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Dear Chump Lady, I want out, but I can’t afford it

Dear Chump Lady,

I have been working at this marriage for 34 years to someone with a supposed sexual addiction.

This included exhibitionism, one-night stands, hookers, phone sex, and that’s only what I know. What I know trickled out over the years and he had great, believable explanations. And great skill to minimize and to fake remorse. And I had great dreams for us that I didn’t want to give up, and he could be so helping and generous at times.

Of course I believed he really was sincere, good-hearted, and generous, I just had to find out why he wasn’t all the time — and fix it! He seemed a great husband and dad, so fantastic that for years I lived in agony believing that I was the crabby bitchy one, the one to blame. I thought my parents/brothers/neighbors/friends would not believe me. Hell, I couldn’t even explain most behavior to myself.

I was so ashamed of being the chump, that I didn’t tell anyone even after I had proof on credits cards. I confronted my husband then, but stayed together, because I couldn’t make it financially on my own. I had 4 kids in middle school/high school. I only had a part-time job. That was 8 years ago.

He refused marriage counseling with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) and has refused to do a formal disclosure. But for one year now, he has been seeing a CSAT on his own and he thinks he’s making progress as in, “I’m staying in a conversation now rather than ignoring you.”

The best was just in April: “I didn’t know what marriage was.” It is so apparent to me today that my husband won’t mature. The defects of lying, a double life, withholding the entire truth, impression management, selective inattention, irresponsibility, and rationalization have been there an incredibly long time and are still active even after a year of counseling for him.

I want to get out before we get older, but it’s scary. I picture myself as waiting to jump off a train — I want a soft, grassy spot! Not rocks! I am 57 years old, have a full time job now, but I have seen other women get divorced, and it does not get better financially. I have an adult son who is disabled and will be dependent on me for the foreseeable future. I have second thoughts when I realize that what I decide for me will decide his life too. His dad ‘helps’ most of the time, if I spell out exactly what to do (be at this appointment at this time). His dad does not initiate and rarely participates in any discussions about how to help direct this son achieve as much independence as he possibly can, but his dad IS another adult in the home when my son requires extra supervision due to med changes.

I saw a divorce financial advisor a year ago and this was the reality she painted after running the financials:

I could move from our 3 bedroom home to a studio or one bedroom apartment with my son because there is no equity in the home. Worry whether I will have enough money when the car breaks down. Worry if he would choose to retire early at age 62, making it even worse financially. Worry where will my other children would stay when they visit, if they visit. I won’t have enough money to travel to see them out of state. There won’t be money for retirement. I’d be liquidating my 401k now when extra expenses occur and then later beg a living situation from my adult children.

Is there a best way to live together for the next several years until I have a history of greater stability or a different living situation for my disabled son? And a better handle on financial security (we aren’t as bad off now as we were a year ago thanks to an inheritance, unfortunately HIS dad, so I would not get any of it in a divorce). I don’t want to have a hostile, more chaotic situation in the home until I am sure I can divorce without making it a financial black hole. We are in separate bedrooms for now, my choice, but with him thinking it’s because he snores.

I want to be mighty! Right now I am a huge chump. I guess I also want my cake (financial security) and to eat it too (not be chumped). Please give me the how to manual.

Limbo Chump

Dear Limbo Chump,

Oh hey, I wrote that manual. It’s Called, “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.” Available at fine bookstores everywhere! But alas, my book doesn’t come with a lifetime supply of magic fairy dust. That sure would be useful. Things get scary? Poof! Glitter bomb! No financial consequences!

It doesn’t work that way, LC. Sorry, you’re going to have to find your backbone and do this. The cake-eating, half measures you’ve taken are not sustainable. Why should you leave him? Aside from the obvious recitation of “exhibitionism, one-night stands, hookers, phone sex, and that’s only what I know..” Because this could be WORSE for you and your son if you don’t leave. He could squander more of your finances on sex workers, and God knows what else. (Financial infidelity goes hand in hand with sexual infidelity. Those sex workers don’t pay themselves.)

He could leave YOU. Happens every day. Survey a few bazillion people on this blog.

You need to get in front of this and you need a plan. So let’s tackle your fears one by one, shall we?

I saw a divorce financial advisor a year ago and this was the reality she painted after running the financials:

You saw a financial advisor, NOT a lawyer. You need to see an experienced family law attorney. Someone who knows about gray divorce (over 50) and special needs trusts for special needs adult children. Your ex could be made by court order to have to provide for your son’s needs. Don’t imagine this is all on you. Talk to a legal professional. (I am NOT a legal professional.)

Here’s a good primer I found online about considerations of divorce with children who have special needs. I’m sure CN folks who’ve lived this can weigh in too.

Oh, and those credit card receipts? Keep them. That’s documentation for the court. I’m sure your lawyer would be interested in making a case for theft of marital resources spent on hookers when you have a special needs child to care for.

I could move from our 3 bedroom home to a studio or one bedroom apartment with my son because there is no equity in the home.

Okay. Would you rather have an extra bedroom or a fuckwit in your life? Downsizing your life doesn’t mean downgrading your life. Fill your small home with sanity, peace, love — your values! Reject devaluing, chaos, abuse, stress.

Worry whether I will have enough money when the car breaks down.

Get the better car in the divorce. Join Triple A. Put “new car for Limbo Chump” in the divorce settlement. Befriend a mechanic. Watch a youtube video. Budget a fund for special emergencies.

There are a bazillion people driving cars who are in this same situation. And they figure it out. You can too.

Worry if he would choose to retire early at age 62, making it even worse financially.

He could DO THAT NOW WHILE YOU ARE MARRIED. Get in front of this! Captain your ship! To stay with him means staying with the instability of his financial abuse. Take control of the wheel!

Worry where will my other children would stay when they visit, if they visit.

Airbnb. You go to them. Slumber party with air mattresses on the floor. See “sanity, peace, and love” above.

I won’t have enough money to travel to see them out of state.

They can come see you. You can invest in yourself and that full-time job and figure out how to move up the ladder. You can Skype. These are FINITE problems that have solutions. An entitled sex-addicted fuckwit is NOT a fixable problem.

There won’t be money for retirement. I’d be liquidating my 401k now when extra expenses occur and then later beg a living situation from my adult children.

You don’t know this. TALK TO A LAWYER.

It seems to me that your financial life is not imperiled by divorce, it’s imperiled by 34 years of marriage to a selfish, overspending fuckwit. That decision to stay, to not jump off the crazy train sooner, sadly, has consequences. Hanging on in “limbo” got you into this financial mess. The answer is NOT more time with a self-spending fuckwit. The answer is a legal settlement — a grassy spot with a few rocks — that you can jump off to and rebuild.

You must rebuild, and that’s scary. But it’s much easier than living how you’re living now.

Is there a best way to live together for the next several years until I have a history of greater stability or a different living situation for my disabled son?

You’re bargaining. Put down the hopium pipe. There’s no “greater stability” while you’re living with a human wrecking ball. How’s that going to work, LC? You save up some money in that nice full-time job — money he is legally entitled to? Money he thinks of as he runs up debts you’re on the hook for?

IMO, there is no perfect time to jump. The “perfect” thing to have done is never boarded that train in the first place. But you’re on it. Get off it, with the help of sound legal counsel.

And a better handle on financial security (we aren’t as bad off now as we were a year ago thanks to an inheritance, unfortunately HIS dad, so I would not get any of it in a divorce).

Yes, but he can pay some of it to afford YOUR settlement and pay you back for the theft of marital resources. But only if you ACT NOW.

I don’t want to have a hostile, more chaotic situation in the home until I am sure I can divorce without making it a financial black hole.

Dude, you live in a hostile, chaotic, black hole now. Come into the light.

I want to be mighty!

Might is as mighty does. Call that lawyer today.

It’s sunny over here.

 

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.
  • Reminds me of that saying, “The best time to plant an oak tree is 25 years ago. The next best time is today.”

    Divorce this loser today. Go be a might oak tree.

  • When we were married we never could seem to balance the budget. I figured divorce would be financial ruin. And now? I am saving so much money I can retire early. Where did it all used to go? I’m kicking myself that I ever worried about this. Financially, divorce is the best thing that happened to me. It’s amazing how little you need when you’re not married to an entitled irresponsible person. Now I can finally invest wisely and cheaply instead of day trading and gambling. And now I enjoy renting out rooms and having company, which can pay your mortgage if you do it right. AirBNB?

    • I’m with you ChompingChump. Divorce is the best financial thing I ever did – and no I didn’t get any kind of settlement, no child support, no alimony and I had to buy him out of the house. But I no longer had him spending us into poverty – rounds of champagne at the local hooker bar, got to have the biggest and best car, smash the car up drink driving, get it repaired, rinse and repeat. I actually have a file called “Twat’s accidents” and you would not believe the amount of money we had to pay out repairing his and other people’s cars in order for him not to get done for drink driving. I took out a 17 year mortgage to buy him out and will have it paid off in 7 (December this year), when I get to retire EARLY! Good luck Limbo Chump! It can be done!

