Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Tale of Two Credit Cards

The truly amazing thing about my ex-husband is that, even more than two years later, he can continue to fuck up my life in new and remarkable ways.

Many of you know that Mark and I are attempting to buy his grandma's house.  To that end, we applied for a home loan and had our credit reports run by the mortgage company.  Honestly? I wasn't worried.  I had (I thought) no debt outside what I owe my parents.  I had (I thought) no credit cards attached to my name.  (All this was in accordance with the divorce papers, wherein, for the sake of getting rid of my ex, I agreed to pay half of 10 grand in debt that I didn't even know some of the origin of, on cards that were opened before we married.)  I've paid all my bills on time for over two years now.  I have a steady job with a consistent and decent income.  What could go wrong?


Never, ever, ask that question.

What could go wrong was ten years ago I married someone I shouldn't have.  I married someone who could not be trusted with money and yet insisted that he be in charge of paying all the bills (in spite of my repeated requests to take over some of the bill-paying when my phone would be turned off from months upon months of the bill not being paid, or when I would get calls from credit card companies looking for past-due payment).  I married someone who (as I discovered) actively hid credit card bills from me, all the while insisting that I exist off an "allowance" of $160 a month.  Moreover, I married someone who literally stopped paying his bills after he left St. Louis.

Really, that should be completely beside the point.  I could care less what he did after he finally got the hell out or how he ruins his own life.  I got several debt collection letters in his name and gladly forwarded them on to his mother's address.  Whatever.

What's pissing me off is that my name was still apparently attached to two credit cards as an authorized user (one of which I have literally no knowledge or record of), which were eventually closed and written off as bad debt.

And therefore my credit score is down.  Significantly.

Needless to say, I was upset.

... Upset may not be a strong enough word.  Frustrated, maybe?  Angry?  Pissed off, perhaps?

Now, I may be biased, but I believe my anger (and that is, I have decided, the best word for it) is pretty justified.  I paid off "my half" of the credit card bills, after all.  I've been responsible and self-sufficient and managed to keep my life together in the middle of a divorce and losing my job.  And what do I get for it?

Bad credit, that's what I get.

I get a reminder, in the middle of a meeting with our loan agent, of what my life used to be like.  I get that old familiar feeling of anxiety tightening in my chest.  I get insomnia and bad dreams and, insult upon injury, I lose my appetite.  I get to dread the possibility that I will actually have to talk to my ex and convince him to call a credit card company to get my name off these damn cards.

I realize, of course I realize, that this could all have been avoided if I just hadn't gotten married 10 years ago.  Or if I had insisted on being an equal partner, like I should have.  Or if I hadn't been so pathetically naive.  Or if.  Or if.  Or if.  I could (and have) lose sleep over or ifs.


Long story short, after digging through fascinatingly horrifying old bills and paperwork last night, I called the credit card companies this morning and got my name taken off the cards.  It was... surprisingly painless?  I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but in the meantime I'm just hoping it really was that easy.

So?  There's that.  And even if getting cards deleted off my credit report isn't the best thing ever, it has to be better than having my name attached to two bad debts.

And now I can move on with the process of buying a house, moving, and getting married.  And I can be unendingly grateful that that life is no longer mine, that I have a fiance' who leaves chocolate in my lunchbag when I'm stressed instead of notes about how we don't have enough money to pay rent, who puts up with my moods instead of telling me I'm a bitch, and who doesn't think it's beneath him to actually do chores or cook or clean.

Am I laying it on a little too thick?  That's just because I really need to keep him around.  After all, he has a better credit score than I do.

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