The Heart

Selling your home is devastating.

Scratch that.

Being forced to sell your home is devastating.

When I found out about my ex’s affair, we immediately decided I would stay in the house. An hour after he admitted to yet another infidelity, he was packing his bags and leaving our home. Fast forward a couple months and we decided I would take the house in the divorce and he would take his retirement. That was the agreement.

It remained the agreement for about a year, until my ex blew all of his money. With our mutual savings account drained, and his credit cards maxed, he decided he needed money.  Oh, and let’s add a little more salt to the wound. A month ago, my incredibly intelligent ex-husband proposed to his mistress. Mind you, we’re still legally married. But apparently, they decided the best way to pay for their wedding and his credit card debt was to force me to sell my home.

So, about 3-4 weeks before an agreement meeting between us and our lawyers, he tells me he wants to either be bought out of his portion of the equity or we have to sell the house. And because I don’t have thousands of dollars just lying around to pay him out, I was forced into selling it.

Now, I will say after lots of prayer, and sound guidance, I decided selling the house was the best move for me and my son. But it doesn’t change the fact that it freaking sucks. This is my home. I remember pulling into the driveway and seeing the “Welcome Home” banner hanging on the garage when I brought my son home from the hospital. Every room holds a memory. I’ve thrown Halloween parties, Christmas parties, and engagement parties here. I’ve laughed, cried, and played in every room of this house. For the past nine years, I’ve called this place home. The first stable home I’ve had apart from my childhood home.

I’ve had wonderful memories here. But the truth is, I’ve also had some of the worst memories of my life in this house. Three years later, and I can still remember finding out about that first affair like it was yesterday. Slowly walking into my bedroom to confront my sleeping husband about the “I love you too baby” text I had just found. It’s the only time in my entire life where I was truly, and completely, shocked. I remember crying in the hallway from exhaustion as my newborn lay crying in his crib; my husband sleeping soundly in the other room. I remember the pain, the sadness, and the loneliness. So yes, I’ve seen both the good, and the very bad, while living here.

But it’s not really the move that upsets me. It’s the lack of choice.

Once again, my ex-husband has removed my choice for the direction of MY life. Once again, I’m forced to make a dramatic life altering decision because of him. Because of the choices HE has made.

And the complete lack of empathy is astounding. Since we listed the house, our realtor has said on several occasions how surprising his lack of compassion is. Not only does he not understand that gravity of the situation, but he just doesn’t care. He literally asked why I would need time to look for a new place to live.

Uh, maybe because I now have two ninety-pound dogs and a four-year-old to provide for, jackass. Maybe because, I have to pack up and go through nine years worth of memories and possessions without any help from the man who’s forced my hand. That I’ll need to sell or donate my personal belongings because I either won’t have room or need to downsize.

And it won’t just be one day with a series of “keep” “donate” and “sell” piles. And it won’t be just one night with a glass of red wine while Adele sings in the background. It’ll be heartbreak. Gut-wrenching and devastating heartbreak as I slowly go through the baby clothes, furniture and baby toys I kept for future children I’ll never have. A dream he killed with his selfishness and his weakness. It’s saying good-bye to the life I had and the life he took from me.

And while I grieve the loss of my home, I continue to live in the “unknown”. It’s been a couple months since I listed my house and I still don’t know where I’m moving, when I’m moving, or if I’ll be able to afford it. I don’t know if I’ll have enough money for a deposit, closing costs, inspections, appraisals, repairs, etc. And while I’m barely managing to pull together enough money to attempt to give me and my son a fresh start, I’m fronting all the costs for the sale. My ex-husband apparently doesn’t have enough money to hire a gardener, but he has enough to buy an engagement ring.

Then to put the rotting cherry on top of the messed up sundae, he sends me this ridiculous email:

“Per our agreement, you are to inform me of your new place of residence 45-days prior to moving. You have yet to send me your new address. Our son says you are living with your best friend.”

Oh really? Our son said I’m living with my best friend? Well, if he tells you Santa Claus is living on Candy Cane Lane where nachos and ice cream don’t give you love handles, please let me know. Because I’ll for sure be there.

No jackal, I can’t provide my address because I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M LIVING BECAUSE OF YOU.

This, ladies and gentleman, is my ex.

But the truth is, he didn’t take all of my choices. I still had a decision to make. I could become bitter and resentful over losing my home. White knuckle my house and my possessions, screaming “it’s not fair” at the top of my lungs, or I could let go.

Sometimes it’s hard to trust that God’s plan is greater than our own. When life becomes overwhelming, and the stress of it all becomes consuming, we tend to drift further from God. But those are the times we need to draw nearer. There have been times throughout the past couple of months where I’ve had to literally check myself and begin praying. “Father, your will and not mine. I’m trusting your plan for my life.”

One of the first things I tell myself is, “it’s just things.”

It’s just a house.

It doesn’t change the person I am, or the person I want my son to be. It doesn’t make me better or worse. I’m not a good person because of the size of my house, its furnishings, or the flooring. Keeping my house will not make me happy or fulfilled.

I told someone recently, that while I like nice things and good food (I mean who doesn’t?) I really care about the heart of a person. I am surrounded by amazing men and women, not because of their accomplishments or their money, but because of their amazing hearts.

My husband’s affairs, and the subsequent divorce, has taught me an extremely important lesson. You can’t buy character.

Loyalty, respect, honor, compassion mean more to me than anything else. Because everything else can be taken away. Your marriage, your house, your car, your future. In the snap of your fingers, it can all be taken away. I can’t control the type of person my ex is, or the influence he has on my son. But I can control the person I am, and who I want my son to see when he looks at me. Silently watching. And more than anything, I want him to be a good man. I want him to care more about the heart, than about money. I want him to care about the quality of a person, rather than quality of things.

I want him to learn, that in this life we “will” have troubles. But those troubles do not define us. Our reactions do.