Even though I have long moved on from my marriage, there are still things that remind me of that time in my life.
For example, I live at The House on the Hill, the home J & I bought with a plan to raise a family.
J still gets the occasional piece of mail delivered here.
Of course, as I have often documented on this blog, I am still haunted by the horrible nightmares of J standing by the bed, watching me sleep, and plotting to kill me.
I don’t plan to sell the house, I can’t stop the junk mail the gets put in my box, and if I could control my dreams, I’d be a very rich man.
There is one reminder of my divorce, however, that I have just made disappear forever.
My Divorce Tax.
Okay, it’s not really a Divorce Tax, but that’s what I call it because that’s what it seems like to me.
As part of the divorce, I had to pay J her share of the equity in The House on the Hill. I never quite understood this. She cheated on me and chose to end our marriage. She decided she did not want the house. So why the hell did I have to give her money so that she could have the divorce she wanted?
My lawyer told me I had to pay J $8100, which was $8100 more than I had at the time to give to her.
So I had to take out a home equity loan/second mortgage to write a check that, to this day, I still believe should never have been written.
It was a debt that hung around my neck for years. When I tried to refinance my mortgage at one point, the unwanted second mortgage prevented me from getting a really favorable rate with my bank.
That monthly payment was money I didn’t have to spend on other things I needed. Like a new car. Repairs to the house. Furniture to replace the stuff I lost in the divorce.
When Zombie Car finally died over the summer, and I had no choice but to get a new vehicle, that loan payment made my financial situation extremely tight. And stressful.
I’ve been forced to work a ton of overtime since August in order to stay ahead of my payments. I am very tired, bitter, and stressed out as a result.
Last Sunday, however, I wrote a check to make the last payment on my Divorce Tax.
Ding dong, the Divorce Tax is dead!
I can’t even describe what a relief it was to put that check in the mail. I made sure to write “Last Payment” on the memo line, and even managed to be a good guy and not curse J one last time for putting me through that financial hell.
I think of myself as a Hopeless Romantic, but I know that my divorce is a major reason why I’ve had so much trouble with subsequent relationships.
My divorce scarred me, and not just emotionally. The financial scars run deep. Fourteen years of treading water because I was suddenly on my own to pay the mortgage and pay off this Divorce Tax, after having been on such strong financial footing during my marriage.
Maybe now that the Divorce Tax is paid, those scars can heal and I can move forward.
I so badly want to be in love again, to have a special someone, and to have that second income to pay the bills.
Okay, maybe that last one is just an example of my crazy sense of humor.
Or perhaps there is some truth to it.
I think I could open my heart to marriage again. Rachel and I never discussed getting married, but it was something I thought about and could see myself doing. Melissa and I planned on getting married, but maybe things fell apart because of these issues I have been sorting out for a decade and a half.
Divorce hurts the bank statement as well as the heart.
Here’s hoping this particular scar finally heals. I just wish that paying off this debt also meant I’d stop having that nightmare of J trying to kill me in my sleep.
Oh well. It’s not a perfect world…