Seth traded our luxury home to our business partners in an effort to keep his company. We found a home to rent and moved into a normal neighborhood. Nothing fancy- just a regular middle class neighborhood where kids rode their bikes in the street and everyone waved to each other as they passed by. I was content. We could actually afford this house and live within our means. I was hopeful that the roller coaster had come to a halt. This is the part where I lift the bar and exit to my left.
I gave birth to my second daughter while living in this home and shortly after, I felt the tensions start to rise. Less than six months after moving into the rental home, he wanted out. It started with a Sunday drive to our local coffee shop and a few glances through the real estate section of the local newspaper. Then it turned into a “lets go look at a few houses to kill time”. Within a few weeks, he had a realtor and was looking at homes. Not just any houses but very high-end houses. Originally, we agreed to a home price of $800,000 or lower. This was our compromise. I couldn’t handle the stress of another huge mortgage and he couldn’t handle the embarrassment of living in a home that wasn’t up to his standards.
He found a gated community and begged me to drive through with the realtor and just look. We were greeted by a magnificent gate and a guard who eagerly greeted the happy, blond couple in the Mercedes with two bouncing baby girls in the backseat. The all American family. We drove through the most amazing neighborhood complete with tennis courts, plans for an equestrian center, lakes, trails and million-dollar homes. As we made our way through the 550 acre neighborhood with rolling hills and breathtaking vistas, I felt like crying. It was happening again.
We pulled our car into the driveway of the house which sat on the highest hilltop of the community. The happy realtor pulled in next to us and I realized that I needed to put on my “public face” which is also known as the fake smile, on-cue laugh and trophy-wife persona.
I followed them into the house and I was in awe. This was the home that famous people would have lived in. Rich people live in homes like this. We couldn’t live in a home like this. He lit up. He walked through the home room by room and I followed behind him with a newborn and two-year old in my arms. He looked so happy. He never looked this happy. In fact, he always looked depressed. I wanted to be happy again. I craved happiness. My happiness was dependent on his mood– his day and his world. If he wasn’t happen then he was miserable to be around. I felt a glimmer of hope.
Seth wanted this home. If this is what it took for him to be happy then I would support him. He claimed that he could make it work and told me 150 reasons why it was such a brilliant investment. It was listed at 1.2 million but appraised at 1.6 million. He talked over me which I was accustomed to– real estate lingo that he knew I didn’t understand. He promised me that he would never touch the equity– never refinance the house again. He promised. He told me of his plan to pay his parents back the money he gambled (and lost) from their retirement (their entire retirement). He rolled his eyes at me when I pressed him to understand how we could afford this. It was the same look he always gave me, “you are so stupid— leave the money and business decisions to me”. His perfect SAT scores, his pre-med background and college education. Who was I to question him?
I wanted to believe him. I wanted so badly to be happy.
One month later, we moved into the home.
One Mom’s Battle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission at One Mom’s Battle is to increase awareness of Cluster B personality disorders (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder) and their impact upon shared parenting and the Family Court System which includes Judges, CPS workers, Guardian ad Litems (GAL), Parenting Coordinators (PC), therapists and attorneys. Education on Cluster B disorders will allow these professionals to truly act in the best interest of the children. Please consider a donation to help with our efforts.
History of One Mom’s Battle: In 2011, One Mom’s Battle began with one mother (Tina Swithin) navigating the choppy waters of a high-conflict divorce in the Family Court System. Since then, it has turned into a grassroots movement reaching the far corners of the Earth with over 100-chapters in five different countries. In 2014, One Mom’s Battle achieved non-profit status which will allow the group to take their mission to the next level.
Tina Swithin offers annual retreats, coaching services and more at www.tinaswithin.com