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Dear Chump Lady, I wish I’d filed

Hi Chump Lady,

So I have dealt with this mess awhile as I have health issues and an idiot alcoholic. I am finally on Prozac, which I am angry about having to be on as I like to be real in my life, but anyway.

I wanted to give you a tidbit of stupidness that is still being said to me, it is like he never ever progressed, at all, it is like he is being taught what to say to me.

It started today when I had to call about money, and instead of being able to be rational (ok hit me I should just have filed, I get it, I see it now) anyway he is spewing, instead of talking about the bill.

1. I’m not going to do what you want…. to this I say, what the hell do I want you to do?

He says:

2. I’m not going to stop the affair. You aren’t going to get what you want.

I say we are going to have to file for bankruptcy … to which he says — I sent the money you will get it. (This is for our daughter in case she needs surgery.)

Then it turned very ugly. He threatened to take all the money and I said just file…

The fucking bastard, I contacted my daughters and told them he is filing.

That bitch OW who is 50 and never married, no kids is sitting like a spider, and she is just waiting.

And I was an army wife, which okay the army brainwashes the families to forget they matter too.

And what he said that really pisses me off, after all this he says:

“I won’t stop, it just happened, and I won’t stop, no you can’t make me!” I swear to God.

So pissed, I am so pissed. He has royally screwed up our finances is taking money. I have no money to file, the stupid OW thinks I am holding this up and shit for brains is just playing with all of our lives.

Our girls are in college, he has nothing I mean NOTHING to do with them while this has gone on ….

I should have filed the second I heard, but noooooo I found Marriage Advocates and thanks to their stupid ass advice on how I can save my marriage and he is wayward, this HAS GONE ON YEARS!

I FAILED my girls looking so stupid.

Tess

Dear Tess,

Hey, it’s never too late to divorce this jerk. He’s just telling the girls he’s filing. Has he actually DONE it? My guess is he is a triangulating asshole — hurts the girls to hurt you. He’s had nothing to do with them, but then calls them out of the blue to say he’s divorcing you? What a delightful person. Why can’t you just gift wrap him and send him to the OW immediately?

And he’s an alcoholic with money troubles? Her bliss will be complete!

Tess, you need to get scrappy and get a lawyer. Your husband is financially abusing you, and you need a lawyer to protect yourself. A domestic abuse hotline might also help — he’s being verbally and financially abusive, plus you’ve got the drinking. He doesn’t have to hit you for it to be abuse. So start placing some calls and get yourself OUT of this mess!

I’m not a lawyer, but what I suspect would happen is your lawyer would file a temporary support order immediately, which will force your husband by court order to pay your expenses. After all, it isn’t HIS money — it’s both of yours by LAW. The lawyer could work on a contingency fee basis (which means they don’t get paid until you get paid), and you can pay them with the court-ordered money. A domestic abuse organization may be able to put you in touch with lawyers who work contingency.

You can also take a loan from family, sell some jewelry (wedding ring comes to mind), use a credit card — it’s time to get resourceful. You need to get OUT of this situation pronto. As I’ve said here before — your house is on fire. Don’t stand there smelling smoke, wondering what it all means — RUN OUT OF THE BURNING HOUSE!

This is a crisis. You need to act like you’re in crisis. If he doesn’t file, don’t go back to “normal” — which it appears is he eats cake, you go hat and hand to him for things, and he threatens you when you get uppity. NO. Start taking back your power. YOU set the tune. HE dances. He already filed? Great! You’re one step closer to divorce and he’s paying for it. His lawyer knows the law, he’s not going to let your husband deprive you of financial support to pay the bills. That’s one sane, professional person telling your husband sensible things.

Any monies your husband spent on the affair can be asked back for in a divorce. So start getting all your evidence and financial documents together and start placing some calls!

As to your husband and the “you’re not the boss of me!” bleating? It’s what these people DO. That’s the real him, Tess. THAT guy. He doesn’t think the rules conform to him. You can’t make him! He’s in it for himself. Stop arguing with him. You get a lawyer and you go no contact. That is how you deal with his shit.

