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Struggling to cope, can't see a way out

Hello. Apologies for such a long post. I met my wife back in 2014, we had our first child in 2016, married in 2017 and had our second child in 2018!
For the last 18 months or so of the relationship, things suddenly started to break down. We would often argue and she told me towards the end of 2019 that she no longer loved me. I always loved her and so this obviously hurt me so much.
Things never improved and in late July last year (2020) she left me and moved in with her parents, also taking our daughters with her. I was devastated and then it got worse as for absolutely no reason she stopped me seeing the girls. It was getting evident that her stance in me not seeing them wouldn’t change so i instructed a solicitor to help me gain access through the courts etc. After a while she would allow me to see them, but only if it was round her mum’s with her or her mum supervising (again, no reason for this).
A couple of months later, my wife met a new man and they rented a new home within a couple of weeks of meeting. For about three months, while they were “getting the new place ready” up until a week before Christmas, the girls remained at their grandmother’s while my wife and her partner lived in the new place. As the weeks went on, her mum started struggling to cope with the girls and eventually let me have the girls over the weekend etc. Ever since the girls moved in with their mum, I’ve been having them every weekend, which has been lovely. Last week was the court case (over the phone!), and unfortunately because I and my ex (she is still technically my wife) are so far apart in what outcome we are after, it has to go to a second hearing. Unfortunately I was suffering with covid, so haven’t seen the girls for three weeks which has been hell. The courts gave an interim decision that I have them every weekend between now and the second hearing.
The trouble is, despite my ex treating me over the last few months like a piece of **** (she even tried telling the court that I’m a violent alcoholic, despite the fact I’d not hurt a fly and the last drink I had was one beer on Christmas day and I’ve never been drunk!) aswell as her new man threatening me with violence on a few occasions, I’m still really jealous and hung up over her being happy with someone new. It’s obviously valentine’s Day soon, and thinking of them two together while I’m in my flat all alone, lonely and totally fed up. I just want the happy, loving life where I have a partner who had a mutual love with me and my two beautiful daughters to spend more time with me, but it just all seems to be going wrong. I can’t see myself ever having that happy family life with anyone again, and she has found it within weeks of leaving me. Our marriage was far from perfect. I slept on the sofa for the last 18 months, we were always bickering and arguing etc and I was deeply unhappy, but I never stopped loving her, so when she left, it hurt so much. I just don’t know how or if I’ll ever snap out of this, considering I’ve got to keep in contact with her and always see her and him together all loved up, i hate it! I quite often think that just ending it all would take away my pain, but then I think about my beautiful girls and can’t bring myself to doing anything silly. But these thoughts go through my head most days. I feel such a failure for being a single dad after being married (I’m 28) while my wife is living her best, happy, loving life with someone else. The thought of them two being deeply in love, sharing the intimacy that I didn’t have with her for almost two years (we didn’t cuddle, kiss, hold hands or any kind of sexual intimacy for the best part of two years). I feel like my life will never get better, I’ll never find that happiness and love again (who’s going to want to be with a dad who’s marriage has failed?!) And that maybe my children would be better off with their mum and her new partner (even though he’s been pretty bad towards me) in a seemingly happy home, rather than them having to see their dad upset and down. I love them girls to bits but if I never snap out of these feelings, surely I’m not the dad they will want or need.
I really am struggling to cope with being alone, seeing everyone else all loved up (especially my ex) is really hard and I can’t see it ever changing. I’m not good looking, I’m shy, nervous and due to the fact that the courts are likely (I’ve been told) to issue me strange times to have my children (one week Thursday through till Sunday night and the next week Tuesday night till Thursday evening) and the fact I work Monday-friday, I just can’t see myself ever meeting anyone again and that is really getting to me and bringing me down. At times I don’t want to be here and if it wasn’t for my girls, I don’t think I would still be here

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I have got the girls with me for the weekend and I picked them up this morning (from a neutral place as my ex won’t even let me know where they live!). But when I picked them up, my ex was talking to me in a civil, kind manner but would throw in little things such as “me and her partner were kissing and cuddling on the sofa last night and our youngest daughter walked in, so she might be tired as it was late” and she told me that our youngest was sneezing during the week because of all the flowers that her partner got her for valentine’s etc. This really has got to me (I’m hiding it from the girls though) but hearing things like that really hurts

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Hey @Brokenman,

No need to apologize for the length of your post, it’s totally fine. You’re free to share what’s on your heart. Thank you for being here and for trusting this community. You’re among friends. You’re not alone. :hrtlegolove:

I’m truly sorry for how your relationship ended with your wife, but also for what you’ve been through since it happened. I’m not a parent myself, so I can only imagine how devastating it was for you to have to be separated from your girls, to go through this process with the court, to adjust with this new path that you thought would be different… It’s brutal, friend, and any person in the same situation would feel the way you do. It’s objectively a lot to deal with at the same time and it sounds that life didn’t give you a break lately. Right now your heart is grieving the expectations you had before, while learning to adjust to a new reality that feels unbearable sometimes.

