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This summer and fall has just been very difficult. I discovered in May of 2020 that my husband of 21 years was sleeping with someone else and by July, he was demanding I move out of our home, even though I was unemployed due to the pandemic. I got an interview across the country in a different state and was offered a job - while I was gone, he had his girlfriend in our home. I took the job, and within two weeks left my home, my friends and everything I knew and loved. I started a new job in the middle of the pandemic (no in person meetings or reasons to meet people in person). In Oct, my mother had a stroke. She was across the country in a nursing home. I tried to go see her but due to Covid, they wouldn’t let us in. I was called Nov 16, that she was within 72 hours of dying and we could come in. I flew across the country and she died after I spent 12 hours with her. No funeral (Covid) and I flew back to discover my petsitter had Covid. So, I’m back here. My soon to be ex-husband is trying to take me for everything and leave me destitute. My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer last week and Christmas is next week. 

I am hitting an emotional wall. I am running out of coping mechanisms. Does anyone have any strategies or ideas? I am so lonely and so sad. I miss my mom. I’m terrified for my dad. I’m devastated by my husband and furious with him (simultaneously) and there are days I can’t even leave my townhouse. I want to go home to some familiar things but I need this job. I just feel stuck. 

I would appreciate any help or ideas. This year has just been beyond ... and if I lose Dad, I just don’t know. 

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@Jennifer LittleOh Hon, I am so sorry!  For EVERYTHING!  I've been through so much loss and heartbreak in my life, but this takes the cake!  To be hit with so much at once!  I won't even say what comes to mind about your husband, just suffice to say I have been through that too, and couldn't get divorced fast enough.  Not before he used my credit for $57,000, quit his job and went into hiding with his GF in our new motor home (which I also had to pay for)..  I had to pay for his car, everything!  That was my last husband, which I refer to as a con.  He never even lived with me, but still I tried to make it work.

I am so sorry for the loss of your mom!  I'm glad to hear you got 12 hours with her before she died, was she aware?  My own mom passed a few years ago, stage IV dementia.  

My biggest piece of advice is to take one day at a time.  Next, get a lawyer, you should be entitled to half of everything you both worked to build.  Men can be ruthless, and can try to outlast us.  Don't let him.  Rely on your backbone, even when you're not feeling it.  

I want you to know that everything you are feeling is valid, even when it seems at odds with each other.  You have reason for everything you feel.  I have heard that the one filing has the leverage, so I hope you'll consider that.  Even if he dumped her tomorrow and wanted you back, how could you trust him?  I would be wary of any strategy behind it.  I hope you have your pet with you, they can be great comfort and it sounds like you could use some.

One of my coping mechanisms was (when my kids' dad & were going through the end of our 23 year marriage....he was making my life a living stressful hell...I'd get up every morning, look in the mirror, and tell myself, "It won't be like this forever."  And it wasn't.  And it won't for you too..  It's hard to see when in the thick of it, but this could be the beginning of a better life for you.  Oh believe me, I know it's hard to see it at the time, take it on faith, a step to something new, something better.  Sometimes XXXX happens when we least expect it, but usually there were chinks there to begin with, maybe we didn't realize it or had gotten used to it or like me, persevered through the storms, but it was there...and sometimes the storms come and then things begin to clear.  I am so sorry about your dad.  Do you have siblings that can help with him?  A friend of mine just had his colon and intestines removed (one at a time) and he is pulling through it, it was touch & go as he was in extremely bad health to start with, so frail, so sick, but he's making it!  Will pray for your dad.  

And you got a job!  Good for you!  In this time with high unemployment, you DID it!  That says a lot about you right there.  You're a go-getter, even if you're not feeling it right now.  There are times in our lives we DON'T feel it!  My one good husband that truly loved me, passed away barely 51, unexpectedly & suddenly, that was 15 1/2 years ago.  That was the hardest thing I ever went through.  At the time I thought it was the end of my world.  And it was, of my world as I knew it.  I have felt, that's my kind of luck.  But I was lucky too...to have had him in my life for any period of time!  To have experienced true and lasting love, reciprocally!  And I've found in the years since, just how strong I am, all of the things I've learned through my experiences.  I'm a wise old buzzard, for all the good it does me!  But at least I can say I've lived.  You still have life ahead of you, hang onto hope and faith and believe!  Your parents would and are proud, of that I am sure.

Come here and read/post.  We want to be here for you if you want us to.

I wrote this article about ten years after losing my husband.  If there's anything that helps you today, good, if not, maybe on down the road.  I know these are special times that make socialization difficult.  My lifeline right now is my church and puppy, and of course, God.  And this place.  Try to get out and walk every day.  Wave at people.  

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.


There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.


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@kaycThank you for responding and for your words. I especially appreciated “I'd get up every morning, look in the mirror, and tell myself, "It won't be like this forever."  I think I need to remind myself of that too. 

