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How do I move on?

Community Member

I separated from my husband over 3 years ago. It started out amicable until lawyers got involved (property not kids) at which point he totally cut me off emotionally from his life. I did the right thing and gave him full access to the kids. Ideally I wanted a 50:50 custody arrangement but he struggled to find his feet and couch-surfed for ages even after the property payout. He now has a girlfriend and a house somewhere in the next town.

He has kept up visits to the kids once a week in my home and watched videos with them but has no custody by choice. We all sat down about 6months ago after the kids didn't want their Dad to visit anymore as he felt like a stranger because he only asked them questions about what they had been up to but would never tell them any details of his life. He listened a little bit but acted very threatened. He returned my key and agreed to knock and let the kids invite him into the home on their meeting day (which gave the kids more control) and he has since then, showed them a picture of his girlfriend and told them he has a new house. He still never takes them out anywhere although he has taken the eldest on driving lessons. I am usually at work when he visits but not during lockdown.

Which leads back to my problem. I have a lovely boyfriend and a busy life but for some reason I spend about 2 hours everyday wondering about my ex, what he is thinking, why he did what he did, what does he do all day that prevents him from being a better father, why cant he have a conversation with me, what should I have done differently, why am I mad at him, how do I help the situation, how can someone you lived and shared everything with for 17 years, just cut you off emotionally, how do I heal the rift?

I guess I would like us to be friends and discuss supporting the kids together. Last weekend was his Birthday and Fathers Day and he was too busy to see them (it wasn't his designated Thursday afternoon) and I could tell the kids were disappointed. I know he will never at this stage financially help the kids and I'm wondering if all this is about money and if I gave him back the $800 he has paid in Child support since 2018 he might realise I don't want his money and it is safe to share his life (he claims $0 income). What do you think? How do I stop thinking about him and move on?

6 Replies 6

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi lilykitten,

It sounds like even after 3 years of separation, you still have feelings for him, and it's really difficult to heal through the separation when both of you have to stay connected with each other for your kids. I'm really sorry to hear that...

You may need some more time to process your feelings and thoughts that emerged from the separation three years ago; Feeling the emotions from the break up, as well as accepting what has happened in order for you move on forward with your boyfriend. At times you may feel angry, or sad, or disgusted, these feelings are all valid and normal as part of the healing journey from a heart break. Feel your feelings, and find some grounds to why you're feeling this way. For example, you may be feeling angry from the disappointment of your ex not being able to fulfil his duty as a loving partner to you, and a father to his children. Or you may be feeling sad and guilty because you felt part of the break up was your fault, and you felt you could've done something better about it. The important thing to know is that, all your thoughts and feelings are valid, and you have the right to be feeling this way.

Without the emotional connection from your ex, it will be difficult for you to get any closures to the questions that you have in mind. You may need to find the closure through other means. This could be through a close friend/family whom you can speak to openly, or a professional service such as a therapist or relationship counsellor. They'll be able to listen to you, and help you through finding the answers/closure that you seek.

It's great that you have a goal of wanting to just be friends with your ex, so that the both of you can better support your kids together. I feel that's something worth holding up to in order to encourage yourself to heal through the separation. Perhaps you may need to find a way to limit the communication with your ex, so that you have space away from him to heal through your separation. You've done really well making it this far, and I'm sure there'll be better things ahead of you.

Take care lilykitten, happy to listen to you more.



I think the first thing to do would be to set yourself up with a counsellor or a therapist who can help you address the ROOT of your feelings and help the healing process. Your feelings are totally valid and it's completely normal to have consuming thoughts about the past- I often do about situations in my own life!

If you feel that you cannot maintain a healthy friendship with your ex without having mixed/complicated feelings then you may consider closing the door to that relationship. It's just an option. I suggest you find somebody who can guide you a little bit, so that you can make the decision which is right for you and your children.

Take care 🙂

I agree it IS closure that I need. I wonder if I should pursue a divorce. I know we will never get back together. When he started dating he asked me to sign some papers for the court but with covid and all, I dont think he followed through.

If you think a divorce is the closure you need, then you should definitely pursue that! It would really help you move on I think. It will also be good for your family.

Community Member

lily kitten,

it sounds like you are a wonderfully kind and loving person and you have every right to have feelings for the man that you share your children with, I don’t think that can ever go away, we are always going to want good for that person to some extent if for nothing more then our children’s sake, we want them happy most of all more then anything really.
So how do you stop thinking about him? I guess it’s that old chestnut of when you feel your mind wandering there distract it, I’m personally hopeless at it, so probably the worst to give advice, but I’ve had so many psych appointments I’m sure picked up something, just can’t practice.
So here it is you think about him, change the thought/ do something else, text that nice boyfriend, go give your kids a hug, do something you enjoy. It will take time, but thoughts will get less, they might get worse at special times so be ready and don’t think it’s failing and if he visits they probably will get worse, but overtime it will work.
Friends with him? That’s up to him honestly, you’ve done a fine job at offering friendship so it’s his call and that $800, from someone who never got a cent, keep it. He is still there father and he should be doing a lot more, please don’t give it back and leave yourself open to him expecting to pay for Mc Donald’s if he does take the kids out, presents from him, etc. He is an adult, the kids already are disappointed or know what he’s like so no need for any pretences to make him look better, leave him to father up and do his job.
Most of all but enjoy your kids and have some great dates with your lovely new boyfriend, enjoy some happiness.

I agree that it is closure that you need, but be aware too that there either may not be a reason, or one that doesn't make sense to you, or one that hurts you even more. I am currently in a situation where knowing the 'why' is more painful than if I didn't. Knowing the 'why' has the potential to impact your self-esteem/worth when perhaps what you need right now is to give yourself permission to be happy. I think moving on sometimes is just a process of building small walls and saying mental 'no's' to those areas that drag you back to wondering the 'why'. The 'why' might be less important than making a choice that 'it is what it is' and start living in your present reality. Sorry to hear it though, it must be pretty rough for you, and mentally exhausting!