Slipping from mortgage into the cold rental seas

The next stage in my breakup is the completion of contracts on the property where we’ve lived for eight years. I receive gleeful updates from the lawyers at each stage of the complicated sale process  “Milestone reached”.

I am living here alone at present. It’s a two bed apartment in a desirable part of east london.  I’ll have to move in the next two weeks. The spoils of war will be separated between us.

So I’ll be moving from mortgage accommodation to rented. I moved to London to be with her. I am in my mid forties.   And I’ve not much idea what to do or what’s ahead  Your open advice is greatly appreciated.

49 thoughts on “Slipping from mortgage into the cold rental seas

  1. It’s like everything Lemn we can all say we been there done that got the T shirt but it not stop you feeling hurt or worried~ however~ I will still say it’s ok you will survive this~ and say it with confidence
    I am confident because I managed after 24 years to move out of a house I built and created into a home and downsized into something entirely different for me and my family ~ finding your new space helps you find your new identity after being part of a couple
    I realised after 2 years of lots of the 7 bedroom Victorian family home remnants in my new build 4 bedroom garage that I don’t require them now, they surplus .
    And from what I read of you , your willpower will drive you through , this stage of your evolution into being Lemn
    Doubt this rambling makes sense so please join up the dots and get the gist~ you will travel through this and find the new you in a new home ~ wishing you the best x

      • Hi Lemn,
        You never know what’s around the corner. Literally. I once had a house, a mortgage and career in child protection. Then I had a breakdown, lost the house, the career and most importantly, my mind. I now live in council temporary accommodation in a miserable tiny one bed flat with my 13 year old daughter.
        BUT, since moving here I have found peer support projects that didn’t exist where I used to live and, through those I’ve met some great people and am involved in mental health peer support work.
        The initial intensity of the pain does subside. Look out for the new opportunities this will present to you.

  2. Dear Lemn, as I read this post, I feel your confusion as to what you should do next. Relationship-wise, I think you should be still so that you can be in the moment of truth, peace, and wisdom.

  3. Mine is a reverse of that, I moved from London to the North West with my ex-partner, and 7 years later, we are on separate paths. It was a very intense time as well, I had just been elected to Borough council, I am now in the final year of that term.
    As for what I did, I carried on, In some ways, the split freed me up, no longer did I have to share my plans. However, I was used to the sound advice my partner had given me over the years, I also, very quickly found some of her fears come forward. I now stay in a very small flat, when I am canvassing, some porches of houses are bigger. I also managed to go out an meet many new folk, some of who are now very close.
    In a nut shell, keeping busy was the key, changing my social habits helped, I do not think I will rush to get back to London, many parts will not be the same as I left it, though, I do miss the friends I had in Southall and in the East End, it was always fascinating attending weddings and other various religious ceremonies.
    I am also put off from buying another property, there is a freedom with renting, within one month, I could move anywhere I like and be free of the financial shackles. Working as a labourer for the county council has also compounded the avoidance of property ownership.
    However, I do wish to stand for council again, the success of that campaign will either allow me to complete the projects I have started and want to start with introducing music to people and bolstering interfaith relationships with folks in and around here.
    If I fail, there could be a chance I may move. The world is my oyster, I will be visiting “that there London” next weekend, going on a march with the union.
    Keep busy, keep helping and do not stop looking around.

    • Thanks Keith, that’s really kind of you to say. There is light. I woke up feeling better this morning maybe for just writing the blog. I write here about this and that but I wanted to say something true about my inner life which to be frank is falling apart very slowly. Thanks.

  4. Dear Lemn
    I am sorry that you”re alone and feeling unsure which path to take, I showed my adult children your blog last night and my daughter who knows how much regard I hold for you said,tell Lemn about Thomas (her brother, that he has been told he has only two years to live as he has cancer…that she,Ruth has been Raped by a really nasty man and has to face the legal system with it ; she suggests putting on Nina Simone really loud singing “I got a life” and dance around the room…I however suggest Yoga with the Feldenkrais Method to change your feelings and long walks on Hampstead Heath (with me if you like) to sooth your soul. Love Carol.

