Dear Chump Lady,
I found your website after all the drama and trauma of my divorce was wrapping up. Your advice and the stories of all my fellow chumps has still been quite helpful especially in shedding all the doubts, second guessing and self blame that seems universal with us chumps. I thought this might be a good subject for a Friday column — Great advice from your lawyers, friends or therapist. To get things started here are three of my best:
1) At my first consult with my lawyer she wisely advised that I watch all medical bills like a hawk. She told me stories of cheating soon-to-be-ex-wives sneaking in last minute plastic surgery, tests and treatments for STDs etc. Well, it wasn’t plastic surgery that I found — it was an IUD (and also on her advice I kept my mouth shut and just handed over the info to my lawyer). Since I had already had a vasectomy years before the affair, the evidence of the IUD pretty much annihilated ex wife’s claims in mediation that I was paranoid and jealous and her relationship with her tennis pro was nothing more than a mentor-type friendship.
2) While in the midst of the frenzied bonding of fake reconciliation, ex-wife was also pressuring me to hand over all evidence of the affair. How else could she “trust” me again so we could move forward in rebuilding the marriage? My best friend literally laughed at me, told me the sex was making me stupid. He advised me to copy everything, send it to him for safekeeping, then hand over all my evidence and see what happens with all the awesome sex.
Sage advice because as soon as she had all the evidence, the magical, anything goes, crazy sex and fawning attention came to a screeching halt. When all the emails, text messages and phone records reappeared in mediation, ex wife and her lawyer were very surprised and very unhappy.
3) During therapy, while in fake reconciliation, after chumpy me had droned on and on about my frantic pick me dancing (yep I got the emailed laundry list of how I drove ex to cheat and I determinedly set about correcting every single “problem”), my therapist interrupted me and asked for examples of how ex-wife was working on repairing the marriage. I sat there mute and honestly couldn’t come up with a single example. That afternoon I called my lawyer and started the divorce.
In closing, one final piece of advice from me, a new dirty trick that even had my experienced lawyer shaking her head in disbelief. When it was all said and done, ex-mother-in-law gleefully pointed out that I had been an idiot to go along with the 12 months of marriage counseling, as it was all a ruse to hit the 10-year mark of being married. Now my ex wife can go on my social security when she retires. Apparently ex-MIL’s lawyer had chipped in that strategy and she was happy to let me know that I had been played.
So fellow Chumps what great advice did you receive?
Thanks again to everyone for all the help,
Great idea! So, CN, who steered you right and what strategems did you learn, and what can you pass on to the newbies?