Several factors contribute to my decision to consider divorcing my husband. These include:
My emotional situation:
1. A rough timeline: He met a woman, Melissa, online. I don’t know whether she contacted him first regarding genealogical or historical information, or what. He woke me up early on the morning of 3 December to tell me that he intends to pursue a relationship with her, to do “whatever it takes to make her a success.” He also said that he didn’t want to hurt me, he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. At that time I asked him if he wanted a divorce. He didn’t reply.
By 7 December, I had weighed the violation of his privacy against my need to protect myself, and decided to check his journal, which he writes on computer and saves to diskette. Because he is quite secretive by nature, I feared I would simply be served with papers, and I wanted to be prepared for that eventuality to the greatest extent possible. I have since checked both his journal and one of his email accounts a few times. What I have read has been acutely painful. To boil it down, just meeting me ruined his life. He describes me in scathing terms in his journal, and has several times cut-and-pasted his comments in email to Melissa. From the few emails he has saved, it does not appear this woman is as obsessed with him as he is with her. Regardless of how she feels about him, it’s obvious from his emails and his journal that he would like nothing more than to get rid of me, and it seems from his tone (just my impression) that if he could cause me significant pain and humiliation in the process, he might be satisfied that he’s paid me back for ruining his life.
2. I believe counseling would be a waste of time, in this case. I don’t believe I could ever trust him again. Through this entire time -- and for how many weeks before his announcement on 3 December, I have no idea -- he has continued to behave as usual: jokes with me as we watch tv, talks about his day, about his plans for another “reunion” of the descendants of his ancestors’ Civil War regiment, etc. He has never again mentioned this woman, he has never mentioned divorce or even separation. If I did not read his journal and email occasionally, I would think nothing was going on. But after reading what he says about me to her and to himself, and after reading his semi-delusional accounts of certain events in our past, I feel there is no way to save this marriage. Besides his emotional disaffection, I am tired of being harangued to take a better-paying job, any better-paying job, whether I want it or not, whether I would like it or not, so that he can have more money to blow.
My financial situation:
1. Over the past few years, he has come up with some “let’s try this” schemes to make extra money. These plans cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand, and he loses interest in the idea almost immediately after spending the money. Most notably:
a. The used books: we spent several hundred dollars and a lot of time at yard sales, used book stores, and library sales, purchasing used books he intended to sell in either a store-front book store or online, or both. Most of these books are military history. They are currently boxed up in our storage room. I consider these marital property.
b. The eBay shopping spree: He spent over $5000 (to my knowledge -- it might have been more) on eBay, an online auction service, purchasing baseball, railroad, and Civil War/GAR memorabilia, with the stated intent to resell it, either on eBay at a later date, or through a website I helped him create. Some of the items he purchased he did not intend to resell. He hasn’t sold much of the stuff, in part because he had already paid the highest amount the market would bear (otherwise, he wouldn’t have gotten it on eBay), in part because he used what I consider a high markup (in some cases around 80%), and in part because he lost interest in this idea, and failed to promote it. We had discussed taking some of the items to various types of shows, to get a table and sell it, but after taking some paper goods to a postcard show and selling very few items, he gave up. Because we, together, shopped in local flea markets for items to sell, I consider this marital property, though I do not want any of it.
2. Our current credit card debt, as of 10 December 2000 (when I finally sat down with as many statements as I could find, and added them up), is $66,049.41. This amount does not reflect any changes in any account through payments or charges since 10 December. Because he has always insisted only he should deal with the finances, because he has an associate degree in accounting, I have no solid idea where most of the money has gone. I freely admit I have behaved stupidly in this matter. Based on a 1998 spreadsheet file that I found, we’ve been paying between $5-6000 per year in interest alone. In the past, I know he has drawn off the credit cards to purchase stocks, usually telling me about it after the fact. Recently he drew $15,500 of our money and $2000 of my dad’s money (more about that later) to invest in mutual funds, which have decreased quite a bit since his purchase. My father did know about it and approve the purchase. The loss of value isn’t John’s fault, it’s a market fluctuation. But I had thought we agreed to a $10,000 cap. I could be wrong about this.
