Family life

“We decided to divorce—then the lockdown happened"

It’s very hard to be in the same house with my husband, but I just keep looking at my kids.

By as told to Danielle Groen, Chatelaine
“We decided to divorce—then the lockdown happened"

Illustration: Chantal Bennett

I make $150,000 a year, but my husband has me on a monthly allowance: $400 a month to spend on myself. If, say, I go $60 over, I start the next month $60 in the hole. He’s always been very controlling about money. At the start of our marriage, nine years ago, I thought maybe I needed a bit of that in my life. But then I started making more than him. I wanted to enjoy my money, and I asked to revisit this allowance. He said no. I thought, “What am I doing? I’m being treated like a child.”

We have a very traditional household. I cook, I clean, I take care of our seven-year-old twins. Don’t even get me started on the sex—it’s just one-sided. The resentment started to grow. He has actually asked me, “When was the last time you cleaned the baseboards?” We had this huge blowout last summer, and I let out everything that was bothering me. I told him I was sick and tired of feeling like an employee in our marriage. I said, “I want to separate.”

The plan was to tell the kids after the school year ended and sell the house in June. This man is not going anywhere till we settle our finances. We sleep in separate rooms—I just told the kids, “Mommy prefers this room”—and I still cook dinner every night. But now, with the lockdown, I can’t go out and socialize. I can’t have a break. And he’s always in a bad mood.

We don’t fight, but we take more and more cheap shots at each other. He started online dating—he showed up in my girlfriend’s matches, and she was like, “Hey, isn’t this your husband?” So I’ll go to him and say, “That’s a horrible picture of you. Would you like me to take a better one?” Or he ordered this book, 107 Proven Ways to Get the Girl, and left it lying around. Just cheap shots that way.

We’re going through financial disclosure right now, and it’s hell. We’re on a lot of different calls with different lawyers. I would love to grab a bottle of wine and drink it all, but I don’t want him to think I’ve suddenly picked up an alcohol problem and use that against me when it comes to custody. I’m taking pictures of his Crown Royal bottles just in case. This is enemy territory. If the kids test my patience, and I raise my voice, I feel I need to be really careful in those situations. Every step, every move, I have to be cautious. People’s worst colours come out during separation—even without a lockdown.

If the kids weren’t around, I would have gone to my mom’s or gotten a freaking air mattress and just slept on that somewhere. It’s very hard to be in the same house with my husband, but I just keep looking at my kids. I don’t want them to think back on this as some horrendous moment. And I can look back and say that I came out of it so much stronger.

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