    • Count me in the group that has more money in my post cheater life than while married. Narkles the Clown made three times my salary. I live on 25 percent of my prior household income. I doubt I can retire early but I kept the house, my car and all my retirement in the settlement. Is the fuckwit still richer than me? Yes. Am I destitute? No. In my married life I was worried every month about covering the bills. Now I know exactly what they will cost. I make enough to cover them. my expenses have gone down. Entitlement is costly! Not only am I no longer paying for whores but my electric bill went from $450 a month to $250 a month. Food costs decreased. Narkles the Clown wouldn’t eat leftovers. I no longer pay for his latest hobby as he mirrors a new target. I no longer need a cardiologist and other specialists because the stress is out of my life.

      You can keep the but….but….but…. Train rolling for years or you can visit several lawyers suggested by those you know who have successfully divorced and get a good idea of what you are legally entitled to.

      Protect yourself!!!!
      He is currently dissipating assets and spending your retirement on whores.

      • Same here!!! You can’t afford Worm’s in your life. They take much more than they give and you deserve so much better!

    • My finances seem to be in better shape as well. Ex was good at making money but he was also good at spending it. I don’t think he spent that much (relatively) on the OW’s but he did like to spend on himself. Always the nicest clothes, expensive restaurants and then there was the airplane.

  • I live in NY and have a special needs brother (64 years old now). Contact Social Services — there is SO much available in terms of help and support — i.e., he has a social worker, folks who help him with meds, dr. appointments, grocery shopping, etc. Make that call, please.

    • And your ex is just as responsible for paying for those services as you are. Probably more so if he has more money.

  • I found ^^ too. Income halved, bills more than doubled when he left and I can afford the same lifestyle.

    OK I was never a fool with spending money but even I expected to be skint and paddling water to keep afloat – the reality is completely different. He was a fool with money but I did not realise to what extent…

    Leave now and you’ll be absolutely fine. I think you’ll find that you are entitled to more than you realise 🙂

    • ^ This. Same, same, same. You really don’t realize until they’re gone, how much they were doing to devour all the household income with their overspending. And how peaceful life can be, because even if you don’t make as much, you don’t SPEND even a fraction as much!

  • Ditto above. I was paying for everything while my ex entitled fuckwit racked up £400 a month on hookers let alone his other antics. I too was worried about being able to manage financially. Surprisingly, once you go through it with a divorce lawyer, you will find you’ll be better off. Just the peace of mind of not living with my ex wankbag is reward enough but financially I’m much better off now. I rent a more than reasonable 3 bed house in a lovely area for me and my adult daughter ( who has medical needs) with room for if my afult independent son comes visit😊 its nicer than the house i left and in a nicer area!!
    also, I told everyone in both mine and ex fuckwits family exactly what he’d been up to…. Guess whos side they are all on, including his own family?!! Mine 😊 And i therefore had tons of support including his own father stopping giving him money each month (which I hadn’t know about but ex twat had been fleecing his own dad for £300+ a month for 9+ years) and now his own dad gives me and the kids some money each month instead!( I am banking it for the kids). All in all I definitely left a loser and gained a life. Not all older divorced women lose out financially (I’m 51, my divorce came through this January). If you stay then you are accepting that how he is behaving is ok with you. It is not ok. Its not setting a good example for your kids, however old they are. Why the fuck should he get away with this crap? Take that bitch to the cleaners and go start your new fuckwit-free life. It is worth it.

  • It is scary….after 28 yrs of marriage (now 29 if you count the last year of me dancing to pick me) the thought of leaving was frightening. I had always worked part time and took care of the kids so he could further his career but a great divorce lawyer helped me see the light….as in good alimony and half his military retirement!
    I am going to lose my health insurance and I have health problems, I am going to have to try to work full time with these health problems and my youngest is still in high school but you know what….the thought of staying with someone who does not respect me, alternates between howorker and me and the kids is miserable and I do not want to live the rest of my life like this. My son told me the other day that I needed to respect myself more and not be abused like this…..sooooo
    house went up for sale Sunday and I am moving on!!! the huge relief and burden that lifted off my shoulders was unreal. I am taking control now…not cheater!

    • You go girl! Leaving behind the military benefits (and military community) just plain sucks. I know–I only got 26.6% of the retirement though–I’m an 11 yr chump. I already worked full time, but man, paying health insurance is expensive! No matter what though, it’s not as painful as the mind games my ex used to play with me.

      I still cringe when clerks in this Army town ask if I qualify for a military discount. Still hurts–my identity as an Army Wife is no more. But you know what, I am mighty! I don’t need the effing discount. Hell, half the time I ask them if they have a “Screwed over by a cheating Army dirtbag” discount.

      I am proud of you and what you are embarking on. We are worth more than the shit they put us through–and as a military spouse, I think you probably are so used to sacrificing with no recompense, that the real world without that asshole is going to feel surprisingly OK. Sending you my best vibes today, 28yr chump!

      • Thank!! It does feel mighty!! I have been a military spouse for 29yrs and that loss will hurt but the peace of mind will be wonderful!!

      • “Screwed over by a cheating Army dirtbag” discount.

        Curious as to whether or not anybody ever did offer you that just because.

        • Haha, nope, its never been spontaneously offered.

          I’ve had a couple clerks with knowing eyes go ahead and apply the discount after I give my line, though. We chumps are always looking out for each other. 🙂

      • Hahaha my cheater was military too. And I’m a Realtor, while I was on a listing appointment the 24 yo son walks in and the conversation moved to the fact that he just got out of the Marine Corps, and I told him “good for you, you don’t need that in your life” lol. Then we all got into a conversation about how many of the “sparkly officers” suck. Yes. Yes they do.

        • Mine is a former Marine too. Don’t know how many of the others cheated but mine was no example to other young men!

      • Ha!
        My ex is a firefighter/ paramedic and when anyone refers to him as a selfless public servant I just say “he gets laid more at the station than anywhere else, your tax dollars at work.”
        No offense to any public servants out there, but there are some bad apples in that bunch.

          • Mmmm.. mines an ex fed. ..
            All that extra time at the office which I sacrificed so he could work on warrants and cases.. which was unpaid while I had no life and was strapped to the four babies 24:7 and I mean 24-7.. for 20 years and then another round with a new one for a 14 year gap… was so he could be in bars picking up women and then move to whores in the VIP room… not a single SIGN of it at home such a sick sick GREAT liar..& an asshole to me too about any little mistake or god forbid I ever got tired which I wouldn’t have dared to do because he was supposedly working 100 hours , therefore I should be able to .. I did literally 40 hours of laundry per week(50ish loads) restored an ENTIRE house ( this includes plastering , tearing and ripping and building walls, mowing down huge hills falling asleep 😴 in the yard practically to keep the outside work done) building with stone on and on because he wasn’t available and the house had to get done(“not enough $$$$ to hire people ) with 10 full years of nursing babies on and on.. I shit you not I fell asleep on the toilet sometimes and waited up made myself available all the time ,, meals like a 5 star restaurant and lost 55 lbs in 2 months 5 times after 5 awful births but he couldn’t care LESS. He just kept LYING..& still he lying and I am beyond trapped the situation is literally impossible.
            Hates me because I discovered him. Can’t get out no job and no way whatsoever to pay for the kids. I’ve worked my guts out for 25 years for a nothing. Not a DIME to my name. It’s all his!

            • I am so sorry, Jill! That is beyond awful. I hope that you can get a lawyer to definitively prove that, and that the ‘not a dime to my name’ statement is simply fear talking. If you were married you are entitled to your share of the assets because of the time invested and the support you provided so he could earn. Please get the scoop directly from a lawyer. 25 years and 5 kids is too long to end up with nothing. And, worst case scenario? You have to juggle care for kiddos and go to work, which we chumps can almost all attest to experiencing.

              I let fear shut me down for so, so long. I wish I could reach back in time and explain that it was going to work out, even though I had 2 very young babies and no help from my ex. I found work, I enrolled in college and got my bachelor’s…we survived because God made a way when there wasn’t a way. I hope you and your kids find your way too! I hope you can get away from that abuser and create a new life for your FAMILY (you and the kids). Hugs to you!

  • See a lawyer. Get a post office box. Your own bank account in a different bank. A safety deposit box. Tell him nothing. But just start taking back control. Get a plan. You will feel better, because you are the one who is good at life. He he is the sprinter, the one who can sometimes pitch in. You are the distance runner. You always were. You can do “secret life” so much better than he can. He is desperate to believe he has you fooled. Let him. A one bedroom apartment? Your son gets the bedroom, you get a sleeper sofa. Short-term solution, I suspect. The smartest move I made was to tell people I needed help. You are the good guy here . . .and some people will respond to that. Maybe someone knows someone with a basement apartment. Quiet inquiries can be made. At 57, with 4 children, you can be so proud of your life – especially (!) since you had to do so much alone. No question, you have what it takes. It will be easier to leave him than raise four children alone. Your life on this planet has been pretty impressive so far, so reward yourself with peace. You don’t have financial security. Things just look a little better than they have – because he has money. That’s not better. See an attorney. Stealth plan. This is the best possible time.

