Divorced & Moving On Towards Financial Independence

Survivors of divorce, share your stories, wisdom, and tips as you progress towards in your journey to financial independence. :)

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  • Here I go.  I won't go into the details of the relationship drama itself, just the stuff that affected my finances, but at the end of 2018, over Thanksgiving weekend, I finally decided to ask my now ex husband to sign the papers to file for a divorce.  I had the papers for months ready to ask him to sign but I was scared to ask him.  We got married in 2017 and he is a Canadian citizen.  Before we got married he was living with me on a tourist visa and he told me he wanted to get a job but couldn't because he didn't have a work permit and couldn't get one until we got married.  He also ensured me he wasn't interested in my money and would only want enough money to get back to Canada if it didn't work out.  That turned out to be a lie, of course.

    We got married May 2017.  In the Fall of 2017 his work permit arrived and I expected him to start looking for work right away.  I knew it might take awhile to find a job, but I didn't think he wouldn't even TRY to find a job.  Every week I asked him how it was going and he would make me feel bad for asking, like I was a nag for not wanting to support him for life.  It was hell.  I had to stop asking because it led to fights every time.  I suggested he try to walk dogs with Wag or Rover, but he didn't ever even download the app.

    There was also other relationship drama and emotional and verbal abuse (I was walking on eggshells all the time whenever he was around) so finally I decided, enough is enough, I can't spend my life like this.  I'm getting out of this hell, asked him to sign the papers, and he refused to sign them.  I asked him if I could get him an Airbnb to stay at during the divorce and he refused that as well.  He was living in my house that I've owned since 2011!  Fine, I asked a friend if his extra room was empty and went there for the weekend, hoping I could talk to the court and get him out of my house.

    I filed the papers without his signature and he had to get served the papers at my house.  He delayed that for weeks by not answering the door, so finally I let the server into the house when I knew he was home, which caused him to flip out and the sheriff to ask me to get someone else to come with me if I needed to pick up stuff in the future, since he seemed like he could get violent.  But at least that started the process along, which theoretically could have taken just 3 months but ended up taking 6 months from the day I filed with the court to our final orders.

    I wanted to do it with hiring lawyers, but he wanted a lawyer right away and wanted the judge to order me to pay for a retainer for him to get a lawyer so he could get as much money out of me as possible!  The judge didn't do that, but in our temporary orders hearing he did order that my ex could stay in my house till the divorce was final, and that I had to give him half of my Airbnb income and he would keep running my Airbnb while he was living there.  I had to hire a cleaner because he wouldn't clean and that would get me bad reviews and hurt my business.

    He then refused to go to mediation, so eventually I had to hire a lawyer with a $2500 retainer on a credit card because the mediation is required and I had no idea how to proceed if he wouldn't attend it.

    Finally, after much court drama and filings back and forth, we came to a settlement in mediation that I would give him $15k and let him keep the car he was driving, which was mine that I had bought from my parents, and that he would stay in the house until the beginning of June 2019 and then move out.

    During this long process I had to pay all of the bills for my house, pay my friend rent $ (since I'm not a mooch, even though he offered to let me stay for free, I didn't want to, especially for as long as it dragged out), pay for my lawyer, and I was not living nearly as frugally as I usually do.  I ended up with a credit card maxed out at $10k, plus I had a $2k loan to my parents because he needed money right when I moved out and I didn't have any cash to give him, and a $1.3k energy loan.  I got a HEL to pay him the $15k and to pay off my credit cards, then started Dave Ramsey's baby steps and started taking Financial peace university in May 2019.  I paid off a ton of debt last year and now I'm switching to my own plan to stay more sane and enjoy my life more.  See my journal for the details on that.

    I'm picking up the pieces and moving on.  Although that entire experience probably lost me much more $ than mentioned here (I was already giving him $ when he was back in Canada, yes, I do have "SUCKER" written on my back), and I wish I had known what I know now so I would have enforced my boundaries early on and known he was not someone who could respect me and thus not have let thing get that far, I've learned a lot in the process and I'm just glad I'm on the other side.  If anyone else suspects their ex is a cluster B (narcissism, borderline personality disorder and sociopathy are all in that category), I have a lot of resources I can recommend for going through the divorce and for emotional healing.  I highly recommend therapy if you can afford it.  I've learned a lot in therapy and you can pay for it with your FSA or HSA if it's not covered by your insurance.