You’ve been very strong for standing still in the midst of this storm, you know? And I can assure you that your girls wouldn’t be better without you. You’re their dad. They know you, they love you, and they certainly understand, even just intuitively, that it’s has been a difficult time for everyone and the circumstances are complicated. Yet through all of this, the love between you and your kids is a pillar of strength, an anchor, so keep holding on to it friend. You’re a good dad. Obviously loving, caring, and you’ve been incredibly strong through all of this, even if you don’t feel like it’s true.

Do you receive any support through all of this? Do you have friends and family members who know what you’re going through, people you have a connection with besides your ex and your girls? On a different note, have you considered reaching out to a professional (therapist) to help you go through this difficult time? If not, and if that’s something you could access to, I’d like encourage you to consider this option. Having someone you could talk to, who’d listen without any judgment on a regular basis, can be very precious when it feels like life is crushing you.

Regarding your ex, do you think it could be possible to explain to her that you don’t want/need to hear about her life with her partner? Do you think she could understand that, at the moment, it’s something you can’t handle and would prefer to avoid discussing? In a civil and kind way, of course. I’m only asking/wondering if there is a possibility to find a common ground and only interact/see each other when it’s related to your daughters.

You’ll get through this difficult season friend. And you are not meant to be alone for an unknown time. But, one step at a time. Right now, you are wounded, and your heart needs time to heal, to grieve properly. Your trust and your expectations were shaken in a brutal way. It’s only human to need time in order to feel better. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Don’t stay alone with this feeling of despair. You’ll find your way to regain some strength and feel at peace, with the right amount of support, compassion and patience.

I’m rooting for you. :hrtlegolove:

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Thank you micro for your reply.
I really do love my girls so much and would do anything for them and they are by far the most important people in my life. But the strange thing, is that it’s not the situation with them that is upsetting me so much. As I’m now seeing them on a weekly basis for a few days each time and the court will hopefully give me regular days that I have the girls, I’m now ok (ish!) With how things are with the girls.
But I just can’t deal with the fact of how lonely I constantly am when I’m not with them. All I ever think about is how happy my wife is with this other guy, I’m constantly thinking of what they are doing together, every night for some reason I lay there and think “I bet they are right now making love” etc which is stupid I know, especially when we hadn’t been intimate for two years. Why does it bother me so much? I do t really want her to know how much it upsets me to see her with him and to hear about their happy lives as things between me and her (and me and him) are so awkward and slightly confrontational, they would just use it against me and try and make me feel as low as they possibly could, so I have to pretend to not let it bother me and just shrug it off. I’ve tried talking to a friend and family but it doesn’t help, and I don’t really have the time or opportunities to speak with a therapist/counselor. It’s like everything I do makes me think of her. I’ll watch a TV programme and there will be a sex scene and I’ll imagine it being her and him together! I’ll hear a song and it will make me think of them/her. It’s like they are living in my head and I just can’t ever get rid of them. I feel like I’m a failure. I’m 28, got two children, been married and yet here I am sitting in my tiny flat, all alone while my wife is madly in love with a new bloke in a new three bedroom house, with my children spending 3 quarters of the week with this new bloke. I’ve got major money worries aswell (constantly using my overdraft and vang remember the last time I managed to pay off my credit card) and my life is just going downhill. I really don’t see how this could ever improve and I must be a laughing stock to the two of them. Even all my mates (I don’t have a lot but five or six close friends) are all in relationships etc. I just feel like I’m being left behind in life!

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I understand that change on this scale is one of the most painul things ever. I have experianced things this painful, in my relatively short life. I understand that it must also be painful for your daughters, though they are young.

I don’t really think my sympathy is going to helo much though.

This will sum up how silly my thoughts are and how stupid I’m being. Although I’m (like everyone) is fed up of covid and the lockdowns (I live in the UK) and I can’t wait to see my friends (even though I don’t have many!) Again, I’m actually also not very keen on lockdown ending in June as planned, because that will mean my ex and her partner will be able to really start their lives together and doing things such as meals out, nights out, holidays etc. Back when I was happy with her, we loved our meals out, drinks out, cinema, holidays (we went to Rome, Mallorca and for our honeymoon Portugal) and they were really special times, but they are so painful to think about now, and the thought of the two of them doing things like this is really upsetting me! I don’t know why though and I know how silly it sounds, but it really is scaring me!

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It doesn’t sound silly to me!

