Not legally married, so not a divorce, but together over 5 years, living together for 4. This certainly feels like it...Back story--We're in our 30s. We talked about getting married 3-4 years ago before we moved in together, she said she wanted it, but was hesitant, both her parents are divorced twice each (including from each other)... I didn't push anything on any fronts, told her to let me know when she was ready, I'm happy as is... after several months living together she said she was getting more ready, wanted a ring... she picked it out, we bought it, but she got cold feet about wearing it in public or telling anyone... Last year she finally says, let's do this... starts wearing the ring, we announce to friends and family we're getting married. Initially we are looking at venues every weekend, making plans, guest lists, want to be married in Spring 2012... but then after a few months things sort of slow down, no more looking, etc... but the relationship always seemed OK to me, just that she's back to being afraid of marriage.Two weeks ago I'm blind sided... The past few weeks/weekends had been great. But here we are, it's a Saturday morning, I'm looking forward to us finally having an entire day to spend together, suddenly she's standing in the hallway with a suitcase, telling me she's going to stay w/ her friend to "think things out"... later in the week she comes to the house one night and tells me she knows she can't really be happy with me, it's over.We're still in the thick of it now, so it's hard to figure out... we have a household to break up. She doesn't have an answer of why, doesn't want to try to work anything out... and that's bothering me... Her only answer to why is: she realizes now she can't be happy with me and it was realization of our being together for 5 years w/o her being able to commit to marriage... My family, who loved her dearly and she them, says "you know, in hind sight, this was a while coming".The dark part of me wonders if she was with me the last few years because I was "good enough", and now she's met someone new and wants to be able to make a go of it with that other person--she claims there is no one else, but who knows, this may be a Clinton-style answer, as in, depends on the definition of "no one else"... maybe it's someone who is a friend today but she wants more with. A potential "someone else". The good part of me says, I trust her, I believe there is no one else, but she just can't find happiness with me (boy that's depressing!).Currently what I've put into "us", financially anyway, is far-far more than she has. Over $100K into a home in an area she picked out, choices for the rehab based on her. There is no way I can recoup, I'll be lucky in this down market to break even on a sale... I can afford to keep the home, but will be house poor. The house is in my name because it was all my money and credit used to buy it. She has said she wants to give me money to make up for all the choices I made for her, things like the ring purchase ($4k), but I know she doesn't have much money or earn much, she will be having a hard enough time just making it on her own as-is... What money she would be giving me is borrowed money from her family... The good part of me says "let's not do that, money is water under the bridge, we loved each other, but that is over, just give me back the thing, let's amicably split the household goods and go our separate ways"... the bad part of me says, this was very sudden, and she's acting very guilty... is it just guilt from dumping me, or is something sinister is afoot?... if I knew she was leaving me for someone else (whether it's an actual someone else, or a potential someone else) I'd have a different view of her offering me money--I'd take it.I'm not really expecting great advice from anonymous internet folks... just looking to spill my guts to some anonymous and potentially bored forum readers who might have some tips for me... I have been quiet about my situation to people I know "IRL" (in real life), as I don't want to drag them down, I'd rather just lay low for a couple of months until I'm feeling better about myself and can pick up the pieces.
