Silver lining: my gut was right.
November 17, 2018 5:55 AM   Subscribe

This is me. My husband is cheating on me. I'm isolated, financially dependent upon him, and have no idea what to do next.

So, I tried to be more understanding about my husband's need for social activities. I went to a couple of group events with his colleagues (including the woman in question), I've been inviting him to things with my own friends and colleagues, and we've been discussing ways to travel to see our friends and family (or have them come to us) during the next few months. In spite of all of this, I still had an uneasy feeling about his relationship with his younger colleague. He insisted that he had stopped meeting with her one-on-one and was no longer texting her about anything that wasn't work-related. It was like she had disappeared from his life, which is odd, since they do work together; it was weird not to hear her name even casually anymore. I felt like I was losing my grip on reality, so - I am not proud of this - I looked at his phone. He has not only been expressing his love for this colleague (during and after our last conversations about this), but he has driven to meet her at a third location (not her home, not our home) to have sex (graphic descriptions in the texts) on days when they have off of work but I do not.

I no longer believe that this relationship can be repaired. I have asked so many times over the last year whether something is happening, saying that I want to strengthen our marriage, and he has lied to my face about this. Each time I've asked him to dial it back, he's insisted that he's not doing anything inappropriate, and each time, I find out that it's gone even further than before. I've asked if we could look for a marriage counselor, and I've found a few I'd like to meet, but he hasn't made the effort to weigh in on the practitioner or to use his insurance information to arrange an appointment. Even if he were to come clean about these get-togethers, I don't know how I could believe him going forward. I'm completely devastated, but I'm now prepared - mentally - to leave my marriage.

So... what are my next steps?

We don't have much of a social circle out here, and I don't know who I could ask for advice about a lawyer, or a place to stay (or for him to stay)... or, or, or. I can't depend upon my family or even my close friends for material or financial support - they all live hundreds of miles away, and in my family's case, my parents are in worse financial shape than I am. I have my own bank account, but there's almost nothing in it (since I took a low-paying job to come here, but we share household expenses 50/50), and my credit card balance is too high for a hotel stay, plane tickets, etc.

What do I do? The life that I have here revolves around my husband's professional life. I feel so alone.

I don't want him to know what I know as I make preparations to leave. I just want to end things as smoothly as possible, and to protect myself. Where do I even begin, and how do I do that without tipping him off?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Start with a lawyer and do exactly what they tell you.
posted by poppunkcat at 6:35 AM on November 17, 2018 [60 favorites]

Are there any local bar association listings online of lawyers? Or could you call them, discreetly and when you're alone? One way or another, you need a lawyer, even just a free initial phone consultation, so you know what your options are. If you don't feel like this can be repaired, then that's your necessary next step.

Also, go to the doctor and get a check-up and STD testing ASAP. That's important, and hopefully it can just be done discreetly as part of a regular check-up. If you've already had a check-up recently, maybe there's a clinic where you can get discreet testing.

You also need a therapist for yourself, stat, if you don't have one already, because it's much more expensive, so I hear, to pay a lawyer for therapy, essentially, while you're working out what to even do. A therapist might also be able to recommend other resources (e.g., resources for women in abusive situations that might also be available to someone in your situation). Do you think you could find a way to set up therapist appointments for yourself, even if your husband would be paying for it ultimately, under the guise of needing to talk to someone about how you're adjusting in the new location?

Also, one thing I've seen suggested if things are dire enough is to try to take out more credit, so you can do what you need to do to make it through this and get away, and worry about the debt later. You might look into whether that's at all an option. Otherwise, maybe you could start picking up shifts somewhere or freelance work under the notion of just trying to get out and meet more people and have some petty cash for the holidays?

Hang in there. To get through something like this can take the steeliness of a spy. But you can do it.
posted by limeonaire at 6:39 AM on November 17, 2018 [16 favorites]

This is so difficult, and I'm so sorry you're in this position. For what it's worth, I think you're right that the relationship isn't salvageable given the lack of care and respect (and refusal to change that) your husband has demonstrated. I also think you were within your rights to check his phone. He was deceiving you, you had probable cause, and your only other option was to continue to live with his deceptions until he gave himself away/asked for a divorce, which I don't see as an acceptable alternative for you at all.

One possible first step for you might be to start thinking about how you want the new chapter in your life to go. It sounds to me like you don't want to stay in the region you are in. Where do you want to live? What kind of job do you want? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can begin a job search and look for low cost housing options in that area. If you want to move back to where your parents are, consider whether you might stay with them and pay room and board, which will help both them and you.

