I’m realizing that people are getting lost in my story. It’s a doozy. Here’s the crib sheet if you’re trying to keep up…

-I was with my ex husband for 16 years (married for 10).

Who Is He?

-I received a surprise text on July 11, 2009 that he was leaving me and leaving the state (I was out of town visiting my dad at the time). I had no idea this was coming. He was loving and normal the entire time, up until hours before he sent that text.

The Day the Marriage Died

-I then discovered, upon returning home to an empty house, that he had wiped accounts clean, taken out and maxed out a home equity note and had taken out additional credit. I was left with less than nothing.

It’s Not Fraud If You’re Married

Marital Fraud: Questions Answered

-Then, the real shocker. Through an email I discovered that he married a woman 6 days after leaving me, thus committing felony bigamy.

I Was Married to a Con Man

If You’re Going to Get Married Illegally, Be Sure to Pay the Band

-I had him arrested. I talked to his wife. She was as shocked as I was.

Getting Away With Bigamy

-The short answer on the legal system – he got away with everything. There is currently a felony warrant for him for the bigamy. In the divorce, he disappeared instead of fulfilling the terms. Yeah, I still get angry about that sometimes.

Why I Choose Not to Play Criminal Pursuit

-I have had no contact with him since the text. He refused to return calls, emails, etc.

What is a Tsunami Divorce?

-I have no idea where he is or what he is up to. Once the divorce was final, I chose to focus on living my life rather than follow his.

Where is He Now?

-The first year, during the legal process, was rough. Very rough.

PTSD After Divorce

-But I’m not in that place anymore. I worked hard to heal and, through that, have found a desire to help others improve themselves as well, thus the writing and the wellness coaching.

My Motivation

-I lead a much more balanced life than I did before – more yoga and less working at all hours:)

Taming the Monkey Mind

-I am in a new relationship and will be married in the fall of 2013 now in an awesome marriage with an amazing man. The end of a marriage does not mean the end of love.

Love After Divorce: A Reflection on a Journey

My writing spans this entire journey. I talk about the pain and horror. I share the hope. And I speak about the lessons that I am still learning.

Lessons From the End of a Marriage, The Middle of Healing and the Beginning of a Remarriage

42 thoughts on “Just the Facts, Ma’am

  1. Wow thank you for the hope that I will heal, that there will be a day that I don’t have to keep swallowing so the tears don’t come to surface, a day I don’t have to say, ok one, two, three now get out of bed now….go to work. I am doing it. But it is a lot of pushing myself. A lot of struggling. One day….huh? Good to know.

  2. Wow, I’m already in love with your blog. I love how honest you are. Congrats on your engagement! I’m looking forward to following your journey as I am recently divorced. It’s great to see someone on the other side! XoXX

    P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. We have a very similar thread here, uh… without the bigamy 😉 I was married for 16 years (together for 20). On my 40th birthday, after a nice day together, ex-wife told me she had filed for divorce and already had a place she was moving into the next morning. Like you, I didn’t see it coming. She told me she needed to find herself, and couldn’t do it with a husband and two children. I took on all the debt (thousands of which I didn’t know about) in order to keep the house I had remodeled. It was a very rough time, but being there for my two children (my daughter was 11 and my son 5) got me through. I was determined not to be one of those bitter “I hate all women” kind of guys; and I still believed in love. I also knew that finding the right person meant being myself, and not putting up walls. I’m infinitely happy to say I am celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary this August with the true Love of My Life. We found each other — each with custody of our two children (one boy, one girl each) — and it was instant perfection. There’s no other way to describe it. I guess what I’m trying to say is I can feel what you went through, as well as where you have been and where you’re going — and am very happy the path you followed led you to where you are!

  4. My friend sent me your link. I need to start healing and am glad u have given me a start with the title tsunami divorce cause that is very accurate he goes on and I am left to deal with the destruction. He has not bled accounts but he was nice and I was completely blind sided. So anyway you don’t know me but thanks for turning your story into help for others, I hope to be there someday.

