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‘She Refuses to Understand We Are Over’

LizzobyeDear Chump Lady

Happy late pride.

I have been reading your website for a while. It really helped me get through a lot of grief I felt, but I have made a decision to file for a divorce no matter what. I am still currently stuck in a same sex marriage due to a seriously lousy ex-wife (Satan). We were together 10 years and in those years she was given nothing but the best, though we did have some tough times with jobs, etc. 19-year-old me met her and saw the love of my life, she was 8 years older than me and very much a proper adult. Sometimes I think back and wonder how a 27-year-old found a teenager attractive! Was this a red flag?

Anyhow, she has had multiple “online affairs” and potentially a few in real life over the years. I found the kiss me type texts in her phone, which to this day she refuses to admit. (She hated kissing me and said I was clingy and too romantic.) She started and stopped these affairs over the years, promising to be better, but this was hopeless. The last straw was when she also cheated on me whilst I was going through IVF for the baby she now never wanted, as soon as I found out I stopped the IVF but did manage to freeze my embryos. The idea of me not having a baby and future is what hurt me most, she was not affected at all.

She mostly lives on her phone pretending to be single and exciting (catfish). Her excuse for all these affairs was the fact that she had to move from the East Asia to the UK and this caused her a lot of pain? Not sure what exactly this means as she can be very cruel to her own family abroad… Aside from the obvious of citizenship gains etc she now refuses to understand that we are over. I have said this multiple times and she has already seen the paperwork for our mortgage buyout and finances. She goes into full denial mode and says she will make my future hellish if I file for a divorce. Her idea is to never leave and slob around at home. Her excuse for not moving out is that no one will rent to her because of her pet cat. I cannot leave as I will be buying her out of the property.

Moving onto today. Guess what? She now wants us to go on a “holiday as friends” to Casablanca and go to spas together. Nothing in my daily life shows affection or love towards her, but I treat like a friend or sister. I am respectful and vice versa most of the time. Due to finances we are still living in our shared home, but not together romantically. I have separated my money.

Why is she suggesting holidays after this shitshow… I am scared that if I do not agree to this holiday I will be strung along and she will not sign divorce papers. I feel sick when I look at her, but I am also spooked by the power she holds over the embryos which are legally half hers… She does have crazy moments and she has tries to hit me in the past.

Please help me understand the sudden need for a holiday!!

Thank you

Casablanca Lez

****

Dear Casablanca Lez,

I will not help you untangle her skein. It’s a pretty obvious skein — cake. She likes the perks of her relationship with you plus all the fucking around.

she now refuses to understand that we are over

She doesn’t have to understand it. It’s not open for discussion. Quit trying to achieve consensus with this wingnut.

I have said this multiple times

How’s that working for you? It’s not. Time to lawyer up hard and figure out what your legal options are in this hostage situation. Getting her to agree and play nice are NOT on the table. Cake works for her.

I am scared that if I do not agree to this holiday I will be strung along and she will not sign divorce papers.

She’s not going to sign the divorce papers because cake is working for her.

She has zero interest in doing the honorable thing because she’s not an honorable person. So stop expecting that goldfish to knit you a sweater. Your pain is kibbles, she thrills to the power trip.

People who thrill to power trips understand power — not your salty tears. She’ll understand eviction, divorce summons, restraining orders, the heavy boot of the law on her neck. She won’t LIKE it, (cue the three stages of mindfuckery — rage, self-pity, and charm), but these people have big streaks of self-preservation. Make the price of fucking with you HIGH.

I treat her like a friend or sister. I am respectful

That’s a very low price of admission for someone who cheated on you. And hit you. And continues to use you.

She is NOT your friend or your sister or deserving of your respect. She’s someone you used to know. Behave civilly but decisively.

Her: “Let’s go to Casablanca!”

You (internally): “Go fuck yourself.”

You (externally): “No. That’s not appropriate. We’re divorcing.”

And then TAKE ACTIONS to divorce her. No pandering, no pleas for consensus, no pick-me dancing, no relationship autopsies, no long talks, no spa days. Just stone cold decisiveness.

Get immediate help from a legal professional. While it would be nice to have an uncontested divorce in which everyone is reasonable and fair, YOU ARE NOT DEALING WITH THAT KIND OF PERSON. You cannot nice her into being that sort of person. This is why we have divorce professionals. They deal with these sorts of situations every day.

She goes into full denial mode and says she will make my future hellish if I file for a divorce.

Good lawyers eat people like her for breakfast.

Look, the hellishness goes both ways. You’re a loving partner who brings a lot to the table. She’s a loser with a cat no one will rent to. She needs you WAY more than you need her. Call her fucking bluff. It will be scary. It may be that a judge will decide the division of assets and who gets the embryos. I don’t know that particularly of your property situation, but I do know from personal, painful experience and that of a bazillion people on this blog, that pulling your punches never works.

The best way to get rid of one of these people is gather a support team and go on the offensive. Narcissists never expect it, because they’re so accustomed to their entitlement. So line up your ducks and serve those papers. She cannot force you to stay married to her.

I’d also advise you to not be alone with her, as she’s been violent in the past. She could accuse you of abuse (a sadly common DARVO tactic). People here have survived in-house separation, but I don’t recommend it. I don’t know how recent her abuse of you is, threats to make your future hellish count as abuse, hitting counts — look into a protection from abuse order and get her evicted with a temporary restraining order.

Yes, it’s come to that. Not hot mud massages in Morocco.

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into….

No, she doesn’t walk in, she gets thrown out. Stick up for yourself, Lez. We’re here for you.

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.
  • Apparently, she’s paying attention to your actions, rather than your words. As you should be doing with her. Your healing will start only when your divorce is filed and finalized.

  • Perhaps buying her out of house isn’t optimal. I think sell it outright, split profit and move. If you buy her out, she could take the money then plop down on your couch a couple weeks later to visit, then never leave. Get a good lawyer. Have her served and just keep moving. You’re already halfway there.

    • I wanted my house, but ended up letting it go and selling it. Best decision I ever made. I got to start over fresh, without memories everywhere I looked, and got some money in the bank too. In the end, it was just a house, however much I’d sunk into it and how attached to it I was.

