26 years together and now we have grown apart! How do I learn to be a single mum!

Louise - posted on 04/03/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )




After 26 years my husband has decided to walk away. We have been together since I was 15 and married for 21 years. How do I learn to cope without him?

Any English mums out there with any advice on what benefits I am entitled to and how I go about getting them?

So much has got to change, I have to find a nursery, find a job, and a place to stay for me and my children. God help me I don't know where to start!


Katherine - posted on 04/03/2011




Louise! The giver of the best advice! I am so sorry. I don't know how it works there but here we get palimony, you should be entitled to that and of course child support.

He kicked you out? He can't do that legally. There are shelters to go to. You are entitled to half of everything here. So normally the husband gives the house to the mother and kids.

Getting a place to stay is first. Get on government assistance right away. Go to your church, if you have one. The job will have to wait for a minute.

Amber - posted on 04/06/2011




Louse, while you can't force somebody to physically love you, you can find that spark again. That was one of Chad and I's biggest issue. We loved each other and were very respectful and open, but the fire had died.

That's how going back to the basics played in. At first, we just hung out and talked. We tried to remember all of those old times.
Once we started feeling better and remembering those things, we just decided to go for it and see what happened. The first few times were a bit awkward. But we had said we would try for a month before we gave up. So, we kept trying. And after the initial awkwardness, things started to change. We started to want each other again. It stopped being a scheduled-let's get to it- kind of thing, and a naturally desired thing. It was baby steps to get there, but with every small step the confidence grew and so did the feelings.

It was a combination of working on both the emotional and the physical at the same time that made the change for us. I don't know if that would work for you, but it did for us.

Lori - posted on 04/07/2011




Louise.. when was the last time you guys had a date night? A date night is you call him up at work, ask him out, you get dressed and put on makeup and do your hair. You go out and not talk about the kids, the bills, problems at home - those topics are forbidden.

The first time you do this you may not talk about anything at all cause it has been so long you won't know what to talk about.. lol

Think back what gave you that spark when you started dating? What gave you butterflies? What did you guys like to do? Start there.. I know interests have changed in 26 years but find the old spark and new sparks will follow.

But you must have a night where you guys concentrate on each other and not all the mundane crap at home. It doesn't have to cost you a dime.. take a walk in a park, get a nice cup of coffee, take a ride on the tube if you are close to London. Go for a walk in a garden they should be all a bloom right now.

Go get your hair done, buy a new outfit, put on some makeup.. Doing this little stuff for you will make you feel better and will also get his attention.

I'll tell you what the first time I did this, it had been so long since I put on makeup I looked like a circus clown.. lol But it does come back to you... :)

Brenna - posted on 04/06/2011




Hi Louise, Are you both sure you want to separate or are you just thinking that is the next logical step. If you are both unsure maybe you need to do something to rekindle that spark. We get comfortable in long relationship. We forget what it was like to kick up our heels and do something spontaneous. Maybe a spur of the moment trip, or dancing lessons, a wine tour or joining cooking classes together. Something to mix up the same old how was your day, what’s on TV questions people fall into. Take charge of your life and live again! If you decide that you do want to split then getting away from each other is the best thing for a new start. Too many memories and old routines to make moving on possible in the same house… Good luck I’ll be thinking of you!


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Susan - posted on 04/07/2011




Been ther done that it's a hard place to be. looking back don't know how I lived throw it. Focus on taking care of the kids and your self. Don’t forget about fun. Force your self to laugh some times. Hang on you well love life again I promise.

Kimber - posted on 04/07/2011




Louise, iam sooo sorry just like everone else has said to you. I do have a question for ya though? You said that you,and your hubby have just grown apart right? Well when did you first start to notice a change in your marriage? I to have been with my husband since i was 18 well we were both 18 when we met each other,and we have been married for 11 years this May. And we have 2 young boys. I understand how you say that he is your best friend. I so wish that i had some great advise to help you threw all of this,but iam sorry i don't have! Iam also a sahm,and the thoughts of haveing to do what you are haveing to do after all of this years together is very scary to me,as iam so sure it is for you too! I worry about me,and my husband growning apart too,so that is why i asked you when did you first notice a diffrents between the 2 of you! You! All of my good wishes for you,and your kids while yall go threw this hard,hard time. Just keep hanging in there,and i know it may not feel like it now,but it will get better for you,and your kids!!! Hugs to you!