Oh, and I’m glad you mentioned Marriage Advocates and those other Reconciliation Industrial Complex (RIC) quacks. The problem with their advice is those idiots want you to stand in the burning building. They refuse to acknowledge that infidelity is a crisis and you need to protect yourself. The cheater is the arsonist. Staying in a marriage when someone is actively abusing you — continuing to lie, cheat, steal — is arming you with a squirt gun and telling you to put out the fire yourself.

No, you run out of the burning building and you call the professionals to put it out. Call a lawyer, Tess. Do it today!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Tess, what CL said, and I might just add, use all that anger now. It is filling you up for a reason, to get you out of the burning house!

    • And let’s think why infidelity is a crisis. Put aside, for a moment, the very real and hideously painful emotional and psychological consequences of infidelity. In committed relationships (and most especially in marriage), partners rely on each other when they obtain mortgages, car loans, save for childrens’ education, plan for retirement, and insure against catastrophic expense (all forms of insurance, including medical). The cheating partner/spouse has demonstrated by his or her actions no loyalty to that financial partnership. So everything a faithful partner has relied on to secure the family’s financial foundation (even if it is a family of two) is now at risk, unstable. And every day that passes creates more risk, more instability, and fewer resources to deal with the crisis. One of the many great unfairnesses of infidelity is at the very time when you, the faithful, betrayed partner is at a lifetime low in emotional strength, you are called on to fight to save yourself and likely the kids, as well. So the moment a spouse steps off the path of fidelity and truth–bang! Separate. Tote up the assets. Get support. If there is some obscure chance of reconciliation, the Cheater getting hit with real consequences is the best way to effect that. But that puts the work on the Cheater, not you, the faithful–who have lined up your ducks and are getting on with your life–with no need to beg, negotiate or do the “pick me” dance–including the grieving of what has been lost.

  • Tess: I first wrote to CL 1 1/2 yrs ago when I found out about my H’s EA. He too asked for a divorce and in my state divorce is very easy so I said go ahead, I in the meantime went to alawyer, lined up my ducks. Circumstances have kept me here He never saw a lawyer; told the OW I was holding things up. Long story short the OW moved on to the next man and we are in a false reconciliation. I wish I had listened when CL told me I should have made the first move when I first found out I would be out of this mess by now. I am so not in favor of Prozac; I have trouble feeling my anger or expressing it but anger fuels the fire and you need it to get out now. Channel it to actions. See a lawyer NOW.

    • PS: we as women are taught to tamp down our anger, to be compliant and I bet those reconciliation sights push that too. Anger turned inward is depression. Also for myself when I had a fight with my H he could get so much more angry than I could it was pointless. This is my issue plus the feeling that as a spiritual woman anger is such a negative emotion. Hard to get past this but don’t be angry at yourself turn it into a positive energy by getting yourself out of this mess.

      • Yes, anger is your friend in this situation, Tess. I agree with Janet. And it is righteous anger to be angry at a lying, cheating, and disrespecting spouse.

        Listen to CL and don’t beat yourself up too much about past mistakes…feel the anger and allow that to motivate you forward. God has given us anger for moments like these.

  • Run! Flee!

    Ok, so you bought into RIC. It was a waste of time. You were doing what you thought was best at the time with the information you had.

    Now you have new and better information. Do what’s best now.

    You may want to tap into Al-anon as well.

  • FYI, Tess, In general, lawyers in at least some states (Michigan, for one, where I practice law) cannot work on a contingent fee arrangement in divorce cases. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get divorced but you may have to make a different payment arrangement. Your local bar association should have a lawyer referral service that will help you find representation that you can afford.

  • Tess,

    Military wives unite! Make sure you get your share of the retirement!

    Look into the Merrell Factors. Even in “no-fucking-fault’ states, the Merrell Factors change the divide. If you are ill and unable to work, you get more of the marital estate.

