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My husband left me this morning. Now what?
August 14, 2014 11:10 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I decided to divorce at 4 o'clock this morning, after I found him in bed with another woman. We've been married for 16 years and have an 11 year old daughter. He is at work, I am at home, and I don't know what to do.

We've been on a downward slide for a year and a half as he has rather obviously fallen in love with this other woman (totally textbook midlife crisis, but that's another story). He and I have, repeatedly, assured each other that this will be a fair and civil separation, for our daughter and because: reasons. He left for work this morning, and he plans to stay in the house until he finds another place to live, and I've asked for a few weeks or months to sort out what I want and to make arrangements. We haven't decided on the big things like who gets the house, if I'll even stay in the same town. Our daughter will live with me due to the total impossibility of him being able to take care of her due to his work schedule and demands.

I've left a message for a divorce lawyer/mediator couple who has handled our friends' divorces. I've told my parents, in-laws, and closest friends. I've told my boss I'm going through this but still intend to keep working (I work remotely). Our daughter is on an overnight camping trip tonight, and I arranged a sleepover for her tomorrow with a friend whose parents are going through the same thing, because she wanted to be able to talk to her about this.

So ... it's eleven in the morning on a weekday. Now what? My husband is coming over this evening (in theory) to go through the finances, passwords, etc. But what to do until then? Go get a massage? Work? Do something relevant to the end of our beautiful marriage? I'm totally lost. What do I do with my day?
posted by Capri to Grab Bag (54 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is the first day of the rest of your life. What do you want to be for it? What type of person? Start with that. Do something small to start out your new life. Maybe that means a spa day, or relaxing or maybe something nuts like bungee jumping! You sound like you have an incredible head on your shoulders and you'll get through this. Just go BE.
posted by katypickle at 11:17 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I am so sorry. I had a similar feeling of confused loss recently, albeit with different details, and I ended up sitting by a pool staring off into space all afternoon. Go for a walk, get a pedicure, wander around a park or the mall... just take some time off and let your brain relax for a while. You don't need to do anything right now.
posted by something something at 11:18 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


I'm so sorry you're experiencing this. This sounds so tough.

You sound a little like you're feeling numb right now, but honestly you're on the right track with the massage. Leave the house now, put on something that feels good (whether that is your "comfy" clothes, or something that is a nicer outfit). Go somewhere where you can be somewhat mindlessly indulgent for a few hours. A massage sounds nice. But so would doing some water aerobics, or going for a short (easy) hike. Something that occupies your body (but doesn't require lots of focus or mental acuity, so race car driving is out) and doesn't give you too much time to think. If you're a reader, this might be a good afternoon to find a book that is comforting and feels like an old friend to snuggle in with, at a cafe or at the botanical gardens.

Focus on taking care of yourself. You've taken care of your daughter and have everything else in the works. Right now just focus on being loving and supportive to yourself.

Good luck.
posted by arnicae at 11:18 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I would try to work a bit, because work can be a great distraction, self-soother, motivator, etc. And because you told your boss you're going to continue working.

If you can't concentrate, go get a massage. Make sure you eat well today. Perhaps take a walk.

I can advise you better on what not to do: don't make any huge life decisions right now. Don't get a tattoo, or quit your job, or anything like that. Try not to do anything too big for a bit. You've already got a big thing going on.

I have found the book Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar to be such a soothing, helpful, loving book. It guided me through the end of a very intense relationship, and has been such a touchstone to me ever since. I re-read it a lot and have recommended it to many other women, all of whom have also loved the book and found comfort in it for a variety of reasons (it's not just for ending relationships). Let me know if you'd like for me to send you a copy; just Memail me your address.

I am so, so sorry that this is happening to you. Take care of yourself.
posted by sockermom at 11:21 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Fancy coffee. Sunshine, if you can get it. Moving water, if you can get to it quickly/easily. Trees.
posted by like_a_friend at 11:22 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Make an appointment with a therapist for yourself, to just talk about what you're feeling, and figure some of this out. Do this now, when you don't feel like things are really bad, so that things never get to that point.
posted by brainmouse at 11:23 AM on August 14 [37 favorites]


Oh, and if you can't work: don't. It's ok. It's fine. Sometimes work is amazing for letting go of the rest of the world, and sometimes it is not.