    1. I’m glad your friend shared the link but I’m sorry to hear that you need it. The term “tsunami” came to me as soon as my ex left – it was the only way I could think of to describe the violent devastation and the lack of warning. The suddenness is the worst part but also the best, as it is a clean amputation that allows healing to begin earlier once you survive the initial shock and trauma.

      Thinking of you and wish you the best on your journey…

  5. you wrapped that up pretty succinctly, how you’ve been able to come out of it on the other side is a testament to your strength and bravery. I look forward to reading more.

  6. I took a similar situation (all the angst but without the shock!) and dragged it over a longer period. The end result is the same though–I got to keep the most valuable asset in the marriage– me! Since, I’ve written two novels and have made a full life for myself. It seems you have, too.

  7. Having failed at two previous divorce attempts (1989, 2008), I am about ready at attempt #3 after 33 yrs of marriage (of convenience). I have been planning this for some time, and this time around, the situation is different. All the children are gone, I already live in another state but have been maintaining (faking) a long-distance relationship and the only joint debt is the house (which I don’t want) and our car payments. I see now that what I am planning has an actual title (tsunami), and it makes me wonder: is there a “perfect” way or “better” way to announce that this is really the end, and this time I mean it…. don’t try sucking up and sexing me up again; it wont work….?

    I would actually file tomorrow, but there is one little hitch: she has been unemployed since Feb. I am waiting for her to get gainful employment…then cut her loose.

    I don’t see the point in leaving hints any more. She is in total denial of anything that she is doing to drive me away…like hoarding new pets, terrible housekeeper, poor personal hygeine. In short: she is disgusting. Getting new pets that she already knows how I feel about it is a total disrepect of me, and THAT is THE biggest reason I gave up.

  8. Holy…COW!!! Whenever I get mad and feel robbed, I read stories like yours and thank God for my ex-husband. He left me high and dry but not completely. He’s a selfish, shallow, and materialistic but also has some redeeming qualities (I think). I definitely look forward to following your blog and your life as it unfolds.

    1. Yeah, mine could certainly win some awards for “most egregious ex!” What’s funny, though, is I’m thankful in many ways for the way that it has unfolded. Life sure keeps us on our toes, doesn’t it? 🙂

  9. As one who is contemplating leaving a marriage of 34 years, your information looks as though it may help me. Our finances currently are a mess, and I want to file BK, rather than wait until he can access his funds in his 401K next year – there will be enough to make us debt free, except for the house, which we cannot afford to keep anyway. I want him to be able to have his money for his new life when I go (if I go). I plan to leave with nothing but my clothes, cell phone and laptop.

    Our breakup would be a shock to him, though I am not a fraud or embezzler. So knowing how the shock of it all affected you will I hope, enable me to ease the shock this will be to my husband. I will be reading more of your blogs in the coming weeks as I cement my decision about my future.

      1. Gotcha. That makes sense. He thinks he’s past the “window” where you may leave. I can see then how he may feel caught off guard but it seems like he wouldn’t be completely blindsided either.

  10. I am 7 yrs past a divorce. We were married for 25 yrs – blissful at first; 2 daughters; then he began to change….slide….slide….slide. I stuck with him probably at least 10 yrs longer than I should have – hoping, praying to God that he would come to his senses. He didn’t; the emotional and verbal abuse became more frequent. Then a “little” bit of physical abuse…toward me and our daughters. It was always our fault – they were loud, things were tense, HIS blood pressure was going up and it was our fault. Six-figure income, one daughter goes off to college…then he lost his job, probably because he didn’t like his new manager’s “style”. Lost his job, I worked…he spent. He slept, and ate, and got into pornography (which he eventually would leave up on the computer for us to find)…and he started leaving on weekends.
    At the end of 3 years, after I worked (he still had no job; he was waiting on the illusive headhunters to call), and scraped, and prayed (and he had run up $100K worth of credit card debt – unbelievable, but true!)…I was finally able to say yes to a divorce. The week before our younger daughter was to begin her senior year of high school he exploded and almost killed her. Due to unusual laws in our county at that time, she (at 17) was in limbo – couldn’t file child abuse; too old. Couldn’t file assault; too young. Oh, and there was a case in family court, so….nothing could be done. He refused to move out. SHE had to move out and in with a couple from our church for the next month, until the divorce could be finalized and then he HAD to leave.

