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How to survive a marital separation arrangement?
August 29, 2012 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Please help me buckle down and survive the 16 months I have left before my husband abandons me and our kids.

(Apologies in advance for the length.)

My husband, with my consent, stopped working in November 2011 to focus on his "spiritual path." (We own a business together, he was nearing a nervous breakdown because he was so unfulfilled, so I took it on by myself to give him the space he needed to heal.) Fast forward to the present -- he's decided that he does not believe in marriage, he does not believe in "attachments," there is only the present, and future promises do not exist. He is leaving me and our two sons (ages 2 and 5) at the end of 2013. This is non-negotiable, and was solely his decision.

Why the extended wait? Well, he's agreed (in writing) to spend between now and then working 40 hours per week, no more and no less, on our business to make it more financially stable and to help develop a few ventures that had been in progress before all of this happened. The idea is to leave the business -- which will be transferred solely to me -- in better shape, and to build up a little "nest egg" to help care for the kids he's deserting. During this time, he is living in our home (separate bedrooms, as it's been for a long time) so that our money isn't further depleted on rent payments for him. This makes financial sense, though it is hard.

My issue is this: how can I keep my eye on the prize (the "prize" being him focusing on lessening the financial disaster for me and my kids) over these next 16 months, when I'm so damn angry? I feel the obvious emotions of hurt, anger and betrayal, and I'm just disgusted that his "spiritual path" (a blend of Eastern religions and a bunch of Eckhart Tolle type stuff) means leaving behind the children he helped create. I know this is unkind, but I am repulsed by the language he uses -- "I'm trying to get clean with this...this is really sticky for me... I'm feeling a lot of resistance...I'm really up about this..." -- and I'm repulsed by the "soul family" he's cobbled together who are cheerleading him every step down the path of actual-family abandonment. I am having a very hard time playing nice.

Obviously, anger isn't going to serve our children. Conflict is only going to distract him from whatever minimal efforts he's willing to make to lessen our burden. He could, if he wanted to, walk out tomorrow instead of 16 months from now. I know all of this. And yet, I'm really having trouble focusing on all of this when I feel so upset. I'm devastated for my little boys, who adore their dad and have no clue anything is wrong. I feel used and taken advantage of. I was blindsided by all of this and genuinely believed that things could work out, but they can't. I'm humiliated that the hundreds of people in our field who know us both and associate us as a blissfully married couple will now see I've been abandoned.

Unfortunately, my resources for self-care are pretty low, since I am scraping together every penny in an effort to try to buy some kind of home (we rent a place now) to give my kids, one of whom has special needs, some stability. I am about to head to my second (and possibly last) session with a counselor. After that, my plan is to really focus. I'm talking with a mortgage broker, though my options are very limited because of my husband's mishandling of our business finances. I've put feelers out for an attorney. And we do have this written agreement outlining his "responsibilities" when it comes to work and childcare, and what money he is going to take from us to subsidize his "spiritual retreats" and other activities in the meantime.

I guess I need help managing my emotions, making the best choices for my kids, and surviving these 16 months. Advice or suggestions here, or in MeMail, would mean the world to me. Thanks for reading.
posted by justonegirl to Human Relations (142 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow. I am so sorry - what an incredibly painful time for you and your children.

I don't have any answers to your actual question, but I do have a question for you: has your husband essentially joined a cult? If you feel that he has, there are professional people out there who work to get people out if those situations. I'm sure people here would have some specific recommendations.

Good luck to you and your family.
posted by imalaowai at 5:30 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you could assign a monetary value to not having to live or work with him for the next 16 months... how would that compare to your expected financial gain from keeping him around as you've outlined? Your sanity is worth something.

Have you consulted a divorce attorney? It seems like after he leaves, he should be paying child support, not entitled to a stipend so he can go to some retreat instead of working.

Eesh. Internet hugs.
posted by ecsh at 5:31 PM on August 29, 2012 [69 favorites]


We call these "convenient" spiritual revelations, in that they give us permission to do what a part of us already wanted to do anyway. Sort of like people who worship a god who just so happens to hate all the same people they do! The fact that this revelation is the product of probable mental illness just makes this all the more transparent.

He very much will NOT be living in the house with you during those next sixteen months, because it will be painful, confusing, and degrading to you and your children. As hard as it may seem, putting them first means not dragging them through a year of oddly formal emotional detachment simply because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Seriously, imagine yourself fifteen years from now trying to explain to the kids why they had to go through that time.

So glad you're looking for a lawyer, because damn, girl.
posted by hermitosis at 5:32 PM on August 29, 2012 [126 favorites]


I'm sorry you're going through this. Lawyer up, with the aim of getting this parasite out of your life. He has demonstrated that promises mean nothing, so my crystal ball tells me that the next 16 months will not be productive ones for this business. If it's survived this long since his little meltdown, that's probably owing to your abilities, not his, and the sooner he gets excused from both the work and the rewards (like living rent-free) of being part of it, the better off YOU'll be, and that's all that counts. As for him, he can be homeless, and subject to court judgments, or whatever else divorce court and his new philosophy decides for him.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:35 PM on August 29, 2012 [14 favorites]


I don't think you should accept this arrangement.
posted by BibiRose at 5:36 PM on August 29, 2012 [58 favorites]


a regrettable decision by a irresponsible child.

since only the present matters to him, I think you should let him have the "freedom" that he needs immediately. please don't take him back unless he's become a man.
posted by sibboleth at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Which will be transferred to you, or which has been transferred to you? With nothing concrete you're completely at his mercy even more so than you possibly should be.

I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by tilde at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


And we do have this written agreement outlining his "responsibilities" when it comes to work and childcare, and what money he is going to take from us to subsidize his "spiritual retreats" and other activities in the meantime.

Damn, girl is right. Speaking of spiritual enlightenment, I have a new mantra for you: put your own oxygen mask on first. While he's spending money on spiritual retreats, make utterly sure you are also putting money aside for you. That might be a weekly therapist, or a weekly massage, or any number of things on an ongoing basis.

Most immediately and right now, it is a family lawyer. I don't know where you are but I see about 97 ways from Sunday for you to get royally screwed here. Your husband clearly is now looking out for himself at the expense of everyone else; do not trust him, do not trust the books, do not trust anything he says. See a lawyer. You do not need to go on the offensive but you absolutely need information on how to protect yourself.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:41 PM on August 29, 2012 [36 favorites]


Will he actually hang around for 16 months - I'm sure you're planning for that contingency. Sorry, but a huge part of me says good riddance - the sooner he's out of your life the more you will be able to get through this. I'm sorry, this is a horrible thing to face.
posted by mattoxic at 5:41 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would ask him what part of not being attached to things makes him unable to enjoy the moments he spends with his own kids. If he lives for the moment, ask him why he doesn't live for the moments with them.
posted by ifandonlyif at 5:42 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am so, so sorry you're going through this. Your husband is scum.

I'm humiliated that the hundreds of people in our field who know us both and associate us as a blissfully married couple will now see I've been abandoned.

No one remotely worthwhile as a human being, who has so much of a shred of empathy or decency, will blame you for this.

Your husband is scum. I wouldn't bother trying to wrestle with him for any period of time, and definitely don't subsidize his bullshit. Just cut all contact now, lawyer up, start legal divorce proceedings, and go after him as hard as possible for child support and sole legal custody. He should not come anywhere near the kids ever again, because he's given them up. Exposing them to his madness will almost certainly just be piling more hurt onto the inevitable horribleness of abandonment. Little kids are smarter and definitely much more aware emotionally than adults tend to give them credit for, and having a parent who has checked out emotionally but is still around physically will be even more confusing than abandonment. You should make sure that you get every penny of every percentage of everything he ever earns that the judge/court decides you owe - and absolutely do go to a judge, do not agree to any form of arbitration whatsoever - but more importantly, keep this psycho away from your kids.

Really, why would you trust him to work hard for 16 months? He's clearly abandoned pretty much every shared moral principle of human society. "Take care of your small children" is about as bedrock a principle of human life there is, in a lot of ways it's more important than "don't kill" and "don't steal", in fact, there's a reason that "stealing to feed one's family" is universally regarded by non-sociopaths as acceptable. Seriously, fuck this guy, don't trust him. Get control of the business now, and kick him out now, so you and your sons can begin healing and you can begin building a new life.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 5:45 PM on August 29, 2012 [82 favorites]


It sounds like he's already separated from you mentally, so getting him out the door will give you better boundaries. I think you'd be better off seeking a divorce now, protecting your financial assets and finding someone reliable to work for your business. Your kids might seem young for the turbulence, but you can head off the worst of it by taking action to protect yourself now.

Also, if you pursue the divorce, it might be safer for your money to delay buying a house until it is settled. If he's already messed up your finances once, he might strike again.

And please consider going for more counseling, buying a house is mucho stressful on its own but your plate is overflowing. Ask if your counselor has a sliding fee scale or if there are low-cost resources in your community.
posted by dragonplayer at 5:46 PM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wow, you have every right to be so, so angry. Put on your business hat and lawyer up, absolutely. But also, make time for your anger. Don't let it leak into and infect the other parts of your life that are going to need focus. Set aside time to be angry; go to the gym, go to a sliding-scale therapist, your spiritual adviser if you have one, set aside time every week to run your heart out around the high school track; just something to feel that anger and work through it so it doesn't come out in other unexpected unwanted ways.
posted by bleep at 5:46 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Talk to a lawyer and kick him out. There is no benefit for you or your children in this arrangement whatsoever.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:49 PM on August 29, 2012 [62 favorites]


KokuRyu is absolutely correct. There is not a word he says that you can trust, he has no interest in your well being or the children. You need to hire a lawyer, seek your own support, and move him out of your home.
posted by HuronBob at 5:51 PM on August 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Given he has a past record of changing his view radically in short time spans I really think the "me work for 18 months and then transfer to you" aspect of this needs to be nailed down in a form that is not under the control of his next whim and that's without any issues that might arise subsequent to a divorce and separation of assets etc.

