Hi, it’s me, Sara Louise.
You know me and you know my story. And after years of being stuck in this nightmare, I’m doing something I never thought I’d do; I’m asking for help.
Being married to my ex is costing me in many different ways, some emotional, some financial.
Besides the pain of the whole ‘bigamy’ thing, I now have to file my taxes in a status that costs a higher rate and because of that status, I’m not able to get insurance assistance from the Affordable Care Act.
SIDEBAR: So this was fun. The kind people at the healthcare dot gov told me to ask a tax professional if I could get an exemption and be considered ‘head of household’ to get assistance. But the tax professional told me that I couldn’t qualify as head of household because I didn’t have any dependents and was childless. OUCH.
On top of this, there are loads of other little fun-filled ways I’m being s to the crewed over financially by him (you don’t even want to see Fifty’s medical bills).
Bottom line, I’m stuck in this expensive loop of hell all because my ex did what he did and is still doing it. I have to get a divorce.
But, it turns out getting divorced is crazy expensive, especially when you have to track down the other party in another country. This is where you and this blog post come in.
After asking loads of people for their advice and opinions, and having them promise this wasn’t too tacky, they all agreed that I should set up a GoFundMe here on the blog. I’m cringing that I’m doing this, but I simply cannot do this on my own. I have to cut the ties for both my mental and emotional well-being as well as my financial.
I understand that things are tight for everyone at the moment. And if you can’t give it, that is OK. You’ve always supported me, and I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.
But if you can give, then please do. Please help me get a divorce.
Since we’re approaching Christmas, I’m going to tell you about the horrific emotional journey my husband took me on in December 2018.
As always, take a deep breath, light a relaxing candle, pour yourself a drink, or do whatever you need to do to center yourself. Prepare to be flummoxed and possibly infuriated.
In September 2018, we hit another impasse. It had been fifteen months since the Green Card had been approved, and yet, my husband was still not living with me in Texas. There had been one excuse after another…
- He was waiting for a job transfer to Chicago.
- He was waiting for a bonus.
- He got a new job and was sent to Brittany for training for three months.
- His grandmother had a heart attack and was in a coma, and he couldn’t possibly leave her.
I had had enough.
I told him I was moving on with my life and wouldn’t wait for him to come and be with me anymore. I found an apartment downtown and moved out of my mother’s house.
And then, lo and behold, he showed up.
But, of course, he only showed up for a few days. Off he went again with promises to be back in a couple of weeks for good.
A couple of weeks turned into more than a month. Again. So, I told him not to bother coming back. And I meant it. I was moving on with my life.
I planned a trip to London to go to my friend John’s fabulous Peaky Blinders-themed work Christmas party as his plus one, and off I went. (Trust me, he’s just a friend. More like an annoying little brother, actually.)
Then the messages began – Please, I’m coming back, I promise. I bought a plane ticket. I’m coming. Please…
Stupidly, I cut my trip to London short, so I could be back in Texas on the same day that he would be arriving. When he walked into the house, he rolled in one small carry-on bag. That was it.
“Where’s the rest of your stuff?!”
The answer was an excuse about having to return for some important things or something or other at his mother’s house. (I honestly cannot remember what it was – too many excuses to keep track of) but he promised he would be back on Christmas Eve.
And then, we relaxed into each other again. We spent a really lovely week together, and I was happy. Things felt normal, and I felt hopeful. And off he went back to France, with a kiss goodbye and a promise to be back the following week.
On the night before Christmas Eve, my intuition kicked on. Something wasn’t right. I could feel it.
I messaged my friend John frantically, saying that I didn’t think that my husband was coming back. He wasn’t going to be on the plane. I knew it.
John assured me I was being crazy; of course, he would be on the plane!
I went to bed and, in the morning, woke up to an email from my husband saying he was all checked in for his flight from Paris to London. He even included a photo of a suitcase on a check-in scale. (How weird is that?)
I breathed a sigh of relief. But I could feel the doubt creep back in.
More messages back and forth to John when a Facetime came in. It was from my husband.
How could he be Facetiming me if he was on the plane?!
