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Dear Chump Lady, He won’t move out

Dear Chump Lady,

Today I am a mess. Ten months ago I found out my husband was cheating. I did all the classic things and he did all the cliché things from the cheater’s handbook.

A few weeks ago, I found out that throughout the ten months his focus has been cake, so I told him we must separate. Problem is we have three kids and need to sell our house before either can feasibly move out, making no contact impossible. Just looking at his cheating, lying face makes my skin crawl. I enjoy berating him and telling him what a fucker he is but I know it is not healthy. I am trying to make it clear to him that we will never be friends. I don’t want to see him in the mornings when I wake up or in the evenings at supper. I don’t want to know his comings and goings, but he won’t leave. How can I keep a lid on my urge to attack him and lash out during this horrible time? I had a blowout at him in front of two of the kids tonight when he spoke to me as if I am the enemy and snapped at me sarcastically.



Dear Karen,

What a charming roommate you have. He cheats on you and you are the enemy? Cake withdrawal is so ugly.

Have you talked with a lawyer? I think the first thing you need to do is get legal advice about temporary support orders. That means he starts paying child support now and is legally obliged to support you while the divorce is ongoing. There are usually legal ramifications if one of you moves out, so lawyer up! He may have gotten legal advice that if he moved out it would be construed as abandonment and this would harm him. So the lawyers need to hash this out.

Expect him to fight you on everything — pricing the house, moving out of the house, co-parenting. Just stay strong and focussed on your goal. This shit is FINITE. You WILL get a divorce. You WILL sell your house. And you WILL get a new home. No one can force you to live with him indefinitely.

I had this very same problem myself in my first marriage. He would NOT move out despite all my attempts to lawyer up and buy him out. It was the longest 6 months of my life. He wanted more money from me. (Yes, a part-time employed, soon to be single mother.) And I was so desperate to divorce him, I finally gave it to him. Also he just wanted to fuck with me, and he didn’t want the divorce. I’m not sure if this worked, but this is what I finally did — I lost my shit. After spending three months dicking around on the settlement with him — that he refused to sign — I went nuclear. I told him, hey, we can negotiate this like adults and I give you way more than you are entitled to. OR, I spend it on attorneys and I ask for fucking everything. Maximum child support, 10 years of his pension, a mental health evaluation. The whole enchilada.

I was chumpy then. I thought I could nice that man into a divorce. We could (HAH!) be friends, because we had another 14 years of raising a kid together. I gave him a shitload of money, bought him out of the house, and didn’t ask for his pension, and accepted LESS than baseline support to get him to finally leave. I wish, in retrospect, I would’ve made good on my threat to take it to a judge.

When I got angry, and went on the offensive — and threatened to start listening to my lawyer instead of him — I got traction. He realized there was no game left — and he finally moved out. (And then he sued me. But that’s another story.)

You’ve got a cheater and so I would lawyer up hard and hit him where it hurts. Threaten to depose his mistress. People in his workplace. EXPOSE. I wouldn’t threaten him personally, I would have your lawyer do it for you. Your relationship with him should be totally as NC as possible — even living together. Only talk by text or email — whatever you can document. If he yells at you — leave the room. He he provokes you, don’t take the bait. Do not let him fuck with your head. Be zen. It will drive him crazy to lose control of you.

Three kids, he thinks you are vulnerable. Well, he fucked with the wrong woman. Start taking your power back. You don’t cook for him or clean for him or do any domestic anything. It’s just you and the kids. If he complains — ignore. Walk away. If he asks “what’s for dinner?” like everything is normal and you were never going to divorce him — don’t hit him with a meat cleaver. (You may fantasize about it.)

If you need to talk about the injustice, post here or talk to a therapist, or lean on a good friend. Don’t take it to him. Be as “meh” as you can muster — and I know it will be a mental battle. Focus on taking care of you and your kids.

Separated while living together is a nightmare. The only cure for it, is to get separated for real. Take it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. You WILL get to the other side. I promise.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Some of the best breakup advice I ever got was from a long-time friend who told me “Ignore him. It will be really hard for you, because you’re heart is broken right now, but ignore him. It will drive him CRAZY.”

    She was right. On both parts. This was for a breakup with my sweetheart back in high school, so it was a long time ago, but it’s still true.

    It was painful as hell to see him every day and to have to walk away from him when he tried to talk to me, but she was right. It drove him nuts that I was suddenly pretending he wasn’t there. I had to choke back tears every time I did it, but it worked.