I don't even begin to be a lawyer but something like a trust to own the business ?

I'm humiliated that the hundreds of people in our field who know us both and associate us as a blissfully married couple will now see I've been abandoned.

Those hundreds of people, if they are mentally adult, understand very well that the full dimensions of any relationship are routinely invisible to the outside world. If the external view of a relationship changes then that's only what happens in the real world from time to time - sadly. And, for what it's worth, you haven't been abandoned but you have suffered a significant misfortune which could occur to any of those hundreds of people.
posted by southof40 at 5:52 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine how mad you are at him, given that I am raging furious on your behalf just reading this question.

Is he living in your house to save money while he works on building this business? I can not see this turning out all that well. PLEASE go talk to a lawyer and then kick him out, because dragging this out is going to be very very tough on you, and that will be tough on the kids. His money should be going to CHILD SUPPORT and not SPIRITUAL RETREATS (if he can't cover both) and NO WAY should YOU be paying for said retreats. Lawyer up, figure out the money now, and let HIM worry about paying for these retreats.

I'm repulsed by the "soul family" he's cobbled together who are cheerleading him every step down the path of actual-family abandonment.

Not knowing any more details about this, I can really only speculate, but a friend of mine was recently in a situation similar to yours, with the big caveat that they didn't have kids. His wife joined what was essentially a cult. Once he realized that -- for whatever variety of reasons -- she would always choose this soul family over her actual family, they divorced and honestly, not having this crazy BS in his life turned out to be a huge relief in the long run. NO ONE blamed him for what happened. And I assure you, when anyone you know through business (or otherwise) finds out that your husband has gone haring off on a path of spiritual enlightenment that means abandoning his very small children, NONE of them will think less of YOU.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 5:53 PM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


You definitely need to get a lawyer and get him out ASAP. Being "spiritually awakened" doesn't give him license to abandon his legal and moral responsibilities to you and your children, nor does he get to sponge off you for free rent for 16 months while he gets to trot around the world to find himself. The idea that this 16 month arrangement is communal is a complete joke... please do not fall for that, because it is a sure path to anger and frustration for you and damage to your children.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:53 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, don't be so sure that anger won't serve your kids. If it motivates you to get what you need from him (money, legal control of the business, sole legal custody of your sons) and demonstrates to your sons that you are still emotionally invested in them and their feelings, that it is a big deal that Daddy is pulling this bullshit, and that it's Not Ok for him to do it and that it's also Ok for them to be angry, hurt, mad, upset, whatever negative emotions they go through, that will probably serve them better than to show them by your behavior that the "correct" response to someone pulling something like this is to repress their emotions and placate the asshole on the asshole's terms.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 5:55 PM on August 29, 2012 [34 favorites]


Ball's in your court here - you know what he wants to do and you know you can't trust what he says - he's not abandoning you, you're breaking up. End of story.

You're a businesswoman with two kids to think of. I would actually try to move things along ASAP. It means you can get on with your life and he can go off on his spiritual journey. I see too much potential drama from this arrangement - who knows what could happen with his new spiritual friends - take the bull by the horns and go to it.
posted by heyjude at 5:56 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


A couple of books that might help: "Getting to yes" and "The mind and heart if the negotiator". They were both required texts for my class on "negotiation and conflict management". The first is short and a quick read. The second is meatier.

Dissolving my marriage was a protacted matter. We had a verbal agreement to divorce for about a year before we filed and then it was about ten more months before he physically moved out. I moved to a differdnt rental the following month, in part to make a clean psychological break with my marriage and spend less time living with ghosts.

During the wait, I gradually separated his stuff from mine. He traveled a lot in business to take some of the stress off, which doesn't directly apply to your situation but perhaps you could apply the idea some other way.

Feel free to email me or memail me.

((((cyberhugs))))
posted by Michele in California at 5:56 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Er "Mind and heart OF the negotiator".

Sorry 'bout that.
posted by Michele in California at 5:59 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


His spiritual quest doesn't relieve him of his responsibility to pay child support. In the mean time, your children won't be helped by additional contact with a man who intends to abandon them.
posted by alms at 6:01 PM on August 29, 2012 [29 favorites]


He has created these kids with you and shares equal (or greater) liability for their well being with you until they are 18. You don't need to have him living in your house helping build your business with you. He is already violating your marriage contract. You need to get a good lawyer and hold him to account. Putting yourself through your 16-month torture plan will not be good for you, or the kids.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:07 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, nthing the idea that he doesn't get to set the rules for the next 16 months.

You should lawyer up, get the business wholly in your name and send him on his merry way sooner, rather than later. I would also advise him that you and your lawyer intend to ensure that his obligations to his children are taken care of well into the future and that you expect child support and alimony and will pursue it to every degree you can for the sake of your children.

I am so sorry you're going through this.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 6:10 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


He hasn't had a spiritual awakening. I know he is calling it that, but what he is having is an attack of extreme selfishness bolstered by spiritual bull shit.

I hope you take the money you agreed to give him for his spiritual retreats and spend it on therapy for yourself. He is abusive and you need help recognizing this about him, especially if you decide to stick with the idea that you will save money by continuing to live with him.

I hope for you and your kids that you can find another way to find some security because relying on him to help you create security is a bad idea. He is too selfish, immature and just plain full of shit to help in this area.
posted by cairnoflore at 6:11 PM on August 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hi j.o.g. -

I went through a crappy split (divorce) where my ex refused to leave the residence where the kids and I were staying until the divorce was final - like 6 months. Separate bedrooms, contrived civility, effort towards 'fixing our money', the whole deal you describe.

It was awful for us. The kids were confused (me too, often). It made grieving the marriage impossible to begin.

managing my emotions
You have to get him out of the house - and hopefully continue therapy even if you have to go less frequently.

making the best choices for my kids
You have to make the situation absolutely clear for them - no ambiguity - in age-appropriate language. They also need to know (in their bones) that you are their rock during this change.

surviving these 16 months
Lawyer up ASAP, file, and move along. My observation is that these dramatic and bizarre life situations tend to deteriorate fast - never plateauing or improving. Create a circle of trusted friends and advisors who will get your back (confidants, therapist, div atty, bus atty, etc) and then LET THEM HELP.

You will survive. I'm betting you'll find deep untapped strength and resources within yourself, too.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:11 PM on August 29, 2012 [23 favorites]


I'd rather begin the process of healing STARTING TOMORROW than spend the next 16 months suffering.

Some people take off the band-aid slowly because the thought of ripping it off hurts too much. I say rip it off and get the pain over with.
posted by matty at 6:12 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


One may wish to let go of attachments, but when the attachments are children, the state takes a rather contrary view of this as a reasonable route.

Relationships fall apart, whether for spiritual reasons or otherwise. Your's and his rights and responsibilities are likely governed by the law of the state you live in, and more importantly the rights of your (that's the plural your) children will most likely be spelled out too.

Should husband wish to abdicate, and that is something that the two of you can negotiate to a degree, then he likely will have to put in a defined and repeating amount to cover his side of child care, as he will not be putting his time into it.

It could be that the time he's putting in to your business is enough to satisfy the state's interest in your children's wellbeing, or it could be that it is far short of what he needs to do.

What I'm saying, in a too-long way, is it sounds like you and he would be well served by discussing your plan with a divorce mediator at the very least, to see whether everyone's interests (yours, his, and most importantly the children's) are served. Should he not be willing to do so, or should you not be able to find a mediator, this is an excellent time to talk to a lawyer, not necessarily to bring the wrath of god down upon your soon to be ex (though that's an option) but to understand what everyone's responsibilities are.

On the shared space thing, my ex and I did this for a while, and while we were quite amicable considering, we both felt much, much better when we finally had our own places.

So I would suggest that, even though you may be terrified of the financial implications, you consider whether your mental well being and healing is worth more than whatever you may be saving together by sharing a roof.

Good luck with all of this.
posted by zippy at 6:12 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. He signs the business over NOW. He can get a paycheck or payout in installments that equals a paycheck, but the legal aspect needs to be sorted now, not in 16 months, as I very much doubt his self-centered philosophy will make that written agreement worth jack as it applies to the future and his responsibilities.
2. Any joint funds get sorted out NOW, meaning what's yours goes into a you-only bank account.
3. AFTER #1 and #2 are done, he leaves the house. His "soul family" will take him in. Don't bring this up until the financial arrangements are signed and binding. He doesn't get a choice. His "soul family" will take him in or not, but it's his path to follow and you and your children need to start working out your own path.
4. As of that moment, you start working out your life as a single parent. If he actually attends to his responsibilities to you and your kids and business in that time, bonus. If not, well, plenty of single moms have found themselves in this position and have found the strength and means to make it happen. The feeling you get when you make it on your own, with nothing due to the asshat who left you and your kids on your own, is AMAZING. You will find strength and self-sufficiency you never knew you had. You will be awesome.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:14 PM on August 29, 2012 [36 favorites]


Has he seen a doctor? Is it possible he's suffering from some sort of mental illness?
posted by easy, lucky, free at 6:14 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you haven't done so already, open up a separate savings and/or checking account that he has no access to, and start putting money into that.

