September 2006, Hun closed on the house and immediately threw every bit of himself and his credit into it. We were nothing more than work friends at this point, but he turned to me on design advice for light fixtures and cabinet colors and other random things. By September 2007, a few months into our relationship, he had hit a wall. An estimated 3 month project was still long away from completion, a whole year after he started it. Walls were knocked down, floors were ripped up, the backyard torn to pieces, the heat wasn't working, there was no running water, and then the contractor walked away, and he was left with a house that was no where near ready to live in. When Love began staying overnights with her dad, Hun and I both worked together in hopes of getting it done piece by piece as quick as possible. I actually did hard labor and loved it! The goal was to sell it and buy a home together, so I was determined to get it done! I had no idea the total amount of debt that he had accrued from this project and he wasn't about to disclose it to me.
When winter really hit, we couldn't work on the house due to the heater not working. Pipes froze and burst, Animals had found their way into the house and had died, so more work, more debt, more stress. Add almost losing our jobs because of the forbidden romance and then a pregnancy - it was a recipe for failure.
We got the heat working, water running, and at least one useable bathroom. He disclosed his debt to me, and it was decided that I needed to stop paying rent to an apartment and we needed to move in and get the debt controlled. However, I had conditions before I would let my daughter live in such a mess of a house. First, we needed flooring. There were nails sticking up all over and rotted wood in some rooms. The floors were the first priority. Second, I wanted a working kitchen. At the time, there were cabinets and that was it. No Sink, no counter tops, no appliances. Nothing! Third, the bathroom had to be fully functional, the shower wasn't working and I'm not much of a bath kind of person.
We got the floors on my credit, we bought appliances on my credit, and we paid for a plumber and a heater guy to do the hot water and run a few gas lines with my tax return money all the week before my lease expired and while I was supposed to be on bed rest.
By June 2008, the debt was still swallowing us. He was paying his bills, I was paying off all the new debt I had, but his interest payments and late fees were about all he could afford, so the principal balance on his total debt wasn't moving. He worked with his mortgage company and caught a break, but only a little one. Bankruptcy was his only option, and it hit his pride big time. The house was still far from complete and we still had to pay the debt from the floors and the appliances. We mainly lived upstairs for the first few months and soon we would be bringing a newborn home to the mess. We barely looked at each other anymore. In fact, after Babe was born, I slept on the couch, if I slept at all. We began to absolutely despise each other. The work on the house was at a standstill and it wasn't going to be started back up anytime soon. He was working 3 jobs, he left at 6 in the morning and didn't come home until after midnight. I was given a great opportunity to work from home with the mortgage company we worked at, which helped alot. To save on Daycare costs, I kept the kids with me with the intent to hire a mother's helper. Intentions and reality conflicted and I was stuck with caring for an 8 week old and an almost 2 yr old while trying to make conference calls and deadlines, on no sleep, while battling a bad case of postpartum depression. The house was never clean, and Hun is the kind who expects to come home to well behaved children, a clean house, and a supermodel mom all dolled up and ready to reward him for all his hard work, and we were all the complete opposite of that. Shit had hit the fan and was covering us from head to toe.
Babe was 6 months old, I decided I needed to get out of the house, working from home was not working out. I got a new job, which promised even better pay and got me away from the hell of home for 10 hours a day. I felt happier, I tried to make him happier, I tried to make everyone happier. When that failed, I decided that we were just going to be miserable for the next 18 years because I wasn't going to fail this time. I didn't want to split custody again, I didn't want my son to have to go through it, but even more, Love idolized Hun, and he loved her so much, the thought that I would be taking her away from him, tore me to bits. No matter what we worked out, she would lose a best friend.
Babe turned a year old, I kept the smile on my face during the day, and tears in my eyes at night. I hadn't slept in a bed in a year, and all I did was stress about how to fix the gap between us. I was still seeing a counselor for PPD and discussed all this with her. She tried hard one session to explain that I couldn't make him happy and me happy at the same time, but I was willing to sacrifice my happiness for him. The following session, her previous appointment was running very over, so I was left in the waiting room for a good 30 minutes. Strategically, she had left a book on the top of the coffee table titled Never Good Enough: Freeing Yourself from the Chains of Perfectionism by Monica Ramirez Basco. I was able to read the first few pages or so when she called me in. She asked if I had seen the book and we talked in more detail what she was trying to get at. I was trying too hard to fit myself into the wrong puzzle. I got home that night and decided to download the book on my Sony E-Reader, unfortunately it wasn't available in e-book format so I searched for another book based on the same concept and found I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough" by Brene Brown. These two books made me take a step back and look at everything in my life and realize I needed to stop worrying so much about what people would think and just do what was right for me and the kids. Enough friends had told me that the relationship wasn't what I wanted to model for my children, I didn't want them to grow up thinking this was love.
I started to look for apartments, told Hun I was looking and let him know I would be taking the kids with me. He barely blinked an eye. I signed my lease December 2009 at the worst apartment in town, but it was what I could afford. I decided to give the kids one last Christmas together before turning their life upside down. January 2nd, 2010 we moved in, and I danced a happy dance.
Hun decided he was sick of working and not getting anywhere, so he just quit his job of 8 years and decided to live off of his 401k money. He was suffering from a deep depression and nothing could pull him out of it. He refused to get help and denied there was a problem. He barely saw Babe, we hadn't talked since I had moved out. It was hard on all of us, but especially Babe. He would go to the front door of my apartment and say "dada" over and over. This lasted about a month. Hun came by and started to take Babe more often, and we eventually worked out a custody schedule without having to go through the courts. We even decided to have "Family Days" every weekend, so that Love could still be involved in his life.
It wasn't perfect, it wasn't what we really wanted, but we were all happier, and that was what mattered. Lesson learned thanks to my therapist and a few books. I vowed not to even think about new relationships for a few years and instead worked on being friends with Hun again and a better mom to my little tornadoes.