    Although financial reasons are not the right reason to get married, I now know that being a hopeless romantic is stupid and can get you into major financial trouble.  I met him online and I tell people not to do online relationships or long distance relationships anymore, it's just too easy to imagine they are and your relationship is something that they/it are not, especially if you're a dreamer.

    Anyone else out there paying off divorce debt?

    Like 3
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal goodness. Big hugs. I'm glad the mooch is now off your payroll. Are you back in your house now? 

      To answer your question - I'm debt-free now, but I too had to charge up cards to get the divorce. My ex said he wanted to do things amicably, and as such I was a sucker and let him not pay child support in the agreement as he had just lost his job. As soon as the divorce papers were signed he got a job that paid him $150k/year, yet he didn't want to pay child support (they live with me 75% of the time). I decided to take him to court for child support, because during this time he got NASTY with me. Like, he wanted me to account for every egg they ate, telling me he won't pay me a cent to put an ounce of food in MY mouth. He postponed and played games for a year and a half (still no child support during this time). Then, he lost his job and sold his car right before the divorce proceedings (how convenient), so child support is based on minimum wage. I still to this day get minimum wage child support, but can't see myself doing anything about it again. The mental toll that whole process took isn't worth getting more money/month. I walked out of the divorce with: $10k debt on the car (I let him keep the paid off one - back when we were going to be amicable), $7k in lawyer fees and eventually thousands of $ in therapy as a result of this whole process. Over time I was able to get out of debt, and things are good now (thank you, therapy). The girls are still seeing him regularly and things are actually amicable between us now. 

      Like 2
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama Yes, thanks, I'm back in my house and so glad to have it.

       

      Well, I don't know if your ex is a narcissist or bpd but he's certainly exhibiting some of the traits of one.  Although this is about a dad surviving divorce from a narcissist, I don't have kids and am a female but I found it very helpful.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUXEHz3OECVwLz1X-SNM4lw

       

      Isn't it crazy how, after the fact, after you see their dark side, you wonder how you ever really loved them in the first place?  I still miss the man I fell in love with, but he wasn't ever real.

      Like
  • Almost all my debt (car isn’t) is from my divorce. Living expenses were on credit cards, and I took out loans to pay for an attorney. Low point was living in a room with a friend. High point is def now. Making more money than I ever have in my life, still have a roommate but want to pay off a big chunk before lease is up and I get my own place. I always had faith things would get better even when I was really at the bottom, I can’t really explain how I knew but I did. Because I was in a long marriage everything got split down the middle. So I’m repairing everything now: debt, savings, retirement, everything.

    Like 3
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Saxophone Sounds like you made it through the rough patch and are on the way to healing both personally and financially.  Divorce is so gnarly.

      Like
  • Been there, done that. It's tough at the beginning but hang in there. It gets a lot better!

    Like
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Superbone It's already so much better!  I can just be home and relax, this blanket of anxiety is gone from my life.

      Like 3
  • Well, I'm not quite a survivor yet; I'm in the middle of one.  After 22 years, our marriage finally broke down when I couldn't take it anymore and left one night.  I had been unhappy for a long time and she left the bedroom 2.5 years before I left the marriage.  We just became more and more distant and everything that I tried just didn't work; we never got on a good path, it just stayed the same and actually got worse.  Tried marriage counseling twice and many attempted talks to try to bridge the gap.

    So I've been living with my sister for almost three months now and she lives in the house with our 17-year old son.  Our 20-year-old daughter lives at school, currently.  We each have our own bank accounts now and the old joint account is left for bills related to the kids and the house.  I put $1,600 a month into it to keep things afloat until this can be finalized, as I make almost 3x what she does.