Pamela - posted on 04/06/2011




Benefits - To start with, you are entitled to social security payments from his account, as long as you were legally married for 10 years or more, so I hope you have your marriage certificate and divorce decree to prove it. That will ease some of the financial stress. Look up the 1-800 number for the Social Security office and contact them to apply, which you can do over the phone.
I do not know where you live, bu if it is in the US there are a number of programs to help single parents. Call Catholic Charities in the city where you live. You don' have to be Catholic and there is no obligation whatsoever. They have many programs to help with housing, etc.
PLEASE do no be ashamed to accept help from charitable groups.....that's why they exist and accepting help from them doesn't or at least it SHOULDN'T reflect poorly on you as long as you don't put yourself down.

My ex left me in the middle of the night while I was sleeping and took the kids. That was before the parent kidnapping protection existed, as it does now. That was the beginning of a very nasty divorce. Twenty-four years later he still has issues and I have moved on with my life. I was devastated for about 3 years and had self-esteem issues. I still find myself having to deal with residual stuff when it comes up, but I have certainly moved passed the fact that I felt like I was "a failure". In fact, I now realize that he doesn't seem to have grown much at all and he is dealing with one of the world's worst naggers (the woman he left me for)....so I feel he got exactly what he deserves!

Even though that doesn't sound nice, it is my true feeling. To me it is one of those...."what goes around comes around" stories..
Most of all Louise, start learning to love yourself, one of the most difficult things for many of us to do!
Last, but never least....PRAY continuously. It may feel that it takes a long time for the healing, but if you are persistent with learning to love yourself....just as you are
it will continue to improve.
Blessings to you and your children as you adjust to newness and change. May the sun shine on your face, and the wind be at your back!

Lori - posted on 04/06/2011




Louise I just saw your post to Mandie.. Go to Michele's webpage http://www.divorcebusting.com/ She has some free resources.. you can get a used copy of her book on Amazon. I honestly think this book could help you put it back together.

I had the same problem my DH snores horribly. So I totally understand where you are. With us there was another woman butting in but it had not gone to the relationship stage yet. "They were still just friends" but it could have easily escalated. If you think there is a shred of hope grab it!

I will warn you at first it will feel like you are doing all the work but I promise you that will shift. Use this time to seriously think about what YOU really want. HUGS

Lori - posted on 04/06/2011




Laura is right! Get a lawyer asap and build your support team. I know right now you feel like the floor was just ripped out from under you and your head is spinning, this feel is horrible. While you can make a list of your assets before you forget them or he hides them and start keeping a diary of everything that happens so you have notes in case you need them.

I was in your position after I had my last child and was diagnosed with cancer.. It all hit at the same time. I used a book called Divorce Busters by Michele Warner Davis. We were able to put things back together but it took a very long time for me to trust him again. That book calmed me down enough to empower me, if it had not worked with my husband I'm certain I would have had the strength to deal with all the curve balls that come with a breakup.

I am so sorry you have to deal with this. Unfortunately husbands can be our biggest child. It's not right but it is reality. Just know if you had the strength to handle labor, running a home and raising children you will come out of this in one piece if you have the right support group.

My prayers and hugs go out to you in your time of need.

Mrs. - posted on 04/06/2011




Sounds like there is still a lot of love there. A therapist would probably be a real help if you choose to go through a trial separation.

Laura - posted on 04/06/2011




Louise, one thing you might consider is counceling--both individual and/or couples. My husband and I are both seeing therapists individually (he was diagnosed with clinical depression and is now on meds) AND he has agreed to see a couples therapist. I still love him though he professes to no longer love me so I, too, find myself trying to fall out of love with someone. You think since he cheated on me it would be easy...but it isn't...

Louise - posted on 04/06/2011




I here what your saying mandie we have slept apart for 7 years due to his snoring problem and my inability to sleep through the noise. In the past we have always had a physical relationship but nothing for the last three months. The desire has gone. Looking for an answer as we are both desperately unhappy without each other but you can't force another to love you physically if there is no spark there. Not looking good this is it!