    • I like this post.

      Also- Limbo, maybe you could go back to school for a high paying trade for two years. If you could stand him for two more years, and then have an exit plan ready with a degree that is actually marketable. Whatever your interests are.

      Your fear is reasonable because being poor in America is very hard.

      I want you to view your husband as an enemy. You are a mercenary. Extract every bit of money and resources you can out of him before you make your move. Go right up to the red line. So when you leave, you are not so unstable as to go crawling back to him. Which can happen.
      ( ask me how I know)

      I would go see the lawyer this week. It gives you a sense of power to take action.

      We chumps procrastinate. I could cry an ocean of tears of the opportunities I have lost because of procrastinating. You can change all of that today.

      Life rewards action. You can do it!!!💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽

    • And if the attorney you see doesn’t come up with any ideas about how to get a reasonable settlement, etc., go see another one. Not all attorneys are equally savvy about this stuff, believe it or not.

      If your husband is a “sex addict”, I guarantee you have a world class dissipator on your hands. You can turn that to your advantage big time in settlement negotiations — BUT do your homework first.

      Key aspect of the stealth plan is documenting those credit card receipts, photos, email screen shots, his calendar with hooker meetups, etc. — basically ALL the evidence you can get. Keep quiet for a few months and let fuckwit hang himself. Put all the above on a flashdrive locked somewhere at your workplace, copies at your attorney’s office.

      Not only is every penny he has spent on his secret life refundable to you, but if your attorney can get legally acquired evidence somehow linking your cheater to his various APs, s/he can threaten to depose them. That threat to expose even more dirt about these a-holes can translate into a really, really good settlement. Ask me how I know. 🙂

      • Thanks! I can get a P.O. box. I can begin copying old receipts. I have scrutinized them for 7.5 years. Nothing new has come up. He accounts for all cash taken out. I have not “snooped” but just can’t believe that nothing has happened for almost 8 years.

  • My mother left my father with my brother and I with two suitcases and two boxes. Nothing more. For three years we shared one bedroom in my grandparents home, while my mother re-built having started with no job and a grade 9 education. We were on welfare; we qualified for government housing. Eventually, my mother became a nurse and came to own her own home. My brother and I were adults by that point and did what we could to help her with her home. Her sacrifice in leaving our abusive father and finally providing us a stable (albeit poor) life, allowed my brother and I to obtain our killer education (five degrees between the two of us, professions with six-figure salaries. In fact my brother was a millioaire by 27 – ahh the life of hedgefunds). My mother stayed in that marriage for too long because she didn’t know how she would survive on her own until circumstances dictated she leave for our safety.

    You can do this. It’s scary, but you are not as alone as you feel. Start gathering your people around you on this journey. Speak your truth to others so that they know how brave your are for leaving and how necessary it is.

    Take a little time (no more than months) to collect everything you can while you consult with a lawyer. Get copies of documents, investments, statements, etc. Go back at least three years.

    Start paying the bills, if you don’t already. Start ensuring that your name comes off of things so that any debt he runs up is in his own name, not yours, thus affecting your credit rating. If he’s in sex addiction counselling, you can use that as your excuse for why your are suddenly taking more control over the finances. Sell it to him as an aspect of his therapy, to help him control his behaviours and to rebuild trust.

    Contact local advocacy groups for parents of children with special needs in order to talk to some professionals about your options for help with your son. My boy has autism. Two local organizations have been invaluable in pointing out financial and legal considerations that I needed to discuss with my lawyer, and they have been great support systems at connecting me with other moms that have been in the same circumstances. They’ve given me excellent advice. Remember that if your financial situation declines, you will be entitled to more government and charitable services that you currently aren’t aware of, such as funding for respite services.

    I can understand that you would not want to “burden”your children with your situation. There is a stigma and shame attached. You have been used to being the provider to them. But they are your children and they love you. Their success has been built on the sacrifices you have made to provide for them. And even though it would seem to go against “natural law” for your kids to take care of you, you raised them well and they are people who would do anything for their mother. Let them. Surely, they must have some understanding that their father is a fuckwit and would want to aid you in any way they can to help you get back on your feet (including chipping in on that airfare or bus ticket for you to visit them for Christmas – that’s called gift-giving).

    Do not underestimate the peace that comes from simplicity that a paired down lifestyle can provide. You might have to go into a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment (your son with a disability must be qualifying to receive some kind of pension if he’s over 18 that can also be put towards rent where he lives – don’t feel guilty about charging him rent as your are his caregiver). You will find yourself a nice building in a nice neighbourhood. You will paint it up beautifully. You will fill it up with the finest of the furnishings and items from your current home (as you will make sure to walk away with the best of what you have). Your son will have his space and you will have yours. The time and expenses you save from not having an entire house to care for will go towards your savings, allow you time to go be fabulous and increase your working hours.

    And, finally, do not underestimate the burden of the cost of your husband. He costs a lot and you won’t have that when you are on your own. I’ve been amazed at how I am getting by on one salary, until I realized that the expense of the husband is gone, which means more money in my pocket.

    You can do this! It is fear of the unknown that has you more stuck than any real financial concerns.

    Blessing!

    • Ugh! Curse my typos. Trying to get this out quickly before getting my kids started for the day.
      Cheers.

      • OptionNoMore,
        Your MOTHER is a super hero!
        She left her home with two children, two suitcases and two boxes.
        You will always remember her for her braveness, her love for her children, and her courage for building, indeed, creating, a better life for you and your brother.
        I salute her today and every day!
        She is the definition of MIGHTY!
        ( there would have been no CL, no CN, in her time of need)

    • Thank you! I love hearing the experiences from the other side. Yes, the other kids do know. My daughter told me earlier this summer, after the second go around with CSAT helping H to regulate expenses, you are so unhappy, mom. She already knows bare basics about the infidelity & misuse of money.

    • so in awe of your mama and the work she did… and the strength from that example that lives in you.
      thank you for your inspiring reply.

  • Limbo chump, Sixteen months ago my cheater decided to dump me for his ‘true love. ‘ We had been married 39 years and I was 72 years old.
    I was devastated scared out of my wits. I stumbled upon “leave a Cheater, Gain a Life”. I read the book in one night. I realized this women “Tracy SchornSchorn”. knew what she was talking about she’d been there. So I decided right there my life wasn’t over I joined this website and the rest is history! I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. Yes there were lots of tears and a few set backs but I wouldn’t trade my little house and new life for anything. I just wished I hadn’t wasted all those years trying to save a marriage I didn’t know was dead. A lot of what we are afraid of never happens and if it does you deal with it best you can.
    I think attitude has a lot to do with how we go forward. You can feel sorry for yourself and give up or you can fight like hell for what you want. I hope you have the courage to leave this awful man and give yourself a chance at a new life. A 53 you have a whole lot of living to do.
    Listen to Tracy, read the book and follow the manual. Hugs and good luck. By the way, my cheater died two weeks, all I felt was relief.

    • He died two weeks ago? I can understand the relief you must feel. I’m not trying to be snarky. I genuinely have tried to imagine how I would feel if mine died, and I can only imagine relief.

      Good on you for the new life you have created 🙂 You inspire me.

      • Sometimes they do! It’s a happy home just me and my feline friends! I’m am so very grateful I found your book it truly saved my sanity! 🤗🤗🤗

    • “I just wished I hadn’t wasted all those years trying to save a marriage I didn’t know was dead.”

      Wow! Funny how when you read something that strikes true to your situation it feels like you’ve been physically shocked.

      I’m a month into my new little home, having had to give up the dream house and property. I bought a place with a very special backyard because I knew how much I’d miss the views from my country property. The trade off is a smaller house, but I knew the yard would help my soul.

      My utilities bill is $350 less a month. I’m learning how to care for the garden myself and mow my tiny lawn. That’s another $300 savings. And I can care for my small pool myself and save another $150. It’s satisfying to do some of the work yourself instead of writing a check.

      I will say though I’ve picked up more dog poop in a month here than 15 years in my old place. Yuck! My teenager is helping, but not happy about it. It’s good for her to learn what it’s really like to live on a budget before she’s off to college.

      • GE I knocked about 1,000 euros per month off my bills when he left (around $1300-1400) and in that I don’t include things like his phone bill or car insurance. I found out later that he had the water heater on 24/7 (340 euros a month electric – now down to 90), 266 per month for the phone – now down to 25 (which included 150 a month for “unlimited calls to the US” – he only called his folks about once a month to the tune of about 25 euros! Then there was 70 euros cable charge for French TV “in case they put some good concerts on” – we don’t have French satellite! I could go on but when I added it up, yep, over 1,000/month!

