How to Divorce An A$$hole

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We all want the fairytale marriage, but sometimes, we get a horror story instead. When Desiree married her husband, she had no idea that one day he would shut her out of all their shared bank accounts and keep her out of their business shares. Now that she is in the process of divorcing him, Desiree has a lot to share on financial abuse, financial freedom, and practical tips on negotiating a divorce.

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To follow along with a transcript, go to shortly after the air date.



X Mayo, Speaker 3, Desiree

X Mayo  00:26

Hey there heads up. The following episode contains accounts of abuse and the death of a child. The Dough is a production of Lemonada Media, created in partnership with Flourish Ventures.


Desiree  01:57

It’s a business deal, you have to go in and recognize that you have to approach it like a business deal. And that’s just tough to do when you’re in the thick of healing. And there’s no legal solution for the fact that you married an asshole.


X Mayo  02:17

Say that. Hey, y’all, welcome back to The Dough. You heard it here. There’s no legal solution for the fact that you married an asshole. And what my dear resilient guests means by this is that Sure, divorce is an option. But divorcing the asshole, baby. That’s a whole nother rodeo. Her name is Deseret. She’s a mother of seven living in Texas and she’s divorcing her ex right now. After 15 long years. Here is the bottom line. Okay, when it comes to difficult people, you can’t just sign on the dotted line, shake hands and expect to walk away equitably. You have to fight for yourself and for your financial future. And of course, you know divorce is sodium common child. Okay, listen, it’s more common than a goddamn UTI. Not that I got one right now I’m in the clear. Okay. And according to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40 to 50% of first marriages end in divorce. And guess why a quarter of those divorces in? It’s because of arguments over money. It’s the dinero. I know for my parents who got divorced when I was about 19, but they have been separated since I was three. It was really difficult because my dad had money to get the divorce. But then he kept saying he didn’t have money and he wasn’t showing up to court. And it’s like, but but maybe you do have money because you have a new Cadillac. No, I didn’t know they were giving Cadillacs out to black men for free, honey, and if they weren’t, you know, reparations, you know, and if it was good for him, you know, you know, it’s Listen, okay? It’s complicated. But listen, our guest Deseret story is all about the ways our partners can manipulate us financially in relationships. Her story is about financial abuse, and how her money and sense of self were manipulated beyond her control. And let me tell you, this can happen to any one of us, especially if you’re young and vulnerable, like Deseret was when she met this guy. And so to understand that relationship, first, we got to unpack her relationship to money, which like for many of us began in childhood. Have you been triggered by the game Monopoly? Raise your hand. I know. You might be entitled to compensation. No. We should. They should have a commercial with that No. Route a date.


Desiree  05:06

My mom cleaned houses. And my grandmother chipped in when she could my father popped in and out. But really, there was never any money. There was no money. I’ve been working. I have worked since I was 1011 years old. But everything was a challenge. There were no vacations. There was you know, our car was always breaking down. Just that the hard knock hustle, right of low economic means. And then when I was 12 years old, I’m from the Catskills. So if you’ve ever watched like the movie Dirty Dancing.


X Mayo  05:40

I know exactly what that is.


Desiree  05:41

What we do is everybody makes their money in the summer, and then you stretch it through the winter, right? So I worked at the Raleigh hotel, it was a Resort in upstate New York. And I worked in the underground card room that they would host it was like a gambling room and I was just a waitress I brought food, drinks, cards, snacks, it basically made sure that the card players were happy because these were the big spenders.


X Mayo  06:11

So you wasn’t a baby Vegas. So you was in the Caesars Palace. here helping you was just like, listen, do you want to grow cheese? You want to stick around? Okay, cool.


Desiree  06:22

It’s true. It’s true. And we’re the little kids so


X Mayo  06:25

They probably tipped you even more.


Desiree  06:27

They tip me so good. I mean, there were days I made like 250 a day for a 12 year old. I mean, come on, right?


X Mayo  06:35

Baby for a 35 year old like my desk. Great.


Desiree  06:38

Amen. Amen. And I just scrolled a little way. Yes, ma’am. I did. I mean, it was the freedom that I had never had, right. Like to actually make my own money. I did that until I was 19 years old every summer. So I worked full time, every summer. And it was, you know, it was always funny to me. Like, I remember my prom date, kind of giving me a hard time because I wasn’t like done to the nines. I was like, Look, man, I had to work a 12 hour shift today. Okay, you’re lucky I’m here. Be grateful. No, that’s right. I didn’t join the Mormon church until I was 17. So the missionaries came knocking on my door. And I think a lot of it had to do with with poverty, right, I didn’t have the traditional background growing up. And so I didn’t have the support that I needed. So I was looking for something that had values, morals, traditions, something that felt safe, that felt secure. And you know, this, it was just beautiful picture painted to me of eternal families, eternal marriage. Like I wasn’t interested in getting and drinking. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t interested in having sex with my boyfriend. I just, it just wasn’t for me. And so when the Mormon church came along, they were like, look, you’re practically Mormon already. And I was like.


