Friday, 5 May 2017

Where To Start ...

The more I've thought about it the more I've felt that writing about my life with and post Ex Lax is something that might actually be good for me.

It's a huge departure from the things I normally write about but it is also a part of me.

I think if I get it out there I can finally move on properly.  I hate that his legacy hangs over me and I know that despite my best efforts it still has an impact on my daily life.

I'll fully understand if people choose not to read the posts or feel unable to comment.  I think the only thing I would ask is that people are kind (and they always have been). I can only tell my story from my point of view.  I can only tell you what happened to me and how it made me feel.  I can only surmise the why and the how for others and I'll try not to do too much of that.

But where to start?

Twenty years ago when it all began?  That's a long story ...

In the here and now when yet again it seems he is setting out to try to destroy me?

Will the here and now make any sense without the before?

Ok, I'll start by saying that right now Ex Lax is in Tenerife having his second holiday of the year.

I can only assume that he would feel it was perfectly reasonable to have ignored his daughters 18th Birthday in all the excitement.  Or may be he just couldn't afford to send her a card or a present without compromising how many beers he drinks whilst he's away.

Who knows, I'm sure he will have a lovely time ...

I think I have to start with the here and now and then explain the background.

I am divorcing Ex Lax as mentioned before.

We have attended mediation.  Provided financial statements and given our proposals.

Ex Lax proposes that I should release 50% of the equity in my house and give it to him.

I propose that he should sign the house over to me in it's entirety and in addition give me the sum of £20000.

On the face of it my proposal sounds outrageous doesn't it?  I sound greedy and grasping and out for what I can get.  I can see that.  I can see why, on the face of it ANYONE would think I'm being completely unreasonable.

So you need to know why I feel this is only fair and just.

In 1997 I met Ex Lax.  At that time I was living in this house that I bought with my ex partner Big D's dad in 1986.  I had owned the house for nearly 12 years.

The house had a very small mortgage as Big D's father had been left some money by his grandmother which we had used to put down a large deposit.

The mortgage at this time was £23000.

I had a good job in the civil service and was working my way up the ladder and had recently been promoted.  The pay, the conditions and the pension were all good.

I had no debts.  No credit cards, no loans, not even a store card and my bills were all up to date.

I should add that Big D's dad and I were just sharing the house at this time, we were not in a relationship as such.  We had met when I was 16.  Big D's was born shortly before my 18th Birthday.  We had lived together for 18 months after Big D was born and then separated (although remaining good friends ) for about 2 years.  We rekindled our relationship for many reasons and shortly after we did he was left the money which we bought the house with.  Fairly soon after we realised that although we had a huge amount of respect and affection for each other we had simply outgrown our relationship.

There were many reasons we decided to stay together.  It suited us both financially.  No one else was involved and we had a son together who we both loved and wanted to parent.

It may have been unorthodox but it worked for us and we were happy for many years.

Ex Lax was renting an annex in a friends house.  He had moved down from Southampton, changed his name, started a new life and had no contact with family or friends from his previous life.

That should have worried me but I believed his version of events which I wont go into now.  All I will say is that he made me believe that he had suffered a terrible time and completely cutting off that part of his life was his only option.

He was working cash in hand when I met him.

I very quickly (and accidentally) became pregnant. Ex  Lax would have preferred me to have an abortion (which incidentally I DO understand) but that was never an option for me.

Obviously this was the first time I should have walked away.  His controlling behaviour and bullying started to become apparent almost straight away.

He was very angry one evening that rather than be with him I spent the evening with a friends who's relationship was breaking down and who had very recently discovered she was pregnant.

He was very angry when I arranged to go out with friends and meet him at the same time that I didn't leave my friends and spend the entire evening with just him.

He was very angry that I cancelled a date because my pregnant friend called to say she was having a miscarriage and could I be with her.

He was very angry that the following day I cancelled again so I could go with my friend to the hospital to have a medical procedure as a result of the miscarriage.

He didn't care that my friends mother also died on the day that she was having that procedure and that while I was waiting in the hospital for her to come out of the operating theatre her Father came in to tell me that her mother had died.

He DID care that I had cancelled him because of it.

Why didn't I walk away at that point?

I honestly can't tell you.  I had never come across someone like this.  I was newly pregnant.  Scared for the future. Devastated for my friend.  He made me feel guilty.  Like I was letting him down.

I made the wrong choice.

Ex Lax had to move from where he was living as his friends wanted to sell their house.

He wanted to move in with me but at that time I was still sharing the house with my ex partner.  It wasn't an option to move quickly.

Big D's dad and I agreed that he would move out and rent somewhere and I would remain in the house but this took time.

Meanwhile Ex lax lost his job so he was jobless and soon to be homeless.  This, he made me feel was my responsibility.

I found him a house share close by, it wasn't ideal but it was something.  I paid his rent for several months and cashed in an ISA I had to buy him a car (only a cheap one, but a car).  I had wanted to use that money to buy things for the baby.

Big D's dad found somewhere he was happy with after a couple of months and moved out.

We agreed that for the time being I would pay the mortgage and, at some point would raise the money to buy him out of his share.

Throughout all of this we stayed friends.  It sounds like a terrible thing to do to him but it honestly wasn't like that.  I had immediately offered to sell the house, to release his much larger share of the equity to enable him to buy something else if that was what he wanted.

It says a lot for him that he refused.  That he didn't want me to go through that upheaval when I was pregnant.  That he was happy to wait until things were more settled.

He is SUCH a good man and still one of the few people I would turn to in times of trouble and someone I will always be there for.  

He is family.

I didn't know at this time that Ex Lax had debts.  A fact he kept that hidden from me for several years.  I also had no idea that he was a heavy cannabis user and a gambler which is why he was in debt.

