if he couldn't, what would come first then.

You are doing the best you can with what you've been handed. When my kids give me grief on how unfair their world is I just smile to myself and think one day they'll have 57 years worth of living under their belt and then they'll know all about fairness but right now all they've got is 20 years and that's all they've got. But you can hear the beginnings of life happening when the alarm goes off for work and you hear them saying " I wish I was back in school " :D

I love your analogy of brick mother, what a fantastic description. My brick mother is my savior and I will be forever grateful to her. I am truly sorry that you have to let her go, that must be very difficult. All I can hope for is that you find another house that will become your home. A place filled with love and peace for all those who dwell there.

I wish you warmth.

LG xXx

Your words will hold such resonance with many of us..
When my marriage broke up,I thought ...
'What if my girls love their Dad more than me?
What if they met Rent_a_bike,would they like her?
Of course they will want to take his side,he can buy them more?
And a multitude of others..I am a firm believer in not using the kids in divorce,and outwardly I presented this strong urging for them to stay in contact with their Dad,until one day it all came out.
My girls and myself are exceptionally close,and can talk about our feelings,so a conversation arose where I touched upon those thoughts.
The reply I had shocked me,but now I can see it..
"Man,he not only committed adultery to you,but us also,not only were you not enough,we weren't either"
So if there are any who have committed adultery reading this,take heed,I make no apologies,but you done it to your kids also.If you want out,do it respectfully.
Stem,your girls know you are the constant in their life,yes financially he maybe able to give them more,but you give them Yourself,and that's all they need.

Regarding your Brick Mother,I totally empathise,my home was my refuge,it held me tight when those tears flowed,it spoke when those darkest thoughts were present,and I can never think about leaving here.You will find a refuge in your new home,maybe smaller but full of love for yourself and your girls.

Stem,I felt I failed my girls,they are my greatest achievements,but it was not me who failed them it was him,they failed us.My girls are older than yours,but yours Will still identify with those thoughts.

This is your severance with the past,and a dawn on a new beginning,but this is your beginning as a strong and confidant Mam,who at some point will sit back and know that she done okay by her girls,whilst he may sit in his bigger house,but know that as a husband he failed,as a father he failed because of his disrespect to you...Something all adulterers need to think about!!!!

Cheers Stem,your going to be awesome
Cwtchs xx
Snap, Stem, and well put.

I'm lying in bed procrastinating: in an hour the removal men arrive and start packing and of course I'm not ready. And have been putting off looking at numbers for completion statements which terrifies me, as I anticipate a battle w X which cd jeopardise my purchase (20% price of FMH because X had already helped himself). Not to mention that I have not organised broadband etc at the other end (a week ago I had nowhere to go to).

And yet - excited. So I think what I would say to you is that, in spite of all the manifest injustice, the damage to us and our children and the stress of moving (even without all the divorce and family and financial issues which make everything a million times worse) it can be done, and in my experience at least so far, the reality is easier than we fear.

You're at the stage now of concrete loss - house definitely sold, your own future uncertain. Once you have your new place fixed it will seem better and you can plan- try to allow more than a week between exchange and completion (I failed).

It will be OK.
Hi Stemginger. Can relate to a lot of what you are saying. Leaving the fmh was a massive wrench for me and having to adjust to the reality of what I can afford to buy and changed financial situation is not easy. The one certainty I have, however, is that the marriage had to end. Like you youngest adult child now has a lot of contact with her father and as well as money being thrown at her many comments being voiced by her which I recognise as coming from his mouth. Trying to be objective I understand that young people can be self centred and indeed why should they have to deal with the fallout of divorce. The fact is a parent who treats them to meals, shopping trips etc can seem much more attractive than one who is worrying about how long they spend in shower due to concerns re water meter, who is constantly asking them to turn lights etc off when not in use as has sole responsibility for all bills with a much reduced income etc. It is hard, but as Mitchum,as wise as always says, they will, if they do not already, at some point realise what you went through and why you did what you are doing. I have to keep reminding myself that squabbles with my youngest who is living me would happen without divorce -it is completely normal - the difference is she will only show her anger towards me -not her father, which seems grossly unfair but that's the way it is. I know I have to be consistent. I can also relate to what you are saying about loss of family home and unit from young persons perspective. I sometimes feel guilty but again know there was no real option. Things will be ok Stemginger x
Oh my goodness, but you're giving yourself such a hard time. These feelings of loss when the home is sold are normal, we've all been there, truly we have. Beating ourselves up for 'allowing' our families to fall apart. You coped so well and put up with far too much for far too long. I know you're a strong person and a caring Mum who tried and tried to make things alright in her attempts to fix everything.

I broke my heart too leaving my old home but listen to granny - they are four walls. Yes, you loved that home, but you were holding onto it as a comfort blanket as you say yourself, your brick mother. What a lovely analogy. It wrapped around you and you felt safe there. But now you're facing this huge step into the abyss of your new life. Your new world. Your place where he has no influence - good. Let him wine and dine the girls, that comes easy. You are the one who's struggled to keep that particular roof over their heads.

We all go through times of feeling no one in the world loves us any longer, but that's not true. They're not taken in by his sudden concern about them. They know how it must feel to be replaced by a former friend. If not at the moment, when they're in a serious relationship themselves, it will become crystal clear why you were so devastated by what they did to you.

We're here and we're not going anywhere. Lean on us and remember we're wishing you a new kind of peace in your new home. It can become your new sanctuary.

You are a lovely, caring person and a brave woman. Make this new home a place the girls will want to come home to because their Mum is there. It's the love that makes home somewhere they'll want to come, not how big or small it is.