  5. Dear Lemn, it has taken me a long time to realise that the path we are on may not make sense to us at times but that there is purpose when we look back. I believe that eventually you will back and see that even in this hard situation. In the meantime your amazing resilience will mean that you carry on, getting up, showing up and not giving up. But you do need lots of TLC and positivity being sent your way now. Draw those people who know and love you best around you now and take refuge in their love for a while, it’s ok to need people as well as be needed at times. take care of yourself and be kind to yourself too. Xxxx

  6. Lemn,

    I am too about to enter the stage of house / financial sortings after being together for eight years. I’m not looking forward to it. All I can say is this – you went through much, much more while you were a vulnerable isolated child. And survived. You will survive again. Take EACH day as it comes. And listen to as much Nat King Cole or Gregory Porter as is humanly possible. To gee myself up I have to put funk on in my home and dance till I ache just to let that stress break free. Times change inevitably. Embrace it. Cry if you want to. Laugh if you want to. Chat to strangers if it feels good. I’m always here up in Manchester if you ever want to dance and chat to a complete stranger. Take care. I care. Claire. XXXX

  7. I’m so sorry Lemn, didn’t realize you were going through a break up, while all the while spreading love and support to others…..
    Break ups are such a toughie in so many ways, often leaving us feeling exposed in our vulnerability and rawness. I wish I had some great words of wisdom to share. But I will say that that which has got you through to this point, will also get you through this, to a place of peace and contentment. Uncertainty is so unsettling but I know you will find your feet on solid ground again. There is much going on now shifting within for us all, wounds, old and new, rising to the surface, rocking our foundations until we find a way to heal and release.I haven’t got the answers but I know I’ve found this soothing to listen to . It can just play in the background, no need to consciously listen. I’ve found it helpful, often play it on repeat and let the soothing effect fill my space. I hope you find it helpful too.
    Shared with much love
    Hope the link works!

  8. Dear Lemn,
    I am so sorry to hear that you are going through a very difficult time of disconnecting ties and rebuilding your life.
    Yesterday I was suggesting you and your work as a source of inspiration and direction to my sister whose own 38 year marriage is dissolving in catastrophic circumstances. She has worked in the field of adoption and fostering and has known of you for a long time. She introduced me to your poems, tweets and TED talk on the eve of a trip we did together to Ethiopia a couple of years ago.
    Invisible Kisses is now my all time favourite poem.
    Yesterday, among many other things, we were chatting about her options for future holidays, Christmases etc. I suggested she might be able to get involved in your Christmas lunch scheme. She diid think that would be fun but as she has very close family and 4 adorable young grandchildren I don’t think she would be allowed to!!!
    I wanted to tell you this so you can appreciate that though you may be in a dark tunnel at the moment that you are an inspiration for so many people.
    Take care of yourself. C

    • Catherine Thankyou,
      There is no use giving to others if you can’t give to yourself. If one can’t give to ones self. It’s true isn’t it. xL

  9. Hi Lemn

    Difficult time for you but one thing is certain you will get through it and there will be good times ahead. You’re bright, intelligent and I hate to say it still good looking. So can’t see you being on your own for ever. As they say into every life a little rain must fall. But where there’s rain there is also a rainbow. Chin up. Come out to Spain if you want a break from it all we have a spare room . Take care Harry x

  10. Lemn, try not to think about the “spoils of war” but of the “fruits of love” that just evolved and perhaps dissolved into another form. Moving on is hard, letting go is even harder. Be kind to yourself and, if possible, to the person who is leaving this space in your life. Be liberated. Buy a sunflower. Eat a samosa. Sit on the top of an open bus. Have Sunday brekkie in Chatsworth Road. Talk to strangers at bus stops. Don’t talk to strangers at bus stops! Avoid old cliches and make your own truisms. As someone pointed out earlier, you survived so much in earlier years and took the experiences forward with you; this won’t be a walk in the park or a breeze but just another chapter or verse in the lyrics of Lemn. One things is for sure you are going to dig deep and write about this at some point. It is what we do. A tsunami of love is coursing in your direction. You have helped many let them help you now. You may have to stand in the eye of the storm and be scared but with love you can face the fear and roar back.

