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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 07-21-2011, 11:35 AM
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Default Introducing me and my story

I know this is supposed to be a support forum for people going through a divorce and I'm not there yet but I really wanted to share my story/situation and hopefully get some feedback. It's going to be a long one so I hope you guys can hang in there.

I've been with my husband almost 16 years (I was 19 and he was 22) and our 6 year wedding anniversary is in a few weeks. I am from New Brunswick but moved to Nova Scotia with my husband a year after we met. All of my family is still in NB so I really have no support system here.
We have 2 children, a 9 yr old girl and a 3 yr old boy. I have made my kids and my husband my life. I don't go out and have often turned down offers to go out because I didn't like leaving my young children with a sitter. Because of this I have really alienated anyone who has tried to be friends with me so I don't even have any close friends to lean on for support. My husband has always been my best friend and I think that is why I'm finding this so difficult, Not only am I losing my husband but I'm losing my best friend.

When I was pregnant with my son (spring 2007) my husband was offered a job 3 hours away working 4 days on and 4 days off. It was really good money so we couldn't afford for him to turn it down even though it meant seeing less of each other. He stayed in the city while he was working and came home on days off. For a while it actually worked out ok because we were always happy to see each other on his days off. Eventually it got a little tiresome, he started hating his job but we needed the money and there was nothing here for him in a small town. In February of 2009 I started feeling like he was pulling away. I have extreme self confidence issues and put on alot of weight after my children. Sometimes I would just start to feel like I had nothing to offer so why should he be with me and probably pushed him away some. One night, we were in bed and he was half asleep and started kissing my neck and called me by someone else's name. He swears to this day there was nothing going on. I'm still not sure I believe it but I can't see why he would lie about it now. Anyway, things really started going downhill after that. We stopped spending time together and I actually told him I thought he didn't love me anymore and he was only with me because of the kids. He said he wasn't and got really upset by that. A couple weeks later he said he had been thinking and maybe he wasn't happy and maybe he was with me for the wrong reasons. That was in June 2009. So when he left to make the trip back to Halifax we decided he should take his next set of days off and stay in the city to sort out some feelings. Then he just stopped coming home. He said he was still sorting out his feelings and he was stressed because his mom was really sick etc. I asked him if he was seeing someone else and he flat out denied it so I foolishly believed him. Fast Forward to April 2010 he decided to leave his job to come home and work on putting our family back together. Only a few weeks after coming home his friend bought him a plane ticket to go stay with him in Calgary. I was ok with him going since he was taking positive steps towards getting our marriage back.
The day before mother's day I opened my laptop and I was looking for a game I had downloaded but hadn't yet played. I don't download alot so I didn't know which folder it would save in...well me and my husband had identical laptops and apparently I was on his and not mine. I found backup files for a girls computer with dates on them for when he was away. When I questioned him he admitted he had been seeing her for pretty much the whole year before (it was her name that he said when we were in bed, like I said, he still says there was nothing going on then). He says when I told him I thought he was with me because of the kids he started confiding in her and she had just gone through a bad breakup so she was confiding in him and it progressed from there. During the year they were together they maintained a long distance relationship because she moved to Winnipeg. He admitted he was in love with her but said he went to see her in Winnipeg to break it off with her and promised to cut off all contact for us to work things out. I had a lot of trouble getting over it. I wanted him to show me affection and show me and tell me that he loved me and I wasn't getting any of that from him. In his defence I wasn't doing anything to help the situation.

So I guess neither of us were really trying, I went through his phone a couple times and thought he was seeing other people etc. The trust just wasn't there. In February 2011 his mom got really sick and ended up being sent to Halifax hospital. He took 3 and a half weeks off work and went to stay in Halifax while she was there. She got sent back to the hospital here after 3 and a half weeks and then died in the hospital here 3 weeks later. That was March 31st.

On May 30th, I got a facebook message from the girl he had been seeing, saying she knows he's going through alot but she isn't accpeting that as an excuse for his behaviour anymore. I was floored. I thought tehy were done and not even talking anymore. I gave her my number and asked her to call me. They had still been texting and talking on the phone at night (he works nights so I was always in bed when he got home). She thought we were seperated again and she happened to be in Halifax visiting her parents when he was there with his mom. I don't know where the money went that I thought was being spent on hotel rooms because he was staying with her and her parents.... and not just as friends. They apparently got in a big fight when her and her parents seen my name listed in his moms obituary. Shortly after he ended it with her and I think she was just pissed and that's why she contacted me.