    • Silver Queen
      Our stories are very similar. I know the pain & fright we feel when the evil ex abandons us for another.
      But we have to be strong & move forward. It took me almost 2 1/2 years now to start to feel better. I take the good days & the not so good days in stride. I’m proud of your attitude to move on. CN has helped me also & the friends keep my spirits up.
      Good luck to you ! 👍🏻😊

  • Funny, I too worried how I’d cope financially when my husband left me for the other woman. But after the divorce, I had more money than when we’d ever been married (and we had a clean break, no alimony). Why? Because we’d spent so much money on HIM all the time. He wanted to eat out rather than at home (cooking was supposedly his job). He wanted new clothing to wear when riding his motorcycle (‘But it’s safer than the last lot!’). We had to have the best in furniture and new cars. Now I’ve realised that I’m quite happy with a simpler live at home and, guess what, I spend the money instead on terrific holidays.

  • I left and there is no way I will ever get any settlement. I literally have to start from scratch (and have started.) I drive a 20 plus year old car…if it breaks down my small savings will get largely consumed. I work fulltime in a hard job, but can still save a bit each week. My family is interstate, and yes, it costs a but to fly and visit but its worth it. I live in one room, a converted shed actually. I spent the first 9 mths panicking that I couldn’t do this, that I couldn’t survive financially without him, its just in the past month the panic is starting to subside with my first two paychecks. My car is running fine, has since I left nearly a year ago, and guess what, I even have been able to get it serviced twice in that time. When I was with him he didn’t get it serviced for two years. Drove me crazy.

    My point being, I am in a similar situation to what you described in some ways…but I am ok. God is taking care of me. I still feel in shock, still cry, still have some very bad days, but I actually have moments, sometimes a whole day, where I will unexpectedly realise “I am happier now”. Even starting again from scratch, in a new city, I am happier now.

    You can’t put a price on peace, or freedom or standing up for your worth and dignity. You will survive. The hard truth is, that for some of us, it IS practically harder to leave and be on our own, BUT it is better. It is right. It is peace and freedom and having a life filled with real love and hope. You can’t put a price on that.

    The other thing is, you need to count the emotional cost of staying another few years. In a few years time you could be more worn down, more discouraged…living with a narc takes its toll. Maybe its time to get out while you still have your health at least.

  • I stayed too for a lot of the reasons you posted. I got a divorce, I got spousal support, He has to support the kids per court order. You don’t need him you just need a lawyer. Your lifestyle may take a hit but you will have peace. Believe me. Don’t overthink it with all the negative scenarios. He has financial responsibilities here and securing that with a court order will be more secure for you. Get rid of the bum and your life will be better. It gets better don’t let a financial expert scare you. It may even benefit more financially.

  • For all you know he’ll divorce you anyways in a year or so, after he’s drained all the assets and saddled you with debt. Get out now.

    • Plus, if he’s a “sex addict”, like any other addict he may have turned to illegal activities you do not yet know about to finance his secret life shenanigans. Hookers are expensive! A good lawyer will be able to set things up so that if he goes down (in terms of the law) for any of this stuff, YOU and your kids do not wind up with the financial consequences.

      Good luck and hugs. And above all else, don’t let them scare you — you might come out of this just fine, even financially.

  • i agree with everyone above. GET OUT NOW! You will make it! You are entitled to financial support for your disabled son, and I am sure there will be help from the state of some sort as well. Remember, if you have been married at least 8 years, you are entitled to half your husband’s social security if you divorce (if it is more than what you will receive in retirement). There’s probably a lot of stuff in that house that you could sell off that you are entitled to(as in half of the contents). Your hsuband is fucking with you, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you, he just doesn’t want to ante up financial. Kick him to the curb.

    • At least in my state, adult children who qualify as “needy and incapacitated” (dependent adults) are entitled to child support. That could help to pay for a new place to live.

  • I’m 64; at my D Day we’d been married 32 years. I stayed for three years after that (I moved out in late March, 2018), although like you I said I wanted to leave earlier, but couldn’t for financial reasons. Guess what? The operative word there is I said I couldn’t leave for financial reasons, but as time went by, when I realized that I was really just afraid, and using finances as a reason to stay, the scale began to tip, and the financial ease of staying no longer outweighed the emotional costs. Eventually I accepted that I would indeed have to spend some of my savings (like you and your 401 K) to get free. I was so resentful of the fact that I would have to bear the cost of leaving, when he was the one at fault. It was—it is!—so unfair! But accepting the cost was also empowering, because it showed that I was willing to make the sacrifice to better my life, and I’m worth the investment. You are, too.
    So yes, there are financial repercussions, but like Tracy said, some of them come because we stayed too long with the fuckwit and didn’t get out and into the world where we could work on those finances. And she’s right also when she says that your feeling that you are more secure financially with your cheater is an illusion; he is using marital resources and he’s likely squandered and neglected them for years, and there’s no guarantee that won’t get worse, now that he’s got an inheritance to feel entitled to blow through. I agree; get to the lawyer now, and get some of that counted in his marital assets, that he can be made to put toward care for your son and toward maintenance for you.
    All the difficulties I saw looming in the future after we split up, things that I once saw as reasons I had to stay, I now see as manageable problems with solutions.

    • Oh I love this: “I was so resentful of the fact that I would have to bear the cost of leaving, when he was the one at fault. It was—it is!—so unfair! But accepting the cost was also empowering, because it showed that I was willing to make the sacrifice to better my life, and I’m worth the investment. You are, too.”

      You have summed it up for me. It still makes me feel so angry and resentful of the huge financial step backwards I’ve taken, including losing my home and having to rent (and probably always will now) But YES…. the better life bit

  • If the house is on fire and you’ve realized you need to get out, NOW is better than LATER no matter how you slice it. You aren’t deciding IF but WHEN….when you have to eat a frog don’t look at it too long…..

  • I also subscribed to the sex addiction model, that way I didn’t have to face that stbx was a blatant asshole. Sex hook-up sites, Ashley Madison (of course), strippers, hookers, affairs, financial infidelity, overspending (20k a year on suits), impulse control problems, and a stellar reputation because of an amazing narcissistic impression management skill set.

    What I needed was to find my worth. I looked at what I was modeling for my children; that women should sit down shut up, and be nice in the face of being treated like the family dog, thrown some table scraps here and there.

    I imagined putting up with this behavior for the rest of my life. Was I willing to do that? once I stopped hoping he would change and realized “this IS who he is!” There isn’t some poor damaged soul waiting to feel safe, to open up and connect emotionally. No, what I had was a soulless, entitled prick who was not capable of giving others needs (at the very least) the same consideration of his own.

    When you see a lawyer, please ask them about filing an asset freeze on day one, so he doesn’t spend the inheritance that could help support your son.

    Lastly, Check into assistance programs for your son.

    https://www.specialneedsalliance.org/government-programs-for-children-with-disabilities/

    I have a chronic health condition, but oddly, since I filed for divorce 3 years ago, I’ve gone into remission. Don’t underestimate the stress that living with a fuckwit has on your health.

    Know your worth!

  • I am 52 and I was scared out of my mind. When I found out my STBX was steeping out with my cousin I was devastated. I had no money. I was the one who paid all the bills. While he restored a 1970 Dodge Dart. Always had hundreds of dollars in his wallet. And of course was going out “with his buddies” 4 to 5 times a week. I was forced to get credit cards to pay the taxes and my health insurance. And he used that against me when he filed for divorce.
    It is one year out and I continue to live in our marital home. And I am saving money for the first time in years. And why? Because I am not supporting a man child. It is scary at first, but , you will find out that you can do it on your own. Cheaters only suck the blood and joy right out of you.

    • So right, they suck out the joy, the blood, the life and the finances. I’m no longer supporting or paying for a man child either, its so refreshing.

  • Financial worries kept me in a miserable marriage to a serial cheater for too many years. I left and I’m broke – but I’m happier than I’ve ever been because I don’t wake up every day in a house with someone who treats me like garbage. No level of financial security is worth staying in a situation that makes you miserable every day. Yes it will be hard. You’ll make it.

  • No, no, NO! You’re working with good, but INCOMPLETE information!

    See an attorney. Your financial advisor isn’t an attorney and can only work with what information is provided and without benefit of a divorce decree. Or even a separation agreement.

    In the intervening years, have you worked on building up a savings account in your name alone, in a different BANK? Not a different branch, a different bank.

    What about opening a credit card in your name alone, with no additional authorized users, using it for trifling things then paying it off monthly?

    Do you have an IRA? You should. Doubly so if you are a SAHP. Otherwise, it’s lip service on the part of the employed spouse.

