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Confronting a Divorce-Phobic Cheater

mindfuckHi Chump Lady!

I work in retail, and today I ran into my soon-to-be-ex and his affair partner (ex’s best friend’s girlfriend) while on my break.

We’d been married 23 years, he felt the need to find himself, felt her up while doing so, but lied, lied, lied… You hear this everyday, I know. But, our 90-day cooling off period has come and gone, the papers are signed, and I am literally waiting for him to take them to the court house. (Uncontested divorce. I chose to leave crazy, and Lord knows you can’t fight it and the guilt-ridden agreement is very satisfactory.)

I’m still waiting. So imagine my surprise to see them at the mall today! But more surprising is when he left her and ducked behind a pillar as I walked past! He waits, then scoots to the escalator with her, she turns to him and says “who were you looking at?” So, of course, I turn and follow them up the escalator (righteous, pissed off, pick me shoes ON! Not proud.) I confront him as they exit, of course after exchanging pleasantries (I can, and have had to fake it before…) I inquired as to the delay in completing the process! A hundred excuses later, I made sure to state, clearly for the love-deaf AP to hear: “We should have been divorced a month ago! Why are you holding this up? Let’s get this done!” Exhausted from my fake nice song (and dance), I leave. And laugh, laugh some more, then start shaking.

I guess the question is — what does “meh” truly feel like? Because although today’s exchange was ridiculously funny, I do not feel any better for it. If anything, it just drives home harder that I was married to a coward, someone willing to hide behind a pillar rather than be civil. A mall rat of the worst variety. A waste of 23 years. I’m sad I gave my youth to this man. I have to see them again at a family event where I will be the one to avoid him this time, it would be easier with a dose of meh. Please, how does one get there?

Thank you so much!

Pondscumbgone

Dear Pondy,

It’s impossible to feel “meh” when you’re still going through the divorce process. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die, as the saying goes. You’re still hip-deep in the suffering stages, sorry. And your not-quite-ex is prolonging this swan song.

Why would he do that? Because the cake-y deliciousness of power and control is hard to give up. Because he might not really be feeling so generous after 24/7 life with the OW. Because he’s really used to agreeing to things he has zero intention of committing to (like marriage vows and/or divorce settlements).

Do you have a lawyer? Why does HE have to take it to the courthouse? Or is that just shorthand for “he has to sign it to finalize it”? I’d be looking at ways you can start applying some pressure to push this thing through.

One tactic my particular divorce lawyer tried (I also had one of these divorce-phobic cheaters) was to simply ask for more and more the longer he waited. Didn’t matter if I wasn’t legally entitled to it. Didn’t matter if it was unreasonable. So were his delay tactics. You want to communicate: “The window on reasonable settlement is CLOSING. Now I want your federal pension and collection of Franklin Mint collector’s plates.”

(Caveat: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. I’m a woman with a blog…. this is just my personal experience.)

If you stupidly and chumpily tried mediation and expected him to keep his word? How’s that working for you? Get a strong lawyer.

I think confronting him in front of the affair partner was a terrific way to exert pressure. Well played, Pondy. These fruit-loop OW often demand commitments. (Baffling isn’t it? Commitment for the monogamy-challenged…) You’ve let her know the hold up isn’t YOU, it’s HIM. But remember — he’s playing the power and control game with her too. She wants a commitment? He’s not going to give it to her. She’s not the boss of him! Oh sure he’ll make all sorts of promises, but he has you to play Obstacle to Their Happiness. You just publicly renounced the role of hypotenuse. Good for you. I’m sure he feels utterly fucked. (And so does she at some level. “Who are you looking at?” I wonder how often she says that…)

Now then, about that meh. Acceptance takes time and distance. And you cannot distance yourself from a cheater while you’re still at the bargaining table with him. So just keep trudging through this crap and remember that the pain is finite. You will get to the other side. And your ex will still probably be lurking around a pillar, skulking away from responsibility. Leave him at Cheaters Bargain Barn. I hear they’re having a sale on fuckwits.

This one ran before. Woke up to an IT problem with the comments. It’s sorted now!

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  • I love the confronting him on divorce decree. Of course they lie to AP, she won’t give me a divorce. I think I would set the situation up, in front of as many people as possible. Grief, takes its own time and is different for everyone. Not from losing them but from losing years, memories and how you saw your future. Suddenly one day you realize you are there.

    • Hcard…10 yrs divorced next week & I still struggle with the lost years, tainted memories & what my future was to be. Schmoopie dumped him not too long after they went public & ex went on to marry a woman who wasn’t born when we married. I’m still alone & will struggle financially forever which in turn makes getting to meh a life long journey.

      • I too struggle with losing years after being married 34 years and age 65 at divorce. I will struggle for the rest of my life financially also, all while I know my ex is traveling a lot with the AP/live-in girlfriend. After many affairs, she was his last high school girlfriend and his ultimate conquer. He persuaded her to leave her then husband, and she saw money signs from my ex as he has been very successful in his career. This hits home to me because I watched my Mom go through this when she was divorced due to infidelity of my Dad, who was a minister, when she was 38 with 4 kids to raise. That changed her whole lifestyle. She struggled until she died at a young age of 71 with chronic illness, and I know her health was badly affected due to what I saw through the years as a broken heart. When she passed away, we found she had a lot of debt, and I know that was a constant worry for her. I am on that same pathway. I am not in debt, but I can see that happening as time goes by if too many emergencies come up. Medicare and medicines are certainly not cheap at my age with a major health condition. I’ve had therapy and am moving forward, but there is always the financial worries in the background.