I could see him draining any joint accounts you two have, either out of revenge or because of his spiritual 'quest'.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:14 PM on August 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


Has he seen a doctor? Is it possible he's suffering from some sort of mental illness?

Mid-life crisis imo. Symptoms usually manifest as ferraris and pathetic sex with college girls, but the spiritual path to enlightening oneself of one's family is not unknown.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


This man is a coward and I am so sorry that you have to go through this. My own father behaved in a similar way when I was young -- ultimately he moved abroad to avoid being pinned down financially -- and to this day still doesn't accept responsibility for the pain he put my sister and I through.

Please, please protect yourself and your kids. Please be selfish, for their sake and for yours. Please don't let shame keep you from doing what you need to to be okay, emotionally and financially. Please don't put yourself in a situation where it's easy for him to shrug off further responsibilities. I agree with everyone telling you to get a lawyer and get him out of your house.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:17 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


On review, after reading the cult-ish bullcrap he's spouting ... lawyer has a come to jesus talk with him re his 'quest' and eff yeah you have every right to be angry that he's abandoning your kids.

Props to him for working towards your financial well-being, but that's his job by law as a parent even if you're divorced.

You'll have to do some financial and emotional calculation on the worth of him doing his forty-hours or whatever vs your sanity. I'd say though, if you are drawing a salary, you should file for a separation ASAP so that any income you earn between now and the final reckoning remain yours. And you should not "co-mingle" any assets you earn between now and then - you should put new assets into an account that is yours and only yours.
posted by zippy at 6:22 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to read that you've started the process of looking for a lawyer. But I would urge you to make that an immediate priority, in order to make sure that you are taking whatever steps are needed (legally) to make sure that the rights and needs of your children and yourself are fully protected. That needs to happen tomorrow, not months from now, to make sure that you are not a day late/dollar short later.
posted by Forktine at 6:23 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


In the situations I have known where the marriage was already over but the couple continued living together until some official "end date", the arrangement took a terrible toll on the partner who hadn't chosen to end the marriage. It just prolongs the agony. For your own sake, for the sake of your kids, look for a way to get your husband out of your home as soon as possible. Definitely get a lawyer who is only your lawyer and not your husband's. Continue therapy if at all possible. If you have family, friends and neighbours who are able and willing to help you in any way, take the help.

Don't feel ashamed. You aren't the one who broke your vows. And honey, I've had experience with guys who used lofty, self-justifying bullshit to excuse their shitty behaviour (i.e., "I have to be true to myself", etc.), and the only thing to do is kick those guys to the curb as soon as possible. They don't care about anyone but themselves, so don't play their game by their rules. Make it your first priority to safeguard your own interests and your children's interests as best you can.
posted by orange swan at 6:23 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Get a lawyer immediately, as in yesterday immediately. Don't agree to anything; you're especially vulnerable right now. All bets are off until you lawyer up and gain some composure.

I'm humiliated that the hundreds of people in our field who know us both and associate us as a blissfully married couple will now see I've been abandoned.
Small wonder, considering the magnitude of his betrayal. Always remember that your behavior did not dissolve your marriage; he's the one abandoning his spouse and children, fleeing behind a smokescreen of self-indulgent 'spiritual' crapola. When the wagons arrive, they will circle around you.

Don't give an inch.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:23 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


there is only the present, and future promises do not exist

Someone who claims to believe that isn't particulalry likely to stick to his agreement over the next 18 months. You are willing to trade your continued misery for his promise to help make you more financially stable, but he's already shown that he can't be trusted. Please reconsider this arrangement.

Please get a lawyer as soon as possible. You need someone agressive who can help you protect yourself and your children.

If you can't afford further counseling, please look into support groups.
posted by Area Man at 6:25 PM on August 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Please, please! follow L'Estrange Fruit's advice!!!

Lawyer up. Put all the money you can into an account he CANNOT access. Believe me, if you don't he will. Get him the hell out of the house. Why would you let him drive you crazy? He can shack up with his soul family if he needs to save rent. I'd bet he'll find some little 'soul mate' faster than you can say bullshit. Why would you give him a dime for his 'retreats'? Is he going to finance little vacations for you?

If you persist in having him around mucking with the business, I guarantee he will screw you over or generally louse it up while crying that his 'spirituality' is being compromised by you/working/the kids/not being able to play guru, etc.

He will owe your kids child support. If he doesn't pay it, the state will nail his ass, especially if you hound dog on them.

He's on a spiritual path is nothing but laziness and selfishness.

DTMFA
posted by BlueHorse at 6:27 PM on August 29, 2012 [22 favorites]


Get the financial details nailed down NOW. You can't rely on his promises to turn the business over to you; it's clear that promises and commitments mean nothing to him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:29 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree with everyone who says that you need to get a lawyer and get started with life post-him. I wish you luck and happiness, and that can't get started while he's still calling the shots.
I'd also like to concur with the idea that he might be in the grip of some form of mental illness. I knew a guy once who pulled the same kind of bs move. He found out later, after having broken his wife's heart and cut himself off from his kids, that he had a massive, inoperable brain tumor that was messing with his ability to feel empathy or emotions. Treatment for his condition required him to do a major walkback with his ex and with his kids.
posted by pickypicky at 6:30 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're choosing this path for the good of your children, please reconsider. The details of my parent's split were different, but the process was similar. My dad lived in the house for some time after they had decided to divorce, with the thought that it would be better financially for my brother and me.

Then a big, awful thing happened that involved my dad violating a whole lot of promises -- and my mom kicked him out for good. It was the best thing that ever happened to me -- I was 12 at the time. The tension in our house lifted. My mom was more fun to be around. I stopped beating up my brother (I think subconsciously I was taking my stress out on him). My grades got better. It was hard financially, but my mom had full control of her finances and could plan and manage things without my dad messing things up by spending money on random luxury goods we couldn't afford. It opened the way for my mom to move on and be happy, which meant my brother and I had the chance to see what normal, adult happiness looks like -- not weird pretend happiness.

I am in no way joking or exaggerating when I say it was the best thing that ever happened to me. And it might be for your little boys too -- you are their real parent, and your state of mind and quality of life spills over onto them in ways you can't imagine.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:36 PM on August 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


also, child support AND alimony.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:37 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lawyer up. Put all the money you can into an account he CANNOT access. Believe me, if you don't he will.

Strongly suggest not doing this before talking to that lawyer, which you are going to do tomorrow.
posted by zippy at 6:39 PM on August 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


President Obama was abandoned by his father at the same age as your youngest child. And he grew up to become a historical President of the United States. He then dedicated one of his books to the memory and thoughts of his father. The same father who abandoned him and his young mother.

Be careful of what you say to your children about their father, not to diminish the gravity of his abandonment. Children can never truly separate from their parents, and the future may find them united.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:49 PM on August 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


"there is only the present, and future promises do not exist"

This is only true if you allow it to be. He will have to work to pay your alimony and child support. Also, please consult an attorney before you make any moves with the business - and make sure he is pulling his weight in regards to that. If you out-perform him, he may try to say that YOU were the one maintaining his lifestyle. You wouldn't really want to pay him alimony, after all.
posted by brownrd at 6:50 PM on August 29, 2012


"I know this is unkind, but I am repulsed by the language he uses "

I don't think that's unkind. I'm repulsed by it too. He is using language that is intended to sound "spiritually advanced", nuanced and above all, self-aware, to communicate his deeply harmful intensions. It's awful when people superficially mimic the wise in order to cause suffering for others, which is exactly what he's doing.

I am so, so sorry.
posted by Cygnet at 7:03 PM on August 29, 2012 [28 favorites]


I agree with all of the above, begin living separately as soon as possible. My ex and I lived together for a time after separation, and the anxiety it caused took a large toll on my health.

Your kids will need you as strong and functional for their sake. If he's serious about "there is only the present" I would be highly suspect of his 16 month plan and instead cut him loose as soon as your lawyer advises you of the best path.
posted by skittlekicks at 7:06 PM on August 29, 2012


Talk to a divorce lawyer right away. Get him out of the house as fast as possible. His presence is absolutely toxic.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:13 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the same husband whose dad was a crack addict and whose mom was an enabler?, and whose brother is a felon -potentially violent burglar?, yes?

Some people are damaged beyond help by their environment. I have no idea if this is the case with your soon-to-be-ex-husband, but I would ask you bear it in mind in this sea of (justifiable!) vitriol.
posted by lalochezia at 7:18 PM on August 29, 2012 [9 favorites]


I agree with all of the above. I was only stuck living with an ex who wouldn't leave after breaking up with me for for 4 months after the relationship was over, there were no kids, and it was horrid. Lawyer up, look after yourself, don't trust the bastard with your business, and get him or you and the kids out of there. This is an awful thing to do to you, and you have every right to be white-hot furious about it. If he is involved in some sort of cult (and that "soul family" bullshit sends out all sorts of alarms), you don't want to risk your business or assets. This is a very bad situation, and letting it continue, especially for another 16 months, will not improve things at all.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:22 PM on August 29, 2012


Absolutely do not put up with this travesty of a man -- your children will thank you for setting a good example. I am so sorry.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:22 PM on August 29, 2012


Agreed with almost 100% of the advice above- abandon this 16 month plan, lawyer up tomorrow, etc.
In the meantime, realize that beginning right this moment you are entering an interim period where you are getting ducks in a row for you and your children and your husband has put himself in a position adversarial to your long term survival. Until you have a new game plan and counsel from a lawyer, THIS PLAN SHOULD NOT BE SOMETHING DISCUSSED WITH YOUR HUSBAND UNTIL IT IS IN PLACE. DO NOT give him any reason to drain your bank account, hurt the business, do something silly with your children, etc.
You will likely experience some moments of weakness since this is such a difficult situation, this is normal, but do everything in your power during this interim period to not show your cards until YOUR new plan is in place.
Avoid discussions of long-term plans with him for now. If he comes to you wanting to have those kind of discussions, just put him off as casually as you can. "You can do xxx for the kids right now." or "You can do xxx for the business tomorrow." Don't waste your time or open yourself up to additional difficulty by engaging him in extended discussions about these issues.

