Help me leave my boyfriend quickly and safely
March 9, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a bad relationship and I've decided to leave. We live together, and I'm having some trouble plotting the logistics of getting out.

1) I'm pretty sure that telling him this might get me physically harmed. He'll occasionally push me or grab me kind of hard. Ideally, I'd kind of like to grab my shit and get out while he's at work one day. Would that be totally horrible and cruel? How do I get everything out in just a few hours?

2) I don't really have a lot of close friends; he didn't like my friends and I haven't seen them much in two years. All my new friends are his friends first, and I don't think they're really going to help me break his heart. (Or believe that he'd actually hurt me, or the kind of things he says to me.) So I don't really have anyone that can help with this. Are professional movers going to be willing to let me point to half the furniture in a room, and work with a sensitive time frame? What if he comes home early and they're still there?

3) What about the lease? My name is on it, too, but the landlady absolutely adores my boyfriend. And do I just not pay the bills that are under my name? He's a jerk, but it seems really cruel to just cut off his electricity.

4) Are there any complications I'm not thinking of?

I'm not really interested in the emotional getting over part, I just need help getting out.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (66 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
1) Not cruel or horrible. Do what you need to do to ensure your safety. You are the number one priority here.

2) Perhaps a call to a local to your domestic violence shelter/agency might help you better plan this. My first thought is that, no, movers won't care one whit about what you're taking or not taking, and will work quickly if that's what you want them to do. Especially if you tell them you're leaving and want to leave QUICKLY. If he comes home early and they're still there (presumably you'd be there, too?), I'd suggest just stopping there and leaving. So, get the really important stuff first, I think. Anything that you wouldn't mind living without should be put low on the priority list.

3) I think you might need a lawyer for this? I don't really know. Again, a call to a domestic violence shelter/agency will serve you really well.

4) Probably, and I'm sure someone with more experience will jump in and say so.

I wish you nothing but the best and please know there are total strangers on the internet who are pulling for you.
posted by cooker girl at 4:43 PM on March 9, 2011 [8 favorites]

If you are concerned that you might be "physically harmed" in the process, then you don't need to worry about being "horrible" or "cruel."
posted by oohisay at 4:44 PM on March 9, 2011 [48 favorites]

p.s. It's not cruel to cut off his electricity, either. He can get it reconnected in his name. Worry about YOU, not him.
posted by cooker girl at 4:44 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'm not going to address logistics, but the answer to this:

1) I'm pretty sure that telling him this might get me physically harmed. He'll occasionally push me or grab me kind of hard. Ideally, I'd kind of like to grab my shit and get out while he's at work one day. Would that be totally horrible and cruel?

Is super strongly, ridiculously emphatically no. If you are worried about getting hurt, physically (and it sounds like he is both physically abuse and emotionally abusive, see your point (2). There is nothing wrong with protecting yourself here. NOTHING. Do not feel even the tiniest bit guilty about this.
posted by brainmouse at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2011 [12 favorites]

1) If there's a risk of you being physically harmed, then no it is not at all cruel or horrible to get out while he isn't there. In fact, you should. He sounds unstable, and you don't want or need to risk anything when you're leaving.

2) Call your old friends. You'd be really surprised what friends are willing to help you out and are understanding when you're in a sticky situation. If possible, get a few of them together, grab a u-haul when he's at work, pack up your stuff and head out. Otherwise, I don't movers would have any problem moving just your stuff. If you can, try to have a (preferably male? I may get flack for that) there while your moving out just in case he does unexpectedly come home or something - you want someone not there just for emotional support but to serve as a kind of intermediary (and perhaps a physical barrier) between you and your SO.

3) Call your landlord about the lease. There are probably services that can help you mitigate this if you need. But this sounds like it should be just cause for breaking a lease. Take your name off all the utilities. He can figure out how to deal with all of that.

Good luck; I'm sorry you're going through this. Been there.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:46 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

It can never be horrible and cruel to listen to your instincts and do what you need to do to stay safe. You are doing the right thing.

Re: moving out - I don't know where you are, but in some cities, a police officer will come over and stand around to keep the peace during situations exactly like this. I agree with the notion that calling experts in the domestic violence field in your area will probably get you some better local resources. This is pretty common and they will know how to help you arrange your move.