    Sure you are probably going to downsize. That’s okay. You need to think about doing so anyway. Plus you may find an apartment with all the safety features you could ever want. Extra-wide doorways to allow wheelchair access. Grab bars everywhere. A walk-in shower. Outlets at varying heights, etc.

    The unknown is scary but you will do better without a serial cheating fuckwit who could still give you a terminal venereal disease.

    • Yeah, Judge!! Awesome ruling.

      I was struck by this (about the cheating wife): “But Danielle, in testimony in Superior Court, said she was unhappy from the first year of their union.”

      THEN GET OUT HONESTLY, DANIELLE!! Seriously, these people are happy enough to stay in marriages from which they are benefiting until called to task for their behavior, and then the re-writing of history begins to justify their cheating.

      • NEVER READ THE COMMENTS – I have to learn this still on Facebook and Media sites.

        It’s usually a bad scene when you read the comments.

  • Limbo Chump, if you’re reading this, please let me be the first to say you can weather the storm of financial uncertainty. I, too, was worried about being broke after leaving Mrs. Cheaterpants, and I got by just fine.
    First, I’m no fan of the child support setup, but in your case, this is what it’s there for. Don’t worry about whether he wants to retire at this age or that age, or will earn enough money. The law will tell him what he needs to pay, and he can figure out where it comes from. Not your problem!
    And…the same goes with taking care of your special needs son. In our state, he can choose to share time taking care of him, or pay more money. I’m guessing he’ll go with the latter, but again, that’s his problem, not yours.

    I won’t sugar coat things, getting used to a lower standard of living is tough. But which is worse…having to start over at 57, or being 67 and realizing you’ve wasted your entire adult life being treated like last week’s garbage by your husband?
    You’d be amazed how much easier it is to save money when you’re not dragging a financial boat anchor.
    Your financial planner apparently made no provision for the law smacking Mr. Entitled over the head. Go see a lawyer!

    • Thank you Tracy for publishing my letter. I truly have been in limbo for almost 8 years. I saw an attorney 7 years ago, who politely asked me if I could manage to live peaceably! Since finding your blog 3 weeks ago I decided that I need to revisit an attorney. Thanks for the advice about the special needs attorney; I sometimes don’t think clearly or is it fog? I have recommendations for some attorneys from the info sessions on special needs that I’ve attended over the years.
      Over the past 7 years I have gone from part time work to FT, took complete control of the finances, gotten SSI for my son, found support from both a CSAT and another counselor, and from a few women in an SANON group. Our financial situation has improved each year. Even the CSAT suggested last year that if I wasn’t ready for D I could think of it as a 2 year plan, as the 3 kids in college would all be done by then.
      Looking back over the past 7 -8 years not one person (friends,pastor, parents, brothers, CSAT, other counselor) has recommended staying in this marriage. They have given me acknowledgements of how difficult & painful it is to be in this situation. I also know that the women I look up to & admire in SANON or POSA are the ones that have left. And the younger women that come in new, I have thought to myself “Leave! Now! While you’re young!” I think I have stuck it out longer too because H goes out of town almost every week & I get relief from the stress ( also a clue to me that leaving would be better).
      I worked with the CSAT individually for a year & when she mentioned that men in recovery sometimes do financial reparation I did encourage H to see another CSAT in the same office….so he did! We actually went in together because I wanted to press for some financial accountability as he was lax with business expense reports. It’s been over a year & NO mention of financial reparation, NO motivation on his part for the formal disclosure, & NO movement on his part to find a marriage counselor. After reading the blog & comments thank goodness I missed out on sham marriage counseling with H who “gave up the internet porn but still masturbates” (his words from an unusually frank conversation).
      Things seemed ok, even better over the past year as I gradually gave up on any set outcome to this marriage. Until this spring when frivolous spending showed up on credit cards – he was transparent with what he purchased, just not upholding a previous limit on discretionary spending. And the neglect of turning in business expenses began again. I was envisioning a future of continuous detective work & trudging back to his CSAT whenever I found him out of line & that’s when I found Chump Lady.
      Wow. Putting it all out here makes me see the ridiculousness.

      • I’m not in your shoes, Limbo, but you have a whole team of Chumps behind you. The best thing I can recommend is taking off the love glasses or lifting the fog that surrounds him. Seeing your husband for what he is, for what he has done to you and your marriage, are on your path to mighty! You deserve better.

        • “A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved.” — message in fortune cookie I got, the day after D-Day 2017. This was before I found CN, but when I read that, the scales fell from my eyes and all of a sudden, I could move forward. I’ve still got that little paper slip pinned up in my office.

          See your husband for what he really is, and move on. You CAN survive this. The financial anxiety and sleepless nights are temporary, the relief of getting rid of a fuckwit is priceless.

        • As others have said, please stop worrying about what he will or will not do. Get the law on your side, and work from there. I think when you’re a month or two out you will realize more of the “ridiculousness” that he’s put you through, and how unfair it is. Who cares what he is willing to do? You’ll get a much better deal when he is forced to deal with your attorney than you’ll ever get trying to convince him yourself.

  • Look at what you are doing here. Everything is about what he might or might not do. You are handing over -maybe even forcing- control of your life to a known fuckwit. You say he is putting you at risk but what you’re doing is putting yourself at risk by depending on him for your well being! You are making this choice.

    I did the same thing and was one of the chumps who waited for him to make the choice end it and it was one of the few good decisions he made in our 22 year fiasco.

    I was working under the table at the time but only two years later I bought my own place. It’s a single wide trailer on two acres in the middle of nowhere but my daughter and I have made a nice home and enjoy the financial freedom of having a mortgage payment of less than $400.

    We eat better. We sleep better. We have the peace of mind that can only come by no longer relying on a fuckwit.

    You will find your peace!

  • Your life changed when your husband first cheated. Being an addict is not excuse for addictive behaviours, a therapist told me addicts have excuses for everything. He’s wasted thousands on people he thought more important than you. My ex spend thousands on prostitutes, alcohol and drugs. You will get used to being on your own. I’m a single parent, kids do great at school. Addicts don’t need therapy they need to grow up. Most addicts don’t have a bad childhood. My childhood was terrible am I a addict no!

  • I can totally relate. I was terrified about losing everything I had ever worked for and being a single mom of 4 when DDay hit. After 18 weeks of pick me dancing where I almost had a nervous breakdown I kicked X to the curb because he was “confused” as to whether he wanted me, his loyal loving wife of 25 years and four children, or the 30 yo golddigging whore he had just met on an elevator. 🤯🤯🤯

    I filed for divorce, worked my ass off to increase revenue at my career with very lackluster results (but I’m starting to see some payoffs now) and continued acting sanely, even though the pain was so great I could hardly breathe. X is a high earning attorney. I had to take him all the way to trial because he refused anything approaching 50/50 financial split. Thank God I fought! I won 82% of all assets at trial and max child support. The judge said he wished he could have given me more because X has such high future earning potential that I will likely not enjoy in my career where I worked part time for many years while raising my kids and X relied on me to do it all while he built his career.

    It’s been 3 years 8 months since DDay and 18 months since divorce was final. I’m doing great financially. I also decided after 2.5 years together to move into a rented house and share expenses with my BF. I am making a lot of money renting out the home I own free and clear. We signed a lease and hired lawyers and signed a cohabitation agreement so everything I have is protected. I make enough at my job to contribute max, including catch up, into my 401k. I’m 51. I hired a business coach and I’m trying to improve my career even more.

    I finally feel ready for some more trauma counseling, which I started last week. It’s hard but I want to enjoy my life more and stop feeling like the other shoe is going to drop 24/7. I have full custody of my one minor child and she is thriving. I see the grown kids often.

    Chumps, if I can do all this and not die of fear you can too!

  • “…but I have seen other women get divorced, and it does not get better financially”

    WRONG! My life is better in every way possible: financially, emotionally, and otherwise. Did I have to move closer to home? Yep! Did I have to work 3-4 jobs for over a year? YEP! I am a single mom to a small child (5 year old boy). I went from only being away from him 4 hours a day, 5 days a week to seeing him maybe 20 hours a week….on a good week. It was a hard year, I worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week (including a server job…which is physically demanding!). I had 3 days off, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    But you know what…

    I have a very nice 2 bedroom apartment, fully furnished with NEW items that I picked out FOR ME! I have a brand new car that I bought on a whim when my other car was breaking down (13 year old car). I had no idea how I would pay…it’s paid for on time every month.

    Now, I have my dream job, with a dream boss, in a dream office. I work 40 hours a week, ONE JOB, I have banker’s holidays and I can just take off early if I want….no questions asked. I’m living my dream.

    AND THE BEST PART….Mr. Fuckwit has nothing to do with it. My success is my own. I worked my ARSE off to get everything that I own, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I don’t have to deal with gaslighting, manipulation, lying, infidelity (sexual or financial). My life is full of peace, love and happiness.

    I haven’t reached meh yet, I can’t WAIT for Tuesday….but I am happily single, fulfilled and Mr. Fuckwit rarely crosses my mind these days….even when he’s in my face spending time with our son several times a week.