After talking to her I was prepared to walk away and never look back and he begged me to stay and told me he didn't know why he did it, it was just at a weak time. When I asked him why he was even still talking to her, he said he didn't want to lose her as friend blah blah blah. So I told him we would try to work things out but it was going to take alot of work. Well he still kept sleeping on the couch and not giving me the affection I craved etc and he was staying out after work having drinks with a friend so I just felt he wasn't putting any effort in at all (not that I was doing alot to make things better) The day before Canada day he decided to go stay with his friend. He said he feels awkward around me and feels like I will never forgive him and like he will never stop feeling guilty. To me that meant it was over and he doesn't want to give me the chance to get past it but I can't really blame him. But he would come over and do little things like give me a back rub, give me a kiss before leaving..things like that keep me holding on but he wouldn't talk to me about moving home and working things out he said he needs to figure this out on his own and figure out if he really wants to be here. Well we finally told the kids today that we are "on a break". I can't handle being on a break and really don't see how we can ever get back together if we can't discuss it instead of him deciding on his own.

I am absolutely heartbroken, I'm all alone and I just don't know what to do. I know I'm probably better off without his bull**** but it's so hard when we are trying to remain friends for the kids. I don't even know anymore if I'm devestated over losing him or it's just the feeling of being unwanted and scared what the future holds for me and my kids, we were barely making it by financially with combined income so I don't know how I'm going to do it on my income and his child support. I feel I should be preparing to get the bills put in my name and get his stuff all packed up but I'm afraid taking those steps are really going to push him away. I don't blame him for everything, like I said I have a lot of self esteem issues and because of those issues I always feel like i'm not good enough and that ends up pushing him away. Now I feel we have both failed our kids.

On a side note - when he was seeing this girl in Halifax I was working fulltime, raising the 2 kids on my own and putting myself through school to work in a medical lab. I just graduated in June and just got my letter in the mail today saying that I passed my certification exam. I worked so hard and I should be so happy and celebrating but I'm just too overwhelmed to even care.

Sorry for the novel. I told you it was long. Thanks to everyone that was able to sit through the whole thing.
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Old 07-21-2011, 01:31 PM
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MysticMama: I'm very sorry for all the things you've been through. I can't imagine dealing with all of that...you've been through a lot of trauma.

Its hard for me to give you advice, in a way, because I feel nothing for my stbx and don't have lingering questions over whether or not I should have divorced him. In my case, it was absolutely the best thing for me and my children.

I guess I would ask you if there's any chance that with therapy and strict criteria regarding his behavior, if there's a chance you could save your marriage. It seems like you may still have feelings for each other. However, if you're staying with him out of a need for protection and stability...make no mistake...that you do not have and should not continue to try to fool yourself. Many spouses extract money from the matrimonial home before and during divorce situations if they know that they're on their way out the door. And there won't be a lot you can do about it later. He could potentially remove funds, run up debt, etc. I'm not saying he will do that...only don't think you or your children are protected or stable just by staying in the marriage. Especially if he's lying to you about other matters.

I'm not sure about the financial differences between your salary, etc...but you may be eligible for spousal and potentially child support given that the status quo sounds like you have the children most of the time.

My advice...maybe think about saving your marriage...therapy, sit down with him and discuss your expectations, set rules....but while you're doing that prepare for a divorce.

Preparation involves locating, copying and securing financial records in a safe location outside the home (taxes, bills, mortgage docs, etc)...start keeping a parenting diary detailing who has the kids, how often, what you do with them on a daily basis...seek legal counsel...start figuring out a plan for how you'd manage life if you did have to get divorced. Living arrangements, child care arrangements....and start thinking about separating your finances. Maybe open a separate savings account and start trying to put a little money aside in case you need it for a retainer..or emergency funds for other things.