          • All depends on the divorce agreement. Usually when divorced, ex doesn’t have to care for anything about you or your health expenses
            I am proof married 35 years divorced 5 years now. He’s with another woman now. I’m on food stamps while he travels the world

        • I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to get Social Security based on his income, but you should very much look into it. You were married longer than 10 years. I can only assume that your ex is older than 62 which makes you eligible to collect on his social security (assuming that yours is less.) As long as you do not remarry, you can collect on his income. If it was sizeable (and larger than yours was), then go through the effort (if you haven’t done so already.) If you’ve already started collecting your own, you can still go back and collect on him. I hope you know his Social Security number.

          • As I recall, you can still collect if you remarry if you’re older than (?60?). My husband was still collecting on his deceased wife’s social security when we got married (she made a lot more money than he did) and when I retired and we were planning to marry, we went to the SS office together specifically to ask if he had to change that. They told him that as long as he was over the age limit, he can still collect hers even if he remarries. [That was 5 years ago; it turns out that in a few more years it will be more advantageous for him to collect his own and he’ll do that when the time comes. It may be different for divorce than death, though – ask at the office. In my experience, they are very nice and helpful.]

          • Yes, Amazon Chump is sharing some valuable information on Social Security.
            My very dear friend ( and a trusted financial planner of mine) put me onto filing for his Social Security at my FRA( full retirement age, which is 66 years 2 mos)
            I was initially planning on waiting till I turned 70, to let the funds continue to grow and I didn’t need them at this time.
            The problem is, once you are divorced, you don’t get the benefit of the extra 4 years of growth from 66 to 70 on your spouse’s benefit. The growth stops at his FRA, age 66. And even if he hasn’t started collecting yet on his benefits, you can if you are 66 and he doesn’t even have to know you filed, because Social Security does not share that information with him.
            So, if you know his benefit will be a greater one than your own ( which was the case with me) you may want to file at 66 years old too instead of 70. Worth checking out if you fall into this window.
            My own benefit will be about $350 more a month at age 70 vs 66, but by taking half of his full FRA benefit now ( half is what you are entitled to) it is substantially more than my own would be and I’ll be getting 4 years of that additional benefit.
            Was definitely the better financial option for me. I know anything to deal with the government is the most complex they can possibly make it ( IRS, Medicare, SS, even DMV’s, lol!) but it was worth the headache to investigate and file.
            You must have been married for 10 years and divorced for two when you can begin filing.
            Social Security does not readily advertise this lucrative and little known information about how the benefit system works , for obvious reasons I suppose. ( more💰for you, not them!)

            • Really helpful post, Chumpasauraus. Also, for any Chumps left with special needs children, to include special needs adult dependent children, there are additional Social Security benefits available as a derivative benefit on your former spouse. Once again, this depends on many qualifiers: length of marriage, eligibility of special needs child, age at which benefit is claimed, etc. However, these derivative benefits are accessable earlier than traditional age qualifiers. Do take the time to research these benefit options to help you forward if you’re in this category.

            • Anyone can call the SS office (either local or national #) and someone will tell you whether or not you are eligible on your XH’s account, etc. Better if you have his SS# but if you do not they have ways of looking it up. Also there should be a lot of info online at the SSA website.

              • Yes it is all on the sight. Also, when my husband retired they ran his benefit against what he would draw from mine, and though it was a bit more, it has to be a certain percentage more. (He was in the old DoD retirement plan so he didn’t pay a lot into SS.) I am in the new plan so I pay full SS.

                I don’t think they withhold info at all, but there are a lot of dips and curves, so reading the site is a good idea. Then call them for clarifications.

            • This must be the benefit that I waited to divorce him after our 10 year anniversary. Although I’m just now entering the 6th decade, I hope it benefits me well. Those years of limbo withered my soul.

          • I understand there is another thing that is a benefit one can get if married 10 years. No his SS but a benefit.

        • If you don’t mind me asking the question – you were in a pretty long term marriage and you built an financially sucessful household prior to the split. What prevented you from asking for enough of the household assets to see you through the rest of your life?

        • I’ve noticed that women have a “worry” relationship with money whether we are being supported by a husband or on our own.

      • After 35 years he left me for Owhore
        I too am financially wounded and lonely. I’m 72 divorced 5 years and I only see him at my sons home or family occasions. Original whore died few years ago and his now living with a 85 year old woman who takes care of him. He’s now sickly and lost his handsome charming looks. My life is very lonely except for my 3 lovable cats who gave me love during the pandemic. If it wasn’t for them I don’t know where I’d be now. ❤️ I’m sorry you went through this too but your not alone
        Stay strong

    • “Not from losing them but from losing years, memories and how you saw your future. Suddenly one day you realize you are there.”

      Yes, I grieved the years I spent loving and respecting a wire monkey. It is hard to get past.

  • I suspect that Cheaters drag their feet in the Divorce process for two reasons: firstly, because it allows them to feel that they are in control and to frustrate the Chump and; secondly, because they know that the real life consequences of their actions (at least in financial and legal terms) start the moment that they sign.

    Oh ….. and once they’ve signed and cashed the cheque for their part of the settlement, they’ll whine and whine and whine about how they got screwed over and how none of it was fair, which in their own feeble minds means that they don’t consider themselves bound by any of the legal commitments that they’ve made. Just sayin’.

    LFTT

    • Yup. I know my FW was loath to commit to anything definitive. He liked keeping his options open. He would have loved to get divorced with just a handshake and a “gentlemen’s agreement”. Instead he got consequences like child support and transfers of stock (to me). He “forgot” to include his pension in his sworn financial statement, so when the stock transfer was being executed by a 3rd party professional, they noticed that a pension (from an employer well known to have them) was missing. There was nothing he could do about it. He’s threatened to “re-litigate” our divorce. I just laughed and ignored the message.

