"Money can make or break a relationship…"..A true story from a reader

In response to my post about Paying more than your fair share a lovely regular reader of my blog wrote this thoughtful, heartfelt response.

I’ve asked her permission to print it in its entirety, but she wishes to remain Anonymous, which I will respect.

It’s both inspirational and heartbreaking at the same time.

Without further ado…

“Money can make or break a relationship. I speak from experience on that one as it is a factor in my impending divorce. When I got married I had just been laid off from a job that I loved. I was sending out resumes and going on interviews and as a back-up plan I was ready to start temping. My fiance then got fired from him job. I didn’t freak out too badly. I had this us against the world feeling. I was so sure we would both bounce back quickly. WRONG.

I got a job after only one month. I was overqualified and underpaid…but it was a job with benefits and a chance to advance. My husband took to the bed/couch. I was able to speak to one of my friends who worked as a Manager at a restaurant and got him a job cleaning. On more than one occasion he failed to show up for work and I left my job and went home to get him and ultimately ended up helping him clean (so I was working two jobs without being paid for both). Cleaning a restaurant is grueling work. But I wanted to show my support to him.

Eventually, he was fired from that job. Then I got a promotion. By that time, I was handling all bills and expenses. I didn’t mind because he was going through a tough time. My expectation was that he would help out at home more (sweat equity is what my Mom calls it). But that didn’t happen either….I had an hour commute one way to work and when I got home nothing was done and I was expected to make a full dinner AND clean the kitchen.

I started getting harassing calls at the office….from his creditors. They were threatening me. I kept telling them that the debt was incurred before we got married and I was not responsible for it (California is a community property state). I couldn’t take it anymore. I called an attorney and discussed the option of my husband filing bankruptcy. I paid about $1200 for him to file bankruptcy. It didn’t affect me financially…whew.

He finally got a job. I was thrilled. But that didn’t last long because he started drinking and not showing up and just didn’t care. It was the hardest thing for me to see because I have a very strong work ethic. Then he started lying and stealing money out of my purse while I slept. At one point, I had a $1000 check coming from the insurance company for a car that someone totaled. I was going to use that to pay bills. He stole it from the mailbox and cashed it. He told me it was for a friend who needed money. I contacted that friend and said I was glad we could help out but could we discuss a repayment plan. His friend was uncomfortable and I knew then that my husband had lied. He finally admitted that he had gone to a casino because he just needed to have a night out and have fun. Geez, a fun night out for me is usually no more than $80…AND I HAD A JOB.

He got fired again and started drinking more. He totaled my new car. Insurance didn’t cover the whole thing and I had to pay for a car that was no longer. I began to hide my purse at night. He lied and lied. I kept trying to make it work. I finally offered to take him to rehab. He went and was kicked out after five days for drinking in rehab. I was beyond pissed. I was DONE.

I just finished paying off the totaled car. I am almost done paying off his rehab bill and just paid another hospital bill that was incurred in June of this year. He is sober and working….but I AM STILL DONE.

I filed for divorce on July 2, 2008. I filed what is called a summary dissolution of marriage. Basically, we both agree to certain terms, a property settlement and neither one asks for spousal support. He signed it. I was so scared that I would have to pay him spousal support. Now, let me say here that I would have had no problem paying spousal support if he had been a stay at home Dad or helped put me through school. By then I had received my third promotion at work and was making six figures.

I am still paying all of the bills….for a few more weeks. He took his car in to the shop in April and had $6k worth of work done…with no way to pay for it. He borrowed money from a friend and every paycheck has been going to pay the friend back. He will have paid him back by mid September.

I agreed to continue living here and supporting us both until the end of the year. I file the final divorce document on January 3, 2009 (which happens to be my 40th bday). He still doesn’t contribute much to the household in the way of sweat equity.

So why did I share this with you? Because money can really cause a rift between people. But, in my case it was also his alcohol problem that ruined our relationship. Through all of the trials and tribulations I have learned what I will and will not accept from a partner (and that is the key word..partner). No matter who makes more it has to be a partnership…not a sole proprietorship.

The good news is that I am on back on track financially. I have paid off all of my credit cards and the wrecked car. I only have a student loan, a loan to my parents and my current car loan. I am now able to put money away to buy a house.

That is probably more than you ever wanted to know, right? I used to resent him and the fact that I felt like I had been taken advantage of. Now, I have forgiven him and am ready to move on with the next stage of my life which I am sure is going to be FABULOUS.”

I’m POSITIVE it will be. Thanks for letting me post this. I hope the story inspires other women to assess their own situation and/or take action if they have been dawdling.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.