Also, please understand that you have no reason to feel humiliated. It's very unlikely that people will judge you harshly for his poor choices, and if they do, screw them! Just don't add additional stress to your life by worrying about what anyone thinks, especially since you've done nothing wrong here.

You might be having doubts about losing whatever financial benefit you're hoping to get from having him around for the next 16 months, but seriously, drop that line of thinking. Realistically, what amount of cash savings would make this misery worth it? And you also don't necessarily need to stress about buying a home. Unless you live in an area with a very depressed housing market and freakishly low home prices, there's no real reason you HAVE TO or SHOULD buy now. Renting honestly might give you a desirable flexibility for the next few years.
posted by FeralHat at 7:29 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just because a chorus can sometimes help, or at least make you feel less alone: He is not entitled to dictate these sorts of terms. He has a financial responsibility to his children, and possibly to you as his spouse and business partner, which courts can and will enforce upon him. Please lawyer up quickly to preserve and avail yourself of your rights and theirs.
posted by tyllwin at 7:51 PM on August 29, 2012


Thanks so much, all of you, for your responses so far. Just having a few folks on my side helps immeasurably. It's felt like me against an army of twistedly spiritual hypocrites for a while now, which has been really hard.

I don't think "cult" is quite accurate because they're not that organized. They meditate, they cheer for each other for severing "attachments," and navel gaze endlessly. Oh, and they sing and drum and post graphical quotes by Rumi and Krishnamurti and MLK to social media, all the while collecting "likes" from acquaintances who have no idea they are "liking" people who twist these quotes to justify abandoning children. (Can you sense the bitterness?)

The reason for the business arrangement is that my husband has some key skills that, without him, I'll have to pay exorbitantly for. Things like IT, graphic design, and use/troubleshooting of the equipment in our field. I have none of these. The plan was for him to spend the next 16 months helping our business to become more stable, to launch some important new ventures that will be a source of future income for me, and to create a formal "exit plan" for his part in the business -- a strategy for replacing him with less impact to the business.

He has said, and I believe this is true, that while he is willing to move out, the money he would have to spend on rent is less money to go into my "nest egg." Having him around isn't a joy because of all the emotions involved, but he is still caring for the kids (I've gotta say, I'm dreading doing it all by myself), caring for the house, and being somewhat accountable for the work time he's promised me. Were I to give him the immediate boot, all of these things would probably disappear, and he'd have an even easier time shirking his responsibilities.

So, yeah, it's pretty much a fucking mess, any way you put it.
posted by justonegirl at 8:00 PM on August 29, 2012


Whatever you decide, you need to find some in person emotional support you can vent to, ideally one that will also help you plan when you're ready to do that. A girlfriend, a clergy person, a distress centre volunteer, a women's centre.

Before you quit, ask your therapist what free resources might exist in your community.

I mainline Protestant church like United Church of Christ might have a counsellor you could speak with for minimal cost or proselytizing.

A social worker might also be able to help - both with a friendly ear and other resources.

Fierce hugs.

You can get through this, and so will your kids.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:05 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


This group is organized enough to get its members to default on their most important commitments, which meets my definition of a "cult".

The forums at RickRoss.com might be a place to read other people's stories of similar experiences, even if you're not inclined to share your own.

Best of luck to you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:20 PM on August 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


Things like IT, graphic design, and use/troubleshooting of the equipment in our field.

These are all skills that many, many MeFites are highly accomplished in, can largely be conducted over the internet (or phone, or VOIP). I bet that a lot of people here would be willing to help you out for a while, until things settled down with your husband. I know I would.

He has said, and I believe this is true, that while he is willing to move out, the money he would have to spend on rent is less money to go into my "nest egg."

So? A few hundred dollars, even a few thousand dollars, is not worth subjecting you and your children to any more of this crap. Also: to hell with what he says, what he thinks his financial obligations are probably have no real bearing on what his financial obligations will actually turn out to be, once you go up in front of a judge and this gets settled. He's probably just using that as an excuse, anyway.

Having him around isn't a joy because of all the emotions involved, but he is still caring for the kids (I've gotta say, I'm dreading doing it all by myself), caring for the house, and being somewhat accountable for the work time he's promised me.

Tell him he can practice his non-attachment by living out of a car/homeless shelter and spending all his money on childcare for you. That might actually shape his ass right the hell up and get him over this crazy spiritual garbage, although even if it does, I wouldn't trust him not to flake out in some other way later on down the road.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 8:28 PM on August 29, 2012 [24 favorites]


Think about what you can do to make a living that doesn't rely on your husband. You are invested in the idea of having this business which in turn keeps you tied to this jerk. What are your skills? You say you'd have to pay a bunch to replace him--how does that change in a year? Go work for someone for a while and if you want your own business then create one that plays on your strengths.

Lawyer up. Make a clean break. Think outside the box you are in and do what is best for you and your kids.
posted by agatha_magatha at 8:32 PM on August 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yup, I mentioned the hypocrisy of it to him and he claimed that while he deeply loves his "soul family" (only two of whom he's known longer than 2 months) he's "no more attached" to them than he is to me and our children. His soul family could disappear tomorrow, he says. It's ridiculous, and it certainly feels like he's attached to them.

Oh, and because I wasn't clear, the money he's taking from us is a $500 monthly stipend to be used as he pleases, to include any costs associated with the quarterly 3-day retreats that he built into our agreement. He's not using our joint money for things other than regular household expenses.

And, FWIW, he stated that he wants to "stay our kids' dad." What that means, I'm not sure, as he has this whole not-attached-to-anyone thing, has plainly told me that he would choose his "path" over seeing our children if forced to decide, and he also feels caused to start some massive world-changing social movement which he believes has the possibility of ending for him the way it ended for the last major social movement starter he identified: Martin Luther King.

It keeps getting better, doesn't it?
posted by justonegirl at 8:37 PM on August 29, 2012


Are you guys still running the djing business discussed in older questions?

If so, is it possible for you to sell off the equipment and get a 9-5 job and put 2-year-old in daycare rather than trying to 'fix' the business?
posted by k8t at 8:40 PM on August 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


And while you've mentioned before that you don't get along so well with your mother, situations like these are why we have family. Could you Hypothetically move in with your folks, a sibling, or something for awhile while you get on your feet?
posted by k8t at 8:43 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


You need a lawyer to be involved in the business side as well as one for the child support (not optional) side.

And I would second the idea of possibly trying to get him a medical/psychiatric exam if you have any way to do that.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:46 PM on August 29, 2012


I agree with all the advice, and wanted to throw out a suggestion from a different angle.

You mention that his new religion is a mix of eastern religion and newer stuff. Have you discussed this situation with a mainstream Hindu or Buddhist priest? Both of those religions attempt to practice non-attachment, and yet still value family bonds. Perhaps you could find someone who could talk some sense into your husband using "his language"?

Not that you necessarily want to preserve the marriage at this point, but even just to help your children and they near this minefield.
posted by visual mechanic at 8:53 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, the business is the same one. Unfortunately we don't have a ton of equipment to sell -- our team is all subcontractors who own their gear. We have close to 20 people working for us, and around 400 clients we have binding contracts with. It may not make sense from the outside (very little of it makes sense from the inside!) but I want to keep the business -- I've led it successfully for almost a year now, I'm actually good at it, and it seems like potentially a very lucrative source of income for myself and the kids going forward, once my husband is phased out in a sensible way.

Also, my mom has been very supportive and has offered her home to us. I will absolutely take her up on that if absolutely necessary. However, for reasons both logistical (1.5 hours away from my office, my special needs 5-year-old having to leave the brand-new kindergarten he adores, my 2-year-old having to leave his great preschool) and psychological (we don't get along all that well, and the house has some demons for me), it doesn't seem like a good alternative except to, well, the street.
posted by justonegirl at 8:54 PM on August 29, 2012


Either way, you're going to have to make it on your own after he's gone. So treat this like he's gone already. Yes, it will be rocky, but right now, he's trying to be irresponsible while maintaining the veneer of responsibility. Get a lawyer. Get him out of your business. Pay what you need to pay in order to get the business running without him.

Get this man out of your life, because I can pretty much guarantee that he's not going to keep up with this agreement the way he says he will, and letting him walk all over you in some weird, mixed-up attempt to look like the good guy will just hurt you more in the long run.
posted by xingcat at 9:02 PM on August 29, 2012


You need to be telling these things to a lawyer, not to us. The whole "yes I know he is completely untrustworthy and is screwing us over, and it's not that I trust him but unless I put him in a position where he can potentially take everything, I'll definitely be left with nothing" - is the kind of thought construct people often get into when they're being ripped off by someone with whom they have an ongoing relationship of trust.

