I hate being poor. Let me start this by saying that.
I like pretty houses and nice handbags and routine trips to Sephora. I like being able to go out for dinner when I’m too tired to cook. I like shopping for shoes every season and not having to worry about how I’m going to afford Christmas presents, or heaven forbid, dental work.
Now I sweat when my gas light comes on.
Seriously, I sweat. It ain’t pretty.
Stanley and I weren’t wealthy, but we were a two-professional household sort of comfortable. We had a nice home and paid our bills with enough left over to buy extras and have one beach vacation every summer. Now, I sweat my bills several times a month and there is absolutely no money for extras.
That is the price of my freedom.
I’m sweaty and there are few extras.
For Al, the price of freedom was very high. He wanted out of his marriage so badly that he paid much more than the law would have required. His ex-wife is the only divorced woman I know (not in the 1%) that doesn’t have to worry about a roof over her head. And I resent her for that. He agreed to pay her mortgage for the length of time that he had a child living at home. At that time, his youngest was 12 and all 3 lived at home. At this time, he has only his youngest left there but he pays just as much as he did before. This will continue for another 2.5 years until she goes to college. He also assumed all of the marital debt. In addition, he pays for 50% of all 3 of his children’s expenses (not cheap, they are in college and private school). His ex is also the only divorced woman I know who has taken several vacations this year including a cruise. I mean it isn’t like she lives on easy street now or anything… If she charges something now, she has to
“p..p.p.pay for it” herself, bless her heart.
Some would say kuddos to her for a job well done.
He says it is worth every penny it cost him to be free.
See, I didn’t realize at the time that there was a financial benefit to being a cold hard bitch. I certainly could have made Stanley hate me enough to pay up to be rid of me. Instead, I worked hard to be happy, in spite of him, and swallowed my resentment until finally I had had enough and I wanted out. Or I should say, I wanted him to work on it. He said he would rather get divorced than work on it,
Because, yes, he is that lazy.
So, we had a mutually bend-over-and-grab-your-ankles divorce.
Neither one of us took the hit, we both did.
I have a friend who asked yesterday, “What do you do when your husband says he hates you?” Backstory: He is a mentally ill abuser and he has been for many years. She has 4 girls and hasn’t left him yet, for financial reasons. I wanted to ask her this question: Do you want my clinical advice or my personal advice? My clinical opinion is she needs a safety plan TODAY and to find her power and leave him, immediately. She should show her daughters that women don’t stay with abusers because her girls are absorbing every crumb of what they witness and are likely to become victims themselves. Of course there is the chance that maybe one out of the four will go all vigilante and shoot some man between the eyes for being an asshole. Personally, I would like to ask her this, the question every person considering divorce ponders;
What is your financial security worth to you?
Is it worth physical or emotional abuse?
Is it worth a chaotic unstable home for your children?
Is it worth living a lie that you are the perfect family?
Is it worth choking back years of resentment and unhappiness?
Is it worth your personal fulfillment and dignity?
I don’t know that answer. No one can answer that for another person.
I know that it was easier for me to make that choice than it is for some women. I had an education and I had always worked outside of the home; (Aside: some would feel sorry for me that I had not had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom. Well, I could have. But I was a happier mother working. End of aside). Therefore, when I was considering divorce, I knew I wouldn’t starve. I wasn’t afraid that I couldn’t take care of myself and I knew that he would have to help provide for the kids. But yes, I miss the extras. I miss them all the time.
But I will say that of all the divorced moms out there that I know, not one has starved to death yet, or ended up living under a freeway in box. Al says that post divorce money shit looks like this:
Turmoil. Stabilize. Move Forward Again.
I will say this though… Not having to dread him coming home from work?