That’s word for word what my best friend whispered in my ear a week before I married my first wife.
He said it because he thought my bride-to-be was just “lining me up” for my paycheck.
But did I listen?
In the next few years she spent us into debtor prison and when the marriage was finally over my friend’s warning was ringing in my ears right before I declared personal bankruptcy.
Sounds like a real nasty bitch and I was the perfect rube right?
That’s what a lot of people thought happened too.
They were all wrong.
Like Jimmy Buffet sings,
“But I know, it’s my own damn fault.”
When I look back on the whole soul-crushing experience I realize my bad debt and bankruptcy were my own fault – regardless of her behaviour.
And did I ever learn a few hard lessons;
- when people truly love each other “they have each other’s back” in ALL ways and that includes financially
- more often than not there is a direct correlation between bad debt and a bad marriage
- never sell yourself short trying to buy someone’s love
- never stay in a relationship unless it’s real and true love
And to be fair – our ugly debt wasn’t all her fault. I was just as much to blame as she was – maybe more.
But it didn’t start out that way.
When our marriage was brand new we were excited to be together and I thought we respected each other. I loved her and I thought she loved me.
We both had good jobs, were both 100% debt free, and happy raising her 1 year old girl from a previous marriage.
Beginning of the end….and THE END
Less than one year into the marriage she cheated on me with an old friend of hers. Great guy too but at the time he wasn’t on my Christmas card list.
I tried to get over it because I thought I still loved her (and her child whom I had legally adopted) but deep down inside I could never forgive her. My contempt oozed out ever so slowly over the next couple of years.
Eventually I didn’t respect her and she didn’t respect me.
It was all over except for the inevitable horrid emotions and the fights.
So Who Cares About Money Anymore?
Emotional pain was an everyday reality now and neither of us cared anymore whether or not our finances were being looked after.
Bills didn’t get paid, we both spent money like Johnny Debt in a yacht store, and it made our lives even more miserable.
Now that I think about, neither of us had any money problems before we were together, and neither of us have had any serious money problems since we left our marriage in the landfill.
The Reality of Blame
Her friends and family blamed me for all that ailed us and of course my friends and family reciprocated.
Let’s start with your humble narrator’s sins first shall we.
I worked for an airline as an aircraft engineer so I made pretty decent money at the time – but my real passion was writing, recording, and playing music.
Since I was twelve years old music was a time and money soak for me, but I managed to keep “the passion” at bay enough to finish high school and hold a job.
As soon as I was in the throes of a horrible marriage all self control went out the window.
I dove head first into my music and my mind vaporized in a cloud of marijuana smoke.
Yep….pot was another “big passion” of mine.
I spent money on:
- studio time
- musicians’ wages
- other “stuff”
Within two years all my credit cards were maxed out.
I had a high interest personal loan that I used to pay off all my credit card balances the first time around, a vehicle loan, and debts with local studios.
In short…..I was a financial train wreck.
Not to mention a total egocentric douchebag. Got a few songs on the radio and one summer we were on Much Music – thought I was kind of a big deal – wore silk shirts, cowboy boots, and a duster. Quintessential douche.
She had the exact same emotion when we were living in hell – “who cares about debt.”
And she piled up the debt just like me.
She bought a red convertible and started self medicating with alcohol in a big way.
She spent bags of money in the bars and she spent lavishly on herself and her daughter.
She actually supported my silliness because she liked the attention she got being part of the music circus.
There was always alcohol flowing at the shows.
When The Dust Settled
When it was all over I claimed personal bankruptcy and turned the keys over to her for the car, the house, and everything in the house except for my guitar, amplifier, CDs, and a leather jacket.
Of course it was a very emotional and sad time but I was finally free and no longer waking up to the enemy.
She never claimed bankruptcy because I took all the debt down with me – we all moved on and made new starts.
She got remarried soon after, and so did I.
The hardest part was no longer living with our little girl. I’ll die with that pain still lingering inside me.
What I Should Have Done Differently
Everything? Maybe nothing? After all…we had a hell of an adventure.
But I never should have throw my arms in the air and said, “Fuck it!” when it came to money.
No matter how bad my living arrangement was I should of held strong, kept my head, and made a plan.
I hope you never have to spend 7 years in debtor’s prison like I did.
Brent Truitt is a full time Internet marketer and part time blogger who lives in Canada and the United States. You can connect with him on Twitter @IAmBrentTruitt