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Battling to build a purposeful life

S Updated
My post-divorced life has not brought brilliant revelations and sometimes I feel as if I'm disappearing. I feel a horrible ennui about the life I lead now: kids away at uni, no money, (it's down to soups), grinding repetition each day and a final hearing in 4 weeks time. I seem to have developed a bad habit of blaming my woes on my ex but he really can't be responsible for everything that goes wrong in my life. Luckily I have an in-built robot that keeps me going through the necessary motions of life but sometimes I long to just throw the towel in (stop trying). Problem is, nobody much would care if I did that - it would only hurt me. No rescuers will gallop over the hills and I know I have to do this myself. I am feeling stripped down to the core of me at the moment, that's where I've found the robot (I think that comes from swimming training every day when I was a teenager) but although I'm good at surviving, I can't seem to rise from the ashes like the Phoenix (my ex who is very good at rebuilding). I know my age (52) will limit me in career and I have been applying for jobs. In truth a full time job would really help right now. I work part-time and that dove-tailed in beautifully with the family but alas they are gone so now what? I do have phantasies that centre around things that go fast - buying a motorbike, joining a Hell's Angel Church or buying a boat and sailing the seas. I also spend a lot of time ruminating about my ex and my old friend who are now together. Unfortunately I see them in a sunlit haven. I try many ways to stop this - I ping an elastic band round my wrist to snap me out of it, for example. One thing I can be sure of is that he won't be thinking about me right now. I can't bear looking at old photos and we accumulated a lot over 20 years. It's strange being the only one left in the fmh, surrounded by so many memories. I fight against Miss Haversham but really I have continued my life in the same way as before. I just haven't known how to change it as I don't have that confidence to join groups and meet new people. I only like being with old friends, perhaps because I can glimpse a reflection of the old me in their eyes. Perhaps selling the fmh next year will be good for me as it will force change. I am preparing - ousting instead of nesting. Today I separated our CDs - mine stayed on the shelves and his (almost the bin) are now taped up in a cardboard box. That felt good.

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Dear Stemginger

Isn't it strange how we come across so differently to others compared with how we feel inside? (Funnily enough I have already had this conversation this weekend - but we were talking about me!)

OK - first things first. I would sure as hell care - so just don't go there......I have met you once and feel I know you better than that would indicate becasue of your very insightful blogs.....and hey - you were brave enough to come and meet me in the gateway to the highlands....now that wasn't so bad was it? (and we'll do it again, if you have time, next time you are up.)

Now this is a bit of a waffle but nobody would know you are full of fear and doubt - except wikis who would not expect anything different at a stage when you have your final hearing, empty nest syndrome (wow that hit me), and perhaps, dare I say it the menopause (men you have no idea - for me it just adds to feeling of last years youth).

So two things - one - give yourself a break - this is a very stressful stage of life....it is ok to feel blue and sad. Let it be (thanks Paul and John!). And the going over and over in your head - I am not sure you can stop it - at times you have to allow it until that damn head and heart says enough of that damn looped film - what next girl.

Two - of all the people in all the world that you know, whose life is perfect? No illness, no elderly parents, difficult children, grief, employment fears etc. I know hadly anyone like that. So I doubt our ex's life and their harlots lives are perfect either. So ' hell mend them'!

You have huge hurdles with moving and final hearing. This year will be hard - allow for that - forgive yourself as you would forgive others (wow who knew that was still in there - that's primary school doctrine for you!) your grief. It takes the time it takes.

And just see how valued you are on wiki. I am sure you are in the 'real world' too. You seem like a 'giver' to me. Save a little compassion and time for yourself.

My hugs are added here too. :)
SF
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Hi Stemginger

I'm joining the que to give you another hug.

I can identify with you and understand how you feel that your life is somehow flat. The struggles that I have with my self about stepping out of a zone that incidentally isn't even comfortable, but it is what I'm left with is hard. The thing that I have learned is that any significant change that happens after they have left is somehow harder to deal with. Your kids leaving for uni is a significant change and I'm not surprised that you find yourself thinking about the your stbx, going down memory pain lane, picture gazing, it all makes sense. If you were reading this blog as if it was someone's else's what advice would you give. Would you say back those memories up and put them out of arms reach until the time arrives when you can look at them without them lashing at your heart. I have a drawer in my bedroom which contains photos of me and stbx from our frequent Paris trips. I didn't dare look at them and totally ignored the urge to when it was at its peak. I know that voice in my head isn't mine. It's there to destroy me. Recently I have made massive leaps with letting go of my marriage and I know longer see it the same. I am sat next to the drawer at the moment and I have zilch urge to look at the photos. I know if I did it wouldn't hurt, somehow the voice in my head is absent, interesting !!

The saying that Shoes said to me " no matter where he goes, there he is " helped me in a way that I will be forever thankful. It put so much into perspective for me and was very much a starting block for my recovery. I don't think about him or her in any kind of haven because I know him and know his limitations. The next leg of my journey was to understand my own limitations. The same rule apples " no matter where I go, there I am"' learning to sit still with myself is hard and requires a huge amount of self discipline, believe me it is so easy to retreat into nothingness but the wrestling inside myself doesn't go away and without finding the answer to "what am I doing with my life " it probably never will.
When I was reading your blog and read your wish list of things you would like to do, I smiled, that's a good list and what struck me is how different it was to the usual list like join the gym, join a club, sell yourself on a dating site etc etc. I'm somewhat disalousioned with life's offerings and desperate to look beyond the usual bingo hall, bowling alley and pizza parlours. But with my confidence not at its best and a fear of the unknown I remain a prisoner in my own walls so I totally understand where you are at right now but I know that these changes take time, they can't be rushed because as you say we have been stripped to the core. We are raw with every nerve ending exposed. Our judgements arent truly aligned yet and letting go of something that was wrenched away from us takes time. Acceptance, grieving and learning about who we are now takes some doing. You write with such honesty and anyone who can see the truth like you do, including the ugliness of it all will I believe find the stillness that is needed to start to grow. I'm only a few stepping stones ahead of you but not so far in front that I can't see you if look over my shoulder.

