Sometimes I wonder how many times we can get kicked in the teeth and get back up again.
I’ve avoided writing too much about my past relationship on here, mainly because I try not to think about it too much. It is a sad thing that is in the past, but what is really getting me down is that my ex is making it almost impossible for me to move on.
We separated several years ago and since then we have been through our times of being civil and not so civil. I was the one who left, and I carried a lot of guilt with me about that. I gave up on our marriage and I moved out. In divorce terms, I was the “at fault” party. I didn’t want to get into a slanging match about it so I accepted “guilt”, lost friends and gained new ones, lost an old life and gained a new one – I moved on. That whole thing – the ending of an almost decade-long relationship – cost me dearly both emotionally and financially, and now, many years on, I’m still paying the price.
A year later I met T. He wasn’t anything to do with my leaving, and I met him entirely by chance (although possibly it was meant to be, considering how many things we had in common and how many of the same places we’d frequented). We now have a nice life, a dog, Dog (well, that isn’t his name but anonymity to protect the innocent!) and we were even trying to start a family.
But… It wasn’t to be. No family yet other than ourselves and Dog (which is a great family by any stretch, but not as complete as we were hoping for).
And now… our dreams of a white picket fence have been shattered.
My ex has been delaying any settlement since I moved out and this means that he lives in a house that I jointly own and still pay towards. Even though I reduced how much I pay, it’s still a significant amount that means that I can’t save much money, and it still means he is living in a place subsidised by me – and for which I’m still jointly financially liable. It meant that I got deeply into debt when I first moved out because London property is super expensive, and it has taken years for me to dig myself back out to a point where I’m almost debt free (I’ll have paid off my loan by the end of this year, and I made a herculean effort to pay off credit card debt).
Meanwhile my ex was depressed/stressed due to the break up and consequently didn’t go into work for over a year, resulting in him losing his job. Before this happened, I kept asking him if I could stop paying the mortgage and transfer it into his name, but he delayed and delayed until he didn’t have a job – and then the mortgage lender wouldn’t let us transfer it as obviously he had no income. Oh and just to make things even worse, we are joint owners (as married couples tend to be) so if at any point he decides not to pay the mortgage, I’m liable for all of it, so would have to pay a mortgage for a house I don’t even live in, plus our rent. This also means that we can’t get the final divorce papers because you have to have a financial agreement to get those, so I’m still married to a guy I haven’t lived with for years and I have a new relationship we can’t make official (and we were even going to have a baby until the miscarriage) – all because he won’t settle.
In the beginning I felt sorry for him. I felt guilty and I felt like it was my fault for not wanting to be with him any more – and even though I had a really bad time for the first year we were apart, I still took the blame on myself. People are judgy in separations, I found. And people decided I was the bad guy in all of it and I took the blame on myself because I knew that on paper, I was the one who’d done wrong in acting in such a way that we finished our relationship. In truth, we both did wrong over the years – we had our amazing times and we had our wrongs. Nobody asked about the years and the times and all the hurts before then. I went through some bad times in the time before I met T, and until I did, I didn’t realise that a lot of things that people had done to me would not be acceptable in a functional adult relationship. My ex did some things that hurt me deeply and I only just realised were wrong – he was my first grown up relationship, and I thought that’s just the way it was. I let myself be the bad guy; I let myself be sucked into some bad situations, and it took me a long time not to feel a deep sense of guilt for leaving – and perhaps I still do.
When I met T, for a long time I was a bit untrusting of him and of the relationship. I kept waiting for something to go wrong and for him to hurt me, for him to cheat on me or for the whole thing to fall apart. On bad days I remember what the old times were like – panic attacks and wondering if I would ever feel secure – but years with T have healed me. Dog has healed me. I’m generally a completely different person – a fatter, more contented person – and a lot of the time I let myself forget about the bad times.
And yet – the money still keeps going out of my bank account. I have sporadic attempts to get my ex to settle but eventually decided that we would be able to scrape together enough money to get our own mortgage, in our own house. One of the reasons I really want to move is to get ourselves into a proper family and security situation – to get our white picket fence, like I wrote about in my previous post. It’s the fulfilment of a dream. And one that has a little toddler running about in the garden, pulling on Dog’s tail.