    I gave our financial info to the attorney and am just waiting to find out what the final "deal" will look like as far as alimony and the 50-50 split of assets.  She has not been overly difficult about it thus far, other than giving me lots of guilt.  I have only very recently been able to sleep through the night (even with sleeping pills) due to dealing with second thoughts and lots of guilt about it.  I have told myself over and over that if we couldn't turn it around in 22 years, we're not going to now and I will never, ever go back to the unhappiness and pain I lived in.  She is not an evil person, but it just won't work with me and her.

    Coming to the point of leaving and then living through the aftermath is extremely hard and gut-wrenching.  Divorce is certainly not a cure-all but it does get better and you learn to live a new life without the sufferings of the past; you learn to be okay.

    My state of Pennsylvania has a 90-day waiting period after one party files for divorce, so I have until the beginning of march before anything else can even take place.  I know that there is a lot yet to go through so I am just doing the best that I can each day.

    Like 3
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 So you're about where I was at this time last year.  I wish you the best.  At least there's not anger and animosity, at the moment.  It hurts so much when the person you imagined spending your life with is only interested in taking you to the cleaners.  Good luck!  I'm glad you are living with your sister.  Living with my friend was so helpful.

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 Yes, hang in there. I have a really good idea of what you're going through and it is gut wrenching. But it gets better. Much better in time. I went through a very similar process starting in 2008 after a 14 year marriage. Thankfully, we both kept it civil for our kids. It took me 2 full years to finalize the divorce here in California.

      Like 2
    • Superbone PhysicsGal Thank you both for your encouragement.  My soon-to-be-ex-wife understands that I'm not out to "hurt" her or take advantage of her, financially; I'm going to do what is fair.  It's a very strange thing to try to explain to someone:  I don't hate her; I just don't want to be with her, be around her or talk with her.  It didn't work and caused me a lot of internal pain and loneliness.

      I'm sorry to hear PhysicsGal that it was that way.  I know that many divorces can get nasty and, who knows, mine might before it's finalized.

      Superbone  I'm glad yours was civil but I hope this doesn't take two years!  Ugh.

      Like 2
  • I started this post but I have yet to share my story (I'll get to it). It's been a long journey for me over the past 9 years but it all gets better, happier, and healthier. Nothing like freedom and independence. Hang in there folks and definitely seek counselling. It is necessary and a third party, especially a professional, is the right person to help you heal. :)

    Like 4
  • My divorce was final January 2015. After 3 1/2 emotional abuse, I finally got him to accept the divorce by making it his idea. Your typical story of two immature young adults that thought marriage was the answer only to learn your relationship wasn't healthy from the get go and we never should have gotten married in the first place. I moved in with dad and thankfully he funded my lawyer and all the proceedings. We had about $11,000 in credit card debt at the time and a car loan. Also thankfully, his controlling nature excluded my name from being on most of the cards so I got away with him being responsible for 10k and the car and I paid of the one that was in my name. However, throughout our marriage I was not in control of any finances and he spent what he liked. I was in school during that time and though I escaped the credit card debt I have tens of thousands of excess student loans that were taken out and used to pay off our maxed out cards before maxing them out again. I have ~75k in student loans. A portion of that for grad school, but a good 20k or so that was just stupidity and desperation. 

    I got remarried two years ago to my soul mate and my best friend. I keep track of all our finances now. I think we're still paying off some of our wedding and then school payments that came due when I dropped out of my grad program (teaching is not my calling after all), but for the most part we are far better off than a lot of people. The sword of student debt is still hanging over my head, but we're on track to pay off our credit card debt this year and have learned a lot of lessons about where our money priorities lie with YNAB. 

    Like 4
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      PeculiarBella Emotional abuse is horrible.  Hopefully you got some therapy to help with that.  Therapy and a good lawyer were very important expenses for me during my divorce that I prioritized highly.

      Like 1
    • PhysicsGal I did! Much needed and I'm a strong advocate for seeking therapy. I'm grateful for what I went through, it makes me realize how lucky I am to have found my husband and not take him for granted. There's nothing like knowing the worst of things to be able to recognize the best when it comes along. 