Again, you are doing the right thing. I'm cheering you on.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 4:46 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

You need to call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) ASAP. Your gut is telling you the truth. They have talked to many women in your situation and will give sound advice.
My prayers are with you.
posted by srbrunson at 4:47 PM on March 9, 2011 [12 favorites]

or everything cooker girl said, pretty much.
posted by Lutoslawski at 4:47 PM on March 9, 2011

If you're in certain parts of Minnesota, I know a men's group that helps women move their things in situations like this. There might be something similar in your area.

Nothing you're doing sounds cruel.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:50 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and to piggyback on what Lutoslawski said, there is probably more than one old friend who would be more than happy to help you with this. If I were an old friend of someone in your situation, I'd be over to help before you could hang up the phone. I'm sure I'm not an anomaly.
posted by cooker girl at 4:53 PM on March 9, 2011 [18 favorites]

I've been here. Once I moved out, I called my landlord to inform him that I was moving out and why. He told me that as long as one of the people on the lease were still living there, he didn't care. He just took my name off the lease. YMMV.

I bet your friends will be there for you in your time of need. Call them. I moved all my stuff out when the db was at work. I turned off the cable, internet, and electricity, which were all in my name. I didn't feel bad, nor should you.

Take care of YOU!
posted by zombiehoohaa at 4:56 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

And do I just not pay the bills that are under my name? He's a jerk, but it seems really cruel to just cut off his electricity.

Call the utility companies. When I've been the one to move out when they've been in my name, I can call to have them taken out of my name, get a final bill, and remaining roommates/etc. generally have between 14-30 days to switch the account after that into their own name before a shut-off occurs.

This is the least of your concerns, though--worry about you.
posted by availablelight at 5:00 PM on March 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yup, if I were your old friend, I'd be over in a heartbeat with MrTaff to help you out...even if we had previously not had contact in years or even if we'd had an acrimonious split, we'd still help. Call your old friends and explain the situation honestly.
posted by taff at 5:00 PM on March 9, 2011 [10 favorites]

Depending where you are, there are places where the possibility of domestic violence (or actual domestic violence) is a legal reason to remove your name from the lease.
posted by ddaavviidd at 5:03 PM on March 9, 2011

Just nthing the idea that old friends might really want to help you. They may have just been sitting around thinking, "I wish Miss Anonymous would get out of that terrible relationship so we can be friends again."
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:05 PM on March 9, 2011 [9 favorites]

I know a woman who was in a similar circumstance. she did the "wait til he goes to work, then get out with her stuff" approach and it worked well. not cruel - efficient and safe.

good luck. and, yeah, complete strangers on the net are rooting for you.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:06 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Where will you be going after? Do you have a place lined up? Can you start sneaking stuff he won't notice out ahead of time? That might help.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:06 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are willing, please have a mod post your location. If you are in my area, I will drop anything I can to help. (I am a DV survivor, it'd be paying it back to near-strangers who helped me leave when I needed to.)

1. You can ask the police to help you move if you need more time to leave - explain that there is a potential for violence, and ask them to escort you while you move your stuff out.

2. Setup a shutoff date for the bills - the companies should know how to do this, and your ex will be given a timeframe to set the bills up himself.

3. I'm afraid you may be stuck with the landlady, if you are on the lease and don't think you can talk your way out of it.

4. Make sure your new place of residence, new phone number and possibly any other ways of contacting you are unlisted or unknown to him.
4a. Let your job know IMMEDIATELY if he starts stalking you if you think they'll be sympathetic.
posted by FritoKAL at 5:08 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

oh, and i've had movers take half the stuff in a place before without issue. if you do this, go to a stationary store and get a bunch of bright orange adhesive dots and stick it to all the stuff you want the movers to take. it might speed things up for them since it'll be faster for them to find the next thing that should go.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:08 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've been where you are.

I called my mother one weekend after that last shove was my deciding moment. She told me to pack my shit and move.