      FWs do not like consequences and they hate losing control. Getting a divorce means both. It’s a consequence for them and they lose their control of you.

      • I had the same experience. He thought we’d divide everything in half. Easy-peasy. Not so fast, cheater. He also “forgot” pensions and insurance policies. I’m sure he’s singing the I-Got-Screwed blues every day. 🎻

        He also seemed to get angry that I filed so quickly, which made no sense to me because he was the one who tearfully disclosed the affair and said he wanted to marry her. Maybe he was shocked that I didn’t fight for him. My filing also made that shit real. He was in affair la-la land for almost three years. Such deliciously fun naughtiness–and the added feeling of power and specialness must have made him feel like he was walking on balloons.

        Once I filed, I suspect those balloons popped. Pavements are hard.

        • Mine did just fine, since we didn’t have kids together and kept our finances separate we both kept our stuff.

          The only exception was the house which he had to buy me out of. He’d payed down the mortgage because I paid for everything else (including his insurance, phone bill, all food, and our regular dinners out that he liked).

          I’d also paid off his car when he got laid off.

          He whined about how unfair it was that he was going to “pay me” for a divorce he didn’t want. Well I didn’t want him to have a whore on the side or be a nasty prick so it seems we were all disappointed. As if I didn’t pay 60% of the household expenses.

          I made more so I paid a lot more. It was the biggest issue he had with me leaving…..that he lost my income.

          Well that and his phony image management. It’s been almost 4 years and there are apparently still friends of his that don’t know he’s divorced. Says a lot a about how little he involved me in his life that he can dodge the questions of where I am.

          I actually ran into one of our mutual running acquaintances recently who I know talks to him. He had no idea we were divorced 😅

          • “Such deliciously fun naughtiness–and the added feeling of power and specialness must have made him feel like he was walking on balloons.”

            Honestly I think this is the real reason for their adultery. They likely know at some point it will come crashing down, but dang the thrills until it crashes.

    • My ex wife wound up owing me a huge settlement after 10+ years of multiple affairs (five that I know about) and all she does is complain about how she doesn’t have any money (but she’s going to Europe this summer for 3 weeks with one of her APs) and that I’ve ruined her life by forcing her to pay me child support and buy me out of the house we owned together that she wanted to keep (which she’s putting in a 50k new kitchen, btw).

      I’ve actually ran into one of her friends out in public who accosted me, poking me in the chest saying, “You’ve really ruined her life with this settlement. You’re a heartless bastard.”

      I.RUINED.HER.LIFE.

      Nevermind the the five affairs she had, right? Nevermind the depression and anxiety I suffered. Nevermind the 30lbs I lost or the auto-immune disease I developed due to stress. I ruined HER life with the settlement.

      • Layne, good job getting an equitable settlement! I love to read a happy story like this. The absolute hypocrisy of a cheater is unfathomable. I hope you smile every time she pays you.

        • I do indeed. Twice a month! 🙂 It’s a good thing that the county I live in is urban, meaning the court system is more equitable. My lawyer said if I was one (more rural) county over, I would have been screwed because they would have just given her everything simply because she’s a woman. She was a really good lawyer and I’ve given her to two other of my friends whose wives cheated on them as well and she also got them fair settlements.

          That’s the thing though about fairness and dealing with a cheater. They are so used to being entitled that actual fairness feels like oppression. “What do you mean I have to pay him 50% of the equity of the house that I’m electing of my own free will to keep that we co-own and that he’s been paying the mortgage on? I’m getting screwed!”

      • LM,

        Ex-Mrs LFTT told our 3 children (now 26, 23 and 18 but 18, 16 and 11 when she left us to be with her AP) that they would have to look after her in her old age, because (and I quote) “Daddy completely f*cked me over in the divorce ad the settlement was unfair.”

        Funny old thing is that the Judge described her demands as being “unreasonable to the point of being damaging to Mr LFTT, particularly as the children will be living with him” and our eventual settlement as “very generous to her given the circumstances.”

        By the way, the kids told her to kick rocks.

        Which was nice.

        LFTT

        • XW told my teen sons that I had screwed her over in divorce settlement. How I had robbed her pension and stole the house from her. When this came up in conversation I set them straight. Yes I got half the value of her pension for the five years she was earning it and we were married. She got half the equity in our family home. (She could not afford it anyway and tried to force a sale out of spite) She left out the fact that I funded their college savings account out of my paycheck every week so that they graduated college debt free.
          She currently is living in the house she inherited from her mother. It is 5 minute walk from Apple’s headquarters and worth $2,956,200 according to Zillow.
          Poor baby!

      • Layne, I’m making the assumption that you’re a man. And based on that assumption, it seems to me that there’s a gender based bias at play here, where the man is seen as the provider, and the woman as the “weaker sex”, therefore the husband should provide for the wife in the divorce, regardless of fault or circumstance.
        Utter baloney.

        • Yes, I am a man. We both work full-time, though she makes more money than me. We have 50-50 legal custody (though its more like 75-25 in my favor in reality), and it was deemed in negotiations that our daughter should live an equal lifestyle with both parents, as such, I am owed child support. Her lawyer put up no fight cause she knew that was correct.

          But yes, definitely gender bias here. In addition to her friends, she also has her father screaming in her ear (and mine, once, in public mind you) — that “no self-respecting man should ever take money from a woman like that, regardless of circumstances.” And yes, he’s aware she cheated. Because she got the cheating from him (he cheated on my ex-wife’s mother rampantly until she divorced him too).

          • It’s gross how people do that. I’m a woman and people use gender roles against me for receiving alimony too. Apparently I’ma disgrace to women and pathetic and must have just always been a gold digger.