Emotional impact aside - if you can cut financial ties smoothly and cleanly, do it now. Quickly.I'm not really expecting great advice from anonymous internet folks... just looking to spill my guts to some anonymous and potentially bored forum readers who might have some tips for meThe best tip: clean break. No "let's try to be friends", no "one last time"s, etc. It's kinder to your own heart in the long run.impolite
Not legally married, so not a divorce, but together over 5 years, living together for 4. This certainly feels like it...There are two major parts to any divorce. The first part is the emotional turmoil of ending a relationship. You have that part in full measure. Take time to grieve, and don't make irrevocable decisions in a hurry. It could be a while before you figure out how you want to structure your life on a go forward basis.The second major part of a divorce is the legal stuff. It can be complex, but it mostly comes down to custody, visitation, and money. It sounds like you have it pretty easy on this stuff, which gives you the luxury of being able to focus most of your attention on dealing with the emotional turmoil.I infer from the fact that you didn't mention children that there aren't any. Assuming this to be the case, and assuming that she is not pregnant, that simplifies the split up a great deal. Some other stuff that jumps out at me:Currently what I've put into "us", financially anyway, is far-far more than she has.A sad fact is that this would not matter if you were legally married, and probably doesn't matter in your specific case.The house is in my name because it was all my money and credit used to buy it.This really simplifies the split up. She leaves, you decide what you want to do about the house - keep it, sell it, move and rent it out, whatever. You need no ongoing cooperation from her.She has said she wants to give me money to make up for all the choices I made for her, things like the ring purchase ($4k), but I know she doesn't have much money or earn much, she will be having a hard enough time just making it on her own as-is.I'd regard that as a pleasant sentiment on her part, unconnected to reality. In a formal divorce, either you'd get nothing from her or you'd be settling assets on her and maybe (depending on laws in your jurisdiction) paying alimony. Since you never formally married, letting her walk with what's legally in her name while you keep what's legally in your name is very easy, and the best possible outcome you could have got in a divorce if you were legally married.Probably the only stuff that you have that is like a legal divorce is splitting up the household goods. There will be stuff that's obviously hers, stuff that's obviously yours, and stuff that was jointly used. My advice (worth what you paid for it) is to quickly settle with her what she's taking and what you're keeping. If practical, get her stuff to her as soon as she has somewhere else to live. If she's temporarily short on space and leaving stuff that is hers in your house for a while, identify what is hers so you don't have to revisit the issue of who gets what pieces of common property. Dragging the decisions out will hurt more than being able to box up the stuff that's hers and have it sitting ready for when she can take it away.The good part of me says "let's not do that, money is water under the bridge, we loved each other, but that is over, just give me back the thing, let's amicably split the household goods and go our separate ways"... the bad part of me says, this was very sudden, and she's acting very guilty... is it just guilt from dumping me, or is something sinister is afoot?Listen to your good part. That's the way to get on with your life and have a future. It is natural, and perhaps unavoidable to have doubts about whether she's seeing someone else; but don't let those doubts affect your actions. The path to ongoing life without pain is to make a complete split and not have to revisit the issues every few months.I'm not really expecting great advice from anonymous internet folks... just looking to spill my guts to some anonymous and potentially bored forum readers who might have some tips for me... I have been quiet about my situation to people I know "IRL" (in real life), as I don't want to drag them down, I'd rather just lay low for a couple of months until I'm feeling better about myself and can pick up the pieces.That's a pretty good plan. I don't know that you'll get great advice from us, but I like the idea of laying low and not making major decisions unrelated to splitting the household until you have time to process the emotions that come with the split. Life will look different a year from now, and right now you can't predict *how* it will look different.Patzer
Thanks for the replies folks, I do appreciate them.No children fortunately... well, two cats, but they came with her and will go with her... so that makes them my step children? I'm taking care of them right now since she is living at a friends... not sure how long things will take, there is not much communication from her in the past two weeks. I told her a week ago that if she cares for me, and wants to reduce the pain, she'll find a new place to live as quickly as possible so we can arrange for her stuff (and cats) to not be here anymore so we can both move out of this awkward phase of everything she owns being here and staring me in the face (literally, those cats just stare at me sometimes...)This is like band aid removal... they say it's best to remove it quickly. But band aids usually have two sticky sides on either end of the gauze. What I have here is a situation where she was fast with pulling the relationship side off, but now we're standing here w/ the other half of the band aid still stuck, pulling the arm hair, and it remains to be seen whether removal will be fast or slow...BTW, one other thing I want to say is that I want to apologize for comparing my situation to actual divorce, my situation is not even close to as bad as an actual divorce... esp. since we have no kids... but I figured if there was a place to post about ending a relationship this was it :) ... What I've got is really more of a broken heart and some bad financial decisions :)