  11. If only more people would open up about the stresses which change brings upon us as creatures of habit, we’d live in a much safer, more honest society. Flip when you feel weak to how something needed to shift – something which will reveal itself sometime soon. Don’t do what I do far too readily, which is to crowd my life with so much stuff before I have time to breathe the new freedoms which change can bring. Beautiful Lemn you will find what you are looking for when you are least looking and meanwhile you continue to move people every day with your morning lines and poetry from the heart. Less rambling from me, more autumn skies and new horizons. hug & à bientôt x

  12. Lemn, you’ve already got many wise words here, so I’ll try and be brief. If you are unsure what to do next, maybe you are not ready to make a decision. There is no rush. In the meantime, be with people and in situations that nurture your soul. And also take time to grieve the part of your life that is over. When you emerge, life’s possibilities will show themselves to you. Wishing you peace x

  13. Lemn, you Struwwelpeter, stay with in a stones throw of Palm and all will be well. Please respond to one of my umteen messages about helping out at ur Xmas party. Thanks. X

  14. Hi Lemn
    I am moved to respond to your blog. I havent much experience in break ups, however, I have vast life experience. I have had breast cancer twice. Each time I was devastated, thought that my life was over etc etc. But each time I bounced back stronger than ever. My point is Lemn, life as you know can be cruel, hard, hurtful and sad. You have to ride it out, take comfort when offered, deep breath shoulders back !!! Life is wonderful, glorious and love is around the corner 🙂 By the way my last bounce back landed me at university of Huddersfield doing BSc Social work !!!!! Good luck xx

  15. ‘I moved to London to be with her.’ And now London is yours too; you’ve made yourself a part of the poetry landscape there and it’s done you good, I hope. I was in a similar space myself about eighteen months ago – do I stay in the place I moved to, to be with my loved one, or go elsewhere? If I stay, am I just trying to prove something? If I leave, am I just trying to prove something? Take your time. There is no Statute of Limitations on deciding what to do, where to go or who with.

    Appreciate the many people whose lives you improve with a cheery morning Tweet, with your work for carers or just by being prominently, unstoppably yourself in every professional and personal situation. You are not alone and we’re wishing you well, lovely man. But then, just take a few months to see how things pan out. Put no pressure on yourself, just listen to what you *really want* to do, and never what you think you should do. But Lemn, you don’t need me to tell you that 🙂

  16. How about seeing it as time for a BIG Adventure…..look for opportunities around the world, hire a camper van and drive around the coast of Australia, South America…climb a Mountain…swim an Ocean……or VSO? I am sure your talents would be so valuable to many communities. Have you thought of applying for a Winston Cherchill travel grant?…Words of the World… a poetic journey visiting children who grow up in ‘care’ or with no care at all.

  17. Lemn, you are your own home. It will take time to become comfortable within your “self” again, we give so much of our “selves”to others that we begin to depend on them to complete us. Give your self that time, you will be just fine.

    All the best


  18. Mr. Sissay,

    Giving yourself time to mourn and heal is one of the most important things. A lot of people, myself included, are so very hard on themselves in situations like this. Determined to dissect it, assign blame and determine where things may have gone wrong.

    But doing so won’t change the ending of the story, only draw it out and slow the healing process. Just be kind to yourself and if you feel it necessary, forgive yourself. It may not seem like it now but one day you’ll look back on all this and instead of pain there’ll only be a twinge.

