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Trying to Divorce When the Cheater Won’t Move Out

leave a cheaterDear Chump Lady,

I recently discovered yet another affair, after suspecting it for a year, I even knew who I thought the affair was. I was pregnant during that time, and as the breadwinner in an intense field, working like crazy. He knew it was making me crazy and chose to let me live in my misery (I see now I chose to let myself live there too). Of course, I only now get a confession of an emotional affair after finding phone records, but I suspect that’s not the whole story.

This is his third or fourth affair, the last was when I was pregnant with our first baby.

During that pregnancy, I tried to divorce him (finally! He has been doing this sort of thing long enough) and the state I lived in wouldn’t allow a pregnant woman to file for divorce.

He slept on the couch for a bit but of course, we eventually reconciled. It took a long time but after a year I let my guard down, and you guessed it, pregnancy #2 happened. Shortly thereafter, the all too familiar behavior returned. It was somehow more pain and hurt that time. However, I just recently moved our family across state lines for a job (he told me I was too busy at work and needed less stress, THEN our marriage would be good again).

During the move, I had a chance to actually investigate my suspicions. Now that I’ve confirmed this affair, I want to divorce, but alas, state requires 6 months of residence. I’ve gotten great legal advice, but it’s damn near impossible to keep my cool for 6 months.

I have feigned reconciliation as much as possible, to keep things as calm as I can and also to allow myself more time to gather evidence. Even found myself falling into the “maybe it’ll be different this time… I’ll just give him once more chance” trap. And during that time, he already found a new girlfriend. I don’t think they’ve had a chance to meet up but they text and FaceTime regularly. It’s truly disgusting.

I have at times lost my cover and become upset, asked him to move out (on my dime), and he is not willing to leave our house. I legally can’t make him. I’m in a cycle of no contact-fake reconciliation-almost real reconciliation-emotional outburst. It’s almost more exhausting than the hellacious year he just put me through.

Anyway! I searched your site for a similar situation, and I don’t see one. Would be grateful for advice of being mandated to live with this man who I currently feel has ruined my life (I know this is an exaggeration and do respect that so many more people have harder things in their lives).

I’ve done marriage counseling, individual counseling, I’m even considering a life coach (I know, I know..). I am desperate to remain level-headed and also not be slowly dying inside while I wait this out. My cover is pretty much blown now, and I think he knows I want out, but I have a PI at the moment just to be thorough).

There’s so many things that need legal reform these days and as uncommon as this situation is, it surely doesn’t need high-level recognition. But damn, This is the second time I was pregnant and cheated on, and I am legally forced to live with this asshole. Gross! (I promise, I really do take ownership for finding myself in this position yet again…)

Signed,

Who am I and how did I get here

****

Dear Who,

There are many people here, including me, who have barely survived the living-together-while-separated nightmare. I advise you not to do it, if at all humanly possible. No contact is the fastest way to healing and getting your head in the right space to divorce.

I would ask your attorney if the six months of residence to divorce means actually cohabitating. Are you in a fault state? Why the private investigator? Do you have evidence of the other affairs? I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice, but do press yours on what is possible.

Sadly, there are really fucked up draconian divorce laws still on the books. Virginia I’m looking at you. Some states, if you have kids, you must wait a year and one day, (the extra 24 hours is for spite) before you can even file.

As for the not being able to divorce while pregnant, in Texas and Missouri a judge can decide to hold off on finalizing a divorce until a baby is born for paternity, child support or custody reasons. This is common in those states, but less likely in Arizona, Arkansas and Florida. It is not ILLEGAL, however. People still do divorce while pregnant.

A shout out to anyone divorcing — Womenslaw.org is an excellent resource, explaining the divorce laws for every state. If you’re in a domestic violence situation, they also have a help line.

The sticky wicket when separating is child custody. In a perfect world, you work out a separation agreement on visitation. With a FW this is damn near impossible, because cake. Why should they give up all the perks and privileges?

It sounds to me like you’re trying to lull him into a false sense of security before you lower the boom. The fake reconciliation, the living together… Look, I’m not judging. Do whatever you have to do. But before you sacrifice your mental health, make sure you know what the legal options are. Is evidence of an affair really going to help you?

Often times chumps go on quests for information, when really they have enough evidence of a spouse’s suckitude. That said, I’ve read a few cases here where the evidence helped. But in general, adultery is usually a big shrug to judges.

Theft of marital resources — money spent on paramours — judges DO care about that. So put your evidence together. As we say here: Document, document, document!

Also document everything you do for your children — doctor’s appointments, financial contributions, bed time routines, all of it. And what he does. Schmoopie life tends to cut into family time.

I have at times lost my cover and become upset, asked him to move out (on my dime), and he is not willing to leave our house. I legally can’t make him. I’m in a cycle of no contact-fake reconciliation-almost real reconciliation-emotional outburst.

Right-o. This is the cycle of abuse. You’re living it.

To survive the next six months, you’re going to need iron clad boundaries. Don’t sleep with him. Don’t anything for him. Leave him to his FaceTime floozies. You’ve got two small children and a demanding career. You can fill your hours with things that aren’t FW drama. DO NOT ENGAGE.

Will you blow your cover? You already did. He knows you’re on the way out — you asked him to go. If he demands to know your plans — be a cipher. You don’t know. You’re just consumed by a fog of indecision. Meanwhile — keep lining up those ducks.

I’m turning the floor over to CN now — how did you survive in-house separation? Advice? Tactics? War stories?

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.
  • Who, as CL said don’t have sex with him. I know of one state that the waiting time starts over again if you do, just don’t. Keep moving forward the best you can.

    • Virginia is a state that punishes reconciliation attempts. With no children you have to wait 6 months. You’d think that the time is supposed to be spent on fixing the marriage and if it does not work then you finalize the divorce. Nope. The minute you sleep with your fuckwit the clock starts over. Some states let judges waive the waiting period. I asked my Virginia delegate and senator to change the state law but don’t try to eliminate the waiting period or all of the religious whack-a-doodles that oppose divorce in the first place will come out of the woodwork and kill the legislation. I have no clue if anything will change BUT laws are malleable and can be changed easier than trying to get a fuckwit to care and change.

  • I am not a subject matter expert in this area, at all, but I’ve read that there are laws in some places where if you leave a jointly owned home, you relinquish ownership of it in some legal fashion. That may be at play in this case.

    Just another reason to obtain and follow legal advice. It’s costly, yes – a debt issue for sure – but less costly than what one can lose without it, up to and including custody rights (which are also sometimes influenced by residence).

    Best case scenario, says me, is that this guy will get so swept up by schmoopie, he will leave on his own and be disinterested enough in his old life and people that divorce and custody will be easy — IF you are prepared enough to strike while the iron is hot. Sometimes with divorcing these idiots, timing is everything. Get it right and they’ll sign anything to impress a schmoopie. (I threaded that needle by chance, and it turned out I was extremely lucky, I learned. One day longer and it would have been a different story.)

    • “strike while the iron is hot” Excellent advice Ami
      My attorney and my lawyer friends all told me this when I was in the untangling phase and wanting her to admit what she did. They said that the quicker I get out the better and cheaper. I really wanted to know all the details, so it was a struggle but ultimately, I followed their advice. Cheaters don’t like to admit on record what they did. FW gave the first deposition and admitted sexting, nude pictures, and emotional affairs as well as told some big lies. Before her second deposition she caved and gave a great deal that was a 60/40 split in my favor and no alimony. Deal was signed in April of this year, 10 months from Dday, and finalized on my birthday in May. Last month she hired a new attorney looking to change settlement. I guess reality is setting in. My attorney’s response was “it is a signed contract that has been incorporated into a Court Order. She (FW) does not have negotiating power”

      • I’m glad the split was in your favor. The financial injustice involved in cheating seems to burn long past the time “meh” sets in so it seems good that your road to meh has been cleared of that added injury to some extent.