...I can afford to keep the home, but will be house poor....She has said she wants to give me money to make up for all the choices I made for her, things like the ring purchase ($4k), but I know she doesn't have much money or earn much, she will be having a hard enough time just making it on her own as-is......I told her a week ago that if she cares for me, and wants to reduce the pain, she'll find a new place to live as quickly as possible so we can arrange for her stuff (and cats) to not be here anymore so we can both move out of this awkward phase of everything she owns being here...Is she, by any chance, a procrastinator? If so, you might have to take the initiative regarding clearing her stuff out of your house. For example:Hi <ex-gf>,I was thinking some more about your offer to compensate me for the ring and other items, since your departure on <date she left>. I appreciate it, but think it's best if I decline. Please use your resources to cover security deposit, 1st month rent, etc on a place of your own.I'll be willing to help you move Fluffy and Muffin, as well as your things, from this house to your new apartment any time this month. If, by the end of the month, you don't have your own apartment (or some other place where we can move your things to), I'm afraid I'm going to have to take the cats to the pound, and your things to Goodwill. That would be awful, so I hope it doesn't come to that; but I don't think it's unrealistic for you to find a place this month. There's a little over 2 weeks left, which should be enough time. I'm not clear that it will be any easier to find an apartment in March, April, May, etc., than it is now, so now is the time.I'm sorry to have to set a deadline. I feel some urgency emotionally to wrap this up, as we've already discussed; and on top of that the reality is that I'm going to have to decide what to do with the house (sell it, rent it, get a roommate, ...). For financial reasons, I have to decide soon, and obviously I won't be able to do anything until the house is cleaned up.Please keep me posted,Thanks,levarsI considered your bringing the cats to a kennel and her stuff to a storage unit, but that would require cash that you don't have (as is, you might have to pony up for a U-Haul). As far as her paying for it, you can't make her pay for it; and even if you could, it wouldn't make sense. Kennels are expensive, an apartment would be cheaper.The main reason to push for this month is that her offer of compensation indicates some feelings of generosity and/or guilt on her part. Best to take action before those feelings pass.If you decide the sample letter is too hardball, obviously you can modify it accordingly. I can't tell from here what it will take to get her to take action. Ideally, you could have a conversation:"I really need your stuff out of my house by the end of the month. How is that going to happen?...Will you have an apartment?...Will you have a storage unit?...Can your parents take the cats?...No, I can't keep them here...Honestly, if they're still here by the end of the month, I'm going to have to take them to the pound..."So, you might try the verbal parrying first, but follow up with a "per our conversation" email.With luck, your setting an end-of-month deadline will work. But just in case, also look up landlord-tenant laws. You might have to give her 30 days' notice before discarding her things. I still think you should send a letter (email) to start the clock ticking, but don't actually go to Goodwill until you're able to do so legally.Good luck.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to take the cats to the pound, and your things to Goodwill.At first, I thought the pound mention was a bit harsh, but you know, I can see you getting stuck with her cats...she will think "Oh, I don't have to rush - and the cats have always liked him anyways..." Then it will be, "I can't afford them anymore, they will be safe and happy with him, and he's such a nice guy...I won't have to worry about them this way and it is all for the best..."Good luck!
...getting stuck with her cats...Yep.Random anecdotes:When I was about 10, my parents finally gave in to my years of begging and got a dog. Of course, I'd promised I'd walk him. I didn't. They brought him to the pound.Recently an acquaintance of mine agreed to take in her adult daughter's dog while the daughter's house was on the market. House sold, and daughter (with her husband and children) moved to an apartment that didn't take pets. Their plan was to eventually buy another house, but meanwhile they assumed the grandma would be just delighted to take care of the dog indefinitely. She wasn't, and brought him to the pound.A woman who was quite devoted to her cats wouldn't date any men who didn't like them. Eventually she married a man who was allergic to cats, but didn't dislike them. After the wedding, when it was time to move in together (they'd lived hundreds of miles apart before the wedding), they discovered that he assumed the cats would be kept outdoors, and she assumed he'd just take antihistamines, and that both assumptions were incorrect. None of her friends or family were willing to take the cats, so on moving day she dropped them off at the pound.Of course, pounds do offer animals for adoption (my DD got a "pound puppy"), and time limits before putting them to sleep vary. In addition, "no-kill shelters" exist, but not everywhere. Would be something for OP to look into, though, if interested.