      • I agree wholeheartedly, ISTL. There is much to be said about starting fresh in a new environment.
        Lez, get thee to a barrister and go full on mighty bitch. We are rooting for you!

    • The house may be in both their names. Also UK divorce law is different from the US and has also recently undergone changes.

      This might not be an option.

  • Casablanca Lez,

    In my personal experience, people who try to drag out the divorce and “make it hell” for the Chump end up up driving up their own costs significantly. Ex-Mrs LFTT’s legal bill ate up more than 20% of her financial settlement; had she played “nicely” (plot spoiler, she didn’t) she would have probably got a similar settlement to the one that she eventually agreed to, but paid her lawyers about £20K less.

    Good luck and remember that Chump Nation is here for you.

    LFTT

    • My ex fought me every step of the way (even though HE asked for the divorce), dragged his feet, had his lawyer send me a dozen letters on completely irrelevant topics, wasting my money. He also wasted his. But then he turned around and blamed ME that he was broke, that his attorney dropped him for non-payment. He was trying to hurt me but ended up only hurting himself.

      • ISTL,

        Sadly, I think that a lot of Cheaters use the divorce process as a means through which to cause as much damage to the Chump as they can … rather than what it is actually for. Ex-Mrs LFTT still (5+ years from the Decree Nisi) blames me for things taking so long and for how high her costs were. As well as losing 20% of the settlement to her lawyers, she lost another 20% or so to cover debts that she either ran up after we separated or debts that she’d run up secretly while we were still together but that I was able to avoid getting stuck with. I understand that Ex-Mrs LFTT’s lawyers were very glad to see the back of her.

        Isn’t it funny that most Cheaters adopt the “give me what I want or I’ll make your life hell” approach to divorce negotiations? Ex-Mrs LFTT always preferred giving ultimatums to negotiating.

        LFTT

        • That sounds so familiar. Best advice is lawyer up and don’t go low budget on the lawyer. People disparage lawyers. I love mine & think mine was better than hers.

      • “He was trying to hurt me but ended up hurting himself.”

        Self-owning seems to be a common phenomenon with FWs.

    • My ex wife represented herself and ran up MY lawyer bill. She fought over every little thing, even things included in the divorce decree that the state mandates have to be included.

      • SirC,

        Cheaters are all too frequently certifiable morons.

        Ex-Mrs LFTT signed over the contents of the house to me in the divorce agreement and, as soon as the Decree Nisi was issued (and she had cashed her cheque) she threatened to take me to Court if I didn’t give her half of the house contents. I just told her to get her lawyers to explain Para 3 of the Divorce Agreement.

        I suspect that they had to explain it very very slowly and through gritted teeth.

        LFTT

      • Towards the end my ex represented himself because his lawyer dropped him for non-payment (guess that $30,000+ schmooopie gave him just wasn’t enough). That was even more frustrating for my attorney than before, because she had to deal with him directly. But she was very good, and he ended up making a lot of mistakes. He also folded pretty quickly on some custody things, like changing our kid’s school to be closer to where I lived, which surprised me. I was sure he’d fight tooth and nail over that one. (He ended up killing himself a few weeks later, so I suppose he was thinking ahead. IDK.)

        • ISTL,

          I hope that your kids are OK following the loss of their father. Unfortunately they will have learned that Cheaters don’t care who they hurt.

          LFTT

          • My son was a mess of anxiety while FW was alive, and deep in depression. At 8 years old I actually hospitalized him because he’d threatened self harm. I can’t imagine that his dad’s house was a healthy environment. My ex was narcissistic and always angry. He and OW fought constantly too, apparently, for all their happy-little-family posts on Facebook. My son HATED the back and forth between homes (he’s autistic and routine is so important). He said he never had time to settle. He was living out of a suitcase (which *I* bought him – ex was happy to send my kid’s stuff over in a TRASH BAG) all the time. We had a 2-2-5-5 schedule, which was a LOT of back and forth. FW wouldn’t agree to anything else. My poor kid would cry and beg not to go to daddy’s house. He’d be in tears on FW’s porch and the MINUTE that door opened, he’d fake a smile and say “HI DADDY”. My son told me later that he tried to put a brave face on. FW got so angry if my son ever cried for mommy when he was over there. (My son never cried for daddy at my home.) I also have a feeling that after OW left, there was a lot of negativity. My son would sometimes say things like “all women are crazy” or “Miss M- had something wrong with her brain” and the like. And he was constantly worried about his (very depressed and suicidal) dad, telling me he “didn’t like to let daddy out of his sight” and would watch surreptitiously from the porch if his dad went out back for phone calls or to smoke. FW was also prone to give my son the silent treatment when he was angry, and give harsh punishments. My son has a perpetual fear of apologizing because once when he was 5 he told his he was for something and FW responded “I don’t care”. Five years later my kid thinks people will respond to his apologies by being mean to him.

            When I told my son that his daddy was dead, his response was “I had a feeling it would come to this”. That’s a heartbreaking thing to hear a 9 year old say.

            Now? It’s been almost a year. My kid is happy. Healthy. Thriving. No anxiety. Depression is gone. He’s in a stable home with no back and forth, where we laugh and have fun and he’s safe. There’s no screaming and fighting. No alcoholism (both FW and OW were alcoholics, though they would have denied it). I’m healthy and healed and happy too. My kid is in a new school where he’s doing really well and has lots of friends. Only occasionally will he talk about his dad, usually with some nostalgia. I never say really negative things about his dad, and have healed to the point where I can talk about him without any bitterness, even the bad parts. I know eventually my son may have to deal with some fallout from all this, emotionally (I know he keeps a lot inside), and not having a dad when he’s say, a teen, may be difficult. But on the other hand, having a narcissistic, angry father who felt like his son had to be a mini version of himself (my son was only encouraged to have hobbies and interests that matched my ex’s, and if he did/liked other things I was criticized as a bad parent), would probably be worse. It was traumatic for all involved, and clearly FW didn’t care what happened to our son or me (he left me to clean EVERYTHING up; he didn’t bother putting a single affair in order), but in the end it is probably going to be better for all of us. My kid also gained an extended family. FW wanted NOTHING to do with his family and hadn’t spoken to them since our son was 2 (and would get furious with me if I ever talked to them). Now my son has another set of grandparents, two aunts and uncles, two cousins, and some other more distant relatives that we spend holidays and do activities with. It’s been lovely.

