In 2008, I began dating a money moron as Gail Vaz Oxlade puts it. Only I didn’t see it back then and I became blinded by the thought of love and turned into a money moron myself. I had low self esteem at the time and was happy someone wanted to be with me. He was a financial leech and I was the blood supply. I funded vacations and nights out all while he didn’t have a full-time job. That should have been a huge red flag. I had bought a condo in 2007 prior to meeting him. I lived in it for one month before he pressured me to move into the house where his wife was murdered by his brother. Now I know why he wanted me to move in. Who else was going to pay for the power and heat?
By 2010, he had convinced me to open up a trade name. He said that I would be able to write off expenses and get a tax refund. I knew it was a bad idea and that wasn’t how it worked but somehow I went along with it. He was a money moron and I was just a fucking moron. I wrote off whatever he told me to for two years’ worth of taxes totaling about $20K. We used this “tax refund” to go on trips to Hawaii and fix up his house that his mother technically owned. He was convinced that we could make money by building a house one hour out of town. He couldn’t qualify for any loans because he had no job but I stupidly agreed to it. I bought a plot of land for $15K, a trailer and a used Jeep. He spent the next two years building a shitty house for us while I kept applying for credit cards and borrowing money from my family. We moved into the house in 2013. It was a complete shit box. The plumbing would freeze constantly in the harsh Canadian winter. There was no heating system; just electric heaters. I had to wear a parka in my own home to keep warm. All my income was going towards debt payments. I had a part time job and sometimes relied on that for our food purchases.
He had his mental breakdown at the end of 2013. He began acting weird and I said I would pack up my stuff and leave if he didn’t smarten up. Little did I know he was actually having a psychotic breakdown. I packed up my car with what little belongings I had and headed to my parents. I knew I couldn’t leave him at the house in the freezing cold so I enlisted two of his friends to help me with him. I drove them in my parents’ SUV to the house. They were horrified by what they saw. They managed to wrangle him in the SUV. I was in the passenger seat when he lunged from the back of the vehicle and yanked on the steering wheel. We luckily didn’t hit any oncoming cars on the highway and hit the snowbank and was stuck. I called the RCMP. He tried to get out of the SUV and make a run for it. It was -30C that night. The RCMP finally came and took him to the mental health ward at the hospital downtown. During a visit, his friend asked me how much debt I was in. I said $60K. It was more like $80K. I was too ashamed to admit the real number. He stayed there for a week. My relationship ended or so I thought. You know, he never offered to pay for the damages done to my parents’ SUV…
By this time (April 2014), I had already moved back into my apartment. I loved my new found independence. My condo building had a devastating fire in the summer of 2014. I had to move back to my parents for the next eight months while repairs were being made to the building. Meanwhile, he begged and grovelled and wore me down emotionally. I stupidly agreed to take him back December 2014. What the fuck was I thinking? I wasn’t. I was emotionally exhausted and wanted the constant onslaught of begging to end. I didn’t even tell my parents I had gotten back together with him. We spent the next year living separate lives. I hated the sight and mere presence of him. I cringed when the door would unlock and it was him coming home. The resentment of my debt built and built until one day I said “I don’t love you. I haven’t for three years.” Those words lifted a mountain off my shoulders. He moved out the next day and my life went on and I thrived.
I buckled down on paying down my debt, utilized 0% balance transfers on credit cards, made and stuck to a budget and started paying my CRA bill. Oh yeah, I got audited, by the way. Didn’t think I’d get away with tax fraud, did you?
I began a relationship with the most amazing man in 2016. The Ex was jealous of this and wanted to be part of my life still. He came unwanted and unannounced to my apartment and workplace. He said he’d pay me for what he owes me for our house but it was in measly increments. I decided my mental health was more important than the $30K he owed me so I told him the debt was forgiven and that I never wanted to talk or see him again. I still get bitter over that money but I keep telling myself it’s better for my mental health to not have to deal with him anymore.
Debt at the beginning of my journey (Nov 2014):
Total=$124,753 (CRA: $20,890, Consumer debt: $60,603, Family loans: $43,250)
Present debt (Nov 2017):
Total=$79,464 (CRA: $4,442, Consumer debt: $32,255, Family loans: $41,750)
As you can see, the family loan amount hasn’t gone down a whole lot. I’ll be paying them back when I sell my condo. It doesn’t look like I’ve made a huge dent in my debt but I didn’t take it seriously until 1.5 years ago.
I’ve wanted to blog about my fucked up finances for a long time. I hope it will serve to be therapeutic for me.