Why is My Toxic Ex-Husband Prolonging Our Divorce?

husband signing divorce agreement and woman push away weeding ring

We were in a very toxic and abusive relationship. It all ended when I decided to press charges on him at the beginning of my pregnancy. I wasn’t ready to let go at first but I am now.

He threatened a false annulment and said that he had the paperwork for me to sign.

After he got out of jail he harassed me about getting an abortion as did his mistress.

His mistress is also the mother of his children and they were in a relationship for longer than he and I were married. He made it a point to let me know he didn’t want to be with me.

Now that I am finally agreeing to all terms he will not answer the phone. I told him I was trying to reach out to him about the divorce and that he can sign over all parental rights and we can go our separate ways.

At this point I just do not want to be tied to him anymore. He will not answer the phone to talk about it anymore and I don’t understand why.

It just doesn’t make any sense why he would go through all of that trouble just to not want to proceed with the divorce. He knows I cannot file in the state I am in for a while since I just moved out here and I have to wait six months before I can file here.

I have the money to file for him but he just ghosted me. Please give me some sort of insight if you can. Thank you so much.


I’m sorry this is happening to you, Betty, and I’m positive there are people with greater experience with divorce law than me. I would certainly find out what your legal options are from a local attorney and explore them to get the divorce you deserve.

But I don’t think you turned to me for legal advice; you wanted to know what all women want to know about their men — WHY?

“Why would he do that? It makes no sense! It’s totally inconsistent! I’m completely baffled by the difference between his words and behavior.”

So, as a public service to you and every woman who wants to understand men, let’s try a thought experiment:

If you put yourself in his shoes, what would be the most logical possible explanation for his behavior.

I’ve never been a toxic and abusive guy but I can sure tender a guess based on what we know about basic psychology.

People — men and women alike — tend to act out of two primal needs: avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.

People — men and women alike — tend to act out of two primal needs: avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.

And if your ex is as bad as you say, he thrives on power, control, and manipulation.

He doesn’t want to be married to you anymore, but he doesn’t want you to be out of his orbit, because the second you sign those papers, you are GONE from his life. And when you’re gone, he can’t continue to harass you, control you, and emotionally torture you.

He’ll be left with the mess of he’s made of his life — kids with two different women, shady behavior, terrible values, and nobody to love him and put up with him anymore.

Long story short: he’s avoiding the pain of you leaving him alone and he’s prolonging the pleasure of having control over you.

The second you are able to cut the cord entirely, I encourage you to do so and never look back.

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  1. 1
    No Name To Give

    Go to a family law attorney and see what your options are. You need to be rid of that piece of dead weight. You have to be solid for your baby. Do not let this fool control you one second longer.

  2. 2
    M. LaVora Perry

    Hi, Betty.

    It’s terrible that you have to experience this. I went through a similar experience with the man I married when I was in my 20s but to a much lesser extent. He never abused me in any way but he did ghost me when I was ready to divorce him.

    My comment to you is from my perspective as someone who has practiced Nichiren Buddhism for over 30 years.

    Sometimes people take the Buddhist view of life circumstances the wrong way and think it’s about blame. But blame is not in any way what what I’m about to say next refers to.

    From the Buddhist view, everything that occurs to a person is within the power of that person to change. This is because of the concept of oneness — meaning, there are no separate entities that exist. Everything that exists is actually a single entity. Therefore, we have the unlimited ability to change anything because whatever we are trying to change is an aspect of ourselves.

    So, from the Buddhist perspective, your husband is you, not just a part of you. He is an aspect of you — just as the “bottom half” of a coin is the coin itself. It isn’t separate from the “top half.”

    So, from a Buddhist perspective, the central question for you is why are you holding on to your marriage. I don’t know the answer at all. But you do.

    Your ex husband will comply much quicker the moment you deeply decide to let go of him. Until you do that, even when you divorce, you won’t be free of him.

    I hope you are not offended by my reply.


  3. 3
    Krista Washbourne

    He’s a narcissist. Read up!! Its about to get worse before it finally is over. You can do it!

  4. 4

    Couldn’t have said it better Evan… you are spot on!!!

  5. 5

    So sorry you are going through this but eventually he will realize you are really done and he will relent.   Agree on getting good divorce attorney; he doesn’t sound too bright and deeply insecure so I doubt he will stand up to lawyers and a judge.   Be grateful you are not the mistress, and that you have the chance to start a new life with your baby.   I would encourage you to get counseling and take a deeper look at why you attracted and then stayed with this man as long as you did.   Something in you needs healing or you will attract the same thing again. Your future self and your child will thank you for your courage today to heal yourself and become stronger.

  6. 6

    “…he thrives on power, control, and manipulation”


    I’ve been trying to finalize a divorce for six years, where we agreed to most of the terms 4 years ago, and all of the terms this last October, but my husband is still dragging his heels.

    He’s been in a relationship that works well for him this entire time, so it’s not like he’s delaying to reunite. I’ve asked myself your question many, many times. I think Evan is right: it will be painful for him to sign over anything to me because he wants it all, and as he has steadily alienated friends over the years, so when I am completely gone, there will be one less person in his orbit to wield power over.

    Stop communicating with him. Beg and/or borrow the money to hire a divorce lawyer, and have your lawyer do all of the communicating. Yes, that will rack up fees, but it’s the only way to move things forward. Your lawyer will be able to use tactics that will force him to respond, because otherwise he’ll be in contempt of court.

    After years of trying to reason with an unreasonable person, this is the approach that finally gave me some traction — I am hopeful to have it finalized within the next four months. Fingers crossed.

    Best wishes to you.

  7. 7

    Evan’s assessment is spot on. I have been in this exact situation and the ex tried everything possible to drag things out. A good attorney who knows his way around the court can help tremendously. Judges tend to hate guys like this. Also, this is why I will never get legally married again. Legal marriage is basically the license you give to another individual to harass you and bleed you dry in courts for as long as they please. Thanks but no thanks.

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