It has taken several D-days (yes, I’m a chumpy chump) to realize that my fiance is not going to change. Now I’m working on putting together a workable exit plan and am just holding on until I can graduate and have enough put away in savings.
One of the things that has left me so shocked and disgusted with this entire situation has been the role his mother has played and continues to play.
For example, he brought the OW down to visit her on several different occasions. She didn’t breathe a word about it to me. She excuses his behavior by saying he’s “depressed” and “guilty of simply loving too much.”
He has used suicide threats in front of me and our child during moments when I told him that I would not tolerate him leaving to see the OW as an intimidation tactic. We had to stay in an emergency shelter. He broke up with me when I confronted him about his behavior, leaving us to be with her — with absolutely no money in the bank, utilities due, and with back rent owed since he controlled the finances.
We have stayed in the local women’s shelter on two different occasions as I felt that our physical safety was being threatened. (I’m ashamed of having taken him back; his “remorse” seemed so genuine).
His Mom KNOWS about ALL of this. Instead of holding her son accountable, she blames me, saying that I “react too intensely” and “only see the negative in everything.” She also told him that the OW would be a better choice for him!
And the whole kicker to this is that she is a psychotherapist who deals with veterans. Veterans who have experienced emotional trauma.
The question I have is that once I leave, am I under any obligation to have these two toxic people in my son’s life? And how common is it for parents of cheaters to engage in this type of behavior?
Question 1 — if your son is on the birth certificate and you’re going to enforce child support? Then yes, you’ll probably have a court-ordered obligation to share custody and visitation. Question 2 — are cheaters’ parents lousy people too? Sure, that happens. Or they’re Class A spacklers, like chumps. Excusing the inexcusable.
Question 2 — the primary focus of your letter, however, is really irrelevant and completely besides the point. Instead I’m going to give you the advice you did NOT ask for — GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE NOW!
Yes, I know you’ve worked with a domestic abuse shelter — terrific. And I know you’re making an “exit plan” — terrific. I also know chump hopium bullshit when I hear it. No amount of “savings” is worth putting up with someone who threatens your physical safety and makes suicide threats. GET THE HELL OUT NOW.
(I’m ashamed of having taken him back; his “remorse” seemed so genuine).
You put this in parentheses. THIS is the crux of your dilemma. THIS is the most important thing — you took him back, and you feel ashamed. And now you’re riding out that choice to take him back because leaving again, and going back to the people who helped you feels mortifying.
Been there, done that, have the protection from abuse orders. GO BACK. It takes a woman on average SEVEN attempts to leave an abuser. Please improve those odds and go back to those domestic abuse professionals. What you’re experiencing is really typical. No one there is going to judge you — they see this shit every. single. day.
I know you want to finish your degree and graduate. I hope the shelter can help you with that. Or reach out to the counselors and advisors at your college and let them know what’s going on. Stuff the embarrassment and TELL THEM. Maybe you can defer for a semester. Maybe they can work out some financial assistance. I don’t know what your options are, but I do know this — your safety and your child’s safety are more important than finishing out the school year.
It may be finishing and leaving are totally possible. Personally, I think sleeping in a shelter, or in a cardboard box on the street would be preferable to living one more moment with a scary wingnut. But I also know that when you’re living it, as a survival tactic you minimize exactly how scary it is.
You wrote to me, Annie — IT’S SCARY.
And if me personally imploring you to leave doesn’t convince you, I’d like to direct your attention to Question #1 — having the abuser in your child’s life. If YOU take him back, if you NORMALIZE this shit, if you don’t stick by a protection abuse order and DOCUMENT THIS — how do you expect a judge to side with you?
I’m sorry, your Honor, I was saving money, taking my time to leave him ain’t gonna cut it.
If he’s toxic? ACT LIKE IT. Document it. You have a far more powerful story for full custody if you’re in a domestic abuse shelter trying to take back your life, than if you’re in a shitty relationship taking back an abuser.
Don’t model this shit to your child. And don’t accept abuse in your life. Ever. Exit plan starts TODAY.