Putting It All Behind Me

You know those times when you don’t realize you’re holding your breath until you finally get a deep lungful of air?

Well, apparently I haven’t been breathing for the past 6 years. Or actually for the past 6 years and 5 days, to be exact.

And I didn’t even realize it until today. Or more specifically, when I received the word that not only did I qualify for the car loan, I qualified for the lowest interest rate.

I can’t even begin to explain the relief that gives me.

Not only does a new (and hopefully more trustworthy car) give me freedom, the loan is a sign that I can finally put the financial betrayal behind me.

I’ve always said that the financial betrayal was the worst. It’s the one that refuses to disappear. That tails behind me as stubborn and persistent as a hungry toddler. Only much, much more nefarious.

I have been reminded of it every time I’ve had to make payments on debts he incurred (for things like HIS honeymoon). It’s been thrown in my face with letters and phone calls from collections, threatening me because of his lies. And it’s held me back as I’ve worked to improve my credit score.

It’s been a load of shame on my back for the past 6 years.

I’ve felt embarrassed every time my financial situation has to be exposed. I instinctively pull out my divorce decree, ready to defend myself against the stains still on my record. I’m not sure what’s worse – the feeling that others might think I was responsible for the debt or the knowledge that I was a chump, blindly ignorant to my ex’s machinations.

I’ve been uncomfortable with my car – easily the oldest in the parking lot at work and probably also the senior in my neighborhood – for a few years. I don’t like to let people into the vehicle, where the orange foam spilling out of the cracked seats will tickle their sides. I like to arrive to the location where I will meet a new person before them, so that I am not associated with the rapidly aging vehicle. Because even though I’m not one to give much credence to appearances, I know that others are judging me by my ride.

It’s been a flame of anger for the past 6 years.

It’s not fair. It’s not fair that he stole my money and my credit and escaped unharmed as far as I know. It’s not fair that all of the careful planning and saving that I did was wiped out for his impulsive and deceptive actions. It’s not fair that he was granted the newer and more valuable car (that was almost paid off) by the courts and I received the ten year old model.

I’m angry at myself. For believing what my ex told me and not looking for myself. For trusting that he cared as much about my financial well-being as he did his own. For being stupid and gullible and naive.

And I’m reminded of this anger every time I grow frustrated with my car or see his impact still imprinted on my credit. I’ve had to very intentional and generous with gratitude to counteract the scalding impact of his actions. And that’s not fair either.

It’s been a cloak of fear around my heart for the past 6 years.

In the beginning, I couldn’t even bear to see the extent of the damage. I narrowed my eyes when I looked at account balances, blurring the total as though that would somehow soften its effect. I had my dad examine my credit report after promising that he would not reveal the actual score to me. I was afraid to face the evidence that he had been whittling away at my well-being for years.

Every trip to the mailbox and every unknown number on my phone caused my pulse to rise as I braced for news of another account or threats on a known one. Even as parceled out paychecks to pay down the debt, I was petrified that another would surface and my careful accounting wouldn’t be enough to save me.

I finally faced my credit score for the first time since the life implosion two years ago. Ever since, I obsessively check Credit Karma every day. And I’ve watched the number rise as my identity is slowly replacing that of my ex on the accounts.

But I haven’t really trusted the number. It felt fake, somehow.

And so, when I nervously entered my information on the credit application for the car, I was sure that I would be declined. Or at least offered some sub par rate. And when the phone rang mere moments after I hit “submit,” I saw it as verification that my fears were founded.

“Everything looks good,” I heard faintly, as though it was coming through a tunnel.

It was only after I hung up that I realized I had collapsed onto the floor, relief buckling my knees beneath me.

Because it’s about way more than the money. Or the car.

I can finally feel like this is all behind me. Like I am no longer held back or limited by any of what happened.

And for the first time in 6 years and 5 days, I can finally breath freely.