            No matter who we are or what we do, FWs and their groupies will always paint it all as our fault and us as the bad guys. It’s insane.

            • Lions/lionesses don’t answer to cockroaches. We need to openly and coldly disdain them. Maybe then the tide will turn.

            • Yep, there are only two things I regret in my D era. One I should have never let the snake slither back into my house on the pretense of “working on it”. (I kicked the mean as a snake asswipe out before a week was up) Two, I wish I had asked my lawyer for the full three years of temp maintinence I was entitled to. I only asked for six months, just enough to save a few bucks and get some of the money he stole from me for whore back. He (fw) extended it to a year for some reason, but I wish I had gone for the whole deal.

              He actually would have likely loved that, as he could complain what a greedy bitch I was, and he could have had more time to stay single (ish) while keeping whore tippy tapping to get to the meal ticket finish line.

              But I was a little nervous about staying legally separated that long. I didn’t know what kind of financial shit he would pull and I wanted clear of any hint of responsibility.

              • I also feel the same Susie, I want mine sorted asap, as he’s already blowing through most of our cash on OW

                He pleads poverty whilst going on holiday, buying new clothes and meals out

                Looking at floor in mediation sessions, sighing and shaking his head

                I live from month to month as a single parent

                He started stalling this week, after chasing me for months and said he was happy to attend our mediation appointment but didn’t have all the paperwork. WTF!

                I’m raring to go, if there’s anything left that is

      • “I have to live too!” FW wailed when he saw the temporary support payment he would owe.

        But don’t you worry, CN, he somehow scraped together pennies and pulled through. His house is twice the size of mine even though he only lives in it ten days out of the month. Suddenly he can afford lawn service, which he never could when it was me cutting the grass while he traveled.

        Poor FW’s. So unfair.

      • LM,
        My story is similar FW wife 7+ years and multiple APs. She also spent that 7+ years spinning the ” he abuses me emotionally story” thus ruining my reputation. It just sucks

        • I’m sorry to hear that. My ex is doing the same thing. People whose kids I babysat no longer speak to me in public due to all the lies spun about me post divorce by my cheater. It’s maddening at first, but I’m better off without them if they’re that easily swayed.

    • and then don’t forget the plain, simple “wanting to have their foot in two shoes”.

      They love chaos, they love the idea (that only works in their head) that they have still a wife AND a girlfriend.

      It’s the Multiverse Game. The devil’s work.

      • This is the perfect explanation. The life he lived and worked in looks like chaos, except he appears and talks very calmly. I’d say he loves chaos including the adrenaline highs of having a wife and GF. Lying too must do something.
        Today would be my 11th wedding anniversary. First one divorced. Ten whole years were the limbo of pick me dancing. Today I will replace that picture in my head of us on our wedding day with him as the wire monkey.

    • Yes, exactly power-and-control and/or avoiding reality in waves. Over and over and over…

      My divorce went way, way longer than it should have, and then my ex played yet more games in closeout, trying to slow it down and stretch it out. They had finished all of their stuff, and then a few months later, his attorney died of COVID. I didn’t yet have two critical parts that my ex then tried to meddle with, so my attorney had to fire up and deal with that. We weighed hiring an out-of-state attorney for one part but got it. Yet more time and money though. When those were providing me actual income over a year after the divorce was final, we closed the file. Only then did I find myself breathing again.

      Yes, he claims he was screwed over by me and the two attorneys. We had a negotiated agreement that he signed which is almost impossible to overturn legally, so I was thankful for that. During the negotiations, I took out everything requiring ongoing contact even though it cost me, and I don’t regret that at all.

  • Lying that Pondy was holding up the divorce process serves his purposes nicely and has the added benefit of making him seem like the pick-me-dance prize! “Pondy can’t BEAR to make it final. I am THAT special.”

    I also love this brief snapshot into the cheaters’ lives–not a curated social media post but rather a reveal of the tension, distrust, and plain old boredom that most likely fills their days. No more sneaking around, which was half (75%? 99%?) of the fun.

    The distrust must be the most crazy-making for the cheaters. You can’t blame them. If you stay with the thief who helped you rob a bank, you don’t want to leave your wallet unattended.

    • Exactly. They really do think they are the “pick-me dance prize.” That I would want to divorce him after what he’d done was something he just couldn’t wrap his head around–because in his mind he was “THAT special.”

  • I think the main reason cheaters drag out divorces is that, in their twisted way of thinking, the chump remains an option. They like expanding their territory. They don’t like shrinking it. Their ideal is to have a harem, where they can pick their choice of fuckbuddy every day and have all of them competing to be the Chosen One.

    The EX actually did NOT fight a quick divorce, but that was only because he saw it as a legal fiction–useful when he wanted to be free, but no reflection on our relationship. He was absolutely shocked when he was denied access to me. That wasn’t the plan! Even now, almost three years after the divorce, he announced he planned to come visit me to “work on our relationship.” He planned to stay in my house, have family dinners with me, and see how things went. He keeps being totally amazed that I decline this fantastic offer. One email he sent me informed me that I had a terrible attitude, and that if I continued in this bitterness, I would only “continue to suffer.”

    I never laughed so hard. I’m having a grand time without him. The only suffering is the extent to which I am forced to interact with him.

    • “…he announced he planned to come visit me to “work on our relationship.” He planned to stay in my house, have family dinners with me, and see how things went. He keeps being totally amazed that I decline this fantastic offer. One email he sent me informed me that I had a terrible attitude, and that if I continued in this bitterness, I would only “continue to suffer.”” This is hilarious! Did he also plan to bring a few weeks worth of laundry for you to do while he was there? Any specifics about how he would determine how things were going? I’m glad you saw the humor in it and shared it.