    I woke and realized my X was fucking some other man’s wife. I changed the locks. You want her. You can have her and she you! I was in shock and I deserved/deserve more. We all do. You do. Change the dynamic. Mine was emotionally abuse and a serial cheater but I trusted him. I wanted to believe that he was honest and faithful. Once I got out of the fog, I saw him for who he is: a lying, fucking scumbag. He had been lying to me for years and he thought he’d be able to continue like that. I was his cover. I kept the home fires burning while he had his pieces of ass on the side.

    I am so glad that I finally realized that I am worthy of respect.

    Thank God! I’m free!

    Be the powerful woman that you are.

  • Tess, I am so sorry you have had to put up with this! I hope you are able to find the resources you need quickly now! And, no, you are not stupid! None of us have been taught how to handle the crap our cheating husbands dish out. We grew up learning all we could about love, romance and happily ever after. Don’t blame yourself. It is not what you wanted but you can win your life back!

  • Tess,

    Don’t worry about having waited too long. We all did. Water under a very dumb bridge is all. And personally, I’m glad I waited a little too long and tried a little to hard. It’s meant I’ve never had a moment of second-guessing. I know I did everything I could. You should know that, too. Something to hold fast in your mind as you walk out the door. . . to a much better life.

    Wishing you strength for the journey ahead.

        • Tess I agree with Nomar too! I do understand the sentiment that you feel like you’ve wasted your time because I too wasted 3 years in false reconcilliation. Fortunately I’ve got good people around me that won’t let me beat myself up over trying to save a marriage that lasted almost 27 years.

          Anyway, I think I probably would’ve second guessed myself if I just walked after dday. I know I gave it my all and I will never regret or second guess my decision to leave now.

          Listen to CL-it’s never too late to divorce this jerk! I wish you well and hope you can get out of that toxic situation as soon as possible!

          • LOL
            Seems like it’s always three years of hoping things will work/cheater will change!
            After three years , I think we finally get the message- what they want is to continue to do whatever the Hell they want, and probably gained some skills at hiding it, while we were trying everything on the planet to fix it.
            Because, you know, Chumps aren’t supposed to have any needs or wants.

    • Agreed. I will never wonder whether I did everything I could, because I know I did.

      You can’t change the past, Tess. You can only move forward from here.

    • “And personally, I’m glad I waited a little too long and tried a little to hard. It’s meant I’ve never had a moment of second-guessing. I know I did everything I could.”

      Exactly this. Yes, I wasted precious time. But having no regrets about “giving up” makes it much better. You said it perfectly.

      • And also, it’s sort of like that Nora Ephron quote from a few days ago, about reaching the saturation point of humiliation and disrespect. I think before you get to that point, there’s always the danger of going back, or repeating the same pattern elsewhere. But that saturation point is the pivotal moment for real change to begin. That’s what I’m experiencing anyway. Yeah, I feel like an idiot; yeah, I wish I could dial the clock back and never have had to go through all this crap. But what I’m moving forward with is an inviolable sense of my own worth as a human being. If I keep beating myself up about decisions I did or didn’t make, then it’s like I’m chumping myself. Stay strong, and hope you see a lawyer ASAP.

    • Me too! You are so right, nomar, and so wise. As much as I desperately wish I’d left this mess ten or five years ago, the silver lining to all of these wasted, broken years is that I will never question whether I could have done more to save my son’s family. I am absolutely certain that I’ve done everything possible, and there’s just no way to put this back together. The silver lining to the silver lining: I’m way down the road in terms of getting over it. I’ve had five years– five wasted broken years– to process the fact that my marriage cannot be reengineered into something healthy and positive. I’m getting ready to file (and have already told my spouse it’s over, so proud of msyself!) and don’t feel the depth of emotional devastation and instability that I feared and that kept me paralyzed for a long time, because I know there’s nothing else I could have or can do to change things.

