Over Ten Years In: Divorce is Still Exhausting
I’m struggling today. And of late, I’m struggling more often than not. I feel like I should finally be in a place where I’m content with my life. I’m finally working my dream job. I have more freedom, more time to spend with my kids, and I’m doing work that I enjoy. But there’s one stone that keeps weighing me down. I’ve been divorced for over ten years now. And my ex cannot resolve his feelings around it. He can’t put his feelings aside for the sake of the children. He can’t go about his day to day life without trying to get back at me for what he feels I have taken from him.
And I am weary.
It’s a cycle that repeats over and over and over, like I’m pushing a stone up a hill, only to have it roll down and have to push it back up again. I feel like I’m never going to reach the top of the mountain. The stone feels even heavier each time I get to the bottom again. I am older.
And I am tired.
It chips at my children. Of late, he’s taken to having my son read our correspondence, and write his responses. I can feel the spit and the fire and the hatred in the written words, and I can only imagine what it’s like to hear and have to transcribe those words. I struggle with hiding my feelings from my children. I struggle with not responding with the same spit and fire. I fight with myself. I beat myself up when my words betray my feelings to them. Because he is part of them. And I never want them to feel that I might feel they are less because of that. Because they are my everything. But the burden is heavy, and it gets harder and harder to hide it.
And my energy is sapped.
I do know that I can fight it. I know that I could go back to court with this as evidence of abuse. But I also know that the courts are overwhelmed. I know that cases such as this are viewed as middling, something we should “work out for ourselves.” I know that all of our issues have been rehashed over and over and over again with the help of lawyers and judges and mediators and doctors. I know that nothing sticks. I know that no matter what he hears, he will always believe that he is right and that these people approve of him. I know that he will never change. Because while a child-centered divorce is an ideal worth striving for, it’s not possible if both parties aren’t working for it.
And I am fatigued.
I fear that this means that my feelings will never change. That I will never be free. That I will continue to spend nights grinding my teeth until my jaw is sore and having nightmares about being trapped in a marriage with him. Because in truth, I am trapped. Not in marriage, but in a never-ending divorce. A fight that I started, but for which I will not see a denouement. Just a series of escalations.
And I am done.
But I can’t give up. I can’t get out. I have to keep on going no matter how little energy I have for it. I can’t let it go. Because I am their mother. And I need to keep going. For them.


  1. I can 110% relate to this im divorced with a sociopath, and he’s constantly trying to destroy me. We are 5 years in, and he’s constantly trying to make my life hell. Its exhausting and hard on everybody. I’ve learned as hard as it is hun you just not allow him to have so much power of you and i promise things will get better

  2. I have been through something similar. Once they are grown your interactions will be fewer and not direct if you choose for them not to be. I had to see my ex at my daughters wedding along with his whole family. It was beyond awkward. Luckily I had a camera and I stayed behind it and that helped. I avoided him entirely but he did seek me out at one point to ask a question about our son. I answered and walked away. Luckily I have not seen him since. We see our children separately as it should be. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. I know how hard it can be being undermined. My ex brought our son to court during the custody battle. He did everything he could to make me look bad. 🙁

  3. I am reading this long after you posted. So sorry about this nightmare. My sister divorced a narcissist and it never ends with him. He destroys her at every opportunity. I am sorry for you and for your kids. Since you posted this so long ago, I can only hope that things have improved over time.

  4. It has been almost 50 years, and my ex will not give up!

  5. If you don’t want to go back to court–and I agree that it’s probably useless to go there–can you find a good counselor or a support group?

  6. My ex husband died. While my divorce and follow up were not as horrible as yours, the relief of no longer having to deal with it is real. And I m glad my ex died of cancer, so the toxic people in his life could not smear me in any way. Anne

  7. Oh, Liv, I’m so sorry. I recognize the signs of fatigue. These personality types do NOT change and unfortunately, as long as we have kids with them, there will always be a connection. Keep on loving your kids the best you can. That’s all you can do and love is more powerful than revenge, hate, fear. thinking of you xx.

  8. Oh Liv, I feel for you, just sending you all the hugs and love right now. I am in the same trenches, holding onto the hope that giving the kids a space that’s different than that toxicity will help them in the long run. the high road is a lonely road and sometimes i just want to lie down and let all the cars roll over me. I love how you are there and i know the struggle of digging deep in the face of the shi!@#$ shenanigans. What you are doing has impact and is making a difference, even if you can’t see it with your shoulder pressed agains that stone. I’ll help you carry the stone. Love.

  9. This makes me so angry for you, so sad that you have to deal with such a horrible situation and a selfish person. I am so sorry. I can’t imagine how exhausting, defeating, and frustrating this must be. You are so strong and so brave. Hang in there, my friend. I SO wish things were different for you…

  10. This sucks. I’m sorry this is never-ending for you, it shouldn’t be, this is wrong. I can tell you as an adult child of divorced parents, I think you are doing the right thing by not disparaging your ex to your kids. My mother called my father sh*thead for as long as I can recall, it wasn’t healthy. My father was not a good parent so wasn’t completely unfounded but I could figure that out for myself. That said I hope you can find a way to push back without escalating the negativity, that seems like a boulder. He must be so miserable.

    1. Author

      Thank you for saying that. They’re the ones I worry about the most. And I try so hard not to let them see. It’s so hard sometimes. It’s good to know that the effort might be worth it.

  11. I liked this because I like you, and I want you to know I read this and it matters that you wrote it.

    Any chance of the courts letting the children choose whether or not they want to have exposure to him? Might be a pathway for the future if he is so bent on putting them in the middle of his nastiness

    1. Author

      There’s a chance. But it would be after an escalation I’m just not willing to put them through. This is hell…but that might just be unforgivable.

      Thank you my friend.

  12. You nailed it. You are trapped in a never-ending divorce, and he’s paralyzed himself with his own venom and trapped himself in there with you. I can’t even imagine how exhausting it must be. Stay strong dear heart.

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