      • Huh? Is this a thing with FWs? Deep into the divorce negotiations, x fired his lawyer and wanted to represent himself. I suspect his decision resulted from some mix of cheapness, hubris (a physician, he thinks he’s smarter than lawyers), and anger (I bet he and his lawyer had a falling out).

        Alas, his little exercise in self-representation didn’t last long. I think my lawyer intimidated him.💃🏻 Note to anyway starting out on the divorce journey: hire the best you can afford. Worth every penny. My x actually bragged to me that he’d found a cheap lawyer.🤣 She didn’t even specialize in family law. Why I ever thought that man was smart is beyond me.

    • Yes, my ex was all gung ho about the divorce after I said: “no reconciliation” for the umpteenth time. He planned to write the agreement and then have it blessed by a local pit bull attorney ($700/hour). He promised that it would be quick and easy. I knew he was lying, and after I started seeing the red flags in his self-written agreement, I hired my big gun. I was also concerned about my ex’s attorney who was known for skirting legal boundaries and playing dirty. My attorney assured me that he knew my ex’s attorney very, very well. He called the self-written agreement “the work of a terrorist” and put together a perfectly fair, legal agreement that I signed. Then my attorney send it via Fedex to my ex with a letter that he was taking over. My ex formally hired the pitbull, and we were off.

      Absolutely the right approach. I adored my attorney who out-classed my ex’s $700/hour one in every way. We got it settled without going to court, and my ex probably paid quite a bit more than I did for multiple reasons. His attorney did indeed behave very badly but ultimately caved to mine.

      My advice to others in these situations is to go no contact and hire a heavy hitter that relates well to you. I interviewed five, and the one I chose was very personable and a good listener. The others were arrogant and even snarky. When I asked what his values were as a divorce attorney, he said that ethics and manners were primary. An acquaintance of mine called him “grandpa with an iron rod.” He was worth every penny.

      • Great advice, Elsie. I would also add that, at least where I live, your future ex can be made responsible for ALL the legal (and investigation) fees for both sides.
        I hired the best in town, put his retainer on a credit card, and told him to make it crystal clear I would unleash the Kraken if he objected. Getting the check for the full refund of the retainer was almost as satisfying as the final divorce decree. Almost…😊

      • Well played!!!💪 #badass

        After feeling chumped and put upon, I so enjoyed feeding off the strength of my own badass lawyer. He ran circles around x’s lawyer. After mediation, when x realized the agreement THAT HE SIGNED wasn’t very good for him, he tried to renege on it. I held my ground. Said I would ask for more if we reopened mediation. Threatened to go to court and depose the OW. x backed down probably to protect the OW but whatevs.

        X has been stewing ever since. Evidently, this (and so many other things) didn’t go as he’d planned.

        Just came across an email that my daughter had forwarded to me soon after D-Day in which x told her that I (Spinach) should get a dog because ours had died and that he (the FW) would help take care of it. Guess he thought we’d remain buddies and take care of a dog together. Delusional!

        No doubt he toggles between the self-pity and rage these days now that he’s been forced to face reality.

        • Wasn’t it you who experienced the FW cheerily nattering away about his sex life on the way to have a critically ill dog put down? Or was it that he came on to you in the car? I forget the details, but as a dog lover, the gist of the incident stuck with me.
          Now he wants to co-parent a dog with you. WTF. Does he have tertiary syphilis of something? 😁

        • I love this, Spinach. Way to be mighty and put that FW in his place. Perfect example of CL wrote today: “People who thrill to power trips understand power — not your salty tears… Make the price of fucking with you HIGH.”

      • That grandpa vibe was like the mediator that my lawyer hired and the FW agreed to. I was desperate to stay out of court because this country is straight down the line 50/50 and you must go via the tax department for child support. I was bound and determined to get away from that system, given any narcissistic asshole can keep filing for appeals and adjustments forever so as not to pay child support. My ex did this for two years while we chased him around trying to get him to settle. Well in the end the grandpa vibe worked. He sat patiently and listened to the victim stories and his lies and then he just kept saying, “are you prepared to settle today or not?” And he’d say things like, “I can stay here all night”. We all knew the FW wasn’t there to settle-he was there to drag it out and maintain control over me and everyone else. But experienced oldies have seen it all and they’ll just out last them! I didn’t get a great deal, but at least I settled with a lump sum so I never ever have to speak to the asshole again.

    • LOL my dad’s sister abandoned their mother, then came back years later to sue Dad for guardianship of Grandma (and Grandma’s money). Auntie made up wild lies to the court which broke Dad’s heart, but she won nothing in the end except a $60K legal bill.

      Disordered idiots love to shoot themselves in the foot. It adds to their victim complex.

    • LFTT that’s if youve got enough money to continue litigating. Abusers routinely delay or obstruct resolution of family law matters using a variety of strategies including hiding information or making vexatious applications to drive up costs and cause emotional. distress ~ and to control of course. In this case the abuser is potentially going to weaponise the embryos. What a charmer.

  • You seem scared of insisting on your divorce, and you have good reason to be scared. These concerns need to be conveyed to your lawyer and managed with legal processes and protections. Believe your spouse when she says she will make your life a hell and act accordingly. She’s threatening you. Take the actions necessary to protect yourself. If you aren’t documenting these threats, begin doing so. Once you and your lawyer begin forcing change, she will respond with rage or lies or fake distress or, probably, all of them.

    There will be losses, maybe even of custody of the embryos. Unfortunately, that cannot be helped, but once you are out of this horrible marriage you will have the time and space to figure out your next steps. And things will get better.

    My EX never did sign the divorce papers–I was divorced by proclamation, an annoying legal process that both my lawyer and the judge did their best to facilitate because they have seen these cases before and had a sense of what kind of jackass forces a spouse to resort to them.

