How Divorce Stole My Innocence

People will do terrible things in the name of money and winning

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Photo Courtesy of Caleb Oquendo on Pexels

In grade school, I was told I was a natural swimmer. But every time that Swim Team whistle blew my stomach turned and twisted.

I am not a competitive girl.

At least not the individual type. Give me a good team sport like softball or soccer and I can prosper. But duking it out with just one person — never my thing.

Foolishly, in my youth, I should have forced myself to compete.

My husband always said, “It’s MY money.”

Sure, I heard him.

There’s this thing called anger that makes people say all kinds of stupid things.

Yup, I heard my husband when he called it “MY money.”

But I was so innocent.

I knew good people.

The kinda people who bring you dinner when you are sick. The kinda people who pick your kids up from the bus. The kinda people who fight to pay the dinner tab. The kinda people who make your world feel safe.

The kinda people who are individuals but do life as a team sport.

Sure, there were clues. Like the time I found the key to a P.O. Box. But innocent people are naive. Not a red flag here. Instead, I just inquisitively questioned why my husband would need this peculiar new address. After all, everything had always shipped to our home or our office.

By the time I understood why ruthless competitors need alternate addresses the money was gone.

Gone for so long it couldn’t be found.

Did I mention, innocent people tend to stay for longer than they should in unhappy relationships. Long enough for seven years worth of bank records to manifest little in the way of clues.

There were enough hints to know how innocently naive and trusting I had been. Just not enough to track “His money.”

In grade school, you could tell on cheaters. On liars. On bullies. On people who hurt people. On people who did really really bad things. There was an equilibrium. Moms and Dads. Teachers and administrators. Coaches and refs.

The people who kept order in our young lives.

People can hurt you.

They can hurt your children. They can make a divorce last forever. They can take your money. They can take your security. They can take your dignity. They can take your emotional peace.

All you are left with is the fantasy of fairness.

But the judge doesn’t really know you or the one behaving badly.

The judge only witnesses you both for an hour if that. It’s hard to see sneaky competitors. There are no tests for cheating. No indicator that an otherwise normal-looking individual could be capable of such ruthlessness. And the records of wrongdoing can be lost in a mere seven years.

Thus, by the time my stomach twisted and turned and recognized this agonizing one on one — it was too late.

My husband had won.

But divorce is seldom fair.

With no parental controls…

It didn’t just cost me “MY money.”

It cost me my innocence.

National Relationship Columnist, Freelance Journalist & Former Business Columnist. All Shapes of Love — #WomanResurrected colleen.sheehy.orme@gmail.com

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