“What’s going on? Where are you?“
I was greeted with sobs (he deserves an Oscar, really) followed by some BS story about how when he went to board his flight to Austin from London, he discovered that he didn’t have his passport with him; someone must have stolen it, or he had put it down somewhere and lost it. They wouldn’t let him get on the plane.
And that’s when he did what he always did. He made it about him. Poor him couldn’t get on the plane. Poor him was alone sobbing in an airport. Poor him wouldn’t be able to come to the U.S. for Christmas. Poor him.
Lies. All lies.
I spent Christmas in Texas with my mother. And I’m assuming since this was three years after he had met his girlfriend and eighteen months before he “got married,” my husband spent the holiday somewhere with her.
P.S. An important note for my American friends. My husband has a passport card as well as a passport. An EU passport card lets you travel within the EU. Hence that’s why I found it plausible that he was able to fly to London from Paris without an actual passport.
OK… First off, I’m sorry that this has become my personal vent space, but I haven’t found a therapist that I vibe with yet, and writing about this has been so very cathartic. Also, some recent events in my life have occurred that have forced me to finally do the much-needed emotional unpacking of years of infidelity and gaslighting. It’s painful but necessary. I pinky promise that one day this will return to the sparkling space it once was. In the meantime, let’s unpack some sh*t.
He’s still lying.
Yes, the man with a wife (two, actually) and a baby is still lying to me. And I’m sure he’s definitely lying to her.
So, back in May, I went to see a divorce lawyer and was sadly told I couldn’t get divorced.
Sidebar: It was quite funny, actually, because she couldn’t wrap her head around the bigamy part. She kept saying, “but he couldn’t have married her,” as if there was some International Bigamy Police to intervene. It turns out anybody can marry anybody if they’re willing to commit fraud by lying on an official document like a marriage license.
I can’t get divorced because I need to be a New York state resident for two years, and at that time, I was only an official resident for about nine months. She asked where he was living, and I said that, according to him, he was in California (it’s one of the HQs of the company he works for) living on his own, without the wife or the baby because they supposedly weren’t together anymore and he had zero contact with them. (His wife’s social media posts would beg to differ.) She said that was great because California only requires six months in the state with three months in one county.
With this knowledge and a couple of martinis in me, I messaged my husband, asking if he met those requirements and if he could please make this process as easy as possible for me because he at least owed me that. He replied that he didn’t but would in three months. I stuck a three-month reminder in my diary and went about my business.
Fast forward to August.
“Will you hit the CA residency requirements for divorce this month – six months in the state and three months in the same county?” I messaged.
Two days later and no reply.
“I asked you if you would do your part to make the divorce as easy as possible for me, and you said you would, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t ignore me.“
Another two days later and finally a reply:
“I will check.“
“There’s nothing to check. Have you been living in California for six months? Have you been living in the same county there for three months? These are not difficult questions.“
He came back with some fluff about traveling a lot for work, so he had been staying in AirBnBs and whatnot.
“Will you have a more permanent address soon or not?“
“I hopefully will.“
Oh, woe is him.
And then my mother did some digging.
After some superior Google searching, she found an address listed under his and his wife’s name in Sweden. (She’s Swedish. The wife, not my mother.)
Back to iMessage:
“Since you’re living in Sweden, you will not be establishing residence in California. Make sure I have an accurate address for you so I can file for divorce next year. And stop lying. It’s not necessary.“
‘”OK, whatever. I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but I will give you an address.“
So then I sent the Swedish address.
“OK, whatever you found if you think it is true. I have one in Ireland too.“
How charming. They have a residence in Sweden and one in Ireland. Good for them as I applaud from my studio apartment in Poughkeepsie.
He’s still lying and I can’t get a divorce.
I’m going to bare my soul a bit here.
As much as the last eight years have been rough, there have been moments in the past couple of years that have nearly broken me. I couldn’t eat, could hardly move, and would lay on the couch feeling half-dead, barely conscious, floating on a wave of depression and self-induced malnutrition.
But, I would force myself up, reminding myself of all the incredibly fortunate things I have in my life. I’d sip on a smoothie, shove a spoonful of peanut butter in my mouth and push through because I knew if I could make it over the hump, focus on work, focus on the good things, I would be OK. And I am.
Then, with encouragement from my oldest and dearest friend, I decided to cut myself open over these keys and let it all bleed out. And you showed up for me.