      • I too was told that the quicker I get out the better off I’d be and the cheaper it will be. I filed a no-fault divorce with a 6-month wait period. I was not told about the clock resetting so my time to final divorce was 9 months, almost 10 months, after she ran away on a drug bender with her boyfriend – a boyfriend she evidently had the entire time we were dating, engaged and married. My legal fees were $4,700. I know someone whose legal fees exceeded $45,000 for a fault divorce. I was told my fuckwit would never contest a no-fault because of what she did. My attorney was right. I just wish I knew about the clock resetting and wish the judge could waive the wait period. Sorry chumps, but I lost track of time – days felt like weeks, weeks months, months years. I can’t imagine waiting actual years.

    • Yup. In my case, my leaving would cause custody issues for me big time. I’m staying put. It’s so hard to wait it out.

    • Check with an attorney in your state. For me, leaving our jointly-owned house had no implications as far as ownership was concerned. It wasn’t safe for me to stay, and FW refused to leave.

  • This situation is so true in my NF state and happened to me. If you are the breadwinner…worse. Means they don’t have the money to move. Waahhh.
    In my situation my ex FW moved out after a year and a half. If you move out, you are liable for 1/2 the mortgage, house expenses and your new place, until family home is settled in court. When my idiot did move out left his stuff, didn’t get rid of it until 4.5 years later. 6 months after divorce was finalized. Our court dates in our county were overbooked. Awful. I hid the stuff and blocked it with a curtain. Garage was more difficult. Therapy helped, particularly EMDR. I was traumatized. Still working on me. Glad it’s over. Get a great lawyer to understand all laws around the house. My lawyer and I dealt with custody first, instead of property. Find out your best options for you. So sorry you are going through all this. Especially when pregnant. Both my parents passed away during my debacle. I worried so much I passed my anxiety on my baby and couldn’t focus on her young years during it all. I had 4 ddays.(slow learner and 2nd marriage). Sending you all my strength and courage. Hugs

    • I suspect the PI and quest for information may be helpful because the letter writer is clearly the breadwinner.
      The more she find, perhaps the less she will have to pay him?
      Even writing that last sentence pains me.

      I’m my case every bit of evidence WAS used against him so definitely get the toughest lawyer and find out exactly what you need.

      Yes, you need a pit bull on your side – two little kids and a high-powered, new job? You need someone you know will have your back 100%.

      I know the costs of hiring a good PI; it expensive. Perhaps hold off on the PI, invest in some good lawyer meetings and find out how best to spend your money and mental energy.

      Oh, and separate bedrooms like yesterday…with a good lock and ring camera on your door!

  • Cheaters love comfort. Don’t cook for him or enough food for him. He is an adult. Get a new checking account, don’t give him access to any money. Change wifi password and/or tv programs. Change , move furniture without communicating with him. The only thing to answer is about kids. When married you have a right to sell marital property. To live in tiny condo etc. He hates clutter, toys all over the floor. Narcissist don’t do uncomfortable well. Your job, your kids and your mental health, are important. His needs and wants, don’t warrant a yawn.

    • Hcard, that is excellent advice; however, I’d go a step further and stealthily make things actively uncomfortable for him. I’d wait until he left the house and then I’d get into the attic, grab a handful of that pink fiberglass insulation, and launder all his socks and underclothes with it in the washing machine. I’d give him the mother of all fiberglass itches. I’d get my little $2.99 seam ripper and sneakily cut every third stitch in the crotch seam of every pair of slacks he owns. Same thing for half the buttons on his shirts. I’d move his stuff and hide it. I would not keep anything on hand that he likes to eat. I’d piss in his shampoo and mouthwash. I’d never admit to a thing and I would drive him just a crazy as he is making you.

    • Make sure to open account at a completely different bank not just branch. If he gets a freeze on joint account, it can be all accounts ( which is why you need another bank) while you’re still married.

    • I once had a therapist who told me people don’t change until the status quo is made uncomfortable for them. So I agree that making his life less comfortable might push him to move out. At the very least, stop doing things for him that he can do himself. No more wife appliance!

      • I was a slow learner. The first year I renewed his auto vanity tag online. Guess it was a chance to give it to him. Divorce took 2.5 years. I didn’t do it again even though it was in both names. I wished he’d been pulled over. He was late, guess someone pointed it out to him.

  • I had to endure 4 months of my FW ex-husband living in my house after D-day in October 2019. I was in a bad situation since I am an engineering student and didn’t have any income apart from his. I managed to secure a one-year paid internship starting in January 2020 so I could get some money that wasn’t dependent on him. It took until February to get a court order for him to move out. During the 4 months that he refused to leave, he tried everything he could to break me down and get me to take him back. It was truly the worst 4 months of my life. But I held myself together and managed to persevere. He even tried to convince me to have sex with him, gross. My best advice would be to have a sane person to talk to through it all. These FWs can try to manipulate the situation to make you start questioning yourself. That happened to me. I had my sister and best friend helping me through it all. The other thing is to keep a list of reasons that this relationship is unacceptable. If you begin to feel worn down, read that list to remind you of all the reasons that you are not willing to remain in this relationship. If gaslighting is one of the FWs tactics, the list can help clear the fog that the FW is trying to cast over you. And through it all, do not engage. Do not react. Do not bend even a tiny bit because once they sense a tiny break in your resolve, they will use that to get to you. Grey rock is what you need to be. For me, it was like a brick wall went up immediately. He was no longer privy to my thoughts or emotions. That’s my story and the things that helped me get through 4 months of hell. Oh, and he moved out 2 weeks before the 2020 lockdown in my area. Thank god that happened because I may not have made it through if we were locked down together.

  • I did not do well with in-house separation. My attorney had suggested there was no need to move out, which would only deplete our resources, so I moved into my adult daughter’s old bedroom.

    Who: my heart really goes out to you, but I have to say the only way I could start to piece together the narrative of my own life, was to move out. That way, he wasn’t able to re-introduce the fog machine every time I got too close to the truth. You can’t make him move, but you can put together a plan for yourself and your children where YOU can move.

    Also, I’m no UBT … but when they say “it was only an emotional affair” what they mean is “it used to be only a sexual affair but I had to feign emotion to keep her interested in sex, and now she thinks we’re in love so I’m kind of going along with it, but it’s really not serious enough for you to divorce me over it.”

    • You are so right! My ex told me he had never loved anyone the way he loved Schmoopie, he had to leave etc. Then he came home 2 months later and was hurt wouldn’t reconcile. ‘I never meant it to be permanent!’ he said, outraged.

      • same! mine was a serial cheating, closeted bisexual hooking up on adult friend finder for over a decade and not deleting conversations. I read everything..all the times of trying to get rid of me for a weekend so he could have sex with complete strangers. When I reminded him that he had been trying to get rid of me and, now, he was free to do whatever he wanted, he indignantly responded “I didn’t want to get rid of you permanently.” they are crazy!!!

