My wife of 18 years left our four children and me three years ago. I’m paying her generous spousal support payments (till she gets a job that supports her). She pays me a modest amount of child support, and has been defaulting.
I can’t afford to continue support payments and also take on a mortgage to buy her out of her 1/2 equity in the house. So the kids and I will lose our home, to ensure my ex is kept in a lifestyle she’s accustomed to.
I’ve paid her $100,000 to equalize other financial issues (pensions/investments/etc.); she’s spent it all on a new car and new everything, and gotten into serious debt.
After an initial year of rarely seeing the two youngest children, she now sees them regularly; and sees the elder two for an hour or so once a week.
I’m a good father, have solid friends and family. Yet I can’t move forward.
- Feeling Anxious
You’ve experienced an emotional wallop, so don’t be hard on yourself for finding it stressful. Get back to your lawyer and a financial advisor to discuss all possibilities for keeping your family home.
However, if you do have to downsize and move with the kids, do so positively. Sometimes a new location can be a kick-start for everyone to accept the situation rather than hang onto the past.
Also, with your wife re-connecting with all of the children, she too may want to have a place where they can visit comfortably, even stay over.
The law tries to be fair, so if there’s a way to satisfy both parties, your advisors should be able to find it.
Meantime, you need to rely on your support team of family and friends, to get out and start enjoying yourself.
I’m 26, recently graduated as a teacher and went overseas to teach English; I returned after only a week. This forced me to move in with my father, who stays in a basement apartment while my brother and sister-in-law occupy the upstairs portion of the house.
I quickly found a part-time job teaching adults. But my brother and his wife aren’t pleased that I’m here. They treat me like a teenager and have alienated my father.
I don’t want to step on their toes, nor make things worse for my dad.
Worse, I went overseas to make money, but couldn’t hack it. My father had to send me return fare.
I don’t pay rent, but I split the utilities and groceries with my family. I always thought I was strong and independent; now I doubt myself, feeling like a complete failure.
You’re handling a temporary setback perfectly normally. You found work, help pay expenses, and try to get along with everyone.
Look for another part-time job – you can offer tutoring services through a community centre, teach English to adults through other programs (try an ad in an ethnic newspaper). Also, apply to school boards so that you’re on lists for when they have openings.
Offer some help in the house when you’re there – e.g. help cook a meal for everyone. In time, your brother and sister-in-law will see that you’re responsible and trying to gain independence; OR, you’ll have the means to move out.
Note: Some instinct told you to return home. It may’ve been the place, the set-up or bad timing, emotionally. I predict you’ll discover you were wise to listen to your inner voice.
My upstairs neighbour shops and cooks for me when I’m working. He has dinner ready, he’s taped movies to watch, and then he goes home.
We never had sex as he’s not able.
He has a drinking problem, so we’d stop seeing each other for a week as he must be sober.
I finally ended it because, though he says he loves me, he never quits drinking. Sometimes I do miss him.
- What to Do?
Buy take-out from the deli and rent a movie on your way home; it’ll avoid the heartache of having a relationship with an alcoholic.
This was a convenient friendship, but you don’t mention loving him, and you had no passionate tie. I’m betting that if you find a real boyfriend, you’ll stop missing your neighbour.
However, you can be kind. Encourage him to go to an Alcoholics’ Anonymous meeting and hope he connects with the program.
Tip of the day:
Adjusting to the fallout of divorce takes time and a positive outlook, even about big changes.