      Like 1
  • My divorce was finalized at the end of November 2019. So I'm still pretty newly divorced.....after 30 years of marriage. We should have split up years ago, but there were financial considerations, kids going through some very difficult emotional issues and so we decided to stay together until all the kids were out of the house, which happened in the fall of 2017. A few months after that, we both moved to separate residences. (we had previously sold our house in NY and moved to Chicago in the interim, so there was no arguing over who got the house) We lived apart for 1.5 years without even discussing divorce and most of our finances were still tied together. This past fall, we decided that both of us were better off without the other (we come from different planets really. Different upbringing, values, religion etc--combined they made up for a tough situation that ultimately we couldn't overcome) 

    Money was always a concern for us, as we never seemed to have enough. I left a very lucrative Wall St career to raise kids (not my choice but he was pretty insistent - that should have been a huge red flag right off the bat....and it was but I conveniently ignored it at my own peril) He struggled in his jobs and often we were in debt until a decent year would roll around and his bonus would get us out of the hole. Then the cycle would start all over again. It was pretty nerve wracking for me, as I hated being in debt.

    We moved to Chicago so he could accept a new job that he thought he would be more successful at. And he was. And still is. He literally tripled or quadrupled his income starting the year we split up. Joke's on me, I guess. When we began discussing divorce, we both decided that we didn't want to spend tens of thousands on lawyers, so we managed to get to a settlement on our own. It wasn't all that hard, and we had decided early on that we were going to keep it as civil as possible, both for our sanity and for the kids. Originally he thought he didn't have to give me anything on an ongoing basis, that we could just go our separate ways and that would be that. I clearly told him that wasn't going to work. He makes about 5 or 6 times what I do and he's had 2 whopping good years back to back now. More than he ever dreamed he would make. I wasn't feeling the "you get to keep it all when I left my career to raise kids that you wanted and we never had any money". But I know myself and I know I have a difficult, if not impossible, time asking people for money. Even my ex.  I pushed during the settlement talks but not very hard. After a while I kind of just accepted what he was willing to give. He had agreed to fully pay for the kids medical expenses and the balance of the college tuition for the 2 that we still had in college. One is a senior and will be graduating in May and the other is finishing his sophomore year. As it turns out, the younger one doesn't look like he's going to finish college (long story for another day-or not at all) so the ex is basically only paying for one more semester of college. And I'm feeling kind of screwed by what he's giving me. I can live on what he's giving me in addition to my salary but it's not a walk in the park by any means. And I'm worried about when his payments cease in 7 years because he will be going on Medicare and most probably retiring. 

    Divorce is hard, however you look at it, particularly when you have children. Yes, it gets easier as time goes by, or it did for me, but the financial hook is still there. I love seeing his payment in my checking account on the first of every month, but at the same time, there's some resentment on my part - I don't like accepting money from others but at the same time I'm angry that it isn't more. All that's on me, I know and I don't blame him, but it's not pleasant. 

    Like 3
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      KnitPurlKnit When one spouse leaves the workforce to care for the children that's when I personally think alimony is 100% deserved.  Don't feel bad for taking alimony when it's very appropriate in your situation.

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      KnitPurlKnit I totally agree that it's 100% deserved for that case.

      For my situation, I was married for 14 years and my wife worked the entire marriage. However, I made more money than her. I pay her alimony on the 1st and 15th of every month. Plus 5% of my bonuses. This has been going on for 12 years now. I have to continue this for life! That doesn't seem fair. Let's say I live another 40 years. I will have to pay her for 52 years following a 14 year marriage.

      Also, we didn't have an agreement for getting the kids through college but I paid for 98% of it.

      Like
    • Superbone For life??? After 14 years  of marriage? Either you got robbed or I got cheated. Or both. I get XX once a month for 7 years. Then he’s off the hook. He claimed he was going to retire in 7 yrs at age 67 and then wouldn’t be able to pay me any longer. And I, like an idiot, went along with that. So it seems to me that both of us got deals that aren’t fair. 
      Because of his inability to hold down jobs in the past, I ended up spending almost my entire IRA on one of my children’s residential treatment programs, which lasted for 15 months. She desperately needed help and it was the only financial way we could swing it. So I paid the penalties when withdrawing the money before I was 65 in order to get her the treatment she needed. The happy part is that she pretty much totally turned her life around. The negative part is that I have no IRA left. In retrospect I should have fought harder. 

