For anyone looking for the background of my story the link to the sleeping post is here: https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums/?tid=660097&HL=82696
TL/DR version: My fairytale/sell movie rights to Lifetime marriage blew apart just over a year ago. Turned out my STBXH was never faithful and exposed me in the worst ways, including sharing my father's abuse during my childhood to a dominatrix he was involved with. I started the process of a small claims' case with some of his women to have them pay for my STD testing since they knew he was "happily" married and literally wrote that they didn't care AND while he's 100% to blame - they initiated the non-use of protection which they knew they were using my money to pay for (Meaning, I paid for the condoms they begged him not to use). I won't go into all of the details but he also threatened to "dump" my dog. I'm posting because I haven't shared much since I felt truly broken and it's taken me a lot of time to feel normal again. I'm also hoping that anyone else feeling as lost and broken as I did finds some hope in my update.
And the update(ish): I had initially thought I'd just suck it up and stay with him to avoid changes for the children. He'd also continued to pull on my kindness with the "I have nowhere to go" BS. Well, it's true he had nowhere to go but it was total BS that it was my responsibility in any way to fix or protect him from consequences. I definitely had my moments where I thought it would just be easier for everyone if I was no longer here. He was always the "fun" parent and the kids weren't laughing as much around me... I tried but was in no state to be funny or light hearted. The kids also get a lot of money if I'm gone so it was tempting for certain moments. That said... I pulled myself out of that. I took my mother on a holiday to Ireland (one of my favourite places in the whole world) to get some peace and make memories there that did not involve him. While I was there the kids found vodka bottles. Lots of them. He told me about it before they could. It was in that moment I knew I was doing the greatest disservice to my children. I knew I was done but couldn't bring myself to tell him in that moment because I didn't want to do anything to make him more unstable while I was gone. Two days later... the kids found more bottles. I did not just leave them alone with him, I made sure safety plans were in place, and thankfully my children are older (20, 18, and 13) so they had a way to escape if needed - including access to money. Thankfully, he himself said he'd move out and he did, on my birthday - which was the best gift ever.
Since then it's been... interesting. He's using the kids for his ego kibbles/validation, he's SUPER nice to me in front of his family who no longer speaks to me, but is extremely rude any other time. I.E.: I say "please stop using the kids to plan things out of state or promising them things I can't deliver - you need to communicate to me before you commit to them" and I'll get responses along the vein of "stop coming after me and looking for reasons to actively hate me". It's confusing and frustrating to navigate this because of the impact on the children but he is out of the house. No clue how I managed it but he agreed to my divorce requirements, which I consider VERY fair. I won't have to pay alimony, and he owes me child support because despite me even allowing him to use my home to spend nights with the children he rarely took me up on it and where he lives now is not comfortable for my 13 year old. It isn't a lot and I don't even think I'll take it for use day to day - probably put it in savings for my son when he's older, if the ex even pays. Originally I was going to owe him child support due to the income disparity but he wasn't taking the time we initially agreed to and he ditches us constantly because he went back to his music "career". I get to keep my land, and everyone says what a difference they see in my fur baby's attitude and behaviors. All that's in the way of us being truly done is the mandatory waiting period in our state. T-minus 34 days and counting!
I suppose I don't really have anything that will directly help someone else... I know I'm lucky in that he and his family just don't have the money to fight me on anything and not everyone has that luxury here. What I did want to portray is that, even though you may feel devastated... even though you'll have moments where you just want to end the pain... even though this whole ordeal is a LOT to bear and can break you... it WILL get better. You WILL be ok in the end. You ARE worth it, and your children see more than you think. One of the most shocking moments for me was having my kids tell me they were praying I'd leave him. I twisted myself into a pretzel trying to be ok enough that they wouldn't be worse for wear and yet... they were hoping beyond hope I'd get him out of our home. They did not want that for me or for themselves. They have an OK relationship with him now but they see him for what he is. My daughter asks me to take her to do all the things he would have done before because she doesn't enjoy time with him like she used to. My youngest cuddles up to me at night and shares his deepest thoughts, despite being a teenager now. My middle baby helps me cook dinner, and they all chip in to keep the house clean(ish). Therapy has given me some tools to help me make sense of things also.
It takes time but I promise you there is light at the end of the tunnel. Your life will never be the same but for me, even though I am not 100%, I can look at the sky and smile. I'm able to enjoy the feeling of the sun on my face. I spend 90% of my days without a single truly sad thought about the fake marriage I had. I'm even at the point where I've blocked the ex and we only email if something major comes up and it feels good. I hate that he still uses the children to support his fragile ego but I can't change that - I can only be there for the kids and I find comfort knowing they see him for the most part (Only because it means they won't be sucked into his manipulation) but can still enjoy his company once in awhile. If you are like I was, feeling hopeless, feeling like you have no control over anything.... just know it will be ok. It's a fight. It's a drag yourself over broken glass road, but it will get better in the end. Not perfect, that will take years to feel possible again, but it will be ok.
In the meantime... the folks at SI really know their stuff. I had some very blunt responses to my original post and it made it hurt more at the time but I held onto the words and I held onto knowing I wasn't crazy... that he was not a good person or someone worthy of my pain. That's not to say I think every cheater is a bad person by any means. My ex is a bad person. Whether he's unable to face his true self, or just doesn't care what he did, the person he has been to myself and to the children is a bad person. I feel sorry for whoever comes after me but that's not my fight or anything I will stress over, as long as they are good to my kids.
I'll jump off my soap box now but... thank you SI. I truly don't think I'd have made it without you. For anyone else in a similar position... feel free to reach out if you need support. I want to be the support I received from others :-).