    Eventually, months later, he finally wanted to talk about what he did to me leading up to and during the breakup and I was able to do so without crying. I could talk to him like a mature person and had the strength to hang up when he started talking about his new girlfriend (the one he started dating like, a WEEK after we broke up.)

    It hurt to lose someone that I loved very much. But it felt good to take back control of my situation. It sucked having to be around him every day until we graduated (he was in 2 of my classes and had the same group of friends).

    Physical proximity to an ex, especially when the wounds are fresh, makes it so much harder to get over it. But ignoring them does help. It will feel like walking on knives with how much it hurts, but the benefits in the end are good.

  • Great advice as usual.
    Everyone told me to take him for all he was worth. I wish I had. He wanted me to take the settlement he sent me the morning after he said he was leaving. When I got a lawyer, he said he’d drag it out and we would end up paying lawyers tens of thousands of dollars. I was lucid enough to enjoy that one. I ended up getting the house which was paid for and the furnishings I wanted. He’d made way more money than I ever did but spent it all and more on his debasements–word to the wise: do not have completely separate finances. I was anxious about my attorney fees–I put down a $3,000 retainer which seemed like a fortune to in the state I was in.
    I do wish I had screwed him over good. At the time, I felt sorry that he’d have to live in diminished circumstances. How screwed up was my thinking?!!
    Listen to the ChumpLady. She knows best. Lawyer up and be ruthless. You and your children deserve it.

  • Karen: about 10 mos ago my H of 23 yrs told me he had recconected on facebook with an old girlfriend,wanted to divorce me and marry her. Told me “This time next year I’ll be married to her”. Shocked, heartbroken. I saw a lawyer ( he doesn’t know this) have been seeing a therapist (he doesn’t know this either). Told him if he wanted a divorce see a lawyer. We are still living together; separate rooms. we have no children. I continue to cook and clean. I have a full time job. Fortunately our hours are such that we don’t have to spend alot of time together. I pretty much ignore him. He is the drama queen in this relationship, if he tries to start a fight I tell him “Go have an arguement with yourself.” I have a script for a low dose antidepressant if I need it (don’t take it too often) He has not made 1 move towards getting a divorce ( I have agreed to mediation but you need to go to court you need to see a lawyer today!) This annoys me since he is the one who is the cheating whore. It is mostly an emointional affair. They have their secret cell phone and text and talk at odd hours. They rarely (and I mean rarely) see each other. Quite frankly I don’t see what she is getting out of this. She is pathetic and not well off and sees my H as her ticket out. Start making a plan. These are my suggestions and what I have been doing the last 10 ms
    1. saw a lawyer
    2. ongoing appointments with a therapist for me not for marriage counseling
    3. got all my finacial papers together, copies of everything and they are stored off sight.
    4. check his credit report; make sure there are no secret bank accounts ect..
    5. checked out alternative living arrangements.
    a plan of action and action doing it will give you back your power.

  • Karen, be very careful. You are adversaries now, and every single thing you do, and every word out of your mouth, will be under the microscope when you get into court (potentially). This is so hard, this living together in this phase, I personally couldn’t do it, and my mother let me move into her basement!
    I’m extremely sarcastic, and I understand the joy of telling him what a fuckin cheater he is, every chance you get, I get it! I tell my X – you’re just a Slut. But, my sons are all adults. I think you need to tone it way down, if yours are young. You want to win this game, and when I was in your shoes I would constantly tell myself- take the high road, have more class than him (and his OW). What I’m trying to say is – don’t say anything mean or cruel in front of your kids right now. It might haunt you later. You have to almost become a robot woman, with an agenda to be above reproach once you get down to negotiating in court. Being the one who has the self-control will never fail you.
    I think what helped me the most was to look down the road at my new life, and realize you can NEVER make sense of the old life you thought you had. It was fake. So just forget that, and work towards the future life with just you and kids. Hang in there!

    • “You are adversaries now…”

      Thanks PattyToo, that’s good advice. Kelly told me a while back to think of it as a business deal from here on out. I’m being that robot person until we can separate and I can say it is not easy. I don’t know what toll it’s taking on my fragile psyche; but, for the sake of my daughters I’m gambling that I can survive it and that it will have been worth it. I’m absolutely TERRIFIED of the next few months but its time to get to it.

      Hang in there Karen. You’re not alone.

  • Karen–what PattyToo said. Watch it. Protect yourself, get out of the house as much as you can (it’s what I do), if he enters a room you leave it, if he talks or tries to be charming, you walk away.

    Mine does this childish talk thing, he uses our daughter like they are a “team”, almost siblings and I am the parent. That used to work, but now I just see it for what it is…he wants me to get over it and go back to allowing him to do whatever it is he pleases at my expense.

