Today, I’d like to introduce you to my next guest, Jen who’s been divorced now for just six months and separated for two years. In her words, this is not your average divorce story. Jen had been married for about fourteen years when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. That’s also when they separated. Hearing about someone getting divorced when their spouse has cancer is shocking but I think when you read Jen’s story you’ll understand. The timing was bad but she’d done everything she could to save their marriage. It all began with the slow realization that she had no way of knowing if her husband was truthful. Here’s Jen:
He had sort of become a pathological liar. He was gambling and trying to hide it and borrowing money from family members and friends and everyone he could think of and not telling me about it and not telling them, lying to them about what it was for. He was just juggling all this stuff, trying to keep it from everybody. I knew something was up and it had been going on for a while, but I couldn’t ever pinpoint what it was.
Weird things had started. My youngest son is four now, and right before I got pregnant with him, I went to go pick up a prescription only to be told that our medical insurance had been canceled. It was through my husband’s work, so I called him and told him. He said he’d talk to his work and see what was going on.
He called me back and said his employer had said they were shopping around for leads for health insurance, so just to keep our receipts and we’d able to turn them in later. I said,
“That’s illegal. They can’t cancel your insurance and not tell you.”
We had just moved from L.A. to Utah and so my husband said,
“Well they’re not as on top of things up here”
I knew it didn’t make sense. It was the beginning of things going downhill but I had been married to him at that point for ten years and we hadn’t had any problems, so I kind of gave him the benefit of the doubt and said,
“He wouldn’t lie to me.”
Every New Years, I would think “this year’s going to be so much better!” and nothing ever worked out. His paychecks were never on time and every time I started to get close to figuring something out it would be, ‘oh, I lost my job” and this had happened a couple of times.
In ’09, I got a phone call one night from a cousin who happens to know my in-laws family and she said,
“Jen, I want to talk to you about something. I have a feeling that you don’t know what’s going on. Did you know your husband has borrowed money from his aunt?”
I had actually found out some stuff from him and he had reluctantly told me that he had borrowed $5,000 from this aunt. We don’t even know her so I couldn’t understand why he’d do that. I told my cousin this and she said,
“He told you it was five? No, Jen, it’s ten. He has borrowed $10,000 from her and he hasn’t paid her back and she’s really mad.”
I confronted him about it, we tried to work through it, and I almost tried to block it out. The next thing was I found out he hadn’t been working where he said he was working. He said he was doing an internship for somewhere and he didn’t want to tell me because he thought that I might be scared about him doing an internship and I said,
“Well, OK. Can we move on from here? Do I know everything?”
“Yeah, you know everything.”
The Divorce Coach Says
Unfortunately, Jen didn’t know everything and in fact even today, she says she still doesn’t know the total truth. She’s come to accept that knowing the total truth is unimportant – there’s more to come on how she’s been able to accept that but it was in the midst of uncovering another lie that the cancer diagnosis came. Hope you’ll be back tomorrow to read more of Jen’s courageous story.
Jen also talks later about looking back and wondering why she gave him so many chances. I think it’s a common reaction because you want to believe the person you’re married to, you want to believe the person you love and you can’t believe they would lie to you. a trait of pathological liars is that the lies they tell always have an element of truth to them which makes them a little plausible. Kirstie, is another lady who found out she was married to a pathological liar . Unfortunately, by the time she said enough, he had drained all their financial resources which had been quite substantial, and she was left to raise their two children with no expendable income or savings.
So a question for you … where’s the line between trusting your spouse and watching your back? What should you do in a marriage to ensure you know what your spouse is doing? What do you do you when you have suspicions?
Photo credit: Thomas Hawk