      Like
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 18 hrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Yeah, that's the kind of thing I personally wouldn't want to take money from my ex for, but then again, all my ex's have tried to get as much money out of me as possible, so I guess I'm a freak.

      Like
  • KnitPurlKnit said:
    For life??? After 14 years  of marriage? Either you got robbed or I got cheated. Or both.

     That's California for you. Unless she gets remarried of which I have seen no signs.

    Like
  • My divorce was just finalized, and I was lucky that overall, it was amicable and we were able to come to a settlement on our own, without lawyers. I left him when I realized I don’t want to have children, which is something that changed over time for me. That’s important to him, and there were other issues such as communication and my own mental health that contributed. Overall, it was the best for both of us to recognize (even though we got along) that our relationship had changed, and so did we. 

    We both have good jobs and were on top of our finances. He took his student loan debt and car with him, I kept my car and the house/mortgage, which was in my name and I had been paying on my salary. The way our finances worked, we decided to have me cover the basics - groceries, mortgage, utilities, etc - and him cover the fun. The good in that is that I knew I could leave and survive on my own. The bad is that I felt resentful about how we divided things up. I agreed to pay him $57000 for his share of the house. $20000 came from a joint savings that I only ever contributed to. The rest I had to take out a home equity loan to cover.

    I have always been very financially responsible, and paid my student debt off early and was working hard and budgeting to pay our mortgage off early too. He did contribute, don’t get me wrong - he generally covered vacations, restaurants, etc. But often I’d contribute to those too. And it’s only been very recently that my salary (he still makes more than me) even came close to what he was making. The result is that I work hard to live frugally and have a comfortable lifestyle, and budget and track where my money is going. His attitude was more an “I don’t even have to try, I just end up with savings” type attitude. It’s difficult to feel like you’re the only person in your relationship working and making sacrifices to meet your financial goals. When I talked about paying off our debts, he’d be happy to let me do that on my own, but never volunteered to help or offer support.

    All of this is in the past now; I have a partner who is more in alignment with my beliefs and communication style, both financially and romantically. I value is the freedom I have now, and my goal is to get rid of this home equity loan as soon as possible. It’s a reminder that I’ve been set back from where I was, and it bothers me to know that it will cost me double what I borrowed if I let it sit there the 20 years it’s supposed to. I want to get back to paying early on my mortgage and saving like I was before. I started using YNAB this month to track that, and I feel like there’s a path ahead for me to get back to where I was.

    Like 4
  • After 20 years, my marriage broke down in 2010/11, and the divorce was finalized in 2012, with residual legal hassles through early 2017. I'm sticking to finances from here on.

    I was a housewife with virtually no income during most of my marriage. I was lucky to get child support and lifetime alimony, but the amount was less than half what I needed to live on, in an expensive town in an expensive state. [And the divorce agreement required my kids stay in the town's schools.] I had to learn the skills for a new career.

    From 2011 - 2016 (when I got a job in my new field) finances were very, very tight. I used YNAB to track every penny, even to juggle bills. Even though the numbers were bad, I could see them and make sure nothing slipped too far.

    When I finally began making good money, YNAB let me see where I needed to spend. I set up a budget category to buy a house, and tracking my savings felt very good! I was able to make the purchase last summer.

    I think the less you have, the more important it is to keep track. YNAB made the tracking and budgeting easy, so I could spend my mental energy worrying about other things (like custody battles and property division).

    Like 2
  • It’s been three years since I ended my 15 year marriage. Finances were a big factor; he was depressed, narcissistic, unkind, and a perpetual student who borrowed ever-larger amounts of money to finance each new degree.

    I didn’t want to involve attorneys. We both are capable of earning professional incomes, more than enough to support our two children.

    However, he decided to go the “take every dime I can” route, including seeking alimony and trying to stick me with half of his six figure student loan debt, so an expensive divorce followed.

    I spent over $25,000 on attorneys and mediators. However, I avoided having to pay him 7+ years of alimony, and I avoided taking on most of his debt, so it was worth the cost.

    On the day we separated, my net worth was roughly $55,000.