[deleted account]

Louise, I am sooo not sure how to word this so forgive me if I seem forward:- from your last post it seems to me that the feelings are still there, even if you guys dont yet know how to 'access' them. I wonder if it might be a problem of 'physical' distance, if you follow me? Sometimes the business of being parents and part of a family can make us take a backseat intimacy-wise. I know that although myself and my hubby have not been together as long as your marriage, we have had some horrible challenges in our lives and recently we 'lost touch' intimacy-wise. We have found a way to regain that and truly it feels like being 16 again! I hope you can see what I'm getting at as I dont want to be too blunt on a public forum xoxox

Amber - posted on 04/05/2011




I had a similar situation with the romance fading and the friendship-brother/sister relationship taking over. Chad and I had growing pains after our son was born (although we hadn't been together for as long as you and your husband).

We did step back from each other, but remained in the same house trying to see how we felt. It didn't take us long to figure out that we still loved each other and that we didn't want to break up.

We still didn't know how to put things back together and get out of the friendship loop and back into the relationship.

We sat down and talked about the things that drew us to each other to begin with and the things that we enjoyed doing together. It was weird to feel like we were dating after living together and having a child, but it really did make a difference.

Doing some of those things that bonded us to begin with brought back feelings of nostalgia as well as memories of all the love and happiness. Those memories revived our loving feelings for each other.

It wasn't an overnight fix, but after about 6 months we were in much better place. And now several years later it feels like we never hit a speed bump at all.

I hope that you can find peace with whatever decision you guys end up making. It's so miserable to be in that in between spot where nothing really goes wrong, but nothing is really feeling the way it should either.

Sneaky - posted on 04/05/2011




I'm sorry Louise :o(

I can't help with the legal stuff but Laura's post above reminded me of some good job seeking advice - take the first job you are offered, even if it sucks and the pay is awful, because recent experience looks way better on your resume, and because it is a stepping stone to bigger and better things, that's all.

Laura's post also prompts me to suggest - if you can get government support (he might have to move out for that to happen) then a really good budget might work for you to live off for a few months (or more), That would give you some time to consider if you want to do some study and either up-date your skills or start a whole new career! I'm a big fan of online study, because you can do it from home after your bubs are asleep for the night :o)

I too know that you are a strong, fantastic woman. You will grow from this in ways you never dreamed possible :o) Good luck.

Alice - posted on 04/05/2011




**Louise ur husband walk out of ur life God never leaves you always talk to him n pray**

Lily - posted on 04/05/2011




start with one day at at time but seat and think it¨s an oportunity for a new fresh start, and think that all the things you have lost on the way for been marry you can actually do it now, especially cause now you can start doing things for yourself go anywere and enjoy life, try to find a job or something that you´ll like to do and was never able to do while you were marry and start from the beginning at first it´s hard but you´ll be happy after seeing that you finally doing stuff by yourself and for you and your kids, get a lawyer and get him to support you and the kids cause that´s the very least he can do after making you lose your time for so long and leaving you.

Louise - posted on 04/05/2011




Just a quick update. We are both finding it really difficult to settle in the house. Not giving each other a goodnight kiss or goodbye is really hard for both of us. Lots of tears have been shed between us both. It just makes no sence at all. The problem is he has made the relationship a friendship like brother sister and now we don't know how to get out of it. We both know we have to seperate to see if any of those husband/wife feelings come back. The problem is neither of us want to be the one to do it. The feeling is most odd.

Sarah - posted on 04/04/2011





I am so sorry. I can't imagine how you feel. It must be like losing a best friend as well as a husband as you have been together so long.

I thankfully haven't been in your situation but I know people who have so have some idea what you are entitled to in the UK.

Firstly you are entitled to keep the family home as a roof over your childrens heads until they are grown. (I think this is 16 rather than 18 but not sure). if you do agree to seel it then you may be entitled to a larger split of the vaue of the property to make it possible for you to buy or rent a smaller house.
You are entitled to maintenance payments towards your childrens upkeep.

There are a number of benefits you can claim once you are living alone. Citizens Advise should be able to help you navigate your way around the system.

Mediation can be a cheaper way of negotiating a settlement between you if you do decide to sell up and move.

http://www.aworkingmum.co.uk/single-work... is a good website to see what benefits you may be able to claim.

I hope this is helpful.

My thoughts are with you.