        • They are trulyunbelievable, aren’t they? When I made the mistake of letting ex-FW back into the house during wreckonciliation because he insisted he wanted to repair the marriage, within two weeks he was instead dating other women and talking to schmoopie again. So I proceeded with the divorce. He then says to me, “I didn’t come back to get divorced.” WTF? Well of course you didn’t; you would prefer to eat cake, but do you really expect me to go along with it forever?

          • OMG same. FW wined and dined me, said all kinds of lovely things, finally asked me to move home. But he kept seeing OW. I wasn’t happy about it and said so. I think he only asked me to move back to see if I was so desperate I’d let him do whatever he wanted. When I didn’t, he called it quits. I refused to leave because I didn’t want to put our kid through me leaving again. I stuck it out for three months, but FW became more and more abusive and it escalated to being physical, so when he threatened me, I packed up and moved out. I found out later he had never meant for us to work out, it was just to try to keep me quiet in the divorce because “at least he tried”. Schmoopie “waited” for him during the wreckonciliation (who does that?). Gross.

    • “he wasn’t able to re-introduce the fog machine”
      Walk by myself, exactly right!!
      Have to work on getting the walls up and fortified around all the pain you’re experiencing simultaneously. It’s so overwhelming and mistakes are made, but keep moving him closer toward the exit in your life and you will eventually get free and clear. It’s a lot to deal with!
      Under the same roof?! God, another level of hell, but ‘Who’, you are going to get through this and the other side is soooo much better and peaceful over time. It’s a process. Hang in there.
      You’re going to get your beautiful life and self back you never even realized you had lost.It’s going to be worth it.
      Good luck to you! Hang with CL and her nation, we understand the indescribable pain you are experiencing and want you somewhere safer. He is not who he pretends to be and does not have your back.

    • Sorry. Get a new place for you and the kids and leave the home. Then put your house on the market. Hide a lot of cash. Don’t give him any spending money. Cancel all joint cards. Expect to have to give him money.

  • If you haven’t already, read up on or watch YouTube re: emotional intelligence(EI) to manage emotions & be smarter when emotionally triggered. Or you can be like my friend, and imagine yourself an embedded CIA spy 🕵️ with ice queen demeanour & nails that would have to be pulled out before she’d spill the beans. Yes, my friend truly could’ve earned an Oscar or become a secret agent for her performance!

    • I love the “embedded CIA spy” thinking. I didn’t need to do that myself in divorcing my ex, but it’s been a useful skill in the workplace. After being badly burned once in at a large-ish company by someone I thought I could trust to have my back (my intro to the corporate workplace), that’s been my M.O. for years–I keep my thoughts to myself, sharing very little even with people who seem trustworthy, because you never know. Coworkers at my last workplace would have been shocked to know how much I hated the place and certain people there. I’m now an independent contractor and have had them as one of my clients since I left. I’m treated much better now than I was then and have spared myself a lot of workplace drama.

      • And it’s amazing (not) how they discovered they couldn’t find someone with my broad mix of professional skills and experience. Now that I’ve given them notice that I don’t want to renew my contract with them for 2023 (I have better fish to fry), they’re finding that out all over again.

      • Workplace drama… uggh. I can’t kiss arse, I can’t become part of the whisper chain, or go on those ‘part of the group’ gets invited lunches. Then there’s the cold shoulders and everyone knows stuff that’s none of their business. But can anyone actually pass on training or relevant company info… oh no!

  • I didn’t have the issue of being legally required to remain together for a set length of time but I wasn’t emotionally ready to file after d-day and yet felt horrible just waiting around for him to dump his AP. I spent the time documenting as much as possible. Made copies of important documents and saved the files on a server he didn’t have access to. Made notes and took pictures of expensive items in the home. Started keeping track of when he was gone from the house with the AP to make a case that he spent damn near zero time with the kids. I just needed to feel like I was doing something. Oh, I also got another credit card solely in my name so that I could use our joint income on the application. I also already had access to money that he did not. This was very important for allowing me to consult with attorneys without his knowledge.

    • “Oh, I also got another credit card solely in my name so that I could use our joint income on the application.”

      I wish I’d done this. We had several jointly held cards with high credit amounts, and after the divorce the bank gave me one with less than half the amount. (I had another card in my name only with a high amount, but because I never used it–I had it for back up, in case of fraud on the other card–the credit company canceled it!)

  • Hmm, interesting. You have to wait six months which will not be fun or entertaining. You are pregnant though and all you need to do is inspire him to leave on his own. First off, cut all contact with him. You don’t have to talk to him (there’s an app for that and limit it to child stuff only). Do not sleep in the same bed or room with him. Move into another bedroom. Do not cook for him, do not clean for him, do not buy groceries for him,do not do his laundry for him. You only have to provide services for you and you kid. Take half of all money and out it in an account in your name only.
    You need to make his life hell and not allow him to make your life a hell. You are pregnant so make all the noise possible when you have to get up in the wee hours to pee (hey and when you are pregnant that happens often). Use those hormnes that are flowing to make his life miserable. You only have to care about yourself and your child.
    Get the best legal advice possible. You can use this time to start getting things ready. Get those ducks in a row. If you are in a fault state, get the proof you need to show how he used marital money for Schmoopie. It is true the court is not interested in the actual adultery but if you can show that he was committing adultery and used marital assets to support that then the court starts caring (ask me how I know). My divorce will be final next week and I am getting all his Schmoopie money back and that is killing the FW.
    If you can’t handle living with him, there should be no reason why you cannot move out but do get legal advice first. Also, get medical advice because if the stress of living with the FW endangers you unborn baby, that may help your case (but consult your attorney first).
    This will not be easy but you can get through it. Give yourself time, as little contact with the FW as possible and above all give yourself some grace. You are pregnant and this is not a good time for additional stress so give yourself all the grace you need because, well, hormones and stress. ABove all remmber what Chump Lady says, this is finite. It will be over. Good luck and stay strong.

  • Dear Who am I and how did I get here,
    You have a PI? That’s costly. Hopefully you have what you need and can focus that money on an attorney. Make sure to document everything and get a great attorney’s advice. While you’re at it, research the best attorneys and meet with all of them so he can’t. He’s busy with schmoopie —- take advantage of that. And lock down all your finances. If he’s spending — get copies of all of it now.

    But most importantly, find out what your legal options are from several attorneys. You may find that you can serve him with adultery in your state and get his ass out and start the process. I was in Virginia and that’s what I did… FW’s AP was from Maryland and her dad was a MD family law attorney (oy). So she must have advised FW to go ahead and leave me and our son and move right in with her to start their separation. Well, that’s ok in Maryland, but 10 miles down the road in Virginia, it’s considered abandoning the home and is still adultery even if he moves out! So I got my proof and was able to serve him in 2 weeks after DDay. I also was able to KEEP HIM OUT and take the home for me and my son while going through the divorce.

    But rather than trying to figure it all out online (still try and read up as best you can), make sure to get an attorney’s advice. You may not have to stay with this prick in the house — fingers crossed

  • 10 months of forced cohabitation with my FW — I was the sole breadwinner but both of our names were on the mortgage, and she didn’t see why she should leave the home and 2 daughters because (1) I supposedly had ‘more options’ than she did and (2) I was supposedly the one who was having so much trouble accepting the situation as it was.

    The only advice I can give is to embrace gray rock as hard as you can. Don’t give him anything to work with. Speak as little to him as possible, make him think you’re disengaging to set things straight in your own mind, all the while getting whatever evidence you need to permanently get away from this serial abuser. It will drive him crazy, he’ll scream and cry and threaten and mindfuck you into entering a world of drama, and at times it won’t be easy. But it will give you black-belt ninja skills for dealing with him in the future (breeding with a fuckwit truly sucks) and — trust me on this — he’ll reveal more of his true self than you would have ever thought possible, maybe even a few things you can use against him in court.

