I trusted him. So, we opened a joint account. We were both working and soon I set it up so my paycheck was direct deposited. We used it to pay our bills.
I trusted him. So, we bought a house. I had the final say and gave him part of the down payment from my savings. I was there to pick up the keys on Closing day, but I didn’t sign any papers or know any details.
I trusted him. So, we got married. It was a big event, he wanted to invite all our friends and family. I opened a credit card to pay for most of the deposits and vendors. I loved him.
I trusted him. So, we got pregnant a year later. Our son is beautiful and healthy.
I trusted him. So, we agreed I’d quit my job and stay home. Child care is so expensive, and it made sense while our baby was so young to cut down to one income.
I trusted him. So, we made a plan that once our son was three, I’d start my masters program so I would graduate by the time our son was school age. We knew I’d need to take out student loans, and made a plan to pay those back once I’d re-entered the work force.
I trusted him. I didn’t question why he came home late every Thursday. I didn’t think he was using Tinder and Bumble to meet women. I didn’t know he was sleeping with someone else. I didn’t consider looking through his phone, because I trusted him.
I trusted him. I didn’t notice his checks weren’t deposited directly into our account.
I didn’t know he had secret accounts with other banks. I didn’t know he’d gotten a substantial raise. I hadn’t noticed each month he transferred only enough to cover our bills and buy groceries. I didn’t think he was hiding money.
I didn’t know he paid off the mortgage. I didn’t know he had deeded the house to his mother. I didn’t know he never filed our taxes. I didn’t know he took me off his life insurance. I didn’t know he was reading my emails. I didn’t know he made copies of my prescriptions. I didn’t know he was lying to our friends that I was depressed.
I didn’t know he had talked to a lawyer until I was served with divorce papers.
But, then I found out. I found out we hadn’t paid taxes in over three years. I found out I had nowhere to live. I found out I had no money to buy groceries or gas. I found out he was asking for primary custody of our son. I found out he was lying. I found out he was hiding his affair. I found out he was hiding his money.
And yet, for months (but felt like an eternity) – he felt untouchable. He made all these changes. He hid all these things. He left me stranded and helpless with a mountain of debt in my name and nothing to show for it.
I was frustrated and scared. I’d listen to him taunt me and claim that I wasn’t stable enough to raise our son, with nothing of my own. I tried to listen to my lawyer as well. It was hard sometimes when month from month I was scraping by, scared that I’d never see my son and would be left with nothing.
Eventually, I sat before the Judge and told her my story. I trusted him and he lied. I trusted him and he took advantage. My lawyer showed the paper trail of money transfers, gross income, the home. With satisfaction, I watched my attorney grill him on the stand; catching him in nearly every lie about the affair, the money, our son.
By the end of an exhausting day, I listened to my lawyer argue and sum up his betrayal so accurately and poignantly it brought a trickle of tears to my eyes. She had listened to me, understood me, helped me.
Unfortunately, it was foolish to trust him. Fortunately, I was right to trust her.