I make $2,500 every two weeks, after taxes, working somewhere in the ballpark of a 60-hour week. $1,700 of that money goes to my first ex-wife for child support. No word yet on how much of it will go to my soon-to-be ex-wife, for more child support. I’m in my mid-forties, I don’t own my home—not for lack of trying—and my bank balance, after I get paid and before I pay the bills, reads -$1,200.
The rapid descent started, I guess, in 2016. My wife and I had been married for a few years. She’d been going to school to become a massage therapist, and I supported her financially through it. It took three years, and it was like pushing an elephant up a hill with a feather, but she finally graduated and established a steady clientele. She was making good money and things started looking up for us.
We talked about it and decided to start trying to have a baby. Of course, a heartbeat later, she was pregnant. The house I had bought—a $272,000 investment on which I still owe $222,000 after almost 10 years of payments (high interest, zero money down, 40-year mortgage)—was starting to fall apart. There were 252 broken tiles on the main floor. There was no way I would bring this little geezer into a world with crawling hazards.
I slowly started repairing the main floor, by myself, after work. I couldn’t do it while she was awake and about, because the fumes from the chemicals could hurt her and the baby. So I fixed most of it from the hours of 10pm to 3am, during which she slept in our bedroom. At 6am, I’d wake up to go to work. But I told my wife—”No matter what’s happening, you can always come talk to me; I’m always here for you.”
I get home from work one day and I find her in the bedroom, crying.
She tells me, “I cheated on you.”
And then she says, “But that’s not the worst of it. I’ve been reported at work, and I’m going to be fired, lose my license, and have to pay a fortune in fines.”
I ask her how many times she slept with him and she says once. To confirm, I look through her billing—she’s a contractor and has to keep her own records—and she’d been seeing this guy an average of thirteen times a month for the last nine months. His wife had found text messages that he’d erased on his phone and called the local board that regulates massage therapists to report my wife.
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