    • UXWorld — “But it will give you black-belt ninja skills for dealing with him in the future (breeding with a fuckwit truly sucks) and — trust me on this — he’ll reveal more of his true self than you would have ever thought possible, maybe even a few things you can use against him in court.”

      Yes!!!! Great advice and insight

    • UX– so true they reveal more about themselves as you withdraw. The brings up the issue of checking the state’s recording laws. Many states allow recording others without their consent and only about 11 require all-party consent. Recorded proof of abuse, misbehavior, gaslighting, etc., is potent if admissible in court. It can also help to ward off cheaters’ typical fabricated charges against victims.

  • I invited friends over to make it uncomfortable for him to come home. Then he took off his wedding ring a few days later and it was gloves off. I went off on him after the kids were on bed and they woke up. Something clicked that he realized it wasn’t a sustainable situation.

    • Klootzak thinks my friends like him. They tolerate his existence for my benefit. If I had them over he would assume they were there to see him. I shit you not. That’s just how glorious he is. ROFL

  • I was stuck with my angry, cheating FW. It’s not easy to just move out sometimes. I moved into the guest bedroom. She chose then to claim that as “her room.” She’d wait until I was settled in to sleep, then come in to “work.” The intent was to provoke an angry response from me, of course. But I let her anger exist in a vacuum, and watching that dispassionately became its own weird reward.

    All I can say is: for your own sake, find a way to be somewhere else as much as possible. If that’s not possible, at least find a way to sleep somewhere else and live a parallel life as if he’s not there until you can live somewhere else. You may not be able to divorce, but there’s no law that can make you have to live with someone. Minimize the damage and the interaction every way possible, because all that damage has to get repaired. The less of it, the better.

    • Yes to that, All A Blur! I had the same issue. When I attempted to go sleep in our guest bedroom/office, FW suddenly was there when I wanted to go and sleep 😳🤬. So I went and claimed the master bedroom for my use only. For some readon he would NOT move his socks drawer into the room he slept in, and kept coming every morning in my/the madter bedroom. Reading Lundy Bankroft’s “Why does he do that” helped me understand FW’s need to control me. So Glad I’m out! Dear Who, I ho n the chorus : the pain is finite, and a good lawyer’s advice is key to get to the end efficiently 😘

  • My ex also refused to move out of matrimonial home with excuse of for the children yet used home as a hotel as he was already living his new life with schmoopie; kids refused to come out of their rooms for 2 whole years if he was in the house (even refusing to eat). It was obvious that his reasons were purely financial. I also pretended to be civil while getting all of my ducks in a row as he categorically refused to leave (psychologically and financially abusing and neglecting children, me) even though a slew of doctors told him to leave for everyone’s good. I thought I could handle it (sleeping on couch, yellow rocking, counselling..you name it) but it damn near killed me and caused irreparable damage to the kids and I will always be angry at the legal system (lawyers) who claim to be “in the best interest of the kids” yet tell the ex to not leave the matrimonial home. My best advice is to document everything just as CL said (time with kids, appointments, incidents etc.). The one thing that I would caution is to be aware that he may be baiting and secretly recording you…that is what mine did (which I found). Looking back it was so obvious how he baited me to blow up while he was in such a strange and calm manner. He also did the same awful things to the children (start arguments and recorded). Once he finally left, it became blatantly obvious how physically unwell he had made me – which I had normalized. My best advice is to document, strategize and start the counselling and self-care for you and kids now if you haven’t already.

    • Some strategies if separate and under same roof: take note of (pics) of all of his mail (especially banking, invesmtments) in case he tries to hide finances like mine did. Do not put any money into improving the property if your date of separation is going to be contested. Keep all receipts and use etransfer if sending him money. Document times he leaves and returns to house. I also started speaking to neighbours to see if they noticed the amount of time and work he was away and not putting into home life.

      • Excellent excellent point TMCTY — make notes and take pics about EVERYTHING. I had a true guardian angel tell me “you know all you need to know (about what a horrid person she is), don’t drive yourself crazy” but as long as she was using the home as a ‘base from which to operate’ I made sure I was a sleuth at all times. If I hadn’t, I might not ever have discovered:

        – the medical documentation that she threw away in the trash, indicating that she was hospitalized for excessive alcohol consumption while on a trip to NYC with the Chlorine Special (she told our daughters she was visiting Auntie Boobjob, another cheater)
        – the wad of bills totaling $1200 that she had hidden away deep in our bedroom closet (while crying poor, of course)
        – the bag of sex toys, restraints, waist harness and dildo assortment that she took with her every weekend night she was out with CS (and that the guardian ad litem asked me to document for her report to the court)
        – hotel receipts, sex shop receipts, her weed, etc.

        Most of which was extremely useful to my attorney and to the court.

        • UX,
          We have very similar experiences! Before she moved out, I sleuthed as well:
          -Trip to Santa Fe to see “retired Nurse” I found incriminating receipts that verify she was with AP
          – 6K hidden in bedroom in shoebox along with secret bank account
          – Bag of sex toys and lingerie she took to Santa Fe and elsewhere.
          – One AP put in Koi pond and did maintenance on it.
          Once I found where she hid the money I would periodically pull a couple hundred out at a time. The night before she left I took the rest. She couldnt say anything about it

        • Gee UX our fuckwits had the same tactic. My ex FW had a black bag filled with his S&M paraphernalia. I got so used to seeing him take that black bag out when he was “playing Magic cards with the guys” that I didn’t ever stop to question what was in it. There were receipts, cash and all that in the house once I started looking. Trouble is, in the extremely no fault country I live in – no one gives a shit. So he cheated? Meh. So he buys hookers and nights out for his girlfriends? Foibles of the marriage. Just get over it. You buy shoes, right? That’s the basic philosophy here. You can hardly even get to court so you have to use mediators who just force you to settle quickly. Long story short- I got screwed but got him out of my life. I’m not a huge fan of the liberal no fault schemes here where I live.

    • Oh yes, the recordings. FW tried that with me but he had his cell phone out and would try to engage me in conversatio. This was like any time I left my area to get food or whatever. He thought he was very clever as he went on a diatribe. Unfortunately the most he got from me was an eyeroll or a grey rock comment like “Oh Gee”. Meanwhile, he did not know my little hidden camera was recording his crazy questionings. So while he was trying to prove that I was crazy or whatever, it showed he was the one trying to get a response and when he did not get that, he escalated. The retired judge we had do our settlement conference found these recordings very interesting as well as the recordings of his porn with he and Schmoopie (FW let them download to son’s photo account). FWs are gonna fuckwit!

  • Dear Who, I only made it 3 weeks after I knew I was done before asking my now-ex to move out, on the advice of my attorney. Ex cooperated, which was a relief, because I wasn’t sure he would. I straight up lied, said I wanted a “trial separation” (again, advice of my attorney–all’s fair when love has failed and it’s war!) and he was thrilled to believe that he could get his own place, do whatever he wanted, and keep me doing the 20 year pick me dance. Obviously, none of that will work for you (so sorry!) but here’s what I did in those 3 weeks. Lied and lied and lied to him with a smile on my face (this was actually super difficult, it generated intense anxiety for both me and my kid—leading us both to wonder what kind of person lies regularly, like daily, for over TWO DECADES, as he had done by that point, and doesn’t stroke out???!! but that’s a question for a different time…). I lied to keep the peace, to protect my assets, to make him believe everything was “fine.”

