Should I Stay or Should I Go?
I was out early this morning for a 5k run. It’s the start of five days to myself, the boys are at their dads, so I start with positivity and conviction and do my challenge set by a friend, run 5k, donate £5 and challenge 5 people to do the same.
I always get writing ideas whilst out on my run, inspiration for a new business project, or a collaboration. I often forget them when I get home in recovery mode (I need a solution for this!) but not this time – should I stay or should I go came into my mind. As I was running, I was thinking about all those people out there, and likely some of you reading this. People trapped in lockdown with a partner that they don’t want to be with. A partner who is abusing them, mentally and/or physically. And my heart cries for these people.
I just hope that the daily walk gives them/you some release and that they/you can just take each day as it comes. This will end, this will be over one day.
Whenever I am feeling sorry for myself (quite regularly currently) I go back to the 21st March. Just 4 weeks ago. It was the day that my ex, the father of my children, who I had separated from 10 months earlier finally left the house. Just before lockdown.
I was beyond thankful to my solicitor, Neil Donald of Ross Williams Hitchin (the best solicitor except for Sarah Cousins, my friend and also partner in same firm), my accountant for turning around my accounts quickly, my mortgage broker Trussle, and to Santander my mortgage provider. Each person and company did their absolute best to process everything as quickly as possible to free me from the situation I was in.
Two Years Ago
A thought I was having regularly back in 2018 was Should I Stay or Should I Go. 2018 was a stressful year, particularly the beginning. I was in the depths of debt and felt like I would never pay it back. Here is a post from 2018 where I realised I had set completely unrealistic goals about how long it would take to repay the debt. I had gone on a wild spending spree, £12k worth from April to August! Another reaction to high stress for me is emotional spending.
I had the pressure of debt, the pressure of running a very busy business, the pressure of general life as a mum and the pressure of a relationship that was falling apart.
Being in a lot of debt is a hard state of mind to be in. And I would constantly think about it every day, fifty times a day. I desperately wanted to be out of debt. And I made some decisions work wise that earned good money that caused fundamental issues in my marriage.
A huge part of my job is writing for newspapers and magazines along with regular appearances on TV and Radio talking about subjects like debt, family finance, saving for the future. I love this part of my job, it feeds my spirit, my heart. It means I reach a huge audience and can share my message with so many more than my socials and website can reach. It was not a part of my job that my ex-husband was comfortable with ever, just watch that clip from Good Morning Britain mid 2018 and you will understand.
A disagreement turned into a big issue
There was some work published that he did not like. A disagreement turned into months of no communication in any way. I didn’t know what to do, I kept apologising. But my business was earning me good money, I was repaying my debt and I loved my job. I wasn’t going to stop doing that huge part of my job.
Should I stay or should I go was a thought that constantly went through my mind. Staying meant a homelife for my boys with two parents living together (who didn’t communicate in anyway, except the occasional painful dig or argument). Leaving or separating meant parents living in separate houses, less time with my boys. Single mum life.
I didn’t make a decision, by Autumn and Seasonal Affective Disorder arrived I couldn’t face making the biggest decision of my life, so I parked it. And carried on living in a world of pain, arguments, or no communication for weeks on end.
2019 was a very different year
2019 was a very different year. It was the year that saw me pay off my debts, April 2019 was debt free month, £16k had been paid off solely by me in two years! I shouted the story from the rooftops on my social media, on TV, in radio interviews, in an FT article, in The Sun.
There was a trigger moment in May 2019. We had spent a few sessions in counselling some together, a few more alone. Things were still awful. I was heading out to a big award show in London, the Headline Money Awards. My make up on point, hair good, great dress, killer heels. I looks amazing, and I don’t say that often believe me. I walked down the stairs and he looked at me as if I was nothing, meaningless, a piece of dirt.
That was the moment I decided it was over, we were over and separating. Two weeks later I told him. My decision was made it was time to go.
Never have I looked back and regretted my decision, 100% the decision was correct. I want my boys to grow up knowing that their parent is happy. I want them to see positive relationships where parents talk to each other, love each other, show their love. My boys thought their parents were normal, that it was normal to not talk, touch or agree on anything. That makes me sad.
Onwards and upwards. The separation process took forever, ten long months to go through mediation, solicitor meetings, mortgage applications. Ten months of separate rooms, cooking separate meals, trying to co-parent children who are so confused by the whole situation.
I can look back and say it was ten months of absolute hell. I tried to escape as much as I could taking myself and the boys away to Penzance (home), to Bristol (second home where my niece, nephew and Becky live), to Corsica (with Neil) to the sea (many visits to Norfolk, Frinton). The boys and I had the summer of fun with a week in Wells-Next-The-Sea, Standon calling festival, trips out everywhere. I spent a small fortune on getting away.
There were inevitable blow-ups at home, arguments over bills, children’s costs, household chores. In the end everything was completely separated, resorting to spreadsheets that were ignored, lists on walls that ignored. I could not wait until he left.
The plan originally was to sell the house and split the money, but the house didn’t sell. There were offers made at £50k/40k under the asking price. We took the house off the market and I decided that I would buy him out.
Now I sit here on 16th April 2020 free of a broken relationship. It feels amazing to be the sole owner of my house (albeit with a huge mortgage). I am happy, yes, I am actually happy. I recognise that there is a lot of work ahead to repair both my head and my childrens from the pain. Help is being given by the right people. We will get through this.
Help if you need it
If you are reading this nodding your head and want to talk to someone about your situation, I highly recommend a few organisations.
Mind 0300 123 3393
Refuge 0808 2000 247
Relate www.relate.org.uk to get your local office details
Relate had a long waiting list when I investigated and its not free. I used a private relationship counsellor Bob Brotchie. Face to Face and Skype session were used.
And talk to trusted friends, in particular friends who have been through a separation or divorce. Becky and Marianne have been the best of friends throughout this whole process, always checking in, supporting in so many ways. They certainly saved my mental health.