Why Stay for so Long? (Part 4 – Having Nowhere to go)

Here is part four of my blog series on why people stay trapped in unhappy and toxic relationships.  It has been written in response to a question posed by several readers of my book ‘Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something.’

One of the many reasons for remaining trapped in a damaging, miserable relationship or domestic abuse situation is the practical reality of not having anywhere else to go.  Coupled with this is the natural wish of not wanting to inflict upheaval on your children if you have them in terms of home and school.

Firstly, when becoming single again, a decision needs to be made.  Have you got the strength and resilience to fight for the home in which you currently live?  Give this some serious thought.  You are possibly the person who has taken more charge over the running and organising of your home and family and holding everything together.  Why should you leave?

If you are going to be a newly single parent too, then the ‘powers that be’ would nearly always be ‘on the side’ of the main carer and his/her children in respect of their wellbeing and continuity in life whilst you are separating.  And once you make the decision that you’re going to hang onto your home, it is amazing where the ‘fight’ in you springs from.

You can speak to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau about your rights.  An Occupation Order will ensure your partner is ordered to make alternative arrangements and a Restraining Order can help to protect you against further domestic abuse.  This is obviously a very vulnerable time for you where you need to ensure a good support network around yourself and I will talk more about this in a future blog post.

Alternatively, you may decide that you need to get out of your home completely and start again, perhaps somewhere where initially you can have breathing space and not be located after you break up with him or her.  Again, you may need to consider a restraining order (It needs to have the power of arrest attached to it to carry any weight.)

Some people are in the fortunate position of being able to squirrel away a little money beforehand into an account ready for when they are ready to make their move and become single again, others haven’t got that luxury.  A Housing Discretionary Payment can help you get a bond and months rent in advance together and you may also be entitled to a Crisis Loan or Housing Benefit.  The CAB again could advise on all this but the point I am trying to make here is that the financial support is there if it’s needed.   All the aforementioned benefits are detailed more fully through the website of your local council.

It may also be worth getting yourself onto a waiting list for social housing.  As you are facing relationship breakdown and are potentially in a vulnerable position, you would be likely to qualify for a certain level of priority.

If it’s an emergency situation and you are unable to stay with family or friends, organisations like Shelter, Refuge or Women’s Aid can help, among many others.

In my experience, the upheaval of ‘home’ is one of the biggest factors why ‘we stay too long.’  There is no denying the wrench that is ahead whilst you are separating or divorcing but a home is essentially just bricks and mortar.  It’s who is within the home and more importantly the loving atmosphere that makes a house a home.  It’s hard both to leave or to fight for sole occupancy but it will ultimately free you to have the peaceful home life everyone deserves.

Maria Stephenson

This post contains the views of the writer and is not designed to replace any kind of expert or legal divorce advice.  Links to further support have been provided at every opportunity.

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