  • Casablanca, We at CN understand what you are going through. I am sorry this is happening to you. It is time for you to go as grey rock as you can or better yet NC. You need to get it through your head that this Cake Eater totally SUCKS!!! It does matter that if they are male or female FWs. They all suck and they all operate in the same manner. They want you to provide them wonderful cake as though they were at an all you can eat cake buffet.
    Trust that when they say that will get nasty that they will indeed do so. This is not going to be easy (ask me how I know). I am still being dragged through the courts because FW loves the legal abuse. It is slowing down now that he was ordered to pay my attorney fees after proving in court that he was using the courts to abuse me. So now he is in Charm mode and trying for a settlement. So far his offers have been crap and that should change as we have a court appointed mediator now (I just want what is fair for me).
    FW has had his Schmoopie spending cut off (only reasonable normal spending now). It is not making him happy but at least he has a reason to speed things up now. His 32 years younger Schmoopie must have applied some serious pressure. Once he gets to fair, I will get out. I think you need to go pretty much the same route. Yes, it will hurt and it sucks but eventually it will end. I keep that in my mind each day and the end is getting closer.
    You have a Cake Eater on your hands, read CN daily. They have a similar operating pattern and you will recognize this and hopefully be able to use that to your advantage. The playbook is the same so don’t expect anything good to come out of FW. Stay strong and keep your sanity. You can power through this.

  • Please follow ALL of CLs advice.
    She is not your sister or friend – so true.
    Your best friend now is the tough lawyer you’re going to find.
    And don’t share any papers, legal, financial or otherwise, with her!

    I do not know the answer to this and it forgive me if it sounds heartless. If the embryos are half hers (whose eggs are they?) do you want to utilize them? What would be the resulting legal situation of a child born of those embryos? I know long-term thinking is really hard given where you are right now but this may be something to consider.
    Please get yourself some really good legal advice and move forward toward a better life. You deserve it!

    • I second your suggestion to get legal advice about the embryos. It reads to me as if the letter writer is being held hostage by the fear of losing them as much as by the threats uttered by the cheater. Once the letter write knows the legal ins and outs of what might happen to those embryos in the divorce process, she can act less from fear than from knowledge.

  • The age difference & the fact you were a teenager when you met are significant. She convinced you she was something she wasn’t and you were too young to know better. She was probably attracted to your vulnerability and inexperience. A 27 year old and 19 year old have a huge power imbalance. Abusers love younger partners.

    Once you press the divorce the entitlement will produce rage. This situation could get dangerous IMO.

  • CL summed up your plan of action best: Just stone cold decisiveness.
    It’s a lesson we all must learn. Being chumped is an excellent teacher.
    This four letter phrase doesn’t fit well where thoughtful, considerate, caring folks are involved.
    Yet, it’s the might and power behind protecting yourself and learning to survive.
    In the future you may be confronted with choice once again. Only the names, places, and circumstances change.
    Once again, choose: Just stone cold decisiveness.

  • “Good lawyers eat people like her for breakfast.” So true. My lawyer was amazing. My FW threatened all kinds of things and it was scary. But a good lawyer knows what is and isn’t legally possible, and that was reassuring. That and she often called his bluffs. He talked a good game but had very little follow through.

    Lawyer up, follow their advice, and buckle up. You can do it!

    • ” He talked a good game but had very little follow through.” This was my experience, also. And how freeing it was to discover this about him.

      • “He talked a good game but had very little follow through” should be on my FW’s headstone when that time comes. That was him throughout our 20-year marriage. These folks like theory but not practice. Dreams but not plans. Potential but not reality.

  • Your letter scared me. Do.Not.Go.On.A.Trip.Anywhere! She could cause an “accident”, kill you and have everything. GET A LAWYER ASAP?

    • I had the same uneasy feeling. Don’t go. BTW, an “accident” could occur anywhere. You need to get this charade of a human being out of your life as quickly as possible.

    • As first order of business, my lawyer’s assistant wrote up a Last Will and Testament leaving my half of everything to my adult children should something happen to me during the divorce process. Although my FW never made those type of threats, I sleep easier with that added layer of protection.

  • “The best way to get rid of one of these people is gather a support team and go on the offensive. Narcissists never expect it, because they’re so accustomed to their entitlement.”

    This is so true. And in my experience my entitled, threatening, cake-eating spouse crumbled under real pushback from me, backed up by the legal system.

    I will never forget the stunned look of surprise on my ex’s face when after he oh-so-condescendingly told me one night he “didn’t see any other solution but a divorce” I wheeled around and hissed out “Good, because that’s what I want. And I’ve already seen a lawyer!” He entitlement so blinded him, and he was so used to thinking he had the upper hand, that it had never occurred to him that I might act on my own behalf.

    Later, in negotiations for the settlement, my ex whined about having to give up some of his retirement account, which he had wanted to protect–a every small amount, symbolic, really, but important to me precisely because it was symbolic that he didn’t get to call the shots–but he gave it up because he knew he had no choice (he knew I could have asked for more and the court would have awarded me more).

    I swear that puncturing his sense of entitlement was almost as satisfying as divorcing him!

  • Dear Casablanca Lez,
    From another lesbian: Don’t go on that trip. She can go alone if she wants. She probably won’t go alone because she knows you are trying to end things, and if you left on a trip on your own she would probably do something destructive to your property.

    Unless there is an issue with your finances, I encourage you to consider just selling the house and splitting the profits, as another poster suggested above. Then you don’t have to worry about getting her out of your home – you both leave and start fresh. Please discuss this with your lawyer to see if this is the best thing. I hope you are quietly reaching out to trusted friends or family for referrals to the best legal help.

    However difficult the divorce process is, keep your eyes on the future where you are rid of her. And yes, the age difference is a huge red flag. Please consider therapy so you can overcome the mental issues that come from being abused by someone like your ex, once you are out of that relationship. I had to work on myself before I could have a healthy relationship after leaving my ex.

