I Did It. I Finally Did It.

Dumbo Elephant Mural
Dumbo Elephant Mural (Photo credit: sameffron)

It may seem as though I have slain all of the demons from my past. I can look at pictures without tears. I’m no longer fueled by anger. I have let myself find forgiveness. I have learned how to trust again and I have found love.

But there has been one huge elephant of a demon that I’ve been afraid to face. One I have been avoiding, tiptoeing around its bulk so as not to disturb it. I’ve been good about pretending it isn’t there. That it doesn’t matter. And for a time, it didn’t matter. But that time is over.

Last night, I did it. I faced that final demon head on.

And I survived.

It wasn’t as bad as I feared it may be (it never is, is it?) yet facing it didn’t bleed it of all its power. But at least I know now what I am dealing with and I can feel good about not hiding from it.

I did it. I finally did it.

I checked my credit score.

I used to have perfect credit. I was anal about making payments on time. I had large credit limits yet low levels of debt. I found security in my number. Perhaps I even looked at that number as validation. I must be a good person, I can get a good interest rate.

Apparently, that number was too much for my ex to resist. In the last couple (I think?) years of the marriage, he used my credit. He used my honesty to fund his lies.

When all of this came out within days of the text, I felt huge amounts of shame. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know he was embezzling from the marriage (I counted on fraud alert, but it doesn’t protect you from spouses). I was horrified to receive threatening letters from creditors in my name (he was no longer around to intercept the mail). I was furious with him. I felt violated and used. Dirty. I wanted to wash myself of his sins.

I couldn’t face the enormity of it. I had my dad check my credit, looking for what accounts my ex had used in my name. I didn’t want to know numbers, only names.

In the divorce, most of debt was his responsibility, although he never fulfilled his end of the bargain, thus leading to a foreclosure in my name. A parting gift, perhaps? The few accounts in my name where mine to deal with.

For the last almost four years, I have been dealing with them.

Clean Up, Aisle 5

An Open Letter to the IRS

This is a Test of the Emergency Rant System

Practicing What I Preach

I paid the IRS and then received a refund once I was granted innocent spouse relief. I paid off one credit line. And I’m working on the last (the most horrific, both in scale and in emotion, because some of it was used to fund his pre-honeymoon with his other wife).

My cautious nature with money means that bills are again being paid on time. I’ve been able to begin to reestablish myself as a credit worthy individual. But I still couldn’t look at the number.

I saw it like a scarlet mark of shame, quantifying my misplaced trust and stupidity.

It’s also the only factor from my past that doesn’t only exist in the past. It still has the capacity to cause harm, to derail my future as surely as  my marriage.

But now I’ve faced that elephantine demon, sized it up. The starvation diet has been working; I’m sure its bulk has been reduced since it appeared. I now know the demon I am working with and I can move forward with the rest of my life.

I did it. I finally did it.

It’s Not Fraud If You’re Married

Marital Fraud: Questions Answered

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11 thoughts on “I Did It. I Finally Did It.

  1. Lisa, I too have had an anal approach to my credit since my late teens. My husband has not had that approach. Since I was the one with the better credit score (even during the 15 years I stayed home and brought in no money) all of our current credit cards/debt is in my name. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Although it is considered marital debt in my state, it is all still in my name. Even if he is ordered to pay his portion, it is all still in my name. When he defaults (and I know he will), it is all in my name. I’m sure I’ll have to go bankrupt just to survive. I feel like that is just as much a violation as the cheating and lying. I understand the scarlet letter reference…I’m glad, that in this too you can offer hope. Four years doesn’t sound as long as I had expected. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It is yet another form of betrayal. At the almost four year point, it’s not done (another year + of payments and time for the foreclosure to disappear), but the end is in sight. One thing we can find comfort in is that we have the know-how and the fidelity to imrpove our situations in time. Good luck!

  2. While I never wish ill will on anyone, it is somewhat a relief that I was not the only one that had a husband that abused the trust of marriage by secretly using my credit to fulfill his “other life”. In my divorce there was no community property, only his debt of which I was forced to take some of. In the four and years since my divorce was final I have worked diligently to pay the debt assigned to me. He on the other hand has paid nothing (and refuses to ever pay any of it). Because he had opened lines of credit in my name even though the divorce decree assigned the debt as his fiduciary responsibility I am ultimately responsible. I made a very difficult choice not to pay the debts (for a plethora of reasons) and will have many years of financial difficulties because of it. Bottom line it would have taken me more years to pay the debt off than to let it ride out and dissipate now that I have been able to start showing good payment on the credit cards I was able to salvage.
    I am still working thru trust issues, but I am in control of my life, my finances, and my destiny. Each one of us will be better stronger wimmin for what we have endured. I wish you all better lives post divorce!!!!!!!!

  3. Oh, I can relate. Checking my numbers is the most dreaded part of the month. When I have to line up the bills, and see what came in, what is already gone and what has to go, It is not about budgeting what is left, it is about hoping the bank will still allow the payments even though there is no money left, no money left in the overdraft…. and it goes on…
    I used to have a clear account, I used to have savings… Now, I have debts, and debts lead to debts… I am working towards balancing all of this, but there is always a nasty surprise to mess up all my plans. I can’t wait until things get better and the pressure of numbers is off my back.
    Well done to you, and thank you for sharing.

  4. Congratulations on wrestling that beast to the ground! I was also left with a lot of debt and it at first felt like a completely daunting, impossible task. I, too, am still working at it but almost feel like it’s worth it in order to have him out of my life.

  5. Horrible isn’t it that so many of us exist. My ex was in charge of the mortgage and I trusted him to sign the applications when we wanted a better rate. I thought as he is a pilot, his track cars and days were possible within his income. But now we are in the middle of our divorce I’ve found that we have practically no equity left in the house because he was siphoning off money to fund his hobbies. In comparison to most of you, thankfully, I have no been left with debts. But as my ex insists on going to court to resolve if he is going to pay spousal maintenance, that money will disappear. All the more frustrating as I put 1/3 of the value of our first house in as a deposit. Looking back I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy my own house & get him to pay rent to me. But when you trust someone and want to build a future with them you don’t think of these things do you?
    And fear of the letterbox, bank statements, solicitors letters which might contain invoices – i can completely relate there.
    But I am happier without him. No question.

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