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Sending Email To EX Regarding Obligations - What Do You Think?

NOTE: pics are posted in my profile as "public", feel free to have a look and let me know if I am overreacting! I have comments for each pic...

Well today was the deadline for cleanup of the basement. AS you all predicated it is a bit of a disaster. Here is the letter I sent to him this morning.

Hello (ex),

I'm just going to put this all down in writing so we're on the same page!

Just to go over what's already been discussed:

Back in November we had a discussion regarding the fact that I will need to find either work or paid school after April this year, as I will have zero money coming in at that time.

That means I likely will have to move, possibly to another city or country. At this point, that means the children will move as well. There is not enough funding for you to stay here in the house by yourself, nor is your health such that you could take the children for any extended period of time.

Given all that, the options are to rent or sell the house at that time. The best option we discussed was to rent the house out, but either way, we both agreed that the house has to be in shape so that we can get the best value for either the rental or sale of the property, as anything less would shortchange the CHILDREN. To that end, I have independently done and paid for extensive clearing out and cleaning of the upper floors of the house, discarding approximately 5 carloads of possessions, and more to follow. I have thus far paid for and committed approximately $7,000 of my own money from a personal line of credit to repair the bathroom, hallways, and front window, with more repairs necessary to get the house into code.

To that end, we agreed that your commitment would be that you would clean up/out the basement room where you are currently sleeping, to the extend that it was organized and any repairs/cleaning could be done, and the house could be shown to prospective buyers/renters. The deadline that was set was Feb. 1, 2013. Today is that day, so we need to talk. I have told you this morning that I would be sending you an email regarding this matter, as you are often ill and it is difficult to know when to contact you about this matter.

For the past almost 3 months, you have known of this deadline. You have made some change, in that many of the possessions are not not in your room, but instead are in boxes, in bags, or strewn in the basement hallway and in the furnace room. Your clothes continue to reside almost entirely within the laundry room.

Now, in addition to the problem of cleaning your room and repairing it to the condition to be shown to prospective buyers/renters, there is the additional problem that the boxes and possessions piled in the hallway, furnace area, and room present safety hazards - they are fire hazards and they are making access to the humidifier a real feat of gymnastics; should we ever need to access your room for a trip to the emergency (much as you do not want this to happen, your health means it may), it is a certainty that paramedics would have difficulty getting past the debris; it is a health hazard as there is no way to access the floor to clean up, for example in the event of flooding or an ant infestation as we have had both in the past, plus there are crumbs from meals eaten in that room for years that have not been cleaned up.

I ask you - if you were owner of this house and were presented with this dilemma, what would you do?

Much as I want to avoid any conflict, we must set a new deadline, and there must be consequences, because I - and the children - cannot afford to be saddled with any last-minute repairs, unforeseen expenses, or other in the event of the basement not being in shape to repair and show in a timely manner.

I suggest a final deadline of March 1 for the basement to be in the condition that there is access to floors, electrical, walls, etc. The only consequence that I can see making sense is lawyer action based on the safety hazards presented, with lawyer fees asked for from your settlement in the separation agreement.

I have taken photographs of the hallway, of the furnace room, and from the doorway to your room today. I hope the next set of photos are of a much improved nature.

Thank you for listening.

-(me)
zsuzsilowinger zsuzsilowinger 36-40, F 16 Responses Feb 1, 2013

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I have removed all of Hotass6969's comments bar the one commented on by baz and lao (first time EVER removing comments here), and barred him from contacting me or viewing my profile. Thank you for the head's up.

NOTE to potential new posters: spam, overt solicitation, and off-topic are not going to be tolerated as comments. Thanks.

One I love to listen to you which I was there to help you out. As for your Ex he dose not care about you or the children. He has put lot on your back. As he free have fun a way from you and the kids. If I was the home owner and you were rent from me and what is going on in or life I would let you and the children stay rent free for one year. I love chat with you and be there for you.

Now THERE'S an offer I bet you won't be able to resist Zsu, particularly after you read the profile !!!

Indeed, bring your own wooden paddle.

I want to give you a harsh comment for reliving the groundhog's day sucker's cycle of deadline-no consequences-new deadline. On the other hand, you relive the nightmare this time in order to document, and you are stressed with classes, grad school applications, and parenting. You have also had other comments on other stories to pack it all up and put his stuff into storage. You might also find someone to sell all the useful stuff for a percentage of the take.