You read. You commented. You messaged. You sent care packages and gifts. You checked in, and you showed me that I was not alone. And that I was loved.
So whether you have been with me since those early gleeful Le Petit Village days or have only recently stumbled upon this space somehow, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your support, and your words of encouragement because they mean more to me than you can possibly imagine. From the bottom of my broken, healing heart, thank you for being part of my tribe.
You give me strength.
You know, when I first found out about ‘her,’ I was so humiliated. I was embarrassed. Ashamed. I didn’t want anyone to know. But why should I be ashamed and embarrassed and humiliated? I’m not the one that did anything wrong. All I did was be patient and loyal for years while I was being mugged off. How mugged off? Majorly mugged off. Well, no more. Buckle up.
A little over a year ago, I was here in New York, trying to rebuild my life and adjust to the fact that my marriage was well and truly over, all those years wasted, with nothing to show for them. After all, he had a baby with another woman; that’s a hard one to come back from.
But the thing is, he was still lying. He was telling me that it was all an accident; he wasn’t with her; he had no contact with her or the baby, BLAH BLAH BLAH LIES. And then a cousin of mine made a shocking discovery…
A cousin in Ireland was getting married. He and his wife were looking for a chauffeur and came across one’s Facebook page. And while they were scrolling through photos of happy newlyweds posing outside of a Rolls or in the backseat of a limo, one couple stood out. Because there he was, my husband, with his bride, who was not me.
My husband is a bigamist.
That sweet and funny Frenchman you all grew to love back when I was Sara in Le Petit Village, married another woman while still married to me.
He got married in 2019 and carried on as if nothing had changed.
Less than a month after his “wedding,” we took a family vacation with my mother, godmother, best friend, and her kids and frolicked on the Jersey Shore. We even signed another lease and began marriage counseling, all the while, he had a soon-to-be pregnant bride in another country.
So for all those years, while I was waiting for my new life back in the U.S. to begin finally, he was building a life with another woman. They met, dated, moved in together, got engaged, got married, and a little over a year later, had a baby.
And there it is. I won’t be ashamed, embarrassed, or humiliated anymore. He will be.
What would you do if one day, after years of being lied to, full-on gaslit, you’re confronted with the truth that you always knew to be true?
I was done. Over. It had been enough. One too many excuses of why he had to leave again (always promising to come back in a few weeks) and not live life here with me (work travel… sick grandmother… lost passport … stuck on a work trip with Covid… so many lies lies lies).
I finally did it. I told him not to come back, that I was done. And then it happened.
It wasn’t long after he was gone that out of the blue, his stepmother liked one of my Instagram pics. That had never happened before; I didn’t even know she had an account. So I popped over to her profile to follow her, and there it was. The proof that I wasn’t crazy. The truth. Another bombshell courtesy of social media and my sociopathic ex — a photo of him, the woman from the Facebook profile pic four years before, and a smiling baby being held up between them.
I knew it. I always had. He had a whole other life and a baby. A baby. (You know who doesn’t have a baby? Yeah, me) What’s worse? I had ignored my intuition the entire time. I should have listened to myself. Trusted me. But, I let the lies take over. I let them control my life. For years.
Somehow, in my marriage, I had become “the other woman.”
So, what would you do?
You know, the thing is, when someone you care about lies to you, your default is to believe them.
When your spouse repeatedly lies to you and says, “no, no, no, no, that’s not true, why would I do that,” even if your gut knows, you tell yourself to believe them because you want to believe them, and they’re telling you to, begging you to.
Because why lie when the truth would be so much easier? Sure, it would hurt at first, but at least it would be over.
I wish the bandaid had been ripped off. But it wasn’t. For years there was a slow, painful peel, and the gas light burned bright and burned long.
P.S. When you read the next chapters, and you think, “how could you have let this go on, how could you have not seen it, how could you have stayed…” understand that when the person you’re married to is lying to you THAT much, and you’re in it, living it, and have invested so much time, so many years of your life, you want to believe, because you just want to live a life. A normal life. And that’s what he stole. He stole my life.