      • Good grief, and I am sure if there is one thing you miss it is washing his underwear, skid marks and all.

    • >Even now, almost three years after the divorce, he announced he planned to come visit me to “work on our relationship.”

      Wow. The lunacy of these idiots never fails to amaze me.

  • My ex fiancé had 45 days to find an apartment and move out of my house after dday (this was mostly because I was in shock and trying to get my bearings, but he had also been dodging my calls). He was living at an Airbnb at the time and trying to work things out with Schmoopie (who suddenly didn’t want to divorce her husband as promised). When I told him enough was enough and I would be putting his things outside on the 45th day, he demanded a written notice to vacate and shouted at me about his tenant rights. I told him to sue me.

    He never did. It’s all about control. “How long can I get the chump to hold onto my things while I find the most advantageous situation for myself?”

    • So true. They are desperate to control. Mine not only had me holding onto his old stuff, he also dumped the responsibility for his NEW stuff onto me, literally. During COVID lockdown, he ordered furniture, but instead of having it shipped to his apartment, he had it shipped to me. Shippers left tall, heavy cartons leaning against my front door. We found out when my child opened the door and got hit on the head. My attorney told me I had to bring them inside or I’d be liable if they were stolen. I ended up with his living room set totally blocking my foyer. He said it was a mistake, but he sent six separate shipments sent to my house. I think he did it deliberately, either to annoy me or because the shippers wouldn’t carry it up the stairs to his apartment and he didn’t want it stolen. I had to get one of his friends who had a van to pick it up, and also a crew of volunteers to load the van.
      I arranged several pickups and sent all of his stuff except his music studio, which was a bargaining chip. Per arbitration, he had a month to pick it up, and if he didn’t get it by then, I had to pay professional movers. I scheduled several of his friends to do the pick up, and he cancelled all of them. Then he emailed me that he and several friends would be in the house from 9 to 5 for the next three days, despite orders prohibiting him from coming on the property which he’d already violated, and that I could not be present. I’d already worked on packing that stuff, and some of my incredibly helpful friends came over and worked that day and night to get everything from the studio packed and moved to the porch and garage. When he swanned up to the door, smug in his expectations he’d have free run of our home, he was met by the police officer on civil standby, who told him he could not set foot on the property. I got to watch him at the end of the driveway, screaming on the phone to his attorney, insisting he was the only one who could take his equipment apart. I sent my attorney photos showing the room was completely empty, which proved there was no reason for him to come in.
      I hit meh somewhere around then. There definitely was a day when I thought I was there, but I wasn’t sure. I think meh was when I was able to regain control, and when I got sole custody.
      I thought I got him out of my life, but he continues to harass me. He’s repeatedly redirected my utility bills, rewards points and various memberships so they go to his address, email and phone number. He’s gone online to the DMV and redirected my car registration to his apartment. That’s no accident; you have to enter the entire VIN number as well as make and model. My atty has warned his atty; he denies it and continues. The police say it’s his hobby, and they’ve seen other divorced men do the same.
      It’s hard to hold onto meh when they deliberately do this stuff. I don’t keep quiet about it; I mention it often. It shows how petty and nasty he is.

      • Wow Goodfriend, you totally rocked that situation. Well done for playing by YOUR rules now and not his. Must have been so satisfying to see him having a hissy fit on the phone in your driveway!

        That’s horrible that he keeps harassing you. I’m guessing since you already have the police’s opinion on the matter that means there’s no way to get a restraining order for it?

        • Yes, what is it with them and taking ownership of their crappy stuff?

          Mine for inexplicable reasons thought I still had his stuff two years after our divorce was final, and that he could just swing by and grab it at his convenience, like I was either running a free storage unit or a shrine.

          He also had a new laptop delivered to my address after our divorce was finalized, and was shocked I wouldn’t accept delivery for it! I took the bar exam, I am not signing on to accept a bailment over your junk.

  • Ugh, they just want a 24/7 cake buffet! My STBX is trying to hold up the process as well but yet still keeps Schmoopie hanging in there. They do love to have a Plan B but I am not that plan. It is just amazing how they try to hang on when they are the ones who wanted out in the first place. I had to file and have been pushing ever since. I think mostly he delays because he does not want to face the consequences of he did. It will suck for him to have to give up assets. I just pray that the end is in sight now that he has to pay my attorney fees for trying to drw this out.

    • “It is just amazing how they try to hang on when they are the ones who wanted out in the first place.”

      Thank you for sharing this insight! I think this is spot on.

      • I never realised it was so common. Although he had said early on he wanted a divorce, his idea of a divorce was basically he took everything and let’s not bother with lawyers. It was a cheap way of storing his stuff too. When he got the letter from my solicitors he went bananas, rang me up, why had I done this to him, didn’t I know that he wanted to do it after 2 years of separation by consent? Then rang our poor daughter up asking her why I was doing this, did I have someone else, well you should never involve your children in that sort of thing, that was despicable.
        If I’d had any doubts they were thus dispelled
        I had decided to go for grounds of adultery, and if he denied that, unreasonable behaviour, which would have included adultery alongside a lot of horrible stuff. He did actually deny adultery……but his solicitor admitted it on his behalf, what a pillock.
        Why was he wanting to do it on the grounds of separation for 2 years? Who knows, maybe he wanted to be able to say it was an amicable divorce, but tough, that may have been what he wanted but he had no say and he didn’t like that one itsy bitsy bit, I’d dared to stand up for myself and do what was best for me. Thank heavens I did it, when he kept stalling I was able to do my best to move things along, and in the end take him to court if he didn’t crack on with it [in the end he left it until the last minute before the court date to agree, I think even he realised that throwing a wobbly in front of the judge might not get him what he wanted, and he might actually end up worse off
        Using me as a cheap storage unit for all his crap, and a rubbish dump was the gift that kept giving, in the end, there was so much stuff he just left for me to deal with. I had taken so much around already but had pulled muscles in my back and shoulder moving stuff. He had neither done a list of what he wanted, nor come and taken what he wanted to take – right at the very end, just before he drove awaywhen he had come to take the final tranche of stuff he suddenly wanted a certain ornament. Yes it was his, but he hated it and told me so on numerous occasions, but I loved it, think it was just the final thing he suddenly thought might upset me. well I wish he’d left it, but I boxed it straight up, and just gave it to him in the car , I imagine that he was disappointed, well good

    • All of that.