If STBX wants to play hardball with the kids, you play hardball with the possibility of getting him committed and going for full custody based on his illness. Get that lawyer yesterday. I think you need professional help to extricate yourself.

Your letter to STBX was great. But your opening line and your closing line weaken your position. "Just want us to be on the same page! Thanks for listening!" Those words belie the seriousness of the situation and telegraph to STBX that he can still take advantage of you by playing on your sympathies/indecision.

I think you handled this amazingly well! Very nice email. Not mean, not 'emotional'. Very logical.

Ya'll keep me honest, I give you that! Thanks for all the replies. I'll keep you posted on next steps.

I actually do have a plan, but am waiting to hear back from European university, which should be before mid-March, at which point I will be going full-speed-ahead with ignoring any protest and dumping everything I can, whatever is not done by then. The lawyer will come into play 1 March so I know exactly how far I can push the whole thing on my own vs taking him to court.

I hope to have him completely moved out by June at the latest. I know that sounds awfully slow to many of you - my reasons are thought out, though. First off, he pays into the mortgage. Second, I am still in school full-time to end of April, so time is precious right now. Third, he is ill, and I want him to spend as much time with the kids until the sh*t hits the fan. Fourth, we are amicable at the moment. He did not discuss this email in detail, but acknowledged receipt of it, and informed me that the person I had hired previously to help with upstairs cleanup will be here Wednesday to help him out. Thus, potential progress.

The reason for extending the deadline are as above plus I did not want a "he said/she said" situation, as I had no previous written account; now it is in writing + pictures, I feel like my a$$ is covered.

And thanks to everyone who commented on the pictures. I lost sight of the situation; over the years he has convinced me that I am overreacting. Obviously consensus is that I am not.

Thanks again, you guys are the best.

I am not sure at all how smart the cementhead is. But, I was idly thinking about your situation today, and, if I were him, I'd be keeping the big card up my sleeve to play. That card being the permission for you to move the kids out of your jurisdiction.
If I was cementhead, I'd be using that card to get every last bit of cash out of you I could, get every day out of the accomodation I could, get every bit of leverage out of it in MY best interests as I could.

Now from YOUR point of view, I'd be doing everything I could to thwart his plan. However, I have no knowledge of the legalities in your jurisdiction, so I'd need to see a lawyer.

zsu, i am not sure the courts will let you move out of the country with the kids, much less relocate to another state. not sure where you live--but most US jurisdictions don't look very kindly at all on custodial parents moving so far away as to make visitation next to impossible.

i hope your attorney has researched and given you the best safest advice regarding relocation.

just a short example: i was (briefly) considering relocating to my home state. it's a distance of 60 miles. so, allowable.

now if it were, say, 100+ miles?

my STBX would have a real legitimate complaint (and therefore case against me) for removing our daughter, alienation of affection, etc.

just something to consider carefully, in case you haven't already had extensive discussions with your lawyer about it. especially since the impression from your posts here is that your STBX isn't yet aware you plan to relocate (possibly) somewhere distant.

Sister Z's email does mention the potential move, and her intent to take the kids. So Mr Z has a heads up on that now (if he didn't before) and it would be most unwise to assume that he wouldn't use that leverage to better his position.

thanks baz...I'd forgotten that part of the e mail.

even more reason for caution, then.

All very wise counsel, and yes this all does weight heavily on my mind these days.

EX is very aware of the situation. I believe I am on top of things, but it never hurts to be super-duper on top of things.... yes this is one of my worst fears, that he will somehow start reacting AGAIn and start fighting for something he knows he cannot win....

Try this for a scenario. It is March 1st. The basement looks even worse than it did on Feb 1st.
You - "Well Zeigfried, times up, clean that **** outta there or the Sheriff will be here to haul you out"
Zegfried - "Really ? Still planning on taking the kids out of this jurisdiction ? You need my permission for that, and I won't be giving it until the 1st of July 2015. Every time you raise this subject again, that date goes out another 3 months. Meantime, I'll stay right here with my treasured possessions"

Baz, knowing you are right intellectually is not helping me emotionally. I KNOW you are right. When I think about what you say, my brain just BLOCKS it - akin to how I block thoughts of my own death...I am scared sh*tless about it, but can't give in to that...

4 More Responses

What does your lawyer say ?

Tread your own path.

Ah, baz....

To the heart of the matter as always...

Zsu, I agree with others about the deadline - but I also see that it is just TOO hard for you to get him out ASAP. Could you compromise on a fortnight? That is unlikely to result in anything, but it demonstrates to the court (if it comes to that) that you have been tolerant and prepared to give him every chance.