Looking back I find it hard to believe I didn't know about the cannabis.  In my defence, I had no knowledge of the stuff.  I didn't recognise the smell on him.  I didn't know the signs of a user.  I had had no previous experience of it myself or with my friends.  It wasn't something we did.

The debt and the gambling he kept hidden for many years.

 So, in the November he moved in.  I was about 5 months pregnant.

It very soon became apparent that Ex Lax was a heavy drinker.  I would say he is on some level an alcoholic.  He drinks to get drunk.  Not every day but every time he drinks.  His father was an alcoholic and died from related illnesses.  His brother is a recovering alcoholic who was frankly quite vile in the time I knew him, violent and abusive.  I believe that alcoholism may run in families.  I don't know if this is true but it seems that way in this case.

Ex Lax blamed most things on an abusive childhood.  He also claims to have had a terrible first marriage which led to him leaving his childhood town and reinventing himself here.

I still believe that at that time he wanted to build a different life.  He had grown up surrounded by people who didn't work, drank heavily, were unable to form loving relationships and didn't care for their children.

In me he saw something else.  Someone with values, someone who wanted a proper family, someone so far from the was he was used to and he wanted that too.

But his past was ingrained in him.  He wasn't capable of being the person he said he wanted to be and he resented me being the person I was.

He often told me that I thought I was too good for him.  The truth is that HE knew I was too good for him so he wanted to punish me for it.

He did.

The twelve years we spend together were some of the worst of my life.

That's probably enough for one blog post but I will revisit the reasons why I have made my proposals for the divorce in my next post because right now you would have every reason to feel that I was being unfair in my demands despite everything else I have told you.  I hope when I explain more you will understand why I feel I'm being more than fair.


joeh said...

In my second divorce I was given credit for equity in the house that I brought into the marriage and the portion of my retirement (401K) that was prior to the marriage. I had to split the rest of which she contributed nothing financially, but not all that unfair. If you have to give up 50% of your house would be a travesty.

Often these requests are boosted beyond belief for negotiation purposes and are lawyer induced. Hang in and hold on.

Di said...

Hi Sarah! I swear I'm going more white haired than ever here as this unfolds! What Joeh says above really makes sense - it's only fair that you should be given credit for the pre existing equity at the very, very least. Probably more, to cover the time you've subsequently maintained the property whilst values have risen. Not to mention the fact that you were probably carrying him financially whilst he lived in the house anyway.

And Joeh makes another very valid point r. the inflated claim. It's very much like bartering in the Far East - the 'seller' names a ridiculous amount, because you can always negotiate downwards with the other party but not upwards. It's a game of bluff really, and I hadn't stopped to think of that being the strategy of Ex Lax. Joeh speaks a load of sense kiddo! I also echo what he says - hang in and hold on - and sign absolutely nothing! You need some good legal advice really. A shot across the Jolly Ship Ex Lax might be what's needed. Too much at stake!

Hops down from soap box and runs to check for more white hairs!!


Di xx

Val said...

Hang in there! You lay out your case very well.

Sarah said...

You are quite right Joe. The house was a pre-existing asset and that will be part of my argument. So will the fact that I have made every single mortgage payment entirely by myself. There is also the the more than 7 year period since we split when he has mad no financial contribution to consider. But this is something I have to argue. The law for divorce starts at the point of equality. His is named as a joint owner. Courts are reluctant to give a departure from equality however ridiculous it is in this case to say that things are equal.

Ex Lax will not, at this point, have been open and honest with his solicitor. He will be totally convinced that he is entitled to everything he asks for. He is driven by greed, self entitlement and a desire (for whatever reason) to destroy me.

He is also almost certainly lying about anything he thinks can't be proved and being funded by his latest girlfriend. This is what he does. I have no doubt that were is relevant to obtain statement from the 5 or 6 girlfriends/fiance's he has had since our split then they would all support me.

I will fight this believe me.

Hey Di, I don't think this is a strategy on Ex lax's part, that's far to clever for him. He has convinced himself this is perfectly fair. I have no doubt that were he tested it would show that he is a sociopath (and I don't say that lightly). He has always been able to twist things in his own head to make himself the victim. No doubt he is saying that he has been deprived of his asset for many years. He has certainly told the mediator that he held off divorcing me until the children were adults because he wanted them to have a stable home (much more on this later). He conveiniently forgets that I am divorcing him and he tried to blackmail me into not doing it (I have NO idea why) and that this is the 3rd time I've started the process.

Would you lie me to add the cost of having your hair professionally coloured to my claim lovely? I have a horrible feeling you may keep finding more and more grey hairs as this story unfolds and it seems only fair :-) xxx

If only you were the judge Val! I think my case should be very straight forward and, if it were based on right and wrong and justice then it would be. I wish that was the way the law worked ...

Mommy Stockley said...

He sounds so very like my ex - the guy I had a house with before Luke. I don't miss him. So much worse when. A child is involved. Don't feel you have to justify yourself! It is cathartic to write about things though I think.

Sarn said...

Hi Sarah

Get it all off your chest mate. Your loyal blog readers will be here for you.

I have not been in your shoes, but I do totally sympathise with you. Monsters like ExLax need shooting. Too harsh? I don't think so! What good is he to society? He should NOT be allowed to get away with this.

Big hugs,
Sarn xxx

Sarah said...

Thanks Holly, it's shocking how many people have had experience of similar people, I'd like to think there weren't so many of them out there!

Thanks Sarn, it's a huge help to talk it out here and to have the support. I said before that I'd hoped he would just evaporate or something - I mean pretty much what you said. Society would be a better place without him.