Love

My Husband Stalked Me During Our Divorce — How I Finally Spotted Him

Photo: Tero Vesalainen / Shutterstock
man in shadows

This is a story —an accounting — of my divorce in real-time. I’m eschewing the cardinal rule of time and tragedy and I hope you’ll forgive me for the change of direction.

I’m doing this because I want it on record for the world to see —  just in case. 

Yesterday I caught my husband stalking me. Again.

That’s the punchline, but to have my story make sense, it requires a little background.

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Over two months ago, my husband and I spent all day in a courtroom during our divorce trial.

One excruciating month later, we received the judge’s ruling letter.

When the decision finally arrived, I received it via email from my attorney. Before reading it, I called her because I wanted to know how to prepare myself for the contents. Her answer was, “After I read it, I was smiling from ear to ear.”

I felt relief as I sat at my desk, surrounded by remnants of documents, binders, and spreadsheets: the remaining tokens of work I’d done to get out of my marriage while trying to prove my worth to the world.

No one wins in divorce court, but if there were a winner, it was me.

Breaking free of this legally binding arrangement has been tortuous, and confusing. My husband declared many times over that he did not want the marriage — but I think he only didn’t want it until I also didn’t want it.

One year after he moved out of the family home — a year of discovering what our family is without him, a year of creating a home where he no longer belonged, a year of unbecoming a wife and becoming me — I filed for divorce. It’s been freeing.

It’s also been a nightmare. It has been very difficult to divorce.

A brief synopsis:

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In the Great Commonwealth of Virginia, the next step after receipt of the ruling letter is to translate the information into a Final Order of Divorce, the mother of all divorce documents. It’s needed for virtually everything: taxes, name change, division of assets.

For this reason, my attorney and I spent hours crafting a letter intended to address any items needing clarification and sent it two days after receiving the Judge’s Ruling Letter.

Silence.

Less than two weeks later, still with no communication, we moved forward and sent a draft of the Final Order of Divorce.

Silence.

Until this week, less than a week before our scheduled court date — a court date that most people don’t need because all of this mundane bullsh*t gets settled long before without another hearing required.

But not with my soon-to-be-ex-husband. In the very close-to-the-eleventh hour, we had an agreement, so there was no need for the hearing.

Them, the day after the agreement, my husband’s attorney came back with an un-agreement so, a court date was required again as are all the legal fees that go along with it.

My ex can continue this cat-and-mouse divorce game because he has access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in joint accounts with his father. As for me, I'm broke — and he knows this.

I’m juggling credit card debt like a plate spinner who has never juggled a day in her life. I’m surrounded by shattered porcelain.

I know my husband watches my house. I’ve seen him before.

At first, I ignored it thinking he’d get tired when he realized there was nothing to watch. The only entertainment was the activity of two aging dogs relieving themselves in the dog run that is exposed to the public where he sits in his car and lurks.

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I thought the mundaneness of it, the lack of excitement, would quash his urge for the thrill that never materialized. But it didn’t. When he isn’t paying for a private investigator — which he has — he drives more than an hour out of his way to sit and watch me

Yesterday I saw him again.

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I saw how he does it.

He enters the street from the farthest entrance from where my house resides, which allows him to find a spot on the curb without having to drive by the house and accidentally be noticed. It lets him sit there — unrushed — boldly stalking me and building the story he’s telling himself while waiting for some sort of confirmation.

He wasn’t afforded that time yesterday. Because yesterday I saw him and I didn’t back down.

I’d spent the majority of the day conferring with my attorney about our strategy for the hearing.

By the time my attorney released me to step away from the computer where all the required divorce details lay, I needed a release from my built-up anxiety and angst. So I left my house, later than usual, for my run around my neighborhood.

Within a couple of minutes of stepping out the door and making my way down the sidewalk, I saw my ex-husband's car enter the street. I saw him park, the wrong way, along the curb. I kept walking toward him. When he saw me see him, he became a coward.

Instead of owning his lunacy and driving past me to exit the subdivision, he performed a three-point turn in the middle of the street and left the way he came, fleeing so he wouldn’t have to see my recognition of his absurdity.

I watched as he left, noting his license plate number and the military decal on his back windshield. 

I saw the blue diamond-shaped sticker with highlights of red and yellow. I know that sticker because, at one time, they were plastered on all of our vehicles.

I spent over 20 years being convinced that I was crazy. But I saw him. And even though it’s scary and creepy, yesterday he gave me the gift of validation.

I’m not crazy. And I know it.

If you’re reading this, soon-to-be ex-husband, I’ll see you in court on Monday.

The author has been a military spouse for over 20 years. She is sharing her story of becoming an active-duty Marine Corps wife, fully embracing the military lifestyle, and now her journey of unbecoming everything she’s been for the past two decades.

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.