    Jumping ahead…we divorced, his debt was totally written off by the cc companies, younger daughter exhibited signs of PTSD (undiagnosed until a couple of years later), etc., and more etc….I moved one state north and into our 800sf rental property. Starting over at age almost-50.

    Today…both daughters are exceptionally healthy and successful young women. They don’t hear from their paternal unit. He now lives in another state entirely, has a high-paying job, all of his retirement, and he has moved in with one of the women he saw on the weekends. He has had triple bypass surgery and two diabetic seizures (that we know about). His brother and sister-in-law remain close to me and my family and they’re as dumbfounded by his behavior as I.

    I never was really angry at him – just very sad, very disappointed. Over the last few months I’ve begun to feel cheated – cheated out of love that was meant to last for a lifetime; cheated out of the “teamwork” that should have been there; cheated out of financial relief (I am trying to come to terms with the fact that I will have to work until I die – I was left with medical bills, significant college expenses for our daughters, etc., and a torn-up home that was sold for half of what it was worth); cheated out of companionship; cheated out of being able to vacation (even overnight, unless staying with friends); let me tell you that watching friends celebrate their 30+ yrs of marriage, the traveling they do, the homes they live in, the experiences they have, the smiles they smile…and all of this on Facebook, etc….is very difficult. I am such an odd man out. I get a few “pity” invites to gatherings and have to fight almost-panic-attacks each and every time.

    It’s been 7 years – how do I get over this? I see widowed friends mourn, date, and remarry…not me; I’ve had only one man even show interest in me – out of the blue, in a restaurant…turned out he was 92 and couldn’t see very well. That’s it – no one shows any interest in me at all. I’d almost like to work on willing myself to die if I could figure out how to do it without drugs, or alcohol, or a weapon.

    Thanks for listening. I watched the video of the 96 yr old man who wrote his recently-deceased wife, Lorraine, a love song…after 75 years of marriage. I watched it tonight and realized anew how I could barely make it a 1/3 of that time – and how much it hurts.

    1. It is hard. I remember repeatedly saying that it wasn’t fair. And it’s not. Nor will it ever be. Eventually, I realized that, in order for me to move on and heal, I had to let go of the fact that it wasn’t fair. It’s not easy – I still get angry every month when I have to make a payment on HIS debt – but letting go of the unfairness is a choice I make every day.

      You say you feel cheated out of the life you wanted. Don’t give him that much power. Yes, you are in a different place than you expected. But you have the power to be happy where you are. You have the power to show your daughters that a man, even one that was a husband, cannot steal away your happiness even when he breaks your heart.

  11. Thanks for your reply – funny thing; I never looked at him having power over me (still) by feeling cheated. Maybe I’ve been numb for the last 7 years, now in the midst of the mourning (anger?) and sorting this out.
    I’ve read much more of your blog – so much resonates within me. I also realize how raw the “good ones” are left. I’m not alone in what I’ve experienced and I need to stop acting like it.