Today, I finally realised that maybe both of those dreams aren’t going to happen.
In my last few posts I’ve been hopeful, because that’s all I can be. It looks like I’m finally going to get my fibroid operation next week – after months of wondering and waiting. We had to go private and I’ll have to pay the insurance excess, but it skips the queue on the NHS so that’s something. There’s no guarantee that I’ll then be able to get pregnant, but it sure as heck wasn’t going to happen without, as the fibroid was given as a likely cause of a pregnancy not happening or not continuing. There are still no guarantees of anything when it comes to pregnancy, and the fact is that I’ve only managed to get pregnant once in 15 years, and that started with IVF and ended in miscarriage.
And last week we put in an offer for our house with the white picket fence. It was a little too low so we scraped around over the weekend and found people who were willing to lend us some money for the deposit. We’d been told by a mortgage broker that we could get a mortgage, minus the liability from my other mortgage – so a mortgage that’s lower than we would otherwise be able to get, but a mortgage nonetheless.
The reason I really want to move from the area where we currently live is that last year I was mugged. I wasn’t injured but some of my stuff was taken and it really shook me – I don’t feel safe walking home at night any more. It is also an area where people really don’t like dogs (due to the cultural mix where they consider dogs to be unclean) and so I don’t like that aspect either. We have a great apartment and it’s big enough for little Dog to run around in, but no garden and obviously it’s less nice taking him out when people look at him like they’re disgusted, and I’m a very obvious ethnic minority. However, it makes no sense to move (due to the expense and the decent deal we have on rent) until we manage to buy something.
Anyway, I thought we were getting somewhere and had found our house. I was even imagining all the stuff we’d do to it. We’d managed to scrape some promises of loans together so we would be able to put in an offer today which would hopefully be accepted. But finally today my appointment with the lawyer came round. I thought I should try and get some legal advice on what would happen if I bought a house with T.
And… boom! The lawyer told me in no uncertain terms that I should not enter into another mortgage when I still have a mortgage with my ex. That I’m in a really risky position because he doesn’t have a job – which means he has no means of paying the mortgage. And that in the next year or so it’s very likely he will default on the mortgage and I’ll then be liable. Not only that, but he might also claim on any mortgage I subsequently get with T – even though we haven’t lived together for years, and even though I’m still supporting him financially for a house I no longer live in. Right then I could just see our dreams falling apart.
My friends have over the years asked me why I don’t “just kick him out”. It’s not that easy. I can’t evict him from the house – I didn’t even want to do so in the beginning, but now I’m wondering if it will ever be resolved, and whether I’m going to have this financial burden hanging over me for the rest of my life, with no hope of resolution. I find it kind of mad that you can have this attachment to someone and an obligation to them years after you have separated and when you don’t have any children. He can just continue to live in the house, not get a job, and I have to continue to pay for him. If he decides not to pay, I have to pay – and I can’t do anything about it. The only recourse I have is to take him to court, which could cost a shedload of money – money I don’t have easily to hand, and money we were going to put towards a deposit on a house. Instead, it looks like I’ll have to put it towards taking someone I once loved with all my heart to court, because I have no other way to move on.
I can’t move on with my life. It’s been years now and he hasn’t tried to resolve anything – it’s like he doesn’t want me to move on or be happy. I guess I can understand that, but that’s not how I feel about him. I really want him to be happy – I’m sad that it isn’t with me, but I would love it if he could meet someone else and build a life with them. I don’t want him to be sad for the rest of his life, but equally I know that despite all my trying, I wasn’t the one to make him happy. And meanwhile, all that time he won’t let me move on and I will still be tied with him – in a marriage that is over and a financial dependency I can’t break. I can’t get a house with the man I have lived with for several years. I can’t get married to someone I want to spend the rest of my life with, who until July I was even going to have a baby with. And I will keep having this stress of the financial and emotional burden hanging over me, which is not the best way to be when you’re dealing with infertility.
I know I am lucky and I remind myself every day. But I look around at others today and I think: why can’t I have the simple things? Why can’t I have a kid and a house and to get married to the man I love? How long am I going to be punished for?
Usually I try and be happy – I try and look on the bright side. But today… Today my dreams are a bit broken. And I feel sad.