I already filed for divorce. I filed first as my husband was emotionally and verbally abusive, so once I got out - I fled with what I could get. That included three cats (out of five). I am grateful for my four footed family members every day. 

As for my mom, I don’t know if she knew I was there. I can hope she knew. She was in deep distress by the time they let us in. But I sang to her and told her stories. (I am in theatre and she loved to hear me sing.) As for my dad, I have sisters near him, but I can only pray it hasn’t spread out of the colon. I cannot handle another loss right now. 

I am trying to go for drives and whatnot but with the pandemic, I’m not going out as I usually would. I’m just trying to get through one day at a time. I know my husband is going to drag this divorce out as long as possible and I’m terrified he is going to bankrupt me in the process. 

I greatly appreciate you responding though. I feel very lonely these days. I have a friend who lost a parent in March, so she understands the loss of a parent. But I am starting to feel like the Debbie Downer of our world - I have nothing but bad news these days. So I try to keep more things to myself, as to not bum others out. And then I just feel more isolated. 

So again, I appreciate your response. Thank you for caring and responding. And I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I’m glad you had him in your life. 

Have a safe and sane holiday. 


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10 hours ago, Jennifer Little said:

I am starting to feel like the Debbie Downer of our world

It's not that you're a Debbie Downer, it's your circumstances and they're enough to overwhelm ANY of us!  That you're still standing and breathing speaks to your inner strength!  None of us would be exuding bubbly smiles through all of that!  I've lost my parents, grands, 3 children (prebirth), tons of animals & friends, a cousin, aunts & uncles, niece, nephew, husband, it's part of my life, I carry grief inside of me. 

You are already doing what you can, taking a minute at a time is a huge survival technique, one of the first things I learned when my husband died!  I do it still.  If I try to look too far ahead, it's overwhelming and invites anxiety.  Things will get better although I can't say when.  

I'm glad you've filed, at least it's validating as you are not just helplessly standing by waiting for him to slam you with yet again something else, although it can FEEL that way at times!  You're taking action!  Good for you!  I will definitely add you to my prayers.

I was in my 40s when my kids' dad decided to get a divorce.   It seems a lifetime ago (I'm 68 now).  I've lived alone over 15 years now although my son was in/out between the air force & college off/on.  Now he's married with a high pressure job & kids, I seldom get to see my kids & grandkids.

Life has it's phases, that's for sure.

I live in the country up in the mountains, over an hour from the city of Eugene/Springfield (OR).  It's a different life here, I grew up in Eugene.

I do want to be here for you as you go through this, my XH got custody of our friends, church, I got custody of our kids & the dog.  It was hard with untrue rumors being spread, I kind of pulled in at the time, like a turtle for self protection, I was going through tremendous stress and defamation at work, my friends all ditched me, at least I had my kids.  Yours may not have ditched you but you know the isolated feeling, having had to relocate and also having this dreaded pandemic going on at the same time, makes it hard to make new friends and reach out.

You may want to consider a counselor through all of this.  I've found them helpful at times, esp. as we want to come through things positively rather than with baggage/toxicity.  Although I don't see you that way, it can be challenging!  Maybe when all is said and done you can join theater there?

I've been on my churches' praise teams (leads morning worship in song) since I was a teenager, love singing.  Wouldn't say I have a great voice, but do enjoy it!  A friend who has been on it with me for 20 years just had a severe stroke, is in a coma, they want to put her in a nursing home for life, I'm heartsick over this, my grandma spent 13 years like that!  But they never even notified Judi's husband of any of this, they won't let him see her!  These are hard times for sure.

Keep your head up, you will get through this.  I'm a firm believer that when one door closes, another one opens.  This will be a new chapter of a better life, it'll just take a while to build it and see it.


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Thanks for the kindness and outreach. I am considering a counselor. I am just not quite ready to reach out here. I am not a Christian per se and I currently living in a very religious town. I am uncomfortable with people imposing religious beliefs on me. So, I am taking some time to try and just breathe. Right now is just harder with Mom’s death and the holidays and the pandemic making it so I can’t even go out for a meal with anyone. I’m trying to do one day at a time. I am trying to get some exercise in (not as much as I should) and am trying to take one moment a day. Today I spent all day doing interrogatories for the divorce. Just exhausting. But I am grateful for the support of people like you. Thank you. 

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I understand.  I won't impose on you religiously, I respect your feelings and wish you well.  I do hope you find a good counselor first try, but if not, don't be afraid to try another.  Sometimes takes a while to get the right fit. :wub:

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Sorry. My phone froze and wouldn’t let me type. I so appreciate your support. And I don’t think you are pushing any religious beliefs on me. I tried to find a divorce support group here (before my mom died) and they were all with churches and had paths through faith. I felt that it would be hypocritical for me to join those. I have done counseling in the past and have considering e-counseling. Right now, I am also watching finances really closely. Just sent more money to my divorce attorney and discovered through my (ex)husband’s paperwork that he is trying to hide around $50K and heaven knows what else. It is exhausting. I am trying to call my dad every other day and stay upbeat for him. But honestly, right now, I cry most days and hide either inside a book or watching the idiot box. I am looking forward to getting back to teaching in Jan. I teach theatre at a college here. Even though we can’t do live theatre, at least I am still in my favorite place. 