    I also made physical copies of all our financial information (that I knew about, it’s possible he had some shit hidden, oh well), including tax returns, bank statements, 529 plan statements, insurance, and retirement accounts. I made copies of his passport and social security card. I had phone appointments (during lockdown!) with multiple lawyers in our area to find the one who I felt was best for me, but also so that he would have fewer to choose from. I even held my nose and talked to the local notorious “men’s rights” lawyer so that he couldn’t use him. I slowly moved out my most sentimental items to my work office or a friends house. I bought grocery store and VISA gift cards with each grocery store run (turning the tables on him… he had been skimming cash for YEARS!). I sometimes “forgot” to get something at the store so I could go get another card. I stored valuables like those cards at a friend’s house. I talked with my kid about what was happening, in as close to age appropriate terms as possible, and listened to and validated her fears and hopes. Near the end, I also removed him from the guest card I had given him on the credit card that was in my name only, and cancelled as many unused accounts that we had open as I could. I opened my own bank account and changed the direct deposit with my employer… I found that I had very nearly left that too close to the next pay cycle, but had an angel in the payroll office expedite it for me when I told her I was leaving an abusive situation…again, since you have more time, you’ll be able to plan this better.

    I bought expensive items that I would need in our new life, for my kid and me, and paid them off with joint funds before taking half the remaining cash (as allowed by my state, again, lawyer’s advice). These items ran the gamut from OTC medications for both of us, shoes for her, some furniture (again, lockdown and working at home!), etc. I wish I had had more time in some ways, to build up more cash reserves, put new tires on the car, a few other things, but mostly I had enough time to prepare. Some days I feel guilty about spending “our” money this way, in secret, and to benefit only me and my kid… until I remember all the missing money, cash that was unaccounted for, all the pot, alcohol, games, and god knows what else that he bought that I’ll never know about. As Taylor Swift sings “that ain’t my merlot in his mouth”…

    Since you will have more time, I suggest you “gamify” it… what are you going to need in your new life, and how can you get it figured out in advance? Loads of respect and good luck to you.

    • KADawn I’m so jealous! You’re my hero. I wish I’d had my shit together enough to do that. I was in so much pain and so gaslit that I could barely muster enough guts to ask him to leave. I only did that because friends were pressuring me to get him out so I could think straight. He then happily left and started all kinds of abusive stuff-mostly financial abuse and ghosting. It took me 2.5 years just to get him to mediation. Meantime he hid all his assets, fucked with my mind, made everything chaotic, lied, lied and lied and managed to get a bunch of our money and abandoned our child. I wish to god I had the wherewithal to have stashed some of our joint funds like you did. Part of the reason I didn’t was because – wait for it- I thought he would be kind and fair to us. He’s always made good money and he was so generous that I never thought he’d steal our money and leave me flat. He made child support such a nightmare I ended up negotiating a lump sum just to disconnect from him. See- he doesn’t fear the law or any bill collectors so none of the repercussions meant anything to him. It was awful. Good on you for standing up for yourself! I wish I could have done that.

    • I have done this. Bought shoes and coats to last kiddo the next 5 years and stored them all away. OTC allergy meds which are not cheap! Bought kiddo school uniforms in the next few sizes. Bought myself a good winter coat. Have also stocked up on quality items for myself that I won’t be able to afford down the road. A nice brief bag for work. Dress shoes for working in an office again if my employment changes. Gift certificates from my hairdresser to use when times are desperate. Lots of LED multicolor holiday lights to decorate the yard when he is gone. He only likes all white lights and no colors so I know he won’t try to take them. Ha!

      I have one trusted person who I have always bought Christmas and birthday presents for. When D-day happened, they told me to start sending them presents of things I will need that they can give back to me. They have a basic set of tools plus some kitchen items for me. This season I’m giving them a security camera set up that I intend to install as soon as klootzak is out and the locks are changed.

      All paid for out of my paychecks. The expenses are not hidden in any way.

      I also have go bags with a trusted friend in case the situation turns and I am forced to flee for safety. While I don’t feel in harm’s way, my attorney said to sit tight if I can due ti everything. I am an immensely patient person.

  • 11 months of cohabitating with a FW was awful (I know many have done longer- hats off!). First, “documenting” his affair was a waste of time. Also, it turned out that documenting how much time he spent with the kids was also a waste of time (I have my kids 100% no overnights with him just occasional visitation-he has no interest). So I wish I had spent less time documenting and more time trying to calm myself down. The documents I scanned of money spent on other women were not helpful either ( it was not enough to fight over with lawyers). What I DID do right was get out of the house as much as possible (kids and I had always done things by ourselves anyway- we went to lots of museums). Also, I did everything separately- I cooked for me and the kids, if he cooked I didn’t eat it (made my own). If I washed the towels I didn’t wash his, etc, etc. I didn’t tell him about school events (he gets the emails and is capable of reading all by himself). He booked a job for himself on his oldest son’s 8th-grade graduation. It was hard learning to not wife for him anymore and to just keep everything separate even though we lived together. I was very busy secretly talking to lawyers and applying to graduate school and looking for a second job and trying to spend as much time as possible with my kids. At any school events I just sat somewhere else away from him. It was the absolute WORST time of this whole ordeal and as I am about to sign divorce papers (4 years since Dday) I am so glad it’s behind me. The SECOND he moved out (thanks to exclusive rights filing from my lawyer) life became SO MUCH BETTER. In my divorce decree, I’ve stated that he cannot even pull his car in the driveway to pick up the kids- I cannot even stand to have his dirty feet near my property anymore LOL!!!

    • In some cases, all of that documentation CAN be really helpful though. You don’t want to wish you had it when you need it.

  • I felt I had to stay in my home because I worked from home and everything I used for work was there. He did not want to move out and did not move out until after divorce. Didn’t want to move then, but I had all the utilities put in my name, including internet. I changed the password and wouldn’t give it to him. Guess what, the lack of the internet caused him to move. I guess he missed his porn too much! Would suggest that. Cut off his phone too, so he has to pay for as much as possible. Any tool you can think of to make life as difficult as possible for him so there is no benefit to living with you. As a neighbor told me, you do not need to be nice to him.

  • Dear Who, you sound a bit stuck in the trauma loop, focused on FW’s behaviour and abuse when you could use that energy to focus on your own and kids protection and progress. I had to live with my FW for over a year after the final DDay and I filed in Maryland, which required this at the time. It was pure hell day to day, but I wasn’t about to leave my kids in her sole care. Also, my lawyer advised me not to leave because she could say I abandoned our children and it might have made it easier for her to get majority custody. So my purpose in relaying my story is to say get a good lawyer and get unstuck from the trauma loop. You deserve to move on and heal as soon as possible. Best wishes.

  • Who, you may think you are lulling him into believing you are reconciling but he may be pulling the same tactic on you. Letting you believe he believes that you want the marriage to work. Maybe I missed it but is your cheater working, is he gainfully employed? I hope so or he’s going after alimony which really sucks. Especially when a cheater bum ends up getting compensation.
    You need to line up a divorce attorney and get the ball rolling. You already know he is a cheating bastard that has no desire to change. A cheater will screw you in other ways and they don’t give a rat’s behind whether their kids are going without because their needs come first. Delays rarely work out well for the chump. You have nothing to work with here, he has shown you exactly who and what he is…a shit bum.

