There are suckers, and then there’s this guy:
Before I married my wife two years ago, she had huge amounts of debt to her name, including large amounts of student loans. After we married, we diligently almost paid everything off, helped by my salary being three times that of my wife.
That was nice of him.
She recently asked for a divorce, saying she was taking the house and my retirement.
We’ve only been married a few years, and frankly I can’t help feeling taken advantage of. The only advice I can find discusses whose responsibility the student loans would be, but now it just seems that she got me to pay all of her debts, and got some new stuff, while I threw away years of my life.
There’s nothing wrong with splitting household bills and other ongoing expenses in a ratio commensurate with each person’s respective income, but paying off some woman’s historical student loans is just stupid. I assume she couldn’t pay her own debts because the degree she obtained was worthless. That should have served as a warning sign all by itself. I’m sure there were red flags flapping noisily in the breeze from the moment he met this woman, but he ignored them all. Hopefully he’s young enough to bounce back having learned some very valuable lessons.
Another article gives us an insight into how these sort of marriages come about. Let’s start with this line:
We had a baby before we even got married…
Anyone want to guess how this story ends?
…and from that point on, we were mostly trying hard not to drown in debt, which left no time and no money for swimming with the dolphins somewhere in the Caribbean. We did manage to take exactly one weeklong vacation a year—the time off my husband’s sales job allotted. And because we only got one, we took it as a family.
Each cherished family trip got put on a credit card that won’t be paid off anytime soon.
Starting a family when young is expensive and requires work, eh? Who knew?
Annoying as it may be, there is truth to the implication that my husband and I didn’t cater to our marriage enough. The fact is, we couldn’t afford to. We live paycheck to paycheck. My husband also works long hours, including many nights. Often, he wasn’t home until I was in bed.
The author, one Sarah Bregel, is a freelance writer. Put another way, the reason why the family is skint is because one party would rather indulge in a hobby rather than demean herself by getting a job that pays a regular income. I notice they live in Baltimore. Is this cheap? I doubt it. The husband works in sales, and she’s a hobby-writer. Couldn’t they have lived somewhere cheaper? Something I’ve noticed about “artists” and freelance writers in the US sharing sob stories about poverty is that most live in New York or around San Francisco. You never hear any of them moving out to Wyoming or Mississippi to save on living costs.
For eight years, I’ve worked from home while taking care of kids to avoid the massive and crushing costs of child care, which typically meant pulling double duty. I spent all day with kids, then worked after they went to bed, or on weekends, or with a kid on my lap to meet deadlines. I’ve swapped kids with neighbors, worked in cafes with play areas. My mother and stepfather, who both still work full time, watched my daughter one day a week from the time she could walk until she was in school full time. Now they do the same with my son, for which I am eternally grateful. Still, time away from my kids has seldom been free time or time spent on my marriage. It’s spent working, typing away so I can make ends meet.
Yes, this is what’s known as “parenting”. Only nowadays you’re not required to work ten hours per day in the fields or in a factory, and you have such things as washing machines and vacuum cleaners at your disposal. Honestly, I think the world would be a far better place if lefty writers were compelled to have their grandmothers review their work before publication.
Date nights were rare. We were lucky to have one quiet dinner together every several months, if that. And during the last year of our marriage, I can only think of two occasions where we went on actual dates.
What is she, a teenager? They’re trying to raise two kids on a tight budget and she’s bleating about not going on “dates”.
The reality was, if my husband wasn’t working late, then I was. Or we were child rearing. Or making dinner. Or doing massive piles of laundry and dishes before collapsing. Because when you’re a paycheck-to-paycheck family, staying ahead of the bills never ends. And neither do household chores (especially if there are children lighting fires in your home throughout the day).
What did she think getting married and having children entailed? Lolling about the house watching TV and going on dates?
While it seems like the stuff of fantasy to me, the ability to outsource chores such as these can have massively positive impacts on relationship satisfaction, says new research out of Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia. Well, go figure. I never really thought cleaning up potty accidents and pet stains and folding clothes on such a constant basis were necessarily good for my marriage, really.
Ah yes. Never mind raising children to be functional adults and providing a safe, stable home, what’s important is your happiness.
It’s been fairly well-documented that lower-income couples split up more frequently than couples who earn more.
It does? Here’s what the linked article actually says (emphasis mine):
[By] estimating the relationships among marriage, divorce, work effort, and wage rates, researchers found that being married and having high earnings reinforce each other over time. Others looked at the how income affects the marriage and divorce decisions of young Americans; they found that high earnings capacity increases the probability of marriage and decreases the probability of divorce for young men, but decreases the probability of marriage for young women and has no effect on the likelihood of divorce. A different study used the NLSY79 to identify causal effects of marriage and cohabitation on total family income. This study found that women who enter a cohabiting relationship gain roughly 55 percent in needs-adjusted family income, defined as income per adult equivalent, regardless of whether or not they marry; for men, the level of needs-adjusted family income does not change when they make the same transitions. In addition, a 2009 study found that marriage lowers female wages by 2 to 4 percent in the year of marriage and lowers the wage growth of men by 2 percentage points and of women by about 4 percentage points.
In other words, when a freelance writer shacks up with a hardworking salesman, she gains approximately 55%. Kerr-ching!
Plain and simple, fewer bucks in the bank means more financial stress. It also means fewer dollars to put into keeping your marriage afloat. If you aren’t making deposits, literally and figuratively, pretty soon you’ll be coming up empty. Sure, there are at-home dates to be had. A few precious moments of chatter once the kids are in bed before you drift off to sleep yourself. Yes, there are ways of maintaining a marriage that cost nothing. But even those require time to connect, and for working parents, time is money.
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to this woman that for centuries pretty much all men and women lived in absolute, utter, grinding poverty yet still managed to keep their marriages together and raise children. Here she is, living in the richest country on the planet in an era of unprecedented wealth, claiming her marriage can’t work because they’re too poor.
Still, I know there are things my partner and I could’ve done better or differently.
He could have married someone less selfish, perhaps?
The truth is, our financial difficulties were only one issue among many. It just made all the rest harder to navigate. Having financial struggle doesn’t mean your marriage is automatically doomed, of course. It just means you need to work harder to stay connected and maybe get content with a little less marital bliss than you envisioned.
Which explains why divorces are so rare among billionaires like Donald Trump and Hollywood celebrities.
What’s not said enough is that becoming passing ships doesn’t just happen out of sheer negligence, though. Romantic dinners and getaways might be one helpful component to a lasting marriage. But imagining everyone has that kind of freedom is a certain kind of privilege. No, money might not buy happiness, but it does buy more date nights, therapy, and those ever-loving adults-only vacations I keep hearing about.
She’s complaining her husband didn’t earn enough to pay for her therapy; I fear even Roman Abramovich would struggle to fund the amount this woman needs.
I missed the boat on that one, but you go ahead and sip that piña colada at your all-inclusive resort. I’ll be over here babysitting all the neighborhood kids and writing about fitness gear at 4 a.m. so I can finance my divorce.
Meaning, she needs to hire a lawyer who will clean her husband out leaving him homeless and with limited access to the kids. Welcome to modern marriage in America, folks.