I am also dreadfully homesick. I am in the middle of the desert. I have spent my whole life near water. It soothes me. I find comfort in lakes and oceans. There is NOTHING here. I am going a little stir crazy with that. I continue to job hunt for next year to either go home or find a job closer to my dad. I worry he may not have much time and I will be too far away to spend much time with him. I just worry a lot. 

Please do keep responding. You are the only one who has and I so appreciate someone who has dealt with loss and is willing to listen. Thank you. 

Have a safe and happy holiday. 

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26 minutes ago, Jennifer Little said:

You are the only one who has and I so appreciate someone who has dealt with loss and is willing to listen.

Hi Jen ~ I'm so sorry that you're not getting all the support you need and deserve, especially when you have so much on your plate. Unfortunately the forum in which you've chosen to share your story does not get as much "traffic" as others, so that may be why you're not hearing from some of our other members. (Kay, like me, reads each and every post, and she responds to everyone as well, bless her heart.) If you like, I can move your thread to one of our more active forums ~ for example, Loss of A Spouse, Partner of Significant Other or Loss of a Parent or Grandparent.

I also invite you to read the following articles (including some of the related resources listed at the base of each) in hopes that their content may be helpful to you:

Is Grief A Normal Reaction to Divorce?

Mourning the Death of A Love Relationship: Suggested Resources

Anticipatory Grief and Mourning: Suggested Resources

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Jen, I'm sorry you don't have much support.  I'm kind of an open book, I've been through so much in my life, I can relate to most, so I was afraid I scared you off in over-sharing.  Didn't mean to!  My heart just goes out to you, I know what it's like.  Even though details change, still uncannily similar to what I went through with my kids' dad.  He closed our bank account, took everything so I had no $ to get a lawyer even!  Further, he turned everyone against me, friends, work, church, everyone.  So I went to work, came home, holed up with my kids.  It was very stressful.  He got the preponderance of our assets.  Kept pulling stuff.  That's why I said men can be ruthless, I know not all are, but they can be in a divorce, that's for sure!  

These are special times with COVID, so much in the way of support you could get in other times seems to be closed up right now.  Therapists can be a good way to get stuff out to someone who is listening.  But remember, Marty & I will always listen as well.  We're here, every day.

I'm sorry you have no place to go for stress relief.  Have you considered meditation?  Some of the guided ones (like Belleruth Naparstek) can take you there, where you actually feel you hear the water, are there!  If you decide to try it, start with a short one (under ten minutes).  We have a meditation section where some are posted.

I get how reading can give you a much needed break, it is like it transports us to another time & place, gets us out of our situation/problems.  I've always loved reading but haven't been able to since acquiring my puppy as he requires my attention but at least he can de-stress me somewhat.    I love animals and nature.  I live in the mountains, with trees and a year-around creek, I can't see it from my house but if I go out on my patio, I can hear it.  I love the ocean, rivers, any body of water.

I hope your lawyer is able to uncover your soon-to-be-ex's schemes and deceit and he won't get away with it.  I think you're smart to keep your feelers out for jobs that are more to your liking in areas closer to home & your dad.  So hard to feel so removed right now of all times!

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On 12/22/2020 at 12:24 PM, Jennifer Little said:

I am in the middle of the desert. I have spent my whole life near water. It soothes me. I find comfort in lakes and oceans. There is NOTHING here

Welcome, it seems you have gotten some great advice.  I can relate to the above.  I like visiting the desert and seeing cacti and succulents and so on, but I couldn't live there, I don't think.  As Kay said, you showed great strength getting that job in a really bad job market.  I hope it will be a stepping stone to something in a more desirable area for you.  Build up that resume or vitae whenever you can, and document the ex's behavior to use against him --while always taking the high road no matter how he might provoke you.  Lies and schemes built up over time have a way of falling apart suddenly, when least expected, and you'll come out smelling like a rose.  🌹

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Oh, Amen to all of that, Kieron!

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Thank you for reaching out. I am submitting (and have updated my CV) to several jobs now that some have reopened in this Covid world). Right now, it is hard with the holidays, being alone away from family and friend and knowing my ex is off running around with his new girlfriend. I am looking forward to going back to work Jan 7 just to get out of my head. 

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That's a long time off to be alone & thinking.  So hard, my daughter's going through it too but the courts aren't processing divorces this year so she's still in limbo.  Sent it to the courts last February.  I think it'd be easier to have it behind her.

I wish you the best with your job search, you'll find one!  I can't Skype here (country mountains) so I hope you can do that with your loved ones!:wub:

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