Are you in a house or a home?
If you asked me this 20 years ago, I would say, I am in a loving home. A home is where the heart is and if your loved one, partner, or spouse is with you and you’re living in harmony, then, it is a home. It can be a small one-bedroom flat or an 8-room mansion; what makes a home is the people living in it. It was a home, 20 years ago, but now, I don’t even know what to call it.
I married the “man” of my dreams, the love of my life, my Adonis, my knight in shining armor, and I thought it was forever. We started a family soon after we were married, and at 19, it was just pure bliss. Everyone congratulated us on being strong. It is not easy to be married right after high school, and still finishing college. While he went to school during the night, he was working 8 hours a day. I even had to take a short break in school when I gave birth. It was a good thing my professors gave me a month to tend to my baby and do modules. We were living the life we wanted, or so I thought.
Two years into building our young family and treading our supposed-to-be perfect marriage, my tired and extremely fatigued husband met Cecilia. I know. Her name alone can give you the goosebumps. It’s too bitchy. Anyway, needless to say, Cecilia came between us and my husband left me. I had a 1-year-old baby boy that I needed to tend, with my school still ongoing, and I had little money. He would not care if we have food or if our son had milk. He was just so much in love with Cecilia until she broke his heart.
He came home after 6 months, begging that I forgive him. Of course, I was stupid back then. I forgave him and he came back. It was a bit of financial relief for me when he moved back in because he was the main provider. The love for him from me was still there, but there is this little bit of something that I cannot explain. It was like I died a little.
The next two years of our lives were a roller coaster. Some days he would come home drunk. He also had this funny smell on him, like some cheap perfume. But he provided for the family. And I thought that was enough. I became his doormat, and I allowed him. In a sense, it was my fault that I went through 20 years of bad marriage. It’s because I let him do it to me.
Cecilia came forward with a son. I told him that he should have a DNA test just to be sure before that boy shares a portion of his income. My luck was short and yes, he was my husband’s son. There goes child support, and yet, he didn’t learn from it.
My husband became a top sales representative for his company. He was a real professional, hardworking, and very meticulous. The problem was that almost all the women clients would get to his pants. So after Cecilia, there was a Donna. And then, Eunice. Andrea. Felicia. Marty. Joy. Jolene. And so many more. I lost count. Twenty years in our marriage, we still lived in that small house. Me and our only son who is now 18. We are still there, and he – well, he is with his flavor of the month.
A few months ago, I asked to meet with him so we can talk. Our son just finished high school and well, he is now an adult. He can take care of himself. I told my husband about that. He was like yeah, yeah, yeah. Is that all? It was as if he wanted to get rid of me so fast and yet I was so patient with him for the last twenty years.
I handed him a piece of paper that said Petition for Divorce. When he read it, he was stunned. And then after a couple of minutes, he was angry. He was shouting at me. My husband of 20 years was telling me that I am a gold digger. And that I want his money.
It hurt a lot because I was never fancy. My most expensive shoes were $35 dollars. And I do not buy designer anything. I don’t even have much jewelry except for all those anniversary gifts his secretary sends me, gifts that I know he didn’t pick because he could not remember any of it.
I told him calmly that I want to start my life since our boy was old enough to be on his own. And I also told him that we both needed to have separate lives so that we can be happy while apart. He accused me of having a boyfriend and that I was cheating behind his back. I gave him an envelope with pictures inside that he was philandering. He backed away and gave me tiger eyes.
What I asked my husband after that was not easy. I just said that I needed to feel safe again, and being in that marriage, I didn’t feel safe. I had been talking to BetterHelp therapists for months now, and those were the only times when I could calm down. I also said that I don’t want alimony or any of the properties. I just asked for this old house and 20% of his net worth.
He left me after that, and in two weeks, the petition was signed. All that I wanted was also given. Thank God. It was sad but what else can I do? At 40, I am rebuilding myself and I know that I can make it on my own, in this house which I will again make a home.