I kicked my husband out of the house 2 years ago, finally, after a (at least) 10-year history of him cheating on me. I knew about the cheating but stayed on for my daughter. I kicked him out after my daughter found out he cheated. It took him almost a year to move out after I had told him I wanted to separate. He felt that separation was not ‘necessary’. He is a functioning alcoholic. We are not divorced for financial reasons, I keep on living in the house that (mainly) I built. My inheritance paid for roughly half of the house, he paid the rest through mortgage payments.
I have gone back to working full time after ten years of not working/working part time. I could live from what I earn. He pays generous support, moans about it occasionally, but makes no attempt to stop paying. I don’t pay rent to him.
Point being: He is quite decent in the aftermath of separation. I still look after his financials because I was always the financial manager and I am quite good at it whereas he does a very poor job of looking after money. Plus, I am concerned about his financial future in the sense that if he ends up poor it will be bad for my daughter and myself and I also don’t want the father of my child to live poorly.
Usually on weekends (= had a drink or several) he writes soppy texts about how much he misses me and my daughter, feels like he is dying inside etc. etc. I remind him that he was extremely unhappy when with us. He doesn’t suggest to meet up, just drops these texts like bombs into my world. He complains about my daughter because she doesn’t want to see him and he feels he is being used for money only. Which is true I guess. He was a committed father but as she grew older and peek-a-boo stopped being a thing, he could not keep up with her needs. And then the drinking and the cheating of course. The cheating my daughter feels was proof that he didnt care about her because it shows he was willing to risk the family for a bit of fun. This is not wrong, but I also remember a husband who would drive baby her around in the car at 2 am because the car soothed her when she had one of her crying fits.
I have found new love since, a really nice man that my daughter likes, too. I have not told my husband, it is none of his business. I am extremely grateful to be out of this abusive relationship. I would like to divorce, but don’t want to lose the house and can’t afford to buy him off as house prices have gone up crazily in my area.
A few days ago in the middle of a Saturday morning he wrote a text saying that he had been in my area for banking business (he lives like 45 miles away) and ‘the Merc seems to be a regular parker in front of our house’ and that ‘mail in the letter box was getting wet’. I was so shocked. The car belongs to my boyfriend and for the week prior to that he had been staying at my house every night. Mostly my boyfriend doesn’t stay the night though out of respect for my daughter.
To come to the conclusion ‘regular’ he must be a regular observer himself unless he was just throwing a stone in the water to watch for ripples coming up. People park in front of the house all the time, mostly students in small cars, the Merc stands out. He left an envelope titled ‘for under the Christmas tree’. I didn’t want any nasty surprises so I opened it. It was a card with a soppy account of how nice our Christmas trees used to be and a pile of money in cash for my daughter and myself ‘to buy something nice’ for ourselves. Then, a few days later, I saw my boyfriend to the door, really early in the morning. I also saw a car that could have been my husband’s, drive off. It probably wasn’t him, the car in my memory really wasn’t the same, but it just goes to show I am now really concerned that he is stalking me. He comments on every change I make in my whats app profile too. He is a risk taker, ex-Forces, been to wars, a loner, sticks to routines. I am not sure I need to be afraid of him, but sometimes I am unsure. He appears desperate and he has done so many things I never thought he was capable of. Sometimes I worry he might take his life.
And here it comes (sorry for the looong run up): Now I feel guilty. Guilty for taking his money, guilty for being content and happy, guilty for living in the house while he is living in a furnished rental (there is enough money for something better), guilty for having my daughter’s love. I know he is responsible for himself and also for the drinking and the cheating that led to this situation and yet I feel responsible for his welfare.
I guess what I am asking is — why on earth do I feel guilty? Is it possible I am guilty and if not, how do I stop feeling guilty?
Wrong question. It’s been two years. Why aren’t you divorced? Why aren’t you seeking legal counsel to figure out who gets the house or how long you can stay there? Why aren’t you protecting your finances and getting a proper settlement, before he’s NOT a “functional” alcoholic?
We’ll get to what a creepy beast he is in a moment, but right now I’m shining the Klieg light on you. Why are you feeling guilty? Because you HAVE NO BOUNDARIES with this man! You’re still vulnerable to his mindfuckery. He sends money, “lets” you live in a house you co-own, and in exchange, you feel like you have to listen to his sad sausage shit — and put up with his stalking.
