Four days after I discovered my husband’s affairs, sleep still evaded me and I couldn’t eat. I didn’t feel anything. Blinking and breathing required immense effort. I was just a shell of a person on autopilot. I was alive, moving, speaking when spoke to, but this was a type of alive I had never felt before. Just alive, but not living.
I was back at my office after being absent for a day and a half. What’s the point of staying home? Work was a welcome distraction.
Aside from all of the questions I had about myself, as a person, as a woman, as a wife, what my worth amounted to; I had a logistical nightmare to work out.
Every single bill was in my name. Every one. Both cars, the mortgage, all credit cards, the laptop that AJ asked to keep (which also served as the tool that he used to destroyed my marriage). All financed by my name.
Can I handle all of those bills on my own?
I’m a meticulous budgeter. I check my bank accounts three or four times a day. I know exactly how many dollars and pennies I should/will have three weeks from next Tuesday. I pulled up my budget, erased AJ’s income and realized I had a real problem. I am not sustainable. I can’t make this work.
Do I get a second job? Can I handle a second job right now? What costs can I cut? Can I just give back the truck? Sell everything else? How quickly can AJ and I split up our bank accounts? What are my options? Do we write in our divorce papers that AJ will have to pay half? Will he even pay half? Debt relief companies? Bankruptcy?
Do I need to stay with him to be sustainable???
What an awful question to ask yourself…
Then I had to think about life insurance, benefits, and what happens if I die tomorrow? I wasn’t angry yet, but certainly didn’t want him to benefit from my death, if it happened.
Aside from finances and insurance, I had to think about the logistics of AJ moving out. Given that the mortgage was in my name, we agreed that I would keep the house. So, when would AJ move out? Where would he go? Can he afford it? I felt a responsibility to help him land on his feet so, I helped him search for reasonably priced apartments. I loved him. I wanted to make sure he would be okay even though I wasn’t sure if I would be okay. I was still putting him first. The same way I did our whole relationship.
But how long could we live together and what did that even look like? Would I still cook for him? Can he even cook? Who would buy groceries? Who would get custody of the living room?
Speaking of custody, who would get the dogs? I couldn’t imagine letting go of either of them. My girl pup, Mickey, was clearly my dog. She followed me everywhere and was perfectly in tune with me. There would be no question there. My boy pup, Maris, is so darling and sweet… I can’t imagine a day without that perfect face. How could we possibly decide who gets one or both?
What about our friends? Do they stay friends with both of us? How does that work? What if they don’t pick me? I’ve been feeling like I am easy to throw away lately, so will they just toss me to the side too?
Am I not good enough?
Wait… I can’t ask that question now… back to logistics.
I created a list. A “divorce to-do” list. Logistics. I’ll deal with my emotions later. I am better with logistics.
On the list I wrote every single question I had and every problem I would face without the help of my spouse. That way, the questions could stop swirling around my mind, making noise, and I could come up with a game plan.
- Dog custody
- Bank accounts
- Reduction in income
- Move-out plan
You get the idea.
The list was lengthy. Intimidating. Scary.
My new friend, Fear, was right by my side. Maybe you just have to stick it out… you can’t financially make this work. AJ’s got you locked in.
The idea of staying with him just because I couldn’t handle the finances on my own made me sick. There are options… there has to be options.
There were options. Options I discussed at great lengths with my attorney. Options I never thought I would consider. Options I never thought I had to consider.
Bankruptcy became the clear option.
Bankruptcy or stay.
Can I refer back to when I said I was a meticulous budgeter? I am. I still am. Every meeting I had with my attorney regarding divorce and bankruptcy helped me understand the logistics of the divorce. I was able to wrap my head around what my “new life” would look like without AJ.
It looked different. Different than I ever imagined. I’d be a 28 year-old divorcee with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy under my belt. What a difference a few months can make… But I couldn’t focus on my title or the outside perception… I had to focus on the fact that I was able to sort out the logistics. Once those logistics stopped tormenting me, I could focus on me. Healing my heart.
Perhaps your logistics look like mine, or maybe they are worse… But, however bleak or impossible a life without your spouse or after divorce (or breakup) looks, there are always options. They just may not be the ones you ever wanted to consider.