    Less than three years later, it’s over $200,000 and I have no debt. I pay him more child support than then, but I earn $50,000/year more than then. (His income has fallen by $5,000/year, in case you were wondering.)

    I’m also infinitely happier. I found a new partner who suits me better, and we’ve been together for two wonderful years.

    In the words of the wise Willie Nelson: You know why divorce is so expensive? Because it’s worth it. 😉

    Like 3
  • I know this forum is supposed to be just for finances, but I'd like to ask a more general question.  I left my wife and our 22-year marriage about 3 1/2 months ago.  There were just very painful and personal issues between us that could never be resolved (she hadn't slept in the same bed with me for 2 1/2 years, for example) and one day while trying to talk wither her I just said I was finished - couldn't do it anymore - and left.  We tried counseling twice and I tried many times to talk with her to make it better, but it never did.

    The question is; did or does anyone still struggle with lingering feelings for the other person?  Even though it was pretty bad, there were some good things and we could get along okay, to a point.  There was still some love there, it was just the problems got so bad it broke me.  My divorce still isn't final (no idea how much longer it will take) but sometimes I get feelings that it wasn't so bad or maybe I should try again or I still feel the pull of that person and the life that I had.  Maybe going back will somehow make it all better and I wouldn't have to keep staying "out here" alone, which is hard to adjust to and more uncertain than what I knew.  I know (or assume) that she would take me back and do anything to try and make it work, though I don't believe some our issues are possible to fix.  It was just far to hard, far too difficult and too painful of an experience living with them, so I try to remind myself of that.  I tell myself that going back and "trying" just wouldn't work and I'd have to hurt everyone all over again, so it is better to just stay separate.

    Just wondering what other's experiences are if second thoughts, doubts or lingering feelings.  We have two children (17 and 20 years old) and we will always be tied together through them, so I need to learn how to be okay with her without being afraid of having some sort of feelings.  Is this all normal?

    Like
      • Gold Pilot
      • Gold_Pilot.4
      • 22 hrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 Very normal, I think. I’d suggest meeting with a therapist to work through those feelings. Typically they will encourage you to write down all the reasons why you left, and to ask yourself “What has changed?” if you are considering reconciliation. It’s rare that anything substantial has changed, and you’ll end up in the same spot, if you try to go back and reconcile. But if something actually has changed, then you know going back in, exactly why you are giving it another try. And you can also write down the conditions under which you’ll continue to try vs. walk away again.

      For me, I considered leaving for 7+ years. And one day I just realized, it’s been 15 years. I know exactly what the next 15 are going to be like. I can continue to live with this. Or... I could choose not to. And I gave it one more year, and then chose not to, anymore.

      Like 4
    • Gold Pilot Thank you and that is where I was at: nothing was changing and we couldn't fix it and therapy wasn't working at all (she won't open up at therapy).  I was totally lost as to what to do and suffering.  But, since then, I haven't seen any changes.  Nothing that makes we want to return or think we'd be good together now.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 18 hrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 I think that's normal after a long marriage especially having had kids together. You are used to a routine and then everything gets turned on its head. At least your kids are older so it shouldn't be too tough on them. Mine were 13 and 16 when I got divorced and they've turned out fantastic. I think continuing to have a good relationship with your ex while going through divorce and even after helps a ton and definitely makes it a lot better for your kids.

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 18 hrs ago
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 Even despite everything he did to me, I still miss my ex.  I miss the intellectual connection I had with him.  I guess I've learned that I can't have everything in one person and it's not worth putting up with abuse in order to have that connection, but I still miss it.