It was a Monday. He went to work. I called my employer and told them the whole story. I packed my car with as much of my stuff as it would hold. Me, my dogs, my important stuff and my car hauled ass out of there. I left a lot of furniture, clothes, and other things that were less important than my freedom. I drove literally across the country to a new life and I don't regret any of it. I don't miss the stuff I left behind, I don't regret the fabulous job I left behind, and I don't regret for a freaking minute that I left that man high and dry.

Just GO.
posted by TLCplz at 5:19 PM on March 9, 2011 [36 favorites]

Don't prioritize your stuff over your safety. If scheduling or finances are such that you can't take the couch/dresser/other large heavy thing, leave them. You can get more stuff. And yes, please do contact your old friends. Like others here, if I were a friend like that, I'd help in whatever way I could, even if we hadn't talked to each other for a long time.
posted by rtha at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

You might google "safety plan domestic violence" to find resources about planning to leave. Here's one.

 Children (if it is safe)
 Keys to car, house, work
 Extra clothes
 Important papers for you and your children
 Birth certificates
 Social security cards
 School and medical records
 Bankbooks, credit cards
 Driver's license
 Car registration
 Welfare identification
 Passports, green cards, work permits
 Lease/rental agreement
 Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
 Insurance papers
 PPO, divorce papers, custody orders
 Address book
 Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
 Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)

What if he comes home early and they're still there?

When you schedule the movers, and when they arrive, you might tell the supervisor that you're leaving because your boyfriend has been yelling and pushing you around, and ask how they'd like to handle the small chance that he'll arrive home while they're doing the moving -- do they want you to also hire a "bouncer" or have the cops there? Emphasize that they should not tell him where the stuff is going.
posted by salvia at 5:21 PM on March 9, 2011 [16 favorites]

I second savlia's advice about creating a safety plan. When you decide to leave an abusive relationship, the violence can suddenly escalate. If you think about it, the abuser is losing the person that he/she has had control over for so long and they can become desperate to regain that control. Here is a link to safety planning from the National Domestic Violence Hotline's website.

Getting your stuff out while he is not around is smart, not "horrible and cruel." You need to prioritize your safety first.

You may not be able to get everything out in just a few hours. You could prioritize packing some things - any important documents, ID's, your work clothes, any medicine you take, some toiletries. Later, perhaps you can return to the apartment with an escort to retrieve the rest of your things. But for now, just focus on the essentials.

Other things to consider:
I don't know what your financial situation is, but try to scrape together a small emergency fund to get you through this transition if you don't already have savings. Also, if you have any joint accounts with your boyfriend or if he has access to your credit cards, etc, be prepared to close those accounts quickly.

Change passwords for any of your accounts - email, Facebook, banking, voicemail, et cetera. Set your privacy settings so that he cannot see your profile(s) on social networking sites anymore. So many friends I know have discovered that their ex-boyfriends were cyber-stalking them.

All of the above advice is solid. Good luck and please be safe!
posted by pinetree at 5:46 PM on March 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

Oh, and by "the above advice" I meant the previous commenters, of course.
posted by pinetree at 5:47 PM on March 9, 2011

Nthing the advice to reach out. I'm not that nice - I can be a real jerk sometimes! - but if a woman I'd fallen out of touch with came to me with your situation, I'd drop everything to help her move.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:00 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

How do I get everything out in just a few hours?

Other people have most of the relevant stuff covered, so I'm going to focus on this question.

Pack as much as you can in advance, starting now. Stock up on packing tape. Books, CDs and DVDs are quick to box up, so start with those. Clothes and shoes are second-fastest, and kitchen stuff is slowest (especially glass and ceramic things that may have to be wrapped in newspaper.)

There's bound to be somewhere nobody usually looks where you can hide the boxes for a day or two: behind a sofa, under the bed, in your closet (once you've packed clothes and shoes), etc. Smaller boxes are easier to hide (and better for books, CDs and DVDs anyway.) Keep one suitcase with a week's needs: underwear, socks, clothes, pajamas, bathroom-stuff bag. And extra toilet paper, because you never know.

If your soon-to-be-ex notices the boxes, don't make a big thing of it. Just say you're donating a bunch of stuff; or that you decided to get rid of your books/CDs now that you have digital versions. He likely won't notice that your kitchen stuff is missing: it might be being washed, after all, or in a different drawer.