  • Tess, what nomar said. Saving yourself is saving yourself, be it sooner than later.
    Good luck to you.
    BTW chump nation,
    Nightline on ABC is doing a “piece” tonight (pun intended) on cheaters. Namely that clown and his wife that own the Ashley Madison site.
    It’s a story right now on yahoo news. I already made my comment there and will not watch but it may be good fodder. The comments section on this story is blowing up.
    Go get ’em CL.

      • Yeah, like the skank who had/has the EA/FA or whatever with the jackass. Three kids and a nice husband, but for some people, it’s never enough. Gotta have the thrills, the ego kibbles, the recognition of how sparkly they are.

      • Wonder if I should let my husband know it’s going to be on? He is with her for the weekend, but I doubt she’ll allow him to watch it! She won ‘t want him to be in on any “trade secrets” (read WEAK REASONS)!

      • Trashley is constantly trying to advertise by putting out a fake news story.

        I don’t think they actually get as many women subscribers as men. I’m not sure if their stories are intended to draw more women in or just to fool the men that there are women on the site who aren’t literally selling themselves.

    • I just read this story and wish I hadn’t. It just got me riled up, and reading through the comments was even more upsetting. Check out this quote from the article:

      “Noel Biderman insisted that his business [Ashley Madison] does people more good than harm because the threat of infidelity can be a martial wake-up call.

      “I see it as a platform that helps people stay married. Millions of people have affairs because they want to stay married,” he said. “I help millions of people find contentment, passion and happiness through my service.”

      This is from a self-described ‘happily married’ man who said he would be devastated if his wife cheated on him. !!!!!

      Sometimes I just weep for humanity.

      • I left the original misspelling in there (“martial” instead of marital) just because I think it’s sort of apt given the effects that cheating has on a relationship.

        • Every time I see “Ashley Madison” I laugh my ass off, my ex signed up to that 2 weeks after he moved in with his OW and hooked up with someone shortly thereafter. She has him and I am so glad it’s not me any more.

  • Do not regret the past. We all did the best we could with the information we had been provided.

    Time to make plans, and move forward. You have the will, so there will be a way.

    It will be tough, but know you have a community here to support you.

  • I agree with all the comments to you Tess, please find as lawyer NOW! My husband took off for ten days to screw his Facebook married soulmate and sent me an email telling me to respect and not insult his Twu wuv and then his last words were, “we’re finished”! I was devastated,but I saw a lawyer the next day and filed, got a temporary support order done and my life is good! Am I divorced yet? No! He keeps turning down each settlement agreement I send, but he tells his “side piece” that I am holding up the divorce (you know cause he’s such an honest guy! Snort) I also agree with the comment about military retirement and don’t forget about your medical and dental benefits from the retired sponsor! If he retired somewhere around the mid 90’s check to see if he had you sign for Survivor Benefits and named you as beneficiary because it was irrevocable and he can NEVER change it so if he dies you will have a guaranteed income! Find all military retirement papers you can find and his DD214 and get to a lawyer!! I was married for 40 years and I was with him throughout his military career. You can lay claim to one half of his retirement pay!

    • it is VERY important you find and copy ALL important financial papers and all his military retirement stuff and store it offsite.

    • If you get a good attorney, you might be more than half. I was married 25 years and I am going to get 60% of his military retirement because my attorney earned every dollar I paid her.

    • Roberta, your spouse sounds like a prize ass. I’m sorry he was so cruel to you! Good for you for moving on to a better life.

  • Well, been following (invisible stalking) Chump Lady for nearly a year, and have realized on more than one occasion that CL has probably saved my life with her spot-on advice and comments. When I first started reading, I felt like I had written so many of the comments as they reflected my feelings and situation almost to a T. Finally had the nerve to register and post just to give support to those like Tess who think that you are drowning and think that maybe you did something to contribute to the situation. No, you didn’t…reading Janet’s comments about anger. I told a friend a year ago that I was tired of being angry, and she told me to grab that anger and remember it everyday; to use it fuel my choices about the whole situation. I now recognize how very valuable that info was, and want to encourage Tess to do the same thing.