      Like
    • ukimagic209 I left after 30+ years. We too had been to several therapists for counseling, but while I saw some changes, nothing really stuck long term. I was tired of being put down, made to feel unworthy, etc. Part of the issue is that I let him make me feel that way. I could have just ignored it and told him he was nuts but for some reason, it took me many years to be able to do that (and many years of therapy) Because for a long time, deep down I believed the things he said and I had to get over that before I could make any kind of move. We lived separately for a year and a half and during that time, I started to feel so much better about myself. But when it came time to finally get on with the divorce, I got cold feet and asked him if he wanted to give it one last try. Although he hadn't wanted the initial separation, at that point (thankfully) he was ready to move on. While I had some serious doubts about the divorce, I'm not sure they were related to my feelings toward him. I was somewhat nervous about being on my own permanently and I think that clouded my vision. I also kept remembering the good times we had in the beginning and how much we cared about one another. But all that has been erased over the years, and while I still sometimes do feel something for him (we see each other on a regular basis, as we have grown children together), I know that what was wrong with the relationship isn't fixed and probably never will be. I think my feelings are somewhat romanticized at this point and I have no doubt that if we did get back together, things would deteriorate pretty quickly. But I certainly don't think it's unusual to have these kinds of feelings at the end of a long marriage.

      Like 4
      • JR5445
      • JR5445
      • 15 hrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 Absolutely normal. It's the reason I stayed so long in such a toxic relationship (17 years), until my daugher was 17 and I no longer felt trapped. For me, it helped to diary, so I could step back and look at the things that she did, and get out of the toxic cycle I was constantly in. I believe my ex has borderline personality disorder, and the way you describe certain things make me wonder if you're dealing with something similar. Worth looking into, if nothing other than to realize the hopelessness of hanging on any longer. --- also, though we have the child together, we do not stay connected because of it. My daughter doesn't even speak to her except on rare occasions, and even when she does she does not provide any details about me, and I don't ask about any details. Eventually you will learn to distance and dissociate your feelings for her, especially when you find the woman you will spend the rest of your life with.

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 14 hrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      JR5445 Oh man, I'm pretty sure my ex is BPD too and it's horrible!  Walking on eggshells.

      For anyone who is still in the process of getting divorced and suspects BPD or NPD, I highly recommend the book "Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder".  It can help save you a ton of grief and money.

      Like 2
  • One set of questions to ask yourself, and do some hard, realistic thinking about:

    - what would need to change for the marriage to work well?

    - what would your spouse need to change? How likely is it that they would change this way, and would it be long term?

    - what changes would you need to make, are they do-able and could you keep with them?

    In my case, once I realized my ex would need to repair some deep, deep trauma from his childhood, that he was actively blocking those experiences and denying they ever happened, I saw that our marriage would never work out. Therapy ... we were on therapist #4 at that point. Therapy only works for people who accept they have problems and want to fix them.

    [In addition to being a YNAB user, I moderate a relationship forum. I have peer counseling training, but am not a therapist and am not qualified to give professional advice. I have seen a lot of marriages with issues, some people have fixed them, some have not.]

    Like 3
    • ZCademy Thanks for you reply.  Initially, and I mean initially, like after two days, she said (in a nutshell) it was really all her fault and she saw it now and would do anything I wanted her to do to make it work; she would participate in therapy, etc..  It really, really threw me because she pretty much said all the right things.  I talked to friends and family and they said to wait and see what she does.  See if she went to a therapist on her own, for example, but nothing has changed of any significance at all.

      I think part of the problem is that I really don't want to work on it with her anymore - it was too hard (before) with no results.  I don't want to get back into all of it with her.  But at the same time, she's not a terrible person and I still feel things for her because some of what we had was good and I feel bad about leaving.

      Thanks again for your suggestions and advice!  I was seeing a therapist and may talk to them again about some of this.

      Like
      • ZCademy
      • ZCademy
      • 20 hrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      ukimagic209 As you said, the YNAB forum really isn't the best place to go into depth on this. I'll say a couple more words, then you should continue this with someone in real life, perhaps the therapist.

      Many divorces are between two good people who are just incompatible. Nothing "wrong" with either, they just can't make a go of marriage together. In that case, the best thing is to divorce amicably and get on with your lives. [I know one couple like this, they were on good enough terms to be in the wedding parties for each one's 2nd marriage!]

      Feeling for your soon-to-be-ex is a good thing. You married her in the first place for a reason, and though you have both changed since, those qualities are still there. Use those good feelings and treat her with respect in the months to come. [Hopefully, she will do the same.]

      Grieving over a divorce is normal and natural. It is a death; the death of a marriage.

      Like 3
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