X Mayo  07:52

Hey, you basically got commandments, eight through 10 down. You just need to do these other to just make sure that you don’t kill nobody.


Desiree  08:00

Stopped drinking coffee and just stop drinking iced tea, and then you’re good. You’re okay, you call him again. So I went off to Brigham Young University as a brand new convert to the Mormon Church, thinking I would have community I would have safety, sanctity sanctuary. And also the price was good, because I didn’t have a lot of money. So I was going on scholarships and financial aid. I met my husband, my soon to be ex husband at school, he had just gotten off of his mission. And we met in a dance class. He was a dancer, and I had just moved my major from business to dance. And I was looking for a new dance partner. And we had a mutual friend that said, Hey, you should you should ask my friend to dance with you. So I did. Here’s the first warning sign. He was dating someone. But he was definitely showing me signs that he had feelings. And he was also confiding in me things that probably weren’t appropriate in that relationship. He’d say things like, she called me at three o’clock in the morning and she just had another breakdown. She’s just crazy. She’s just crazy. She’s crazy.


X Mayo  09:15

Trigger Okay, pull up a red flag number one flag on the play like they do and that baseball football soccer. Ladies if he calls his girlfriend crazy 10 times out of 10, he the crazy one. And while I have you let’s take a red flag number two, come winter break Deseret couldn’t afford to travel home for the holidays. So what does this guy do? Hmm. He whisked her away to spend the holidays with his family. Oh, not with our family, which can we just pause for a second and point out that it is a wild thing to do when you’re dating somebody else entirely.


Desiree  09:58

And I thought, Oh, that’s a line and you’re dating someone.


X Mayo  10:02

After the holidays, he drove her the six hours back to school not explaining a damn thing. He dropped Desiree off. And then he came right back for dramatic effect.


Desiree  10:17

And I get a knock on the door and it’s raining the steams coming off of the bricks. I mean, it’s like out of a rom com and he’s like, I love you. I want to be with you. But I’m like, Oh my god. So everything went fast. From there really fast, right? The love bombing. I mean, there was pies baked, there was flower petals left, there was just it was all romance. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened. Two weeks later, he’s down on his knee asking me to be with him forever. And I was like, can I curse on this? I don’t know if I can curse.


X Mayo  11:00

Go curse.


Desiree  11:03

I was like, I was like the fuck. I was like, no, no, sir. no, sir. Two weeks in, like, at that point. That’s when my higher self came in. And I was like, I like you a lot. I might even start feeling love for you. But you asked me to marry you two weeks in like that’s crazy Mormon shit that like I never got on board for now. That’s just crazy town. The answer is no. And that’s what I said was no.


X Mayo  11:28

And might I add he did this without a ring. It’s a no for me baby just based on that. And so she took a little break from him and whatever the hell their relationship was. There’s a rate cut off communication and kept her distance. Yay. That’s right. That’s right. She kept this up for 90 days, right? Until he pulled the same trick again. A surprise knock at the door. And now this man had a speech. Skill.


Desiree  12:04

I love you. You’re my everything. I can’t live without you marry me. And I said yes.


X Mayo  12:13

He really likes doorsteps. I know he’s a dancer. It’s such a performer. First time he’s like I wanted raining steam coming off my scalp. Second time. Open the door. Hey, I love you marry me. Okay, so he says that and then.


Desiree  12:34

And we get married, I’m so happy.


X Mayo  12:37

There was a ring this time? Did you have a ring this time?


Desiree  12:40

There was a ring. But I was so in love at 23 years old. I was so in love and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. And he was laying it on thick right like you’re my eternal forever.


X Mayo  12:56

And so they were engaged in soon after that married but once they said I do Deseret says it was like a switch flipped. It all started with a surprise from her new husband. He got into grad school at Stanford. Stanford. Okay. But it was over 800 miles away from Utah where they currently lived and worked. Even though Deseret had a career in Utah where she actually built her own dance studio from the ground up, okay? Trailblazer. She was like, okay, all right. Well, you know what, I’m gonna follow you I’m gonna do that. But that’s what you do when you young and in love and you stupid, okay. And she trusted it.


