Dear Chump Lady,
I need some advice on what to do with cheater’s stuff.
My partner of 16 years left me and our 9-year-old for the Other Woman (aka new love of life/soulmate) 5 weeks ago after second D-Day and moved straight from our family home into the new love nest.
He has known Schmoopie — apparently I do not need to know her actual name — for roughly 6 months and having an affair for few months, the exact timeline is foggy to him, but he couldn’t help his feelings and knows how much he loves her and that it is “more than just an affair.” Whatever that is suppose to mean!
The first D-Day came after I became suspicious by his gaslighting. (He had me ready to visit docs and declare myself with a mental breakdown) and I found a text on his phone. After his rage calmed down he managed to convince me she was just a friend, was the biggest mistake of his life, blah blah blah.
Then I spent the next month doing the pick me dance until finally the second D-Day came and his switch flipped. He was now a complete stranger to me, cold, hostile and aggressive, blamed me for everything and basically tore me and our relationship to shreds while I begged, pleaded and sobbed for forgiveness and a chance to make things right.
Finally came the “I don’t love you, I love her,” rewritten history, and he left with only the clothes on his back.
So my question is — how long can I reasonably be expected to keep all his shit? He has refused to come and collect it and since I am not entitled to know where he is living, I cannot drop it at their door.
My house is like a shrine to him and it’s just not good for me or our child, who keeps suggesting he might come back since he has refused to tell her the reason he has left. Could he be leaving it here to keep his options open? Or is it just the narcissist way to leave with nothing and my pathetic hopium is he will come to his senses? I am now going gray rock since full no contact is impossible with a child. I’m really struggling, please give me some advice on what my next move should be.
Dear Newly Chumped,
Your next move is to a lawyer to get temporary support orders. You may have a common law marriage (partner?) but you have a child together, and he doesn’t get to waltz out of his daughter’s life without consequences. Consequences feels like the wrong word — because supporting your child is not a dreaded punishment. But unfortunately, he’s probably going to perceive it that way. Either by hiring a lawyer, who can get in front of a judge ASAP, or by going to your local child support enforcement bureau, who can open a case for you — you need to FORMALIZE his abandonment.
Start moving forward into the new reality of life without him. The way he’s living now is cake-eating. You maintain the Shrine, (clean up the mess, raise the kid on air and leprechaun wishes…) and he keeps All Options Open. It’s Good To Be King!
Okay, sure, he might’ve promised to do right by his kid… and maybe he slipped you some money for the last 5 weeks, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t stake my child’s future on the promises of fuckwits.
You know who can get his forwarding address? The law. You’ve asked nicely, now unleash the lawyers.
Because Newly, he’s terrorizing you. It’s time to fight back, end the cake-eating, and protect your child.
What? That’s over the top, Tracy. People can leave relationships! Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants! Just because he loves the Other Woman doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his child!
Abandonment, and maintaining the uncertainty — no name, no forwarding address — not only insulates him from consequences (nowhere to leave the summons) — it deliberately and cruelly leaves you and your child off-balance. Insecure and him powerful. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Vulnerable to Needing Him For Something.
Shut. That. Shit. Down.
Starting today you don’t need him for anything. You go to the courts and you demand that to which you are ENTITLED — financial support for your child. And any ways in which you are tied to him by real estate, or property — you begin severing those ties.
He wants his new love? Then he adults. He pays. He forwards his mail. He cleans up his shit. He won’t do it? You MAKE him do it, or you do it for him. In ways he probably won’t enjoy.
Dear Fuckwit, I’ve moved all your personal belongings to a storage locker, and paid the first month in your name. (Insert storage contact info.)
Dear Fuckwit, You have left your things here unattended and made your intentions clear, you aren’t returning. I am not free storage. I have moved your personal belongings to the garage and you have until Thursday to remove them. After which, they are mine to dispose of.
Dear Fuckwit, Please notice the garage sale announcement in Craigslist for this Sat. morning.
Dear Fuckwit, I hear the Container Store is having a sale…
These are boundaries. Enforce them. You give him warning, which is reasonable accommodation (i.e., “Until Thursday”), and then you ACT. You don’t dance for consensus, because he didn’t ask if leaving all his shit with you was okay, did he?
My house is like a shrine to him and it’s just not good for me or our child, who keeps suggesting he might come back since he has refused to tell her the reason he has left.
Don’t leave it to him. You tell her. Dad left for his new girlfriend. Tell her it has NOTHING to do with her. She’s lovable, this isn’t her fault (kids often feel that it is). Don’t try to explain what you don’t understand yourself — just tell her what you DO know. I love you. I will never let you down. We’ll be okay. Model strength and resiliency. I know that’s really hard when you’re not feeling strong yourself, but it’s the kindest thing you can do for her now, is fight for her welfare and be strong.
Could he be leaving it here to keep his options open?
His motivations don’t matter. YOU matter. Your daughter matters.
You are not an “option.”
Start acting like it.