  • She wanted a divorce, so we were alternating weeks at home with the kids. Until I woke up to her flagrantly cheating and I was done. I needed a safe place for myself, so I put a lock on the master bedroom door and carefully moved all her clothes and furniture to the garage. If she wanted to live in our home SHE would have to figure out where that would be. All the bedrooms were taken. When she came home from another fuckfest weekend and discovered the locked door and a new reality. She kicked down the door and trashed the room. I took photos of the damage and sent it to my attorney. A few days later she got hit with a restraining order and temporary child support order that garnished her wages. That was not in my original thinking, but it certainly worked in my favor.
    If you have to share the house, definitely make it as uncomfortable as possible. Pick a room for yourself and put a lock on it. Put a discrete security camera or leave on a laptop camera in your own room Provide no services of any kind. Make it uncomfortable at home and more appealing to leave.

  • I stopped doing everything for him – cleaning, cooking, laundry, talking unless necessary to coordinate plans around the baby. It was a bit lonelier than being alone, but I was already alone in the hell he had pulled me into. Aside from some slip ups in the beginning (see: trying to get comfort from the person who hurt you), I was able to shut it down. I made plans with friends, family, even left with my daughter to stay with my parents for a couple weeks in the beginning after I had decided a divorce needed to happen. I think it was critical to starting to emotionally and mentally separate. Once you fall into interaction, you may find yourself lulled into something yet again. Use your anger with this asshat and your determination to stay on track and get you and your kids out of this mess. The only way is forward, and in order to do that you need to jettison one FW-sized weight.

  • After 35 years married I discovered the affair of 2 years. Had him sleep in basement until divorce was finalized. Very hard but had no choice. 😈

  • I could almost have written this myself. Found out about the multitude of schmoopies while 7 months pregnant. Live in Virginia. Got legal advice. I can’t force him out. I sleep downstairs and don’t even let his hand graze mine while reaching for the coffee pot. I would move and force him to buy me out if I could but it would make a big mess. I can’t go into too much detail. Anyway… it sucks and it’s crazy. Meanwhile, I line up ducks. It’s all I can do.

    I have said before, I feel like the guy in Shawshank Redemption digging my tunnel with a spoon. This has gone on over a year. Klootzak has been trying ti find a job elsewhere which would bust this wide open. I pray a lot. Meditate. And document everything.

    • Wow, I hope your STBX spends a lot of time away. I admire you for being able to handle being in the same house with a FW for over a year. I hope you dig your way out soon.

  • My experience is based from what my mother did because my father cheated and physically abused my mother and us children. We lived in the same house but separate room and separate things all together. Like, separate toilets, kitchen (or you can eat out) and separate TV and also separate door and gate. Exhausting, but it worked. The idea is living in the same address but not in the same house. House can be attachment then.

    Also, there is the concept of address as domicile where you intended to permanently stay in our country. You can transfer to a different house but will require yourself to stay in the old house (with your cheating husband) but only for 200 separate days. This way, you can prove to court that you did not run away, abandon or separated from him when used as evidence in child support.

  • Who, I can’t help but notice you say you’ve “gotten great legal advice”, but you do not actually say you HAVE A LAWYER. There is a world of difference between getting one-time legal advice (however great) and actually having a lawyer who represents you and can advise you on your divorce – especially given that you have moved to a new state.

    Find that lawyer NOW. CL often recommends Superlawyers as a good place to start tracking down names, if you don’t have a network of people who can refer you to someone good. That lawyer can advise you, specifically, and in an ongoing way, because you need some answers ASAP to questions like:

    – What happens if I move out?
    – Can I kick out my FW and if so how does that process work?
    – What counts as ‘separation’ for legal purposes?
    – How do I keep my FW from stealing and hiding our marital assets?
    – Are there any pitfalls/things I must avoid doing to keep from messing this up? (For example, in some states, if you sleep with your FW, congratulations, you’re not “separated” anymore and the clock starts over.)

  • It sounds like he’s currently enamored with a schmoopie, so consider this an opportune time to get everything lined up and agreed on, that’s what I did. While it was hell living with my now-XW FW while she was in daily communication with the AP, I used that time to get everything agreed to – settlement terms, her new residence, move out timeframe, etc. These FWs can be pretty agreeable when they’re imagining their future bliss with the AP. However, once I actually filed, that’s when she flipped to being all-in to reconcile. I found myself being the “bad guy” and not wanting to “work things out.” The months between filing and finalizing were indeed hell on earth, but looking back now almost a year out it was so worth it. And don’t feel bad about faking it and putting on a front for the FW just to get through the day, as you can see from the comments that’s how most of us chumps were able to get through and out safely on the other side.

  • I can feel your pain, Who. Five months of forced in-house quarantine with my cheater during the early days of Covid – in a country where the protocols were so strict for the first two months that we could have gotten arrested for leaving our yard to go for a walk! Of course he was carrying on his long distance affair throughout that time, and my first D-day happened in that time frame. I almost left then, but he hoovered me back in.

    Fast forward to last year, when we were forced by our employer’s HR to be together again. (It’s a special kind of hell being in FT supported ministry where our choices are dictated by our agency and our donors – when there’s a cheater in the mix. Financial income is 100% predicated on being a happy couple honestly carrying out good work. What if it’s an unhappy couple still doing good work, AND one of the couple isn’t being honest to anyone, including himself? It doesn’t matter – you need to *appear* happily married and always share a bedroom.)

    Anyway, I lasted for about 2 months of living with him again. He was carrying on the affair while in the same room or the same car as me! At the same time he was pretty awful to me. After my 2nd D-day towards the end of those 2 months my body literally made the choice for me to leave, no matter what. It was that or be unable to breathe or function.

    I can’t say that I’m totally over the shock of the drastic steps I have taken since the last D-day, but overall I am relieved to be separated from him. I am growing in strength and health and in confidence of being able to support myself.

    My advice to you, Who, is please do what you need to do, regardless of the roadblocks – whatever that looks like for you in your new state. Prioritize you and your health, and the wellbeing of your littles. Don’t give your STBX any pleasure in living with you. You can get through this!

  • Dear Who,

    You probably don’t realize how amazing you are for putting up a fight to the extent you have. Trauma is very numbing so you probably haven’t taken stock of how harrowing all of this has been and how damaging the abuse you’ve endured has been but you deserve credit.

    If holding yourself responsible for not leaving earlier (“I see now I chose to let myself live there too”) and reminding yourself that some have it worse (“this man who I currently feel has ruined my life (I know this is an exaggeration and do respect that so many more people have harder things in their lives)”) is somehow activating and is motivating you to break free, then by all means keep doing it. But if you’re saying these things because some therapist or other bystanders are bitch-slapping you and giving off the message that it’s somehow “playing victim” and “neggies” to “throw all the blame on a partner,” I’d just like to say that you don’t have to recite those things in the present company.