Do not beat yourself up if you can't work. In fact, don't beat yourself up for anything. Be as kind as you can be to your lovely self. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend in the same situation.
posted by sockermom at 11:23 AM on August 14


Well, I hate to say it, but you find the money. Assemble all of the bank account info, screenshots/printouts of balances, life/disability insurance paperwork, credit card statements- just everything money related. People will SAY amicable divorce and then take/hide all of the money. Document, document, document. Go find out what else he's been hiding besides the other woman. I bet right now he's scrambling to cover up what he can. (On preview, I guess I'm the cynic here. Sure, you probably want a massage and a glass of wine and that would be nice, but I'd rather make sure I wasn't getting financially screwed as well as emotionally screwed.)
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:24 AM on August 14 [152 favorites]


My compliments on how you're handling this already. You sound like a strong, rational lady.

If you're doing ok right now, considering the shock, I would get some work done. Wrap little things up, if there's anything like that. So that if tomorrow (or Monday) you feel like total crap, well that's ok you can let yourself wallow. Take care of yourself.
posted by lizbunny at 11:24 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Don't agree to ANYTHING. Don't discuss finances. DO NOT do that now. You need the advice of a lawyer. You need time to process what is happening. You need to make sure that this person's unethical behavior cannot extend to your financial split.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:24 AM on August 14 [113 favorites]


Practical suggestion: Maybe make a list of things you definitely want to keep for emotional or practical value? Like, photo album, the iPad because it entertains your daughter, whatever). It's easier to negotiate even and especially in a civil setting if you already know what outcome you want.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:25 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I went through a very similar situation last year. What I did was call my closest friend, got all dressed up, and went out for a nice dinner with a lot of wine. You are probably in for a few months of really difficult stuff, both emotional and organizational, and your life is going to change in ways that will probably make you uncomfortable.

Take this moment to do something that makes you feel good and calm and like you are in control of your destiny.

(For what it's worth it is almost a year since my husband wanted a divorce because he met another woman, and although it was one of the worst times of my life I'm so much happier now without having to worry about a failing marriage all the time.)
posted by jess at 11:26 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Drink water. Breathe. Go to a fierce yoga class. Breathe breathe breathe.

Massage is a great idea but it might be too intense right now unless you have a massage therapist you totally trust and are okay with crying in front of. IMO. YMMV.

But don't forget to keep drinking water.
posted by janey47 at 11:27 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, and I agree with the young rope-rider: please do not try and actually finalize any plans tonight, particularly those to do with assets.
posted by jess at 11:27 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Also, behave politely, but behave as though you are in a completely adversarial situation until you know otherwise.

My separation agreement is serious and not at all flexible. I looked out for myself. Now, we are amicable and flexible with each other. But if he gets a new girlfriend who resents his child support payment? I point to the agreement and tough luck for him. My kid isn't going to go without because I wanted to avoid conflict.

You can always ease up later and be more flexible.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:31 AM on August 14 [38 favorites]


If he's staying in the house after cheating on you, what's to stop him from having the girlfriend over and in your space the entire time you're processing everything? I would recommend finding arrangements for yourself, or gearing up to insist that he move out temporarily since he's the one who was cheating. Tell him he owes it to his daughter to do so.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:35 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Oh, and I were you, I'd go treat myself to the greatest breakfast, lunch, and dinner EVER. Eating will make sure you're in the right space to deal with him later.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:38 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


It's a very personal, individual question with lots of contradictory right answers, but if you're able to go get a massage or see a movie or whatever, then I would heartily encourage you to do exactly that. It's what I would try to do. In fact, in a different-but-similar circumstance my motto became, "Do everything." I bought tickets to things I'd never considered, took classes, learned new hobbies. I needed to overwrite my brain with as many new experiences as possible. It worked for me. Here I am.

My broader advice is this, and you know it because you're an attorney yourself: you need to strike a balance between acting swiftly to protect your interests (both legal and emotional) and acting as slowly as will ensure calm deliberacy. In both my practice and my personal life, I try to repeat to myself the Army mantra that "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." That mantra has been tremendously helpful to me over the years—and equally, I can't tell you how many times I've bjorked something up, slapped myself on the head, and had to say, "Dammit! Remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast."

I am very sorry you're facing this. Good luck to you and your daughter. If you want to chat directly—and I think I speak for most of us here—feel free to reach out.
posted by cribcage at 11:41 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Insist he move out, 100%. If you have your daughter, then you should absolutely have the house, leaving the whole cheating thing aside. But courts often like to keep the status quo. If he's living in the house, it's easier for him to get it, etc.