As to having money to move, is it possible for you to renegotiate the division of household expenses with your husband? You can frame it as you wanting to get your credit card debt knocked down. Is it possible for you find a way to work overtime, take a second job, or develop some sort of side hustle so that you have a way to pay down debt and save for plane tickets and the cost of setting up a new home? (A second benefit of you working more will be less time spent with your husband.)

As to getting a lawyer, unless your husband has money that you think you'll be entitled to, I might hold off on that for the time being, but if you want to find out where you stand legally by having an initial consultation/advice, check with your local bar association for the names of local divorce attorneys.

Best wishes to you. I know this is tough, but I think once you make the break and have time to adjust you'll be better off in the long run.
posted by orange swan at 6:40 AM on November 17, 2018 [14 favorites]

I'm really sorry. This sucks. You now have to think about what's best for you. Without him knowing, gather evidence of infidelity. Make copies of his financial information. Do whatever you have to to secure an exit strategy (money, suitcase) should it come to a sudden need to depart. Make sure you have a friend you can trust to drop this information and suitcase with. And then see a lawyer.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:41 AM on November 17, 2018 [11 favorites]

Follow-up note to make sure you take this seriously -- if this man has actively and constantly deceived you in your marriage, and you have sacrificed your own life and career to be with him and in this living situation, you should absolutely ensure that your divorce gives you everything you are absolutely entitled to. You deserve a shark of a lawyer. Don't him weasel his way out of it by negotiating with you. Have him served with surprise, and answer every question he has with "talk to my lawyer."
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:46 AM on November 17, 2018 [196 favorites]

So I don't have a full answer to your question (maybe I'll come back later with some more thoughts) but you should keep in mind that situations like this are why alimony exists. Definitely have that conversation with your lawyer, once you have one.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:57 AM on November 17, 2018 [20 favorites]

There is a very good chance that once he knows you know, he’ll try to repair your relationship, promise to go to counseling, swear to never see her again. Please don’t let him fool you. He has proven himself a liar, over and over. Trust how you feel right now.

I wish I had practical advice for you about lawyers and such. I’m sorry this is happening. You deserve someone who, baseline, respects you enough to tell you the truth.
posted by greermahoney at 7:00 AM on November 17, 2018 [55 favorites]

Try to get some of your debt paid down. He makes a lot more money than you but you split expenses 50/50? That's just wrong! Ask him to treat expenses more equitably now.

Will his job be in jeopardy if the truth comes out? Is he her supervisor?

If your parents have room for you and you know you're likely to find work there and you have friends there that could be your best option.

Find the shark lawyer to make sure you get everything you're entitled to, including spousal maintenance.

And take care of yourself, see a therapist if you can, and get plenty of exercise. Long walks, online yoga classes or other exercises. It will both help with the stress and make you feel stronger.
posted by mareli at 7:00 AM on November 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

Im 100% with seanmpucket. You need to get a lawyer. Your lost income due to moving markets, his physical infidelity etc... All of that has a material cost. I know that's a gross sentiment to some. But agreed that you need the steeliness of a cold war spy right now. Protect yourself. Good luck.
posted by chasles at 7:04 AM on November 17, 2018 [48 favorites]

Plan to file in about a year. In the meantime, get those household expenses shifted to something more equitable. Start squirreling away money. Do you have a joint household card? Cashback on groceries, etc. He has betrayed you; you need to protect yourself. Gather evidence. Take photos on your phone of the stuff on his. Start (on your phone only, in Incognito if you can) researching divorce splits in your state.

I am so sorry.
posted by corb at 7:09 AM on November 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

I agree with the comments above that you need a lawyer and you deserve to be made financially whole.
So this comment is for the immediate moment. You say you wish you would like to go to a hotel but can't afford it, which indeed gets insanely expensive quickly. But you also mentioned you and your husband were discussing visiting friends and family for the holidays. Do you have any family member or friend who you can confide in, and who can lend you money for a plane or bus ticket , so you can go visit them alone, without your husband? It seems you really want to get out of there soon and I don't blame you: just acting like everything is normal so you don't tip him off sounds very stressful. It might be very good for you to be able to leave, have support, and begin to plan from there. Best of luck, you're going to be so much happier when you're out of the woods and able to live a better life.
posted by nantucket at 7:10 AM on November 17, 2018 [15 favorites]

1. I know that when I come to a conclusion like the one you’ve come to, I feel like I must take the next steps ASAP. Like move out today. But time is your friend here. Stick to your guns, yes, but take some time to make a good plan. Others have covered aspects of preparation.