To mark your furniture with orange dots or Post-Its is a good idea. If any of the furniture needs to be disassembled to get out the door, start that immediately when the STBEx leaves for work. It helps to have someone else there, but you can do it alone, and it's remarkably quick with just 2 screwdrivers, a straight-head and a Phillips-head. Have Zipoc bags handy for all the little screws, ideally a Ziploc bag for each piece of furniture. When done, tape the disassembled pieces together by wrapping packing tape around them a few times, and tape the Ziploc bag to the bundle. If you have all this done before the movers come, it will save time and money. Good, reliable movers will help with this and any bits of packing that aren't done (time spent on this goes on your tab, of course, but that's the tradeoff.)

Depending on your budget for the move, maybe the movers can put an extra person on the team. 3 people can move your stuff a lot faster than 2. When you phone to give them an estimate of how much stuff there is, make sure they send a big enough van to get everything in one load instead of having to make multiple trips.

Experienced movers are like a tornado (in a good way). Cowboy movers are like a tornado (in a bad way.) Don't just go with the cheapest estimate; get recommendations from friends/coworkers if possible, or at least check up on reviews.

4) Are there any complications I'm not thinking of?

If you know the address you're moving to, go to your bank and give them your new address now. Do the same with any other mailing lists you care about, magazine subscriptions, etc.

As soon as you're out and somewhere else, change all your online passwords, especially email and IM accounts; even the ones you don't think he knows. After you pay the movers, cancel your credit/debit cards as though you had lost them and get new ones in case he tries to charge you for something. You may want to ask your bank to change your account number too, when you go there to change your address (do not neglect this; the last thing you want is him getting hold of your bank statement after you've left.) Change your mobile phone number and block his number (the people in the phone shop will show you how to do this.) If you have a personal work phone number, ask your work to change that too. Maybe arrange with a coworker to travel in to work together for a while in case he waits for you there.

Other people will have more ideas on this front, I'm sure, as will your local domestic violence centre's staff. Good luck, and kudos for having the courage to get out.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:07 PM on March 9, 2011 [7 favorites]

How do I get everything out in just a few hours?

In my opinion, a key to this would be just plain forgetting about the furniture. Let him have it, grab the important stuff that salvia listed above and have the movers grab that shit and get OUT.

Unless you already have an apartment or house open and waiting for you to walk in, what would you do with it anyway? Don't pay to store a bunch of furniture unless they're priceless antiques from your dead grandma (and if they are, well, I'd try to take that, I suppose).

Buy a new sofa once you're settled somewhere.
posted by tristeza at 6:12 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if your landlady adores him, make sure she doesn't have your new address.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:14 PM on March 9, 2011 [8 favorites]

How do I get everything out in just a few hours?

Agree with what many have essentially said - stuff is generally replaceable. Get the keepsakes and things you feel like you can't replace, as well as all the papers and other essentials salvia mentioned above, everything else is gravy. What's important is your safety.

(also, for reference, I'd be driving along with FritoKAL to help out if you're anywhere in our area)

Whatever happens, please keep us updated? As mentioned, you've got a lot of people from the internet in your corner and hoping for your safe escape from this situation.
posted by Tknophobia at 6:17 PM on March 9, 2011

Salvia's advice about what to take first is spot-on. If you can gather any of this tomorrow, I'd do it and stash it somewhere off-site. If he gets wind, children and pets and documents are often how abusers make leaving more difficult. In fact, alienating your friends was one of the first things he did along those lines.

Having those things alone will speed you on your way. As for everything else, I can assure you from my own experience that you can leave with nothing but your life, and not only survive, but thrive. And, you'll find out who your old friends are, and you'll make new ones. It's not a bad thing to have to start over with nothing. Let the stuff go, and leave room for new things to come into your life. Maybe it's better to travel light for a while.
posted by peagood at 6:33 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

1) Who cares about horrible and cruel (and no, it's not. It's NECESSARY, and he brought in on himself). Call anyone, friend, family, or co-worker, who has ever expressed concern for you, tell them you're going to take their advice & get the Hell out, and could they please drop everything & help you get this done. Someone will help you with this, you just need to reach out. Plus, having someone else there should he turn up --even if it is a paid mover-- is protection for you.