Invite one of your closest friends to stay at your house for a bit for reinforcement. She will be the one to bring the relaxy things. Right now, take care of your defenses. Change your passwords and print screen everything you can see from his. Assemble your evidence now, it will be much harder later.

For context, often when couples say they're going to do this amicably, it's because one person intends to screw the other over without their knowledge. Don't be the one who gets screwed. Arm yourself, even if you're not intending to use it.
posted by corb at 11:45 AM on August 14 [35 favorites]


Retain a lawyer immediately, no matter how amicable actual divorce proceedings will (hopefully) be. Sounds like you've got that covered already, so good.

I'll also second advice to try to get your financial information ducks in a row. Hopefully that won't be needed based on legal proceedings, but if it is, having done so will only be for the good.

Write down what happened and when. Take notes.

Have long talks with family and friends. Or just spend more time in their company when you don't want to talk at all. You're going to find out who your real friends really are in the whole situation; treasure them and store that knowledge for later.
posted by Drastic at 11:47 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


After watching a friend go through this recently, and seeing what it was like for her child to have the father still in the house: I recommend kicking him out and changing the locks. (Clearly I'm not a lawyer.)

Make sure the passwords AND SECURITY QUESTIONS for your e-mail, Facebook, etc are ones he doesn't know the answers to.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:48 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


Definitely lawyer up before discussing finances. He's had months to prepare for this possibility whereas you were blindsided by it. So you're already starting at a disadvantage in negotiations.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:57 AM on August 14 [35 favorites]


Absolutely do not discuss finances with him tonight. Leave him a message (don't talk to him) saying that you do not feel like you are in the right frame of mind for this discussion, and that you don't want him to come home tonight - you need some space. Absolutely check the financials and make sure he isn't transferring money away today. Take copies of the current state of financials (print statements, screenshots etc). Make sure you have all the passwords to be able to continue access to all your personal and shared accounts. If he has passwords to any accounts that are just in your name (not shared) then change those passwords.

Schedule an appointment with the attorney asap.
posted by Joh at 12:02 PM on August 14 [26 favorites]


Tell him to stay elsewhere---at his girlfriend's, a motel, whatever. Do not trust him. Lawyer up, figure out the financials, etc. Go see a therapist.
posted by discopolo at 12:07 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Lawyer up and stay in the house, and change the locks. I was the one who moved out when we separated (wife) and it was used as a chip against me. I was not the one cheating. Lawyer up TODAY. Get a snapshot of all of the accounts in case money starts moving around/disappearing. Save/download old statements to show a pattern of what should be in the accounts. Include a copy of your tax information for the past couple of years to track income. Be careful with what you say to mutual friends; sometimes they choose sides.

This may sound ludicrous, but pretend he is a work associate for now until you get a handle on how he is going to work with you. Try not to get too emotional with him. Don't tell him about anything you are considering doing (moving, changing jobs, dating, etc), stick to the facts. Appear as if you are moving slowly and not making drastic changes. Panic can make things turn ugly fast. Pretend you are living in a police state for now and are being watched. Be boring and predictable. Be VERY careful on social media.

If you get unstable during this period, it can turn really hard for your custody chances. If you have any vices, stop them immediately, if you can. If not, use cash. Take care of yourself, but live your life for your daughter right now. Getting through this civilly with him and with an intact relationship with her is critical. You will be able to let your guard down when you have a signed parenting plan or other final decree.

Good luck, and yes, get a therapist. I am sorry this happened.
posted by Lardmitten at 12:11 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Absolutely what Jacqueline and Lardmitten said: he might already have a plan for how the assets are going to be divided. You need to speak with a lawyer or at least a therapist before getting a massage or eating an amazing meal (two things you very much deserve).

I'm sorry this is happening. Better times will come after the bad times.
posted by jessca84 at 12:12 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


He has proven himself not trustworthy; you don't have to be aggressive, but you do need to assume his untrustworthiness extends to other things.

Get that lawyer on the phone before he gets home, and get advice about what you can/can't/should do immediately.

I would tell him to sleep at his girlfriend's house going forward so you can regroup. You have the moral high ground here; don't be afraid to use it.