It's exactly the kind of thing a lawyer can help you with. Please please go find one now, immediately. Don't wait. For the record, it is possible that you could be right and that he is. Not completely useless and that he won't further abuse the trust you have extended to him. However you proceed, though, you need to do it with the protection of the law, not just his word of honour. And a signed agreement is only likely to be as good as the characters of all the signatories.
posted by tel3path at 9:03 PM on August 29, 2012 [27 favorites]


Everyone is rightly saying get a lawyer, for both the family law and business law side, but I want to explain to you why you need one: your husband sees that it's a "potentially a very lucrative source of income." But he hasn't been materially participating in the business for a year, so if you dissolve your marriage now and you buy out his half of the business (or however your business entity needs to be restructured), he wouldn't get much of a payout. If he participates in the business over the next year and a half, he builds up equity in the business that he's entitled to. He is looking out for his own nest egg, not his children's! His sudden interest in the business probably has very little to do with looking out for you and the kids, and everything to do with protecting himself financially.

This agreement you guys have come to? I bet you $20 that if you showed it to a lawyer they would tell you it's not worth the paper it's printed on. Not just because lawyers can help people weasel out of deals -- it's that contracts can't circumnavigate the law, which may entitle him to a big chunk of the business (or the house you intend to buy). Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer!!!

You can hire IT and graphic design people - you sound savvy, you know those are tax-deductible business expenses. You don't need to stay in a shitty, unhealthy, abusive living situation to build up the business. You don't. You don't need this shit in your life, your kids don't need it.

I hope I don't sound excessively harsh. I don't blame you, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. You need to take care of yourself and your kids. Lawyer up. Let your friends know what's going on -- you need the emotional support. Find a therapist you like. Cultivate your own happiness. Enjoy your children. You are so much better than this, and all your family, friends, and colleagues will see it.
posted by stowaway at 9:06 PM on August 29, 2012 [55 favorites]


As he is a business partner can you take out life insurance (and pay the premiums so you are the beneficiary) in case he does or involved in something crazy?
posted by saradarlin at 9:20 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I came in here to stay what stowaway said. I feel like not enough people have said this plainly to you. Your husband is not looking out for you and your kids. He is setting himself up to succeed financially by SCREWING OVER you and your kids. Right now, he is unemployed and has no resources. YOU have a lucrative business that can support a household of four and allows you to purchase a home on one income. His proposal is to take $500 per month out of the business while reasserting his claim over it in preparation for making it a lucrative income stream in the future at the DIRECT EXPENSE of your children. He is going to end your marriage, live in your home rent-free and take a $500 paycheck each month? And then make an argument for equity in that business when you divorce in 16 months? All for the sake of skills whose value he is inflating (remember, the business has survived withiut ONE DAY of work from him for the past TEN MONTHS)? NO. NO. You need to consult an attorney TOMORROW to begin the legal process that will get your husband's responsibility to his children codified in a legal divorce agreement. He doesn't believe in future promises? Well, the law does, aand it is not going to care about his spiritual awakening, but- how convienient for him- he's convinced you not to use the obvious legal remedy available to you! Shit, I could be wrong and you could owe this joker alimony but if you don't you need him OUT of your house and coming up with HIS OWN MONEY that he PAYS TO YOU in child support. He gets everything in this arrangement, you and your children get nothing, and he's convinced you that this is the only way for you to get anything. HE IS LYING TO YOU. Please, please, please, go to an attorney, tell them what is happening, ask them how to protect yourself and your interests and your precious children and then FOLLOW THEIR EXPERT ADVICE. Please. PLEASE.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:55 PM on August 29, 2012 [76 favorites]


Do NOT buy a house right now - that is a recipe for mortgage default and foreclosure!

Get a lawyer. A good one. Follow their advice. To the letter.

You have children. You're in shock. You are not thinking clearly right now.


This guy is already gone, and you're not behaving appropriately under this very dire current circumstance. He's gone. You can't trust him, therefore he's already checked out. Let him go.

ALSO

Having someone involved in your business who is actively working against you WILL tank your business and destroy your income. Ask me how I know:(

If you cut bait with him (via your lawyer) in 16 months your business will likely have recovered. If you keep him around for 16 months, likely your business will fail within 6 months. Get it?

Lawyer. Get rid of this man in business and otherwise.

Good luck to you.
posted by jbenben at 9:59 PM on August 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


You should get a lawyer, and you should look into getting a line of credit or a small business loan. With a history of success and contracts already in place, you are a good bet for an investor or a bank.

I have a book called The Women's Small Business Start-up Kit, and it might not be detailed enough, but it goes through a lot of the basics of writing a business plan and getting credit. If you need to pay an IT guy, but you know you'll be making enough money to cover it in the future, a loan is exactly what you need. You don't need to be paying this guy $500 a month (!) to do this. You could pay an IT guy $500 and you'd probably be better off.

I know it's hard to separate your children from their father. I know that. It is like having a part of your heart ripped away; it is a tragedy. But don't let your desire to have a father for your children cloud your long-term planning.

Good luck. We're rooting for you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:08 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't let your husband's "skills" get in the way of getting him out of your life. He's not the only person who knows how to make websites or do IT or fix DJ equipment.

Your subcontractors (who want you to keep getting them gigs!) may have some of the skills that your husband is providing use them instead. Your subs have a vested interest in keeping the business going so I"m sure they would be willing to cut you a deal on updating the website or fixing equipment etc. and if they don't, maybe their spouse, cousin, roommate or neighbor has these skills.
posted by vespabelle at 10:26 PM on August 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


No one remotely worthwhile as a human being, who has so much of a shred of empathy or decency, will blame you for this.

This. So get a lawyer, focus on getting the financial (including child support) issues settled straight away, and on getting him removed from your home (because frankly it can't be good for your five-year-old to have to watch his dad for another year or more knowing he's going to leave, and not telling him for over a year is not so great either, so better to just do it and get it over with.)

Then you can spend the next year or more of your life collecting the money from him that the law demands, and focusing on getting your own life to a sustainable place. Sorry you were with an ass -- not to be uncharitable, but soul family my ass -- and if this is the kind of guy he is, then you and the kids are going to have a much better life without him, no matter how much you're hurting and angry right now.

meanwhile, on the cult thing...do you know the name of the organization his "soul family" belong to? it would be interesting if you shared the organization's name, and someone else here knew it was a cult that specialized in encouraging people to do this sort of thing, ultimately to the cult's financial benefit.
posted by davejay at 10:30 PM on August 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh yeah, and vespabelle's right on the money, there: the sooner you get him out of the business, the sooner you can start having your subcontractors handle those aspects of the work that he used to. More expensive? Sure, but he doesn't take a cut, so it all evens out.
posted by davejay at 10:31 PM on August 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


check your memail.
posted by KathrynT at 11:23 PM on August 29, 2012


I know you said he was nearing a nervous breakdown, but are you quite certain he's not currently suffering from a mental illness? This behavior is so strange and you seem like you were blindsided. He's only known these people two months?! I would get this guy to a psychiatrist or even get him an MRI.
posted by Lieber Frau at 11:32 PM on August 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


they cheer for each other for severing "attachments,

This is very cult-like behaviour. If his 'soul family' are aware of the business and that it is potentially lucrative then I would imagine they would be very interested in him.

The people who work for you or your clients may be able to recommend to you people to hire to replace your husband's skills - the money you put into moving away from him would be a lot less than you stand to lose overall from this arrangement.
posted by heyjude at 1:34 AM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


Lawyer, stat. These things ESPECIALLY stand out as something that any family lawyer worth their salt would set right:
- my resources for self-care are pretty low, since I am scraping together every penny in an effort to try to buy some kind of home (we rent a place now) to give my kids, one of whom has special needs, some stability.
- the money he's taking from us is a $500 monthly stipend to be used as he pleases

I mean that stipend sounds an AWFUL lot like a worldly attachment he should be freeing himself from. (Sorry. Coudn't help the snark.)

I'm at the office and still said a worried "no!" out loud when I read that your counseling might stop – you also need a professional on your side for the emotional wringer you're being put through. It will help keep things in perspective, and that can be priceless. Do try to work out something like a sliding scale.

all the while collecting "likes" from acquaintances who have no idea they are "liking" people who twist these quotes to justify abandoning children. (Can you sense the bitterness?)

I know a couple of men like this. If it helps to hear, I have called them out on their empathy-less bullshit a few times. It does come through; others can see it. Next time your heart sinks at all the "likes" his puer aeternus fwoo-fwoo is getting, look at how many of your mutual friends have (hopefully) not liked it.

Nthing those who have said that the technical side may be much less of a cost than your husband has led you to believe, and that contacting people in your network may bring some great leads.
posted by fraula at 1:40 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


You cannot trust this man. Say this over and over and then stop doing it. Get a lawyer NOW. Do not tell him. Please do this. He will destroy your life in a way that will make your current situation look like the good times.
posted by whoaali at 4:07 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree with jbenben, this is not the time to sink your available cash into buying a home. Your kids are very small, they will not understand the difference between renting and owning.
posted by crankylex at 4:17 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know this is unkind, but I am repulsed by the language he uses

Just wanted to pop back in and say that is okay to feel repulsed and disgusted by his religion and his "spiritual" language. Don't feel guilty about your feelings. Really, it sounds like his religion is just selfishness dressed up with fancy words.
posted by Area Man at 4:52 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


He gets $500/month to take care of his spiritual needs, but what about you? You signed p for a life where you raised kids and ran a business with a partner and now you've lost that. That's scary and stressful. I know you mentioned that you want to use your resources for a future home, but you need to take care of yourself too. You are already the person who runs the business that keeps your family going and you are about to be the primary parent to two children. You need to be healthy to do these things successfully so please talk to a therapist.