    • I just want to express solidarity with you, Casablanca, from yet another Lez. If my lesbian STBX is any indication, you’ll never get consensus with your abuser, because she’ll always think that she didn’t do anything wrong – not really, even if she recognizes your feelings were hurt (although your wife sounds full-on delusional and may not even get that far). Please do everything in your power to get away, even if it means selling the house and potentially giving up some or all of the embryos. You sound young enough to produce more. I get that those things would be losses, and I hope you have a support system to work through them. But I hope we at CN can persuade you to do whatever it takes to get out of that abusive situation and go No Contact, immediately. You will keep getting sicker, and be in danger, until you do.

      Big rainbow hugs to you, ((Casablanca Lez)). Come find us in the Reddit group, feel free to mention my name to the mods, though they will likely see this letter as well.

      • The embryos concern me. If they are Casablanca’s, could the FW have them implanted in her and then sue for child-support?

  • The divorce dynamics are often a microcosm of the marriage. You’ve already had the MasterClass in How She Operates, which is an advantage.

    I noticed one day that Traitor X was doing everything in the divorce which he did in the marriage to destroy it.
    Secret-keeping? Check. Lying? Check. Promising things and then taking them back? Check. Blameshifting? Check. Etc.? Check.

    It was actually very validating that he revealed who he was to all the lawyers involved. I was easily the winner character-wise in comparison.

    This is not a time to figure things out on your own, hope your opponent will change, or share with them the dailies and the Clifs Notes on your battle plans.

    It’s time to clam up and call the cavalry.

    Don’t waste time on “why” right now. When you’re in a burning house, figuring out why is for after you’ve escaped.

    The two most important things to remember in life is that you can learn anything you don’t know, and you can ask for help. I often say out loud to myself, “This is something I can learn and I can ask for help.” Divorcing a cheater requires doing lots of both.

    • I remember being so afraid to get a lawyer because it meant Shit! Just! Got! Real!

      But getting a lawyer actually the exact thing which REDUCED the fear.

  • Casablanca, You wrote, “19-year-old me met her and saw the love of my life, she was 8 years older than me and very much a proper adult.” The “red flag” aspect of this part of your history doesn’t matter now, although when you get to work on fixing your picker, it may be one of many clues (serial cheating “over the years”? Lying? Abuse?).

    What struck me was not the age difference, but at 19 you were convinced (like many of us from all points of the preference spectrum) that this shiny person who had a quality you wanted was “the love of your life.” That is, you saw a “proper adult” with what you assumed were life skills, from your then-naive perspective, and your subconscious mind said “that’s what I want.” For some of us it is a handsome or beautiful face; for others, it’s career achievement; for me, it was a perceived happy family of origin. (I was such a sucker for a guy with a kind mother or happy siblings).

    There is no such thing as “the love of your life.” You will, when you have a child one way or the other, love that child. You will love pets, if you have them. You will love friends and family members. You may love the mentors you have in your career or the kind lady who every once in a while gives you a free pastry at the coffee shop or the crossing guard you see who is so protective of the school kids. You may love Sir Paul McCartney for all he’s given the world. Love is the one resource that grows as we feed it. You have lots of love to give many people in appropriate and delightful ways. WingNut doesn’t “love.” She uses and abuses.

    That takes me to my last point. Your relationship with her started with a power imbalance and that is still the situation. You are polite to her; she abuses you. You have fears about the house and the embryos but the truth is you can’t control what she does. If you had already had a baby with this WingNut, you would be looking at custody for the next 18 years or so. You don’t know how it will turn out, but a lawyer will help you get as much as you can of what you want. Don’t stay with her out of fear of what she might do. And if you file for a restraining order, that might weigh in your favor if a judge has to rule on the embryos. Get busy and get free.

  • Denial isn’t that unusual when an established dynamic is broken. And some people just bury their head in the sand

    Nobody did this better then my ex. He’d be a nasty prick then walk around with a phony smile on his face while he played dumb.

    We had this dynamic for years and it worked for him. He could maintain control but avoid conflicts like the coward he was. But things changed when I found his side whore had been around our entire relationship.

    He of course lied, gaslighted, bullshitted, changed his story…even threatened ME with divorce if I didn’t rugsweep so he wouldn’t be uncomfortable. But when I told him we were done he went unto full denial mode.

    He first pretended he didn’t hear me, tried to kiss me, and asked me to come to bed. He refused to discuss anything and even after I filed wanted to spend the holidays together “because we’re still married”. Phony images were important to him and pretending makes things true.

    As the papers were on thw judge’s desk he was still referring to me as “my wife”, continued to wear his wedding ring, and didn’t bother to tell his family we were divorced for a few months after it was final. Kept wearing his ring and after I moved out he sent me a bday card then demanded to know why I didn’t thank him.

    Some people just operate under the paradigm of refusing to acknowledge something makes it untrue.

    I also think you should just move out and be done. My house is mine and my loser ex has never had anything to do with it.

    • Yes, fifteen years of divorce threats to keep me in line, and then I finally said “go to it” during separation.

      My ex was shocked and teary. I was just plain worn out. Then he played all the games with his attorney happily charging him for every little bit until we threatened court. His attorney said he’d quit if it went to court. Only then did my ex sign.

      Then he played the same games during closeout until we threatened contempt motions three times. We never knew if his attorney actually told him about that, but his attorney got things moving again. After they were done with their part, his attorney died of COVID. So my ex took up the pro se flag and went at it yet more. We finished everything on my side and closed the file. My attorney briefed me on possible issues that could come up and said that all I have to do is to shoot him an email to open it up again. One of the issues came up, and I handled it. I’m not deleting my attorney’s contact info yet though.

      Hey, my ex got what he wanted. He got rid of his useless, inferior wife. But no, he probably still hasn’t let go yet. We’ve been apart for almost five years.

  • “ I am scared that if I do not agree to this holiday I will be strung along and she will not sign divorce papers.” Looks to me that you’re in the power seat. She appears to need your $$ contribution to undoubtedly travel/hookup and sustain her lifestyle. All that paired with threats. I’d call that leverage. Hey, bargaining with the devil isn’t advisable however, her needs are dependent on your compliance. Say No. You’re unwilling to participate as a friend until she’s signed the documents, moved out and is on her own (verbally). Then ghost her promptly.