    I know I did 99.9% of the work, but “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” literally changed my life. And every time I hear of a friend/family member/colleague that’s going through the same situation, I gift them a copy of the book. Then those copies have been passed down to NEW chumps and so on. It’s the best gift I can give someone who’s life has been turned upside down.

  • “There is no perfect time.”

    Exactly. Many of us are hard-wired to avoid too many balls in the air, if possible. We prefer to deal with “one thing at a time.”

    But that’s not divorce, and certainly not divorce from a cheater.

    After I decided to divorce my wife, I waited 2 weeks to get my financial ducks in a row and some legal counsel.

    Looking back, I should have front-loaded that all. I should have left her after 2 days.

    This is your life. And every moment you stay with a cheater is a moment you’ll never get back. It’s difficult and scary and heartbreaking, but you’ve gotta pull the trigger.

  • I too was worried about finances. When he started his affair I was 58 years old. We divorced days after my 60th birthday. I hadn’t worked for over 10 years. My four children were grown adults and I was scared to death! Go see a lawyer. Getting a good settlement is paramount, but not the total picture. My cheater got very little in our divorce. I got the house, car, investments up to 80%, life insurance policies on him. He ended up returning to my doorstep broke and sick and guess who was doing just fine financially?? Me! I had a plan to pay off my mortgage in just three years. Once he was gone I found out just how much money he wasted. I had money in the bank that I didn’t know what to do with. Even though my spousal support was to end at 66 years old I still was financially stable because I had no debt, I had half his military retirement and I claimed his social security early at 62! I still have plenty of money and investments. Face those fears head on and talk to a good attorney. Also if he put any of his inheritance into a joint account or promised to use it for the family then you may be able to claim some of it. Contact an attorney before giving up, your life WILL be better.

  • Why the hell would YOU move into a studio if HE is the one who cheated? What makes you think you can’t get the house? Especially when YOU’RE the one taking care of your son!?
    Get a pit bull lawyer. Now.

  • I think only you can decide when is the right time to leave. All I can think of, though, is Chump Lady’s (and everyone else’s) point on your finances because this was something that worried me during my own divorce. He could very well make your financial situation worse because he clearly isn’t trustworthy. He could spend down your accounts, cash in retirement, deplete assets, pull you into bankruptcy, etc. He could lose or quit his job and request spousal support from you.

    If your concerns center around your son, a lawyer can give you advice about your son and assist with arrangements for that. But regarding your finances. . .

    What is wrong with a studio or one-bedroom apartment? A lot of us here did that. I did. I went from a lakefront property to a studio apartment in a county so far out in the sticks that there was no cable or internet service. But it was also the water and I knew I would be left alone. I also went from a life of luxury vehicles and vacations several times a year to trying to buying used tires when one blew out.

    I woke up every morning wondering what happened to my life. My friends were starting families, buying nice houses, getting new minivans, and then there was this weird period where everyone seemed to be buying a boat. I was just divorced and living in a loft over a boat garage.

    It was still more dignified than being married to someone who cheated on and disrespected me.

    It’s a divorce. There is no grassy spot to land on. It just gets better eventually and becomes something that happened in your life.

  • I’d like some advice on my predicament. We are separated and I am living in my own apartment but I’ve been to two divorce attorneys and they tell me the same thing; there is no upside for me financially if I divorce because I was the primary breadwinner for the past 20 years. Even though he cheated on me over those last 20 years, I would have to pay him 3g a month, his healthcare and he gets half of my assets. I cannot afford to pay 3g a month because on paper I can, but I also support my mom and all her bills (another story). So I’m just feeling like I’ll be separated forever but not divorced. At least until he’s 55, because of how insurance rules work in our state. He could file for divorce but as long as he doesn’t I don’t have to pay. It’s screwed for me all the way around.

    • If you can find out the names of any of his affair partners they can be deposed. Cheaters don’t like that and you may be able to use the information to get him to back off. Image management!

      • Deposed for what?
        My attorneys said infidelity has no bearing in this state regarding divorce unless he spent marital assets and in this case it did not. I think infidelity has different bearings in different states. Sadly not here.

      • For humiliation. Would the threat of having them deposed make him back down at all and be reasonable? Will he want to protect them and himself from infidelity even being discussed. Just tossing out ideas.

    • I was terrified of palimony too. I had supported my ex for years while he was going to school. I got a very scary lawyer and the whole thing was over quickly. You are used to thinking in a defensive way after years of abuse. The reality is you have all the cards. Hold back on everything and see what he does. Chances are, he won’t even ask for a tenth of what you’re afraid he will.

      From what I hear palimony/ alimony is not usually a long term thing. It is designed to ease the person back into the workforce. They have to keep petitioning the court to keep it going after a few months and document their efforts to find work. A lawyer would better know the particulars in your area.

      A clever lawyer might find a way to create a payment to the inlaws part of the divorce. Whatever you want, put it in there. You can document that you both have been shouldering that responsibility, so that’s half his too.

      A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (Id focus most on division of assets, and less on palimony, which can and probably will be changed several times after the divorce if not cancelled outright).

      • I live in a state where according to two different attorneys who specialize in divorce, he can get palimony for ten years because of the length of the marriage.
        I don’t care to put myself in this situation again, so I’ll never get married again. As far as I’m concerned, unless he forces it, I’m better off not pushing for divorce.
        There’s a lot of us high income spouses out there, and it’s a weird position to be in. I suddenly feel for the Brittany Spears of the world. It’s tough in a different way.

        • I am a high earning spouse and Douchebag lost his job not long after I filed. Too bad. I tracked down the OWs, their friends, their spouses and their ex spouses and lined them up to be deposed in what would be a humiliating, public divorce trial for DB. I then hung this over his head to get a good settlement. I used that leverage. No he’s not getting maintenance. BOOM. Bye Douchebag. Use that leverage. Do I sound mean and cutthroat? No. I am looking out for myself and my kid. I am not paying Cheater Maintenance. And I am so free of him. Do it.

    • Stay separated, and don’t answer any notice servers if he files. Separated forever is much better than divorced and supportin him to that tune!. JMO. A divorce decree is just a piece of paper. For now. It’s not screwed; your peace and relief at him and his crap out of your day to day life is priceless.

      • This is the best advice so far. Just wondering if anyone else had been through this scenario.

  • Thanks for pointing out that I have no financial stability now. Only the illusion. All of you are awesome for telling your experiences! And thinking of it as landing on grass with some rocks puts it in perspective.
    There is nothing wrong with a studio or 1 bedroom. In my situation I am trying to envision living comfortably with my son. He is 24, has high functioning autism & since February has had 2 psych admissions for new symptoms of psychosis. The hospital did not want to give a definitive diagnosis yet but it may be schizophrenia. He doesn’t feel comfortable out in public & our house with the yard & basement gives him some room. He smokes on the deck & it doesn’t bother neighbors. I’d just have to be serious about seeking out a new place that would fit our needs for safety & peace. I haven’t seriously looked other than at some apartment websites, as I have been trying to keep H from knowing that I am considering D until I am definitely ready to do it. I’ve always heard it’s better to take retirements than the house. We have hardly any equity. I definitely need to revisit an attorney & possibly another financial planner.
    Peace sounds wonderful. I don’t really have that now. What would a new life be like?

    • Well since it’s going to be your life it’s going to be whatever you make it to be!

      Lemons need action to become lemonade it’s up to you

  • Wow, so much Mighty in these posts and comments today, Sooo Much Mighty! This Mighty saved my life, my kids lives and many other lives, this is the recipe for peace and authenticity, use it. I spackled, you spackled, we all spackled and Pick Me Danced nearly endlessly but in the end it was finite effort. We all need infinite effort, infinite love, infinite peace and if you don’t already have that now after 30 some years with this spouse, what makes you think anything else will be worse?

    Sure poor is scary, money is easy, but Real is Peace. There is a popular evangelical preacher and she is a no nonsense person. She said something once that also struck me “Do it even if you are afraid, if you know that you know that it is right, just do it afraid”. That along with CL and CN showed me that I Can plan, prepare, coordinate, execute my method to a new life.

    Everyone above who chimed in saying that removing the disordered fuckwit from their life has led them to a path of security and honesty, especially in financial resources is speaking the truth. I was terrified that after 25 years and kids and bills I was crashing us (me and kids) into financial ruin and they would never forgive me. We are good, they are okay, cheater troll fuckwit is gone and my lawyer was fair.

    I attended an award event for a coworker who is in a similar field as my ex cheater troll, our entire office attended to show support. In a room full of families, friends, coworkers, leaders and guests, I was struck by the fact that after 27 years my ex Never invited his family to any of his work events, NONE. Its such a normal thing too. None of us in our office would have skipped this for any reason, celebrating the accomplishments of each other just seems the right and real thing to do. Sometimes you don’t realize you are stuck to a disordered fuckwit until after you unstick.

