I have not been independent since I was around 25 years old. It was at that age that I moved out of slight dodgy house-share in London and into a flat with my boyfriend (future husband) in York.
Before then I was able to support myself completely. Sure, it was a house-share in a not so trendy part of South East London and the money I did make mostly went on partying and clothes. I had very little responsibility and no savings, but no debt either! I was living the dream … kind of!
Then I Fell In Love
I gave up my fairly well paid job for a rubbish paid job, moved away from friends and family. All to a new life in a new city and found myself broke but loved and happy. I also found myself more financially reliant on my partner than I wanted to be.
Roll forward to 2011, we were married, had left the UK and were living in Zimbabwe working for the same company. We were successfully living off my salary and saving his. And to top it off, I was about to have my first child. We decided together that I should give up working completely to be a SAHM. That was over six years ago. Since then I have been 100% financially reliant on him.
I hate it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s part of the package. At the point where you both decide that it’s best for your family for one of you to be the Stay At Home Parent you have to make some sacrifices. However, I’ve written about my struggles about being a SAHM many times before. That is not the point of this post.
Part and parcel of this is that you do feel like you lose your independence. Even if that’s not really true, it still feels like that.
Getting Me Back!
Last week I launched my new freelance business. My first pitch and quote was accepted and I was over the moon!
My husband is already joking about becoming a Stay At Home Dad, although I have no doubt in my mind the kids would drive him to drink! Or get on his motorbike and ride away to sanity.
Yesterday was the first time in eight years of marriage that I was able to do anything with a financial institution that did not require my husband’s permission. Think about that for a minute! Think about that word, “Permission”.
I achieved something that did not require me to provide HIS I.D. documents, or a letter from him giving me PERMISSION, or his signature.
Do you know what living like that does to your self worth?
So what did I do?
I opened a bank account in my own name! Me … on my own! Just me! Just mine.
I honestly expected to go in and be sent away with a pile of documents that they would need him to sign. Such is the reality of being Married IN Community Of Property! Note to any of you contemplating marriage … don’t get married in community of property. This has nothing to do with love, or ‘in sickness and in health’. Don’t do it! Don’t go down that route!!
When I was finally finished, and they had gone through everything:- my Passport (ID), my Permanent Residence Visa, and my Proof of Address, they then set it up. They even organised my online banking on my phone app there and then. I even walked out with my shiny new bank card!
I couldn’t believe it!
I got in the car and I was grinning like a child in a sweet shop!
The first person I phoned to share my excitement with was my husband. The call went something like this:
“Guess what? I am the proud new owner of my own bank account, and as much as I love you and am grateful for all your support forever, I am so excited that I did this without you!”
Fortunately he does not take offence because of everyone in my life, HE understands exactly how much this means to me. And I never have to doubt his love and support when it comes to personal growth.
So for me, this is what independence feels like:
- Opening my own bank account to support my own new business, without them asking for my husband’s permission,
- Then getting in the car he bought me and calling him on the phone he pays for, to celebrate that momentous moment with the only person who truly knows the struggles I’ve faced being “beholden” to him all this time!
Thank you my love! For everything.
So what is my goal?
Well, eventually I want to be self-reliant enough that he can go on his long-desired six motorbike trip across Africa and my only worry will be him and his safety (and the jealousy I would feel at missing out on the trip of a lifetime!) p.s. – he’s open to sponsorship! lol
I’m interested to know what other people’s idea of Independence is? Mine was such a small thing, and I realise that I am very far away from real independence. And honestly, even if I could be I don’t want to be, but that’s not the point now is it?
Please let me know … what does independence look like for you?
Have you achieved independence already? If not, what would it take for you to achieve it?