    And if she ups the abuse instead report it immediately and have her removed.

  • “Good lawyers eat people like her for breakfast.”

    I was oh, so surprised to learn this fact after spending 40 years in a marriage where the threat was always that I was not strong enough, wouldn’t know how to take care of myself, would have to walk away with nothing, etc. He had me isolated and afraid, even though I have a college degree and am quite capable and smart in the rest of my world. As with many of you here in chumpnation, I found out I was the only capable and smart person in the relationship and had been carrying 99.9% of the load for 40 years. But, I did not know that until much later.

    At D-Day, I hired a lawyer and watched her go to work to protect my rights. Wow, wow, wow. At our first interview she asked about 5 questions and had him completely pegged for the type of person he is. I felt uneasy that she came to that conclusion so early, that maybe he was only misunderstood, etc. She started the legal process with her knowing approximately what to expect and explaining all of that to me. I was so bombshelled by D-Day that I couldn’t do much except let her lead me through.

    As the months moved on, she was exactly on target with his narc game and always one step ahead of him. At the court things, both of the attorneys and the judge knew exactly what he was trying to pull and they had zero tolerance for it. His own attorney showed minimum respect for him as I suspect, FW had shown zero respect for his attorney through the preparation phases. The judge called him down in the court hearing for smart ass responses to my female attorney. It was awesome!

    I think back to that day often and it gives me a boost to know three very smart people saw his character, saw through his shiny mask and treated him as he should be treated when he recklessly hurts people and intends to steal what is not his.

    Chumplady – again, you are spot on! I am ordering a copy of the book for my little rural library. I do not know if I would be here today if it weren’t for your book.

    • “I was oh, so surprised to learn this fact after spending 40 years in a marriage where the threat was always that I was not strong enough, wouldn’t know how to take care of myself, would have to walk away with nothing, etc. He had me isolated and afraid, even though I have a college degree and am quite capable and smart in the rest of my world. As with many of you here in chumpnation, I found out I was the only capable and smart person in the relationship and had been carrying 99.9% of the load for 40 years. But, I did not know that until much later.”

      My marriage only lasted 13 years, but THIS 100% describes how he made me feel and the actual truth. The truth became clear once we split and his life fell apart (in spite of an AP handing him money and taking care of him) and mine started on an upward trajectory that hasn’t stopped. My lawyer also pegged my ex precisely and handled him accordingly. I’m pretty sure his attorney knew it too, after a bit, but he continued to take my ex’s money and do what my ex demanded he do (which was often rather embarrassing). My ex tried to school my attorney on the meaning of “harassment”, LOL, and was constantly demeaning her in his communications.

  • I’m sure an admin can give you my contact details. I had a superb pit bull lawyer here in the UK. She got my narc ex to cooperate. Use her she’s amazing.

  • “She hated kissing me and said I was clingy and too romantic.”

    Wait…what? Uh oh.

    “Sometimes I think back and wonder how a 27-year-old found a teenager attractive! Was this a red flag?”

    Do squirrels like nuts? Yes, it was a red flag.

    “She mostly lives on her phone pretending to be single and exciting (catfish).”

    Ah. Light is beginning to dawn. This woman is a scammer.

    “Her excuse for all these affairs was the fact that she had to move from the East Asia to the UK”

    I would have her background looked into to get leverage. How did she could come to the UK? Was it because of you or another chump before you? This story reeks of a romance for citizenship con.

    “and this caused her a lot of pain? Not sure what exactly this means as she can be very cruel to her own family abroad…”

    It means she made a particularly stupid excuse for her shittiness. They all do it. She cheats because she’s trashy with a side of (by the sound of it) BPD.

    “Aside from the obvious of citizenship gains etc she now refuses to understand that we are over.”

    Obvious indeed. She wants to stay in comfort until she lands a bigger fish than you.
    I can’t help but wonder if there’s a previous spouse, and one she never actually divorced. I think she has a shit ton more secrets that are worse than you know. If you find them out she may vanish to avoid exposure and prosecution. This is a good case for using an investigator.
    You definitely need a lawyer to see to possession of the home and the embryos. Your legal situation may not be as dire as you think.

    In the meantime, I hope you are gathering proof of her catfishing and cheating. She might prefer to cave to what you want rather than be outed.

    “She does have crazy moments and she has tries to hit me in the past.”

    Yikes! Well she handed you a ticket out of this mess then, because hat’s how you can get her to leave. You file changes and get an order of protection. Please get support from domestic abuse resources before you do anything. Don’t confront her by yourself.

    I’m sorry you got conned. You must accept what all her behavior is showing you and act swiftly and ruthlessly to get this violent fraudster out of your life.

  • Your ex is a sexual predator. I’m queer myself and hate that abuse doesn’t get discussed nearly enough in the LGBTQ community. Older women like her who prey on vulnerable younger women are unfortunately too common.

    Understand that this woman is a predator who pounced on you because no adult her age would have her AND she wanted someone young she could manipulate. Now she’s throwing a tantrum because her easy meal ticket (control, sex, a place to live) is going away.

    GET A LAWYER. Stop telling your ex anything. She’s threatening you because she doesn’t have a leg to stand on and she knows it. Speak only to your lawyer and ask them what your options are. I imagine if your ex can’t, or won’t, buy you out, then you’ll sell the property. See how easy that is?

    People get divorced all the time and split assets. Your ex is saber rattling. Never ask your hostage taker for permission or consensus.

    • Thank you for your honesty – it’s rare, as you say, that the community wants to admit to this.

      And yes, Casablanca – STOP TALKING TO HER RIGHT NOW.

      She’s not you ally. She’s your enemy.

  • I wonder if this act of enforcing the rules opens up your heart and creates the uncomfortable spot to become vulnerable to all those hard emotions. I wonder if you are dragging your feet a little yourself.

    If that’s the case (and for anyone reading this who might be dragging feet/playing nice to avoid the hard stuff), its ok. Take a big breath and jump in. It’ll be an important step in learning who you are and what you can really do.

    It’ll suck, but not for long.