    Lawyer up and file for divorce. If you cannot make your spouse leave then go with your son. Do this for yourself and if not, do it for your kids and soon grandkids, do it even if you are afraid, do it, Leave a Cheater, Gain [your lives] back.

    • Great comments! One of my favorites… “Sometimes you don’t realize you are stuck to a disordered fuckwit until after you unstick.”

      Mine is a workaholic, alcoholic, selfish fuckwit. So nice to be unstuck.

  • My ex is getting up there in years too and in the divorce decree it was put that even if he decides to retire early, he has to keep paying me alimony until he’s 67 so you could do something like that.

  • Based on your response to CL, you’ve made a great start. Your son is on SSI so that means you have some resources on his end to help. Some percentage of that should go for his housing and food.

    If you live in a city, there may be apartment complexes that serve the disabled and elderly. I don’t mean government complexes, but ones that are not “market rate” & accept some government subsidy money and provide a nice, safe apartment. These can be 2-bedroom units in nice buildings. His company also has great market-rate 2-bedrooms (some 2-story, all with 2 bathrooms & very very attractive) that would be affordable for someone who works and also has some SSI money. So do the real research on apartments of all kinds. Take tours. Call the people who help those with disabilities.

    Then do the research on what kind of mortgages or financial help you can get to buy a house as the parent of an adult disabled child. It would also seem reasonable to me that your STBX should pony up the downpayment if he has been dissipating marital assets. Research is a wonderful thing. The attorney I first saw when I decided to leave XH the substance abuser was all “he’ll get your pension and alimony” (XH was retired. That didn’t happen because I did my homework and figured out how to get the settlement I needed. There are no guarantees. But you have to have a goal. Do you want to live in the home you own now? Do you want to sell it and buy another? Do you want to rent? Know what you want and why you want it.

    Ground your thinking in real-world information about money, real estate, and what things actually cost. Real estate is a very local thing. I live in an area where housing is reasonable. My mortgage and taxes are less than rent in a nice 2-bedroom apartment in a complex with a pool. Plus I still qualify for tax deductions because I have a very modest home. In California or parts of the east coast, this isn’t as doable. But I’ve read that rent is high in many areas, out of reach for low income people. Would some relocation help you? These can be exciting questions to work on if you see asking them as designing your new life, cheater/sex addict free.

    • In terms of real estate: “Know what you want and why you want it.” I let myself dream about this for the past 7 years. I have a dream. I have plan B too. What are some suggestions for keeping things quiet? I live in a smaller, gossipy town, where everyone seems to know us or of us because of the kids and they have the impression that H is a great guy. I am afraid to ask people who could help because they may let H know before I have all the ducks ready. How can I find out, without H knowing, if I would qualify for a mortgage on only my salary? Can spousal support income be used to help qualify for a mortgage? I have begun to feel that if I could figure out housing, the rest would fall into place.

      • How can I find out, without H knowing, if I would qualify for a mortgage on only my salary?

        Run a credit check on yourself. Then go to a mortgage broker and ask for them to run a pre-approval using your name alone. I think they can be done confidentially, so no follow-up phone calls or letters. Maybe emails to your brand-new Yahoo account with a password he will never guess.

        My kid, with less than 5 years out of college qualified for a loan at 3x base salary. No plan on buying a home for 2 years, merely to see how much could be afforded in theory.

        If you kept the house do you think a good roommate is possible?

      • If you’re looking to keep things quiet, you can use online resources like rocket mortgage to find out if you qualify instead of a local mortgage broker. Spousal support does count as income for a mortgage, but only if it’s going to continue for 3 years I believe.

  • I was interrupted mid-post–the part about apartments was information from a friend who manages complexes for the elderly and disabled, as well as their caregivers. The “he” is without referent.

  • I’m another who ended up financially better off after divorce and I too have a severely special needs child. There is soooo much support out there. Make those phone calls and find out what help is out there in your State. And call that lawyer! My ex has to pay child support, alimony and extra for extraordinary expenses. I’m in Canada. People are willing to help but you have to ask. I had to learn that. I own my own home now. It’s a small townhouse but comfortable and beautiful for my daughter and me. I’m so much happier.

    Get out LC! It IS better on the other side! I was absolutely terrified too. But you can make it! Believe me and trust yourself! You are mighty!

  • When you’ve been enduring an entitled fuckwit,for countless years the affect on your confidence is heavy. Initially I couldn’t see a way that I was going to ‘cope’ on my own let alone worries about finances. However, I suddenly realised that my own mother, 76, manages perfectly fine on her own, as too does my 92 year now ex father in law!
    The problem with marriage to a ball bag entitled narc is you forget and doubt your own capabilities. My counsellor pointed out to me that all my anxieties and stress had one single trigger. Him. Then she pointed out I had to choose to accept another 30 odd years of this way of living or not. Put that simply my decision was obvious.

  • I know exactly I was forced to leave through social services and it’s bankrupting us nearly 20 months later. I cannot access Legal Aid!😩🇨🇦

    • I am in Canada. Go to a women’s shelter . Now.
      I was given a certain amount of time with a very experienced lawyer. As well, I got put on a list for geared to income housing while I was going back to school ( a trade – thank God !).

      IC and group therapy were made available too. I owe our local shelter my sanity. They helped me immensely and they can help you too!

  • Mine had me quite convinced for a very long time that he was far smarter and wiser than me about all matters financial.

    And then I subpoenaed every damned re odd, and reviewed it all with the help of an ethical accountant.

    Learned that despite apparent success, he’s made some very, very stupid and irresponsible financial moves, and that cheating, lying, hiding, and manipulation extend to every realm.

    None of us leave until we feel able. Most all of us wish we had done that sooner.

  • There are wonderful outcome stories on here, because social media attracts that, but the ugly truth is that women who stopped working generally get brutalized after divorce. I watched that in my own scenario, in reverse. OW was too much of a queen to work. When the court cut off her subsidization, she was screwed. She’s moving now to some hovel in Mexico because in all her years of under the table cash, she was too mentally ill to get herself past a tenth grade education and under the table jobs slaving as a personal assistant for celebrities, shoveling dog poop and basking in the non-glory. I’m enjoying watching that, honestly, as I fought for years for the career of a lifetime and I got it, and now I will never have to worry. And she knows it. And she’s worried.

    Love that karma bus.

    I digress. I do have one message for the women reading this because they are pondering a divorce.
    If you stay home with your children – you need to make a plan that gets you paid.
    You are the ones who eat Alpo later when you failed to try.
    Staying home is a luxury. The anchor is about to get pulled. You will have ten thousand shrill reasons why THIS IS DIFFERENT and I SUPPORTED MY HUSBAND’S GOALS and THIS WAS HIS IDEA and la da la da la da. The truth of the matter is you love not answering to anyone and no one telling you what to do. But that’s over now because of his wayward dick and lack of respect for your contribution. I see this so often and it slays me. (I have a career in exactly this, without divulging researchable detail. Matrimonial …)
    Figure it out. Woman up. Get a job.
    You have a lot of life left.

    • I think it may be simplistic to tell someone with an adult disabled child that staying home is a luxury. I wish I had the option of working more, but who would care for my son? She may have options that way, but she may not. My son has been on waiting lists for services since he was five, and he is now in his mid-twenties, but no luck with that. Funds go first to those who don’t have parents to care for them, and by the time they get to him, there isn’t much left. And it is unbelievably difficult to hire reliable and trustworthy help for care of a disabled adult.

      I hope that Limbo has options as you suggested. But I don’t like glossing over that part of her story. It’s not easy to care for a disabled person who is stronger than you are. And it may not be possible to do it alone, or to leave that person alone while you go to work.

      I’m not saying it can’t be done–but I’m also not saying it’s easy, or that someone with a problem with that has failed to apply themselves.

    • “(I have a career in exactly this, without divulging researchable detail. Matrimonial …)”

      Hey Einstein…great job maintaining professional anonymity with your choice of username ‘Matri counsel’.

    • She has a severely disabled child at home. That makes it really tough to find a job if you are getting phone calls to come home to deal with him.

      I wish that every single couple who has one person staying home (for whatever reason) would then fully fund the unemployed person’s IRA annually. I forget what the max is this year but if it’s SO important that one person stay home then it’s EQUALLY important that they salt away even that trifling amount in an IRA.

      As for the rest of your screed, you sound like an OW who is pissed off that the wife is insisting on being compensated.

    • Great argument for interviewing several attorneys and selecting one with compassion and empathy for her clients.