2. An attorney can help you access marital assets that are yours. Certainly in my state, 50% of all assets are yours. And money that he spends on his affair is money that you can claw back. Bottom line here is that you’re a victim of financial infidelity and abuse, and this is one area where the legal system should be helpful to you to make things more equitable.

3. Read You’ve been chumped here, and that’s an ideal online community for you.

4. There are a few good divorce related podcasts— “breaking free” and “divorce and other things you can handle”are pretty great.

Good luck. This ain’t easy.
posted by u2604ab at 7:30 AM on November 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

You will get through this and be happier on the other side. Go see a lawyer ASAP (they are cheaper than you think and not seeing one will be very expensive). Get access to joint money in any way you can (I agree it is VERY disturbing that you moved for his job, lowered your income, AND are paying way more than your fair share of expenses). He has been profiting off you while also lying to you and that is really gross behaviour. Don’t expect him to improve. Do you have a car? Suddenly it needs a major, major repair and you need the money from him. Ask for an expensive Xmas present that can be easily returned. Any expenses you pay he reimburses you for, inflate the costs (do you do grocery shopping? Ask for cash-back to be added to the bill or buy a few expensive things than can be immediately returned). Any expenses you can claim to have paid but don’t, keep the money instead. Contact his HR directly about insurance info to pay for the therapist for you If you have access to his bank accounts on the day you leave transfer half the money into your back account and withdraw it as cash (in my jurisdiction this is legal, hence you need a lawyer to confirm). I don’t think you should stay, you aren’t in the headspace for the long game because his psychological abuse has gone on too long.

Call off sick a day next week and figure out what you want - this is YOUR life. How do you want to live it? Where do you want to live it? What do you want to be doing in five years, ten years? Then when you go to the lawyer you can decide on legal and practical steps from here to there. (If you want a recommendation of a *fantastic* social worker with a LOT of experience in this area who will spend three hours over Skype exploring your options for about $300 please PM me). Do you need to stay in that area if you are in a low-paid job? Your family and friends may not have money but would probably be happy to put a roof over your head, alternatively, any divorced women at your work you can approach? I know if a co-worker, even one I barely knew, told me she was separating from her husband I would offer her a place to crash and to give stability as she joins the club. You probably have people in your life you can rely on, you just don’t know it yet.

This has been a shitty year for you. The next year will be much, much better.
posted by saucysault at 7:38 AM on November 17, 2018 [41 favorites]

Find out all you can about your husband‘s finances.
The number one mistake women make, according to a divorce lawyer I know, is to have no idea of what money comes in and what goes out. Like, how high is your utilities bill, on what accounts is the money etc.
posted by Omnomnom at 7:40 AM on November 17, 2018 [28 favorites]

Before taking any of the above advice (all good!) get a second phone. If you're looking at his, he's probably looking through yours. If the phones on a joint account, he can get a call history from the phone company. Start a thorough cleaning of your data trail, wipe your current phone of saved messages, change all social media and other passwords, use ccleaner to wipe out your browser history, set your browser to "delete history on exit."

Sorry to sound militaristic, but you have to do this as a surprise attack. Get what assets you can in your own personal account (that he can't touch,) have him served away from home, change the locks on the house, and get information on filing for an order of protection.

Obviously, start with an attorney. Maybe check at some local women's shelters for information.

I'm so sorry you're going through this.
posted by Marky at 8:12 AM on November 17, 2018 [23 favorites]

Nthing corb. Collecting evidence seems like a good practical step. Can you use your phone to take photos of text messages on his phone? Are there bills or bank statements around the house that could be photographed or photocopied?

I don't know if you're near a Bed, Bath & Beyond, but they are an especially easy place to return things to.
posted by the_blizz at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I believe lawyers offer a free consultation and you can likely figure out which ones are shark divorce lawyers from their profiles online pretty easily. Find one you like and take their advice.

Try to pay down your debt as much as you can. See if you can qualify for a balance transfer offer if your credit card interest rate is the standard 20+% - there are lots of cards that offer longterm low or even 0% interest rates so you have a set period of time to pay off your debt and some breathing room.

