Read Chapter 11 “New Year, New Me”
Jan 22nd, 2019
Well, what can I say? My big scary meetings didn’t go that well for me at all. I don’t know what I expected. But all the details of Jim’s financial mismanagement were so farfetched from what I anticipated that even the lawyer asked me where I was hiding for all those years. To answer his very subtle question, I was looking after my kids while playing the role of a loving mother and supportive wife. I took that role upon myself after I lost my working woman’s identity.
The bank manager didn’t have much better news for me than the lawyer, regarding Jim’s/mine debts. Even though I’m not financially involved in his business, I will still have to fork off thousands and thousands of pounds for unpaid credit cards bills and at least a dozen personal loans Jim took.
In reality, Jim’s “successful” company was never that successful, and he never was earning as much money as he bragged he was. For years, he operated under the profit margin. The most amusing part was that he filed for bankruptcy when we were still together, without telling me anything. According to my bank manager, it was my well-paid full-time job that allowed Jim to take business loans. However, when I left my job, we started living on borrowed money and borrowed time.
The lawyer said that I would have to pay the credit cards off since most of them were in my name. Once again, I thought that Jim was taking care of our credit cards. But for the past year, he only made minimum payments, while applying for a larger credit allowance or moving the money around from one credit card to another.
I never checked my bank account, I fully trusted him. He had unlimited access to my account and could apply for personal loans, personal credit cards, and even for higher limits on my existing credit cards.
Everything is done online, nowadays so he could have applied for whatever he wanted on my behalf.
Even though I had my meetings in the morning and it’s well after 10.00 pm, I’m still struggling to understand why and how I didn’t see what he was up to. I wonder what made me so detached from the reality of our financial and family life? Is it possible that wanting to be a “perfect” wife and a “perfect” mother for the outside world, I lost the sight of my day-to-day reality?
If any young woman is reading this blog, please think twice and think hard before you give any man in your life total control over your finances. If you are a working woman, you need your own bank account that only you can access regardless of how much you think you love your partner. Money gives independence, which allows you to make your own decisions and choices.
Luckily, the house was bought in my name only (he wasn’t earning much back then and having just my name on the mortgage was easier), and he couldn’t re-mortgage the property without me signing tones of documents. All the mortgage payments have been made on time but not by Jim, only by my parents. Why and how? I need to get to the bottom of this and find out what they know and why none of them said anything to me.
The house won’t be repossessed. I guess the car will go, but I won’t be financially eligible to pay off Jim’s company’s debts.
I can handle the credit card debts. I can always sell the house and buy something smaller, but when the lawyer said that Jim hasn’t paid for the school in over a year, I was horrified. The shame attached to not paying for the school, while living such a lavish, middle-class life is fucking petrifying. I would judge any family that didn’t pay the school fees but at the same time spend thousands on Christmas getaways. I know the school community will judge me even more than they judging me already.
The meetings left me drained and sad; just the sinking realization that so much of my life with Jim was merely a lie. For now, I know that going back to that free-spending middle-class lifestyle, which wasn’t even real, will be impossible, at least not for a very, very long time.
The first thing I did after walking through my front door was to make myself double gin and tonic, which I finished in one go. In none of my 5-year and 10-year plans, I thought I would have to start all over at the ripe age of 40 with two kids, piles of debts and a pending divorce.
I’m happy I signed up for the financial workshop in the library. I have high hopes that… something… some answers, ideas and solution will come up.
PS. I’m filing for divorce as soon as I have the energy to deal with it.
PS.2. I won’t give up and give in; it’s New Year, and New Me. The New Me doesn’t despair and give up easily.