    First, when it comes to domestic abuse– which infidelity is increasingly considered a form of (https://www.joplinlawyers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/FINAL-COPY-Infidelity-as-a-Consideration-in-Domestic-Abuse-and-Coercive-Control.pdf)– robbing victims of agency and choice is the main agenda of abusers. Another agenda of abusers is “perspecticide”– robbing the victim of perspective and spellbinding the victim into believing they had a hand in “causing” the abuse or that the abuse “wasn’t that bad” (it is). Because the old, moldy view in victimology is right out of the abuser playbook– the idea that victims have preexisting psychological problems that “draw” abuse to the victims on Voodoo tractor beams– victims are often put in a position of feeling like they have to exonerate themselves to bystanders for having been victimized to begin with. In short, while emerging from abuse, victims are typically re-subjected to the very same blaming/shaming view that abusers wield to further entrap their victims. Talk about bringing coals to Newcastle– this is why blaming bystander response is called the “second injury” of domestic abuse. Victims are put under pressure by both abusers and bystanders not to “act like victims” by “taking responsibility” for “their part in it.” But the old theories are crap. Statistically there’s no common denominator– not by background, psychology, etc.– determining which individuals will be intimately abused or not except one: according to DV researcher Lenore Walker, battering victims tend to skew towards *higher* than average pre-abuse self esteem. How do you like them apples? Many abusers may actually seek to bring down “big game,” not weaklings. And that’s the main takeway: the reasons abusers abuse intimate partners lie solely in the psychology of abusers. And since abusers tend to tailor their abuse according to the resistance of a particular victim and reserving the worst abuse for resilient targets, even the explanations for why some victims are more flattened and paralyzed than others lie within abusers’ tactics and MO.

    Again, if prodding and chiding yourself to take action is working, go to it. But be careful that you’re not just internalizing the traditional borrowed-from-abusers blaming view of yourself which could be even more paralyzing. And if you’re getting that message from therapists and friends, find better therapists and friends. The only people “playing” victim within abuse dynamics are abusers. Victims aren’t “playing” at anything.

    As for your latter suggestion about other people having things harder, I can use myself as an example.

    I was violently assaulted by a workplace stalker as an intern in a very competitive, narc-filled industry and went through the criminal prosecution process, then was harassed at work by supporters of the stalker, which included more attempted violence, and ultimately had to leave that job as the damage spread. I was left with permanent injuries and PTSD. Being cheated on by a spouse was leagues worse in many ways. Then, because that industry is what it is, I went on to work for a horrible boss who was later accused by nearly a dozen women of rape. The experience was so awful (nearly drove me into pre-term labor) that I ended up quitting the industry. But being cheated on was still worse.

    I lost both my beloved parents. They had led interesting, long lives but losing them was terrible. I didn’t think it was possible but being cheated felt worse.

    I haven’t been held in a prison camp and tortured so I can’t speak for that. I’m not a racial or religious minority who was subjected to years of discrimination and bias in a violent caste system so I can’t speak for that. I never had cancer or a life-threatening disease and can’t speak for that either. Plus, since anything that happened to me would put my children through hell, I won’t bargain about whether my going through a life threatening or life ending illness is worse than being cheated on. Anything that impacts my kids negatively seems worse than anything I could experience, so I also won’t bargain with seeing my middle child descend into serious chronic illness as a toddler because it was really my child’s trauma. But I would say that I had similar symptoms from both experiences– child’s illness and being cheated on. I have an autoimmune condition that is mostly kept tamped down and undetectable through nutrition and lifestyle. Typically I’m the picture of health but during periods of extreme stress, the condition rears up and causes crippling pain and a mess of other effects that impair mobility. Watching my son decline and struggle was the worst feeling short of actually losing him, which would be the absolute worst thing in the world bar none. But maybe because the cheating followed a long period of fighting the medical system to bring my son back to health, I was physically in worse shape following the betrayal. And my kids also suffered from their father’s betrayal which nearly pushed me over the edge.

    That’s the thing about domestic abuse/cheating: abusers do it to people who had been tortured or suffered political atrocity. Abusers abuse assault and harassment survivors. Abusers abuse people going through cancer treatment or experiencing the illness or loss of a child. And cheating impacts children in untold ways. There’s no way to measure the heinousness of compounding life’s hardships and tragedies with something as selfish and avoidable as betrayal. It’s terrible on its own, kills any cause for joy, ruins any good memories and makes everything that’s already difficult or unbearable worse. There’s really no bottom there so it’s an exercise in futility trying to plumb it. Your abuser abused a pregnant woman. “Terrible enough” comes to mind. And that gives you all the more credit for resisting as much as you’ve already done because the odds are against survivors being able to resist and break free. All power to you.

    • “Another agenda of abusers is “perspecticide”– robbing the victim of perspective and spellbinding the victim into believing they had a hand in “causing” the abuse or that the abuse “wasn’t that bad” (it is).”
      Yessss! *This*, Hell of a Chump! Thank you.

      And this: “…the reasons abusers abuse intimate partners lie solely in the psychology of abusers.” Amen and amen!

      I, too, have been the victim of other types of violence, including being mugged alongside my adult daughter. While indeed traumatic and sleep-disturbing for a little while, it wasn’t until I read for myself the extent of my husband’s affair on his phone that I went into psychological shock, and didn’t come out of that shock for many weeks.

      You make excellent points and they are appreciated!

      • To counter the minimizing “perspecticide” and take back a bit of perspective on how traumatic cheating is, consider a few typical tactics used by terror states to control populations. One tactic– something Nabokov called “the lever of love”– involved threatening to take away or imprison loved ones. Another was inducing family members to inform on and betray other family members. If you think about it, cheating encompasses both terror tactics except it’s worse in a particular sense because the person removing a loved one is the loved one themselves and the treason is not externally induced at gunpoint but willingly undertaken by the loved one themselves.

        In order to minimize the emotional impact of intimate betrayal, bystanders will figure that if the loved one was a traitor all along, the victim should have magically known this and not cared that the traitor “disappeared” themselves from the relationship or betrayed trust. But that leaves out the traitors’ deceptive tactics, the gaslighting, the psychological coercion and control that’s typically involved in betrayal. The point is that the victim didn’t know the enemy was in their midst until they did. And even when they did begin to suspect, they might have found themselves hogtied by gaslighting and more threats.

        Isn’t it odd that the worst punishments are reserved for traitors of nations yet negative bystanders will minimize intimate treason. Hmm. Anyway, for whatever reason, negative and blaming bystanders seem to think survivors are all Wile E. Coyote who should bounce back into shape after being flattened by an anvil or smashed by a falling piano. But in the real world, the threat of loss of loved ones is harrowing and devastating enough to be the go-to, reliable tool of subjugation for evil regimes. Oh, and of course those evil regimes commonly commit perspecticide as well, typically denying that the loved ones were stolen or killed by the state.

        How’s that for perspective?

  • My husband wanted me dead. I lived with him for 9 months after filing, until my lawyer got me exclusive use and possession of the home at Pendente Lite. There are all sorts of legal things to consider and I wouldn’t do any sleuthing not approved by your lawyer, it can really hurt you in court in some places. 1. Make sure you have the right lawyer and have retained him or her. Contact your local domestic violence organization, they know who the best are. They can also help you with a safety plan and assessing your risk. Your pregnancy and the fact that you are ending things both increase your risk; abuse escalates during pregnancy and when you’re leaving. Don’t think he has to be hitting you for you to qualify for services. Get the name of a good counselor from them as well, and begin counseling immediately.
    Now, for how to survive the day to day. I agree with a lot of what UXWorld said.
    * Don’t react
    * Keep a journal
    * If you have a shared phone account, use a burner to communicate with your PI and attorney. He doesn’t need to know who your PI is or when you’re talking to your PI or lawyer.
    * Get a small safe and keep everything related to your case in it. Assume he will search your drawers, your car, your bags. Mine did, and I never expected it. Careless of me. Escalating behavior, remember.
    * Never discuss anything in person with him. Keep all communication in text and email. If he insists, tell him you can’t right now, and if you have to lock yourself in a room.
    * Keep a cell phone on you at all times. If he starts to lose it start openly taking video (check this with your lawyer first). Knowing a record is being made is usually enough – they really are calculating and don’t like evidence against them. If it isn’t helping keep on and also call 911. Use the safety plan you made.
    * Have someone you check in with every night. I sent my mother an email. If she didn’t hear from me she called. If I didn’t answer, she would have sent the police. Every night.
    * Have friends you can call. Call them.
    * Discuss with your lawyer whether you should ever leave your child with him. This is tricky. I wouldn’t do it voluntarily . My kids were exposed to affair partners.
    * Don’t accept any favors from him. Don’t take him up on it if he offers meals, childcare, etc. He’ll use it against you later. Any offers go to your lawyer. Otherwise “no, thank you I’ve got it”.
    * Take “he’s not that bad/like that/wouldn’t do that” out of your mental vocabulary. You don’t know him or what he would do. I found out mine had wanted me dead for years. Make no assumptions.
    Best of luck. Hope to hear an update

