My 4.5 year journey to divorce my ex finished in a German court at 9:41 on October 11th. It felt like my marriage was brought in on a gurney and then they called time of death. It was surreal.
What I learned is that my ex is a walking cliche and that karma is a beautiful and somehow horrible thing to watch.
When all of this started, I was a trailing spouse who had lived in 5 countries in 8 years and had been told to get ready for our next country. I had diligently registered my kids for the next school, was looking for an apartment and a job in what I thought would be our final destination. I wrote off his lack of interest as stress.
The reality was that my ex was sleeping with the global head of legal at his company and they were writing tortured love letters to each other on the company server — including their titles in the affectionate closes. Power is a real aphrodisiac.
I understood something was wrong and questioned him, but he lied and tried to convince me that I needed psychological help because I was imagining things. In 4 months, his phone went from nightly charging in the kitchen to being firmly tucked between his butt cheeks so I couldn’t get to it.
Fast forward through 6 months — I lost 12 kilos, my sense of direction and my peace of mind. After those 6 months, I finally managed to open his iPad and get into the trash of his corporate email to find only the first lines of 2 emails which confirmed my suspicions. When I tried to save them to a folder, his iPad suggested one titled “win” where I got to read that we were incompatible people and that he did not care about me or our daughters.
That day I was mighty. I left him on the side of the road in Italy and promptly changed the locks on our house.
The man I thought was full of integrity and loved his family turned out to be a liar and a narcissist. It took me a while in therapy to understand that he was the problem, not me.
What did I do? I felt pain that I did not know was possible but forced myself to see who he really was and not who I desperately wanted him to be. I also realized that he would offer me no answers, would not meet any obligations without me fighting him every step. My lawyer bills confirm this.
I am proud of myself. I found Chump Lady and this amazing community. I went back to university, held my family of 3 together — I was determined that maybe he ruined his family but he did not destroy not mine. I found a job that I love — where I feel like I am making a difference. And I surrounded my family with people who support us and are honest.
My older daughter just started a great university in the UK. My younger daughter will apply to medical school next year. I opted for telling them the truth. They are well adjusted, funny and sweet girls, but they call it like they see it.
The relationship between my ex and the global legal diva didn’t last so he ended up with a Russian former employee. I don’t know how many there were and it really doesn’t matter. He was promoted initially and then almost made the CEO of his company, but the #MeToo movement finally caught up with him and it didn’t happen. The Russian employee’s children will move to live with their mother for the first time ever along with the ex CEO. Karma.
Even though I fucked up sometimes along the way, I took your advice. It worked and I will be forever grateful. I made the decision to make this betrayal something that happened to me, but not something that would define the rest of my life.
I still have moments of sadness, but I take them as reminders to have good boundaries, to hold people accountable for what they say and do, and to expect reciprocity in my relationships. All of the people who give me the forgiveness chat get told to mind their fucking business. People truly don’t understand unless they have lived it.
It was not easy to pull myself out of the hole of self doubt, anger and sadness, but here I am. I am walking forward into my new life.
I am finally free. And it’s Tuesday.
Thank you. What you do for us is life saving.
Bales of Laughter
Congrats on your new life! And thank you for the kind words. The credit belongs to all of CN. I’m one (snarky) chump, it takes a community to give the needed perspective and support. But enough about us. WAY TO BE MIGHTY!
Can I just say, I love the part about leaving him on the side of the road in Italy. Trying to imagine how that exchange went.
(Him, sputtering alongside a dirt road. Curious goats approach. Sniff his pant leg.)
“WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME HERE?!”
Bales: “I don’t think we’re compatible.”
Him: “Quit joking. Let me in the car!”
You: “You’re already in the car.”
Him: “I AM NOT! Do you see this GOAT? (shoos away goat) The GRAVEL? This is a ROAD and you deposited me here.”
You: “I think you may need psychological help. You are imagining things.”
(A squeal of tires, Bales guns it, headed for the highway. In the ever-growing distance… a man fights for his pant leg.)
You navigated that shit show admirably. And you’re right — his fuckwittery does not define you. But your badass response and continued resilience? That totally defines you. You brought that.
Opening up the floor for Tuesday stories.
Congrats, Bales! Thank you for a great dispatch from the Other Side.