2) Don't call his friends. I have no idea about professional movers, but you could run an ad for a mover on Craigslist. They're not liable to be asking a lot of questions as they're shifting your stuff. I still say find someone you know to draft, though: They will be more aware of the importance of the time constraint, and more willing to throw in for you if something awkward does come up.

3) If there are bills in your name only, you can terminate the service to get your name off, I believe. Co-names on the lease are a bit more tricky. And would you stop with the "cruel" bit? When did turning off the electricity (something he can turn right back on if he wants to), become more important than the fear of physical harm? You need to let it go. It's over; you know that, and I know you know that because you're getting out. What he wants and feels can't matter when your skin is in danger _from_him_. I'm not saying an eye for an eye, I'm just saying that it's this kind of thinking that's left you stuck in this bad place. If you want to ponder questions like that, do it AFTER you've gotten the Hell out of Dodge.

4) Do you know where you're putting your stuff? If not, get a storage unit. It can sit & be safe until you get yourself situated. Storage can be had fairly cheaply, too.

Lots of great advice upthread. You can do this. You will be amazed at how promising the future looks once you get clear of this drama & fear.
posted by Ys at 6:42 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

You may want to get p.o. box now, so that you have an address to use immediately that won't lead to your new location. Getting a storage unit is a great idea - you could pack stuff up and take it to there every day once he goes to work til your actual big moving day.

Best of luck to you. This is going to be tough, but oh, the freedom when you're away from him; you can be you again, and it will be wonderful :)
posted by lemniskate at 6:54 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would probably gather the most important, cannot-leave-behind items (like personal papers and keys) and put them in a bag or a backpack tonight, so at least you have those ready to go. You didn't mention a pet, but if that's an additional complication, you can usually board a dog or cat at a vet overnight or for a few days on short notice.

You're not being cruel or horrible. Even knowing that, you still might feel guilty. But it is a thousand times better to feel guilty and work through those feelings in a safe place, rather than staying with someone who will hurt you.
posted by lucysparrow at 6:59 PM on March 9, 2011

Nthing what everyone else has said. I am in Atlanta. I would come help you & I know many, many other MeFites in all sorts of locations would do the same.
Good luck & good for you for making the best decision for your well being.
posted by pointystick at 7:03 PM on March 9, 2011

This might be overthinking it, but you'd have way more time to get your stuff out of there if you can convince him and a few of his buddies to have a weekend skiing, or in Vegas, or whatnot. Let him go have boyfun with his boys for a weekend! Then slip out the back, jack.

Of course, if you feel you need to get out as fast as possible, that kind of trickery and planning might not be a good idea. Protect yourself above all else.
posted by vrakatar at 7:27 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Plan ahead. Sneak stuff out that won't be noticed. Make sure you get documents. It's quite possible that you won't be able to go back, so assume that anything you don't take on your way out is gone now. If there's something that's going to cause an ownership dispute, just leave it - better losing it than giving him a reason to complain to you.
Talk to utilities, to your old landlord, to your new landlord about your special situation. When I had to go on the run, I a complex to take me in despite my not having most of the documentation they required.
Get a new phone. The calls will probably start coming fast and furious, and they will not be nice. You don't need that. After a period of time, you can call (from a pay phone) to see if you can get your remaining stuff (assuming it hasn't been destroyed). If not, set up a filter on your e-mail so you won't get harassed that way, too.
Good luck.
posted by Gilbert at 7:55 PM on March 9, 2011

If you're near Boston I fully offer any help I can give. best of luck.
posted by ghostbikes at 7:57 PM on March 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you're anywhere near Philly, I have a strong back and workable knees and would help in any way I can.
posted by skyl1n3 at 8:05 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another volunteer for a mover-helper in NYC. But in the end, please know that stuff is just stuff. Get yourself safe first.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:07 PM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

All the stuff on the list from salvia is great AND can be moved out tomorrow. Then, assuming you think the physical risk is not everyday but comes with him finding out you are moving, I would plan about a week or two to do this. I would arrange the movers whomever that turns out to be (friend or pro) but during that week I would remove most of my clothes and personal objects that are not in plain sight. I would also pack in plain sight so he will not know. I would ask him if he has any old clothes or items he wants to donate to charity because you are getting some stuff together. Put a lot of your clothes in one huge black contractor garbage bag and anything he gives you in another. Leave in room ready to go. Do the same thing with your knick knacks you want, and seal the box. Write "donation" or something on the side.

