The holidays are coming and I was just wondering how to deal with the soon-to-be-ex (STBX) and holiday get-togethers. I actually thought we could stay on friendly terms since we have kids together and we will be seeing each other time to time. I really wanted it to be less painful for the kids and I just need some peace and healing.
Today, we were supposed to go to court and end the marriage. I have spent months and over a thousand dollars trying to draft up a decree with a lawyer that would just split our assets, since we both have a house, retirement etc, I thought we could just call it even and go on. When my STBX got the decree he called and was angry. I still don’t know why. Now he has hired a lawyer and they have asked that the trial be delayed, for 75 days!
So, Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up and I had planned on having him over for dinner, but I am really hurting and angry right now. He is trying to still control me, after abusing me, my kids and having multiple affairs for over 20 years. He wants to get his fair share of my savings and retirement, but what will happen now is that we will give the lawyers and court most of our savings. What a great guy!
I want nothing to do with him. After he called me two weeks ago, angry because I blocked him on Facebook and ranted on me, I had an anxiety attack and suffered heart palpitations for two days. How do I break it to my family and kids that this guy is trying to destroy me and I want nothing to do with him for the holidays?
How do you break it to your family that you do NOT want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with a serial cheater? It’s called a divorce decree. They’re these really amazing documents that free you from abuse. Everyone (including you) has to accept the fact that divorce means that you’re no longer family with the creep you’re divorcing.
He is your EX. Ex-turkey carver. Ex-stocking stuffer. Ex-Aunt-Mildred-sweater-gift-recepient.
Let’s say that 10 times together, shall we? EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX! EX!
He doesn’t deserve the honor of a place in your life, or at your holiday table, any longer. He lost that privilege when he screwed around on you for TWENTY YEARS.
It’s called a consequence.
Cheaters don’t care for consequences. They prefer cake to consequences. Cake, that lovely, fluffy, moist state where you remain of use to cheaters and project to the world that they’re Splendid People. Do we UNfriend Splendid People on Facebook? No we do not! Of course he’s in an uproar — you took away a tiny bite of cake! Do we object to Splendid People grabbing more than their fair share of allotted resources? How dare you! They’re SPLENDID and more deserving than you are!
See how that works? It’s called narcissism. It’s the same impulse that drove him to cheat for 20 years — entitlement.
Which is why the cheap-o mediated, draft-it-ourselves divorce settlement was never going to work. Your situation is EXACTLY why I tell people to get their own divorce lawyers. Cheaters are not honest brokers. The fact that he demands cake shows you how skewed his world view is — me, me, ME… nothing for you.
Equity? Reasonable division of assets? A fair settlement because you grievously fucked up my life and abused me for two decades?
No! You’re the meanie who took cake away!
I’m sorry it’s painful and expensive to get rid of one of these freaks, but think of it as the Christmas present that keeps on giving — you no longer have to tolerate this jerk in your life.
I promise you, you can have a really lovely holiday season in time that doesn’t include a buffet of shit sandwiches. Part of the issue is that there is this myth of the Friendly Divorce (probably propagated by some subsidiary of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex), where even though you’re no longer together (you drifted apart, it was all for the best) — you still put the brave, happy face on For The Children and spend holidays and Thanksgiving dinners together. Just like the Old Times. Only Daddy has a girlfriend now (well, he did back then as well).
Hell NO. Children need to understand consequences too. There is a REASON you are divorcing — his 20 years of infidelities. When people abuse us, we remove them from our lives — especially the special times in our lives.
That isn’t to say your children have to remove him from THEIR lives. No, you absolutely ensure that they get their visitation or whatever custody arrangements you’ve worked out.
Is it sad? I’m sure it will seem that way for them at first. Change is hard. But one advantage to removing a cheater from your life is gaining a NEW life. One that is full of your traditions and your values. You invite to your table those people who love you and have your back as you have theirs. They may not share your DNA. Maybe it’s a dear friend, a widow, a neighbor. But you surround yourself with people who give joy, who reciprocate, who honor you.
How do you explain it to the people who were expecting Mr. Cheaterpants? Very matter-of-factly. He’s making other arrangements this holiday season. We’re divorcing. And then you deflect — hey, I wonder how much chocolate Santa brought? Let’s go watch Elf for the gazillionth time! Let’s stay in our pajamas and watch football!
It’s your day, Chumped. YOUR day. This day and the day after. Don’t let him steal your joy.
(This is an updated post.)