We’ve been seeing a lot of posts lately about the effects of MLM on families and marriages. Here’s an update (and a bit of a recap) on some of our outcomes since I decided I was done letting MLM wreak its havoc in my and our children’s lives:
May 2006: ex-dh was terminated from about his sixth “J-O-B” in three years due to low productivity. Other jobs he quit. He began talking about interviewing at the far end of the state or halfway across the country. I didn’t want to abandon my family here and connections, and move so he could take a job he would keep for six months.
June 2006: For our son’s birthday he bought himself a new vehicle without telling me. The upslimes and consultants believe that someone with his potential for success should appear prosperous. He paid $21K for a $15K vehicle because he owed on the previous car. His judgment was not that bad in the past.
July 2006: He took a job two hours away from the children. He was served with divorce papers.
September 2006: He moved out. Until May we had two professional incomes, but he could not afford a security deposit or first month’s rent, and did not have enough available credit. He rented a luxury apartment, about as far away from the children on the other side of his employer’s town, but could not furnish it.
December 2006: In mediation it was determined that I would retain the home with the $52K in bad debt attached to it (mostly due to MLM expenses). I also got primary custody of our two sons, then ages 5 and 2. This actually turned out to be advantageous for me, because I could have been ordered responsible for half of his credit card debt (many more tens of thousands), and to give up half of my retirement. I agreed to save for the children’s education if he did also. The children were to receive support commensurate with state guidelines. The children’s savings accounts were raided by the credit union because of ex-dh defaulting on credit card payments, and he has put away absolutely nothing for them since 2006.
January 2007: our divorce was final.
Spring/Summer 2007: he filed bankruptcy, and some of his creditors came looking for me.
July 2007: He got a better-paying job eight hours away and thought it in the best interests of the children to move to the Atlanta area (we live in Central Florida).
November 2007: He met a woman with an income about the same as mine, introduced her to my children, and moved her in.
December 2007: He was laid off.
March 2008: He and the new girlfriend moved to the other side of the state about two hours away from us.
June 2008: He was about $7K behind on child support and requested a modification. He worked for about a month but quit because the job was commission-based (that’s funny, isn’t MLM also?). He’s been delivering newspapers since about that time, which isn’t a shameful thing, unless you’re trying to avoid income deduction for child support.
July 2008: He was found in contempt of court for failure to pay child support. Aside from a small purge, I’ve still only been receiving about $100 a month for the boys, just enough to keep him from losing his license or going to jail.
November 2008: He married his girlfriend, and continues to rely on her income.
All the while he’s continued to do USANA, perhaps Herbalife, and some fitness thing. He wanted to be a personal trainer, and briefly worked at a fitness center, but quit because the job was commission based (funny, isn’t MLM commission-based also? lol…). I know the economy is bad, but surely he can do better for himself financially than delivering newspapers, but doesn’t want to admit failure and take a J-O-B? All he owns in the world is an electric piano, a computer, and a wristwatch. He is on Facebook and webpages talking about what a business success he is, and advising others to follow his plan.
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
Continued to work at my J-O-B that I’ve had for 16 years. In residential treatment (it’s a virtue, Hal). It’s basically supported me and the children for at least half of the time since ex-dh moved out, and probably at least half the time since about 2002 while I was only dimly aware of my ex’s MLM sickness.
Retained my friends and connection to the temple, continued to care about things other than wealth. Listened to music in my car and not motivational/business-building CDs. Developed my interests further.
in June 2006 stopped direct deposit to our joint account, opened my own checking, and borrowed from my healthy personal leave account to pay the mortgage and other bills that were over two months behind. When I looked at my mortgage payment history, he had paid it late for six months straight. Of course there were late payments to his five or six credit cards that he had going, but I didn’t worry about them.
Withdrew the remainder of home equity funds available and placed them in a savings account. I agreed to take this loan with ex-dh in late 2005 to try to stop the financial hemorrhaging, as he said we would pay off the credit cards and start putting our finances back together. Instead, I found that he was spending the loan like it was real money, to finance MLM, and the debt I inherited was not even half of what he owed…
Continued to pay prepaid college loans for the children. They are going to college, no matter what I have to do.
Refinanced the home with the debt in July 2007 so that I could manage the payments.
Repaired my credit, which fell to about 560 (thanks to ex’s late payments and defaults) in July 2007, and recovered to about 710 a year later when I needed to buy a car.
Now my only debts are the house (a big one, but I suppose I’m in the same boat as most people now), and my car. I am far from wealthy, but financially stable, even though the household income is only about 40% of what it was before the children’s father got sucked into MLM, and I am supporting us almost completely by myself. It’s amazing how well you can manage on a non-profit salary when you aren’t supporting MLM. But I take pride in that, and know that I am better off. We have for the most part recovered. The children are happy, and doing better in school. I am hopeful for our futures, and am starting to feel content.
These are just the observable, most objectives outcomes I can report. I think it will be an even longer email describing what MLM and the upslimes’ and evil “consultants'” messages did to our relationship, how it changed ex-dh’s behavior, and how he was so thoroughly brainwashed. I wish I had seen a lot of this sooner, or didn’t try to hang on as long as I did hoping that he would come to his senses, but the last two years have helped to validate that the soul of the man I married and loved was not coming back. Sometimes you have to give up and think for yourself and the children. I don’t hope to discourage people wanting to extricate their loved ones from MLM — perhaps my ex was more susceptible than most — he flirted with mail-order businesses and Amway in the past, and may have lost a substantial amount of our resources by buying stock options on margin (also knew better than to do that), but I hope to show that life goes on after surviving