Years ago, long before Collin and I even knew each other, let alone were married with a house and two children, I heard the statement that financial issues were the #1 cause of divorce. I have no idea if this is still the case, but what I know is that at the time I heard this I could not wrap my mind around it. Why would money be the #1 cause? I mean it’s just money. What about infidelity? That, to me, seems like a likelier cause, doesn’t it?
Back then I lived in an apartment by myself. I had a rent payment and a car payment. Beyond the normal things like the telephone, groceries and utilities, that was it. Was I rolling in cash? Oh hell no. I cleaned the home of one of my friend’s moms for spending money. I was in no way rolling in it. But I wasn’t drowning in debt either. I had an elaborate tracking system for all of my credit card purchases and I paid off my bill each and every month. I was able to buy new clothes whenever I wanted. I had subscriptions to magazines and a membership to a pretty nice gym (it included free tanning, woo!) I could not understand why money would cause a divorce? I mean, budget better, what’s your problem?
Then Collin and I started dating, and shortly after, planning a wedding. The wedding expenses and honeymoon bills accumulated. We kept track of them tediously, had plans of how to pay everything off. Before the wedding we bought a parcel of land and started building a house. Things were going good. The family business had one of its best years. We built a duplex. And then another. And then a spec house. And then the real estate market, and the economy in general, crashed. People started losing their jobs. Stopped paying rent. Weren’t able to get a loan to buy a house.
Past tenants owe us over $10,000 in rent never collected. The spec house has been on the market for two years. We’ve had to lower the rent on our duplexes just to get someone, anyone in there. When fully rented we just barely cover the monthly mortgages. Not taxes. Not insurance.
Business hasn’t picked up. Collin has been off of work, on work, off of work for months. Every so often we get a chunk of change that keeps us going for a little longer. A bonus, a tax refund, something. And then we burn through it catching up on mortgage payments or medical bills or the fucking credit card that we can’t seem to fucking control. And then it’s gone. And we’re back to being sucked into this never ending abyss of financial woe.
I refuse to let this destroy our family but to say it hasn’t affected us would be a lie. I yell. A lot. Out of frustration and fear. I don’t know where the end is. I don’t know how far we will fall.
I get it now. I get how finances could be the #1 cause of divorce. I won’t let it happen. But I get it.