I want to say is that I want to apologize for comparing my situation to actual divorce, my situation is not even close to as bad as an actual divorce...There is no such thing as a typical divorce. Every single one is different, though there are some common themes. Some of those themes appear in your situation, as demonstrated by the replies about the cats and the stuff.I'd be less harsh about the stuff. After my then-wife filed for legal separation, I bought some storage boxes and put most of her stuff in boxes. It took up a fair amount of space in my basement for quite a while, but at least I didn't have to look at it and trip over it all the time. Then when the time came to ship the stuff to her, it was all gone at once. Good riddance.Living creatures are tougher than inert stuff. If you really dislike taking care of her cats, you want to push for finding a way for her to take them or for them to move to a new home. If you happen to like cats, you might think of them as your cats now.My youngest daughter brought a cat home to my parents, and later moved out to a place that didn't take cats. Later she got married, and had 4 cats; but the stray she brought home stayed with Mom & Dad. I never figured out why that cat never moved out to be with my sister, but it wasn't my problem. Dad liked cats, and Mom tolerated cats that Dad liked. The cat ended up outliving both of my parents. After Dad died, my sisters found it a new home with a friend; it still didn't go to my youngest sister's multi-cat household. Go figure.Anyway, I agree with the other posters that if you don't want to take care of those cats forever you need to do something to close that possibility off. If you don't, you could drift into 20 years of owning a cat you didn't select, just like my Dad did.Patzer
Bad proofreading: My youngest daughter brought a cat home to my parents should read "My youngest sister brought a cat home . . ."Patzer
When I was about 10, my parents finally gave in to my years of begging and got a dog. Of course, I'd promised I'd walk him. I didn't. They brought him to the pound.Wow that's harsh!I'm in a better mindset now than last week. We were able to talk this weekend, I think having to make this decision was really hard on her. She feels intensely remorseful and that this will end up being something she regrets for the rest of her life. But, I know that she needed to do this, because she was apparently not happy, and we were not moving forward...to continue what had would have been a mistake because she'd always have her doubts and they would haunt her just as badly as this regret might.She's found an apartment, she can move in as early as this weekend. She asked me if I could not be home for at least one day so that she can pack up, and she's trying to schedule movers (most of the stuff is mine, she doesn't actually have much at all)She also really wants to give me the money for the ring, which I'm going to accept because I'm realizing that as much as it's a financial strain for her to come up with the money, it's a worse mental burden for her...and I'd be lying if I said I couldn't use that money...So, we'll see how it goes... we both have to settle once this over, and then I guess at some point I'll have to move over to either either the Foolish Dating board or the Foolish Hermit board :-)
If you really dislike taking care of her cats, you want to push for finding a way for her to take them or for them to move to a new home. If you happen to like cats, you might think of them as your cats now.I actually don't mind the cats at all, I really like them... the boy cat is more like a dog, he'll follow you everywhere and is constantly seeking approval and attention.They are indoor only, so as much as I hate to lose them, it will literally be a physical relief because I'm actually quite allergic. They trigger asthma attacks, in addition to becoming basically blind due to my eyes swelling and tearing... For about a year or two after we first moved in together I was taking prescriptions to control the allergies, it was passable but not perfect. I became worried about the long term effects on me from the medication (I'm thinking 15+ years of taking it), so I went off the medications and was getting by mainly through excluding the cats from the bedroom/bathroom, and excluding myself from "their" areas (like the living room)... I can hardly sit on my couch for 5 mins, let alone lay down on it... Tho in some cases it's been good--I was banned from any dusting, vacuuming and other cleaning activities like that :)... I do have a prescription rescue inhaler, I probably use it 1-2X/wk at worst.
Sorry.Now the brotherly love.Yes, there is another guy and the guy (you) is always last to know about the other guy. Women don't lie and men don't listen. " I'm blind sided..." She told you along time ago she " but was hesitant," You knew but committed to living with her anyway! why? She was never committed to you! Don't do it again with another unless she is into you. Save yourself the agony. Ever see that movie "He's Just Not That Into You". It goes both ways. Cut your losses and run.If she puts her dog or her girl friends before you....run. Get it!?"so it's hard to figure out..." No it's not. She told you " but was hesitant,". You two never started.good luck.
Levars,Okay, I'm really dated in this reply. Over the course of the last year I hope you have come to your senses, and utilized what I regard is great advice from those who responded to your intial posting.I hope you are doing well and "on your own" and not still in contact with whomever "she" really was. Because, I know, from experience, it was another guy that was involved, she just wasn't man enough to say anything to you at the time, I'm sure, to protect your feelings.All I can say at this time, I hope you've recovered from the "ball being dropped" that you've moved on, and that she's completely moved out. Best of luck to you and I'm just sorry I wasn't a member last year.
Last Motley Fool post by the OP was 5/1/2012, more than a year ago.
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