This post is inspired by Jaymee from Smart Woman Blog who shared her story about being Newly Single and Moving Out of her Own House. She was in a relationship with someone for over 5 years who she thought was ‘the one’ and they bought a home together. She was solely approved for the mortgage because his credit history was not the greatest and he paid rent to her. Unfortunately about 5 months after living in the new house, their relationship broke down. He is still living in the house and she has since moved home, she cannot sell the home because breaking the mortgage and the realtor fees will eat into her down payment.
Her story reminded me of my own previous heart break. I didn’t think I would be where I am now, I guess you never know what the future might hold.
I bought a house with my ex-partner of 7.5 years when I was in my mid-late twenties. We dated in high school and I had known him since we were 14. We renovated it and we were excited to live in it. I ideally wanted to be engaged before we moved in but he wanted us to live together for a year first before proposing. He told me to wait one year. Well a year came and went and there was no proposal. We argued about a lot of things, I felt resentful as I was in school full time, working part-time, and also ended up doing the majority of the housework (cooking, cleaning, laundry, painting the fence). He bought a BMW convertible with our HELOC, promising me that he would quit smoking. He had promised to quit smoking many times before but it never really happened. I should have known that a proposal was also not going to happen either.
We had different spending patterns and I wanted to pay down the mortgage while he wanted to take on more risk.
We had lots of arguments, tears, yelling, shouting, screaming, and threats during the time we lived together, I am ashamed to even write about this. It probably was borderline verbal abuse. I would be quite controlling, asking how many cigarettes he had that day.
One day, we had a big fight over something trivial. He had put down a glass that he just drank out of and put it on the counter, while I was loading the dishwasher. He didn’t bother to empty the glass, so it was half full. I spilled it all over the floor and dishwasher.
Except in hindsight it wasn’t really trivial. It was a culmination of his lack of respect for me, his lack of follow-through, and my lack of being able to set my boundaries and being a pushover, thinking that if I tried harder, if I did more for him, he would treat me with respect and care.
He refused to go to counselling, and was frustrated that I always wanted to read ‘self help books’ and felt that if we were a good match we wouldn’t need to work on our relationship (which is true to an extent!).
Well, one day he told me he wanted to break up. I was heart broken and played the victim.
I blamed him for ruining my life (I was 29 and basically felt that no one would want to marry a 30-something year old) and told him if he wanted to sell the house he had to do all the work to sell it. Thankfully I made about $100K from selling the house after the realtor fees which has helped my net worth, I would have made more had I held onto it now but it would have been quite difficult (well impossible) to carry the mortgage on my own.
Well, I ended up going rampage Internet dating, and there were periods where I really hit rock bottom. I had thoughts that if I got hit by a car, I wouldn’t be too bothered by it. I didn’t realize I was probably depressed. I even considered reconciling with him and he with me. He thought that we would not find anyone else more compatible, we were both existing from a place of fear. Then when we would go on a date to reconcile, things end up with “You’ll never change, you’re still the same” and then we would realize that it was not a good idea.
I thought to myself that I don’t know if I could deal with that level of drama for the rest of my life. He also felt the same.
Long story short, I went to counselling and learned that I was actually not compatible with my ex. I learned how not to waste time and money when finding a compatible life partner. It was a lot of work and a lot of tears to learn to let him go. I didn’t think I would ever meet anyone. It was also sad to lose my best guy friend.
I’m glad I did because I met my current husband who is so compatible with me. He likes to learn, was open to pre-marital counselling just to make sure we didn’t leave any stone unturned, and we both love personal finance (we actually connected talking about Warren Buffett). We don’t fight and argue like my ex and I did, and there’s no drama. What I love about my husband is that when he says he will do something, he will do it. I don’t nag at him. He helps out with the chores and opens the door for me. He’s a great husband and a great dad.
Here’s what I learned from the heartbreak:
actions > words
When someone says they will do something and if you value integrity, you need to pay attention to what they do more than what they say.
ultimatums never work
I would say that he should propose to me after one year of living together (and he had agreed) but that just doesn’t work. If someone has to be ‘forced’ to do something that’s never a good sign.
chemistry does not equal compatibility
Although we had chemistry we did not have similar values. When you have someone who shares similar values with you, things go much smoother and there’s less drama.
things really will work out
I would never think that I would be able to meet someone so compatible and get married, prepared for the costs of baby’s first year and start a family. I even saw my ex at a mutual friend’s wedding and we both said we were happy for each other, he got to meet my then fiancee (now husband), and we got to catch up. I remember people telling me that “things happen for a reason” and that “things will work out”. I didn’t believe them at the time, but now I do.
Readers, has something similar happened to you? Have you had a dramatic period in your life? How did it affect you financially?