    Glad to officially be a part of Chump Nation; it has helped me on so many days. It has become part of my daily routine, and helps me understand my worth. I have a right to be angry, and Chump Lady has given me permission not to feel guilty about it.

  • Yesterday is gone. What you have is today–NOW. What you do today, tomorrow, Monday will determine the future. Do you want to go on as your are, or do you want to gain a life, as Chump Lady has said?

    CL and Joy-Filled Chump gave you some good advice. Take notes of your economic assets. Look at pensions, savings bond. Look at any gold or silver jewelry. What is yours can be sold to raise cash, if you need it. In Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings,” a character says that someone who can’t cast a treasure aside in a time of big need is in fetters, or chains. I am sitting here prepared to tap my retirement to get the house painted and do other critical maintenance work so that things don’t get worse and more expensive (thanks to the jackass walking away from his commitments). While people shouldn’t raid their 401K for a trip to Paris with the OW/OM or for a week at a luxury spa, you have assets in order to put a floor under you, so you don’t fall into the abyss. Don’t be afraid. Once you get your life moving in the right direction, it will be easier to manage economically. You will regain some control and ability to plan. It’s also very freeing to let go of material things and streamline your life.

    A friend of mine found a very inexpensive divorce attorney. Call your friends. Ask if they know of a good attorney who will take the case on contingency or if they have contacts who will know.

    If you start today, by getting a lawyer and getting moving, by starting to ask yourself what YOU want for YOUR life (as he is, thankfully, gone and your kids are becoming adults) in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days you will see a difference in yourself and in your life. What I am beginning to see is that the betrayal, cheating, etc. made it possible for me to build a new life at 62. You can do it too.

    • This is a poem in actuality, but the words apply to many of us. Our partners didn’t intend to give us a gift, but it becomes one as we stand on our feet and rebuild our lives: ““Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”–Mary Oliver

      • Absolutely. When you are in the middle of one of the most traumatizing experiences of your life, it is difficult to remember that these assholes are giving you a gift- the gift of an authentic, peaceful life, free from the insanity that narcissists delight in bringing to your door.

        Tess, you are being financially and emotionally exploited by someone who delights in inflicting pain. I promise you, your life will be so much better when he’s not in it. The process is painful, but no more painful than what he is putting you through right now.You will always bear the scars of what happened to you. But scars are far, far better than open wounds!!

        Take this box of darkness and use it to find a better life for you and your daughter.

  • If your kids are under 18, I recommend going to CPS. My lawyer is telling me I can’t get child support until our case is resolved but I filed through the state anyway on my own. They help you with the application and they garner his wages directly. They also sent his employer a letter informing them he’s a deadbeat dad which was enormously satisfying. Lawyers are good but they are not our friends. The state-run programs, they are just there to help. They really can be our friends and advocates.

    • I don’t know where you live, but parents in every state are required to support their children. Any tax refunds can also be garnished through the state. If the children are over 18, you may not be able to receive child support, which is the case in the state in which I live. Some states, however, will look at support for college. There is a whole state apparatus to ensure that children have financial support and medical insurance. And you should be able to get spousal support if his income is higher than yours until a divorce in final. And if you can prove that he has spent a large portion of the family assets, he may be required to pay you either a lump sum or monthly payments in order to effect equitable distribution of assets. Rose, I think you are smarter than your lawyer…maybe ask the counselors at child support if you can talk to one of their legal advocates.

  • Try everything Chump Lady suggests. It starts with not engaging with him. Anything you say can and will be used against you. He is not privy to your intentions or plans at this point, so keep it to yourself. You have to be nimble and quick-thinking, always one step ahead to pull this off. This means protecting yourself by not engaging with him.