I would start applying for jobs back home, and think about whether you could handle living with relatives or friends back home for 3-6 months while you get a new job. If you were on good terms with your prior employers don't be afraid to tell them things aren't working out in new place and you're considering returning.

Use the holidays to visit your family and friends and make a plan in concert with legal advice about timing your exit.

You sound like a really kind and good person, so remind yourself that it's your right in this case to be as selfish as possible and take care of yourself, this is the time to lean on your loved ones.
posted by lafemma at 8:15 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you're in the US, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants has little fact sheets on divorce in each state with links, focused on financial details. has some great resources, also tailored to each state.

This .pdf checklist from a Maryland professional divorce mediator's web site is a good starting place for the range of issues that may need to be resolved in the course of the divorce.

Definitely get an attorney, but it can be worthwhile to get your bearings and get an idea of what sort of questions you're going to ask them. There's also the MeFi Wiki “Get a lawyer” page.
posted by XMLicious at 8:29 AM on November 17, 2018 [13 favorites]

To add to the excellent advice above...if you don’t have kids consider picking up a second job, both to get you out of the house more hours than you regular job, and to give you a boost to your income. Every little bit counts and you might be able to pick up some holiday related shifts. You could also look for a house sitting gig. Also, if you have things you can sell to fund a first/last deposit that might get you to where you want to be...all this after you talk to a lawyer.
posted by warriorqueen at 8:35 AM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Even though your close friends are far away, they can still be a big help, so reach out to them. They can offer emotional support over the phone, help research divorce lawyers and other resources, even come to your town for a "girls trip" and accompany you to some appointments. If you're like most people, you hate saying you need help, but I would want to know if my close friend was in such a difficult spot. Life is long enough, you'll get a chance to return the favor, but right now let them help you get back on your feet.

Also: I don't know who I could ask for advice about ... a place ... for him to stay. You don't have to make arrangements for him! Stop worrying about his well being. He hasn't been worrying about yours.
posted by sdrawkcaSSAb at 8:48 AM on November 17, 2018 [21 favorites]

Yes, here's a thing that does not matter: where he stays when you (after you've silently gotten your ducks in a row with the help of a good lawyer who will be paid from your divorce settlement) kick him the fuck out. Under a goddamn bridge? At his girlfriend's house? The man's got options.
posted by tapir-whorf at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2018 [25 favorites]

You deserve so much better than this. A happy and fulfilled life. One that doesn't involve being stressed out, betrayed, and treated unfairly by someone who is meant to be a partner in life. He is definitely not that, and maybe one day you'll find someone that will be everything you never knew you wanted.

You can do this. Believe in yourself. You deserve to get out of this crappy situation he put you in. Remember, every second you spend wasting your energy on him is a second that you could have spent being happy with someone else. Life is too short and precious to waste on lying, cheating, backstabbers.

You can do this.
posted by lunastellasol at 9:18 AM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m so very sorry. Seconding to get a lawyer and do exactly what they say. Be extremely careful. You can’t trust that your husband will be fair or reasonable, unfortunately. Just keep your head down and quietly prepare as your lawyer advises you to do. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It is going to be brutal for a while, but you’ll come out the other side.
posted by bighappyhairydog at 9:43 AM on November 17, 2018

As you've been paying more than a fair share of the bills, document your earnings versus his and what you've been paying for versus him. Get the money back that you've been disproportionately spending on your life together.
posted by toomanycurls at 9:47 AM on November 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

Change your passwords on everything to ones he won't be able to guess or recover; make sure your "security" questions aren't things he'd know, like where you grew up or your first pet's name.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:48 AM on November 17, 2018 [15 favorites]

Get a credit report and double check that he's not listed as a secondary on any of your cards.

Try to get in touch with old friends. You may find out that they drifted away because they hated him and didnt want to insult you. It's good to have someone help shit talk your partner when you're trying to shatter the mental snow globe that keeps you from looking after your own best interests.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:03 AM on November 17, 2018 [9 favorites]

If you're using your phone for taking photos of anything incriminating, check whether your phone automatically backs up to Google Photos (or icloud or other services. Turn that setting off if you don't want to risk someone seeing anything on your computer. It's super easy to forget to sign out of something on your computer or tablet.
posted by twoplussix at 10:25 AM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

I’m sorry. I think you should focus 90% of your effort on finding a job that will pay your bills. Divorce law isn’t fair and even when it is, splitting expenses between two households means a shitty quality of life. So yes, contact a lawyer and try to get some of your own money squirreled away. But you should plan to be self-sufficient as soon as you possibly can.

