Shattered

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2014
Shattered
7
Sun, 08-10-2014 - 2:37pm

A little under a month ago I found out that my husband of 17 years has been having a year-long (at least) affair with a mother at our youngest child's Catholic school. (She is single). We have two boy, ages 14 and 9. I had no idea any of this was happening, but found out this just this week that he had involved the children, lying about taking them to visit his parents and instead going on outings with her and her children, or taking the boys to events and dropping them off, leaving with her, and coming back to pick up the boys when the events were over. (He is a cub scout  leader and her two boys are in Cub Scout with our youngest, and they went on several overnight Cub Scout trips while I was home working.) He says he loves her and is going to leave me for her. He is totally cold and matter-of-fact about it, and acts like he has done nothing wrong, and that our lives are going to go on just as before, except he will be with her. (She's very prominent at the school -- from a wealthy family who donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to the school -- and is a member of the lots of committees at the school and at the church.)  He says they're not going to be public about it, because he needs to protect her reputation, but it seems that several people have suspected this was going on (they didn't seem to take many pains to hid it from other people when they were at events that I did not attend.)

I'm devastated, confused, shattered, unable to eat or sleep or work. I feel like the entire world disappeard. I've already gotten into counseling, but it's not helping at all. He won't leave the house (which is in his name), and won't talk to me about his plans. The boys know (of course -- they've known for months and months and were afraid to say anything because they didn't want to cause us to break up) and are angry, but somehow relieved that they don't have to live this double life anymore. I've told the school priest, the principal, and all my son's teachers the sitaution and made it clear that this woman is not to have contact with my child or attempt to check him out of school. (which she had done, unbeknownst to me and with my husband's permission, in the past.)  But beyond that, I don't know what else I can do. We're going to see her and her children constantly, at least several times a week, and my husband has made it clear he will be with her instead of us. (He was very close to both boys before and a great father, but this past year it seems he's only used them as props to manufacture ways to spend time with her without arousing too much suspicion, and now if I am with the boys, he's decided he will be with her instead of us, so that we don't give the appearance of being a "family.")  He thinks that things are going to calm down and the boys will be fine with her -- which is not the case. The boys have so much animosity and hatred toward her that they don't want to have any contact, but he thinks somehow that's my idea and not what they have told me.

I fear he may be mentally ill, because his responses and his demeanor are just so strange and detached from reality.  He really is a completely different person than the man I've been in love and been loved by for nearly 2 decades. It's like the real him just vanished the moment I confronted him with the proof I've found and has been replaced by this cold monster who feels nothing except this almost addiction-like need to be with her at the cost of everything else.

I've taken over everthing having to do with the children and I'm trying to keep it together, but it's getting harder and harder to get through each day. I want to leave the state (Louisiana) and go home my family in Colorado, but he's made it clear that he'll petition to keep the boys here, and unfortunately the law here makes it 80-90% likely that that will be the outcome. . It still seems totally surreal, almost like it's happening to someone else. I'm trapped in a nightmare and I'm having trouble finding a way out

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Sun, 08-10-2014 - 7:27pm

You need an excellent divorce attny, NOW.  Ask around for someone who gets WOMEN the BEST deals.  You want a shark.  Louisiana is a state that still consideres moral character in custody arrangments.  USE THAT.  Take all the money you can out of the checking and savings, and put it in a NEW account, in ONLY your name.  DO NOT leave the house.  Ask for 50% of the fair market value of the house, GROSS, not net.  Ask for spousal support, money toward retraining for a (or better) career, money for psych counseling for you and the kids, whatever you can think of. 

Who cares about HER reputation??  Shouldn't be you.  That ship sailed when she began an affair with a married man.  TELL EVERYONE.  Use that as the excuse for pulling the kids from the school.  You don't want them,  or you,  to have to see her any more than absolutly necessary.  You can't afford private school now, anyway.  You'll need every penny you can get, to pay the lawyer, and support you and the kids.  If you have a job here, don't be in a rush to move.  I realize you will have more moral support, but you need to weight that against whether or not you can get a well paying job there, and whether or not you family will sit your kids while you work.  Those are all valid reasons to bring to a judge, if you DO decide a move would be in the CHILDREN'S best interest.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2014
Sun, 08-10-2014 - 8:53pm

Thanks so much for your reply. It's such a relief to be able to just say these things out loud.

I have interviewed lawyers and have found one that will be expensive -- but she's very good. I actually own my own Internet-based graphic design business (and I've been making more monthly than his salary lately), so working in another state is no problem. I also own a house in Colorado, and have looked into schools there (the magnet school the kids would go to is nationally ranked and objectively better than the private schools they're going to now).  

