"Amicable" isn't in his vocabulary.
Be warned! Just when you think that your ex-husband has hit an all-time low ... it turns out, he's just getting started.
And what's really hard is that, no matter how much of an asshole he is, there's still a part of you deep inside that wants to see the good side of him again. After all, this is the man you married once upon a tme and thought you'd spend the happiest days of your life with.
Now, divorce is showing you a completely different side of him that you never knew existed. Hard as it is, you need to prepare for what might come next.
Here are the top 5 bullshit things men do to women during divorce:
1. Dismissing you
He has absolutely no compassion or respect for your feelings and values. He's decided that he wants a divorce and if he didn't have the balls to tell you face-to-face, so he sent you a text, email, or letter. Perhaps he acted like everything was perfect between the two of you, kissed you good-bye before he left for work and … WHAM, you're served divorce papers within an hour. He refuses to tell you to your face his reasons for the divorce or even talk to you about a settlement. He is a coward.
You wonder how he could be so cruel and if he ever loved you at all. You're curious who this man is, as he's not the man you once knew and loved. You'll ask yourself how you've been so blind. You feel devalued — as if he's thrown you out like yesterday's trash — and it hurts.
2. Flaunting his new life
He has his new girlfriend and is enjoying life (or so it seems). He's posting pictures of himself and his new love all over Facebook. He's taking her places that you used to beg him to go. He introduces her to all of his friends and brags about how much better she is than you. Perhaps, he's even engaged to her already and floods his social media posts with pictures of her colossal diamond ring. He's also telling the kids that she'll be their new mom, in an attempt to rebuild his family the way he wants it with this new woman.
You feel infuriated and wonder how the hell he gets all the joy, while you're so miserable. You're sick and tired of seeing this woman — constantly asking yourself why he treats her better than he ever did you. You feel as if this other woman is taking over your life. Most of all, you can't understand how he could move on so quickly.
3. Denying you financial resources
Men can play all kinds of tricks when it comes to money. For some reason, they feel that once the separation is final they owe you nothing and see child-support as money "given" to you. It's like your ex wants to see you penniless and struggling. He might even hide assets in an attempt to give you less in the settlement, or stop paying the mortgage and/or utilities, as well as, cancel your credit cards.
You feel used and abused. You believed it was a joint decision for him to take the bulk of the marital financial responsibility when you were married, and now he acts as if he didn't. You can't understand why he'd do this to you after everything that you sacrificed for him, the life you built jointly. The future is unknown and terrifying, for fear of ending up aimlessly wandering the streets as a homeless bag lady.
4. Acting like a bully
Your ex bullies you by blaming everything wrong in his life on you. He claims that you bitch too much — you're nothing but a nag. If he's a drug addict or alcoholic, he claims that you drove him to it. He gives you ultimatums such as, "sign this or you'll never see a penny from me." or "If you don't agree to my terms, I'm going to drag this through court for years and you can't do a damn thing about it." He may say that as long as he's paying your mortgage, he's privileged with holding a key to your home and might invade your privacy when you aren't at home.
You believe that it's in his power to do the things he threatens, because he's such a strong personality and can appear so charming to others. His bullying terrifies you. You desperately want to break free of him and believe that if you give into his pleas, you can maybe find some solace.
5. Gaslighting you
He spreads ugly rumors about you in attempt for people to question your mental health. He quietly tells you something that he knows will set you off. In a fit of rage you start yelling and cussing, thus looking like the crazy person that he's telling everyone you are. He selectively omits information or spins it in his favor. He may even try to convince the courts that you're delusional, crazy, and violent. He acts like the innocent victim.
You're furious and appalled and wonder how people can believe him. He might even have you question your own sanity and memories. Most of all you're hurt and feel betrayed by some of your closest friends that believe his vicious lies. You find yourself scared and feel very alone.
In an attempt to muster up the courage, you may act as if the bullshit things your ex is doing aren't affecting you. However, deep down you're hurt and angry.
You feel powerless and disrespected, therefore you continue to act defensive in an attempt to get him to stop! Your feelings are completely understandable and normal. While you can't control his actions, you can control your own, so here are a few things to do to protect yourself and keep your cool when he acts like a jerk:
- Keep a journal highlighting any contact you have with him? Write things down as soon as they happen. Record what both of you said and did during the interaction.
- Block his social media posts, then tell your family and friends that you do NOT want to know what he is doing or whom he is doing it with.
- Learn to assert yourself with him. Think about a variety of situations that may come up and create an accessible statement that you can say calmly and effectively such as, "I will get back to you."
- Leave if things start going awry. This puts you in control and helps you to keep a clear mind.
- Surround yourself with good support that includes family, friends, a divorce coach or therapist.
Most of all, know you're not alone and that you're not the first woman to go through this, survive it, and create a happier life on the other side of this stressful period.
Cindy Holbrook is known as the Compassionate Divorce Coach. She helps women move forward after divorce with less stress and more confidence. Sign up for the free webinar this month at WomensDivorceSupport.com to identify how to move forward with confidence, courage and clarity.