  • Casablanca Lez, are you in the UK? If so, it isn’t possible to contest the divorce any more from 6 April 2022. Drag it out and make it expensive, yes, but not contest and stop it. A good lawyer will do their best to minimise court appearances and if possible not go through courts.

    Also, I would suggest you contact an immigration lawyer if you’re in the UK. It sounds to me that she got the nationality on the basis of marriage to a British citizen. I vaguely remember reading that recent changes in nationality law made it easier to strip people of British citizenship. If so, it isn’t in her best interest to threaten you and that can be used as a leverage in the divorce process if she doesn’t want to play nice.

    In any case, do invest in good lawyers that will minimise conflict whilst staying firm. Let them handle the communication. Borrow money if you need to. My abusive ex is much more polite with my lawyer than with me and the money I pay the lawyer is a small price for my mental health.

    Unfortunately, you may need to make some very difficult decisions about the frozen embryos. I went through two unsuccessful IVF attempts with my ex and we had one frozen embryo left. I made a very painful decision to donate the last one as any kind of constructive co-parenting with my ex is impossible. I’m 43 and that was very likely my last chance to have a child of my own. It hurt like he’ll and I’ll probably never really get over it but the alternative of being tied to my abusive ex and bringing an innocent child into this situation was worse.

    Ask yourself is it possible to co-parent with your ex? Is she going to use children as pawns to get to you? Would this be fair to them?
    Hopefully it’s possible for only you to have parental rights. If not, however, using the embryos will keep you tied to your ex, especially if the IVF is successful. You’re younger than I am and hopefully you can try again, but that’s even bigger reason to untie yourself legally from her as soon as possible. Believe me, spending money is much cheaper than wasting time hoping for things to get better. You can earn money again, but you can’t retrieve the lost time.

    • “It sounds to me that she got the nationality on the basis of marriage to a British citizen.”

      That’s how I read it too. If this is the case and it can be established, perhaps the FW could be deported. Fear of it could be enough to get the FW to sign over any rights to the home or the embryos.
      Casablanca needs to get legal and pull no punches.

  • Personally, I would get (physically) far away from this evil bitch…now. The last place I would go is out of the country with her…what a convenient place for an “accidental” accident or poisoning of…you. Also, two women can’t make an embryo, so despite whatever the technical law is…I’d find yourself a pitbull divorce lawyer specializing in embryos and narcs…asap!

  • Fraudster had found an apartment for him and Schmoopie, and emailed her that they’d marry, he’d buy her a business, and they’d have a baby, all in their first year. Fast forward about a month from s Dday. He had denied sending her money, and I learned it was tens of thousands. I questioned him, he denied again, I showed him evidence, and he assaulted me. I evicted him, and filed for divorce. Per a mutual friend who was present when the process server gave him the papers, he was SHOCKED, offended and devastated. What did he think I was going to do? Apparently he thought he could continue to order me to do what he wanted, including pay off credit card bills after he had blocked me from using them; give HIM the money for utilities and insurance, etc. BTW, Schmoops turned out to be a catfisher and it was all an online romance scam. And I mean ALL; I doubt he had any intention of having a child, buying her a business and working for her, etc. He didn’t want to work and didn’t want any more to do with kids.
    He continued to issue orders: that I would let him and his friends in the house to take whatever they wanted, that I would pay money for bills to HIM, and then HE”D pay the bills, etc. It was expensive to turn all his emails over to my atty to handle, yet going No Contact was the best way to handle him. I also updated all security measures, got taller fences, additional locks, etc.
    In short, he acted as if he could move into his new life while maintaining control over his old life. In that sense, he too refused to believe it was over. He thought he could move out, yet still come and go as he pleased from our lives and home.
    Casablanca., as long as you are living together, it’s easy for her to manipulate you. As for the embryos, the rights should be clearly spelled out in your paperwork, and you can get the info from your medical provider. Conflict would likely would be between whoever provided the eggs and the sperm donor. If they’re your eggs, you need to take sole control and make sure you’re billed for and paying the storage fees.
    She might be stringing you along to keep you quiet and complacent. You can’t keep that up unless you want to capitulate to everything she wants, solely on her terms. She’s not your partner anymore. You have to watch out for yourself.
    Best of luck.

    • “In short, he acted as if he could move into his new life while maintaining control over his old life.”

      I do think that is what my fw intended. Oh not forever, but for a while until he was absolutely sure he didn’t want to return to our marriage. I think it surprised him for some crazy reason that I went on to date and marry someone else. What did he think was going to happen? I was 40, attractive and worked for DoD.

      I think he thought I would go to work, return to my tiny house and pine until he deigned to contact me. He also thought he would keep his captains bars after stooping his direct report for at least a couple years, wrong again. LoL. What ass wipes these folks are.

  • A friend of mine went on a work trip, and his wife, who had also probably married him for money and citizenship, got a moving van and emptied their entire house of furniture and appliances, all of which he had paid for. She left him a note that she wanted a divorce, and all of her debts. He had been supporting her mother as well as paying her university tuition (he was working his way through a Master’s degree and wanted to give her the opportunity to get her B.A.) during the marriage–his wife did not contribute financially in any way for the entire relationship. I would be very suspicious of your ex’s wanting you to “go on vacation” even if it is with her. She may be planning to have her friends/family/a moving company empty out the house. She may be planning to accuse you of physical abuse during the trip, where there are no witnesses around who know you. I agree that planning to sell the house and get well away from her are both a wise idea. And don’t go anywhere with her.

  • Casablanca Lez’s STBX is a batterer, full stop. It doesn’t matter if the FW is 4’9″ and weighs under 100 LBs, she does the harm she’s capable of committing and most of the harm in battering is psychological control. To untangle this skein, skip the new age self help drivel and go to the big guns: for safety reasons and long-term trauma recovery, read Donald Dutton’s “The Batterer.” Dutton studied assaultive men in prison settings for decades and the information can A) provide predictors of what abusers will do next so that victims can protect themselves and get out from under gaslighting and psychological control tactics; B) exonerate victims from self blame: violent abusers are out of everyone’s pay grade to “fix” and they are also proficient image managers who routinely fool bystanders and professionals. In short, abusers sort of bio-mimmick decent people down to a cellular level (at first) and it’s not the victim’s fault for getting sucked in. As the experts say about DV, it’s easy to get in and hell to get out.