Also, any kind of short-term interest free loan or gift you can get from parents or friends, ask for it. Especially parents. Don’t be shy. You’re in a really bad spot but it’s temporary.

And ask yourself: What would you do if you were single? Where would you go? What job would want? Where are your friends? There’s a whole wide world open to you. You’re not going to be dependent on this guy for long, and you’re free to move and leave this shitty situation behind.

Good luck. We’re rooting for you.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:28 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also you should be proud to be looking on his phone. This is your LIFE. It’s not a game. You needed to take care of yourself and you did. I’m proud of you and anyone who thinks otherwise should get some empathy for what it’s like to be dependent on someone who lies to you.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:32 AM on November 17, 2018 [35 favorites]

(Also, sorry, I know you said your parents are in worse financial shape then you, but please do ask them for support—there may be extended family, relatives, a favor they can call in, you never know.)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 11:34 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Just to add on to what people are saying about paying your share of expenses - a common recommendation is to split by percentage of total household income. So if he's making 80% of the total incoming money and you're making 20%... He should be paying 80% of the bills (and you'd pay 20% - not 50%). This is pretty common advice - You could check out a personal finance book and say "look at this great idea!" (Or several small ideas).

My other thought is to open a new bank account he doesn't know about and try to stash as much extra cash as you can - there are several threads on here about casual online work and one on reddit called "beer money".

Also I suspect your lawyer will mostly get paid out of money you get from your ex -it's good motivation for them to be ruthless! Please definitely contact one.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:47 AM on November 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

While you are making a checklist - change your beneficiaries on anything you might have beneficiaries on. An easy thing to forget, but you want his benefiting from any of your labor or resources to stop ASAP.
posted by 41swans at 11:54 AM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

He has been able to take such awful advantage of you because you are such a good-hearted, loving and honest person. WITHOUT A DOUBT he has also been taking financial advantage of you and you have no idea of his financial situation and the extent to which he has wronged you and your mutual family unit there. So you should definitely try to get as much info and evidence as you can about his finances as well as about the affair.

However when it comes to retaliating with financial shenanegans of your own, is that something you could actually do? I bet not, you sound too honest - some of us can lie, and some of us can't. But as long as you keep being straightforward and good-hearted, the less he's going to understand or even notice what you're doing and this will give you some cover to, as people are saying above, get your ducks in a row, find your information, consult a lawyer, make a plan and get out of there, and do it all before he starts some more nonsense aimed at disempowering and cheating you. Good luck.

Sending you much sympathy and wishing a much better future for you.
posted by glasseyes at 12:55 PM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I feel like you're getting well intentioned but ultimately not helpful advice here.

What you actually need to do is see a divorce lawyer for a free consult. Practically any divorce lawyer. All you need from this initial consult is to understand your rights in your state.

Don't do anything without that. Your financial situation may be addressed by interim spousal support or your legal bills may be paid by him as he makes more than you. With actual answers about your rights, you can plan to get out of this marriage with the least harm to yourself.

I wish you the best of luck.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:27 PM on November 17, 2018 [32 favorites]

You are entitled to half the marital assets, even if your job currently is lowpaying. Half! Your husband may be hiding assets from you, too. Raises, bonuses - he's been lying to your face about his intimate relationship and he could easily be lying about finances, too. The only way you will find this out is to consult a divorce attorney. Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer! Tomorrow! You need to know where you stand and the lay of the land. Then you can strategize the best way to move forward.

You can do this, and you will feel powerful and validated when you do.
posted by citygirl at 6:01 PM on November 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

So much of the above is great advice, and I could reiterate it, but I won't.

I do want to comment on your checking husband's phone. Agreed that you need to copy current texts and pics for proof and hand it off to your lawyer, or get it to a good friend to keep. You don't want it around to look at. After doing that, no more looking or checking his electronics.

AskMe is usually majorly down on snooping on an SO's phone or computer, with good reason. Trust begets trust; deception begets deception. The saying is the burnt child avoids the fire. It's horribly hard after your trust has been violated, and lack of trust can poison all future relationships.

