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Family separation, loneliness and anxiety

Community Member

First post so hello BB Forum 🙂

I'm a male and father of two in my early 40's, have separated from my family once the marriage become too broken to repair and I had suffered around 18 months of lack of attention, affection and appreciation for the hard working and kind person that I am. I am mindful that my actions preceding that time, and our inability to work on our marriage together, were the reason for our disconnect. My ex-wife began a platonic/emotional affair with someone who to this day she insists was just a friend, even though after being separated for a short time has "just begun dating him". This has been going on for around two months and while I honestly want my ex-wife to be happy, and I certainly don't want to ever go back to the marriage, it has left me with serious trust issues, anxiety around people's true intentions and a deep sadness of the loss of our family unit to something that I was assured wasn't happening.

I've had one short term relationship (around one month) which was fantastic but unsustainable. She realised that I hadn't been broken up for long enough and I had trust and anxiety issues and she had similar feelings after not getting over a previous relationship so chose to end it , but I thought I was fine. I've then fallen into a "friendship on steroids" with someone whom I've known for a long time and have always cared for and get along with fantastically but at the moment is emotionally unavailable, but I've found myself pushing her too hard and wanting too much too quickly and she has (quite rightly) withdrawn to get some space.

I think I'm trying too hard for a connection to fill the hole of loneliness and hurt that I feel, and can't help myself for expecting too much too quickly. It hasn't helped that I've had some health worries and significant change and a large uplift in expectations and load at my work as well. All this seems to make me more desperate for attention/affection to drown out my stress.

So now, realising that I need to stop chasing affection and let it happen organically, I am starting to feel that pain that I've been trying to drown out. I also realise that even when I'm pursuing someone, I'm paranoid about what they think of me, don't trust the words they have said to me and need constant reassurance, and now I'm starting to mistrust feelings that I've had myself. I see a possible future with my long term friend, but how can I trust myself?

Any similar experiences you could share?

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Mazza.75~

Welcome and thank you for posting. There are people here from all walks of life and maybe someone with a better fit to your problem than me, though I do have some similarities.

There's I couple of things I did not see by reading our post, firstly do you have your kids, or get to see them regularly?. Second how long in fact have you been separated from your ex-wife?

When my first wife died I was devastated and could not come to terms with living alone. So I advertised and got 50 responses (this was in the days before on-line dating services became popular). Out of that, after one false start, I found my current wife. This was 20+ years ago.

My wife had been a widow, I a widower and as a result there was no in-built reservoir of distrust. However trust was still needed, has to be the case in a long term relationship. Frankly I relied upon my 'antenna'. No reason I could give, no scientific formula.

Other than that- what can I say? You can be too quick - yes. But how long is too quick? Well the only answer I can give may not make much sense - until you can 'see' the other person as clearly as yourself.

Sorry it's not that much of an answer - perhaps someone wiser will drop in.

Please post again and say more about your self and your situation.


Community Member

Hi Mazza,

Welcome to the forum!

Thanks for explaining your situation well. Going by your writing, you seem emotionally intelligent and considerate of others. Despite not feeling hostile towards your ex-wife, you unfortunately are dealing with other emotional issues. This lack of trust and paranoia resulting from your wife's emotional affair must be dealt with, for your own sake. Seeing a counsellor or similar professional for some sessions could really help. Counsellors are often sought by people without mental health conditions. Relationship issues, emotional difficulties and low self-esteem are some reasons people may see a counsellor. You could search the Internet for local counsellors, or go to your doctor (GP) for a referral.

In addition to seeking in-person support, being able to use telephone helpline services is useful. Here are some I recommend:

Mensline Australia: 1300 789 978 (24/7)
Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 (24/7)
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

Do you have a close friend you spend time with? Having strong social support is of huge benefit.

It would be great to hear from you again!

Best wishes,


Community Member

Thanks for the reply Croix, much appreciated. It's beautiful to see that you've found a kindred spirit that suffered a similar loss to you, and could come out of it the other side with a 20+ years marriage

Yes I do get to see my kids regularly. Usually every second weekend and every Wednesday, but when I'm not working or during the holidays it's closer to 50/50 split.

I've been living on my own since the start of October 2016. My ex-wife and I had been together dating/married almost 20 years.

The living alone isn't great, no. Coming from a house with 2 kids and a hive of activity to an empty two bedroom unit is quite a change. I'm an extroverted person, and while I can certainly enjoy and appreciate time on my own and I'm comfortable in my own skin (and I like myself as a person) it was certainly easier being on my own when it was my decision. I gave online dating a crack, that's where I had my first brief relationship, and there is no limit of options but I found it a bit overwhelming. I hated that I found myself not remember what I had said to who. I love having a special someone as my center of attention - not trying to woo several 🙂 Maybe it's something to try again in the future with a more measured approach, should it come to that.

Trust is going to be a difficult thing to get over for me. Therapy is probably the next step for me, but I've also experienced a bit of self guided growth of late in coming to terms with what I need help with, and why it's happened.

Community Member

Thanks Zeal. Yes I understand that I need to get some professional help. The company I work for has a generous Employee Assistance Program provision, so I'll be utilising that (as I did for relationship counselling for my ex-wife and I that unfortunately came too late) starting this coming Monday.

I have friends, family and work colleagues that have been great support. Some better support than others - I'm learning not only those who give sound advice, but those who are willing to go out of their way to provide that support.