    Even if the FW doesn’t repeat past violence and limits herself to threats, if Casablanca Lez is in the UK she’s protected by the new “coercive control” laws. https://rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-information/violence-against-women-and-international-law/coercive-control-and-the-law/. This means the FW can’t even make vague threats without risking criminal charges.

    Because batterers have high recidivism and ALWAYS reverse blame and accuse victims of being violent (batterers also invariably cheat), talk to a lawyer about it but I believe it’s legal to video/audio tape someone without their consent in the UK if it’s in a public place (“no expectation of privacy”) OR “in the public interest” (due to a crime being committed). In other words, it may be perfectly legal to set up stealth video surveillance in your home and get this abuser on tape if she attempts to assault, verbally threatens or falsely accuses. Evidence of criminal behavior could get her out pronto plus lower her chances of getting control of the frozen embryos.

  • As I sit in the now tropical and humid outback of VA – in my 800 square foot cinderblock cottage on 4+ acres of land- a paradise actually, I’m far from the shelling of xW. Meh is a thing.
    XW’s daughter (and 5 kids) are experiencing the antics of an abusing FW gone mad. A DV Protection order was filed on behalf of the county yet the court “failed to serve him” in his latest court entanglement over trespassing. A flying monkey soon to be banned from spite work ( I hope).
    The price of freedom is high however there is an endpoint brought about by legal eagles. Houses are everywhere sitting empty.
    Go covert on all preparations to exit and get your legal rep to develop an exit strategy. Plan the work and Work the Plan. I needed a chores-checklist to get started. It felt good to progress forward with each task to separate from being “unequally yoked” to a catfish. What was satisfying was the receipt of a signed decree after 10 months (no dependent children ) and the end of the hyper vigilance stage of hell on my psyche. What shall it gain you to sacrifice your peace and well being for fiat digital/paper , a coffee table, a car..?

  • Hi all, thank you for your kind words. I will try and answer some point as it may help others especially those who are LGBT and afraid to speak up. So yes the whole immigration situation was me bringing her (XW) the UK as my spouse years ago. Believe it or not, we met online as many do and she was such a “nice” person… I went to her country to visit her and some crazy stuff happened in this trip. Her ex confronted me in person and told me she was a cheater…of course XW said the ex was crazy etc… This ex was as old as my mother I kid you not. I had no idea as to WTF was going on as I was experiencing first love. The situation with the IVF is they are bio mine and anonymous sperm donor. She owns half as my spouse but once we are divorced they are not considered martial property, she is not related to them at all. It is very hard to get the right advice as my situation is very unique. To those she is saying she is an abuser, you are correct. Less than a handful of times she has lost control with anger and struck me, once dragged me on the floor by my hair etc. I decided that day that this shit was over, typically I told her we were over but she begged me for us to stay. She smashed my mobile phone to pieces so I could not call the Police at the time. I actually think she is in need of antipsychotic medicines as sometimes she is 3 different people. I currently do not have funds to hire a lawyer etc and I was trying to go through things alone with paperwork etc. I know I have lots of you here who give me great words of wisdom. Sometimes I just wish her last AP whisks her away so she exits my life for good.

    • Have you heard of Galop? It has an LGBTQ+ abuse hotline: 0800 999 5428.

      Refuge is a big resource in the UK for women escaping domestic violence and their hotline can be reached at 0808 2000 247. They sound very hetero and I don’t know how they fare at helping WLW, but worth a shot.

      Do not under any circumstances go on that trip with your ex, she’s dangerous. Start calling around different DV resources and see if there’s a legal clinic that helps LGBTQ people/DV victims. Sorry to say but DIY will only take you so far.

    • I’m so sorry this is happening to you Casablanca, sending you hugs

      I’m also in the UK and am certainly no expert but some solicitors will give you a free half hour for legal advice. It’s worth it to take back some control from this abusive monster and get the ball rolling

      Also, you may be entitled to legal aid, as you are a victim of dv

      https://www.gov.uk/legal-aid/domestic-abuse-or-violence

      Please take care of yourself and report FW to the police, if you haven’t already done so ❤️

    • “She smashed my mobile phone to pieces so I could not call the Police at the time.”

      That is information to use. She is terrified of the consequences if you call the police. If there is a next time (and I bet there will be) – do not hesitate to call the police. She is dangerous. You are not safe. Makes me more certain that she doesn’t want anyone delving into her past because it will bite her in the ass.

      “…as sometimes she is 3 different people.”

      NO. Do not buy that. She is one fuckwit and she is flipping the channels to keep you on your back foot and maneuverable. This is her STRATEGY and it has worked. So far.

    • Casablanca – UK has some great programs for women escaping Domestic Violence. Like many, you don’t realize that you qualify. Yes, LGBTQ+ coverage has gaps, but maybe not in your case. (From what I can tell, trans is the least covered.). They probably have great resources for you.

      They can at least give you perspective, which is incredibly powerful. Fear can really warp your perspective. You don’t realize which threats are toothless, and unknowingly put yourself into more danger by complying with deceptive requests.

  • I was like that for the first few weeks and then I took the power back. But then had to keep on doing it, they look like they’re taking it, accepting your new boundaries, understanding and respecting your position. Then of course you start to relax and start letting little things slide. They come back. They’re looking for the weak spot all the time. These people are used to you giving in…they have a LOT of tenacity for their own way. They’ve never given in, they’re waiting for the opportunity. Don’t give an inch. They’re not your friend, they’re looking out for themselves. Good luck!

  • Insisting on traveling together abroad…my hackles went up. You don’t know just how sociopathic your partner is…please read The Gift of Fear, get your ducks in a row, and get a divorce/go no contact ASAP. Worst case, you exercise an over abundance of caution and end up not on a miserable vacation and saving up for a trip to celebrate your new freedom from fuckwit. Better to get away from what might turn out to be a shooting range than try to dodge bullets.

  • Definition of friend- loyal, honest and trustworthy.
    She’s not your friend. She just likes cake. At your expense.

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