Apologies, in advance, for this post. I usually try to keep my posts upbeat, but I must admit I have been struggling recently. Most days I can pick myself up and get on with things (my daily mantra is ‘just keep going’), but recently there have been more and more days when I just want to shut myself in my house and hide from the world. I don’t think it’s depression, I think it’s just that I’m just completely and utterly weary of everything. I feel so tired. I’m exhausted by the fact that nothing is happening.
My court date is set for 28th October and my solicitor still hasn’t heard from E. I have no idea if he intends to engage with the court process or not, but waiting to find out is a nerve wracking time. I didn’t want things to go this far. I wanted to find an amicable solution. I sent email after email. I offered mediation. I offered the chance to sort things via my solicitor without going to court. But everything was ignored. Now I’ve had to resort to court action, my final resort (ironically, to achieve something E has said he wants – a house sale) and the pressure is beginning to get me down.
I’m now receiving almost daily letters from creditors (including the mobile phone company E owes money to – because he registered the billing address as mine when he took out the contract) and the threat of repossession and eviction is becoming more and more of a reality.
So far I’ve dealt with this by phoning and writing to the creditors, but as the months go on, I’m finding it harder and harder to even open the letters that arrive every week, let alone respond to them. I know what they’re going to say, and I just don’t want to read them. I used to watch programs about people not facing up to debt and roll my eyes at the fact that people just stashed unopened bills somewhere out of sight, but I get it now. It takes a tremendous act of will to open those letters, to read them, to try to deal afresh with them, when really all I can do is endlessly repeat myself, trot out the same story again and again to ever less sympathetic people and hope that they’ll give me a few more weeks, even a few more days before they take legal action.
I am trying to stay upbeat, to keep fighting, but I’ve begun to feel more and more crushed under the weight of everything that’s happening and it’s getting harder and harder to just keep going.
Every weekday I get up, shower and put my work clothes and make up on. It’s like putting on a mask, a semblance of me, so that I can pretend I’m ok and get through the day. But since the whole ‘Facebook thing’ happened, I’m finding work more and more of a struggle. It used to be a kind of refuge from all the stuff at home, but now it’s just another place where I feel slightly threatened, mistrusted, not valued.
When I get home it’s often all I can do to cook a meal or clean the house, all I want to do is pour a glass of wine, and sit blankly in front of the TV (usually doing a Sudoku – which stops me thinking about anything except the logic the puzzle needs). I feel like I’m failing the kids. I’m doing my best to reassure them, but they aren’t stupid, they can see that I’m tried and stressed and that must be deeply unsettling for them.
I do my accounts every day so that I can check that the essentials are being paid and keep an eye on how much cash I have. Because my parents are helping pay for my food, and the boys’ school lunches, my salary can pay the bills and keep us ticking over. But until the child maintenance starts being paid, I can’t pay the Secured Loan company – and they are the ones whose threat of legal action is ever more present (as I’ve mentioned before, they contact me regularly, but nothing ever changes, and at some point they will have no choice but to make good on their threat to seek a Possession Order for the house). I worry about what will happen when I do sell the house – how will I find somewhere to rent with a wrecked credit record. Even though I’ve done everything right and worked with StepChange to arrange a TPP, my creditors have all put a six year charge on my credit record. These plus the default notices on my account because of E’s missed Secured Loan payments mean I’ll fail every credit check I go through for the next six or more years. I don’t want another loan or credit card, but I will have to undergo a credit check if I want to rent a house.
And still there are no child maintenance payments. E now owes me around £15,000. This would enable me to clear all the Secured Loan arrears that E built up and clear a lot of my credit. It would allow me to live within my means and provide for my children, but, even if the CMS do succeed and start taking money direct from E’s salary, his arrears are being collected at a pitifully tiny rate (around £100 a month), which means it will take E around 13 years to clear them. I suspect that unless the court is kind, I may never see that money. The CMS has assured me that they start taking payments at the end of October, but I’m weary of their promises. I won’t celebrate until I actually see a payment.
I want to move on, I want a life all of my own, but I E’s actions (or lack thereof), his failing to make child maintenance payments, his defaulting on the Secured Loan, his refusal to engage with anyone about anything are wrecking everything. He has moved on with his life. I would love to move on with mine, but he’s making that impossible – I am trapped in a situation I can’t afford. I didn’t ever want to dislike him. I had hoped that at some point we’d have some sort of friendship for the sake of the kids and to deal, like grown-ups, with the fact that there would be things like graduations, weddings, and christenings that we’d have to do as parents. I always hoped that even though we were no longer a couple that we could still be parents. It looks like even that will not be possible.
As time has gone on lots of people have, quite understandably, questioned me making the stand I did over selling the house (the question is pretty much always ‘why don’t you just sell up and move on?’). They’re right – I could have agreed with E’s demand to sell immediately. I could now be living somewhere rented with a good credit record and no debt. But each time I doubt myself, I realise that E was always going to be capable of behaving like this, and that he could have pulled the financial rug out from under my feet at any time he chose after I’d sold the house. In a way, it’s good that he’s shown his true colours before I sold my only asset. In a way it’s good that I’ve had to force everything into court, where I’ll get a legally binding agreement (whether he will stick by that remains to be seen, but at least I’ll have some legal redress if he doesn’t).
I know this post sounds down, but I am ok – honest – I’m just really, really weary of everything. I’m the sort of person who likes to ‘do’, being forced to wait, being left to deal with an unchanging situation is knackering. I guess there is a light at the end of the tunnel – the 28th October is getting closer and if E turns up we’ll hopefully get something sorted (if he doesn’t I’ll just have to wait a few more weeks to get things sorted). I console myself with the thought that this time next year this will all be a bad memory, another thing I can be proud I got through. In the meantime, I guess all I can do is keep going, keep putting one foot in front of another, getting through the next five minutes, then the next five. I’ll be ok, I just sometimes wish the world, and E, would give me a break (or at least a rest).