Desiree  13:36

I lost my apartment. I lost my friends. I lost my career that I had worked so hard to build. And I had to start making the arrangements to go to California and it was devastating.


X Mayo  13:48

And that’s just the first sacrifice she made in this marriage. Ciao. There’s much more after the break. So Desiree packed up her life. Ciao. Followed her man West, she gave up one future for a new one. She was adaptable shout out to her. And she had to be because they moved to California yay, which was very expensive and completely new to her in order to save money on housing deserts has been decided they will be apartment managers, or rather, Desiree would be.


Desiree  17:38

So I’m at home I’m at home plunging people’s toilets with a college degree. While he’s off at Stanford hobnobbing and networking with people in the robotics community.


X Mayo  17:49

But as he put it, he said, oh, no, only for a little while. Don’t worry, bank is temporary. And this strategy will go on and on to persist throughout their relationship.


Desiree  18:02

The more you sacrifice, the more you’re blessed, the more your sacrifice the more kingdom of heaven, you’ll be entitled to right. So it always got spun that way. And so my husband would come in and say, you know, we’re doing this now, for something bigger later. The term for this is called future faking. Now that I know about all of this. It’s called Future faking. When somebody comes in and says, baby, we just got to do this for a short time. But don’t you worry, it’s gonna be so good. It’s gonna be so good at the end of it. That’s future faking, and what women will do often, I mean, anyone who who’s abused like this, they will throw themselves on that sort of sacrifice with this idea that it’s gonna get better some day. I eventually got a job at a dance studio, I worked 12 hour days on my feet, teaching beginning level Fox Trot so that we could keep our bills down and afford a Bay Area lifestyle, because it’s very expensive. Just he was very angsty, and that was another red flag. He wanted me to have a baby right away. That was like, right out of the gate. He was like, we need to have kids and I was like, hold up rocks or I’m not having any kids until we are done with school. Like I felt like I had these boundaries. And I feel like he used those boundaries. Like it he got off on it right he was like how can I break her boundary you know?


X Mayo  19:17

Yeah, he saw it as a challenge, versus because boundaries are not walls to keep people out their gates their gates to keep us safe.


Desiree  19:26

Yes, just show respect within the relationship right.


X Mayo  19:31

And while he was busy not understanding this very basic concept, Desiree kept things moving, not just for her, but for him in their future family. She worked, y’all built a new dance studio from the ground up and had two kids. Maybe just maybe she could uphold all her dreams of being a mother, a wife and a business owner. But remember, we’re talking about an asshole here and Not just that a narc, narcaleptic. I mean a narcissist.


Desiree  20:07

He gave me an ultimatum. He said, You know, you can’t have the studio you can’t scale and take care of our family. I can’t handle it emotionally. It’s one or the other or I got I’m going to leave. So I chose the family. And I sold my studio had my daughter, Aurora. I had my three babies, they were the most beautiful, you know, I always say they were they’re my life’s masterpieces, right. And I thought I could give up my dream for them.


X Mayo  20:36

Another pivot. And from there they moved to Texas his decision of course, their lifestyle change too. They bought a house and Desiree was busy raising her baby daughter alongside her other kids. For the first time since those childhood summers in the Catskills she wasn’t working, and that was isolating for her. Also, things were very very tight financially, but it was worth it for her kids. Her masterpieces as she puts it, Desiree y’all. She was so resourceful. I mean, shout out to the mothers Okay, she will make Halloween costumes and birthday decorations from scratch. Right? Her baby walking in she said my mom wants to be Ursula baby she’s gonna melt down that purple crayons, put it on that baby face and send him out the door. Okay, whatever it took to give her kids a happy childhood with happy memories Desiree was going to do it. Now like I let it look, I may be biased, but all signs to me. Point to her been an amazing mother. Truly the hardest job in the game with the lowest pay. Dare I say, okay, the job of motherhood isn’t valued nearly enough in our society. This was a hard time in her marriage, y’all and it would soon become even harder. One day in the summer of 2017, Desiree and her husband got into an argument. It was heated. So afterward, she took some space, you know, to clear her head and went upstairs to clean. Her husband was downstairs and he was supposed to be watching her daughter a whare. But he let her out of his eyesight. And the worst thing imaginable happened. Heads up. This next part is tragic and may be hard to listen to. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a child.


Desiree  22:40

At 22 months old, you should never leave a child alone in the backyard. We had a fence but it was ajar. I guess that day, I noticed that things were too quiet.


X Mayo  22:50

She panicked and ran outside, worried her daughter had wandered into the streets somehow.