    • We SAHP have “no one” to answer to, and “no one telling you what to do”??? Clearly, you have never raised children. I don’t even get to crap without an audience, and when I get the privilege of toileting at all is only because they’re content for the moment, usually plotting their next mischief I’ll be cleaning up. I don’t GET to work because I was a chump and trusted a man who I thought had the same priorities, ethics, and morals as I did. Turns out, he’s a psychopathology narcissistic lying liar hole! Didn’t find that out until 4 kids later, and daycare $100 per day, per child here in my country. If I went to work, the daycare would make more than I do after taxes! Luxury, indeed! Ever had to ask for cash from your spouse because you need tampons and you’ve spent your weekly allowance (on his kids, BTW!). I answer to everyone around here but myself, “Counsel”. Unbelievable!

  • Limbo Chump, I vote GET. OUT. NOW. After you talk to a lawyer you trust. We chumps have a habit of thinking we can control outcomes. If he leaves you, or drains what money you have, or gets arrested, etc., you will have to suffer the consequences as his wife. As his EX-wife, you will be free of this fuckwit and his immoral behavior, and he will be the one who has to suffer the natural consequences of his actions. You are employed, you’ve been married long enough to collect social security on his income when retirement age comes even if you’ve divorced, and your son is probably entitled to his own SSI /Medicaid benefits depending on his disability. I’m not saying it will be easy, but you will be okay. You will be much healthier and happier once you are disentangled from this chaotic mess. And you will have made active choices for yourself, not have them imposed on you by someone who clearly doesn’t give a damn about your well being.

  • I’m over 3 years post-divorce. Dracula just called me today to recite his shenanigans about how “the new bank screwed me over and double-paid the student loans so the child support check will bounce. I’m looking for another bank”.

    I can’t tell you how many banks he fled from while we were together. Did you guys know that some banks just “have it in” for just “good, regular chaps out there”?? Who knew!?!?! How many times I heard this story??

    The point is, when I was married to this fuckwit, I heard this sob story constantly. We didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Post-divorce, I have money (because – no shenanigans!). During D-Day and shaningans-days, I thought “things are so bad now, going down to one income will be EVEN WORSE!” Surprise! Just the opposite happened.

    You also can’t be your best self at your job being with a fuckwit. Don’t be with a fuckwit, and your money situation miraculously improves.

    • I still am amazed at the miraculous materialization of money around me. We too never had two nickels to rub together when Cheater was in charge of the money. I still just wonder where a lot of it went. Now that I add things up, I realize that at least $20,000 per year was simply vanishing. And likely it was more than that, because he was also stealing. And even with his stealing, running up credit cards and everything…. we STILL didn’t have any money. Amazing.

  • Let me join the chorus. Divorce is co$tly. But, now divorced I realize that I was paying more than half the bills and 100% of the food so that XW could have a brand new car every 3years, the latest fashions, and a shoe and makeup empire. I went along with it because I was a chump taking care of my family and trying to keep her happy.

    Accept that you will have to redesign your financial life. The prospect can be depressing at first but once in you begin to see the light more clearly. I’m currently deciding what stuff to sell off in a big garage sale to get some extra cash and say goodbye to some things I don’t need or want. Say goodbye to some memories as well.

  • This was a 2nd marriage for me and I thought we were on the run down to retirement especially with all the discussions we had had about it ..turns out it was just me planning that, he was making entirely different plans with someone else …

    I’m 5 weeks out from GTFO day ( he couldn’t decide so I did it for him ) and I am surviving . I have more money in my bank account than I had when he was here and he earns 3 times what I earn.!! You just don’t realise how they drain the life out of everything ..especially finances.
    I never knew where all the money went but there never seemed to be enough. Especially in the last year when he paid for nothing ( Red Flag there !)

    Its very early days for me and I still have settlement and finances to sort but I feel I’m managing and doing OK. Despite the fact that hes playing silly buggers with the money and trying to get one over me I’m still OK . I feel the worst has happened in many aspects.

    Going NC has helped tremendously in clearing my head and moving forward.

    • Hang in there – you will not only survive but you will thrive. I am absolutely amazed by all the comments here about how much financially better off we become without the fuckwits. I knew where our money was going but I also knew who was spending it. Like we say every time, they all read from the same playbook don’t they!

  • “(I have a career in exactly this, without divulging researchable detail. Matrimonial …)”

    Hey Einstein…great job maintaining professional anonymity with your choice of username ‘Matri counsel’.

  • Run, don’t walk to a family law attorney!!!! You are responsible to ensure the physical, emotional, and financial safety of you and your child. It’s scary, I know first hand, but CL is right. You may have a smaller place but the peace, love, and stability that will fill your HOME (though small it will be a home), heart and life will not compare to living in a house with a cheater who is emotionally draining and has the potential to bring financial disaster and disease into your life. CL is right, everything you have now is shared. Get to that lawyer to see what will be YOURS and what he will need to contribute to your child. There is a life on the other side of all this mess waiting for you. Good luck

  • My thoughts on this subject are that if a cheater is still with you, it’s because it benefits THEM. Whether it’s financial, or having a person to wash , dry, cook, clean, or having an excuse to avoid a real “relationship” with their whore, there is always a benefit to them.

    I think your cheater turd knows that his situation will get worse if you leave, most likely he knows he will have to pay you $$$. Now he doesn’t. Just leave the jerk, please.

    In my case, the asshole was staying because we have a child. He pushed for 50/50 custody to avoid child support, even though he spent very little time being a father. But he reconsidered, and that 50% custody would cut into his valuable whore time. It was about 45% more than he’d ever done. Plus, the relationship with whore would be free to go full steam ahead, which truthfully neither of them actually wanted.

  • Hey LC,

    Just wanted to chime in and say that I moved from a large comfortable home to a small apartment with my kids and I couldn’t be happier. I have financial pressures and concerns I didn’t used to have and I’ve never been happier. Lying cheating fuckwit is out of my life and I couldn’t be happier. The reality is not nearly as scary as I had imagined

  • “I vote GET. OUT. NOW. After you talk to a lawyer you trust. We chumps have a habit of thinking we can control outcomes. If he leaves you, or drains what money you have, or gets arrested, etc., you will have to suffer the consequences as his wife.” Yes, even the CSAT warned me that if he’s not in recovery, he is getting worse. She spelled out some things that could be happening. I really am living a life of illusion in this limbo. Have started to ask around for attorney recommendations.

  • Anita, you wrote “My thoughts on this subject are that if a cheater is still with you, it’s because it benefits THEM. Whether it’s financial, or having a person to wash , dry, cook, clean” and I am adding “give him a cover for his activities and credibility in the community.” You also said “I think your cheater turd knows that his situation will get worse if you leave, most likely he knows he will have to pay you $$$. Now he doesn’t. Just leave the jerk, please.” I realized that he could have looked at the financial consequences & decided to stay. A year ago he wanted to leave “to decide whether I want to be married or not.” That may have been my chance, but I didn’t feel financially OR emotionally strong enough. Funny, I just was re-reading all the comments on July 11’s post & it’s all hitting me now like a 2 X 4 what a deranged person I have been living with.

  • Limbo Chump, at least you found credit card bills. Douchebag carefully removed $1,000 from our checking account every 2 weeks for many years. I always assumed this was for incidentals. Then I started looking harder at the credit card bills and noticed he charged every legitimate expense to our joint credit card, no matter how small. McDonald’s, a $1.50 bottle of water at a gas station. Everything on the credit card. Take my word for it. He is siphoning money out of your accounts right now. You will be better off than you realize.

  • Hi married 38 years Was a stay at home mom , I feel that I have honor our marriage contract , I did everything that I was supposed to and more, Now husband seems not to like our wedding vows , could it be because. he’s broken half of them exspecilly the forsaking all others, He met a woman developed a crush on her , which then turn in to emotional affair When I confronted him about that he said she was filling his needs and gave him back his spark , but yet there “Just Friends ” He would still hang out with her once in a while , so when he did cheat with her I found out though Him He was feeling guilty , so he couldn’t wait to unburden him self , He did say after he got done with the story he didn’t feel guilty anymore Me I was angry, upset, hurt , don’t trust him He did say that He has made his bed and now he has to lie in it !! And if I wanted a seperation or divorce he would do what ever he needed to do , I think he wants one of the two of those but he wants me to do the dirty work After the cheating we did discuss if we got a divorce what he would do for me , He said he’ll give me 1000$ a month, he has No clue what the cost of living is , But he has me right where he wants me I was a stay at home mom for many years , not much work experience , He’s the bread winner But those years I stayed home and took care of 7 children should count for something (Yes we have 7 kids) He knows I can’t hire a lawyer, right now we don’t have a mortgage And he doesn’t want another one So I’m stuck , I wish I could make it where he wanted the divorce so maybe he would give me what I need to live a new life . I have a feeling he wants to get back with OW but in case that doesn’t work out I’ll still be here. I know I have to leave and to get independent of him which I have been working on He once told me that from day one of our marriage he never Loved me he thought he would grow to love me. but hadn’t I need to be loved And it clearly not from him . One last thing That weekend he went away with OW he came back home on our Anniversary then tried to tell me Happy Anniversary Thanks

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