Many divorced people count themselves lucky for not having had kids with their former spouse. I’m amongst that group, but I can tell you, not having kids didn’t save me from years of bad married life.
Why did I stick around? That’s always the first question I get when I mention my bad married years, and it is, of course, the best question. If I was so unhappy, why didn’t I just leave?
I wish I had a better reason for it. It’d be nice to say there were still good times (there weren’t) or that we still loved each other on some level (we didn’t). The truth is, I was a bit of a coward, and I was also worried about the house.
To understand, you have to know what that house meant to me. I’d spent more than a decade saving up for it on my own when I meant my now ex-wife. She had enough in savings to let us put down a big down payment on the house of my dreams. I want to emphasize that it was at the house of my dreams because that is important for later.
I’d wanted a house just like the one we bought since I was a little kid. A neighbor of mine had an old Victorian that I used to ride by and wish I lived in. I love older houses that have been restored. There’s something magical about them that is lost with newer homes. My wife didn’t much care, if she were being honest (which I’m not sure she would be if she told this story). She knew it was something I wanted, and she wanted a place to settle down, so I got to make the choices.
Now, I put in most of the money, most of the time and work (I’d saved for a decade, and she’d gotten her money when her grandfather died), and it was my dream home, so you would think that I could count on keeping the house. You would think wrong, though, because whenever things would get heated, she would threaten to make sure she kept the house in a divorce. This was her big threat. I’m not sure, looking back, why she wanted to threaten that. She wanted out of the marriage as much as I did, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for her to force us to stay together, but that’s how it was.
Eventually, it all became too much, and I decided it was worth losing even my dream house to break things up and start over. I wish I’d known then that there are lawyers that specialize in dividing up property (here’s a good example of a law firm that does it), but I didn’t, and I did end up losing the house.
The funny thing is, she ended up selling the house not so long ago, and I happen to have the money in my bank to buy it back if she’ll sell it to me. I may end up getting what I wanted in the end after all. And this time, it’ll definitely be mine.