When my ex-husband and I got engaged he suggested we start a joint account to save for the wedding. While I didn’t 100% agree with him and countered with opening up a separate individual savings account to do the same thing, we ended up opening the joint account. Little did I know, this was only the beginning to him controlling everything.
An “x” amount of my paycheck was to go in the joint account monthly as well as any commissions I earned. However, the balance wasn’t equal because he never earned any commissions or holiday bonus. So any money we spent from that account for the wedding/honeymoon, was my hard earned money. Meaning this was just a glimpse into what the next ten years of our lives would be together.
After college, I was very fortunate to land a job in a highly desirable industry that paid very well in salary and commission, which made me the bred winner of the family. My ex-husband was not happy about it at all and tended to show it mostly in front of friends and family. What I find the most interesting, is he never held a credit card in his name until after filing for divorce. All of the credit cards were in my name and he was an authorized user. When we bought a house, the loan was ran with my credit history. When he bought a car I had to be a co-signer because I had better credit. I knew his credit was terrible because of his student loans and his car loan, but what is even worse…is that I paid every single debt of his off because of our joint checking and savings account. What did he pay off of mine? NOTHING…I have zero debt.
The worse part is that I never enjoyed one single commission I earned over my eleven year career in that industry. Every time I received a commission it went to upgrading the kitchen or putting up a fence for the dogs, buying him a gun safe and guns to fill it (side note: this was a punishment and scare tactic since I never wanted them in the house), buying him a new professional camera, buying him a Surface Pro, buying him a new TV/stereo system/gaming system, etc. Only once did I buy something for myself and that was when the guns came in to the house.
Our checking and savings account should have been huge based on my salary and commissions, but he somehow made sure to find a reason to spend money. He had me create a budget and track everything down to the cent. Now, you’re probably thinking this is just smart and you would be correct, but he would use it to punish me and criticize me anytime we were over budget in any area no matter what it was. Even if he was the one that over spent, it was my fault.
As our marriage neared the end and I knew the papers were shortly going to be served, my ex-husband’s spending became outrageous. He was buying accessories for his truck that were absurd (I’m not talking floor mats, I’m talking a special grill and stuff), started collecting special addition albums (records to play on a record player) and old gaming systems for a”game room”. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if he was a Beverly Hills housewife that didn’t know what to do with her time and money. The thing is, it wasn’t just his money. It was my money too and he would shut me down and belittle me any time I tried to say something. He was purposely spending the money so I would have nothing after the divorce.
While I have money and am thankful for what I have, I fear for how I am going to take care of myself if I don’t find a job soon. My office closed unexpectedly in June and I haven’t been able to land a job yet. I wasn’t able to get alimony because my ex-husband threatened to take my entire 401K and our checking and savings. My lawyer suggested I settle for what I ended up getting, which also meant ex-husband got away with everything. He got away with all the abuse and pain he caused for 14 years, and I am left struggling to support myself financially, mentally, emotionally, and physically.