Jenni - posted on 04/04/2011




I'm so sorry to hear that Louise. I don't really have any advice but just take it one day at a time. You'll be fine.

*Big Hugs*

Jocelyn - posted on 04/04/2011




I have no advise, but...
Aww Louise, I'm so sorry for the crap that he is putting you through. It's a horrible situation, but you'll make it!
****sends good loving energy vibes****

Kimberly - posted on 04/04/2011




I don't have any advice for you Louise, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear this! You're always the first to answer my questions and your advice is always appreciated. Is there no hope for your marriage? Will he try counselling? I'm sending you hugs and hoping everything works out well :)

Renae - posted on 04/03/2011




Ok so everyone else has already said this - but I need to say it too -

Oh Louise I'm so sorry! I cant even imagine what you are going through. Thinking of you and I hope someone else has something more helpful to say to you.

[deleted account]

Aw... Louise, I have no advice on the benefits and such, but I wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you. I know what it's like to be where you are (though w/ a much shorter relationship and different 'leaving' details, so not the same) and it SUCKS!!! But.... I promise you that it does and will get better.

Louise - posted on 04/03/2011




Thank you all ladies I am very touched. I am a strong woman and have my sons for support. I am still in the family home with him as neither of us can afford to move out. Things are going to be very different it is learning how to unlove someone you are very attached to. There is nobody else invloved we have simply grown apart.

Laura - posted on 04/03/2011




I'm so sorry to hear that, Louise! I'm actually going through the same thing! My husband of 16 years just left my daughter and me for a younger woman. The first piece of advice I got was to contact a family lawyer right away so I did. Since I didn't ask for the divorce, I am insisting that HE do all of the filing and paperwork. That doesn't mean I can't be prepared with legal counsel! A legal advisor will be able to tell you what you are entitled to as compensation.

I, too, am having to find a full-time job after having been a SAHM for 10 years. I have out-dated (and unappreciated) skills so I am looking to go back to school for some sort of certification or additional degree. In the meantime, I found a part-time (low paying) job in a greenhouse just so I can learn some new skills regarding plants that might lead to a full-time job elsewhere. Plus it's something to add to a resume. It's a start...

I know how difficult this is--know that you are not alone! I have a wonderful support network through my church family that has lifted me up everytime I've been knocked down (figurtively!) by this man I called "husband".
I found out today that the men's group he was a member of even tried to talk him out of making his decision. They are supporting me right now...not so much my husband...So build yourself a support group of family and friends--they will help you more than you can know! Hope this helps and best wishes to you during this tough time...

[deleted account]

I am so sorry Louise! Like others have said, you are always the one with the answers and it's hard to be that person (I often am in my family) and then to need advice yourself. I don't know the laws in the UK (it loosk like you've gotten some great resources and advice from others though!), but I wanted to let you know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers throught this difficult time. ::SUPER HUGS::

User - posted on 04/03/2011




Louise, I'm so sorry to hear this. The Citizens Advice Bureau would be a good place to start as far as finding what you're entitled to. God bless.

Bonnie - posted on 04/03/2011




Awww i'm so sorry to hear this Louise. 26 years is a very long time. I don't understand how someone could turn away after all that time. You sound like you are a strong woman and over time you will get through this.

Nikki - posted on 04/03/2011




Louise I am so sorry, I was going to say what Katherine said, you always have the answers for everyone else. I hope that you have supportive friends and family to lean on through this transition.

I haven't been in your situation so I can't offer much advice, I just wanted to say I hope your ok. We all know you are a strong woman, you will get through this.

Jodi - posted on 04/03/2011




Oh, Louise, I am SO sorry to hear this. I am not in the UK, so I can't offer a great deal of advice in that department, but I will say that I know you are a strong person, and you WILL be able to do this. It won't be easy, but I know you have older children, I am sure they will be a great support to you in some ways, without burdening them with the detail of the separation.

And I just want you to know that I am thinking of you. I can't imagine how daunting this must feel to you. I know how it felt after being with someone for 12 years, and the fear I felt. But you WILL survive, and you Will be okay.


[deleted account]

Louise- I'm not in England- but I'm sorry for your loss. First things first- what is the most urgent thing? I would guess living arrangements as your nursery etc will have to be decided based on where you live. Is there a particular reason you and the children cant stay where you live now?

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