And I agree with most everyone who says talk to a lawyer. Talking to a lawyer isn't ending things right away but it's a smart idea to speak to someone with knowledge to advise you of the timing of these events. A lawyer can tell you if owning a home is a good idea heading into a divorce. A lawyer can tell you if or when you want the business signed over to you. A lawyer can tell you when you file, when you ask him to leave, if you or him should draw a salary. You need a lawyer.

Your husband is looking out for himself. You need to look out for you.
posted by GilvearSt at 5:01 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


My first thought reading this is he is making an exit plan for himself. He feels like he doesn't have to feel guilty about this because of his "religion". That is bullshit.

he feels like he can just use you and all this time in order to build up his own resources so that when he leaves you he's not left with nothing. That is absolutely insane selfish uncaring and completely attached regardless of what he says. If he really wanted to be unattached from everything and he would be so caring as to leave you now and not put everyone through this emotional turmoil. he would just sign everything over to you right now but he only cares about himself not you and the kids.

Please make sure that you get your own assets, like a separate bank account, asap and that you consult a lawyer today about making sure that you were not financially screwed by any of this. It will not take very long to get the account set up. You dont have to explain anything at the bank.

And make sure that you do NOT tell him about any of these plans that you are making. Because believe me, he is making plenty of plans that he is not telling you about.
posted by sio42 at 5:24 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would also advise him that you and your lawyer intend to ensure that his obligations to his children are taken care of well into the future and that you expect child support and alimony and will pursue it to every degree you can for the sake of your children.

I agree with this course of action, except for the part about "advise him". As good as it would feel to tell him, you would only be giving him advance notice so he can plan accordingly. Instead, I would advise not telling him anything - just do it. Keep all your plans and strategy to yourself.

This isn't a team effort between you and him, this is a war. Don't tell your enemy what your plans are.

Good luck to you. This is a shitty situation and your husband is behaving like a spoiled teenager. You will emerge from this stronger than ever, and will be able to look back and be very proud of what you've accomplished. And your kids will benefit immensely from having such a strong, independent mother.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:34 AM on August 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


justonegirl: Sorry if this has been asked and I missed it, but where do you live? I am not an IT person myself, but several of my closest friends are. If you are relatively local to us, I am certain that they can help you set up some self-perpetuating, Luddite-proof computer stuff that you can maintain yourself. They are very good at this, and have done it for my dumb ass on and off for 10 years.

Also: Screw this guy. For everything he tells you, presume there are a hundred hidden lies beneath. You are obviously a very smart, thoughtful person. Use those smarts to get with the lawyer YESTERDAY and get to work evicting him from your lives.
posted by Coatlicue at 5:34 AM on August 30, 2012 [9 favorites]


I feel for you! There's lots of good advice here and I agree that you need a lawyer and you need to get this asshole out of your life as soon as possible. Don't buy a house until you are divorced, it will just make everything more complicated. Set aside any money you've saved for a down-payment, give it to your mother to hold for you or something.

Do not count on ever getting much child support: if he's not working they won't make him pay, and if his income is real low the child support will be based on a percentage of that so you could end up getting a tiny bit a month. The courts cannot force him to take a lucrative job. I've been there.
posted by mareli at 5:44 AM on August 30, 2012


I'm worried that, in a few weeks or months, he might have another "revelation" and consider prolonging his stay.

What then? Would you sustain him indefinitely? My parents had a long, drawn-out divorce and it was traumatic for everyone involved. Don't let this happen to you.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:45 AM on August 30, 2012


Thanks so very much, everyone. I'm in Maryland, if that makes a difference. I'm getting ready to start calling lawyers now.
posted by justonegirl at 5:50 AM on August 30, 2012 [26 favorites]


Yes, Call a lawyer. Protect yourself, your children and your business.

Stop buying a house.
posted by French Fry at 6:06 AM on August 30, 2012


Don't buy a house now; as others say, that's really, really risky.

Toss his ass out now, and get an interim financial child support settlement in place. Any rent he'd need to pay somewhere else is his problem, NOT YOURS (and yeah, he can move in with his'soul mates'). That $500 'stipend' he gets to spend on his retreats? He can damn well spend THAT on his rent.

Alternatively, tell him that you and each of your sons ALSO get 'stipends', in equal amounts to what he's taking.....
posted by easily confused at 6:35 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


This sounds so bizzare, I am so sorry you have to deal with this.

Nthing, get a lawyer, one who does both family and businss law, since your marriage and business are intertwined.

Separate your money NOW! Cancel any joint credit cards, and re-establish your own, separate credit.

Buying a house now is not a good idea. A rental can be just as stabile, and you don't need the financial headaches a house can offer (unexpected repairs, tax increases, maintenance, insurance, etc.) It's cheaper and easier to rent and you don't need any more on your plate right now.

String your husband along until he signs all of the business over to you. Then drop him and kick him out of the house.

The most important thing here is not to let this loon call the shots. YOU are in charge, YOU decide and YOU are the strong one.

Stop dancing to this guy's tune. Make him dance to yours.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:46 AM on August 30, 2012 [6 favorites]


Remember and hold on to those feelings of anger and betrayal for a little while yet and use that to be strong and NOT tell him about ANY plans you are making. Do not let any little guilty feeling sway you from that. He will use it against you.

I am so glad you are calling lawyers. This situation is exactly why they are there.
posted by sio42 at 6:56 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad you're calling a lawyer.

I'd also like to suggest that, in these drawn-out things, there are almost always further revelations. You'll be living with your soon to be ex and then some piece of perfidy will emerge that makes you think WHY did I accept this setup? It's early days yet; you are almost certainly not in possession of the complete picture.
posted by BibiRose at 7:15 AM on August 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


You have repeatedly referenced your written agreement. Unless this agreement is a legally binding contract, "there is only the present, and future promises do not exist" makes any agreement with him completely worthless. Even if it is legally binding, there is no reason to believe he will live up to his end without being forced to by lawyers and judges and serious consequences. Written promises are still promises, and he does not believe in promises. Worthless.

You have three issues to deal with and the answer is the same to all three:
1. Financial stability/taking over the business
2. Your own emotional welfare
3. Your kids' welfare

Answer: You have no reason to believe he will keep his promise. Do whatever it takes to protect your [your kids'] interests without him. Yes, getting him out now will be difficult and painful, but delaying will not make it easier and puts you [your kids] at substantial risk for even more difficulty and pain at the end of 16 months or whenever he changes his mind again.

Thank goodness you are talking to lawyers. The next step is to accept that this man can no longer be trusted to honor his agreements and figure out a way to move on. Now. Not in a year or two. Now.
posted by Dojie at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


A lawyer is a must, for reasons others have mentioned.

If he wants to abandon his family, there's nothing you can do to stop it. However, you don't have to make it easy on him. Make sure your lawyer arranges it so that you have full custody of the children, and he cannot just show up whenever he wants. Do this NOW! The whole situation will be much more difficult at the end of next year than it will be if you do it now.

Don't buy a house, please please please. Renting is cheaper in so many different ways, and there's no way to get your money back easily if you need it when you buy a house. If you want stability for your kids, than rent a place that you can truly afford, without struggling for money every month. This will put you in a much more stable situation than if you purchase a house and have to scrape by every month just to pay the bills.

Your first priority should be to get the father out of the situation if you can. Things will only be worse if you let this hang over you for the next year, and your children spend another year thinking that Daddy will always be there. They are not old enough to be able to understand and process what is going on. The best thing to do is to get this situation dealt with ASAP, which will be hard, but will make things much easier on your children.
posted by markblasco at 8:04 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't have much to add (everyone has already suggested a Lawyer, etc.) but just wanted to say that I'm so sorry you're going through this.

Regarding the "skills" that your husband has that seems to be keeping you in this 'deal'? Yeah, I know it's 2012 and all, but being the business owner that you are, can you use your clients to connect with folks who would be able to provide these services to you at a discount or in exchange for free goods/services from your business? Bartering can be a very useful tool in this situation.

What about your employees? Are any of them interested in or studying graphic design, etc.? What about challenging one of them to help you with this stuff (even if they are not a licensed/practicing graphic designer?) It could help grow internal skills, boost employee loyalty and how awesome would it be to have a logo/whatever for your business designed by one of your employees?

Please don't let your husband further mess up your life. Do it for yourself and your kids.
posted by floweredfish at 8:49 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


IANAL.

Please, please, please check the statute in Maryland regarding marital property and do this by getting a lawyer. It is entirely possible that whatever agreement you have drawn up is worthless in the event of divorce and distribution of shared marital property (whatever house you buy, for example, MAY be considered marital property). Do this now. Do this NOW.

There could be a chance that you'd end up paying your scumbag ex-husband alimony and still have to buy him out of "his" share of your new home or the business. I do not know how likely this scenario is, but I do know that matrimonial law varies from state to state and can be very, very hard to navigate.