Don’t cry over spilled milk. That’s what they say. Little did I know that about an hour after I took this photo, I’d be crying over so much more…
(I wasn’t sure if I could put it all out there or if I even should. But then I thought, you know what, I’m gonna do it. Maybe it’ll be cathartic. Or maybe it would be a huge mistake that I will regret for all eternity. Who knows? Not me. But I know one thing, could’ve, would’ve, should’ve, so I’m doing it.)
It was a Monday morning in November 2016. I was still staying at my mother’s house in Texas, and my husband was living and working in Dublin while we waited for his green card to come through.
After waking up, I did my usual, I texted good morning to my long-distance spouse, poured myself a cup of coffee (spilling a bunch of milk in the process), and settled into my morning routine of checking email and social media sites.
On Linkedin, I saw that my husband had commented on a post, and in that comment, he had tagged someone. It was a woman with a name that I didn’t recognize. “Probably a work colleague,” I thought.
I tried to move on with my morning, but that woman’s name kept niggling at me. Who was she? Maybe she was a new work colleague. Probably a new work colleague. But, we usually talked about those things. At least I did anyway.
I let curiosity get the best of me and popped over to Facebook to search for her. I was curious if they were connected on there too or if we had any friends in common.
After typing her first name and then finishing her last, a bunch of accounts appeared. As I scrolled down the list, one, in particular, jumped out at me. I knew it was her immediately because there she was. A big bright selfie smile in her profile picture… alongside a smiling photo of my husband.
There he was. My husband was in another woman’s Facebook profile picture.
P.S. I’m still trying to figure out how to tell the tale of the past six years or so of my life. It’ll be a jimble jumble jumping around mess, I’m sure, but I need to tell it. I need to get it out. Bear with me.
If you’ve followed me on Instagram over the years, you know that pre-pandemic, I traveled quite a bit. Back and forth from Texas to Dublin, London, and Copenhagen I would go.
I’m sure it looked fun, I’m sure it looked fabulous, but it wasn’t, really. These were me trying to hold my marriage together trips, not fun, fabulous trips.
I’d bounce around rolling my carry-on, smile plastered on my face hoping for the best. These were not vacations. (But of course, there are a few amusing anecdotes I’m sure I’ll be pulling out in the future. Stay tuned…)
But, this summer, I, Sara Louise, was finally going on vacation — an actual holiday to a new destination. I was going to Maine, a state so perfectly poised for vacationing that their license plates have “Vacationland” stamped on them. (And let’s not forget the lobstah rolls.)
My Auntie Ilene, who you may recall, had invited me to her summer cottage on a bay in Maine. How perfectly charming does that sound?
You know what doesn’t sound perfectly charming, SHINGLES. Yes, shingles. I got Shingles right before I was due to leave. My body went into such shock at the thought of relaxation that it revolted with a stinging, burning, aching rash. But, with an OK from my doc and an “if you still feel up to it” from Auntie Ilene, I deposited Fifty at camp and hit the road north to Vacationland because if you’re going to suffer with Shingles, you might as well do it while sitting on the dock of the bay.
Meanwhile, at camp… Fifty caught Kennel Cough. KENNEL COUGH!
I caught Shingles; he caught Kennel Cough. And there you have it. No more vacations for us. The end.
P.S. Fifty is on the mend and getting stronger every day. Thank you for your positive thoughts and messages of support they meant the world to Fifty and me.
“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” – Tupac Shakur
And that’s what I did; I moved the f**k on.
Sidebar: I may go into detail later about what happened and how everything fell apart, but not now. For now, trust me when I say that I am better off, and believe me when I say as far as my marriage went, I gave it my all and left everything on the field. EVERYTHING.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
I don’t like road trips. And yet, one year, one month, and four days ago, I found myself driving almost 2,000 miles from my mother’s house in Texas to my friend’s home in my old hometown in New York.
Fifty and I were embarking on the next chapter. And the next chapter meant staying at my friend’s while I attempted to put my life back together and figure out what I wanted my future to look like. The world was my oyster. (If by oyster, you mean a skint bank account and no real idea what I’m doing.)
Somehow, after years of torture waiting for life to begin, to finally kick into gear, first because of visa delays and then because of BS excuses and lies delays, life had become a fresh notebook. Blank pages were waiting for me to fill them up with new chapters.
Care to read them?