And I LOVE Essie's idea of the storage. Could you find out about that and then add an addendum to your email that says something like:

"In the event that you have not fully complied with my requests by 16th Feb., I will arrange for X moving company to move your items, in total, to a storage unit at facility Y. I will organise a cleaning company to undertake the cleaning necessary to return the basement to a livable condition. ALL costs associated with moving, storage and cleaning will be at your expense."

And, as you KNOW he will not get it done, arrange these things as soon as you send him the email. In the unlikely (miraculous!) event that he does get his act together, you can always cancel these services.

Can you access his funds? If so, I suggest you withdraw a sufficient amount for these services now. Make a notation on the account of the purpose of the withdrawal. This can be done either by electronic banking or by requesting the bank to add this information to the account records.

If you fully prepare YOURSELF in advance, you are more likely to implement the consequences at the stated time.

I recognise how HARD (and unfair) it is for you to have to do these things. My heart goes out to you. Just know that each time such an issue occurs it confirms to you, yet again, the wisdom of LEAVING. {{{hugs}}}

thanks as always enna, you are awesome.

you can always just walk out and leave his stuff f there...

I doubt a score of new deadlines will help you. He had an agreement and he failed. Time to take actions not set new deadlines. I think eviction is in order. He wil never act as long as someone is there to take care of him

If he didn't meet the Feb 1 deadline, what it to keep him on track for March 1? Packing up his stuff and moving it out of the house would put you both on the same page.
I wish you luck.

I don't care if he's "on track", only that I now have a paper trail...

I know what you mean about a paper trail. I hope things get moving for you.

" ...put this all down in writing so we're on the same page!"
Uh, no. You two are not on the same page. Writing it down for him may cover your ***, but it does nothing to get him "on the same page".

I agree with others below .. you already gave him a final deadline. Now you're giving him a final final deadline?

I can't recall ... have you consulted a lawyer yet about how to get him out of the house; child custody, etc?

You are 100% correct, this is simply a "cover my a$$" letter.

I intend to consult the lawyer if need be within in the next month. I have no need to deal with this in it's entirety before that time (see my comment above), at least that's my estimation. I hope I am right.

omg zsu, you get my nomination for sainthood for not losing it on him before this.

i would send this, along WITH the photos, to both attorneys. "copy" your x on the note to the attorneys. and then as the date draws nearer, follow up by writing to him, copy both attorneys.

that's about as hardball as i can dream up at the moment.

Who says I haven't lost it before this? I just have stopped investing any emotion in it at all. I know it's a matter of months at most before it's resolved and I never have to deal with it again in this lifetime.

It was much harder to deal with when I was invested in the marriage & in him.

The pictures - YIKES! Yeah, that is a problem.

Just looked at them. OMG!

And Zsuz, you have to realize, that in his mind, he just won another month, and will continue this game indefinitely. As long as you're still playing according to the old patterns in your relationship with him. someone said this before, bears repeating. What a refuser wants (sex refuser, intimacy refuser, life refuser, etc.) is TIME, every second, every day that they can wallow in the status quo is a victory for them, and it is addictive. There is one weakness ti this game, though. It takes at least two participants.

Thanks, excellent. This time I have outlined the consequences above and sent it in writing. Last time it would have been "he said/she said".... thus I put in writing what our previous agreement had been as well.

baby steps for me. I am hoping to avoid knock down, drag out fight that drains my entire remaining bank account. But will do it if need be.

I have zero doubt in my mind he is really not capable of doing this cleanup. He is too attached to his "stuff", it's a real psychological issue for him. But I cannot pay the price of his attachment any longer.

I'd love to post the pics in the story but have no idea how to do that... any ideas?

Not sure, but you could post them on your profile.

Thanks rwl, excellent suggestion and done!

Oh gawd! Now I'm scared to look! ha

I think you are being too nice by giving him a second deadline when he ignored the first one. However, like Iohla said, if you ever needed evidence in court this letter lays out the problem specifically and shows you being very reasonable.

Yeah... I agree... I am still a big chicken... and am still hoping I can ease into the whole "I am taking the kids to another country bye bye" thing with as little tension as possible...

Yeah, I would tell you to just throw his things out but I know a hoarder is likely to flip out if you do that.

I like that. Be sure to save his response lest anything comes up in court. I think you laid everything out nicely and maturely.

thanks