Desiree  22:58

And like halfway, halfway down the driveway, I just knew, I just knew she was in the pool. She couldn’t have been under more than just a couple of minutes. But that’s all it took. And I buried my daughter the next week.


X Mayo  23:21

A world as life and death hold a huge space and Desiree story. We can’t talk about what happens next without acknowledging this tragedy. Because her grief that followed ended up leaving her more vulnerable to manipulation than ever before.


Desiree  23:40

Everybody says everyone grieves differently. And that’s a great blanketed way to kind of let people off the hook who either choose not to grieve or don’t have the capacity to grieve. And what I realized is that that shame was too deep for him to try to hold process carry. And so he was like, out at 505 weeks after our daughter died five weeks, he decides I’m going to quit my job. And I’m gonna go full time on this company. This idea that he had, that I was helping him out with on like weekends and in the evenings. And he’s like, I just I don’t see any purpose into going back into work anymore. And like I bought it I was like, Well, that makes sense. Who wants to work I don’t want to function. I don’t want to brush my teeth. Like who wants to send emails like nothing? 100% Nothing matters anymore when your kid dies, right? Yeah. So this is where the money comes in.


X Mayo  24:38

He took all of their savings baby I mean every last drop and funnel them into this new company all of a sudden wanted to build now Desiree was aware of this, but she wasn’t aware of how much he take advantage of her. You see, there was a power dynamic at play here. He made all the decisions, and she had no choice but to go along with them. Why? Because she was busy taking care of their family all by herself. And why all by herself? Hmm? Well, because he took away her career and pressured her to have kids instead, by natural abuse is layered. It’s especially hard to recognize when you’re a part of a community that normalizes these sorts of gender roles, Mommy was preoccupied and had to rely on him for all their household funds. You see what I’m getting at here? His manipulative money moves stacked up over time, and track Desiree in that relationship. Another example of this, okay, get ready because this one, wow. Even though their company was registered in desert Ray’s name, none of the shares were. Oh, the fact that this lady still has love in her heart, oh, my God.


Desiree  25:55

We can’t put your names on any shares because it’ll look bad. If they if investors see that we’re married. It’ll look bad. It’ll make the company look like it’s worthless. But don’t worry, because we’re married.


X Mayo  26:08

And because we’re married, I can make you do all the admin work for free. Just in the beginning, honey, this will only be for a little while. That’s just business.  I don’t think we should have another kid. Aren’t we? Are you having a baby? Huh? No. She is pushing the baby out of her vagina. Not you. That just made me so upset. I’m sorry. I have to calm down. Oh, 32112 3x. Just a few months after burying her daughter Aurora Desiree was pregnant again.


Desiree  26:42

This is another thing this is a red flag. I want to point out too. He was worse. He was worse when I was pregnant. Every time I was pregnant, he tried to make some huge financial change that like mess with our stability. Or he just like had complete like discard and disdain for me. He was completely unmindful. I realized that through my grief, I gave him so much control. Because I didn’t feel like I could trust myself to make decisions for myself anymore. So I just let him decide for me. So he had his dream company. He had his dream big family. He always wanted a big family. I didn’t I only wanted a couple of kids.


X Mayo  27:23

But he consider her y’all say it with me? No, no X, he didn’t. Of course not. Because guess what this as Oh did next. He convinced Desiree to adopt three more kids with him. Cha I can’t even take three fish. What three more children to feed. He got a call from a distant relative telling him about these unhoused kids taken in by Child Protective Services. Now they a distant relative they distant for reason. They gotta be socially distant. And he suggested that they come live with them. And their two other kids and the kid on the way. So I know that was a lot of math. Okay, all in all, that’s two kids carry the one in the belly. Three more. They’re six, y’all. I’m dizzy. And so is she.


Desiree  28:12

What’s happening here? And it was like, look, look, look. It’s temporary. It’s temporary. They just need they just need a for now solution. I remember him saying that. So clearly they need for now solution. So off I go.


X Mayo  28:40

Isn’t that what you talked about earlier? Future faking?


Desiree  28:48

Don’t worry. We’re gonna start this company. We’re going to become millionaires gonna be amazing. You know that the day to day was intense. Okay, you’re up very early. You’re it’s feedings. It’s getting kids off to school, it’s making lunches and I’m doing all of that. You know, my ex, he’d get up, he’d take his shower. He’d go to work he does him. He was real good at doing him. And then I had my other babies. You got to get him diapered, dressed, fed. We’re making bottles. Everybody gets fed breakfast is happening. And really it’s it’s schedules, right? Like you’re keeping your kids on a schedule. You’re you’re going with the the motions, the seasons are coming and going. You’re trying to you know, navigate all that and the best way that I can say it really it’s like running a small company.