I’m sorry to say it, but chumps are guilty of cake-eating too. It seems to me you want all the perks of divorce — a new boyfriend, cheating drunk ex not around, but also all the perks of staying together — living in your family home, not re-ordering your life, not taking the financial hit.
This is where proper legal advice comes in. People often work out arrangements in divorce where they live in the family home for X number of years for the kids, and then sell. Or you talk to a mortgage broker about refinancing and keeping the house. Or you downsize and find that the sun still sets in the west.
But, but the real estate market!
Yes, it’s crazy right now. It might be crazy later. If you own, then you’re going to sell high — and buy high. Seems like a wash to me. The vagaries of the real estate market are not a reason to stay in an abusive marriage with a scary guy.
I have found new love since, a really nice man that my daughter likes, too. I have not told my husband, it is none of his business.
Please reread that sentence. “I have not told MY HUSBAND.” Actually, as you’re still married to him, you’ve kept it his business. You have every right to move on with your life — but the snag is — you have to ACTUALLY MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Like, do the hard things. No healthy partner is going to want to date a woman with a husband.
This is where we do the rabbit hole about dating while separated. I actually don’t have a problem with that, especially in states with year-plus waiting periods to file. But if you’re still entangled with your ex, as in you still refer to him as your Husband, and you feel guilty and reactive to his manipulation — then you’re not emotionally available to a new person. It’s a wobbly time. Best to heal up and get your shit together (as in have filed papers) first.
I am extremely grateful to be out of this abusive relationship. I would like to divorce, but don’t want to lose the house
You’re not out of it. You own a house with it. So, time to make a hard decision, would you rather have this house or your sanity and safety? Divorce is full of these hard calls. But as you asked me, I vote that you are more important than your house.
I am now really concerned that he is stalking me. He comments on every change I make in my whats app profile too.
He is stalking you. Please reach out to a legal professional on this and local law enforcement. You can’t control his crazy, but you can enforce your own boundaries, and that’s a LOT easier to do when you’re clear on those yourself. You are my EX-husband (or soon-to-be-ex). This is MY property. (Unclear now if he on the lawn or in your home, as you both own the house). This is our court-ordered child support (return cash in envelops, the monetary division of things has been decided). I don’t take gifts from my ex.
Right now you are fuzzy on all those fronts. It does NOT make his stalking okay. He’s absolutely a freak. Give yourself permission to have boundaries and clarity on your relationship with him. Communicate that to him, preferably through a lawyer. Then get security cameras and a dog — better yet, sell the house and change your address.
He appears desperate and he has done so many things I never thought he was capable of. Sometimes I worry he might take his life.
You’re not responsible for him. Kick into self-protection mode — he might take your life. You’re allowed to have boundaries. How he reacts to your boundaries is not your burden to carry. If he makes threats to take his own life, you report that immediately to 911, and get him an involuntary psych evaluation. If he was manipulating you, he won’t try that move again. If he’s having a psych emergency, then he’ll get the proper help. But don’t live as a hostage to these threats. (Assuming he’s made any.)
And don’t live as a hostage to his financial support either. He can stuff cash in an envelop — doesn’t make this shit okay.
why on earth do I feel guilty?
Because you’re not used to asserting yourself in a healthy way. And you’re living in limbo, sending mixed messages — I want out of this relationship, but I’m still in it — and that leaves you open to his sad sausage mindfuckery (self-pity channel) and his stalking (rage channel).
Dr. George Simon (go read his stuff) makes a very good point that manipulation only works on those with a conscience. You cannot shame the shameless. But if you care and you bond and you don’t want to hurt people, then guilt is a good lever.
Shut off the mindfuck channel by shutting him off — no contact. But you need the legal protections to shore up that no contact. He needs to be your EX husband who has no claim to your home. You need clear support documents, a custody order, and parenting software.
If you fear leaving him, contact a domestic violence agency. Womenslaw.org if you’re in the U.S. has a list and is a good resource. Get help making a plan.
Limbo is not a plan. It’s a holding pattern. Please, bust a move.