    This reminds me of “The War of the Roses”…where Kathleen Turner says, “Every time I see you, I just want to smash your face in!” It’s so difficult, isn’t it? Looking at that person that you allowed to touch you intimately and wondering to yourself, how could I ever have let you near me!

    Just don’t run his car over (with him in it) with your monster truck. He’s not worth going to jail over. I know mine isn’t.

  • I agree with Patty Too. While it’s tempting to rake him over the coals, the kids are there, and any scenes that you make could/can/and will be used against you. Lawyer up, get good advice, and then proceed from there. CL is right (as always). He still owes you support even before divorce. Anyway, get the right advice, keep as much emotional distance as possible, don’t give in to anger, and make sure all your moves are STRATEGIC, not emotional. A lawyer can give you the best advice on that. Good luck! You will get through this, as CL says.

  • CL is right, lawyer up. Don’t let the lawyer tell you not to file, this guy, he is pulling the power and control by refusing to leave the home when you agree you will divorce. File immediately, it takes months to reach a court date and by filing you create a deadline by which he settles or you both spend big bucks. It also means you can get preliminary rulings. It may not get him out of the house but it will send clear message you are not changing your mind and eliminates any issues with desertion on his part. Ask lawyer can you get support to move yourself if he won’t leave. Get ruthless, he already has, cut no slack, give no empathy, treat him like the enemy he is showing himself to be. Some of the worst mistakes I made were to treat my ex well when he was only interested in how much money he could get and obstructing the divorce to keep control of me.

  • I lived with my husband for about four weeks after he told me about his affair and that he wanted a divorce. Longest four weeks of my life. It was like living hell. I finally found out about all of his dick pics sent to other women and his responses to Craigslist sex ads. I told him to leave and he would never be allowed back in our house overnight. It’s still his house too but he must have thought that I had leverage because he did as I asked. It’s not healthy to be living with someone in that situation. Hope you get a lawyer soon and can get him out or can move yourself. It’s enough to drive you crazy…or make you homicidal. Good luck.

  • Karen: You can do this! I had to live with my wasband for 10 months after d-day… first we had to sell the house; then we moved (together….) to an apartment. Finally, two weeks ago I moved to my own sweet spot…just as I said once, past “Integrity” (architects) , “Boundaries” (therapy co-op), cross the water where the bad things cannot follow…and I’m home.

    Still unpacking, and I had to quit my job. My (former) boss turned out to be a raging NPD–actually worse than wasband. She was spreading lies and gossip about to others at work, calling them at home to say, “my personal life was making me so angry I just couldn’t be trusted…”. But that’s another story, another topic.

    I lawyered up, got some financial security, got my little house. And I’m on my way.

    To what I’m not sure, but I know I’m going there.

    I got a tattoo last December, Mehitabel the cat. (From Archy & Mehitabel, by Don Marquis) Her song goes:

    “my youth i shall never forget
    but there s nothing i really regret
    wotthehell wotthehell
    there s a dance in the old dame yet
    toujours gai toujours gai

    the things that i had not ought to
    i do because i ve gotto
    wotthehell wotthehell
    and i end with my favorite motto
    toujours gai toujours gai”

    There is indeed a dance in the old dame yet.

    Living with the rat bastard is very, very hard, but just remember you need to practice emotion management to get what you need eventually, and you & the kids will be fine. Eyes on the long term prize.

    I promise. You’ll get there.

    (((good luck)))

  • Karen,

    There’s a lot of us that feel your circumstances. It is a shit sandwich of the highest magnitude.

    If you’d ever like to talk, mssg me on FB.

  • I made a lot of mistakes in the wake of dday, believe me, but one thing I did right was kick him out. Sure, I hated doing it and I wanted him to come back home so much at times but I never wavered in the decision: he had to live somewhere else while having an affair. I wasn’t going to live with someone who was dating while married to me.

    We’re now divorced and I can honestly say that everything is much better, other than the continued financial problems. But that I can live with – I’m slowly getting it together – what I couldn’t live with was him while he was banging other people.

    I really strongly recommend you lawyer up and get him out, for your own sake and for the sake of your kids. Let him and everyone else know that you don’t play this game.

  • Hi Everyone. I found this site last week while searching for answers about co-parenting with my ex…. wow, so glad I did. Even though I have been divorced for three years from a cheater, reading the comments has been very validating, to say the least! Today I have a question rather than a comment. Does anyone out there have any great advise for how to deal with an ex who, inadvertantly? exposed my kids to pornography. Most recently, my 12 year old daughter. She is disgusted and does not want to see him anymore, however we have a court order that says she has to spend about 10% of her time with him. He is threatening to take me to court to try to force the issue.

    • Yikes KDL! I think that goes beyond advice from friends. That’s a serious legal matter that you need to discuss with a family attorney. This is going to get ugly but your daughter needs you.

      • It turns out, at least in California, that my ex would have to be an “off the charts” offender for the legal system to sit up and pay attention. My son is 15, my daughter almost 13, so despite the court ordered visitation, they both can now speak to the judge on their own behalf if it comes to that. My issue has more to do with communicating to my ex in a way that conveys the seriousness of his negligent behavior (and no, this is not his first offense) without pissing him off to the point that he drags me into court. I thought there might be people here who have young children, & an ex with a “sexual addiction” who have gone down this path.

        • “My issue has more to do with communicating to my ex in a way that conveys the seriousness of his negligent behavior (and no, this is not his first offense) without pissing him off to the point that he drags me into court.”

          I think you may need to prepare yourself with the idea that no matter how non-accusatory you present it, he’s probably going to flip out.

          One very helpful thing the first MC told me was that “he’s going to do whatever he’s going to do, irregardless of anything you do or don’t do”.

          You can’t make him to drag you into court, and you can’t prevent him from dragging you into court.

          Though I would love to be a fly on the wall when he has to explain to the judge that he’s dragging you into court because he exposed your daughter to porn…..

          I hope the knowledge that you have no control over his behavior means you also have no responsibility for his behavior helps a bit.

          • Yes, that does help. Thank you! Even though I know I’m doing the right thing for my daughter, my ex’s threats still get to me. At the end of the day, I think the best advise on dealing with an NPD ex is what I’ve read all over this site…don’t respond to his BS, just ignore him as if he does not exist! Thanks.

    • Let him take you to court and then explain why your daughter prefers to not spend time with him. Exposing a 12 year old to porn is unbelievable.

    • The reason I say that is that you said “most recently” so it’s not a one-time thing; and it bothered your daughter enough to not want to go back. Some people consider the magazine Maxim to be pornography but that doesn’t sound like what we’re talking about here.

    • My advice is to talk with a lawyer and see what can be done.

      You say that he inadvertently exposed her to porn, which is very unfortunate, but I’m not sure that in and of itself that’s enough to have his visiting rights withdrawn.

      What’s more telling is that it sounds as if your daughter really doesn’t like her father in the first place. To me, this suggests some kind of relationship issue, with the porn discovery being more of a tipping point. I’m not at all convinced that forcing his daughter to spend time with him when she clearly dislikes him is a good idea. Certainly it won’t repair their relationship.

      Maybe a lawyer can help negotiate a better alternative for the near future so as to give your Ex a chance to repair his relationship with his daughter. I realize as I write this that encouraging a child to have a relationship with a cheating Ex is a real shit sandwich.

  • Thanks to everyone for the advice. Unfortunately, I have already been way too “nice” (besides the berating him which is not in front of the kids) but it definitely feels wrong. I have seen a lawyer but haven’t formalized the agreement yet. I will do it this week – taking your advice – and try to further limit conversation in the house. Hope it’s not too late. My kids are very sensitive though so I try to make it as easy as possible for them – if I am quiet they continuously ask me what’s wrong. Yup – it’s a giant shit sandwich but I will try to focus on the future when I am out of this craptastic situation for good.

    • How aware are your kids of what is going on Karen? Have y’all talked to them yet?

      • The kids know we are separating. Our oldest is 20 and knows why we are separating. She is at university so only lives at home part time. Middle is 15 and he knows what he has overheard and because teenagers know things. Youngest is 11 and having a very difficult time. She is very angry and takes it out on me mostly. They are all hurting and don’t understand their father’s distancing from them over the past two year period. I feel that we should sit together with them probably with a counselor and tell them the truth. He is very resistant to them knowing about the cheating. I can understand that 11 may be too young to understand but certainly 15 and 20 deserve the truth. I think he is still sooo protective of the howorker and that is why he doesn’t want them to know the truth. I feel they deserve honesty after unknowingly participating in this lie for all this time. It is such a shit show that it is hard know what to do about anything.

        • I’m so sorry for you and your kids Karen. I really feel your pain in this shit show and half the time I don’t know what to do either. I hope y’all find peace (especially your youngest daughter).

        • Of course he doesn’t want his kids to know about the cheating. If they know then they will know that he blew up their family for some fresh nookie. And then he looks like the asshole. Which he is. Don’t let him control the narrative or next thing you know he’ll either blame you for ‘driving’ him away or he’ll try the ‘the marriage was crumbling anyway’ excuse. Don’t editorialise but certainly tell your kids (and the 11 year old can handle it, trust me) that dad was dating while married and that’s simply not ok.

          • Nord, spot on. “Of course he doesn’t want his kids to know about the cheating. If they know then they will know that he blew up their family for some fresh nookie. And then he looks like the asshole. Which he is.”

            Your statement is exactly why I have remained silent…up to this point. My continued silence is a valuable commodity in his eyes and serves me like a little savings account. The longer I remain silent, the more valuable it becomes. When I am ready to make my move, he will taken off guard, surprised and on the defensive. Exactly where I will find my strongest advantage. Time will have allowed him to “almost” forget, that no one “knows.” Unlike the situation to which you are referring, his children are grown and do not care for him in the first place and he would be devestated to think they knew what he is really like. The asshole, which he is.

            • Yoder – How do you plan to spend this “savings account”? Threaten to expose him if he won’t agree to divorce terms?

              I, too, have kept silent about my STBX’s affair. Pretty much still a huge secret. I have a feeling that this “secret” could help me when it comes time to file and decide custody (my kids are pre-K) but I’m not sure how to leverage it?

              • Duck, here we are again, trying to get our “ducks” lined up. LOL

                When I begin planning I never know if it is going to blow up in my face, or not, but so far, everything has worked like clock work. The main thing is that element of surprise. I don’t threaten him with anything. He keeps talking about, “Later, when we whatever,” and I just say, “Right now, just worry about getting better.” I also make no promises. If he even mentions “us” I snap back, “There is no “us.” This just keeps him on his toes and makes him wonder where he stands. He isn’t sure right now. I ran off OW for good so he does not have her to run to, even if he was healthy enough to do so. He is totally dependent on me. So, I have an edge. There is also an advantage to being his care giver and that is I know every phone call he makes and he goes nowhere that I do not take him.

                What I want to do is keep him so subservient for long enough, that he will be afraid, literally scared to death for me to leave. I would even be so mean as to promise to take care of him if we divorced and then I would boot him out. I will use the “go public” with OW depositions and his family, to keep the fear factor going, to let him know I am dead serious about a divorce on my terms. And throw in all the e-mails, texts, etc. I keep finding a little ammunition here and there…just saving it up for the day when I contact my attorney and tell him “it’s time.” He has been on alert and has drawn up papers to file, when the time is right.

                I guess what I am saying is that if he balks at any of the terms/conditions of the divorce I file, I have some things that will a.) surprise him, throw him off guard and b.) will scare the jeebies out of him.

                Am hoping I have enough to make him want to run as fast as he can.

          • Thanks Nord! That is exactly what my gut told me to do. I can’t wait forever so I told the older two and you are probably right about the 11-year-old. Yesterday when she was asking if I was okay – she said” I expect you not to lie to me.”

        • Karen your children are not little and in tune with what is going on and have probably heard this happening to friends you don’t have to shield them. They know more than you give them credit for. Counseling for maybe the 11 year old if she wants it. The 20 year old is a woman and can handle it I think. 15 year old boy too. But you know them better; I am just going on what happened in my family: Father a serial cheater 3 daughters 4 and 3 years apart. We handled it well and were glad to see Dad gone. You need to be strong and take care of yourself it is the best thing you can do for your children

        • Hi Karen,
          It is tough, I know. You need to tell the 11 yr old. Keep it simple.
          Originally I agreed to not tell the kids about the cheating, but that I would not lie if asked. An acquaintance is a prof of psych, specializing in children of divorce. She said if I want the kids to have a good relationship with their father in the future, to not mention the cheating. She also told exH and I that she would not forgive us/talk to us again if we moved away from the children, as that is the worst thing you can do.
          Two weeks again I told my kids, 10 and 13, the truth. Their father and the fiancée (baby on the way) were boyfriend and girlfriend before we decided to divorce.
          That’s it. It came up as a part of a related conversation, so I did not do it out of the blue. My 13 yr old’s response when I said I worried about giving her this information: lies are bad.
          And it really is sad, as apparently 13 yr old specifically asked if then girlfriend had anything to do with the divorce, and exH lied and told her no.

          ExH is getting remarried in August, 4.5 months post divorce finalization. The kids HAVE NOT YET MET HER (well, via Skype last week, and will meet in person in 1.5 weeks).
          Kids are not invited to the wedding, as 13 yr old refuses to go, so 10 yr old is not permitted to come. Baby due in October, and they all move overseas in January. My heart aches for my children. ExH actions demonstrate how little he cares about his children.

          I decided to tell because I do not want them to be 4th generation chumps/cheaters.
          I want them to understand that marriage sometimes takes effort, and is not always head over heels. I want them to understand what REAL love is…

          ExH and I have gone to the kids therapist together and discussed how to talk to the kids, etc. it is all in the divorce decree: slow introduction to the other woman, no living together for at least 12 months after kids meet her, now to include the kdis in the wedding to show they kids will be a aprt of jis new life, etc. ExH gave it lip service, but totally blew off the therapist’s recommendations.
          Best way to avoid the slow introduction: get married! Then everything is out the window.

          Anyway, sit the kids down, tell them the truth, and keep it simple. Not judgmental, just the facts, ma’am.

  • WOW! I never thought of this. “Threaten to depose his mistress. People in his workplace. EXPOSE.”

    You can’t imagine what a nightmare this would be for washusband and his family, not to mention what it would do to the Sooooo respectable (?) OW and her family. Go public? Gee, that will certainly get his attention. Just threatening to send them all the e-mails, texts, etc., was huge in my mind. Dragging all this up again, formally, by deposition, really would scare him to death. Thanks, just the kind of friendly advice to pick up my Sunday.

    • Yoder, My attorney sent certified letters to the OW and her idiot husband on the Friday before my divorce trial on Monday. The letters were a polite request for their presence at our trial to plan on being asked to testify on my behalf as to the denigration of our marriage (ahem!). Per the ex he was ready for a fight, until the day of the trial. A little angel must have come down and tapped him on his shoulder to make him see the benefit of his agreeing to the settlement offer proposed by my attorney, for there was no trial, no need for testimony, and no whore and whore husband at the courthouse that day. We went through the questions, signed papers, and it was done. I would have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall at their house when those letters arrived certified, and when she called the idiot to tell him to back me off of them!! And for them to have to wait the weekend out to see if they could bail on testifying? That was sweet, indeed! I saw nothing, I heard nothing, and I can only imagine the angst those letters caused! Beautiful!

      • Cindy, that rocks! That element of surprise, coupled with fear of forced public confrontation did the trick. As they do not know what we are thinking, we have an element of knowledge of which they are totally unaware. My washusband has done nothing but bega and plead for forgiveness and constantly worry about being publicly exposed. As time passes, he thinks I a.) either am weakening or b.) am beginning to forget and or forgive. How rediculous! I am plotting…BIG difference. I have learned to protect myself the best way I know how. Thanks for yet another incredibly useful piece of advice.

  • Most women don’t get how war-like the men get regarding divorce. Trust me, he’s probably already lawyered up and knows that the way to really hurt you is through the kids.

    I was a legal naïf. Here’s what my ex’s strategy was:
    1. Dry up money saying business was bad so that I would go get a job so he wouldn’t have to pay support. Fortunately I had other sources of income coming in that allowed the kids and I to get by while he worked through his “business problems” Unfortunately, this allowed him to amass a huge off the books divorce war chest. This went on for about 2 years before he moved out on his own so he could play house with his honey who had left her husband for him (God bless her!)

    2. Try nicely to get a stipulated settlement (out of court) so that I wouldn’t have the power of the state behind me in trying to enforce anything.

    3. Try to get me to file first. Women try to be so nice and accommodating…… In my state (check your own statutes) the court will not award joint custody unless both parents agree to it. Should I have filed first and asked for joint custody (just trying to be nice, since it never occurred to me to use my kids as pawns) he would have answered my filing by asking for sole custody. He has a number of acquaintances that have done this, and the poor women (literally and figuratively) have lost custody of their kids if they don’t have what it takes to endure a custody fight. I was lucky to have a lawyer who was wise to this trick. So I did unto him what he was planning to do unto me: answered asking for sole custody and that was that. Since he had moved out, the child custody mediator said “he basically gave you sole custody anyway by leaving” Whew. It was that easy and I can’t say how much it has made ALL the difference not to have to deal with his screwy input and controlling agenda regarding the kids.

    From the time he moved out until the time he filed was an whole year. When the settlement negotiations didn’t go so well, I threatened to bring in the church men’s group to help mediate things. He filed right away. Didn’t want any of the narrative he used with his friends to be questioned.

    I also credit my pastor for shepherding me through the process, although his approach was biblical. He said: “This is a spiritual matter, and if XXXX wants a divorce, I suggest you let him file.” So I just dug in my heels. Fortunately, OW had this screaming biological clock going off, so they celebrated his filing by getting pregnant. That put additional pressure on him to grant me what I wanted in order to get the process over with before I found out about the pregnancy. (didn’t work)

    • I feel sorry for the baby. Poor love child, with a creepy manipulator dad and a morally bankrupt mom. Sigh- people, stop having kids as toys, little playthings for your amusement in the relationship made of cheating and lies. Such a gross idea!

      • The kid looks like Dennis the Menace and is still in diapers at age 4.

        Karma Train should be pulling in to the station in about 8 or 9 more years.

  • I’m a chump, trying not to be, and I’m having a really tough day, going no contact today, not finding much funny, but laughed out loud when I read “Cake withdrawal is so ugly.”Amen, Chump Lady. You are so wise and I am so sorry that you had to endure everything you went through to get that wise. I would like to be this wise someday and help others out of the slime and muck. I am grateful for your blog and your presence and your wisdom.

  • Mine will not leave the house (I filed in March) and I have been told that by law he does not have to. He is a p.o.s. cop. So, he lives in the basement like a troll…… Hopefully he will be out for good in September as that is when everything should be final. I just ignore him – have not looked at him in over a year. I have no respect for him. It is horrible for the kids but a lesson in consequences for them. Their fathers actions impacted everyone. The benefit is that my children see how he treats me, no courtesy, no consideration, no nothing – just his selfish ways. And I then get the opportunity to remind the kids that their father is setting a very bad example of how to treat others. Plus, since some of the neighbors are now aware, they would all like to beat the crap out of him. Instead he will have to live with the I know you are a piece of shit fraud, phoney, etc., etc, glances that he gets and the gossip about him. Is it bad that I almost find it amusing? His poor image….. Poof!!

  • I sure do understand what you are going through. I lived with my ex (woo hoo- he’s officially and EX husband as of last thursay) for almost 6 weeks after I had hired a lawyer and filed for divorce and it sucked hugely! But, I survived it and you will too. Just do your best to limit contact with him and talk to him only when you absolutely have to. Whenever my Ex has tried to suck me into a convo (be it in person or more often via text) about anything other than the kids or the divorce, I would simply not answer. When he went on rants about how I wasn’t a loving wife, how I forced him to cheat, or when he would be feeling sorry for himself and how hard this was for him…. crickets. What time are you picking up the kids? Do you want the grill? things that this are the only times I would respond. Its sooo hard not to fire back a response when they are spewing all this bullshit and lies, but its way better for your sake to just ignore him.

    By all means, get a lawyer and file for divorce. My ex thought he could win his way back into my graces, but once I filed and started packing up his stuff for him (yes, I really did) he figured out that this time I was done for good. I chose to be fair in the divorce, and did not try to get everything I could just because I could. Yes, he’s a lying, cheating shithead. But, I did what I felt was right and fair for my own peace of mind. Its wasn’t for him, it was for me. I have not and will not ever trash talk him in front of our kids. Whatever my feelings are for him, he is their father and they love him. If I tear him apart, then the kids will feel like guilty for loving their dad and that’s not right. My kid’s relationship with their dad is just that – their relationship. It shouldn’t be colored by how I feel about him.

    But do get a lawyer and protect your rights and your childrens, because its obvious this asshole will do what most of them do – worry only about himself. Hang in there, it does get better.

  • Living with a STBX is hard. It really sucks. See a lawyer and figure out what you need to do. In my state, we had to be separated for a period of time before a divorce would be granted. Separated can still be living together, and my lawyer told me whatt I could and could not do. Even if living together, do not have meals together. Sure, he could wander in and sit at the table, but don’t plan for him, don’t set a place for him, don’t leave a plate out for him. Don’t do his laundry. Don’t shop for his personal stuff, etc. And definitely no sex! (as if you’d even want that!) Talk to a lawyer, cuz living in limbo sucks even more if it is causing delays for the inevitable divorce.

  • Keep posting everyone! I feel an inch stronger every time I read your stories and feel less alone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. <3

    • Karen, you are not alone. Unfortunately, there are thousands of us out there and it is by the grace of Chump Lady that we are coming together to mutually share our stories, our heart aches and finding a healing community of Chumps.

  • Worst 4 -5 months of my lifr. post discovery and before she and her affair partner had their lair set up. I had to take xanax every ngith before arriving home from work.
    There is nothing you can do to force them out.And, obviously, it is a mistake to expect shame or guitl to motivate them to move out. They have none.
    For a lot of betrayed men, in addition to having no shot at custody, a cheating woman will ,often, try to either provoke you or will make up false allegations of abuse. But, if you leave , in order to avoid this danger, you get hit with the “abandonment” allegation.
    I think any betrayed man, in particular, should have a voice activated recorder with him at all times post D-day.

    • “I think any betrayed man, in particular, should have a voice activated recorder with him at all times post D-day.”
      Probably a good idea. Although, according to my attorney, the courts where I live take allegations of domestic violence very warily and need proof. Otherwise, the accusation often back-fires on the accuser, and the *accuser* can lose custody. Just saying it’s worth looking into by your local attorney, as they will know the courts/judges of the area and their tolerance for no-proof charges. On the one hand, I’m glad that false-accusers are stopped, but on the other hand, it becomes harder to get justice for someone who is actually abusing. Tough balancing act, I guess.

      I am preemtively going to record all phone calls with my STBX, for my protection. If/when he threatens me, I will have more than just my own recollection of the conversation. Might work in your case, too. Not just to protect yourself from false allegations, but to catch your ex if she says anything threatening to you. If it’s legal in your state to record (it is in mine).

      • Its a catch-22 situation.

        I do believe in cases where it is a false allegation–well, there’s a special place in hell for men or women who make up lies like that to try to get custody.

        On the other hand, sometimes the victim of abuse does not even understand they are being abused until far too late to document the evidence.

        I still remember sitting in the doctor’s office with busted ribs; I had a doctor, two nurses & an x-ray technician trying to get me to come clean with how I had managed to get two hairline fractures. Meanwhile, Andy’s playing with our 3 year old in the waiting room.

        I’ve since been told that if I had reported everything at that time, well, he would have been looking at a prison sentence, and I would be back home with my family & sole custody today.

        But it was almost 4 years *after* that incident –requiring several stern talkings to from my attorney, my medical doctor & my psychologist — to help me understand just how far off the reservation we had gone.

        The only evidence I have today is a sole xray, a broken door, and a number of rescheduled doctor’s appointments when I was too bruised up to see anyone who might report the injuries. Unless you factor in his behavior since then, or that the AP has also developed unexplained injuries; or that she has started the same self-doubting conversations that I used to have….. Or the number of books on psychology of manipulation & control which he owned when I met him. Or that AP is serious girlfriend #15 (or #17 or #18, depending on if the EAs count as g/fs).

        And suddenly I am feeling really stupid…..

        • I hear where you are coming from, Blue Eyes. It happens so slowly that you don’t realize how bad it is, until later when you look back and think “WTF was I thinking to put up with that?!” My STBX didn’t hit me, but he did other crazy things, plus verbal emotional abuse. Yay, fun times. Hindsight is 20/20.

  • Karen – I hear what you are going through. I feel for you. It is emotional hell that you have to experience first-hand to even describe.

    I lived with my husband for 6 months after dday, and continued to watch in heartbreak as he went on dates with the OW and continued his rude comments to me, to boot. I went to his family reuinion and put on a happy face, all while he was texting his OW from our cabin. It was a very long 6 months. I didn’t want to see his face. I didn’t want to breathe his air. I didn’t want him to see me naked when I dressed. For the purpose of (false) reconcilliation, I didn’t tell him all the nasty things I wanted to say to him (such has how he was being selfish, and how much he hurt me). Then, after I realized he wasn’t going to stop cheating, I kept quiet in order to make my exit. But it was really, really tough. I took the “high road”, and I suppose I’m glad I did that. But it was emotionally draining and I don’t know if I would do it over again. It was just so hard. In the end, though, everyone is right about watching what you say, especially around the kids. You need to protect yourself.

  • I think they take a lot of satisfaction in seeing you react with pain and anger.
    I , intuitively, knew just what an ego stroke it would be for my XW to see me pissed and hurt.
    So, I just acted as if I could not care less. Nor did I bother the OM, as all she needed was to see two men fighting over her to be further gratified.
    These people are, frankly, pigs, egomaniacal pigs. Actually, that is an insult to pigs.
    But, they are very evil, bad people, these cheaters. These are not folks to be trifled with as most are psychopaths.

  • OMG, Karen, I can’t imagine how hard this would be! NC was the only thing that saved my sanity after Dday, even though I had to see the ex on weekends for several months so he could be with the kids (he didn’t have his own place yet, was out of town for work during the week). You must feel like throwing up half the time!

    I agree, lawyer up, and then act as if he were invisible, for anything except business. He may still be living in the house, but when he walks in a room, you walk out. No meals together ‘as a family’ – he already threw that family in the garbage. Any communication not related to ‘business’ you ignore completely.

    BTW, I’ve changed by sign-in to KarenE, so there’s no confusion!

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