      My ex asked for the divorce and then dragged his feet on filing for three and a half YEARS. I was still in the hopium phase so I didn’t file. When I finally was ready and decided to file, he jumped the gun and did it first (my lawyer asked his lawyer if he could accept service on his client’s behalf, so ex knew I was getting the paperwork together). He probably thought that would upset me, but he saved me the filing fee, so I opened a bottle of champagne. And once he filed, he continued to drag his feet and fight me every step of the way. Not responding to emails. Not signing things. Not submitting his discovery. Wasting my time with stupid emails about things that were none of his business (like what I ate). My lawyer said she thought he probably didn’t want to actually marry OW. Plus, yeah, child support. Half the assets. All that jazz. AND I counter filed for adultery and cruelty so the trial would have been messy. I had scads of evidence and all he had were a bunch of lies with nothing to back them up. Also, the only access he had to me anymore (because I went full on no contact except custody stuff and some financials) was through the courts, especially when it came to the child. So it was a way of controlling me, since he couldn’t control me or my life anymore.

    • I know it’s so weird how they hang in even when they wanted out. Mine dragged his feet for two years. I’ve often wondered what Schmoops thinks of that? Does he sit around and tell her that I’m the one dragging it out? I think he probably does and uses that as power and control over her. He always did stuff like that with me- lied, obfuscated, wouldn’t tell me where things were at. No doubt a divorce and property separation is a good form of control over the affair partner too.

  • A little OT, but then again always on… I was stuck in traffic yesterday, behind a car that had an, “OW” sticker. One of those little fake european ovals. Who in the world would advertise?, I thought. Finally I read the fine print (traffic!) and it was the initials for a snooty part of a neighboring town. I was too busy driving to get a photo…

  • My ex left ending the marriage to me. I had to be the one to say “I’m done.” Even though he had threatened me more than once with divorce, I was the one who saw (and engaged) a lawyer. I was the one who completed all the paperwork. He never got a lawyer, even after the mediation visit he insisted on because he “didn’t want lawyers involved” revealed we would still have to have at least one lawyer, and he complained that he didn’t think that if only I had a lawyer that he should have to pay, to which I replied, “Get your own lawyer to review the settlement then. That’s what I would do.” During the subsequent process, he expected me to agree to his idea of a settlement. When I declined to allow him to get away with even more of our joint assets (I made a strategic decision to sell him my half of our house at a low price), he acted like a persecuted victim of a grasping wife who used her lawyer to screw him over at the last minute. Oddly, though he was trashing me, he was also sending me sad sausage missives about how only I could appreciate what it was like to end a 35 year marriage, manipulative “keep her compliant” reminisces of our “love” and his hopes that when we had gotten through “the difficult part” that we “could be friends.” Since the divorce was final, he has tried a couple of hoover attempts, which I have declined to accept.

    Here’s my takeaway:
    Above all, my ex did not want to experience any consequences for his choices.
    He wanted me to go along with whatever he wanted, which included making me the bad guy/difficult one in our marriage.
    He wanted me to go along with his idea of the settlement, and was not above manipulating me to achieve this goal.
    He needed always to have someone to blame, and I was it.
    His “threats” of divorce were merely invitations for me to pick-me dance.
    His leaving me to do all the work of the divorce was consistent with his behavior throughout the marriage.
    His failure to get himself a lawyer allowed him to feel hard done by–by me (see “blame,” above).
    His repeated attempts to hoover me are his way of saying “I tried to be friends, but she is bitter.”

    Trust that they suck.

    • Beautifully put!

      I got the confusing mix of messages that you describe. In memory, they still ricochet. Such manipulative BS!

      They DO suck.

    • Eck, I have one of these sad sausage, passive agressive cheaters too, and going through this right now. They do NOT like it when the consequences fairy visits.

    • Standard FW/Narc playbook.

      Image management: SHE wanted the divorce, I tried to work on it. Always blaming the victim. Always trying to avoid consequences. Also not wanting to get stuck in having to commit to the OW.

  • Lurking in the mall with the catty new girlfriend who demands to know who he’s looking at? What are these people, 16? There should be a Cheater Prom since so many of these folks never matured beyond about 11th grade. They could wear corsages made from shredded child custody agreements and slow dance to Esther Perel Ted Talks. #GrowUpDipshits

    • My ex and his OW put up a picture on Facebook on which they’d scrawled “WE’RE DATING!” like they were in fucking junior high. He was 44, she was 34. NO ONE CARES. Grown ups don’t feel the need to do that shit. (But hey, since we were still legally married, it was GREAT evidence of his adultery for my court case. Ex for some reason never bothered to research what constitutes adultery in my state. Filing for divorce doesn’t make you single in the eyes of the law here.)

      • Also, now seems to be a good time to mention (once again) that x and AP got matching massive upper thigh tattoos. Kids these days! (He’s in his 60s; she’s in her 50s).

