Emotional Happiness or Financial Security?

I was talking to someone who came through our department the other day. She was there to observe what we do and we got to talking. The topic of me being divorced came up, as did my new dating life. She asked me which I felt was more important- financial security or emotional well being.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a trick question. Looking back over the 20 years I was with Jerry Lee I can see how our marriage wasn’t a great one. We probably had a decent five years but even then there were signs he wasn’t going to be all in. I’ve already written about his reluctance to go to my grandpa’s funeral with me. He didn’t attend my friend’s wedding in Chicago with me. Didn’t go to my class reunion with me. And I’m not quite sure he ever went to my grandparent’s or dad’s house again after we went down to announce our engagement. He was also a no show at my best friend’s wedding, didn’t come to support me when I went skydiving, couldn’t be bothered to take time off of work when my ectopic pregnancy was finally found, and didn’t go to either of my grandmothers’ funerals.

In comparison the Mobster is amazing. He’s a wonderful partner. Not only does the man go to funerals, weddings, and company parties with me he travels 10 1/2 hours to do so! Okay, the funeral was in Virginia but still… my point remains.

I have never felt so loved by a man in my life. He listens to me. He laughs with me. He supports me, encourages me, stands up for me, and is willing to help me in any way possible. He is an all in partner in every way.

Do you prefer the emotional well-being or the financial well-being?

I’ve got a bill sitting on my dining room table from the hospital where my daughter went to the ER. I haven’t even got the courage to open it yet. I wouldn’t blink an eye in my old life (primarily because we had great fucking insurance and it probably would have cost me a $50 co-pay but that’s a rant for another day!).

I used to be able to drop a couple hundred of dollars on my daughter when she said she needed new shorts or a new wardrobe.

I used to be able to buy my son a new game system if I felt like it.

I used to be independent. I lived in my own home. I had furniture and dishes and possessions accumulated throughout over 45 years of living.

Quite honestly, the last eight years or so of our marriage I didn’t have to worry about money much at all, and in that last year I didn’t worry.

Now I worry about money every month.

There have been times when I briefly wished both of my kids were self-sufficient and out on their own because trying to meet their needs was overwhelming to me. I still count down until the day I no longer have to pay over $200 a paycheck to cover them on my insurance. I never did that before.

There are times I don’t know if he’s going to pay spousal support or child support and Picasso needs one thing and Rock Star needs another thing and they all converge on me and I begin to have a mini nervous breakdown. Their needs and even their wants were met without a blink of an eye before.

I always figured we would always be there to help them out if they needed it. Both of them would have college paid for. We would send them money each month while they were away at college. My pipe dream fantasy at one point was to buy enough land where we could build a house and both kids could build their own homes so they would never leave me. My kids and grandkids would all live in close proximity.

It’s a trick question.

I think we all know money doesn’t buy happiness. I think we also know that while it may not guarantee happiness it sure makes life easier.

No matter how happy I am no bank is going to loan me a couple hundred thousand to buy a house. No store is going to let me have groceries based upon a happy relationship. I can’t buy new shoes for my growing son or pay utilities with love.

I’d like to borrow two hundred thousand dollars to buy a house.

You don’t make enough money for us to lend you two hundred thousand dollars.

But I’m really happy!

M’am, that’s not how lending and finance works.

Well damn!

In an ideal world I’d have both. I’d be working a job that made me a shit ton of money and I’d come home each day to the mobster. Or at least I’d have a job where I made enough to support myself and my kids and have some left over.

I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t go back to Jerry Lee for any amount of money. I am far, far happier with the Mobster than I ever was with him.

I’ve already psychoanalyzed myself and decided that all the shopping I did and all the material goods made up for a marriage that was lacking.

I still think it’s a trick question. Would you rather be able to feed your children or be in love?

5 thoughts on “Emotional Happiness or Financial Security?

  1. My advice to all young women is to be financially independent.
    To always be able to support yourself, regardless of your partners wealth.

    This has always been my stance, even while married for 20 years. Some years I was the higher earned.

    I thought hard about staying home with my kids, but in the end compromises, returning to work on a partial schedule.

    I was fortunate that I had worked a number of years by then and my company agreed.

    My divorce has been so much easier because I am not in any way reliant on my ex’s money, although I gladly take his child support. The kids should not suffer.

    It’s the best advice you can give your kids.

    I’m glad you have found happiness. You deserve it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is excellent advice. I wish I had taken it. Instead I made terribly bad life decisions based upon the idea I would never divorce him. In hindsight I would have never even agreed to move the first time. I would have concentrated on my own career. I would have put my kids in daycare and suffered the outrageous costs for a few years, knowing it would be worth it in the end. I wouldn’t have given up my much loved job when my daughter was born. Staying at home with my kids was the biggest mistake of my life, next to marrying the jackass I did. While I loved it when I did it it was a mistake, and it’s a mistake that so many women make. Then again, I guess if you get through this life without divorcing it’s not such a big mistake after all.

      I tell my daughter all the time, “Don’t quit your job. Don’t ever rely upon your husband’s money. Don’t be like me.”

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  2. Money begets stability, if you choose it. I choose money.

    I’d rather be unhappy and be financially secure than unhappy and destitute. I don’t need the passion and the stuff… but my baseline is that I need to be ABLE to be independent. I would rather have a well-off partner who is kind than a poor man who has only passion… passion turns on you.

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    1. I tend to agree with you to a point. Money definitely begets stability. I’ve always admitted I would have never left. I had no desire to get a divorce. Up until the very end I wasn’t UNhappy; I thought what I had was normal. I knew other men did more with their wives and kids but, oh well, that’s the straw I drew. Ultimately I didn’t have a choice though. And the thought of going back to him now makes my skin crawl.

      I suppose if you have the choice between a well-off partner who is kind and a poor man with only passion then you would be better off to pick the well-off man. Unfortunately, those aren’t always the choices. I would hope not too many would pick the well-off man who was an asshole and didn’t treat them right over the man who might not make as much money but who would be a loving, giving partner.

      In my case, it’s not even about the ex or my love. It’s more like, “Are you happier now even though you don’t have the money you once had?” The answer is yes, I am, but I’m also always under a financial rock. That’s not because of anything the mobster lacks. I’m sure that if I agreed to marry him or I moved in with him we would have a wonderful life. I don’t think I would want for anything. The problem is I don’t want to be reliant upon another man. I don’t want my financial security to rest in someone else’s hands.

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