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21 thoughts on “Putting It All Behind Me

  1. I have to say that I can only too well relate to those feelings. I sit in the middle of an active proceeding, forced into chapter 11 bankruptcy because despite print on paper not lying time have my strang I have to say that I can only too well relate to those feelings. I sit in the middle of an active proceeding, forced into chapter 11 bankruptcy because despite print on paper not lying, my soon to be ex sits in the hold fast to “he is just paying bills.” He certainly was paying bills that of his mothers, the very woman in the detested homosexuals or I should say “g-d in her view detested”, but obviously not enough to live off of one. While my spell spent his earnings to pay her bills she siphon the way those monies she would’ve paid out into retirement trust and living trusts that my spouse is trustee too. And the only thing that remains left if any chance of me seeing anything to be whole lease within the very house we purchased together and that although admitting under oath find stand that he lied and deceived the court to oust me from our home, the judge his uncles friends Issues the decision to grant him exclusive occupancy. I give you credit for telling forward and making good on debts that aren’t yours and maybe I still have a long way to go in my journey to come to a place of acceptance, but I’ve decided had best my credits going to be groomed I’d rather rude at all all the way didn’t pay a dime towards debts he incurred in that belong to him. I think you for continuing to share as on some days your blog is the only inspiration in my day that helps me get thru to the next in a system that is unfair and broken

  2. This is so unfair. Abandonment is one thing, but cheating? cant say which is worse! glad you are moving on & that too in the right direction. Wish you luck & many more newer cars πŸ™‚

  3. Congratulations on getting to put yet another piece of the past behind you!. Ride with the windows down and the wind in your face!

  4. Wow! Congrats on over coming!! I’m in the throes of my divorce and I feel completely robbed of my savings as well! Then I just watched my saving be depleted when he went on vacation a couple weeks ago with “our” money. Divorce is ugly in every way… Financially it is hard! Hard doesn’t even begin to explain! I’m waiting for my first breathe of fresh air like you recently have had! CONGRATS!! (I love reading your posts! – gives hope for others going through similar situations!)

  5. Moving past the financial rape is difficult for me. My ex husband not only made out like a bandit with every penny he saved during our 27 year marriage, half of all houses, his pension and all the personal stuff he wanted; but also took me during the 27 years of marriage for all the bills and toys he wanted. Yes, I was the breadwinner, and he was the thief who pretended to be loyal and in love. I hope that as I rebuild a new life in another state, I will finally be set free from the feelings of being used financially, emotionally and physically. These are hard life lessons following what has become known as the “grey divorce.”

    1. Very hard life lessons. It was crazy – I was more nervous and unsure buying a car today at the age of 38 than I was when I bought my last car at 21. The damn impact of the betrayal. The good part is that we will never take financial freedom for granted. Best of luck building your new life! May it be a blessed one:)

  6. Ok, I’m going to blame it on pregnancy hormones, but I cried when I saw you got approved and with a low interest rate. Only after you have struggled financially to get your head above water can you understand the relief and happiness of being approved. I have read your posts for years and understand the trials & tribulations of owning an older car. I am so happy for you! Enjoy your victory ride, my dear!!

  7. I can relate so much to this article and you give me the hope that the end is in sight. The financial betrayal is the hardest part, including the legal fees acquired from my divorce. Fighting for my children, my home, my life, fighting for things i should have never had to fight for to begin with. He wanted out, he wanted someone else. yet wanted everything else too except the debt. I am not sorry for going the route i did, standing up, saying no and in the end my life is so much better off because i stood up for myself. It still hurts every time i make those debt payments, when not paying a payment means another strike on my credit yet, my kids don’t deserve to continue to go without. I paid off 2 collection debts this week, 2 down many to go but you give me hope someday i will be where you are! Thank you!!!

  8. So happy for you and hoping some day I will be able to cast off the shadow. It has been 8 years and there is still unfinished business. I have to wonder if the ex doesn’t want to “finish the book” in an effort remain in control.

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