X Mayo  29:31

She kept busy running the home and the family business where she now worked full time for a salary way too small. And she got into a groove you know, spinning all these plates at once everybody got fed business was going well. I’ve got


Desiree  29:46

All my babies by nursing baby comes to work with me. I always brought my babies to work with me. I never had any maternity leave. I built policies for maternity leave beautiful maternity leave policies. I never benefited from them. You know? I I started to get my voice, right, like we’re getting a nanny. You I’m gonna get paid more at the company. I need a title. That’s correct. No, sir, you’re gonna help out at home. Right? Like I’m just I’m, I’m stepping into my voice. And I want to make sure that this is clear. That all came because I did the internal work, I found myself to therapists, I was working, doing EMDR therapy to reprocess that trauma. I was learning, right? I was reprocessing and learning my self value again, I was rebuilding myself.


X Mayo  30:38

She worked with two therapist, one who gave her EMDR therapy, which is a special kind of treatment used to process trauma. Like they kind of like make you like close your eyes and like go back to these memories. Okay, listen, why am I explaining I’m not a doctor. Okay? I’m an actor I play make believe for a living the fuck am I talking about? But listening works. Okay, Google it. Anyway, through this work, Desiree was able to look more closely at her experience with her husband, and she pulled it apart. Maybe she dissected it from the rooter to the tooter. And she was able to understand the power dynamics at play. That gave her the courage to start drawing some boundaries, like a sexual boundary. Now let’s get into it. You know, you could do that ladies in a marriage, right? Just because he gave you a random he get that thing every night. Listen, you tired? You got other shit to do. You don’t feel like doing it right now. Maybe you just want to touch yourself. Okay? You want to have a lot of conversation with you. Okay, you can do that. Desiree wasn’t comfortable being intimate with Him. So she requested to sleep in a separate bedroom. But then you can guess what this guy did in response? Yep. He played with her money again.


Desiree  31:51

I had discovered that he had moved his direct deposit, which went into our shared operational account as a family into a new account that I didn’t know about, into some other account that I had never seen. And so I’m waiting for our paycheck to come in to pay bills. And I’m like the fuck, why is mine in there? But his is not. I do a little exploratory work. And I’m like, What the hell? What is this? I confront him. And his response is, here’s my spreadsheet. Here’s my analytical spreadsheet. And here’s what I propose. I’m going to keep my salary. He made 30% More than I did. And I’m going to pay 40% of our family overhead. And you’re going to keep your salary and you’re going to pay 60% of the family overhead. And I was like, I’m sorry. First off, we’ve never split off our finances


X Mayo  32:41

You know what, I don’t know. Maybe that Stanford education maybe tonight the best? Because I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Maths. I barely graduated. High School. I did one semester junior college. Shout out to us, you know, junior college matters. And yo, Stanford is gonna tell me you make 30% more than me and I’m supposed to pay 60% of the overhead of the house. And we got these three kids. God bless him love these little angels. But they lasted us here because you?


Desiree  33:09

Yes, ma’am.


X Mayo  33:11

Absolutely not.


Desiree  33:13

Would you like to know his reasoning? His very, very superior intellectual reasoning, Please enlighten me. It’s because I was in the master bedroom.


X Mayo  33:25

What you know, checks out, you know what, and that’s the end of the pot.


Desiree  33:28

That’s it,  makes complete sense. Right? Makes complete sense. He decided that he was going to separate the finances unilaterally. When I said absolutely not. Right. He offers a spreadsheet and I have my big girl voice. And I said, No, sir. It’s a no. And so he decided to start cutting me off from our shared accounts, shared credit cards, shared everything. Here’s some that’s important to know, for anybody that’s interested in financial abuse. If you have a joint account with someone, they can go in and do whatever they want, without your consent. Okay, good to know. It blew my mind like mind blown that he could close his account.


X Mayo  34:09

Shared, not master author and finisher of the account, it’s shared.


