It was slightly before six a.m. when I heard the all too familiar sound of my iPhone vibrating against the bedside table. With my head still nestled comfortably on my pillow, I reached for the phone, expecting to see an assortment of bargain alerts from Amazon Local. Instead, the text was from my ex-husband, the father of my three boys, and the man who was once my everything — that is, until the day he decided that a woman with pink hair and glitter eye shadow was more desirable than his college sweetheart and wife of nearly 20 years.
There it was in small but bold letters, “I am not paying you what I owe for Dec.” No explanation, no apologies, nothing.
I felt a familiar sense of anxiety creeping over me. As the tears threatened to spill, it hit me. Regardless of what the court documents said, I was still dependent on this man.
Like many divorces, mine had not been a pleasant one. It was difficult enough to get past the infidelity, abandonment and that place of staring at the floor trying to figure out how in the hell you are going to put one foot in front of the other. Some days, all I wanted to do was crawl back in bed and hide under the security of my fluffy down comforter. Compounded with my remorse was my loss of purpose and the need to somehow regain the independence I once had.
Back in time and pre-kids, I was working on a pedigree that would have paved the road to Wall Street. I was Vice President of a Boston-based private equity fund when I had my first child, and completely underestimated the power that my eight-pound bundle of joy would bring. Without hesitation (like, the very next day) I opted out. That’s right…I quit. I gave up my six-figure salary, millions of dollars in future earnings, and everything that I had worked toward for the past decade. Was I crazy? Maybe. But for me, given all the factors that were placed before me at that moment, it was the right choice. What I did not realize then, as a young mom and a madly-in-love wife, was that said choice also caused me to relinquish my independence. I handed it over to my husband, a man whom I loved and trusted. I assumed he would value and respect that choice.
Instead, 16 years later he fired me.