Originally Posted by Gerda
Gerdaís Guide to the Early Stages

In the early days, even if you find yourself lurking around these parts, you secretly believe that your situation is different. Your H or W is not like these other maniacs you read about on the boards. Your love was better, your marriage stronger, your spouse had a more solid core. You read about the trajectory these MLC stories took, but you do not believe that this will happen to you because of the many differences in your story, your spouse, you.

As a result, you donít follow the advice you read about here. It is so drastic! And sometimes itís so rude! It just isnít Christian. It doesnít look good for the children to see you ignore/cut off their dad/mom like that. You donít want your in-laws to think badly of you. You donít want to do something that would ďruinĒ the chance of restoration. You can see that some of the people posting here make a lot of mistakes and got themselves into second relationships that donít sound good. You donít want to separate your finances or lay claim to your house or your kids or squirrel away any of your savings because you donít want a divorce, and those things are part of divorcing, not marriage. You donít want to stop doing his laundry because itís the only way you can show love. And you have read that this whole thing should only take about two years. You can do two years.

Listen to me.

It is not going to take two years.

And you have to separate your finances and get custody of your children right now. Before you even finish reading this.

Listen to me. I am speaking to you from your future. You can watch your own future play out if you read my posts from 2014 until now.

And I donít mean your spouse wonít come out of this. I donít mean your marriage wonít be restored. It might. And I hope it will.

But if you donít step away, if you donít separate all your finances, protect your children and protect your house, your spouse might damage things so badly that you wonít want him/her back and there won't be much to come back to.

If your husband was burning down the house, would you just stand there watching? Would you hand him a match? What if your kids were inside?

If your wife was shooting heroin at the kitchen table, would you let the kids watch?

The kindest thing you can do for your spouse right now is limit the amount of damage s/he can do to your house, your finances and your kids. If you want, tell him youíll be waiting on the other side. If you want, tell her youíre not planning to ďmove onĒ but you have to protect the family until she can be part of decisions that are best for your kids.

But before you do that, take half of everything and put it somewhere he canít touch. And start living a separate financial life and as much of a separate family life as you can.

Donít notice what sheís doing with her half. You donít want to know.

But keep records of anything that dissipates your asset or impacts your kids. Write the date each time. You might be doing it for a few years and youíll forget if you don't write it down. You might need the records to prove something when he tries to take everything.

Was he great at fixing stuff around the house? Don't ask him for that anymore. Hire someone or watch a YT video and do it yourself. Is she an expert on health insurance and you need to know where to find someone? Call a broker. Don't call her. Are you afraid you'll get cheated at the auto mechanic? Call your brother to go with you. Or get cheated, it's okay to pay too much in order to avoid asking your spouse. Do your own laundry, take out your own trash, parent your kids and love them double to make up for how your spouse canít love. Get to church/synagogue/temple/mosque. If you don't go, go anyway.

Stop thinking about what your spouse should do if he was a decent man or has to do if she is a real mother. They canít and they wonít.

Does your spouse want to tell you about the OP? Donít listen. Leave the room. Say, ďThatís between you and God/the universe, do not speak about that to me.Ē

Did your spouse act nice today? Donít read into it.

Want to share that pie? OK. Donít want to share that pie? Donít.

Feel like ironing his shirts? Donít.

Do you miss him and just want to hear his voice? Have a dance party with your kids and blast the music at top volume.

Do you just want to tell her that one thing so that sheíll finally understand what sheís doing to you? She wonít hear you. She can't even see you, the actual you. Go mow your elderly neighborís lawn.

Do you want to finally say exactly what you are thinking and really make him understand? Go take a hike alone. Stand under some trees and scream what you wanted to say. Or write it all down and bury the letter in the backyard.

Want to hide in your room because heís drunk and sleeping on the couch every night? Borrow $1000 from each of your cousins and offer him an advance on his equity to move out. Did he leave his stuff? Pack it up and put it in storage and pay the first two months and let him know he has two months to get it or lose it. Get some $5 oops paint from your local hardware store and some cool thrift store houseware finds and redo the living room the way you want it. Read that book on Swedish Death Cleaning and death clean your house. Plant a fruit tree out front. Pick blueberries with the kids and make them some blueberry pancakes and laugh and watch Malcolm in the Middle at the dinner table sometimes.

Own a business together? Sell it and start another. Or get another partner and buy him out.

Is she ready to sign a divorce agreement that seems reasonable to a lawyer you trust? Sign it. Quick.

Want him/her to come back? He might. He might not. Go and find a life. I don't mean to date. You don't have to. In fact, you probably shouldn't for quite a while. Focus on your kids. But hang out with friends whenever you can. Remember what you wanted to be before you met and work on that again. Or think of a new dream and get moving. If things get stable at home, become a foster parent or mentor a troubled teen or volunteer in a nursing home or a prison. Read about what's happening in a war-torn country or a refugee camp and do something about it. Go for bike rides everyday. Raise chickens. Write your novel. Take singing lessons. Start growing food. Make peace with your mom. Read all afternoon every afternoon. Bake pies. Learn a new language and start planning your trip to the plae where they speak it. Turn one of your bedrooms into an AirB. Turn your garden shed into a she shed.

Create meaning in your life. See how beautiful life is, what a miracle that you are here to live it.

Listen to me. I know you very well. I was you. Don't be me, don't follow my path. Just trust me. Do these things I am telling you even if you don't want to, even if you are sure I am wrong.

There will always be room for him in your life if he comes back and youíre still willing by then. Set up the boundaries you need to provide a good life for your children with or without her. Protect what you two built. He is a forest fire. She is a tsunami. They will destroy anything in their path for a while. Protect it all so that if he wakes up, if she finally faces her wound, there will be something left to return to. And if he doesnít, if she doesnít, youíll already be living, my dear, you'll already be living!

"What is best for my kids is best for me"
Amor Fati
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