(is it legal for her to change the locks? I don't know) If so, I would say yes, do that. Ask your lawyer about it.
posted by emjaybee at 12:15 PM on August 14 [25 favorites]


he plans to stay in the house until he finds another place to live

Are you really okay with this arrangement? I'd say you are completely within your rights to kick his sorry ass to the curb but you know your situation best, of course. You know what is best for you and your daughter. (And not to argue with other posters but I'm not sure it'd be 100% to change the locks since he is a legal residence/owner of the property.)

Work if you feel like it. Or take some time off if you can and you think it will help you. Maybe ask a friend to come over to help you figure out a plan. Someone who isn't so close to the situation might help you make clearer decisions for the day.

This will sound pretty mercenary/harsh/ but since he is the one at fault here, it seems like you are in a good position to run the show. I'm not saying take him for everything that he's worth (which doesn't appear to bemuch...) but get what you need to take care of yourself and your daughter. Good luck and sending you good thoughts.
posted by Beti at 12:17 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


It depends on how your brain works. My husband left me last fall, and what felt best for me was to sort through stuff, pull my half of the money from the joint bank account, figure out my new budget with just my income, etc.; doing the things that helped me focus on moving on quickly. When I had a little more space to breathe, collapsing sobbing into friends' arms was what I needed.

My experience was that living together until he found his own place was torture, and he took his sweet time doing it. I strongly recommend insisting that he leave within the week so you can rebuild your life without him and all his crap in it.
posted by metasarah at 12:24 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


PorcinewithMe's and Joh's advice is spot on. You are home alone you have access to your joint records get copies of all of them now. Pull half the money from joint accounts now, get your finances as separate as you can as quick as you can. My ass of a brother decided that because my SIL was on the credit cards and the debt on them classed as marital assets he would run them up to the tune of $75k having his midlife crisis after he left her and she is now stuck paying half of his holidays with his girlfriends and her expensive clothes. Freeze the damn cards or whatever you have to do.

Change all your personal passwords to every single thing from PINs to facebook.

Start documenting everything, everything. Photos, written copies, keep a notebook and record times and dates Yes it's all great and wonderful to have some symbolic time to be you, this is not that time. He's been thinking about leaving longer than he's let on or he wouldn't be bonking his bit on the side, get your ducks in a row, because I'll bet his are. Lawyer up today.

I would not recommend letting him stay there, not only because of legal leverage but because of your mental health. Pretending everything is OK in front of your daughter is hard on every single person and will be confusing to her. If he stays give him a time limit, no more than a few days.

I'd say what Joh suggested give yourself time to make sure you have a clear picture of your financial situation before you sit down to discuss anything. Do not agree to or sign anything until YOUR lawyer has looked over it.

Protecting yourself does not go against being civil and grown up. You do not have to decide anything today. The best time to have started covering your own ass was yesterday, because he's made it clear he really doesn't care about you or your daughter in any meaningful way by his actions. The civil and fair thing would have been to divorce before the affair. Most guys I know that wanted a divorce only wanted things to be civil to make it easier on them to do so without feeling guilty. There definition of civil and fair was agree to what I want. Do not go by his verbal assurances he wants a fair and civil divorce, go by his actions.
posted by wwax at 12:44 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


Everyone has covered the financial aspects really well above, so I just want to recommend that you pack a bag for him, meet him at the door with it, and say, "I thought about it today and decided that you staying here isn't going to work out." Having the bag already packed means he won't be able to argue or try to talk you out of it while he's gathering things together. While you're trying to be amicable now, you're also not getting into any bad detailed divorce discussions. Do you want to have tense meetings with your lawyers then go home together? Things are stressful enough for you; don't let the reason for your stress stay in your environment.

(I am so, so sorry this happened to you. Big hugs from an Internet stranger.)
posted by sfkiddo at 1:07 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Please consider that you two want 'amicable' for different reasons. You want amicable to make this as easy a transition as possible for you and your daughter. He wants amicable because he fucked up, he's the cheater, the bad guy and he's gonna get screwed if it turns contentious. Lawyer up. Freeze accounts. Don't let him manipulate you under the guise of kindness. The separation starts now.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:10 PM on August 14 [38 favorites]


he plans to stay in the house until he finds another place to live

No. Do not let this happen. Tell him he's out of there, and don't listen to rationalizations and pleadings. There's been some very good advice here, and I agree with it: lawyer up and save your emotions for your friends. Your marriage is over, and you need to accept that now and act accordingly before you allow your emotions to damage your future in ways that will be hard or impossible to reverse. I have been in your situation, and I know how hard it is.

