My ex refuses to move out. We officially separated six months ago and filed for divorce. We have two children, twelve and fourteen. He says that it would be unfair to sell the house and take the children away from their neighborhood friends and school. He is living in the basement, which has its own bathroom and kitchen. That wouldn’t be so bad, but he comes upstairs whenever he feels like it. This was supposed to be a temporary arrangement while we tried to figure out what to do, but he says it is working well and wants to keep it like that for who knows how long. He is a great father and it is wonderful for the children having him around, but I can’t move on with my life. We didn’t have major issues in our marriage, but we both realized we weren’t in love with each other anymore and probably never were. I was pregnant when we got married, so we kind of rushed into it. I am not ready to start dating yet, but even when I have my girlfriends over and we want to trash talk or spill our guts, I feel like he is listening through the vents. He even brought a woman home once. I don’t care, but I could hear them down there. How do I get rid of him?
Home isn’t where the heart is
Home has to be where the heart is. There are some couples who make this kind of arrangement work, but it is very rare. I know a couple who divorced and remained friends and now years later, in their senior years both are single and they share a home. He lives on one floor, she on another. This usually doesn’t work, especially when your break up is new. Even if you aren’t in love with each other, once you both move on there will be some jealousy. That’s just the way it is. Do you have a lawyer? You are going to have to make some plans to sell the house and if your ex won’t budge, you’ll have to get tough.
It’s better to keep it civil, but if he is really getting on your nerves, you have to take measures. You say he is a good dad, which is fantastic. He is probably terrified of not being able to spend as much time with his kids. That is understandable. Reassure him that you are going to work out an arrangement that is best for the children. Perhaps you could sell the house and buy two smaller ones in the same neighborhood. If you have to move to a different area, your kids will adjust. It sounds like you are both willing to do whatever it takes for the children and that puts you way ahead of many other couples going through divorce.
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My ex was very verbally abusive. He was always putting me down, saying I was stupid and would never amount to anything. He is a sales executive. Despite his horrible personality, he makes a lot of money, which he equates with success. I am a graphic designer and artist. He used to tell me that I wasn’t talented enough as an artist to be successful because my work was too “out there”. He just didn’t get it. I still have a problem stopping his words from ringing in my ears. Even though I had solo art shows and great feedback, it is hard when the person who was supposed to love me thought my work was horrible. We never had any kids because he did not want any, and he said I was “too flighty” to be a good mother. It is probably a blessing. When I finally got up the nerve to break up with him, he said I would never find anyone else. I want to make a new life, meet someone special and have a family. I want to be more confident in my talent as well, but I cannot get his words out of my head.
Ms. Low self esteem
Dear Ms. you are fabulous,
Your ex is the one with the low self-esteem. You sound wonderful! People who have issues like he does often make themselves feel superior by putting other people down. It’s hard to forget those kind of put-downs, but you are going to have to if you want to move on. Take all of those negative words he used and delete them from your memory bank. Get out the thesaurus if you have to, but find positive descriptions to replace those hurtful words.
He sounds like a real jerk. He also sounds like someone who wouldn’t know good art if it bit him in the face. He probably looks at the price tag on an art piece and rates it on the monetary value. You are unique. You will find someone who appreciates all your fine qualities. Making a lot of money isn’t a sign of success as a human being. It doesn’t make you a better, smarter or more loving person. You’ve found your passion and he probably doesn’t have that in his life, so he has become bitter. If you must dwell on your past relationship, why not make it into an art project? There is no better way to exorcise our demons than using them to create art.