    As for the new digs, plants help. 🙂 If you can find a nice pothos or two, they always add life to any room.

  19. It’s not endings, Lemn…….it’s new beginnings. It’s an opportunity to find new friends, new things and discard all the things in your life that weren’t quite right. You will come out the other side as a new person for sure, but a better, stronger, kinder person. Be positive, look for the sunshine behind the clouds.

  20. Many people have said, far more eloquently than I can hope to, so much that needs to be said.

    I write as someone who devours your words and, in times of joy and tears, have found both solace and inspiration in your work. It would seem churlish to not try and answer your call for advice and words of support, when your poetry has so often come to my rescue.

    As others have said, try to see the beginning and not the end. This is a new chapter. It is a chance for a new home, a new life, a new you. You’ll find your place and space and you’ll make them yours.

    I wish you every future happiness. Be kind to yourself and know that you are not ever, even here in the virtual world, alone.

  21. Lemn, take care of how your heart receives moving out of a home (especially the sense of not having a choice, or not having control). The practicals of recreating a new place to be in are less important than taking care of your heart. Go slow. Be deliberate in fully choosing what your new home looks like, and feels. Perhaps a short-term rental in your current area will allow you the time to slowly decide on creating a more permanent living space. Whatever you decide on, fill your new home with all YOU are. Let all who enter feel each step of your journey. Let them leave knowing YOU were and are in that space. And you do matter. Best wishes on your new journey… and smile, lots and lots and lots

  22. Lemm, I feel your pain.
    It’s a bit scary out there now.
    You’re not alone, but it might be an idea to do things alone – for a month or two.
    All the big challenges – the finding of a new and nice place to be is the first. You’ll find that you won’t need a lot of the the ‘stuff’ you thought you did.
    Being depressed, if you haven’t been before, is a weird and odd feeling to have but it will pass as long as you treat it with respect.
    I look forward to hearing how you’re getting on in the next few weeks.
    Best of everything.

  23. Do you fancy afternoon tea with a not so strange strange stranger?
    Let’s unpack that riddle soon!
    In the meantime, stay strong Lemn

  24. I hope you will feel the love of Hackney through your hard times. During the most challenging days of my life (mental health, relationship, housing, work all falling through the floor) I met the best people ever, people who had little, but would share it anyway. It was other people in the most beautiful Olympic borough who showed me their Olympic-sized hearts. Of course Northern grit helps too, but I’m sure you have that in abundance. Take care.

  25. It’s like a bereavement; not for the death of a person but for the death of all those hopes and dreams you once had. In time, Lemn, you will grieve for the loss and emerge a different but whole person again. Know that many people you have never met send you love. x

  26. Relationships for me can be harmony, disharmony and growth. Pain is certainly thrown in too. It will get better just do not know when. Plenty of self love…..and faith….something I can easily forget.

  27. Lemn, my thoughts are with you. I have seen you stand on the edge scared but willing to face it, stare at the heavens small, but strong. You have always managed to come back to earth, keep your feet on the ground. Some things take time, allow time to help you heal. Someone above said be kind to yourself they are so right.

  28. What great comments to this post, showing much kindness, wisdom and love. Hope they help keep you afloat Lemn. Let’s speak soon.

  29. I too was in my mid-forties when my 19-year marriage ended… but that’s 11 years ago, and all I know is we get through, we breathe in and out, and we do the things we do. You are such an inspiration in so many ways, I’m sure your future will come clear. Wishing you well, well,well.

  30. Lemn, two poems that can offer friendship to you at this phase of your journeying ….. Song by Adrienne Rich and Wild Geese by Mary Oliver… keep moving and find stillness in your dance. xx

  31. oh Lemn, the downside of relationships is when they end but its just the end of one chapter. Build your new life being happy being alone. Its what i did and it works for me. anything else is a bonus 🙂 i got a dog. best thing i ever did – i know with your schedule its prob not possible. just sayin. big love x joanna

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *