Dear Chump Lady,
I’m scared. Need some advice, support and a touch of bad-ass to go.
Been married to my high school sweetheart for 20 years, three kids (one at a private college and the other two in private middle school and high school — $$), 18 months out from D-Day, been separated almost a year, and I’m stuck.
I have read and re-read and read again your posts… Trust that they suck, untangling the skein, why is it so hard to leave, etc. Your blog helps immensely, as do the wonderful chumps who share their stories and perspectives, BUT, just when I feel brave, I get scared.
Logistics, really. Scared of getting an attorney (because of the expense). Is it stupid to think I can file and do the divorce without one? What about mediation or collaborative divorce? I’m serious. I need some insight here. Scared, too, because I know we will probably need to sell our house and it has been neglected because we “couldn’t afford” to fix things. Yeah, well, I couldn’t understand why we were broke, until D-Day.
My husband cheated for four years, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars CASH on his stripper girlfriend, plus ran up credit card bills that I had no idea about. And more crap that makes my head spin. He doesn’t want her, he wants our family… Ummm yaaaa… I really can’t imagine “getting over,” through, under, whatever, this. I know all he’s done is shady, but why do I go back to trying to figure him out? No one can believe what he’s done. He was not like this before…. I KNOW! You’re rolling your eyes. I have to trust that he sucks. My heart feels like it’s in a vice and I’m having panic attacks. My head is over-thinking things, but I’m pretty sure I HAVE to get a divorce. For my own good. My heart is taking longer to catch up to my head.
Please help by giving me a push off the effed up fence I’m sitting upon. Just scared because the view from up here looks crappy on both sides. Tired of doing things half-ass, please help me get my bad-ass back.
You need a lawyer like last year. I’m sorry your choices suck. We’ve all been there. But staying stuck is its own kind of choice — one that says “go ahead and keep screwing me over!” Here’s an off-color analogy. An ostrich with its head stuck in the sand, gets its ass fucked.
What do you think your husband has been doing while you’ve been on the fence? Home maintenance?
No, Nadine. He’s probably been blowing through marital assets on strippers and moving money and seeing his own attorney. You’ve been separated a year. Covering his butt and coming out of this with some advantage has probably occurred to him. He’s the entitled one here, and you’re the chump.
Time to stop being a chump and find that bad ass. A lawyer is a good place to start. Hiring a lawyer is hiring your own personal bad ass. They can help you make a plan. They can get a court order that ensures temporary support. You need to protect what assets you have left. Your husband is NOT your friend. A man who would blow HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of dollars on strippers is NOT someone who has your financial well-being at heart. You can ask for that money back in a divorce settlement — he was spending marital assets! If you won’t see a lawyer for yourself, do it for your children.
There have been many people in your shoes, who haven’t felt like they can afford a divorce. And you know what? They get divorced. I asked my lawyer once how anyone affords it, especially if the financial situation is lopsided. He replied “that’s why you have to be scrappy.” That’s why your lawyer fights.
I think your priorities are whack. And part of this fear is having to examine those priorities. Mr. Stripperlove there must’ve had a huge sense of entitlement to do what he did. And you’ve got three kids in expensive private schools. Who gets neglected here? You and the house. That situation has to change. I know you must dread doing anything to disappoint your children. Like, for instance, saving thousands and enrolling them in public schools. But it’s time to face that reality. You can’t fix what you don’t face. They may be able to get scholarships or financial aid. But you can’t figure that all out until you face reality that if you’re getting divorced, you can’t afford your former lifestyle. And neither can your kids.
Is that fair? No, of course it isn’t. But let’s be clear on this where the fault lies — with your husband and his hookers.
Don’t wear any of that shame, and don’t feel bad for imposing the consequences of HIS despicable choices. You need to get out of this and put an end to this emotionally and financially abusive situation.
There is no way to get out gently. It’s a fight. Mediation and do it yourself divorce — if it is for anyone (I’m doubtful) — is for amiable people who have no assets or custody to fight over or debts to settle. Oh, and it’s for people who aren’t married to a wing nut. You’re married to man who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on strippers (aka wing nut). This isn’t an option for you. People like your husband are NOT going to be honest brokers negotiating what’s fair for everyone. Not. Gonna. Happen.
And you’ve been in the chump mentality too long, Nadine. You need a lawyer to protect you from your own worst chump excesses. You wouldn’t recognize a shit sandwich settlement if it was served to you on Royal Doulton china. This is a job for a lawyer.
I just asked my husband (a lawyer) about this letter and he said incredulously “This is like asking — can I do heart surgery without a doctor?”
Take a credit card, a family loan, hock a piece of jewelry — and hire a pit bull attorney!
Your husband doesn’t want his family back. He wants his cake back. Don’t believe him. He’s bleating little “I’m sorry’s” because he’s doing damage control. You wouldn’t divorce a guy who’s SORRY would you? That makes you the bad guy. Part of you believes that and that’s another reason why you’re stuck.
His sorry should look like a very generous divorce settlement, assumption of all debts, and him on the ticket for his kids’ educations. Let’s see if your attorney can shake that “apology” out of him.