    Here is my “but” and it is really going to make you angry. It made me angry. Be aware that you may have to cut your losses at some point. You want justice and you want the system, society, and the universe to rally behind you and make him pay, as he should. It isn’t going to happen. Family law is a crock and rarely protects those who need it the most. Furthermore, negotiation, mediation, and courts are very costly and ineffective. If he is not going to pay, he is not going to pay and he will find a way out of it. It will cost you more in the end.

    I will put it to you the way my attorney did to me: The charges I could have filed– desertion and adultery– would not determine the amount of pie I would receive but just establish I get some pie. I also came to the grim realization that no amount of assets would ever undo the hurt he caused. I also did not want financial support from a man that was incapable of playing it straight. That is just me, though.

    By filing though, the cards are in your hands and you can petition emergency support, which you should do before things get uglier than they are.

    That is, what I am trying to convey, is be swift and be smart. Determine what you need and do not dicker around with him. Remember your lawyer is an agent acting on your behalf, not your therapists, so no emotional bull crap and he said/she said back and forth. This is a business negotiation only at this point. Judges and lawyers have heard it all so while you want to have a sympathetic case, keep it together and keep it concise. Document, document, document.

    But find the lawyer. Pay the retainer. Decide what you need, then ask for the moon, but realize you will get what you need.

          • I agree with what you wrote Dr.

            Tess,
            Once I found out about my STBX’s cheating I lawyered up good and fast. The lawyer told me that I needed to give to get and to prioritize what I needed because we were dealing with a cheater and I’d need to pick my battles He told me to settle fast and he got me a comfortable settlement. He also got my STBX out of the house. I got a separation order in place and signed within weeks. This protects me financially and spells out custody/visitation. Don’t wait on this – get one in place. Go see a lawyer who will confront your bully and let them handle it.

    • This is a good comment. Read this Tess.

      Some money is too expensive. Get all that you can realistic get. That doesn’t mean give away what you are entitled to. But at the same time don’t pay out the nose in attorney fees fighting him on making monthly payments to you for money he spent on his hole-mate when you know he will likely not pay.

      Try to focus on what’s enforceable by outside parties with little fuss, like retirement funds. Less on things that require his cooperation and compliance, monthly repayment plans, spousal support.

      I took less than I was entitled to, because I knew he wouldn’t pay me and I would forever be chasing him down. The cost of chasing him financially and emotionally just wasn’t worth it to me. So I took as much of his retirement as I could get and left. It was well worth my freedom.

    • Dr., I totally agree with this approach. I could have gone after support, half of his business, the big beautiful house, and maybe more, but my sanity was worth more than all of that combined, not to mention the lawyer’s fees that I would have racked up taking a more aggressive approach. I made him a very reasonable offer to pay me a lump sum, which all others agreed was less than it should have been, and he even dragged his feet on that. Our simple, childless divorce, with no property in dispute, still took over a year. Now, 10 months post divorce, I am back on my feet and have no regrets about the settlement. I’m just so happy to be free and clear on the other side of that nightmare, with no ties to that POS.

    • Some people advise to take assets rather than future income so that you won’t have to fight with your ex.

      In this case, it sounds like she might be entitled to some things through the military and she wouldn’t have to keep dealing with him to get them.

      • I filed for abuse, desertion and adultery because by then I knew I had to go Rageasaurus on his fucked up ass. Cheaters don’t like to be outed so even if I couldn’t prove it all, filing it that way with the required specific instances (not for the faint of heart) caused him to freak out a bit. That was a good thing, it also meant making him uncomfortable with going to court since it was clear his OW would be subpoenaed and I was willing to tell every thing. When he was served he sent me an email that said “you can’t do this to me, it will ruin me, it’s humiliating” and I responded “it’s the truth”, sign the settlement. He still dragged his dick in the dirt for months and didn’t settle until a couple weeks prior to our court date.

  • Your comments are all so helpful, I was today going to turn off his phone but instead I am leaving it on and make a move legally first he’s already full of thinking he is steering the sinking of everything.

