I'm male, 53, separated legally for a year after a 22-year marriage.
I have three daughters, two at university and one nine-year-old.
How to move forward with these issues?
1) My adult daughters have cut off all communications with me for the past four years.
I believe it comes from being brain-washed by my ex. It hurts me badly, knowing how much I put into raising them and the sacrifices that I made.
2) I get to see my youngest daughter four days a month, by verbal agreement (I’m not happy with this).
She expresses a lot of love towards me, but is also unhappy with the separation arrangement.
I'm afraid I’ll lose her once she becomes a teenager, due again to my ex.
3) I’ve had depression and anxiety for a long time, and acknowledge the role depression played in my marriage and my professional work.
For four years, I’ve been stuck in precarious work. Financially and emotionally, it’s ruining me.
How do I get the energy to seek decent employment? I'm hesitant to pursue a relationship and embarrassed to even mention my job.
Make efforts towards one change at a time.
Your daughter, age nine, needs to believe that you love her and intend to stay connected to her.
Gently explain (without badmouthing her mother) that the separation isn’t about her. And no matter what anyone else says, it doesn’t change the bond between you two.
Then see your doctor for help managing depression. Whether through medication, referral to therapy, fitness, nutrition, get proactive in re-gaining your energy and determination.
Seek a better job. You may need to find online career counselling or an upgrading course to boost your resume. Search for helpful web sites.
Don’t give up on your college-age daughters. Once they’re more independent and having their own serious relationships, they’ll be more open to looking at things differently.
Meanwhile, email them, send cards on special occasions, even if they don’t open them, your outreach sends a message.
Put “pursuing a relationship” on the back burner. A new woman in your life would likely upset your young daughter and confirm negative attitudes of your older ones.
As you work towards being positive and energetic, your children and potential employers alike will be more receptive.
And dating will happen naturally.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who questioned why his ex-wife attended his mother’s funeral (Feb. 27):
Reader – “I don't get why you immediately jumped to the conclusion that the ex-wife must’ve been after his inheritance money.
“I'm sure she attended out of respect, not as some backhanded way to weasel inheritance money from her ex-husband.
“What’s even odder is that the man’s still holding a grudge against her for attending his mother’s funeral six years ago.
“He should be advised to seek therapy to explore why he’s still so resentful of such an innocent gesture.”
Ellie – Just like you, I also wondered why his ex’s attendance would be considered such a negative act.
Also like you, I said it was just as odd that he’s still wondering about it six years later and could’ve asked her why in a return email to hers.
There was no leap to assumption.
However, as in most questions, the writer included clues, and this man seemed suspicious of his ex.
That’s why I asked about whether a potential share of inheritance was prompting his suspicions.
Money is a pretty frequent issue between ex’es, so I don’t find my asking him about it unusual.
Reader’s Commentary “Whenever someone has told me they were busy, I’d back-off and let them do what they have to do.
“However, I have a friend who’ll say "I know you’re busy but ....” and then asks for a favour, showing she doesn't get it that I’m busy.
“I even say why I’m busy – e.g. a demanding job, elderly parent, pet care. Yet another friend has said that I "make excuses."
“What do I say to these people? They’re nice and I don't want to offend.”
Well, you’ve vented here so maybe you don’t need to say anything.
The way I see it, you’re fortunate to have people who want your company, and fortunate also to have a full and busy life.
But if you often feel put upon by people’s requests, maybe you need some strategic responses like letting the phone go to message while you do what’s needed.
Tip of the day:
Handle post-separation issues in steps, especially if depression’s involved.