Hours after I had tossed him out, I retrieved my mail, baffled to find several envelopes stamped "Past Due" jammed within the J.Crew and Victoria’s Secret catalogs.
The adage "A day late and a dollar short"? I was 30 days late and $65,000 short. Michael had managed quite the shopping spree in a month and even charged his work’s expenses to me while pocketing the reimbursement checks. He had abused my one active card and opened additional ones using my info.
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I scanned the blur of calculations and slammed my fist on the (newly Susan-purchased) dining room table. Gambling website fees. Cash withdrawals. Office furniture for his at-home set-up. Clothes. Groceries. Jewelry.
Diva diamonds: $25,000.
I had bought my own engagement ring without even knowing it.
I asked my parents for my "wedding fund" since that wasn’t going to be used anytime soon, but I’d still need another $30,000 to cover the remaining balance. My cousin’s friend was a bankruptcy lawyer; he filed my paperwork and accompanied me to my hearing, but not before I handed him his $1,500 fee. His name was also Michael. Damn. Was every guy named "Michael" trying to get into my wallet?
Hoarding money became a hobby, a goal—an addiction of my own. I saved, scraped and sacrificed and in the four years since, learned how to manage my money and my heart.
A couple of months ago, Michael’s Facebook profile pic was an image of Lance Armstrong’s sunshine-yellow Livestrong bracelet. Perhaps it is in honor of a loved one? Maybe he "has" cancer again. For a minute, I couldn’t help thinking that he’d returned to his duplicitous ways. I tried—and failed—to change and help him, but ultimately I changed and helped myself.
Written by Susan Gernhart for The Frisky.