      • Our D era was before FB, or even internet; but he did give her an engagement ring before he even filed for D. I just remembered that the other day. How romantic. “whore will you marry me? Oh Romeo at last… “yes yes yes”

        I had just returned from a trip to TX to visit my family. My mother in law had picked me up from the Air Port and she said I don’t want to tell you this, but I have to. FW gave an engagement ring to whore, so you need to get a lawyer. I said; don’t worry about it, that was kind of the whole point of him leaving me, so no big surprise. What she didn’t know was that I had already retained a lawyer.

        I called him the next day and said you need to file so we can separate our finances. He whined that he wanted me to file because he didn’t want to hurt me. (Vomit). I said too late for that, but you want the D you file, and the sooner you file the sooner it is over. He piddled for another week or so, but after one more plea for me to file, he did the deed.

        He was so stressed over me being served. He just hated to hurt me. Conning, lying, financial fraud, verbal and emotional abuse, meh no biggie; but some clown handing me a summons that was a bridge too far even for a fuckwit.

        I was never served, it ended up in my mail box.

    • “They could wear corsages made from shredded child custody agreements and slow dance to Esther Perel Ted Talks.”

      Love it.

  • Maybe this is a little tangential but I don’t think this counts as pick-me dancing in and of itself; if you had the visceral reaction because you were making an appeal to his ‘heart’ then yes, very pick-me. But if you were doing it just to sling shit right back at this coward and AP, I don’t think that was pick-me at all.

    Was it truly productive? Perhaps. Maybe he’ll sign now because of AP badgering him about it. “Why did you lie to me about signing”, “if you love ME so much why are you hanging onto her”, etc. At the very least you’ve caused some extreme tension between them so that has to be worth a giggle.

    You’re human and I think most of us would have reacted in the same way. There’s something about that level of showy cowardice that is repulsive and can make the real victim quite reactionary. Hiding behind pillars? Good God, did you used to fulfill your wifely duties to this ‘man’ with a pair of tweezers?? (I’m sorry if that’s too far, just trying to get a laugh out of you).

    As to what “meh” feels like, it feels like nothingness. No reaction, physiological or otherwise. Just nothing at all. And it WILL take time but I promise you it comes.

    However, in the interim for the family event, you can make some level of preparation that will make him think “meh” has well and truly been achieved;

    Turn up looking smart and immaculately groomed (nothing showy or out of character, just your established standard of smart and immaculately groomed – you don’t want the scrote to think you did it for HIM because, well, you didn’t – you did it for you because you like yourself and know your worth)

    Practice breathing. This one might sound a bit airy fairy but five seconds is what stops you from feeding stupidity. Feel that physiological reaction to being provoked and take a deep breath. You want to respond, not react. He doesn’t get your emotions anymore, he gave up that right.

    Enjoy yourself. Laugh genuine laughs, smile genuine smiles. Luxuriate in the company of other high quality people who will be there. You’re your fabulous self, you like and respect yourself, you didn’t die the second he decided he needed to dip his wick. You’re not trying to make him see this; you’re acting as if he isn’t there. Sometimes chumps need to do a little impression management too.

    Fakers can smell fake, so don’t do anything outside of your usual character. No laughing loudly and hysterically at a handsome stranger’s Dad Jokes (though you could discreetly get his number..). You’re just putting on your best self.

    Go forth and be fabulous.

  • For our 20th wedding anniversary, he said to me, in a counseling session, “For the past few months, I have been thinking of living by myself for a while but I don’t want a divorce.”

    Cue Howitzer, aimed at the center of Velvet Hammer’s heart. WTF does that mean? I remember thinking.

    I immediately asked him if he was involved with someone. He said no, and continued to answer in the negative over the next few weeks whenever I asked again, while I was eyeballs deep in my auto-black belt-ninja warrior-Jedi-uber Virgo PI mode.

    He lied and denied right up until I found the hard evidence, and even in the moment when I held it in front of his face I could see the wheels turning, looking for a lie to explain away the proof on his phone.

    It seems the Craigslist cockroach said she would not see him anymore unless he left (she has boundaries and standards, you know) and his response was evidently an attempt to finagle a way to keep eating cake and come back if it didn’t work out. (Spoiler alert: if you are involved in an illicit relationship, it is already not working out. The structure and dynamics of an affair are top drawer dysfunctional baked in, and you can’t extract the dysfunction any more than you can get eggs out of cake batter).

    I am no one’s Plan B. I am Laura Ingalls, going into the house and shutting the door in Almanzo Wilder’s face when he shows up with Nellie Oleson along for the buggy ride.

    The Craigslist cockroach issued an ultimatum, and what she got was a happily launched manipulative covert passive aggressive narcissistic untreated alcoholic/addict/codependent/ACA liar cheater traitor thief, who was caught on Tinder after he moved in with her by also-betrayed daughter who was watching a video on his phone when a drop-down message came in.

    If they are flaky about divorce, it’s an attempt to keep eating cake, IMHO. After the divorce, the pressure for marriage to Schmoopie ramps up. Cheating as a foundation for marriage is not sanctioned by the wise, the emotionally healthy, or those with a working moral compass.

    When I think of all the times he criticized, judged, micromanaged me while he was doing whatever the F he wanted with whoever for who knows how long, it is beyond infuriating. Where I parked. What lane I drove in. “Where are my socks?!” Fuck you, AH. Both of (all of?) you.

    If you are not in jail, and don’t qualify for jail, you get an A+ for your response, no matter what else you may have done. Again, IMHO.

    • I loved that Little House scene, in the books she wrote that she got out of the buggy at her home after he had dropped Nellie off and he mentioned another ride next Saturday, and she said to him “Next time if you want to take Nellie for a ride do do so, but do not come by for me” Or close to that, I would have to drag out the book to do a direct quote.

