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How did you tell your exP you were ending the relationship and how to cope?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I am ending my marriage - married 12 years, together for 15. We have 3 boys (10, 6, 3). If you were the one to confront your ex-partner/husband that you wanted to end the relationship/marriage, how did you do it? I'm struggling to imagine myself actually doing it. I don't know what words to use or what time of day to do it. How did you cope with the emotions while still parenting once you told him/her? If you were in a potentially threatening situation (if your ex was abusive), how did you stay safe and maintain boundaries over the subsequent weeks/months?


H is verbally and emotionally abusive and has been forever. I only finally decided to leave when ds1's psychiatrist told me that H is the central trigger to ds1's anxiety putting him at high risk for substance abuse, suicide, and becoming a violent partner when he grows up. The mantra of 'we're staying together for the sake of the children' no longer held up. You can see my threads on Parents as Partners if you want.


Anyways, I am sure I will be here more as I struggle with all of this. Any advice or encouragement is most appreciated. xo Thank you strong mamas!

post #2 of 6

This was the absolute hardest thing for me. My ex wasn't abusive, though he is selfish and kind of an asshole. I'm familiar with your thread on PaP, and it does make me nervous for you.


We'd been having problems for a LONG time. One day I finally told him that I was thinking of moving in with my mom. He was SOOOO upset. I honestly don't even like to think about it. It was pretty much the worst day of my life. I'm not telling you this to scare you, it's the truth.


In the end, I ended up begging him to make huge changes with me, and I talked about moving and enrolling in school and doing huge, huge different things, and he agreed he wanted to try that. But within a few weeks, he'd changed his mind and said that he didn't want to go with me. (I was already enrolled and ready to go in the fall.) But we were going to live together and co-parent until school started. By May (this year) he was asking about when I was going to move out, because it wasn't working out. So I made arrangements to move in with my mom over the summer, and when I actually moved out he was mad all over.


I've been living in my mom's house for three weeks now, and it was the best decision I ever made. I am SOOOOOO much happier. I'm so much more relaxed. The kids are more relaxed. Even though I'm living with my mom and stepdad, they are ten million times easier to live with than my ex. In August I will be moving into an on-campus apartment and going to school full-time, and I cannot wait.


Honestly, I don't think time of day or words really matter. It is going to be hard and suck no matter when you say it or what you say. I regret that the kids were at home when I had the conversation, because they saw their dad cry and it really scared them. If you really think he's going to be physically violent, I'd just move out one day and have him served with divorce papers after you are gone. Or perhaps have someone you can trust with you when you tell him. There are domestic violence hotlines that could maybe help you work out the specifics.


Maybe the wording/scenario is something you can work out with your son's psychologist? Or do you see someone for yourself that could help you devise a plan?


*hugs to you* I know this is SO SO SO scary, but you will be so much happier when you are free.

post #3 of 6

I've also been reading your posts in PaP and have been reliving my separation through your situation.  Here's what I did...hopefully some of my "steps" will be helpful to you.  hug2.gif


I started "laying the foundation" that I was done about 7 months before I actually filed for divorce.  I sat down and had a long serious chat with my XH about all of our issues and how I wasn't going to let this go on forever.  Then I met with an attorney (secretly) and started making financial preparations.  I opened my own bank account and switched my direct deposit (I made all the money and paid all the household bills so he never seemed to notice).  Then once the papers were ready (but I hadn't filed yet, still nervous...huge step), I dropped DS off at daycare one morning and then headed back to our house.  I walked right in the door (scared XH to death) and announced that I was through with our relationship and couldn't live like that anymore. 


He was shocked (apparently the "leavee" always is...eyesroll.gif ) and started saying how things would get better, he promised, etc.  Then he went out that night and got drunk.  Not surprising.  This ended up being the pattern for the next few weeks.  He would act all trite and remorseful, then go out drinking and come home belligerent and aggressive.  We weren't sleeping in the same room so I would lock the door and bring the dogs in my room with me.


After a few weeks of very uncomfortable co-existence, I basically got some news that forced me to make a decision.  I told my attorney to file.  I took DS to my parents' house the next day (along with my few pieces of valuable jewelry).  Oh, I had already taken any important paperwork or files (like DS's birth certificate and passport) to my office.  Again, I went back to the house and told him that I filed for divorce and handed him the papers. 