You will never again be put into a position where you have to sneak proof of infidelity, because you now know you can trust your gut. In the middle of all the current grief and anger, take a minute to acknowledge your newfound strength, because you know your instincts are powerful and truthful. You can believe in your gut. From here on, remember where the truth is--inside you. Believe in yourself.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:57 PM on November 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

One bit of advice that I hope doesn't even have to come into play, but you've got good advice on other topics above. Don't date or cheat while you're getting clear of this guy, or even for a bit afterwards. I'm not saying that anything he did can be blamed on you at all, but you clearly have a nature that's extremely vulnerable to being manipulated or overborne by men. I mean about the only thing your husband didn't pressure or manipulate you into to make you powerless in the relationship is an "open" sexual arrangement--and he's even managed to exploit you financially on top of everything. Being as vulnerable as that, especially now when you'll quite naturally be wanting reassurance that you're still desirable and lovable, you will be an incredibly attractive target to any grifter (financial or emotional) who happens along. Personal therapy for a while before you let yourself get involved with anyone else. If you can manage it discreetly, personal therapy for yourself now.
posted by praemunire at 7:23 PM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also in my state at least, where “fault” divorce is still a thing, lawyers and articles on law firm web sites advise that having your own affair before the divorce process is complete can cede legal advantages you have because he committed adultery.

One basic strategic thing to think in terms of is that you probably don't want to look at is as strictly what you want or what is fair for the outcome of divorce, but rather in terms of what your “opening bid” will be: some issues and documentation of acts on his part are things you might pursue for the purpose of having leverage, to be able to protect your own interests and ensure you're really fairly treated in the end. (As fairly treated as is possible at this point, of course, now that he's dynamited the whole marriage.)
posted by XMLicious at 7:56 PM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is so rough. Can I make a sideways suggestion? One way to up your cold-war-spy steeliness would be to use the following time to get STRONG. Yes, I mean physically. I have found that weightlifting, HIIT workouts on youtube, and long-distance running have shown me deep reserves of power at times when I felt powerless.
posted by athirstforsalt at 10:18 PM on November 17, 2018 [13 favorites]

I am feeling your anguish. Truly. I agree with jrobin276, your husband should pay more as he makes more. I would like to add what helped me get out, since I was also not financially able to just leave. This began with making an exit plan. I live in a no fault divorce State. The rules are the same for separation. Find out what your State requires which will help you not to waste time on gathering every tawdry detail before knowing who the courts will likely ask to leave the primary residence and why. If your State requires cause, infidelity is a huge one. You can then focus on documenting and compiling evidence in a file he cannot see or find. The courts generally ask the unfaithful husband to leave. And he will have to pay the mortgage and a temporary supplement to your income.

It is crucial to find a family law attorney you can consult with. Most all consults are free. In my case, I consulted 4 lawyers before I found the one I felt best to work with. In my State you also cannot petition for separation or divorce while co-habitating. Therefore the court orders one of you to leave before proceeding. A lawyer will tell you about this in your State and In most cases, the petitioner has the upper hand especially with regards to infidelity. I knew my husband would turn the children against me (parental alienation) so my plan was to be the one to leave.

My second step was getting my phone on my own plan. I told him I got a discount to change at work, he didn't even blink. Phew. Third step was securing mad money, as my mom once called it, anyway I could. I opened joint credit cards as I knew his SS# and I used my new PO Box address so he didn't find a statement.

Next, I took money out that was normally for groceries and deposited it into a new bank account I opened in my name. I used the credit card to pay for groceries. I took on more freelance work and consigned clothes. I hoarded non perishable food at a friends house. Shampoo, toiletries and anything else I would need. This went on for almost 8 months. You can hoard up nessecities where you are by using packing boxes and stashing them in the garage with labels like "summer gardening, holiday string lights, your family heirlooms etc."

My attorney worked with me and charged his retainer on a sliding scale.I hope you find one who does this. I covered this fee with credit cards. I found an apartment who's management was sympathetic to my needs and gave me a break on the deposit and move in costs. Still, this maxed out the last of my credit. The cash I deposited wasn't a lot but it held me through the first month. Once my husband was served,( I chose his office at lunch time on a Thursday) the court hearing the next week was set on the following Thursday to determine child support and temporary maintenance, since he made way more money than me and was 9 years older at the time he paid more. There was no court order for him to leave as I had moved out the day he was served. If your husband is ordered to leave the family home he will have to pay the mortgage and pay you a supplement as your income is much smaller.