    • “I am Laura Ingalls, going into the house and shutting the door in Almanzo Wilder’s face when he shows up with Nellie Oleson along for the buggy ride.” Love this!

  • I read on here that them forcing you to do the heavy lifting on the divorce paperwork is a continuation of the abuse, and I fully agree. Somehow I was supposed to be responsible for filing even though I absolutely did not want the divorce at the time. We did not use lawyers (we did not have children and I am a lawyer) and agreed on a settlement. (I don’t recommend this approach, and he still complained bitterly the settlement he agreed to was somehow unfair to him.) Yet I was the one who got to stand sobbing in the clerk’s office filing the petition I never wanted in the first place.

    I promise you are so close to meh, if not there already. Putting him on the spot to finalize the divorce he asked for does not change that.

    • Yep, my ex wanted to kill my and hated my guts and couldn’t wait to be away from me…

      But he wouldn’t do anything to file or move out. I had to do everything myself while he asked what’s the rush? And then spit about how he couldn’t wait to get rid of me in the next breath.

      It was so crazy it made everything that much harder to deal with. It’s was definitely abuse. He could have had a normal divorce but instead he got really nasty with it.

      • I hate you went through that. I knew if he didn’t file in a timely manner; I would have had to. But, I did have some high level pressure points I would have applied first.

    • “I read on here that them forcing you to do the heavy lifting on the divorce paperwork is a continuation of the abuse, and I fully agree. Somehow I was supposed to be responsible for filing even though I absolutely did not want the divorce at the time.”

      Yep. My fw wanted me to file, I said nope; you want the D, you do the filing. I really thought that would make me feel better, and it didn’t but what I didn’t know until I saw my lawyer was that him filing gave my lawyer more leverage for a temp maintenance agreement. We were a no fault/50 50 state; but that does not take away temp maintenance before the D is final. Not to be confused with alimony which in our state of D, did not exist except for extremes situations. No fault also does not cover financial fraud.

      Anyway he filed and I am glad he did. He had to do all the legwork and all I had to do was review and ask for anything missing.

      I get tired of seeing all the stats where it says women file for D more than men, but they don’t mention the reason most file is the cheating weasel won’t do his own dirty work.

      • I have no doubt your last statement is true, but I also think the higher numbers (70% of divorces are filed by women, a number that soars to 90% among college-educated women) reflect the simple fact that we have more options these days and don’t have to settle for imbalanced relationships, including abuse and disrespect. I’m almost 40 and am shocked at how many men I’ve met who were looking for a servant, not a partner.

  • Today (and yesterday’s) post remind me how far I am from “meh”. Although I live in the same small town as my ex, I have not run into him in a couple years. I have never seen him with schmoopie since DD#2 or #3, certainly never once her status changed from his best friend’s widow to the other woman.

    I have been acutely aware of what I lost including the opportunity to mourn my 30-year marriage with any community support. Here’s a link to a scientific explanation of grief and the things that can complicate it.

    I will continue to come to Chump Lady’s blog every day to exorcise the memory of FX.

    • Just remember, the pain is finite. Take your time. Your healing is not contingent on someone else’s timeline. Find people that will listen to you. I unfortunately had people who said, “You need to get over it.” It made me feel even more dysfunctional. Fortunately I had some very good girlfriends that listened for years until I was over it.

    • Not sure why link led to enormous graphic. Info contained in video helpful for processing grief on the way to “meh”.

  • This fuckwit is probably like most of them, meaning he didn’t really want to leave, he just wanted to cheat and have two women to keep the fantasy of his power and specialness alive. Even the ones who abandon the chump and who file themselves will find out life with Schmoopie is certainly not all they dreamed it would be.
    Now his only source of power over you is denying you what you want, and he’s probably regretting giving up cake and having to deal with schmoopie 24/7. APs don’t make good partners. They are as selfish as the cheater.

    I like CL’s suggestion of upping your demands the longer he takes to sign off. Putting pressure on via Schmoopie was a good move too. It wouldn’t hurt to get a bit passive aggressive on social media (if you use it.) After all, Schmoopie will be watching. You could post something like; “Why do some people say they want a divorce, then refuse to go through with it when the time comes? I guess they must be finding their new lives unfulfilling, because otherwise they’d just get on with it.” Being on the offensive rather than defensive at the family event should help you to get through it. *You* don’t have a reason to hide. They do. So hold your head up and be ready with some sort of withering remark should you be forced to interact. Like; “Oh, you’re here. It must have been difficult to pry yourself away from those papers you’ve apparently been studying for months, but won’t sign.”

    You’ll get there. It’s going to suck monkey balls in the meantime, but you have CN to vent to.

  • “I’m sad I gave my youth to this man. ”

    Same here (aside from my son”.

    Also love that she outed him to whore vis-à-vis finalization.

    I doubt my fw’s whore ever knew he was the one who stalled our finalization for six more months. He likely blamed me. I never complained because he was paying all my bills except for legal until it was final. He also had to give me 45 days to move out, on his dime. He was likely hoping one of us would die. Not him, but me or whore.

  • My ex hid behind his truck when I confronted him. Coward. I was disgusted which made it easier to detach from him. We also have a new nickname for him based on his hiding from little ole me 😂

  • This is one where I would LOVE to know what happened. How long did she have to wait for him to do what he needed to do to finalize the divorce? Or did she have to get an attorney on it?

  • There was a deadline for my ex to sign, which he went 2 weeks past. My lawyer notified his lawyer that we would make a “motion to enter” where we could file the decree without his signature due to his failure to meet the deadline. The decree was signed the next day.

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