How I helped create a survival fund for “her”

This is a story from my personal history, I will not name names or give too much specific detail. Before I go too far into the post, I want to say clearly if you know someone who is being abused help them. Don’t shrug it off, or bury it, even if it’s an acquaintance.

At one point in my life, a family member of mine was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. Many of us knew, but not the depth of how far it went but that’s another story. I was approached at a family gathering by “her” and another relative. They knew I was in finance and they needed help. I assumed they were going to ask me for money, but what they asked was entirely different.

“Can you help –her- get to a point where she can leave”

It may not be a perfect quote and honestly thinking back what I recall most was “her” eyes and face. She was so sad, hurt, broken and I felt helpless. I really didn’t know what to say or do, I knew what the issue was but here it was in my lap, I was asked to help and get involved. I remember my Father telling me once “don’t get involved in other people’s marriages” and you know he was right. However, there are exceptions to every rule, I thought to myself I just found one.

What happened next took 2 years. Yes, it was a long journey for all of us. I’m not going to lie and tell you I was on the edge of my seat with worry or panic. I know that’s not heroic but its honest. I was asked to help, not to press or make things worse, there were children involved. I wanted to call the police, I was told emphatically no. I was, in a tough spot emotionally. I wanted to do more but if I did, things would have been 10 times worse, at least that’s what I tell myself to feel better now, I don’t know.

“she” is one tough lady, and I admire her so much. Before we go on to much further let me say “she” and her kids are great now, things worked out well. So what did I do exactly? Well mostly what I was asked:

  1. I took her to a bank and set up an account for her. We did it without the husband, normally thats impossible because these POS are control freaks but I was family, it wasn’t unusual for me to see “her” from time to time.
  2. I made ATM deposits for “her” as often as I could.
  3. I kept all of it a secret from our family. A notable caveat, I told my wife because I respect her and that’s a secret you shouldn’t keep in a marriage. There was no way an affair could be suspected due to my family ties with “her”
Enough
I dont know how “she” managed for years like this, but “she” did it.

No I didn’t fund it. At the time I was raising my own kids and making ends meet I don’t have a lot of spare cash. Did I round up an 80.00 deposit to 100.00? ya. We finally got to a point where “she” had accumulated 10,00.00 in cash. He didn’t know because I was making the deposits. Statements? Went to a PO Box I set up for her couple hundred bucks not hard. He had no idea, and yes for those 2 years’ things carried on for them much the same.

Let me say this here, this was not a blood bath. No I am not trying to justifying anything but not every day was abuse, the majority were quiet. However, “she” lived in fear and I had to live with knowing that I couldn’t do as much as I wanted, it was her request and I was going to be dammed if I put her and her kids in harm’s way. So 2 years in with 10K in the bank, we go out to lunch, husband doesnt suspect anything. A typical pompas ass clueless moron who was so sure of himself, I wanted to hurt him badly it really was one of the hardest things Ive done, not do more. That must sound ridiculous, I cant explain it really.

Instead we put a first, last, and security deposit down on a 2 bedroom apt hours away. The landlord was someone we were referred to as understanding the plight of those who are abused. He did everything he could to keep her location a secret. 2 weeks later we went to a lawyer’s office who is sympathetic to abuse victims.

We used the rest of the money for a retainer, and within 2 weeks “he” was in handcuffs and charged with domestic battery. Things were hairy after that for a little while, until his new reality sunk in and “he” realized things were going to get real for him. He became an angel, got help, cleaned up, straightened up and by all accounts has done the best he can to make things better for “her”. No she didn’t take him back, yes he did –some- time.

The worst part was the 2 years. It’s one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I wasn’t perfect, I did the best I could with the hand I was dealt. We all came out a little stronger for it I suppose. If you know someone who is being abused do the most you can for them, and do the best you can for them, but never do nothing.

Ugh….

4 essentials of a successful relationship

So we are all stuck at home, I told two great jokes yesterday. “My wife and I were happy for 20 years then we met” I followed that up with “My son asked me what it’s like to be married so I told him to leave me alone and when he did I asked him why he was ignoring me.” I was the only one who laughed.

However 20+ years later I’d say other than my attempts at humor we have a successful marriage. I’ve found in my travels and research there are 4 essential elements to any successful “coupling”. Hetro,Homo, Bi-Sexual it really doesn’t matter, if you are in a committed relationship and want to gauge the potential for its long term success here are the 4 main factors.

  1. Money
  2. In-laws
  3. Kids
  4. Religion

These mirror nearly identically to financial guru Dave Ramsey’s list here is a link to a great article on his site.

Ideally before you get engaged you have knocked out items 2-4. You would know of the person religion and the scope of importance of it in their lives and yours. You should have met their family, and they have met yours. Issues in this item take time to develop but often red flags appear VERY fast. Siblings, and parents are often sources of judgement that negatively impact partners. Kids, if you haven’t minimally got a sense of how the person feels about kids, ask!

Money is often the hardest one. Many people have debt and are embarrassed. Many people do not have good histories with money and or were never taught how to manage it. Most importantly though is through your adult life your income and debt ratio change a great deal. Not only that but should you have children, its highly likely one partner will be the primary care giver, at least initially.

There is another article here that discusses many marriages fail within the first 5 years.

So as we all sit at home and spend more time with our immediate family we can reflect on some of these issues. Maybe you are living with your partner now, you aren’t engaged but this has revealed to you that this person is the one.

Remember these are all “normal” categories. If there is substance abuse, illness, physical and mental abuse those all override this list. Marriage in the hopes that someone will change is often a precursor to an unsuccessful outcome, don’t do it! Also there is nothing more important than your instincts, you have a natural intuition based on your life experiences trust yourself.