And I have been telling everyone I can (discretely) the whole story about what's going on. I certainly don't care about her reputation and am willing to trash it as much as I can without looking like a crazy person. My only fear is that because she is well-connected and wealthy, that she will bring that to bear against me. (We live in a relatively small town, and her family are about the biggest fish in the pond here.)  But I've never been afraid of what people think of me. I just like to make sure I've got all angles covered and won't run into any surprises. I want more than anything to just take the kids out of here and go home, but I've been advised (and read enough case law) to know that it's something of a crapshoot to get permission to take the kids out of state and I want to make sure I've put everything in order to make the strongest possible case before I attempt the eventual legal challenge. And the vengeful part of me really wants her to be miserable. (My husband, I think, is going to be miserable enough without any help from me, but I have this bordering-on-obsessive feeling right now about finding a way to maker her miserable that I'm trying to work through, because I know it's natural, but not healthy.)

And I know all of the above makes me sound in control and put together, but it seems like every moment of every day is a challenge. I'm terrified that my emotions are never going to be normal again and that in the end I'm just going to fall apart.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
In reply to: sabrtooth
Sun, 08-10-2014 - 9:40pm

Actually, being in that small town may work in your favor as far as relocating the kids.  Talk to your lawyer about it, but I'm willing to bet that the fact that your husband cheated on you, with someone so well known, can be used as ammunition.  They obviously both exhibited poor moral character.  Catholic my a$$.  You can also argue that your children would be subject to unrelenting ridicule and gossip because of the cloistered nature of the town.  You may make more money than him now, but a solely owned business is subject to variables.  It's NOT like having a salary, from an employer you can depend on.  So ask for spousal support, and angle that living close to family, in Colorado, will help those inevitable lean times.

BTW, if you have not already, put all your property in a blind trust BEFORE the divorce proceedings begin.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 08-11-2014 - 2:48pm

Putting property in a trust will not do anything because she will have to disclose whatever she owns at the time she gets divorced.  I sure hope you aren't advising anyone to try to keep their assets secret, because that could derail the entire divorce if there is fraud involved.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 08-11-2014 - 2:55pm

Avalanchegirl,

Your story sounds like a story I heard from my friend this weekend.  I was shocked when she told me she just found out that her DH is having an affair and that he & the OW went on a vacation together over the weekend.  He is coming home tonight and she will tell him that she found out.  I guess he will know the jig is up because she canceled his credit card -- she told the company that someone was using it out of the country without her knowledge.  lol  The only difference there is that they do not have kids.  They have been married 20 yrs and she doesn't want a divorce.  They run a business together.  It seems like this was triggered by the fact that he had open heart surgery earlier this year and is questioning everything in his life--his job, his marriage, etc.

I wish you the best.  I would not just "take" your kids out of school w/o asking them.  Maybe they really like their school, but maybe they will be embarrassed by having to tell friends that their dad is now with their friend's dad.  A counselor could help but you should also run it by your lawyer.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2002
Thu, 08-14-2014 - 10:25pm

Oh sweetie, I know how you are just dying inside.  But you are so strong!  Now if you find yourself unable to eat and sleep, and your depression is overwhelming, you may want to try antidepressants.  They really worked for me, after a few weeks.  I became much clearer and stronger.  

I think you are doing everything just right in this horrible situation.  Contacting attorneys, taking good care of your children, and carefully spreading the word about that tramp.  While she may have tons of money, cash doesn't necessarily save anyone from embarrassment and shame.  

Just don't make any rash desicions right now.  Hold off pulling the kids out of school.  Keep a cool head.  Often our anger prompts us to do things that, rationally, may not be the best in everyone's interest.  Take your time.  Move cautiously.  And remember, your H is in the throes of a new love affair in which everything is just wonderful.  OVer time, that initial excitement will be replaced by the same everyday issues we all deal with, and he will most likely come running back to you, or get weary of her.    I know you can get thru this and be stronger for it.  I promise you happier days are ahead.  Believe me, I understand

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2014
Thu, 08-21-2014 - 1:10pm
Avalanchegirl, I'd go to court file for a divorce, alimony, child support and petition to leave to Colorado. You can tell them that your H has been having a year long affair and has subjected your kids to lie about it. You can add that you may fear for your sons lives because of your H and this woman being so manipulative and the deceivement that she has incorporated in your lives. Give it a try even if you think the odds are against you, you never know. Your H has obviously chosen to be with her and you deserve to move on and not feel humiliated anymore. Most of all your children shouldn't of been exposed to this f@ckery to the extent that they have. I can't believe your H had the audacity to have the mistress around them. Please show your sons this is not acceptable and its not okay behavior. You have to set and implement that example. I wish you the best and please have faith that everything will work out just as its meant to be and in your favor.