Their is also mediation lawyers who's main goal is to keep it out of the courts but it only works if both parties are agreeable. If you are both not able to agree on who leaves, this type of counsel, while being much cheaper in the long run, wouldn't work for you.

Lastly, see a professional therapist on your own. This will help you craft your plan and it will show the court your willingness and his unwillingness. And you will gain back some real self love and self esteem. A good therapist will work with you on this.

I wish you the very best as you move forward. Feel free to contact me with anything, anything at all.
posted by nightshade at 1:38 AM on November 18, 2018 [14 favorites]

I'm sorry to hear this. You mentioned that your parents are in bad financial shape and your closest family/friends are all far away. Could you not go visit them a bit to get away from the situation and talk with them about it? I find Southwest is usually pretty cheap. I also have a rewards card that helps me earn free flights and the cards usually have sign up fees - I'd recommend one. Going through this alone is tough so don't be afraid to get some emotional support.

Anyway, I would collect evidence the strongest evidence you have right away, in case your husband wises up and locks his cell phone. Take photos of the text messages proving the infidelity. Make sure your own phone has a password so you're husband can't get into it. Find out from a lawyer if you need evidence and then, if you haven't been keeping a journal observations about what's going on, I would maybe keep some notes so you don't forget certain things in case it is useful in court. If you can find records of his finances, what he earns, what he's spending money on, that may be useful too. You may be able to find some of that stuff on his phone if he has banking apps or in his email if he gets emails from banking services.

When you get a lawyer, fight like hell for every last dime. Your husband is a jerk and I'm sorry.

In the meantime, maybe you can start the process of looking for jobs where you're from and that offer better pay? The process of finding a job can take awhile and since you already know you don't need to stay in this city or stay in this marriage, the world is your oyster. This is a crappy situation you're in, but I'd try to see the ability to now go where you want and do what you want as an opportunity and a silver lining.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:01 AM on November 18, 2018 motto: leave a cheater, gain a life. Many resources provided, and excellent advice from someone who's been there, and from her millions of followers. You are not alone. Get all the money you can in your own account, get a lawyer and take control. Free yourself. Good luck.
posted by Enid Lareg at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


Second - I know what you are going through. My divorce is final as of a couple of weeks ago.

Find and get a lawyer. Borrow money from a friend or family member for the retainer. BUT DO IT.

Nobody who has been through what you and I have will understand the scope of it. They simply cannot.

Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel and to grieve. Get a therapist if you think that will help.

Memail me if you think that will. I will absolutely help you. I will give you my cell number and you can call day or night. You are worth it. You didn't deserve it.

It is not your fault.

I'm here for you. Get a lawyer. Be as strong as you can be.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:49 PM on November 18, 2018 [10 favorites]

Call the local family violence project to get the name of an affordable lawyer who will be an advocate for you. No, you don't need their services, just a legal referral.
Open an new gmail account for free storage.
Use your camera to photograph all current bank, credit card, retirement account, mortgage, car loan, etc., statements. Store pictures in new gmail account along with any other documentation you end up with.
Get your own finances in order. Maybe open a credit card in your own name while you can.
If you have personal valuables keep them in a secure spot.
Assume he will hide money, drain accounts and otherwise fight dirty.

Good for you for checking his phone; you were right - he was lying. Do it again, use your phone to take pictures of the texts. Also check email to see if he's making any plans esp. financially.

You deserve better, and are likely to be so much happier with him, but getting there is the hard part. Wishing you luck.
posted by theora55 at 6:46 AM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Take pictures of the incriminating texts. Do not let him know that you know he’s cheating. Talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

I am so sorry. I went through something very similar a few years ago, and I was devastated and thought my life was over. Now I am free, single, independent, happy, and doing much better than I ever imagined I could when I was still with my ex.

I also agree with the suggestion of reading if you want some validation and reassurance that you are an amazing and strong person who can get through this, your husband is a selfish piece of shit, and this is NOT your fault.
posted by a strong female character at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry you're going through this. You deserve better. When I saw it was you, I swore out loud. I know you're going through a lot right now and that you're likely overwhelmed, angry, depressed, and numb. Those are all normal things to be feeling right now. The best thing I did for myself was to protect my headspace. You are in control of what you think and how you feel. Right now you're reacting and that's fine, however, start preparing yourself to draw mental boundaries on what you let into your mind. Memail me if you want to talk, hugs and strength to you.
posted by KathyK at 9:28 AM on November 20, 2018

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