I would take digital photos of the entire apartment and its contents. Use several angles. This will give you a record of what you have if you have to leave anything behind and will help you plan in advance with your moving team what goes, what stays and what is critical. Planning will help with shortening the time needed as well as not leaving anything behind.

Having a specific plan is the key. The real variable, no matter how much you plan is your landlady. She can stop it, she can alert bf or she can tacitly accept it. Is she on premises? Do you know what her schedule is?

I would also alert the local police or precinct. This will have little affect in some areas, but it puts them on notice and it has no real downside unless bf is a cop or has direct connections. And as one earlier comment suggested, if you can plan this around bf being out of town for a specific amount of time that is hard to change like with a plane ticket or going to an event, then you are that much better off.

But having said all that, your safety is way more important than your shit. Take what you can carry and take your sanity and gtfo if you are at all in imminent danger.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:17 PM on March 9, 2011

Re: getting a post office box. Choose a location near your office to minimize your trail. You can arrange for your mail to be forwarded on line via immediately.

You may want to introduce yourself to the police in the jurisdiction where you live now to let them know that you'll be moving out on [day] and that you're concerned; they may escort you or just increase their presence in your neighborhood. Find out how to obtain a restraining order so it goes smoothly. Program the relevant numbers into your phone.

Never be alone with your STBEx again. Good luck; if you're in my neck of the woods I'll help too.
posted by carmicha at 8:22 PM on March 9, 2011

I was in your shoes three years ago. The difference being I was the only name on the lease and the bills but I couldn't have him removed from my apartment (believe me, I tried) so I had to be the one to leave. So I packed what I could in a bag and got the hell out of Dodge via Greyhound while he was at work.

Anyway, I left behind the furniture, work, friends, family, and pretty much everything except basically what's on the list posted before. Honestly, if you think he will physically harm you it is far more important to get YOURSELF out than to get your things out. Make use of ANY resource you can, women's shelters, friends - even those you haven't spoken with in a while -- family (the more distant, the better), whatever.

Be careful, and best of luck.
posted by patheral at 8:49 PM on March 9, 2011

PO box sounds like a good idea. I'd plan to take as little as possible--let him keep the furniture, big/bulky items, etc.

And NO, of course it's not horrible. To hell with this guy, seriously.
posted by Neofelis at 10:36 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm in L.A. and would volunteer myself and my guy's strong backs and friendly faces. We have two vehicles and can even possibly help with short-term storage space, or help you get a decent deal at a local storage company.

We're also skilled at covert ops (e.g. helping you move out while cheerfully convincing your landlady something else entirely is going on at the same time, if she stops by).

If you're in California, get in touch with us. If you're anywhere, get in touch with MeFi. None of us want you to have to do this along.
posted by arnicae at 12:08 AM on March 10, 2011 [4 favorites]

Yep, I can help rally some troops in Los Angeles if need be, as well.

I know there are a lot of helpful, generous Mefites out there who would be more than happy to be on your team. Please consider following up with a moderator know where you're located if you would like some help from the internet.
posted by scody at 12:29 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

guh, that last sentence is garbled, but I think you get what I'm saying.
posted by scody at 12:30 AM on March 10, 2011

Definitely call the police and ask if they will protect you while you remove yourself from a dangerous living situation. I know two people who did this (separate cities, one in Connecticut and one in suburban Chicago). For each, a pair of officers showed up; one stuck with the person moving out, and one guarded the door. The person the Chicago acquaintance was escaping happened to show up during the process, and the cop on the door kept them from interacting.