On preview: sfkiddo has the right idea. Meet him at the door with a packed bag.
posted by languagehat at 1:11 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Seconding everyone here. You are not his wife anymore. And you are not his friend. It's terrible, but true.

Figure out the assets. Pack him a bag and move him out. He has a girlfriend - let her worry about him. You take care of yourself. Work will still be there in a few days.
posted by 3491again at 1:26 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Outsiders and our child would say our divorce is amicable but I have done my best to protect my assets even when that seems greedy or whatever. It's not my job to keep my husband happy anymore.

Looks out for yourself first of all.
posted by vespabelle at 1:48 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


The advice to not let him stay there is nice, and well intentioned - you should talk to a lawyer in your jurisdiction before you do something unilaterally like that.

If he's on the deed and/or mortgage, he has a right to be there, and don't really have any leverage if he doesn't agree to leave. Assuming he does nothing violent, the police won't remove him.

I have learned this lesson the hard way. I am not speaking from conjecture, here.

And yes, get copies of all important documents, bank statements, etc. Even in the best of circumstances, things get overlooked or forgotten about.

Keep your chin up, it's hard for a while, but it does get better.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:48 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


He and I have, repeatedly, assured each other that this will be a fair and civil separation

by cheating on you, and doing it so blatantly that you walked in on him with the other woman in the middle of the night, he has already broken his promise to you on this. do exactly what you're comfortable with and not a smidgen more. you don't have to be giving and calm and civil. yes, you do have to tread lightly as your daughter is concerned - but he has turned this from fair and civil to very much not that - don't let him convince you it was the other way around.
posted by nadawi at 1:51 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


OP, please do not listen to the advice to change the locks of the house. I suspect you are co-tenants on the deed, which means that the house is his property. Even if the deed were only in your name, I suspect the laws of your state grant him a possessory right in the premises. Unilaterally changing locks and other such self-help measures are a great way to get into trouble.

A lawyer but not your lawyer.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:52 PM on August 14 [16 favorites]


Yes, don't change the locks - it will make you look unreasonable to a court later. Simply tell him that he is not welcome in the house. Do not let him chase you out of your own home. If he stays, he stays, but then he knows he is the one violating this "amicability" - and if he has any bone of human feeling, he will not force his presence on you in addition to his infidelity.
posted by corb at 1:59 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I would highly recommend one of you finding another place to stay until you get everything sorted out. I'm inclined to think it should be him since he instigated this by cheating. But either way you can't even being to approach this calmly if you're in the same house. My parents stayed in the same house for a month or two after they decided to split and it was not a good situation for either.
posted by radioamy at 2:01 PM on August 14


Yeah, that advice may be well intentioned but it is terrible advice. You can't kick someone out of their own house because you're getting a divorce. You can tell him you don't want him there, though.

But the advice about changing your own passwords and stuff is spot on! Do that. Get your financial records ready. Talk to a lawyer (as you say you're going to do). Oh and when I say "your" financial records I mean joint stuff as well. Make sure you have copies of everything.
posted by Justinian at 2:03 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I could have written this myself, except for the married part. Together 17 years, 11 year old daughter. I am disabled from failed back surgery so he was the breadwinner. I ended up in a homeless shelter, and emotionally devastated from bring left -- during which time he concurrently set up the status quo, to take my daughter.

In court I filed my declaration late and went mute during my oral presentation. My ex has decent verbal skills and so was awarded custody. I lost everything. My relationship, my home, my child.
Then he took my car. I am stuck on the bus carrying groceries having had back surgery. And he doesn't care. What matters to him is OKC and POF. My daughter is criminally neglected while he spends all his time perusing one night stands at the human being store.

I did change the locks, because he had come in and destroyed property. The police came, and made me give him the new key, because his name was on the lease. If it were a physical battering situation, I might not be writing this right now. Having experienced that, I can see how easily women can murdered by their abusive exes.

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your thread. If I'd gone into the hearing lawyered up I might at least have my child now. The days of the child automatically being awarded to the mother are over. In researching custody issues, I discovered the trend now has leaned towards awarding custody to fathers, including ones with abuse histories.