My ex text me earlier on today to ask if I’d like to have the girls from tomorrow morning and keep them until Sunday evening, which I jumped at straight away. Any chance I get to be with the children I will always take. It when she text me, she had a little dig. Her text said “I know you won’t be seeing anyone and you’ll be alone like you have been for the last 7 months and will be for the long term future, so I wondered if you want the girls from tomorrow morning till Sunday evening as me and her partner’s name want some… Alone time”! So not only is she rubbing it in that I am alone, lonely and will be for good, she’s also rubbing it in about her and her partner being close and intimating the fact that they will be getting “intimate” over the next few days. I wanted to scream, about, cry, throw my phone and jump out of my flat window all at the same time.
I don’t know how much more of these thoughts and feelings I can take to be honest.

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Hey @Brokenman,

Thanks a lot for your response, and for the updates. That really means a lot. :heart:

As I’m now seeing them on a weekly basis for a few days each time and the court will hopefully give me regular days that I have the girls, I’m now ok (ish!) With how things are with the girls.

Thanks for explaining a little more the context here. It’s a victory in the middle of the storm, right? some bright light to embrace. You are a good parent to your girls, without a doubt. I’m really glad that you feel more okay with this aspect of the situation specifically.

All I ever think about is how happy my wife is with this other guy, I’m constantly thinking of what they are doing together, every night for some reason I lay there and think “I bet they are right now making love” etc which is stupid I know, especially when we hadn’t been intimate for two years. Why does it bother me so much?

That’s not stupid, you know. You are grieving. Not so long ago, you envisioned a future with your ex. Now that this perspective is gone, you’re comparing what you didn’t have with what she has, with her new partner. Thinking this way is a human reaction. Moving on doesn’t happen instantly, unfortunately. We go through a lot of regrets and mixed emotions. And as you described in your reply, there are many reminders of her as well, which hurts. It’s hard to grieve the loss of someone who is still alive but not part of our life anymore, or at least not how it was before. Through this process, it’s okay to give yourself some grace. How you feel really makes sense.

I just feel like I’m being left behind in life!

I’m so sorry you feel that way, friend. You know, we all follow different paths and so many people go through major transitions in their life. I’m currently in one of those too. No job, a crippling depression and anxiety, major changes in my relationships, especially my family. It’s tough sometimes to not feel like a failure, or at least not like we are cursed somehow. When it feels like everything is falling down, others happiness becomes more visible and we can’t help but focusing on what we don’t have. It just sucks to feel like you’re stuck between a past that you regret, and a future that’s hard to envision. I feel for you, friend. And I really want you to know that you’re not alone right there. Just like you’re not a failure for going through a rough time. This is part of things you couldn’t really control. But you have and will keep having control over many things in your life, and that includes your capacity to get unstuck from what certainly feels like a rut these days. But one step at a time. It’s okay to take it easy, to take your time.

Her text said “I know you won’t be seeing anyone and you’ll be alone like you have been for the last 7 months and will be for the long term future, so I wondered if you want the girls from tomorrow morning till Sunday evening as me and her partner’s name want some… Alone time”!

If I can give you my two cents, it sounds that she’s playing with your own vulnerability, which is not respectful at all and not something you deserve. I know you said that you don’t want her to know how you feel, even though this text makes me think that she actually knows, and especially since you don’t want it to be turned against you, which I totally understand and respect. I really, really hope that you both could find a peaceful way to communicate and set boundaries about this, because you don’t need to have your wounds reopened repeatedly. Hopefully your own maturity in the way you react and ignore this kind of thing will pay in the long run, and she’d just stop mentioning that kind of thing.

I’m so sorry, friend. And, for what it’s worth, I really respect and admire your maturity through all of this. Really. I know it’s a tough position to be in when you are the own who make concessions because the other person doesn’t seem to make things easier. In any case, it’s not your fault.

I hope you can find some peace today. If you need to get things off your chest, please never hesitate to do it here. We’re in this with you.

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I haven’t posted in a few days, but I just feel like there’s something wrong with me! I’m in such a strange, confusing mindset. I don’t want my ex back, but at the same time I’m so jealous and sick to the stomach as to how happy she is in her new life. To see how easily I’ve been replaced by someone and to see how happy she is with him is gut wrenching. It’s getting to the point where there will be a sex scene on TV, or an advert on TV for Lovehoney etc and I’ll instantly think about the two of them!
I’ve been trying online dating recently and never get any replies. This evening I got a reply for the first time (probably out of about 159 people I’ve messaged!!)and we sent each other a few messages and she gave me her number, but I know that I probably won’t hear from her again as it didn’t really seem to go anywhere. I never know how to keep people interested after about three messages, even though all my messages to her were about her and what she likes to get upto, her job, interests etc. Maybe I’m just not meant to be with anyone, I just feel totally useless!