Also be careful about your discussions. When you're going through these things, communication style and method is important. You don't want to get into huge fights with him, etc. Stay calm...don't make promises or threats. That stuff can all be brought up later.

Also, my advice...do whatever you can do to keep the kids out of your marital problems. Have conversations either out of the house or behind closed doors when the kids are asleep. They get traumatized enough during all this stuff. Stay focused on their needs...stay positive about their father, don't badmouth him or say thing cryptic or worrisome things. Kids stress out a lot, especially since they have no power to do anything about the situation and internalize the stress. Even if you can't work out your marriage...you guys might already start to talk about how you're going to manage the kids going forward if you do decide to split up. Basically, the more amicable you can be...the better. If you do decide to divorce and come to some kind of agreement ...you can save yourself massive amounts of money and stress.

My best wishes to you and your family during this difficult time.

I can tell you this...since I separated...I've lot a lot of weight...got really fit. I look great, feel great (even though I have bad, stressful days sometimes), met the man of my dreams, and have a lot of hope about my and my kids future. I do things now that I talked about doing before and never did.

Divorce is really difficult...but its not a life sentence. It can be a really empowering time if you have the right mindset about it. Stay positive and focused and I promise, you'll get through it honey. Best thoughts and wishes!!!
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Old 07-21-2011, 02:17 PM
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Thanks for your reply. We are trying very hard to be friends. It seems alot easier on his part as I just get upset and wish he would come home. I want to talk to him and get things figured out but we just end up getting frustrated with each other because he says he still needs time to think and I don't see how things can ever change if we don't figure it out together.

Another big problem is that I was on maternity leave when we bought our house so the mortgage is in his name, my car is in his name, the house and car insurance are in his name and the phone, internet and cable bills are all in his name. We decided I would stay in the house with the kids to make it less traumatic on them but I have to keep asking him about bills and asking is this paid etc. I don't want to give up living in the house and ending up in a crappy apartment with the kids but I just don't think I will be able to ever get ahead if I have to rely on him to make sure bills are paid. I have no credit so I don't think i could get my own mortgage and put the house in my name.
We have been keeping the kids out of it and we both agree there is no need for them to know anything more than we just couldn't live together anymore. We do both still care about each other very much and want the kids to know that. He still wants to do stuff together with the kids (trip to the beach) and I want my kids to see that there are no hard feelings between us but it's so hard for me to be around him and not get teary eyed.
I also feel horrible because I keep getting myself in self pity mode. He is staying with a bachelor friend, He works nights in a bar and now that he has moved out he has everyday to himself and the kids are at a babysitter all day. I work all day and spend my evenings with the kids and then do housework. It feels so unfair that he gets all the freedom and I get all the responsibility. He hasn't spent any alone time with the kids since he moved out but I think that's because he is staying on a friend's couch so he has nowhere to go with them. And I know it's wrong to feel this way, I love my kids they are my life and instead of thinking about all the responsibility that comes with raising them by myself I should be focusing on how lucky I am because they are so amazing. I just get so overwhelmed because I have no help and nobody I can turn to.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Another big problem is that I was on maternity leave when we bought our house so the mortgage is in his name, my car is in his name, the house and car insurance are in his name and the phone, internet and cable bills are all in his name.
This actually isn't necessarily a problem. You are married. That means that everything you and your spouse owns is marital property. The assets and the debt.

The calculation for equalization of marital assets is very simple. You take the $ amount of all the net assets for each spouse at the date of separation, subtract it from the $ amount of all the net assets for each spouse at the date of marriage and divide by 2. That means, the house, the car, etc..is not necessarily "his" regardless of who's name its in.

As far as the bills go...I would get that fixed. Try to have your name added to those accounts and set up internet access so you can view online statements to ensure they're being paid. Keep copies of EVERYTHING going forward.

Depending on your salary situations...you may be eligible for spousal support and/or child support so do not assume that you cannot get a mortgage. I would get into see a laywer, most initial consultations are free. Bring a list of questions and a rough set of salary/asset/debt information, including have them check to see what a possible settlement might look like. What I did after that, was steel myself and walk into a loan officer at my bank. I explained to her what was going on, what my settlement might look like and asked her if I'd qualify for a mortgage. She actually showed me how I qualified for a lot more than I thought I did and let me know she'd be glad to sit down with me once we sold our marital home. The banks are really really used to dealing with divorce situations and there are a million ways they can find funding for you to buy property.