Desiree  34:19

I think I’ve misplaced my debit card. So I was using our credit card. Just for day to day purchases. Life is hectic life is busy. And so I was bringing my son home from a therapy session. Because things were not great in the marriage. I’m bringing him home from therapy. We’re low on gas. We’re not going to make it home. stop off at the gas station. fill my tank. Go to run my card. Nope, not valid. But go to where my card again. Nope, not valid. So the only card I had with me at the time. And so I go inside. I’m like, What’s going on there? Like you have to call your bank and I’m like, call my bank like this is I need to get home like what’s happening here. So I call and they’re like, oh, You’ve been removed as an authorized user from this card. And I was like, oh my god, I cannot believe he would go that low. Right? Like, it’s fine. It’s cool. You’re not happy with me. You’re thinking about divorcing me. But oh my god, right? So I do what scrappy pitches from the projects do. And I asked around them, like, Hey, can I borrow a few bucks? I gotta get my baby home. So I put a few bucks in the in the tank, and I get home. And I I’m like, livid, right? I’m like, What the fuck? So and I’m like, wait a minute, wait a minute. Hold on Desiree before you barge in there and ask for an explanation. while your kids are in earshot. Take a minute with this. And this is where the therapy came in. Stop, Breathe, think, then choose.


X Mayo  35:59

She called the bank the next day that someone on the phone and handed the phone or a husband asked him to clarify what happened. And even though she was in the right to do this, more boundaries led to more pushback, and more pressure to not get divorced just yet.


Desiree  36:16

And I knew that he had been doing shady shit. But I had promised him that I wouldn’t file for divorce. Because in the state of Texas, once you file all of your finances like they they freeze, so you can’t move things. You can’t cancel things, you can’t change anything. So I had agreed to not file because our company was under a major fundraising round. And that would have compromised that and I had 75 employees I care very much for and I cared about the company, the company was my baby too. And so I promised him Look, I’m not going to file. But understand that like, you know, we need to figure out the next steps.


X Mayo  37:00

And soon, things would escalate to a point where separation y’all it just had to happen Desiree would soon be pushed to her limits mentally, emotionally and physically.


Desiree  37:11

In hindsight, I realized that trying to hold a narcissist accountable is it’s like it’s like trying to brush your teeth and eat Oreo cookies at the same time. Right? Like, you’re not going to get anywhere.


X Mayo  37:23

That’s after the break. So at this point in Desiree’s story, her husband is doing some pretty shady shit, right? And that’s how financial abuse works. You might not even realize it’s abuse at first because it starts really, really small, sometimes behind your back and then it adds up over time. It chipped away at you into your soul Deep in it, you don’t even know how to get out of it. And let me tell you, if you think of so where occurrence is not. financial abuse occurs in 98% of abusive relationships, and is the number one reason victims stay or return to those abusive relationships. In other words, if you really want to control somebody and their future look to their finances to do it, and Desiree News has been charged, he wrote the book on that.


Desiree  40:30

On top of all the other financial shit, he’s done, I go on to Amazon to buy some homeschool supplies for my kiddos, because it’s almost summertime. And we like to do homeschool, just to keep everybody you know, ready for the next year. And I can’t get into the account. He has changed all the passwords, all the logins, all the usernames to pretty much everything I can’t get into the mortgage account. I can’t get in the Amazon account. And I say to him, this no, this is a no, you need to put me back on the Amazon account immediately. So I can make purchases for our family. So again, financial abuse, right. Long story short, he refuses and he’s like, no, no, maybe maybe I’ll think about it. Maybe I’ll think about it. Maybe I’ll maybe I will maybe I won’t very condescending. And I said to him, I have been the purchaser of this family for 17 years. What are you doing here? Like what what is it that you’re trying to assert what kind of control you’re trying to serve? And so so at this point, I took his phone, and I said it was sitting on the couch. I said, I’m not giving your phone back until you put me back on the Amazon account. And then from there, he pursued me. I don’t even know what I was thinking. You hear this from so many victims. And I, I wish that I could say I was different. But everything went black. And I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. I remember running into the office. And I remember thinking, if I take his computer, which is like his most prized possession, then maybe he won’t hurt me, right? I tried to run up the stairs, I thought I gotta get somewhere where there’s a door, you know, to put a door between the two of us. It’s not the first time that he had put his hands on me like I knew it was coming. And all of a sudden, I felt his hands on the back of my neck, pulling me down off the stairs, and I fell backwards. And he’s fighting with me to get the things out of my hands. And at that point, he starts chasing me, I’m trying to get the car but the car is locked. He’s chasing me around the car. And I really don’t know how 911 got on the other side. I don’t know if it was Siri. I don’t know if I dialed all I know is I remember hearing your voice 911 What’s your emergency? So I said, I need help. My husband’s attacking me, I need help. And at that point, he disengaged. It was like once that voice came on, like something clicked out of his eyes, and he stopped chasing me. He went back into the house. And I was just frozen. The police show up and they take me outside. One officer takes me outside and other officers stays with him. And then before I know he’s in handcuffs, they they’re arresting him. What have I done? What have I done? What have I done right?