Find a lawyer, protect yourself financially (for your stake in the business especially), start the divorce proceedings, and kick him out as soon as possible. Do not let this guy take up emotional and mental space in your life for another year and a half, do not watch him put equity into the business that he may be entitled to a share of later, do not let your kids live and love their daddy as if everything were not going to fall apart in 16 months. It's going to hurt more 16 months from now and it may put you in a bigger financial bind.
posted by lydhre at 9:02 AM on August 30, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, and PS - once you've consulted a lawyer, have all the necessary documentation in place to keep the business, child support settlement, not allowing for a stipend, etc. (e.g. once you have yourself covered) - get a restraining order. Seriously. When all of this is in place and said and done and the creep is getting kicked out, a restraining order is absolutely invaluable in this case. He could become a total loose cannon and/or enlist his "spiritual friends" or whatever to take revenge. It probably will not come to this, but I wouldn't trust him as far as you could throw him.
posted by floweredfish at 9:12 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


All for the sake of skills whose value he is inflating (remember, the business has survived withiut ONE DAY of work from him for the past TEN MONTHS)?

In bold, highlighted, exclamation points, EXCELLENT POINT.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:28 AM on August 30, 2012 [19 favorites]


Ok, I'm not saying he's NOT an absolute shitbag - he is. But a few things you said raised a flag or two for me about whether he could be manic or psychotic. In fact, manic seems highly likely. Primarily the grandiose idea that he's so important and influential that he's possibly a candidate for assassination. I've heard that on psych wards before. Read over symptoms of mania - any other things ringing bells? Grandiosity and hyper religiosity for sure, but only you can say if you've seen signs of this in the past. What you describe may be a severe manifestation of bipolar disorder. Any idea if there's a history of that in his family?
posted by namesarehard at 9:39 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm humiliated that the hundreds of people in our field who know us both and associate us as a blissfully married couple will now see I've been abandoned [BY A COMPLETE NARCISSISTIC ASSHOLE]

Fixed that for you. See, there's nothing for you to be humiliated about; he's the one who should be humiliated. You're aces.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:46 AM on August 30, 2012 [8 favorites]


IANAP.

If he were having a psychotic break, I doubt that he'd also be taking the trouble to carefully plan a case for his future entitlement to your assets while misrepresenting this as a way to benefit you. This sounds like plain old, ruthless conniving.

Sometimes, ruthless connivers want you to suspect that they're mentally ill so as to gain the benefit of your doubt.
posted by tel3path at 10:02 AM on August 30, 2012 [4 favorites]


vespabelle: "Don't let your husband's "skills" get in the way of getting him out of your life. He's not the only person who knows how to make websites or do IT or fix DJ equipment."

Damn skippy!

One cheap* way of getting these skills into your business is to contact a local community college and ask if there is way to get a college student on board via some kind of course credit and/or nominal payment.

*Sometimes you get what you pay for, obviously, but I've seen plenty of college students do GREAT work.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:07 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Long period of depression -> complete religious transformation of self is not an uncommon pattern in mental illness. I agree he may be just be a horrible human being, but it's a possibility to consider. For whatever it's worth, at least one of my colleagues read this thread and saw grandiosity with psychotic features as a possibility. IANYP.
posted by namesarehard at 10:07 AM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


And it's a misconception that all psychotic or manic individuals are too impaired to function or plan. We call that gross disorganization, and it's not always present.
posted by namesarehard at 10:09 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


college students are a great way to get some work done. in fact, the community college may even a program for audio stuff. i know the one in my town has an offshoot of their web design program that deals with all sorts media - they've got a full on recording studio and stuff, so i'm sure those kids are pretty well versed in the kind of stuff.
posted by sio42 at 10:22 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


So another point, from the sound of it he never intends to really work or pay child support after this hard, hard 40 hours a week year correct? Well he has 2 small children and unfortunately for him his rejection of his attachment to them is not generally recognized by a family court. Even if he follows through on this deal, you are getting screwed financially and that's even assuming his works pays the types of dividends you expect it to. You have 16 years of child support for 2 children coming your way. Even if he only paid the minimun that is A LOT more money that he is possibly saving you. You do not have to accept this deal as the best you can get, let a lawyer and a judge get you what you are owed.
posted by whoaali at 10:24 AM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Get a lawyer before you do anything else so that you don't wind up having to pay him once he's gone.

Best of luck.
posted by windykites at 10:27 AM on August 30, 2012


As someone who's going through my own (far less dramatic) separation leading to divorce, I echo everyone's advice to get a lawyer. If you're near Baltimore and need a recommendation I mentioned my lawyer in a similar question earlier this month.
posted by postel's law at 11:21 AM on August 30, 2012


While LAWYER UP has been said already, repeatedly, I'd like to point something out: this is a man who has already justified to himself the decision to abandon his children. Screwing you out of a lot of money is nothing compared to that, and would be even easier to for him to justify to himself, "I clearly should have these material possessions I'm stealing from you, honey, because I'm less attached to them than you are," etc.
posted by Ndwright at 11:44 AM on August 30, 2012


Given the fact that your husband's father is a mentally ill crack addict, I'd be willing to bet there's something going on in your husband's brain that isn't quite right, beyond the selfishness. It sounds a lot like he's inherited some kind of mental illness from his dad - whether that makes any material difference in this situation I'm not sure.

Also, you need to figure out what happens if your husband decamps to India or Thailand or somewhere to follow this spiritual path oh and also coincidentally where the child support and alimony payments can't be enforced. I'd be really worried about that if I were you and would speak to your lawyer about that sort of possibility.

The idea of building up the business seems like an excuse for him to stick around for whatever reason he may have that he's keeping to himself. How much IT and design support could one small DJ business possibly need?
posted by hazyjane at 12:16 PM on August 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


And it's a misconception that all psychotic or manic individuals are too impaired to function or plan. We call that gross disorganization, and it's not always present.

I'm not saying he can't be psychotic because he's planning something. I'm saying he's deceptively planning something for monetary gain at the OP's expense. That doesn't mean he couldn't be having a psychotic break at the same time, and I'm sorry to have misstated my case like that, but the explanation for that particular behaviour looks (to me, IANAP) simpler than that.

It may change the OP's situation if she's dealing with a thief, or a psychotic thief, but either way she most urgently needs to protect herself and her children from theft.
posted by tel3path at 1:39 PM on August 30, 2012


Check your memail.
posted by headnsouth at 1:42 PM on August 30, 2012


I will give my 2¢ on psychotic vs thief:

It is kind of irrellevent whether the reason he is trying to screw her is because he is legally classifiable as mentally ill or if it is good old fashioned greed. She needs to protect herself and her kids to the best of her ability. As an analogy: Every last person on death row has a backstory. Having compassion for how they got messed up does not mean society should forgive and forget, let them out, pat them on the head and say "It's okay to be a serial killer. We understand. You had an abusive childhood." Er, no.

If she can cover her ass and protect her kids and also get him help, great! If all she can manage is covering her ass and protecting her kids and letting him figure out how to fend for himself, that's perfectly fine. Not looking out for the best interest of the kids is not fine, morally or legally. She has an obligation to cover her own ass since she will be raising the kids alone. That is the decision he made: To dump the kids entirely on her. I am very sorry if he is too dumb to realize that obligates her to get as much as she can out of him for the sake of the kids instead of worrying about what he wants.
posted by Michele in California at 1:55 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks again, everyone. To say I'm humbled and grateful is truly an understatement. My circle is very small -- I've spent a decade focusing on the husband I loved, and throwing myself into work -- and I felt so isolated when I posted this question. I can't even say how much it means that so many people shared their wisdom and support with me, here and privately. I feel like you all have thrown me a lifeline.

As an update, I spoke briefly with a lawyer this morning, which gave me a little clarity. I also spent some time talking with both my parents and my best friend, which helped. I toured and applied for an apartment to move into with my kids -- it's in a pretty community that's professionally managed by a good company I worked for for years, has nice amenities and controlled access, and is 3 minutes from my best friend. I am halfway through the approval process (waiting on the background check, which will be spotless since I'm a shameless rule-follower who gets investigated regularly for my volunteer work with kids).

I also sat down with my husband and rationally explained why our arrangement as written won't work, as it doesn't serve me, our kids, or him. He's accepting of my decision to move and has agreed to negotiate, under the advisement of lawyers, a binding agreement in which the business is transferred to me, he will complete specific tasks for a livable wage and will contribute child support, and we can work toward an amicable severance of both business ties and our marriage.

It's not perfect, and I know there's tons of heartache ahead (I still cry when I think about telling our kids, and also knowing I need to move my very sensitive kindergartener to a new school). But, for the first time in weeks -- no, months -- I feel a little empowered, even a little hopeful.

Of course I'll keep watching this thread and remain grateful for the opportunity to communicate in MeMail/email too. It's a long road ahead. Thank you all again, from the bottom of my heart.
posted by justonegirl at 4:11 PM on August 30, 2012 [57 favorites]


i've been thinking of you all day, justonegirl. it brings tears to my eyes that you are moving forward like this. too often these questions end up with the person not doing what they really to do.

you are doing it, right now, and taking control. good for you.

please keep us posted.
posted by sio42 at 4:22 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, you're doing great! Please keep us posted, we're pulling for you!
posted by bleep at 4:48 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


So glad to hear that you're moving forward and protecting yourself and your kids. You'll get through this and be a better parent and better person for it.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:56 PM on August 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm so proud of you.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 5:02 PM on August 30, 2012 [13 favorites]


Just checking: your husband understands that when you and the kids move he isn't coming along, right? He sounds so self-centered, it's easy to imagine him thinking he gets to come along and crash on your sofa for a while.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:13 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am so sorry you're going through this. Good for you for taking steps to get out of such a bad situation.

