Let me first start this post by saying that this is completely my opinion on divorce. All divorces are different. This post is about the things I experienced through the process of filing and ultimately getting a divorce.
Everyone knows and says ‘divorce is hard’. I completely agree. My parents were divorced by the time I was 4. I have no knowledge of them being together. When I fell in love, right out of high school, I knew that I was going to get married and have babies. The sooner the better. I didn’t go to college, I didn’t have a career, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. This was long before I started my photography business and I ended up getting dead end jobs and then quitting because I knew I was worth more than what I was offered. I would also love to say that I had a super sweet proposal with a white horse, flowers and glitter but it didn’t happen that way. Not even close. Six months after we started dating, He (I’m just going to call him He) moved into the house that I had with my sister. Not going to sugar coat anything about this or pretend like it was some elegant place. It was a trailer. My dad bought it when he and my mom were together. He did some work to it, as much work as you can do to a single wide trailed that was originally purchased in the 70’s. I can’t tell you how many times it was moved. It even caught fire, which is how my dad ended up buying it in the first place. Anyway, without a judgment in the world, He moved in with my sister and I. Because the trailer was on my families farm, we didn’t have rent to pay or any other bills. My grandfather paid the electric bill because everything on the farm was tied into the same bill. We had little expenses.
We lived there for 4 years and every few weeks I would pester him about looking for a house. He had been working full time and had been saving all of his money. I begged and pleaded. I knew we would end up getting married so why wait on buying a house? We had a small budget to work with but in January 2010 we started our journey of house hunting. I was ecstatic. Something I could finally call my own! We toured many houses in our price range. Most of them needed work but after months of searching, we found one that I had to have. After lots of negotiating with the sellers, the house was ours. In March of 2010, I sat him down and told him that although it wasn’t much, this trailer was my home. It was the place I lived the longest (At the time I had lived there for 7 years. I asked that we please get married. More like I demanded we get married. I wasn’t leaving this place to move in with a boyfriend and then be responsible for moving out if things didn’t work. I told him we would go to the mall and I would pick out a ring. There wasn’t any delay on getting married. I didn’t do it for the ring. I did it because I wanted the security, the promise. Against his will, he agreed and we ended up at the mall on a Friday night for me to pick out a ring. Of course I did, I tried on a bunch and finally settled on one. I left the mall that night, engaged. I guess it’s still considered engaged? He didn’t get down on one knee, he didn’t ask me to marry him. It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows like most girls get. But I was okay with that.
Instantly, I started planning our wedding. So during 2010, we searched for a house, found a house, got ‘engaged’, settled on a house, moved into a house, planned a wedding and got married. All in the same year. That was by far, my best year. I was so in love. I wanted nothing more than to marry him and I thought he felt the same. September 25, 2010, I walked down the aisle to see my groom. He didn’t cry. He looked bored. He just wanted the beer that was in the trunk of the limo. I wasn’t going to let that take away from my day. We had an amazing reception. It was fun and included lots of good food, dancing and probably too much booze.
As the next year rolled around, I was still so happy and in love. I was grateful for everything he had given me. Eventually, I was able to quit my nanny job to go full time with my photography. I wasn’t making much money but his check was enough to take care of the bills in the house. Often, I would write him notes thanking him for the life he had given me. Every night, without fail, I cooked him dinner. Every day, I cleaned the house and took care of the dogs. I did his laundry. I mowed the grass. I did the grocery shopping. I took out the trash. If the dishwasher broke, I was taking it apart late at night because I didn’t want him to have to worry about getting it fixed. I didn’t want to stress him out. He worked too much to be stressed out.
The topic of kids came up often but never in a serious manner. After 3 years of this same lifestyle, I started to feel distant from him. I didn’t feel loved. I felt like I was a damn good wife and I had a roommate for a husband. I didn’t get little notes but instead was the one leaving him little notes thanking him. The only attention I got from him was when he went through our bank account every morning before work. He’d ask me why I spent $104.03 at Walmart, groceries can’t be that expensive. He had no idea. He had no idea that I was taking care of him. I was taking care of him like every wife should take care of her husband if the wife had the privilege of staying home and running a business.
Two more years went by that I felt distant from him. I had multiple conversations with him about what I needed from him to make this work. I left the conversation open for him to let me know what he needed from me too. I knew I wasn’t perfect. I probably did spend too much at TJ Maxx every month but other than my spending, he didn’t have anything to complain about. Last year, 2015, He told me I needed to find a part time job. He didn’t want to work as much as he was. Without hesitation, I started applying for jobs. I was hired at New England Motor Freight. It was a second shift position and I was required to go in at 5 and the hours varied. Sometimes, I wasn’t home until 2am. But I did it. I woke up and did my photography and editing work, I cooked him dinner, made his plate and I went to work. When his hours at work didn’t change and he worked as much as he used to, I became resentful of him. Not only was I working again, technically 3 jobs, I was taking care of the house and him. If I thought two years prior, that I didn’t feel loved, I felt even more unloved during last summer. I fell out of love with my husband. At that point, I didn’t even want to be in love with him. I wanted to be out on my own and do me. I wanted to be independent. I was done taking care of everyone. I needed to do things that made ME happy. That was a big step.