X Mayo  43:31

It took Desiree hours to calm down. On one hand, she was relieved on the other. She was terrified that she just made everything worse. It was full on sensory overload. She remember speaking with the victim’s advocate in the aftermath. And it was her words that eventually grounded her.


Desiree  43:53

And she said, all I’ve heard you say is how you want to go down to the jail and bail about it beg for his forgiveness and say you’re sorry. Do you think that that is what he’s thinking about you?


X Mayo  44:09

Hey, wow. Oh, that we can apply that to everything?


Desiree  44:16

Yes, ma’am. I didn’t file for divorce because I stopped loving him. I filed for divorce because I needed him to stop hurting me. I love that man. I’m learning though, who I loved didn’t exactly didn’t exist. I’ve learned that I’ve, I’ve learned how to love myself with the same aptitude and magnitude that I gave this person who didn’t really exist. And I thought I don’t know what’s on the other side. And I’m terrified because most women 51% of us get divorced and poverty is waiting for you on the other side. And I thought I don’t know what it’s going to mean. But I know at this point that my Peace is is if I don’t put my peace first if I don’t fight for my peace I will die.


X Mayo  45:10

Desiree filed for divorce in May of 2020 to the day of her soon to be ex husbands arrest. As for him, I’m pissed to report that he got out of jail so quickly after getting arrested. And once he was out, he went to the board of the company that he and Desiree had built and got her fired. And then he found a new job, but what she earns in a whopping six figure salary, even after being charged with assault. Yep, that’s the asshole update. But more importantly, Desiree is on her way toward making their divorce official. It’s already been a long and pricey Road, divorcing assholes is much more expensive than divorce in normal people, y’all there’s more fighting, which means more time spent with lawyers, which means more invoices, yada yada, yada, she’ll likely lose her house and have to find a new home for herself and her six kids, let’s remember the math equation, okay, three of them was his, you don’t bring three kids from your family into our marriage, when you leave that you got to take them with you period. But she’s staying remarkably focused with the support of her community and her loving kids. We spoke with her a day before she headed into mediation.


Desiree  46:33

I’m in Texas, and tomorrow, I go into what’s called a final divorce mediation. So I’ll sit in a room with my lawyer, and my ex will be down the hall with his lawyer and the mediator will go back and forth. So we so when you go to mediation, you will not see your ex. So if there was abuse or violence or just in general, like, you know, it makes you nervous to be around them know that in mediation, you won’t actually see them. So I sat down, and one thing that I did was I reached out into my network to other divorce moms. And I got their their feedback, I put a spreadsheet together. And I asked the questions, right? How much did it cost? What would you have changed? If you’d done it differently? What’s working? What’s not working? What was your custody arrangement? What special arrangements did you go for? Was there abuse? Was there, you know, cruelty was there adultery, just to kind of gauge others experiences, right to kind of prepare myself. And then what I did was I put together a document over the course of multiple weeks of every in any issue. I came in with my first offer, second, third, and then my choke point, or vomit point or no go zone. Right? It’s that zone of No, if if if we get here and we can’t settle, then I’m gonna walk right. And I think that’s really powerful to know is that you have walking power. And I read this book, negotiate like you matter by Rebecca Zang. She’s actually she is a lawyer who specializes in divorcing narcissists. So I’ve read her book three times now. And she has a lot of great exercises in there to help you learn this process, like how do you make your first offer? How do you come off, like you matter, bring your value to the table, how your body language matters, and gives you permission to walk away. You have to educate them. And unfortunately, we just live in a world that doesn’t value motherhood, it doesn’t value wife hood, it doesn’t value the operations necessary to run a household, whether you have kids, pets, just a husband, whatever, right? There’s keeping the lights on is a big job. It’s a big job. And we don’t value it in our society. So you have to bring that value to the table. So that manifestation on my vision board, you know, it was, this is what I need to remind myself that I have worth and I have value and I also need to quantify it. So that when I get asked that question, I have an answer that reads the language that they’re expecting. I just have to say like for me as a woman in my 40s Hearing this younger generation coming in and doing this in their 20s and saying No, sir, I get so inspired, listening to young women who are not committed to being people pleasers who know that it’s better to be alone without a partner than to be with a partner and be alone and be abused. And I just I tip my hat to all of you who have made that decision for yourself. I didn’t know what I didn’t know at 23. And you’re all just, I just admire it so much. And it gives me hope for my baby girls.


