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My Life Is Just a Mess Right Now...

I am 40, divorced in 2004. We have 4 kids together ages 19-5. Three of the kids still live with me, my oldest is in college in another state.

I have lived in my current state since 1998. Ex moved to back to our old home state in 2004 after the divorce. Prior to the divorce, I was a stay at home mom, but I sold stuff on ebay and invested in real estate for extra income (it used to be cheap here!) for the family.

I am educated, I have a social work bachelors degree, and almost had my masters degree complete before moving to here with the now ex husband.

I am certified to teach K-9 and also have a real estate license. I am constantly trying to reinvent myself to stay employed and attempt to keep my life and my kids home life stable. My marriage was very rocky and unstable.

Since my ex moved out of state, I am the main caretaker of the kids. My ex has an order for payment of child support and he gets them every December for 2 weeks and usually a couple of weeks over the summer time when school is out.

During the past 4 years, I flipped vacant land and built a home on my own. I have lived in this area since 2004 and I like it here. It is safe and the kids have their own rooms and go to good schools.

The economy here is not good though. I have not been able to get another teaching position since I was laid off last school year. The value of my house has decreased over $200K and the one rental property that I have is now empty with lower rents not covering the mortgage and expenses.

Ex-husband has stopped paying child support and has not been able to get a job since being laid off last year.

I am not dating, and have not dated since the divorce. No sex, stressed out the ying-yang. I don’t have my old self-confidence and positive self image anymore — my mo-jo is gone, I’ve let myself go.

I don’t have the income to continue living in the house I built anymore. The taxes and insurance and mortgage are just too much now that my income is 50% lower without the ex paying child support, insurance and day care. It is just a house though, so it can go…

I would love to stay in the area so that the kids can continue to stay in the schools, have their friends, but I cannot afford the area any more. But I concede that I will consider moving if I have to…

I have tried to sell both homes over the past year, but I am upside down and cannot sell them without bringing money to the table, I don’t have anymore money. I only have the rental home listed actively, but will put the house I live in back on the market when school starts again.

I am currently making $15 a hour and have been bringing home about $1300 every two weeks. No insurance, no benefits. The bottom is very near for me. My credit cards are maxed, my car lease expires in 6 months and with my credit being messed up from not being able to pay the mortgage on my rental, I probably cannot get another car. I have been trying to do it all and keep it all together, but I guess I am not superwoman!

I am employable, a good employee, educated, reliable and ethical. I am good at whatever I attempt, but I do have 4 kids and I have to put them first sometimes, so that means I cannot work late, or on Saturdays or I have to leave early to pick up a sick child.

The ex-husband dropped the kids insurance, did not keep Cobra. One of my kids has 6 cavities. One needs braces and I need to lose 75 lbs. I make too much money says the state for kid care insurance.

My life is just not working out right now!

What do I do? What should I be doing? I am usually not a quitter.

Do I walk away from my homes and rent in the area?
Do I need a man? Will having sex again and another income/paycheck help anything or make things worse?
Should I consider moving to be closer or near the ex?
Should I file bankruptcy and just start over?
Should I get a U-Haul and pack up my house and drive where ever I can get a teaching job?
Do I just stop paying everything and hide my money under my mattress until the sheriff comes to evict me from my house and then go rent (if anyone would rent to me?)

I don’t know if I can handle the stress of my life right now! I am not suicidal or anything, maybe depressed.

The kids are scheduled to come back from visiting dad in two weeks, but he just told me that he is having baby #5 with another woman and would like the kids to stay with him (he says he is facing foreclosure and still does not have a job either). My oldest, out of college for the summer, says dad and the new woman fight all the time and that she is mean to my kids. When I ask the kids about staying with dad, they say they do NOT want to stay with their dad, that they want to come back home here. My ex never put my kids first when we were together, it was all about himself, I think he just does not want to pay child support (my opinion).

I don’t know what to do, what is most important, what am I missing in my thinking about my situation?? Should I put myself first, my kids stability first, my career first?

dontknowanymore dontknowanymore 36-40, F 4 Responses Jul 27, 2008

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woops -- i just realized this was from 2008. I am a little late.

First I want to say the advice from Mz D is OUTSTANDING! WHAT A POWERFUL COMMENT!<br />
I my self have three children - I lost my job 2 weeks before Christmas in '09 - I went from supporting myself and feeling great to having to survive off foodstamps, etc... My B-day is the day after X-mas and I spent it in the tub watching "Something's Gotta Give" and drinking wine and crying heavily. I have managed to regain my self esteem by going back to school and volunteering while looking for employment. I also want to say I totally understand how the lack of sex adds much stress to life. It is hard to go from having it always available (in a relationship) to not having it at all or for that matter no knowing when the next time it may happen is. I must say that I did sleep with someone and though it was great for the moment it quickly disintegrated into more loss that I had to deal with. <br />
About the ex with the other kid on the way - We both know it would be a horrible situation for the kids to go live there, its a new relationship, with a new baby, and it's terribly hard to live in a household with an adult who is not your parent. <br />
I applaud you for sharing your story here - I can't wait for the economy to really make a comeback. I so miss the 90's. Keep an positive demeanor so that you will learn to enjoy the smallest things that you never noticed before in every aspect of your life.<br />
:)

I emphathize with you, and I believe that all that you have gone thru is preparing you for something greater in life. The bible says that "All things work together for the Good to them that Love God and they that are called according to his Purpose" I believe that God has something great in store for you and I pray that today May 29, 2009 things have already begun to turn around for you. There are so many women that walk in your shoes and it is by the grace of God that they have not lost their minds. I have a friend that went thru a very similiar situation and I really thought that she was going to loose her mind because the pain of loosing her husband to another man and then on top of that having to forclose on the home that they both had together and being left to take care of the kids was very unbearable at times for her. She ended up filing bankrupcy and moving to another state and just starting over. Right now as of today, she owns another home and has a nice car and the girls have grown up and they too own their cars. The kids were very wounded but thru it all they all survived and 3 years later he husband saw how well she was doing and trie tried to creep back, but I told her his lost and her gain to start a life of freedom and stability. She is doing very well and you will be fine too. Life has its way of throwing some curve balls that sometimes hit your right in the gut, but you have to be strong for you children. Hold your head up and start loving yourself again. Maybe start walking or join a gym, find a support group in your local town that you can share your story with women like yourself. Sit down and first pray and ask God for guidance and what you feel at peace to do, do it. Dont do anything out of vengenance, but start putting your life together on step at a time. DO NOT GET ANOTHER MAN OR GIVE YOUR BODY TO SOMEONE because of lonliness, this will only add fuel to the fire of what you are already dealing with. You have to first allow yourself and your children to heal. When you do date again you will be ready and whole within yourself so that you have a healthy woman to bring to the relationship instead of someone that is broken and confused. I hope this helps and my prayers are truly with you. My husband and I counsel couples and I would love to hear from you to see how things are working out. My email direct is praise222@comast.net<br />
<br />
God Bless you!<br />
Stay focused, this too shall pass.<br />
<br />
Mz D

I would say stay strong, you are a very strong woman to take care of your kids and struggle through this economic crisis. Have you thought about filing for food stamps? I would love to help you get some extra income, I see that you are a extremely motivated after I read your story so I would love it if you joined my team at my website www.mypowermall.com/Biz/Home/161280. Its free to join it won't cost anything. We can help others through this economic turmoil. I hope to hear back from you. Lets work together.<br />
<br />
Sincerely,<br />
<br />
Zachary Hoffert