I started by moving to my grandmothers for a few weeks. He texted daily and asked if I would come home. During those few weeks, he definitely tried to make it up to me but it was too late. It was too far gone. I wasn’t in the marriage and my heart certainly wasn’t in the marriage. I wanted out. I needed out. I knew it would break his heart. I knew he wanted me to come back. I knew he would do anything he had to to make it work. I didn’t go back. I went back to pack up my stuff. I told him I wanted a divorce. Between cries on both sides, we went to the bank to immediately have my name taken off the bank account. I started my own account with $100. I spent 2 days packing my stuff while he was at work. I was happy to have finally told him that I didn’t want to stay married but I was sad to leave my home. The place that I never took for granted. After those 2 days, he changed the locks and told me I couldn’t come get anything else.
Together, he and I went to the lawyer and I filed the paperwork. He signed the papers as soon as he got them. He came to my grandmother’s one night and took my car. It was it both of our names but I ended up signing a paper stating I didn’t want any parts of it. I didn’t want to fight with him. I knew I was breaking his heart by leaving. I didn’t want his life to be torn apart anymore than it already had been. I left all of my kitchen stuff there for him. Things I loved. Things that were given to me from my grandmother. I left every single towel and washcloth, pot and pan, dish and spoon.
I didn’t ask for anything in the divorce. My lawyer had not made anything clear to me. He didn’t tell me what I had a right to have. He didn’t tell me I could have gotten alimony. He didn’t tell me that I should have had half of everything in the house. I didn’t want to drag out the process anymore than I had already. I guess I was naive. I didn’t listen to anyones advice. I didn’t get anything in my divorce – because I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t fight for it. I didn’t look out for ME, the reason why I left in the first place.
So here I sit, sitting in a rental property i’ve had for a few months with Hallie. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. We get along great, the house is beautiful but, I am broke. I am lonely. I miss my old house more than words can say. I miss my dishes. I miss my pots and pans. I miss my good sheets. I miss my cute little garden and my cozy front porch. Would I go back if I had the chance? Absolutely not. The struggle of being on my own and being broke is worth way more than taking care of someone and being lonely in a different way.
Here is my advice to any woman out there thinking about a divorce.
- GET A GOOD LAWYER.
I would 100% have hired a different lawyer if I could go back. He didn’t tell me how it all worked, he didn’t fight for me. He didn’t give me the knowledge that I should have had. Get a lawyer, a good one. Invest that chunk of money because you deserve much more than you think. I was left worse off than when he met me. I had a house, albeit a crappy one, and a car. I was literally left with nothing. Do your research. Know what you guys have and what you have together.
2. FINACIALLY BE PREPARED.
If you were the one raking in the dough, good for you, sister! I wish I had been to. Absolutely start a separate account a throw a little money into it now and then. You’ll need it. Especially if you’re too nice like me. If you are someone who takes care of other’s before yourself.
3. IT’S HARD
It is absolutely hard. Even though I was the one that wanted it. Even though I was the one that left. The guilt will eat you alive. You will daily question your decision. ‘What if’s’ will becoming too familiar.
4. ASSUME HE’S THE WORLDS BIGGEST ASSHOLE.
In a million years I never would have guessed that my husband would have treated me the way he did through the process. I have nothing bad to say about him except that he knew he was getting a good deal by me leaving the way I did and instead of answering emails and returning things he knew meant a lot to me, he ignored and still ignores everything to this day.
5. FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU DESERVE.
Guess what, if he was the bread winner, you deserve alimony. If you had kids, you deserve child support. If you spent any amount of time taking care of this man that you once loved, you deserve half. Trust me, I deserve half of whatever we had together. Do not stop until you get what is yours. You need to look out for you now. No one else will.
I will end by saying that if you are still in love with your partner – try. If you have kids with this person – try. A marriage is something so special. It doesn’t deserve to be thrown away at the drop of the hat but know what your worth. Know how you deserve to be treated. I think a woman should feel as though she’s her husbands moon and stars. He should adore her. He should provide for her. He should take care of her. And she should do the same in return. It’s okay to want a better life for yourself. It’s okay to want a better life for your kids. It’s okay to get a divorce. Let me say that again in case someone out there reads this and needs to hear it – It’s okay to get a divorce.
I know this was all a little personal but I wish I had read something like this during my process. Someone to relate to. Someone to give me advice. Someone to tell me like it was, no sugar coated, no technical words.