X Mayo  50:19

Oh, yeah, you know, they’re gonna be 11 years old, and they’re gonna be like, Excuse me, I asked for red groceries, you gave me blue. You don’t respect my boundaries, goodbye. I’m gonna be single, forever. A million dollars. Absolutely. It’s true. Women are getting married later these days, I think we realized that the jig is up. Okay, I think it’s just kind of like, I’m actually good. I got my friends, you’ve got your vibrator. Life is good, you know, and allows us more time to build a career and rolling the money period. But as of 2017, your husband still make on average 69% more money than their wives. Though this is down from the 80s, when a whopping 87% of husbands made more than their wives, it’s still not ideal. And that brings us back to Desiree, she got married young, and the majority of unpaid work in their household fell on her, which left her less time for financial success. And now she’s picking up the pieces. She’s envisioning what her family’s life will look like with her as a single mom. And that means prioritizing what’s truly important.


Desiree  51:33

I worked for 40 years to build a beautiful life in a very affluent area, to raise my children, that to me, that was the goal, right? That was part of what defined our value and our worth was being able to provide for them a life that you know, was the quintessential white picket fence, high quality schools, blah, blah, blah, right? I have had to do so much internal deconstruction, of what I see worth and value in for myself. Because the realization is, I can’t afford this life by myself. So the next step for me and my babies is moving away from this lifestyle. And learning how to rebuild and and start fresh somewhere else. And so how that’s made me look at my money, is realize that our worth and our value is not defined by our title, our salaries, our bank accounts. Right? What I have seen through this process is what my babies really value are things like honesty, integrity, follow through. Yeah, my 10 year old wants to new Air Jordans. He wants that, right. But what he really wants is a mother who has empathy is a mother who can laugh with him, and have fun with him and eat popcorn and watch a movie with him. Right. And what I realized is that even though my intentions were of the very best, I wanted the best for my children. as shitty as all of this is really excited for the life that I’m gonna build for them on this new value system, because my wealth is them.


X Mayo  53:47

Loved ones are like mirrors, they have the power to reflect how we see ourselves in our worth. When abusers sneak into our lives, they’ll show us a warped image of ourselves, make us think we are less than or too much. And they’ll do it through their words, actions. And yes, money moves, anything to control us. Now, you might look at Desiree story with all its twists and turns and think that is a wild child X. That can never happen to me. But zoom in and look at the pieces of it. Well, we all grow up work, meet people who change our values, meet people who take advantage of us, and the story goes on and on and on. I don’t say this to threaten. You know, I say this, to say that financial abuse can look like many things from hidden bank accounts to Little White Lies. And according to Desiree, the best way to avoid it is to always save some control for yourself. open a bank account that no one else can access. Get a job and your own income stream to honey making your own money is undefeated. did hide some cash in a special place that only you know have set aside not everything, but something that’s yours and only yours because baby, you’re worth it I want to say thank you so much to Desiree for sharing her story with us. If you or anyone you know needs help with an abusive relationship or any abusive situation, give the National Domestic Violence Hotline a call at 800-799-7233 or get in touch by texting smart to 88788 there are folks to talk to 24/7 eager to help us get to the other side of these harmful situations and once you get to the other side Bay be it’s a whole new world out there. A new fantastic point of view like Aladdin said, Okay, starting fresh is no joke though. Next week on the dough or look into the money situation of weightiness after divorce.


Speaker 3  56:07

Definitely do a full inventory of your financial situation. And be aware and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether it be just support and going through that money and know that your community loves you and you are deserving of support.


CREDITS  56:21

And we’ll talk about all the unlikely resources you can pull from like how to start a divorce registry on GRE I never heard of it either. So I gotta see you there back. There is more of THE DOUGH with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access, yes girl, to bonus content like how to own being a broke bridesmaid I mean need to punch that. Subscribe now in Apple podcast. The Dough is a Lemonada Original. I’m your host X Mayo. This series was created in partnership with Flourish Ventures. This episode was produced by Kristen Lepore and Becca De Gregorio. Tony Williams is our associate producer. Mix and sound designed by Ivan Kuraev. With additional mixing and engineering from Andí Kristinsdóttir. Original Music by Pat Mesiti-Miller. Kelsey Henderson is our production intern. Additional production help from Jerusalem Truth, Claire Jones, and Hoja Lopez. Jackie Danziger is our Vice President of narrative content. Executive Producers include me X Mayo, Stephanie Littels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating five stars, and writing a review. You can follow me on IG at @$80inasuitcase and Lemonada at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, not including MySpace. Follow the dough wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership. Thanks so much for listening. See you next week. Bye.


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