A year or so ago, he became involved (not sexually, though she apparently did try to head it that way) with a woman named Kody Brock, who claimed to be a magazine writer (at least, that’s what he told me). A few weeks into that business, after she stopped returning his calls RE:writing articles for her “editor,” I found a cheap-looking wedding band on top of my dresser -- because my dresser is close to the door and on his side of the bed, he leaves his glasses there at night, and empties his pockets there. I asked him about the ring. He replied that it was Kody Brock’s, it was worth $500, and she’d given it to him as collateral for a “small loan.” I was never able to get him to tell me the amount of this “small loan.” She never redeemed the ring, in fact she never contacted him again to my knowledge. I have wondered, since adding up the credit cards, if he drew a cash advance from one of them to loan her money. I am also concerned that he has, or he will, use cash advances to give money to other women, especially this Melissa, who has a seven-year-old daughter to support.
There are a number of intangibles that contribute to my decision to consider divorce:
1. Having read his views of me, having taken a much-overdue look at our financial situation (which clearly reflects mismanagement, in my opinion), and knowing that he is pursuing this woman while still married to me, I don’t feel I could ever trust him again. Even if she rejects him when she finally meets him, I believe he will continue to seek someone else.
2. One of his journal comments cut me to the quick. We lived together for almost nine years prior to our marriage in April of 1996. Throughout those nine years and for a couple of years into our marriage, I begged him for a child. Just one. He adamantly refused even to consider it, stating that children would be too expensive for our “position,” and too time-consuming. At one point he even made up a list of conditions I would have to meet, for him to consider a baby: one of us, preferably me, would have to be working full-time, making a minimum of $30,000 per year, we would have to have no debts including car payments, and we would have to own our own house. Given that at that time we were living on my parents’ farm so I could watch over my grandmother (then in her eighties), I could not possibly meet these conditions. I spent far too many hours in my sister-in-law Debbie Gunn’s living room, crying my eyes out, over his refusal. She can attest to that, as can both my brothers, and my sister. I am forty years old now. It is highly unlikely I will ever give birth to my own child. I feel he has robbed me of this. Yet, in his “memory,” according to comments he made in his journal, I am the one who refused to have children.
3. I also feel he has robbed me of any sense of security. Barring some miracle, I’ll be laboring under this monetary debt for many years. I trusted him to manage our funds reasonably, and discovering that he apparently was incapable of reasonable management has shaken me tremendously. He also appears to feel little or no remorse regarding his mismanagement, choosing instead to blame it on my refusal to take different jobs.
4. Since 3 December, I have experienced no peace of mind. I have constantly waited for some kind of announcement, especially in view of the way he is trying to force himself into this Melissa’s life. I feel sick to my stomach almost all the time, though fortunately I have not experienced any episodes of crippling indigestion, which I sometimes get from stress. I do not sleep well, I have become severely depressed, and I am extremely worried about my future. I have pets to consider: four snakes, a tortoise, and a musk turtle, all of which would be severely stressed if I should have to move them in this bitterly-cold weather. Most of the furniture in the house is mine -- a huge moving job, if it comes down to that. I would have trouble finding a rental I could afford at the moment, and have even more trouble finding one that would allow my animals.
There are some other factors complicating matters:
My father owes the IRS somewhere around $90,000, and refuses at present to contact the IRS RE:resolving this problem, and refuses to contact a lawyer to find out what he could possibly do. The tax problem stems from his employment at Norton Coal in Nortonville, Kentucky: his contract with them stated that he would receive a certain yearly salary, and that Norton Coal would be responsible for filing and paying his income tax. Norton Coal filed the forms, but failed to pay the tax. Most of what he owes is penalty. Norton Coal has since dissolved. As a result of his tax problems, however, he can’t own anything.
My parents owned a farm near Marionville, Missouri, which had been placed in my brother Paul’s name, but was transferred to me shortly after my mother’s death in March 1997. Because Missouri is a community property state, John’s name eventually ended up on the final sale. However, it was clearly understood by all parties on our side, and I think on the buyer’s side, that the profits from the sale belonged ethically to my father, if not legally. John certainly understood this.
The profit from the sale of the farm was deposited in our checking account. Part of the money was ours -- repayment for loans made to buy a truck and track loader (the money from the sale of those items was also ours). Part of the money went to purchase an RV, in which my father lives. From his money left in our account, I agreed to pay such of his bills as arrived in his Mail Boxes Etc. postal box. John agreed to this arrangement. I maintain a spreadsheet file RE:my father’s portion of the account. Several times, including right now, there has been no money in the account to pay my father’s bills, or our own, for that matter. At present we should have $1103.64 of his money in our checking account.
My father’s RV is in both our names. John’s name is not on the car title. I want to protect both these vehicles for my father.
The assessed value of the car and RV (for property tax) is always deducted from his balance, as is the cost of his AAA insurance. We do not bear maintenance or operation costs for either vehicle.