Take care Stemginger

LG xXx
L
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Hi have you had any counselling ? It helped me a lot. Also, have you thought about using your spare time volunteering ? I bet there is something you could offer, it would give you a new activity and something else to put on your CV, I volunteer with scouts, we are always desperate for new leaders, helpers, behind the scenes people as are most charities.
X
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Hugs from me too Stemginger - it is such hard and lonely work rebuilding a life, and very painful to keep dwelling on your ex and former friend, and yet so hard to stop it. I used to berate myself for ruminating, as though it wasn't miserable enough stewing over memories and conversations. I imagine living in the same home will be a big factor. I have no reminders of my ex in my new place, which helps.
I've also had to struggle with that non-comforting concept of there being no emotional rescue squad coming to save you, and that friends and family do eventually want you to perk up (though my separated friends or wives who have endured affairs don't mind the odd rant still)
I've heard other single people having great success with meet up groups, just for making new friends and getting out and about. I've tried a running group which was just a few dollars per run for morning tea and was really pleasantly surprised by how actively they welcomed newcomers. What do you have in your local area that you could try? xxxx
V
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Thank you my lovely wikis for empathy, advice and hugs. It has helped. It is good to know that I am not alone and that you all get how I feel as it can be hard to verbalize. I know that if I were to be whisked into a new life that I would be ok, it's building the bridge there against the setbacks that are difficult. Loosing my father 21 months ago suddenly has not helped as he was a great one for cheerful rehabilitation and I miss him. I suppose that is what is needed here, adaption and rehabilitation. I would love to come to the wiki meet but my sister is coming down that weekend.
I do feel more motivated to push myself out there thanks to your kind words. I have changed the feel of the fmh this weekend and made it more mine. Should have done that ages ago but I suppose didn't as my younger daughter would have been upset. I want to try and create a happier life for myself both for me and to be more attractive to my daughters/ friends. I think there is some compassion fatigue now and a sense that I should be over it all now just as my ex is. I have read that book Nicwin Fear of Flying years ago but will reread as it is my fear now that is holding me back.




S
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I've said this a few times to people on here but have you read the book feel the fear and do it anyway? It's a fantastic book and has helped me huge amount. I'm going to sound harsh but yes it is really hard going out and meeting new people but you have to do it to move on and get out of this hole. The first time is hard, the second abit easier the third time... Well you get my drift. Try the website meetup for local clubs such as walking groups art groups etc. you name it it's on there, and for usually a very small amount of money memberships are usually about £3 a year!! You could possibly make some great friends and have something's to look forward to. I'm not a confident person, walking into a room of strangers was very hard however I have made some great friends and rekindled a love for art which has now led to me having new goals in my life, go for it, feel the fear and do it anyway!
N
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I completely get how you feel.

My thoughts,based on my experience...

Being in the fmh probably doesn't help right now, try and make it your space as much as you can.

Its all to easy to dwell on how 'happy' the ex and his floosie are, but we have to try and train ourselves out of it. Some do it by going cold turkey, others of us take our time. If you've been together for a long time then you just can't switch off overnight, it takes a lot of concentration, hard work and practice.

Right now you have to concentrate on the positives however small they are, over time they build up.

Right now a positive is that you are functioning, the fact that functioning has now become boring is immense, think back to how you were at the start.

Try and concentrate on the positives, it helps. There are no shortcuts in this journey but if you keep trying you will get to a place where you feel good.

Dees ((()))
D
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Maybe think of it the other way round. It's him who is redundant. Joining groups and meeting new people is hard - but it is a skill you can learn with practice. Those of us who are left all struggle with the sense of rejection but I firmly believe that we end up in a far better place than the leavers, because they are deluded and we are not.
P
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And I will send one too. Also similar position, left after 23 years at the start of the year and I'm 55 so can totally relate, in fact I thought that I could have written your blog. So you're not alone, far from it. Your children care about you and I'm sure your family and friends do. It still leaves that gap I know. I do try not to think of stbx and his OW together, but it's not easy. I think we have to find happiness by focussing on positives, even little things like being able to text late at night. Oh, and no snoring etc. I am going to get a dog to get some unconditional love. It's probably silly as I also have to move but it feels like what I want to do. Are you near enough to make the Dartford meet next weekend? X
B
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hard isnt it.I am same age as ou and married for similar amount of time.I have started to look at new hobbies as some thing to liven things up.I hope when the home is sold you will be able to see it as a fresh start and it may give you a new burst of enthusiasm.I know I felt better once my home was sold,and i moved into a new place and was able to ge things as I like.Try not tothink too much what they are up to, as it helps also.Just think on neither can totally trust each other due to the way they got together she must be very insecure and that must be bad.My daughter has left home and at uni now my son is showing more signs of being independant,it makes you feel a bit redundant doesnt it.I am hoping once we move for the last time I can concentrate on myself and making myself feel better,keeping busy also has helped me.sending a hug cos I know thats what you need when you feel like this.
T