    • Personally I would leave it on. Don’t do anything the courts could interpret as vindictive, but have him email you everything and you the same! Be very civil and let him go off then you have something you can actually take to court to prove he refused to help support his family or just went off on some kind of crazy rant! Nothing like having solid proof in black & white!

    • What I did was change his name on my phone to DO NOT TEXT OR CALL. So every time I got a text or a call I was reminded–no contact. You can do business through email. It worked for me until I was ready to delete his number from my phone.

      If you have a joint phone account, it might be wise to separate that now, even if it means changing your number. Then he will not have access to your phone records.

  • My sympathies to you Tess– they mindfuck with us so much, it can feel overwhelming to get out of the burning building, and almost like we might as well stay there…but really…run like hell. I promise, and like everyone else has said, there is a brighter future for you out there. (Not to say there won’t be set backs, realistically there will be, especially with a disturbed creep like you have on your hands. so sorry.)

    I’ve blocked both my ex-husband, and his newest fuck-slut on FB. It just removes any temptation to “find out what they are up to”. I’m still trying to get the rest of my $$ settlement out of the weasel, so I need to read his emails, alas, but I just filter them into a separate folder so I can read them when I’m ready.

    But I think CL has mentioned in the past that if you really are truly totally broke, and he is abusing you (which includes abusive or harassing texts, imho) , you should check with Legal Aid (please somebody who knows more check me on this.)

    There should be community-based resources to help you through this, and get you support. You deserve it. You’ve given a great deal to this nation, as well as him–don’t forget that, and don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Sometimes I think that’s the hardest part. Having to admit that we attached ourselves to these fuckchucks is really difficult. But be strong! and get unattached!

    I too have a college aged daughter and it has helped her a great deal (1) for me to tell her–many times– that despite his un predictability and general unreliability, I will always be there for her, rock solid, and (2) I am so very sorry that she has this experience of family fucked-up-ness to contend with. It’s NOT her fault, and she is NOT responsible for anybody’s (i.e., babyman) emotional well being except her own, and (3) I found her some awesome counseling. Good luck with it all, and keep checking in with the great and generous wisdom of ChumpLady.

  • This happens to me all the time – I have another crap day dealing with ToddlerBoi and the lawyers, and there’s the post on Chump Lady that I need to buck myself up!

    Tess, you haven’t failed. You’ve done the best you can under circumstances that you never expected and that no one ever mentioned might be a possibility in your life. But now you know. Time to put the past behind you and look ahead to the new life you will build yourself without this asshat.

    Although I saw a lawyer a few months after my husband of over 30 years moved out (to live with the other woman, although I didn’t know that at the time), I held off filing because I thought we could work out a separation and divorce like two adults, keeping in mind the well-being of our three then high school aged sons. The process was straight forward, so I thought, but then I didn’t know the depths of the delusion he was working with.

    Like all of us here I had so much to deal with that there were days all I wanted to do was hide in bed and cry. One thing that really helped me was that I had a friend at work who had been through a similar situation, and he told me the only way he got through to the other side was to do one thing a day. Even if it was just one tiny thing, he said, like packing up a coffee cup that reminded me of my husband, it was progress, and it would get me to the end eventually.

    So I would get up in the morning and fix on that one thing. Downloading the forms to legally change my name on my medical plan. Arranging a counselling appointment for one of my kids. Packing another box of his crap and freeing up the space in the house so that I had a lovely bedroom, a study, a place to drink my coffee in the morning. Every day I tried to make a little progress and although it felt pretty hopeless at times I used my mightly Chump Strength and kept at it.

    It is funny but because I started using my awesomeness for myself, something I hadn’t done in a long time. I started realizing my worth, my strength, my self. I started building back my competent, funny, intelligent self for me and my kids, packing away one ugly coffee cup at a time.