The abuser ended up in the back of the cruiser for threatening the officer, and then got busted on outstanding warrants. This let my acquaintance get the hell out of Illinois before the abuser was out of jail. OP, if this guy has any outstanding warrants that you know about, please give police the opportunity to be involved.
posted by catlet at 12:40 AM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would also be available to help if you are in the Boston area.
posted by InkaLomax at 4:07 AM on March 10, 2011

Also helpful in the later stages is Slydial, it lets you call someone's cell phone and leave a message straight to their voicemail. It can allow you to respond to issues that you need to without getting pulled into arguments each time. Boy I wish that had been available 20 years ago!
posted by InkaLomax at 4:11 AM on March 10, 2011

When changing passwords to your email and other accounts, also change the 'security questions'. e.g. What was your first teacher's name? What was your first pet's name? Where was your mother born?

Since these questions are often about your family and personal history, they are a very easy way for someone who knows you well to gain access to your accounts.

One other idea - consider making checklists of everything you have to do and take, both in advance and on the day itself. This will help you do everything in the right order, feel more in control of the process and reduce your fear that you might forget something when stressed.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:31 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might want to get a spare phone. I was in a bad place once and the man ripped up my phone with his bare hands in front of me. I bolted. And was so incredibly grateful to have a way to call for help when I stopped the car. One of those cheapie pay-as-you-go phones from walmart can be had, fully loaded from walmart, radioshack, whereever for about 15 bucks. They take about 24hrs to boot once activated.
posted by Ys at 5:32 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I can also help if you're in the Boston area. I have no car and can't drive, but I can pack boxes and lift them and have no problem doing it during a work day.
posted by lydhre at 5:51 AM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

btw: I am in the boston area, and i own a truck.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:18 AM on March 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Chicago volunteer - don't own a car but i'm a 6'4" dude, fwiw
posted by karmaportrait at 6:46 AM on March 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you are in Tennessee or any of its border states, I would be happy to drive to you. I will do anything I can to help a fellow Mefite.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:52 AM on March 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm in Albuquerque, NM and can help out if you're in the ABQ/Santa Fe/Cruces area. Can probably get ahold of a big Subaru for boxes as well as rally some troops to help out if necessary. I am not very large but have an extremely effective death glare and some big friends.

Good luck.
posted by NoraReed at 9:29 AM on March 10, 2011

I'm in Calgary AB, happy to help.
posted by blueberrypicasso at 9:29 AM on March 10, 2011

Nthing the "just take the papers and get the hell out." Anything else you can salvage is a bonus, but not worth drama let alone the threat of physical violence.

Doesn't matter if it seems cruel. You have listed more than enough reasons to cut this off.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:35 AM on March 10, 2011

Also supporting the suggestion that you have an op share your general location. Obviously there are a lot of people here willing to support you.

If it's Seattle, WA, I may be able to help.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:36 AM on March 10, 2011

Two things I don't think anyone has said:

a. Even if you leave stuff behind, it is still yours. You can return with a police officer later on, and take it. Get the crucial stuff, but don't feel you have to leave the rest behind forever. It's still yours.

b. You don't have to give the correct answer to your "security questions." If the question is "Mother's maiden name," there is nothing to prevent you writing "Albuquerque" or "Gadzooks." It's harder for you to remember, yes, but no one can look it up.
posted by musofire at 10:09 AM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: This is a followup from the asker.
I'm near New Orleans.

Thank you so much for the kindness and wonderful advice. I did call and old friend and she said almost verbatim what BlahLaLa suggested she might.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:12 AM on March 10, 2011 [6 favorites]

I can help in Ohio. I'm a small woman, but I've got a car.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:12 AM on March 10, 2011

Glad to hear that your old friend is still your friend. Good luck with the leaving.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:34 PM on March 10, 2011

Since you're in New Orleans I found this directory of DV resources nearby which might be helpful to you.

I'm thrilled to hear you've reconnected with an old friend. Best of luck to you with this--I've been there myself. If I weren't all the way in San Francisco I'd be there in a heartbeat to help you move (and maybe kick some shins).

Please keep us posted and please get out as soon as humanly possible.
posted by ohyouknow at 2:54 PM on March 10, 2011

Yay! Good luck!
posted by maxwelton at 6:45 PM on March 10, 2011

Wonderful news! Good luck with your process. You're doing the right thing.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:22 AM on March 11, 2011

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