I got pregnant at 21 before finishing university, with a man I hardly knew, in a city where I had no friends or family.
We decided to make the best of it, but after more than seven years and two children, I’m done. We’ve been living separately in the same house for three years, but it’s taken a toll on my mental health.
I’d like to move closer to my family (two-plus hours away) but am worried about how I’ll support myself, and how to arrange custody.
He refuses anything less than 50% custody, but currently only sees the children for an hour a day. I have all the responsibility for their care, so I don’t think 50-50 custody would be best for the kids.
The obstacles facing me feel so overwhelming that I’m having trouble getting my life in order. I have no education, no job, and a vindictive ex. The only bright spot is my children, and I worry if I leave, I’ll lose them as well.
You’ll find solutions if you don’t panic, do keep your mind directed towards what’s in the children’s best interests, and seek professional guidance through community-supported programs.
Start with legal aid and/or a family court clinic in your jurisdiction. Learn your legal rights and responsibilities (and those of your ex) in a common-law split involving children.
If he’s supported you and the kids until now, he’ll have financial obligations towards them, and possibly towards you too, until you’re working.
Look for community agency programs (e.g. check the YWCA) that may provide free job searches and training, and counselling help.
Try to rise above his vindictive reaction and, so long as he’s never abused or neglected them, understand that they’ll still want and need their father in their lives.
A family court clinic may offer mediation or children’s advocacy to help you with this.
Be open with your family and ask for any short-term help they can manage… contacts for a job, or counselling help, or just their support. Two hours is not that far when there’s a strong need.
You’re still young and have enough smarts to land on your feet with an entry job that hopefully sets you on a path to taking courses and upgrading.
My once-strong daughter has allowed herself to be controlled by her husband. It seems that what bonds them best is negative feelings about her parents. She doesn’t let us see our grandchildren on our own, lest we “influence” them.
We’re a well-respected family, have never harmed our kids physically. Our two sons believe our “influence” would never be negative or worry them.
Our daughter only calls now if she needs something. If a visit’s ever necessary (to get what she wanted) we’re not given a moment alone with the children - one or both parents is always present.
We fear that our daughter’s in some trouble we can’t help her resolve, since she goes along with all her husband’s negative thinking about us.
Heartsick and Worried
Stay connected so that you’ll sense if a crisis is looming. Also, use any opportunity to see the children.
Talk directly to them in front of their parents. Show interest in their school, sports, music, friends, etc. Be natural and loving, with no pressure.
If you get a chance for a private moment with your daughter, tell her she’ll always have your support when it’s most needed. But don’t press her with questions lest she withdraw.
I think I chose the wrong school. Why? Because the students (mostly) have not a good attitude. I learned this when I started at this school.
What should I do to keep enjoying studying in that school? Thanks for any solution and sorry, my English is so bad.
As a new student there, and likely you’re also new to the country, it’s natural for you to need help adjusting. There are teachers or other staff people there, and in the community, who can help you with this.
Ask at the office if there is a school advisor you could see. Say that you want to enjoy studying, you’re eager to learn the language better, and do well, but you need some help.
Also, ask if there are after-school English as a Second Language classes provided there or in your community. These will boost your confidence at school among other students and with the subjects you’re learning.
Tip of the day:
Never give up on yourself, especially when children are depending on you.