In addition, please immediately take my advice to start a parenting diary documenting the daily movement of the kids. It sounds like you have a long established status quo of having the children the large majority of the time. You need to document this because if he seeks legal counsel...the game will start. He will be told what he will have to pay in child support if he doesn't get shared custody. Once that happens, you can expect him to consider getting shared custody. I've heard of men that never paid a lick of attention to thier kids suddenly becoming father-of-the-year...or having their new gf babysit, etc. Start a daily parenting diary immediately if you want to ensure that you get child support payments.

Also work on getting a support system started. You don't have to give up all your privacy...but talk to your family, people you work with to start to get people you can get advice from or vent to. You may also need to have a temporary place to go, take the kids, or get quick financial help from if things turn sour at home. There are also local divorce support groups (try meetup.com) and your work may have counsellors available through your healthcare plan. You may want to think about getting to a therapist if you're having any depression issues right away.

Bottom line, if I can tell you one thing..its to TAKE CONTROL! That may sound harsh but women with children in your situation (and mine) do not have time to sit around and cry, or whine, or worry about which hole their husband is sticking his dong into in his free time. Stop focusing on him...because i can guarantee you that his head is focused on what he's willing to risk or burn to get out of your marriage. Focus on you and your children and your future first and foremost.

There is nothing more "marriage-saving" than a woman who takes charge..refuses to be bullied and seeks legal counsel. Don't be afraid. Weakness is not helpful or an attractive trait. And I promise you, you will feel much much better if you don't indulge in self-pity..its useless. If he sees you are serious, he's going to take a deeper look at what divorce may mean and he might change his focus back to where it belongs. Protect your children and buck up! If you are about to divorce, you have to make a list of things you need to do and work on it everyday. Preparation is everything and will help to keep you sane and focused through the process.
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Old 07-21-2011, 03:25 PM
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Oh and by the way...I wouldn't worry about him taking the car, if he's threatening you with that. Its a bad idea for him since it will impair your ability to get the kids around and more importantly to get to work. If you aren't making an income, you get more spousal support....as any lawyer will advise him.

Basically do not let him bully you with that stuff if that's what he's doing. Dont be afraid...be smart and get some legal advice right away.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:57 PM
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It sounds like the two of you communicate. Why would you not want the kids to see both of their parents equally.

You both have a responsibility to love and care for them. And you both have a responsbility to support them.

If he is working 4 on 4 off. Then you should both have the kids 4 on and 4 off.

It does not matter if he cheated on you. To the kids you are their mom and dad and will remain so even in divorce.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:04 PM
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Default bad advice..

Remember that if you start off following the advice of trying to "win" as much as possible, you will never have a good coparenting relationship with the other parent afterwords.

The children need both parents, and even though you will not "win" as much financially, you will win in that your kids will grow up well adjusted and your former spouse will be able to look at you without wanting to be sick. Remember that everyones roles change in divorce, sometimes you have to be a mom and a dad, and as well sometimes he will have to be a mom and a dad.

If you hire a lawyer right away, they are going to try and "win".. not because they care about you and the children.. but because they want the money and glory of another victory. I will get a lot of flack for saying this..but Lawyers are scumbags and will destroy you and your family for a few thousand dollars.

Sit your former spouse down, work out a fair arrangement for 50/50 with the kids and splitting of assets and the rest of you life will be alot easier than it will be if you go to war with him.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:18 AM
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I don't want to "win" anything. I want my kids to be happy. I want to be happy and believe it or not I want him to be happy. I still love him and I know he cares about the kids. He doesn't work 4 on 4 off anymore. He works nights as a bar manager now so he works all night and sleeps most of the day. He has barely seen the kids since he moved out but not because I am keeping them from him. I honestly think he is afraid to be alone with them. The only time he has spent with them has been with me around and he is kind of short tempered lately..not abusive just agitated I guess. I also think he is sinking in to a depression and he refuses to see a doctor.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:08 AM
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Mystic Mama:

I know your previous comments weren't directed at me...and I also know you weren't trying to "win" anything. I read your post carefully.