    I spent far too much time doing all the legwork for a separation, but like Nomar said I know now that I did everything in my power to settle this for both of us and the kids. Because I was consulting with a lawyer from the beginning, I documented, I didn’t give away the farm, and I was in a good place when I was finally strong enough to file for divorce last year. Like your cheater, mine kept threatening, but of course didn’t do anything about it. I went NC at the same time i filed, I found Chump Lady, thank Goddess, I figured out how I could find the money to at least start the process

    One of the most valuable things that I learned during the time that I was researching (Chump Lady was invaluable to help me come to this realization) was the understanding that the Dr. talks about above – the emotion had time to ebb away, and more and more I became focused on this as a business deal. Yes, I still feel outraged and hurt and sad, but I have given myself enough time to heal that I don’t waste time in my lawyer’s office on things they can’t fix. Saved me money, saved me time.

    I won’t say that this journey has been easy or cheap; I am pretty far in debt right now as he is fighting the divorce at every step (my lawyer had to file a court order yesterday to force him to produce documents showing the past five year history of the business we co-own but that he runs). I hate it, as I have never been in debt in my life, and I wake up in cold sweats at night knowing that I might never retire. But I have good people on my side – my sister, friends who have me house sit for vacations I couldn’t otherwise afford and who give me a shoulder to cry on, my wonderful boys who are doing incredibly well, my understanding colleagues at work. And each day I still try to focus on just that one thing, knowing that one day I won’t have to do it any more.

    Listen to what everyone here is saying. Plan your one thing for today to start you on the path. Even though I am in the middle of a mess I never planned on, I am 100% better off right now physically, emotionally, and spiritually than I was when I was living with ToddlerBoi. My kids are doing fine, my life is better than I could have ever imagined, and my future is so much brighter. This particular project is not at an end yet but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I think, I think, that this time it isn’t a speeding train!

    Just one thing. Love and light to you Tess. Chump Nation has your back.

    • exrepeatedmeme, that one thing a day advice is brilliant advice. One thing, even if it is small. I think I am almost at the end of separating my life from my ex’s (only 2013 taxes, I believe), but in the times when it felt like all the tasks would never end (separating file records at the dentists, etc.)….this advice would have helped me. I will instead apply it to my career and life goals. 🙂

      • Congratulations on being near the end, NL! I thank my friend every day for that piece of advice, and I’m glad I could pass it on.

      • ditto! I always say, both to myself and my daughter when she gets depressed (thanks to fuckchuck, often), “just put one foot in front of the other; look up occasionally so you don’t walk into a wall.”

        But seriously, it is the one foot (or piece of paper, or phone call), …and then maybe…one load of laundry … wow congratulate yourself, you did it! Before you know it, you will be mighty (I’d bet you already are, it’s just hidden under layers of mindfuckery). Your horizons WILL become bright. Your phone will not ring with asinine calls from Mr.EX, aka numbnuts.

  • After all this, he notified me ( not served ) that I am stalking him.

    In the same conversation as asking for phone numbers of family members. I would think if they were his “family” he would not have lost contact with them and they would be talking to him to where he would have their phone numbers and if they changed them, he would know the new numbers.

    But, no, I am stalking.

    I am true, I didn’t cheat, I didn’t move money, I didn’t blow up our family, and I am the evil one.

    I am very envious of those who have money to file. When my meds kick in I am planning on filing myself somehow.

  • To clarify, I am not stalking, he says I am. He considers basic interaction about life insurance or not getting money he thought he could wheeze out of me, as me stalking. I am the evil one, the wife who is lamely expecting to be treated as a person, how dare I.

    He considers a phone call, stalking.

    No idea how he thinks in his head about our life, it is scary thinking of how he remembers things.

    Also, after my 2nd of 4 reconcillations, I came across letters between the two f buddies and they had given each other Russian sex names, has anyone discovered things like this? I was so hurt, I burned the evidence, and have since lost all recollection of the petname he gave her, it was a Natasha something, like the name out of rocky and Bullwinkle.

    This is so twisted to deal with, it is like a horror movie.

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