Of course, I don't want to scare you, but we did have a confrontation.  My plan was to get out of the house ASAP and I had a friend waiting for me at her house with her husband.  XH wanted to "talk," but I went outside to my car.  However, he did try to physically stop me from getting in the car and was yelling all kinds of nonsense.  A neighbor across the street (I think most of our neighbors knew there were problems) asked if I needed her to call the police, I said "yes" and XH let me go. 


Unfortunately, there were other things that happened later that weekend (because XH is an idiot) so he had to stay in the house for another week or so.  But he then went to live with his parents in another state.  I made sure never to be alone with him again.  I always had visitation pick-ups in a public place.  And when he came to get the rest of his things when I moved out of the house, it was during my yard sale and a friend was there to help.


It was really REALLY hard to say those words and feel prepared in doing so.  I wish you and your DSs the best.  HTH...

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond and share. I honestly only have one friend who is divorced so I haven't a clue how people go about doing it. So your personal stories are so helpful to me. I'm sure it is never fun to remember so thank you for going there to help me.


Kate&Joey - is it better now? Do you feel good and whole and confident now? I can see H going and getting stupidly drunk - that's the only kind of drunk he knows. I was up most of the night feeling sorry for him and wanting to go easy on him. PenelopeJune - I imagine my H will similarly cry and cry and cry and beg for another chance. But I also try to remind myself of what he's capable of so I must be on my guard.


One of my fears is that I will tell him and he will sob and beg and then he'll go away on his work trip and come back ready for a manipulative legal fight. His father is a big shot lawyer here with excellent legal connections and the same kind of attitude problem as H - confrontational and lacking empathy. But that is something I will hopefully sort out and be somewhat prepared for when I meet with Legal Aid next week.


I am also going to spend a few days next week going through our filing cabinet and making copies of everything I can - everything financial. I will make a grab bag of some essentials like passports and birth certificates and changes of clothes for me and the kids in case we have to leave real fast. Oooh, I also need to protect my research data - he knows how precious and important that is to me. Whenever he really wants to hurt me he attacks the value of my research, so it's a real possibility that he will want to attack my data.


Today I am telling my PhD supervisor what's been going on - not in detail but I want to let her know why I have been so unproductive and why I will be for a while. She and I are close and good friends so it makes sense that I tell her. That will make it so much more real for me. I have to tell my parents, too. I'm so nervous just about those meetings. Yikes, this is going to be hard!


I'm glad that neither of you sugar-coated your stories. I need to be as emotionally prepared as I can be. Thank you!

post #5 of 6
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post

Kate&Joey - is it better now? Do you feel good and whole and confident now? I can see H going and getting stupidly drunk - that's the only kind of drunk he knows. I was up most of the night feeling sorry for him and wanting to go easy on him.


This was over 3 years ago and I'm married now, but....


Yes, yes, yes and a thousand times YES !!!  Once he was out of the house, I felt so much better about myself and MY life.  I had always been responsible for "our" life and it was so nice to be able to take care of those who truly needed me (DS and my animals) instead of a 40-year old who couldn't be bothered to find a real job and acted like the world owed him a favor.  The relief of being at peace was amazing.  It certainly wasn't easy by any means.  There were MANY phone calls and discussions after the fact...the begging and pleading....then the threats.  But in the end, he was all talk and no action.  I wasn't too concerned with his family helping him or him trying to get custody (his parents were actually on my side once all the backstory came out). 


And I also felt sorry for XH.  But he hasn't changed a bit in the years since. 



post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

:) I keep hearing that it gets so much better. I know I've got a long and painful time ahead of me, but it's so helpful to hear such encouraging stories. Thank you!


So... I have told my first IRL person - my PhD supervisor. We cried and it was so good to get it out. She had lots to share about the topic of abuse in her life and showed me how to record on my iphone for evidence in court. She had excellent practical advice and ensured me that I don't have to worry about being productive with my studies. She also said that she knows that when I get through all of this, I am going to be an incredibly strong and liberated woman. Then we had a good long rant about patriarchy and how our society instils boys/men with a sense of entitlement and righteousness and that divorce is actually a reality of women finally feeling like they can say no to it - it's a new era :)


I am so relieved.

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