Is It Love That You’re Feeling, or Poverty You’re Fearing

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Let’s admit it.

Some people are not together because of they are in love, and some people aren’t staying together for love. Many couples are staying together solely for financial reasons.

People are staying together to avoid poverty and/or drastic lifestyle changes to be exact.

There are many reasons people are choosing to live in misery instead of splitting up and finding someone who loves them regardless of their financial circumstances. We often get caught up in looking at what appears to be a picture-perfect marriages and relationships thinking they are something we should aspire to achieve without knowing all the dirty little secrets.

Divorce: It’s Cheaper to Keep Her (or Him)

Many couples choose to stay together long after the love is gone, or death do us asunder because it will cost more to divorce than it would to stay together. We all know someone who went through a bad divorce. They can barely make ends meet because of the child support and alimony. Most say if they had to do it again, they wouldn’t.

It’s cheaper to keep her… and be a discreet cheat!

Wealth is More Comfortable Than Starting Over

Sometimes the wealth a couple has accrued over a period of time in a relationship, or the lifestyle one part of the couple has become accustomed to without a doubt causes the unhappy spouse or partner to give pause before ending their marriage.

Again, some people value wealth, trips, riches, access to a joint bank account, looking at the zeros in the 401K that will certainly disappear should a divorce occur, or a family home over their happiness. Poverty is not a good look for them. Even if they won’t be poor, they prefer all the wealth, not a portion of it.

Money and trinkets can make some people think twice about leaving a bad relationship after the love is gone.

Pride Won’t Come if the Marriage Doesn’t Fall

Too many couples are worried about giving the appearance of being perfect, even when they both know their marriage or relationship is terrible. Perfect wife, perfect life, right?

Well, not exactly.

Plenty of people in miserable, sexless, unhappy marriages will stay so they can work hard to maintain the mirage of a perfect, healthy marriage. Money can make anything look good, including shit (just look at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). Staying married looks better even if both parties are miserable, and couples don’t have to worry about explaining to church members, family, friends or professional colleagues how such a beautiful marriage ended.

Pride, not love, keeps many couples together.

The Winner Is… The Former Non-Bread Winning Spouse

The thought of lifetime alimony payments being awarded to a former underemployed or unemployed stay-at-home/homemaker/mentally-ill spouse is enough to make bread winning spouses think twice about getting divorced. Courts often penalize spouses who work outside of the home to no end, especially if the unemployed spouse has mental health issues or stayed home rearing children full-time, even if the children are adults and out of the home at the time of the divorce. It makes it difficult for the spouse on the hook for alimony to move forward.

Our family court systems have decided to penalize people who can no longer get along and want to divorce. Suffering has become monetized to reduce the number of divorces, without taking into consideration the reasons people need to separate. Why does divorce have to ruin a person’s finances forever?

We all know someone who is bitter about what they believe was an unfair divorce settlement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve men talking about how hard they worked to make money and provide for their family and a judge just gives “their” life’s earnings away. Like it or not, fear of forking over wealth accumulated over time to a spouse one deems “undeserving” is a reason many stay in marriages.

Sometimes after getting a preliminary report from a seasoned divorce attorney about what it will cost to end a divorce, especially when there are extenuating circumstances like spouses with mental illnesses who were unable to secure or maintain employment or a spouse who stayed home to care for a child with special needs full-time, staying outweighs the cost and drama associated with leaving a bad relationship.

Cheating for many is much better and more cost effective than leaving a bad relationship or marriage. It’s cheaper to keep her/him!

Downgrading Feels Terrible

Having married someone who had gone through a bitter, costly divorce I got to see firsthand the impact divorce has on credit scores, employment opportunities, bank accounts, retirement, child support and alimony obligations, refinancing the marital home, etc. It’s terrible, it’s stressful, and it seems sometimes one partner (usually the breadwinner) is penalized excessively for ending the marriage.

Not only are some punished excessively, they are punished forever! For some people, alimony is death do us part.

Having divorced myself a few years ago, I know intimately how one contemplates the such drastic life changes prior to deciding to pull the life support from a marriage. I decided no amount of money or assets was worth my happiness, or my soon-to-be exes either. We mutually decided what to split, how to split it, and I did not want his new life to be impeded by providing me with financial supports when I was fully capable of caring for myself.

People told me I was a fool for walking away without “alimony” to make my ex suffer financially, but I felt at peace because the ties were completely broken. I knew he was already on the hook for life for one woman, and it helped to ruin my marriage. Why make another woman suffer with him dealing with two ex-wives getting a portion of his monthly income? Just end it and move on. That’s the mature thing to do.

I personally didn’t feel like it was fair. I chose to be my own judge. I feel I’ll be blessed some other way at the right time.

The other thing people on the outside didn’t understand was that part of the reason my marriage ended was because of a long-term financial obligation to a previous spouse who was perfectly capable of taking care of herself, had been in the military, retained a professional certification, and did not pay child support despite being ordered to as we raised her child (and put him through college). My ex, already defeated from the original divorce fight, feared the court would find something else for him to fork over money for, so he allowed her to escape her financial obligations while ensuring he met his.

It wasn’t fair to me, and the old shit from the old marriage shitted up the next one. His baggage became mines.

His previous marriage baggage was stressful, and we spent lots of money going to court just to protect our assets from her. Some states have outdated, punitive spousal support laws, making it difficult for divorced ex-spouses (usually the men or the wealthiest spouse in the marriage) to survive after the marriage ends.

Some people can’t see beyond their desire to make an ex-partner suffer financially, which could cause harm on the ex’s future relationships. The divorce and alimony can be seen as a tie that binds.

Fortunately, I have seen the damage caused on both sides of the coin. I wouldn’t want someone cursing my memory every time they spoke my name because I represented financial distress. Staying was bad. Leaving was going to be bad.

It was just bad.

Because I have lived with and lived without at different times during my life, I had no issue downsizing. Peace means everything to me, even if it means I like in a room. But for many men and women, downsizing isn’t an option. Taking an “L” isn’t a bad thing. It’s just life.

It’s Survival of the Fittest

Sometimes people marry or co-habitate because poverty took precedence over love. People today are seeking alternative ways to survive, and sizing a person up based on their assumed wealth, potential wealth, and housing situation are primary reasons for selecting a significant other, not love. Sadly, many women are taught at a very young age to assess a man’s ability to provide for them before marriage, so this so-called “survival of the fittest” strategy is nothing new.

Too bad people don’t focus on teaching their kids to be good spouses and significant others or how to cultivate healthy relationships so that we can avoid bad breakups. Our infatuation with money can manifests itself in a variety of ways, especially when choosing to live in misery or divorce to part with our riches.

Relationships are frequently the number one place our individual priorities and true character shine brightest.

Folks today are cash strapped and they are looking for ways to simply make it. No matter how miserable some people may be in a relationship or a marriage, making it (surviving) is more important than love.

If you’re just looking for a roommate or help, so say. Don’t blame love on your marriage or co-habitation situation.

People these days are thinking ahead and being more methodically in staying more than leaving, especially if they’ve been to the divorce dance before. Only the strong will survive, and this game is mental more than physical. So please beware.

For many couples, love and poverty go hand in hand. They just don’t know it. As it gets more and more challenging to live solo or post-divorce, look for more people to make mirage commitments.

Are you in a relationship? Are you in love, scared to divorce because of the long-term financial obligations, or just surviving?

Is it love that you’re feeling, or poverty that you’re fearing?

Marley K., 2018

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Buy Our Human Family’s “Field Notes For Allyship, Achieving Equality Together,” the new tool for allies available at Amazon.com| I 🖤 www.ko-fi.com/marleyk

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