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Struggling to make the right choice, mental health creaking

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      Dave Perkins
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      Hi all, my name is Dave and I need your advice folks.

      Apologies if this is in the wrong area and for the length of my post but its all context.

      Since 2000 I’ve suffered periodically from anxiety and depression after initially not coming to terms with my eldest daughter’s disability who was born in 1997 with cerebral palsy. Episodes of depression for me meant becoming withdrawn, quiet, sad, tearful and lacking motivation and would last for 3 – 4 weeks at their worst. Outside of these acute episodes I have my good and bad days like anyone else.

      In 2010 my ex decided she didn’t want to be with someone anymore who could sometimes have ill mental health so she had an affair. Things fell apart pretty quickly after I discovered the affair and the arse fell out of my world. We tried living as ’friends’ because I didn’t want to leave my kids or home, but it broke my heart seeing the ex running off every five minutes to see the boyfriend and she showed me no compassion. I lasted two weeks, it was mental torture and I felt I had to move out. Our daughters were 7 and 13 at the time and too young to understand what was going on so we just told them that mum and dad weren’t getting on.

      I work in the building trade and so the house was most definitely my castle, not just somewhere to kip. I wanted our girls to have a secure home so I made no effort to realise my share of the family home after I moved out. Because of my financial situation I couldn’t afford my own place, so I have lived, much to my shame and embarrassment, with my folks ever since. Soon after moving out I couldn’t cope with it all and attempted suicide. Fortunately I didn’t succeed but it took me a few months to recover before I could get back to work. Whilst I was recovering I started to hear lies about me from friends that the ex was spreading. I had my kids say to me that the ex had said I wasn’t a good person because I wasn’t giving her money and that I had abandoned them. As soon as I was back to work I paid above and beyond the level set by the CMS because why wouldn’t I, they’re my kids. I carried on paying for our eldest beyond when she reached 20 because her condition warrants extra support and now our youngest is at uni I’m helping her financially too.

      In the divorce (2015) her barrister argued that my ex would need the lion’s share of the equity because she would always be our eldest daughters primary carer, consequently would not be able to work, and would need to buy a house for them both. I couldn’t afford legal representation but I tried to argue that in our daughter’s most recent educational review, that all of us had agreed that we saw no reason why our daughter shouldn’t be able to live some sort of semi- independent life when she was older. The judge wasn’t interested. The ex was awarded 80% of the equity. We agreed to sell the house when our youngest finished her uni education which will be in two years’ time (2024).

      I’ve always seen my kids regularly and supported them in everything they do but it kills me that I’ve not been able to give my kids a home with me and have them under the protection of my own roof for the last twelve years; I feel I’ve let them down massively. Christmas is particularly hard as I used to love that time when we were all together in the home.

      Fast forward to now and it’s all come to a head. The ex is getting remarried (not to the fella she had the affair with) and wants to move her new fella into the house. She proposes that when he sells his house that he’ll buy me out of my 20%. The ex has already told me with glee how they are going to renovate the house. This is really hard for me because the selling of the house would have given me closure on the whole saga, now I have to deal with him moving into the house and knocking it all about. The thought of them all together in the home for holidays and big family events with me on the outside is so hard.

      Our eldest now lives semi-independently nearby to me, the ex is no longer her carer and works full time. I contacted a solicitor to see if some sort of variance was in order due to the change in circumstance, nothing doing. I asked if I could force the sale of the house as that’s what we agreed in the financial order of the divorce, again nothing doing; a judge would only care about my financial interest being fulfilled so he would instruct me to take the new husband’s money. For info, the 20% I’m due is not enough to buy a house and if I used it solely for private rent on a two bed place it would be gone in four years; not much to show for twenty years together creating two lovely family homes.

      It’s obvious from various conversations that the ex had this planned out and had spoken to solicitors months and months ago; I’ve been played like a fiddle and feel backed into a corner. I have a great relationship with my kids, who are now 25 and 19, and I have never bad mouthed their mum to them and always vowed I would never spill the beans on her. I look after my mental health really well and haven’t been seriously unwell since the attempted suicide, but I feel a total mess right now. The kids have noticed I’m a bit off and so I’m tempted to tell them everything, but I’m not sure it would make things any better. Would I be telling them because I genuinely want them to understand my side of the story or because I want to spite the ex?

      Do I keep quiet and suffer in silence and protect the relationships between our girls and their mum, or do I speak up and risk it all blowing up in my face? My sister reckons I should spill the beans but I’m just not sure.

      Don’t know what to do. Any wise counsel gratefully received.

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