I agree with the financials being the priority right now. I am so sorry you're going through this, you sound so calm...I know how easily it can be to feel like you're in a state of shock. I wish you the best of luck, and please feel free to mail me if you need any kind of support.
posted by Salvation at 2:11 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Head on down to the target range and fire off a few rounds. Or clips. Then get a massage and after that, go dildo shopping. Pick up a bottle of wine on your way home or bag of weed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Just to add to what I wrote earlier. Don't change the locks, don't force him out. Get him to agree it's a good idea, leaving the house voluntarily is what you want. Check with your lawyer. You may not like doing it, but right now you have the moral high ground, this and he is feeling guilty. If you are going to use those to your advantage this is the time and place.
posted by wwax at 2:22 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


First, I am so sorry this happened.

A lot of the advice you're getting is practical in nature, which I think is good. But from the tenor of your question I get the sense that you are kind of stunned, lost. Understandably so. So maybe advice of a different sort is in order too.

A guy named Steven Stosny has written some excellent books about dealing with difficult relationships. One of his pieces of advice for coping essentially distills down to

Improve
Appreciate
Connect
Protect

You will be very well served at the center of your being if you put your attention to anything that improves your experience right now; appreciating anything; connecting with another person; or protecting another person.

You don't have to address ANYTHING having to do with the person who hurt you or the stressful situation you're in. You can improve your experience by tidying your house, taking a shower, eating a treat, whatever--the point is to show yourself that you're empowered to make your experience right this minute even a little bit better. Likewise with appreciating--something you see, something that smells good, your tech toys, your hair color, your kid's latest picture--focus on appreciating something. Connect with someone--phone, email, Facebook count if you can't talk, but even saying hi to the clerk at the 7-11 counts. Protect--focus on how you're keeping your daughter well fed, housed, loved.

This has totally worked for me when I'm feeling similarly lost, stunned, hurt. An action plan, however simple, to just get me moving out of the direction of the mire... Might be useful to you in the days ahead.

Highly recommend his book Living And Loving After Betrayal, too. Also, survivinginfidelity.com is a really good online support group.

Best of luck to you.
posted by Sublimity at 2:23 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


I'm so sorry.

Item number one is to get your own bank account and start having your paycheck direct deposited there.

No need to hide it, just keep it separate where he can't get at it.

When you talk with your lawyer, ask about what to do about credit cards, etc.

Then get a massage, some nice groceries and make plans to hang out this weekend with your bestest friends. See if you can organize a sleep over.


I think it would be fun to put the house on the market and find a new place for you and your daughter. Get out of a place where the memories are so bittersweet. Rent for awhile, let someone else be responsible for the chores. Get a place with tennis, a pool and a playground. I'm sure there are plenty of places in your school district so your daughter still has her school and friends.

Look forward to the AWESOME life you're about to have! Grieve the death of your marriage. Perhaps line up a therapist to help you work through your justifiable anger. Get into couples counseling so that you can negotiate how you're going to co-parent your daughter. Get your daughter some therapy. Therapy for EVERYONE!

Good luck to you! You're going to have your ups and downs, so treat yourself nicely. Indulge a bit. Stay healthy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:51 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. If you need someone to vent to, I went through this same thing 13 years ago, except we didn't have kids. If you want to talk, feel free to Mefi-mail me anytime.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:01 PM on August 14


Please don't see him tonight. Call him and delay a day. Give yourself another day to get your own lawyer and think things through. If you have to see him tonight, see him outside the house at a restaurant (one where you don't care if someone sees you cry).

Crazy Time is a great book for this. It reassured me that what I was feeling was pretty normal, and that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Financials. And lawyer. If you can't cope with the financials, get a friend you absolutely trust to come in and help you write it all up.

The numb period is great for getting stuff done, but don't agree to anything yet.

I would change the locks and pack his stuff and have it outside for him tonight, because he can damn well stay at a hotel or with the other woman.
posted by viggorlijah at 5:10 PM on August 14


While you should not change the locks, please know that separation is a bog-standard early in divorce processes. If you want him to, thr court and his lawyer will expect him to move out if he is the at-fault spouse (even when divorce is no-fault) and is incapable as you say of providing primary care for your child.

If he has a good lawyer his moving out pursuant to a separation agreement won't prejudice his legal rights to the home equity if any, or to visitation with his kid.