    • ‘Take “he’s not that bad/like that/wouldn’t do that” out of your mental vocabulary. You don’t know him or what he would do.’

      I second this. I always thought this way. He could never do X. Until he did. He nearly killed me one night. You really don’t know what they are capable of.

  • It was nearly the worst 21 days of my life – worse was the discovery of what someone I had known for years was really like. It was like living in hell. I would not recommend living with a partner unless you have a healthy amount of savings to use as an emergency fund to leave instantly if required due to extremely bad circumstances, especially if you do not have family around you can rely on.

  • Dear Who,
    I lived for 3 months with the cheater ex husband after DDay as he had had surgery. In that time I found porn left on our child’s laptop, movies of incest & under age ( yes I reported to federal police). I watched him hide and use his burner phone for escorts & ignore our then 10 year old. I lost the plot & told him to get the f out for good. He moved out then when faced with my fury (verbal).

    Literally, Today is 2 years on since that day, I’m divorced, have my son 75% & my house sale settles today in 5 hours time. I have someone who has a kind heart in my life & who cares for my son.
    I will be finally be financially free.

    Here’s what I did as I tried to survive that terrible time:
    I learnt that no contact was good
    Changed my will
    Opened new bank accts
    Changed my superann beneficiary
    Changed all my legal docs To maiden name
    Changed my emergency contact
    Locked by credit record
    Transferred car to my name
    Removed him from all insurances
    Closed joint credit card
    Stashed cash outside of a bank
    Notified existing bank of legal separation
    Changed my shares to new name
    Got 3 x legal advice 1 hour for free
    Turned up for work
    Cried. A lot. A real lot.
    Found CL and read daily.
    I tried to do one thing a day that stepped me in the direction towards freedom and independence. I wasn’t always able emotionally to do that but I just kept saying “it will be over soon. I will be free”.when I couldn’t cope, I went to bed early.

    I hope you’re okay with 2 little ones. I’m so sorry and wish you all the kindness in the world. Hugs from Australia.

  • I was making plans and hiding money to get away. I’d enrolled in college, which I sold to him as a way for him to not have to worry about working *gag*. He wasn’t suspicious until he found the bank receipt for a deposit I had made. It was payment for jewelry I had made and sold through consignment. He took a hammer to the gems I had carved, the enamels I had made, the jewelry I had just soldered together to try to get me to talk. I let him destroy all of it, I didn’t talk. It just cemented that we (myself, my 2 year old, my one year old and my newborn) needed to get away ASAP.

  • Yea. Asshole would not leave. His disordered men’s group advised him not to because it could be construed as abandonment.
    This added layer of abuse and trying not to throat choke the fucker through his lying smirks etc made life challenging for 2yrs. Use this time to Grey Rock, gather Financials, document what needs documenting, build your credit score, upskill/reskill for future employment, create your exit plan, secure your children’s future, and plan plan plan for your new life, and plan for the fallout for your kids, their well-being and their futures (college, therapy).

  • It is hard to provide suggestions when the original letter doesn’t include details such as birth plans, back to work plans, child care plans, local family/friends, etc. Building that team of lawyer, doctor, therapist, HR department, domestic abuse program AND not sharing plans with the cheater is vital.

  • For me, trying to live with him in the same house separately meant to be eating more shit sandwiches and bearing much more pain every single day. I could only begin to heal after I forced him out. I felt in control and powerful after many months of gaslighting, and I would suggest separating if possible for you to start healing asap. As many of you mentioned here, he did everything not to leave (fake remorse, fake reconciliation attempts, shameless lies like I can’t live without you etc. etc.) Do not listen to his lies please.
    This is what I am wondering about: I live in my house for over 10 years. I like it, and I like my neighbors. But when I was away and totally unaware of how heartless my ex-husband was, he used our place for his disgusting acts as you can guess.
    How did you manage this? I sometimes tell myself that him and his low-quality match will not steal my love for my house, but they sometimes do. I changed the furnitures and beds, I feel okay most of the time, but some other times I wish that I had started over in a new place (which of course is not always easy)
    How did you manage this mixed feeling of I love my house but I also want to burn some of the rooms in it?

    • I loved my house too, but when the opportunity came up for me to get it (FW decided he didn’t want it after all, though he’d previously said I’d only get it “over his dead body”), I decided to sell it. Too many memories. And schmoopie had been all over it. Aside from the fact that FW had run the place into the ground through neglect. Letting it go felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was able to put some money in savings and pay off a chunk of my legal bills with the proceeds (even though we didn’t make a lot on the sale due to the condition of the home).

      I do miss having a garden, and living in a apartment isn’t quite the same (smaller, and much more expensive), but my apartment is MINE. FW’s never been in or even near it. The only memories there are mine and my son’s. I got rid of most of our furniture (only kept three pieces, one of which was an heirloom from my great grandparents, and the other two were pieces I had chosen especially).

      The market has gone up so much I am not sure I’ll ever be able to purchase another home, but I still don’t regret my decision.

      Maybe find a ritual of some kind (I don’t believe in that stuff, but I probably still would have done it had I stayed in the house), like smudging with sage or having an exorcism or something, to mentally clean the space? Is there any way to switch rooms around, like turn the master bedroom into an office and use a different room for your bedroom? There’s nothing to say you can’t eventually move, either.

  • I know it is tempting to make FW’s life hell, but please, PLEASE be careful. Abusive people don’t have to have a history of violence to be dangerous. And the most dangerous time is when the chump tries to leave. Safety first, and doubly so if you have kids.

  • I don’t have advice, I’m just here for the solidarity. I filed for divorce and cheater FW still didn’t move out for four months and there was nothing I could do. Why? Because: he.had.no.plan. This seems to be a big part of the shit sandwich—FWs don’t seem to be capable of running their own lives and take no initiative.

  • You’re the breadwinner, you say. You asked him to move out “on [your] dime.” What’s he doing to contribute financially to the family? Are you sure you can’t just separate? Why can’t he get an apartment–and a job? You may not be allowed to get a divorce, but you aren’t “legally mandated” to living in the house with him, unless you choose to do so for negotiating leverage in the eventual divorce.

    The only reason to stay in the same home is to protect your equity in it. If that’s the case, tell him you want a divorce and get separate bedrooms, etc. Don’t have sex with him, whatever you do. Shut off any flow of money from your paycheck to him. Move your direct deposit to a new account in your name. Don’t do his laundry or cook for him. Take care of you and the kids. If you don’t have equity in the home, just move.

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