In fact, here's part of what I said:

Quote:
Also, my advice...do whatever you can do to keep the kids out of your marital problems. Have conversations either out of the house or behind closed doors when the kids are asleep. They get traumatized enough during all this stuff. Stay focused on their needs...stay positive about their father, don't badmouth him or say thing cryptic or worrisome things. Kids stress out a lot, especially since they have no power to do anything about the situation and internalize the stress. Even if you can't work out your marriage...you guys might already start to talk about how you're going to manage the kids going forward if you do decide to split up. Basically, the more amicable you can be...the better. If you do decide to divorce and come to some kind of agreement ...you can save yourself massive amounts of money and stress.
The bottom line is that ANYTIME a woman on this forum takes action to protect herself and her children...you'll get some response about how you're trying to take the kids away from their father or trying to be greedy. Its just the way this place is. They don't even read and attempt to sympathize...if you're female and trying to manage through a hard marriage and divorce...expect the assumption to be that you're a gold-digger who's using the family court as a weapon to take away some perfect father's rights. Its a joke...ignore it.

If you've taken care of the kids and he's not interested, take zero notice of that. Your job right now is not to worry about just being fair to your husband...although that would also be a nice goal if you can do it. Its about your children...first and foremost. If he isn't taking an active role and equal role than its your duty to fill the gap...period. Its also your duty to protect them and yourself in the event that you do need to get a divorce. Please take my advice and seek a free legal consultation. It doesn't mean you have to do anything more than that...but they usually tell you your options and give you a little feedback about what the process entails. When I had mine, she actually advised me several times about things I could do to save my marriage.

Ideally kids need both parents and its your duty as a mother to make sure that the kids get access to their dad as much as possible. But sometimes one parent refuses to participate...then what kids really need is as much stability and normalacy as you can provide taking up more of the child rearing burden, if necessary.

I hope you're able to work out your marital issues as it really sounds like you love your husband. I hope he's able to get any help that he needs if he is depressed. In marriage, sometimes you have bad times you both have to help each other through.

Most of all, you have my very best wishes for you and your kids. You sound like a really wonderful mom. Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:26 PM
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Default False Positives..

Some people would provide you with advice that makes you feel like cutting the childrens father out of their lives is doing everyone a favour.

If you are really worried about you children and your former spouse, sit him down and work out a fair solution.

"Protecting yourself and your children" from a father that loves them is the sad cry of the self agrandizing feminist. It is a justification for using the Divorce Act to rob your former spouse of their dignity, and of course their financial resources. It is usually coupled with some defence like "the law says..." As if the Divorce Act is somehow fair and just.


Ask yourself these questions:

1. How will the childrens father afford to live if I "win" full custody?
2. What relationship will the children have with their father If he is not playing an important part in their lives? (taking your kids to Mcdonalds every second weekend is not an important part)
3. How depressed would you be if you faced what he is currently facing? (I have been there, hearing from a lawyer that you may only get to see your kids every second weekend is more devastating than you would ever know, then add to that the combined obligation of CS and SS can eat away 70% of his Gross Income and you will find out why so many men committ suicide during or after divorce).
4. Living on a couch in someone elses house is not a path to self esteem, do you think he really wants the children to see him living like he is?
5. Faced with the prospect of paying CS and SS at full table amounts, and seeing his kids every second weekend, how likely is it your former husband will ever take a decent paying job again?
6. 20 years from now, will the kids be proud of the decisions I am making right now? Or are they are going to hate me for thinking of my own welfare more than their own.

Don't let other posters fool you into thinking that somehow you are "protecting" your kids by destroying what chance they have of a full and healthy family life after divorce. Do the research, it is apparent that children benefit immensely from the involvement of both parents.

"Protecting" your children is ensuring they are safe, well cared for, and loved. Which is very difficult to do even when there are two parents in the same house. Giving your kids the gift of Equal Shared Parenting - Joint Custody is protecting your kids.

Help your former spouse. Have an open discussion around how you both can contribute to the childrens well being. Remember that to the children you are the "two" most important people in the world and always will be.
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