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How To Move On With Everything Against You?

Question:

I am going through an emotionally rough divorce. Out of the blue, my wife announced that she no longer was in love with me and wanted a divorce. I honestly did not see it coming. For the kids sake, I agreed to let her keep the house etc and keep the kids routine as normal and consistant as possible. After all is said and done, I will lose my wife, my kids, my dog my house, the town I love, and everything I was involved in inside the community. With the child support and alimony I am legally being forced to pay, I cannot afford to live in the town as it is a very elite “high rent” area. I will barely be able to afford a “low level” apartment within 1/2 hour of the town. I definitely will not be able to afford a car payment or the insurance on a car, so I do not know how i will be able to “pick up the kids” on an every other weekend basis, let alone “do” anything with them without transportation. I would love to “move on” with life, but even with getting a second job at night, I find that at the end of the month, after the rent, utilities, bills, child support and alimony are paid, I barely have money for food, let alone anything left to actually ask someone out on a date. I am 45 years old, and have nothing to offer someone as far as dating etc.

I am so depressed over my life. I “had it all”, and now, through no fault or action of my own, I have nothing. She truly got the gold mine and I got the shaft. Any suggestions?

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

Your letter is painful to read, and I am so very sorry that you are suffering as you are. As you note, you are “going through” a rough divorce; you are not done with it yet. You are grieving; you are depressed; you are adjusting to the new set of realities you are faced with. It is likely too soon for you to be expecting yourself to move on from this train wreck. Time does help heal (or at least cover over) most wounds. There is hope for you. But time also makes grindingly slow progress sometimes. Some of this sort of stuff just has to be endured.

Now, about your not having anything of value to offer another woman. This is certainly not true, but rather a function of your depressed, miserable state. You may be making the mistake of identifying your value as a man with the amount of wealth you can offer someone. There is such a strong cultural bias that we all ingest at a young age that says that a mans’ worth is measured by his wealth. While money is certainly important and even vital in life, any mature woman out there with any sense knows that wealth is not correlated with kindness or with honesty or loyalty, or the capacity to genuinely love another. It is these just mentioned qualities that ultimately lead to a satisfying long term relationship between partners. Not having enough money works against relationship success, but relationships are still possible. Not having the capacity for kindess, honesty, loyalty or love makes long term relationships ultimately impossible. You may be down on your luck financially at this moment in your life, but I’ll bet you that you are still a good man with good qualities. There will be women out there who will recognize those qualities and value you, even if you can’t take them out for anything more expensive than pizza.

There is a tendancy in relationships for some partners who are left suddenly to work to appease their leaving partner, so as to be a “good guy”. One way that this plays out is that men give away more of their rights than they might; more property, more custody, etc. This is not necessarily the best long term strategy, even though emotionally, many men in your situation find it difficult to do otherwise. Is your allimony and custody agreement already set in stone or are you perhaps still negotiating it? You will not have any choice but to pay the full amount of child support; there are strict state laws out there and no negotiation abilities, but you may be able to negotiate for a lessor or at least time-limited allimony. You may be able to negotiate for more time with your children. It is not necessarly the case that the children are better off with their mother and in their routines if allowing that to be means that they are cut off from their father. These links concerning men’s rights in divorce cases may or may not prove helpful to you.

Please do not allow yourself to become too isolated in your grief and loss. It will likely help your self-esteem if you interact with other people out there (men and women) who have been through what you are going through (you’re by no means alone in this experience) and can provide you support, advice, and models that prove that there is life after divorce. There are a variety of communities out there online (my preliminary searching yields up these community based support group links, and these online community links.

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