As promised, I want to write about life after a financial disaster, a great life! I also want to help as many people as possible avoid this pitfall.
Let me first start by saying none of us go into our adult lives wanting this to happen or even planning it. In fact, many times we are the victim of someone else's plot when it comes to these types of things or at least I was. Sometimes, we are a victim of our own bad decisions as well. Either way, there is life after bad financial decisions and hope. The first two things you have to do is decide 1) what you will never allow again and 2) what do you really want out of this life.
For my part, I was in an abusive relationship with a man who was also very ill. In fact, he was bipolar which made his understanding of money very shallow at best. I won't go into everything here but suffice it to say he almost broke me financially. Now, I would be wrong in saying I had nothing to do with that. First, I stayed in an abusive relationship, both emotionally and financially. Second, I allowed him to spend and use my credit because I could not talk to him about finances. Bascially he would not hear the word "no" and I did nothing to put on the breaks, I was more interested in "keeping the peace" and "keeping up appearances" at the time. Really bad move.
As a result, this all came crashing down right before I seperated from him. We were maxed out, there was no more credit and he couldn't spend anymore. He had a meltdown and I left. About a month later, related to long standing mental illness, he committed suicide. I was left holding the financial bag. I won't lie to you and say I was not angry at him for awhile for doing this, I most certainly was. I was also angry at myself for letting this happen. I had to forgive him and myself. I had to learn alot about myself and forgive many things. I had to heal. I had to do this without ever being able to hear from him or even get an apology - that ladies and gentlemen will stretch your character.
During this time of healing I had to recover financially too. I will say this now, thank God they changed the rules for life insurance when it comes to suicides. This could have been alot worse for me and I would still be "holding the bag" so to speak. I was able to pay off the maxed out credit cards and have plenty of money left over to save and do with what I wanted. All of this on top of my good salary that was no longer being used to spend frivolously. During this time of "digging out" I learned this had been his pattern in his relationships and not just once but about 3 times. I was number 4. In fact he had looked for women to take care of him in this way for a long time - again a sign of serious mental illness. It was a sobering time of learning for me and I am thankful for it.
From this experience, I have learned what I will never allow again. 1) I will not allow myself to be the sole "creditor", 2) I will not be with a person I can not talk to about money, 3) I will not be with a person that will not be honest with me about their finances from the start (I allowed my late husband to not be honest because I gave him to much benefit of the doubt).
4) I will not live in a relationships where financial secrecy abounds.
So what will I allow? What do I want?
1) I want to be able to talk with the next man about money, his, mine and ours. To bring everything to the table and see where we both are, how we can help each other out and what we want to do seperately and respect those decisions. To talk about money means to talk about bank accounts, credit scores, loans we have, any credits cards, everything. I will not ask him to tell me anything I am not willing to tell him. I want us to build our lives together, not in competition and not in secrecy. If he can't come to the table and discuss these things, there will be no future with him.
2) I want to take my experience and help others learn from it so they don't have to go through what I went through. I hope I am accomplishing that through writing these blogs and by writing my book. If you want to know more of my story and the addtional advice I provide in my book, you can look for The Road Less Traveled: A Story of Love, Hope, Pain and Everything In Between on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Book A Million (BAM), Audible.com (audio only), Kobo.com and the Kobo app and in Canada at !ndigo.com; Russell Books and McNally Robinson Books.
Money is a tool, use it well and don't let anyone use it to abuse or control you. You are better off single than with someone who does this to you, believe me.
I will close by saying God is still good. He always was, even when I was allowing things to go on financially that I should not have been. He saw everything and He made a way. He can make a way for you too. You can avoid the trap I fell into as well by heading my advice.
Remember, love does not use, abuse or control.
Until next time,