When I told people I had moved out of my home, and bequeathed our house to my husband in the divorce, people were shocked. Of course, it was a hard decision. After all, my daughter had learned to walk there, I had lovingly painted all the walls the perfect color and had spent countless hours tending to the garden. However, the house was a liability I couldn’t handle. It needed maintenance that I couldn’t afford monetarily, couldn’t do myself and wouldn’t have the time to do given my sudden change in circumstances.
The apartment search was a grueling enterprise. I didn’t want to disrupt my children’s school experience, and refused to move too far. In fact, I had made it a firm condition to myself that their lives would be as disrupted by this divorce as possible. (As possible are the key words here; kids are affected by divorce in ways that will take pages and pages to expand upon.) The immediate area was surrounded by older homes, and run down apartments that had recently been in the newspaper for a drive by homicide. Homes that were similar to the one my husband I had shared were so far out of my budget, it was disheartening. My husband is very critical of everything I do, and would take any opportunity to judge my choices, or try to take full custody of the children. Therefore, I knew I had to find a place that he couldn’t find fault with.
The costs were outrageous. Even tiny two bedroom places exceeded my budget. So, I had to get creative. In a new-ish apartment complex, just 10 minutes away from my children’s school, there was single bedroom apartment in my budget. I was skeptical, but getting desperate. This particular apartment was the smallest in the complex, but it had a loft. As I viewed the property, I could see the possibilities. My children were young, just kindergarten and first grade, so sharing a room-space wasn’t going to be a problem. The space was just like a room, just missing a closet, walls, and a door. It was upstairs, separated from the living quarters, adjacent to the master bedroom. Outside was a large grass area, with a nearby pool and many playgrounds. I signed the lease right there, without consulting anyone.
This choice was very difficult to make. I had looked at houses that were comparable in size and value of my current home. I knew many people who refused to alter their life style, and the husband ended up moving to an apartment or renting rooms. The stigma of the wife keeping the home was one that I had to move past. It wasn’t a typical decision, and it was one that forced me to answer many uncomfortable questions. Later I realized I was acting on instinct for the first time in a very long time. It was empowering. These decisions were the first steps in changing my life’s path for the better.
I hope that if you find yourself or a loved one in similar circumstances, you might find inspiration to be creative with the choices you make. Additionally, don’t be afraid to do things that are different from what you see others doing. Whether you have to move back in with your parents, or settle for an apartment in a risky part of town, only you know what your needs are. Just remember, you are the writer of your own story and if you are in the midst of a divorce, this story is now yours to shape.
Love and Light.