  12. Love this. Very inspiring. It is so hard for people to see when going through divorce, but sometimes it is a blessing. (Not so believable at the time when you are walking around as if you have been punched in the stomach) People deserved to be loved and you never know what amazing things are awaiting you at the end of a difficult journey. I think that when you finally find happiness, you have to recognize you would not be in that exact moment if every tough thing didn’t happen just exactly as it happened. Life is not always fair, but I certainly appreciate the joyful moments now so much more after going through some tough times. We are stronger that we will ever know. Happy to see it has worked out for you. Best wishes, Krista

  13. I went through this almost 7 years ago although we were not married. At the time I was also emotionally fragile for other reasons and I did not take it well at all. It was a long road and I feel that I’ve recovered and rebuilt and forgiven but also that I am just not the same and that I can’t really love or trust again. I’m in a relationship now that has lasted for over three years, yet I don’t believe in it in my heart. I have done a good job of owning my own emotions and I have not been clinging or blaming or accusatory to my boyfriend, it is just that I feel that the other shoe is going to drop. You say that statistically “Tsunamis are rare”…can you say more about this? How do you know? Will this happen to me again? How can I really trust in my new relationship?

    1. There are no guarantees. In anything. You can, however, learn to trust in yourself. To trust that you will see signs of trouble but, even more importantly, trust that you can make it through anything that comes your way. You can chose to never rebuild because it might be destroyed or you can opt to build the strongest structure you can and enjoy it as long as it lasts, with the understanding that it still can fall.

  14. I am hurting so much right now but reading all your stories helped me understand that a happy marriage is not for everyone and it is normal for me to feel this way. My husband encouraged me to move to AZ to start my own Insurance Agency. We lived in Winter Park, FL and he said he would follow and ask his company for a transfer. But two months after I moved here with my two teens, he sent me marriage settlement documents from his lawyer. I just finished one month of having my own business from scratch and boom!, He dropped the “D” bomb on me. I got nothing just a promise that he would pay our rent here until Feb 2015. So far, he is keeping his promise but base from his actions recently with regards to finances, I am not holding my breath. We remain friendly because I do not choose to dwell on bitterness but I am so unhappy and depressed that I moved here far from my friends who could have helped me go through tough times, but I have to keep going, get up in the morning and go to work, otherwise, we won’t be able to support ourselves.

  15. Pingback: | Love, Lori A.
  16. Thank you dearly Lisa. Your website is a shelter in the storm.

    I have just discovered it and I am grateful that I can continue to read your blog, book, and the brave contributions of others. It has made me feel so much less lonely. And despite seeing many counselors and psychiatrists, it has made me feel like finally someone understands how I feel.

    My long-time partner abandoned me a year and a half ago. Our relationship was loving and happy until he pulled the trigger. At the time, we were living in another country where he was on a work visa. So instead of him running away, he called me from an undisclosed hotel in our city and told me I had to leave our home and the country immediately. If I didn’t, he threatened, he would report me to the police. It made no sense, I had done nothing wrong, but in the shock and horror of the moment, I was in no mood to stay. I boarded a plane with all the possessions I could fit in a suitcase and returned to Canada. He has since largely stonewalled me, and will not return any of my things from our old home.

    I feel such despair, and I’m afraid I’ll never be capable of a love like that again. But I know I have to keep an open heart, and keep fighting for the life I want.

    Lisa, I would really appreciate it if you could write something on your blog about this issue: Do the “perpetrators” ever write to you? Do they ever tell you why they did it, whether they see the enormity of what they’ve done, how they rationalize or understand their actions? I’m sure many of us would welcome a discussion of this.

    Thank you again for your bravery and honesty.

    1. That had to be so scary and alienating for that to happen while you were in another country. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with the fallout of this. Keep fighting – it’s worth it! I, too, was afraid of how I would ever be able to love and trust again. It’s not an easy road for sure, but it is possible.

      I never have heard from anyone who admits to committing abandonment. I would guess that is because their default stance is the flee, not just the relationship, but also the reality and the consequences of their choices. I would suspect that it would take quite a life-changing moment for them to face the facts.

      I do hear from people who have had (or are currently having) affairs. It’s a self-selected sample, though. They either are oblivious to the impact (the more narcissistic types) or feel a lot of conflict about what they are doing and are engaged in soul-searching.

      I would also love to learn the “why” behind abandonment. But I don’t think I ever will. Because those who disappear don’t have the courage to look back.

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