His move out will be expensive -- no blood from a stone and the cost of his new place big enough for visitation will be factored in to the calculation of his ability to pay temporary support. Folks I have known who have cohabited during divorce have often used that math to justify it.
posted by MattD at 7:13 PM on August 14


Someone above said "The days of the child automatically being awarded to the mother are over." and I would wholeheartedly agree with this. Please, please, please do NOT move out, do not leave your child with him, not even for one night, and most certainly do not move to another city until you have the divorce and custody agreement finalized.

It's not exactly the same situation, but I have a friend who just lost custody of her child because she moved out of state for her job. The court would not let her take the child with her while they were trying to figure out the custody arrangement and THEN because the father took such great care of the child during those several months and she was not present, they said she abandoned her child and awarded the father sole custody.

So yeah, do everything you can to keep your child. And make sure you get a GOOD lawyer. Not just the random people your friends used, get a BULLDOG lawyer, the best you can find.
posted by echo0720 at 7:30 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Our daughter will live with me due to the total impossibility of him being able to take care of her due to his work schedule and demands.

Unless you prefer having your daughter full time, and your daughter prefers that arrangement as well, I would gently suggest that you not let her father off the hook so easily.

Bluntly stated: he apparently had time to conduct an affair with the other woman. Surely he can carve out time for his daughter, even if that means re-arranging his work life; even if it means him being inconvenienced or him having to take an income/status hit.

Also: since you work remotely, I'm assuming you work from home. If that is the case, then he needs to be willing to move out if need be so you can preserve your work life and schedule. He does NOT get to screw with your career and any financial independence that provides for you during this vulnerable time.

(P.S. I predict his love affair will end in flames, and he will realize too late what a fool he has been. Put a bottle of champagne in the fridge and prepare to pop the cork when he comes crawling back...at which time you will laugh and tell him to go pound sand while you sip your bubbly from a lovely champagne flute. It will be delicious.)
posted by nacho fries at 8:04 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


The advice to not let him stay there is nice, and well intentioned - you should talk to a lawyer in your jurisdiction before you do something unilaterally like that. If he's on the deed and/or mortgage, he has a right to be there, and don't really have any leverage if he doesn't agree to leave. Assuming he does nothing violent, the police won't remove him.

This. Short of committing criminal assault, you can't "get his ass out of there" as suggested above. It's something to be negotiated. It's not a sign of evil if he wants to continue living in the house for the present. The lawyers will be advising both of you that to retain your rights in the house it's best to stay in the house.

(Nth-ing the advice above NOT to make any financial or major decisions right now. Although it may seem inconceivable right now, depending on the circumstances (e.g. mortgages, debts, taxes) you may ultimately decide that it's financially best for you to move, and for him to have the house.)
posted by JimN2TAW at 9:17 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]


Sorry, this is rough; you seem sane and wise about it. My suggestion might seem strange but it was extremely valuable for me: Pick some project you've been unable to start or finish, and handle it along with the stress of divorce. For me it was quitting smoking and giving up hard liquor. I quit the day we split, and somehow the stress of divorce and the stress of the quitting went a long way toward neutralizing one another. It gave me something to concentrate on, devote myself to, beyond the probably inevitable pissing and moaning and fears of dying alone in a garret, etc.. I haven't had a cigarette since and it's been decades.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 9:18 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]


Been there. Husband stayed at home "to work on our marriage" (while lying and continuing to see his girlfriend). My two children (not his) were involved.

Make sure you get a lawyer that specializes in divorce--and it wouldn't hurt to get one considered a shark. You can reign a shark lawyer in, but you can't make a milk toast lawyer fight for everything. (I know this from experience. My "shark" was very experienced divorce lawyer.) My husband tried to hide money--my lawyer found it and had the accounts frozen until we went before a judge. My husband tried to get me fired--my lawyer shut him down. My husband's main mistake was he never hired a divorce attorney--he had five different attorneys over two years and none of them specialized only in divorce. He even tried to represent himself (he's not a lawyer) and wrote a note to the judge that he couldn't appear in court because he was out of town--and was arrested two weeks later for not showing up in court.

We tried mediation at the husband's insistence--but husband wasn't about to agree to anything. I called it quits on mediation (after two sessions) because of my therapist...she brought me back to life. She helped me find my self-confidence and my inner strength. In the long run, this helped because my kids didn't need to have a mother who was willing to put up with his b******t.
posted by byjingo! at 11:08 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]


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