Is it possible for your mother to come and stay with YOU to help out with the kids for awhile during the transition?

Whatever happens, please keep us updated and please continue to use AskMe as a resource whenever you need to.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:40 PM on August 30, 2012


Good for you! Hang in there and stick to your resolve. You sound like a smart, strong woman and fierce mom.
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:16 PM on August 30, 2012


I'm so glad you're moving on this. Seconding hang in there. There will be some rough times ahead, but I'm sure you'll heave a big sigh of relief when you have your new home and new life.

We're all cheering for you.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:32 AM on August 31, 2012


I also sat down with my husband and rationally explained why our arrangement as written won't work, as it doesn't serve me, our kids, or him. He's accepting of my decision to move and has agreed to negotiate, under the advisement of lawyers, a binding agreement in which the business is transferred to me, he will complete specific tasks for a livable wage and will contribute child support, and we can work toward an amicable severance of both business ties and our marriage.

It's great that you're moving forward. Just a caution ... he is not your confidant, he is now going to be your ex. From here on out, your lawyer is the person who you plan and consider options with, and your friends are the people you lean on emotionally and vent to. Your ex will be a co-parent with you for a long time and of course "amicable" is the goal, but I highly recommend that you start discussing your decisions and plans with your ex only after you have worked them out with your lawyer, not before.
posted by headnsouth at 3:29 AM on August 31, 2012 [11 favorites]


Thanks, all, and I appreciate the reminder, headnsouth, to be mindful of how/when I communicate with my husband. I do have a tendency to lean on him, especially when things are (relatively) peaceful.

I am happy to say the apartment was approved. Things are moving forward quickly -- so quickly in fact that it's pretty overwhelming -- but movement is a good thing, I suppose.

Again, I so appreciate all of you.
posted by justonegirl at 6:27 AM on August 31, 2012 [21 favorites]


Having seen a family business go down a similar trajectory, I would strongly caution you that his future involvement in the business is almost certainly going to be nil.

You need to set out a finite process by which the business is completely transferred to you, and you can hire dependable people to take over for your husband's responsibilities in the business. Set a deadline, or he will become an anchor that irreparably drags your business into the ground.

Everything else that you've written makes it sound like he'll be a worthless and undependable employee.

Also remember that, in all this, you don't owe him anything (other than what's required by law). Don't over-promise, and don't let him continue to take advantage of your charity and generosity. He's the one walking out on you.

I cannot stress strongly enough that you should not be talking about the business with him unless a lawyer is present. 'Amicable' is a fine goal, but business is business.

You may also want to consider the opposite path, and let him buy you out of your share of the company, as it would allow you a clean-but-financially-difficult path out of this mess for good.
posted by schmod at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Besides the lawyer (and yay for you for getting that covered!), also make sure that the business has a good accountant watching over the books: you want to be 100% sure that your not-soon-enough-ex doesn't abscond with one single cent, and I'm afraid that I can definately see a guy who has so lightly announced his intentions to abandon his small children and who doesn't want to work a second more than he is "forced" to, trying to clean out the business because he somehow insists he and his soul-mates "deserve" it.

Keep an eye on the business finances, and make sure he doesn't rip you off!
posted by easily confused at 6:34 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm so happy to read your updates. So many people here are pulling for you. I sincerely wish you the best and it sounds like this is the beginning of a really good chapter in your life.
posted by Kloryne at 2:54 PM on September 2, 2012


Wow, justonegirl, my heart goes out to you, but I am so proud of you for moving forward as you are. The idea of you being stuck in such an untenable position for 16 months – just via reading this thread – well... all my nerve endings were screeching that this was so, so, so unlikely to actually leave you in a better position in any way, I was nearly jumping out of my skin.

I just wanted to hop in and advise you to keep your eyes open toward friends and acquaintances who might be happy to help you with some aspects of your business for free or low cost during this difficult period. I say this because my husband is the kind of person who always needs to be fixing/making something. He's worked on several mixing boards in the last few months, including one at present, as well as speakers, microphones, video cameras, and just audio/video (and other) stuff of all kinds (he's in the film business anyway, but he's saved friends and colleagues a shit ton of money by fixing their stuff – always for free. Even for work competitors). He fixes all the neighbors' everything – TVs, coffeemakers, vacuum cleaners, food processors... He's a one-man unwrecking machine. And you may know someone similar. If we were near you, he'd keep all your stuff humming for nothing because he can't not be fixing something.

The same may be true of the other needs you have for your business. I've certainly designed and created a lot of web sites for friends for free over the years, and that was before stuff like Wordpress made this a much simpler proposition for a good basic functioning site. If you have questions about that, please feel free to contact me! And of course, we have professionals in every field here on Metafilter who can offer great advice via Ask Me every step of the way.

Is relying on that sort of help as much as possible something you want to do over the long term? Of course not, but while you are in this rebuilding and shoring up period, it seems to me to that it would much greater for your mental and emotional health to accept and even solicit this sort of help over the rather horrifying protracted arrangement with a partner who has already mentally checked out, and seems so unreliable and self-centered that it would be hard to imagine him actually adding any value at all... and very easy to imagine him doing exactly the opposite: making things far worse than they are already, in any number of ways.

Facing the challenges of finding alternatives for the help you need is certainly something that is likely to produce some anxiety, but absolutely nothing like the micro hell on earth the original agreement represents, I think. I would be very, very concerned about your physical and mental health dealing with that sort of stress over such a long period.

Congratulations on your new apartment, and your new life, justonegirl; you have a huge cheering section here, and I feel safe in saying that any of us would be glad to offer advice, pointers and help via mefi mail, as well as future Ask Me questions, so don't be shy.
posted by taz at 12:03 AM on September 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wow, you should be proud of the progress you've already made. It takes a lot in the midst of emotional turmoil to get the functional things done and I have so much respect for you for doing that! Keep in touch.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 3:48 AM on September 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


taz: "I just wanted to hop in and advise you to keep your eyes open toward friends and acquaintances who might be happy to help you with some aspects of your business for free or low cost during this difficult period. I say this because my husband is the kind of person who always needs to be fixing/making something. He's worked on several mixing boards in the last few months, including one at present, as well as speakers, microphones, video cameras, and just audio/video (and other) stuff of all kinds (he's in the film business anyway, but he's saved friends and colleagues a shit ton of money by fixing their stuff – always for free. Even for work competitors). He fixes all the neighbors' everything – TVs, coffeemakers, vacuum cleaners, food processors... He's a one-man unwrecking machine. And you may know someone similar. If we were near you, he'd keep all your stuff humming for nothing because he can't not be fixing something."

Also, the truth is people love to help and do things for their friends. So long as it's not a pattern of taking advantage, people really get a kick out of being needed and having skills, attributes, or resources that they can share with the people they care about.

Not only that, but apparently there's something called the Benjamin Franklin effect whereby asking favors of another actually ingratiates them towards you. So seeking out help and advice from your new neighbors, for example, may serve to form faster friendships than if you wait until you are steady and on your feet to interact with them.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:19 AM on September 5, 2012


Thanks for all the continued support! It's helped me so much. It feels like an eternity since I posted this question, as so much has happened in the interim. As an update, my 5-year-old transferred to his new kindergarten yesterday and had two decent days in a row -- it really wasn't so bad. I'm plugging away on getting the new apartment all set up and plan to officially move in with the kids next weekend. My husband (what the hell do you call someone you're not-quite-yet separated from?!) are planning a ginormous yard sale for the following weekend to unload our McMansion full of stuff that neither of us has room to take, and things have been pretty peaceful and amicable, albeit melancholy.

In short, I think I'm going to make it through this. Scratch that, I am making it through this. Thanks again to every one of you for believing in me and my kids :)
posted by justonegirl at 4:17 PM on September 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


(what the hell do you call someone you're not-quite-yet separated from?!)

Either STBX (for Soon To Be Ex) or "wusband," as in "was my husband."
posted by KathrynT at 4:24 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Future Ex.
posted by Michele in California at 5:07 PM on September 5, 2012


Thanks for the update, you are doing great! I think it's time for you to shell out another $5 & change your username from "justonegirl" to "onestrongwoman."
posted by headnsouth at 5:25 PM on September 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


GO YOU! I'm sure you are miserable at many, many moments but eve then, don't forget that a gazillion people at Ask MetaFilter think you are awesome.

what the hell do you call someone you're not-quite-yet separated from?!

The ex. It's over, no need to split hairs. (You can wear your wedding ring/s as long as you like however, including forever.)
posted by DarlingBri at 9:28 PM on September 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Stick with calling him your ex; lord knows there are OTHER names he's earned, but.....

Its going to be hard sometimes, but try to NEVER let your boys hear you call him anything worse than 'your father' --- as badly as he's behaved, he IS their father, and that'll never change. Plus it'll make everything less stressful ON YOU in the long run if you two can agree now to keep your interactions polite, and keep the fighting strictly through your lawyers.
posted by easily confused at 3:33 PM on September 6, 2012


Woman, you are an inspiration.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 6:21 PM on September 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


So how is it going? I've been thinking of you and hoping for the best.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:15 AM on November 10, 2012


There was a follow-up question just yesterday.
posted by Area Man at 8:46 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


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