How can you go on a business trip abroad as a jobless person? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself coming out with a bare-faced lie like that? It’s not a lie; I really am going overseas for work. “Right then, we’re divorcing a liar,” with that, he left the room.
To him, it seems I, who work from home, might as well be unemployed and lazy. I have a steady income and even contribute to the living expenses, and yet he won’t acknowledge that. A few days after I returned from my business trip, I found divorce papers on my desk, already signed. I see if he can’t understand this far, there’s no point in being a couple, is there?
I sign the divorce papers and headed to the state court. My name is Hannah Robinson, 29 years old, and my husband’s name is Jake, 30 years old. We started dating in college and got married when I was 25. We were more like best friends than lovers, and we always spoke our minds. It might be a good thing, but sometimes things take an unexpected turn.
For me, it happened when I discussed my dream with him. My dream is to run an online imported goods store. The opportunity came during my part-time job at a boutique when I was a student. Having always liked foreign designs, I was attracted to the charm beyond my part-time job. After graduating from college, I aimed to open my own store and became a full-time employee at my part-time job.
Even as a full-time employee, I could not give up my dream. I really want to have my own shop surrounded by my favorite foreign goods. I want to deliver them to my customers. My parents and friends gave me warm words like “good luck” and “you will surely succeed.” Jake will definitely understand my dream and support me, so I tried to bring up the topic subtly to Jake when he returned from work.
“Hey, Jake, you know I’ve been talking about opening my own shop for a while, right?” “About that… oh, not this again. It’s not going to work if you do it on a whim. You should quit.” “Why would you say that? It’s not a whim; it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”
“Impossible is impossible. Life isn’t as sweet as you think it is. There’s no need to be so harsh.” “Why do you always negate everything from the get-go?” I raise my voice without thinking. My thoughts cavalierly dismissed, my husband Jake gives me a scornful glance, his voice and eyes cold.
“Then tell me, what’s your plan if this venture of yours doesn’t take off?” “Well, I don’t expect it to be successful right off the bat.” “And what about your income until then? The rent and living expenses – we’re splitting. Now you’re telling me I have to cover it all?” “No, that’s not what I’m thinking at all. I have some savings for the initial investment, and I’ll make sure to pay the rent.”
“Oh, really? Then do as you please. But if it doesn’t work out, and you regret it, it’s not my problem.” Every time I bring up going independent, Jake always becomes irritable. The reason is simple – because my income would become unstable. The import shop I work at is well-situated, and we have a wide customer base, so we get many customers. Thanks to that, my income is fairly high, nearly the same as Jake’s, who works as an office worker. In fact, it might be a bit higher.
That’s why I’ve been covering meals when we go out and paying a little more for the rent. My decrease in income is something Jake simply cannot tolerate. At first, he says things like, “Why rush things?” and “You should take your time and prepare” in a kind tone. Now, however, he has no qualms about breaking my spirit.
Even so, I did not give up on owning my own shop. No matter how much Jake opposed, I prioritized fulfilling my dream. As a result, I overcame his opposition, and at the age of 26, I started an online boutique. In the beginning, as Jake had predicted, it was difficult to get things running smoothly, but over the years, I implemented all sorts of strategies. I utilized the nature of the online shop, outsourcing to well-known e-commerce companies, promoting on social media, and doing all I could.
Thanks to these efforts, a year after going independent, I was able to secure a steady income. From there, I expanded the customer base and product range, and now the annual sales have reached three hundred thousand dollars. Because Jake was so against it, I never spoke about the sales; I assumed he wouldn’t be interested anyway. Of course, he never asked.
Still, he never fails to remind me about the rent and living expenses. I had always just given him the money he demanded without any fuss and kept any work-related conversation as non-controversial as possible. But then one day, something happened. I received this message in the DMS of my online shop.
“I’m a regular customer of your shop. I was wondering, in addition to the international knickknacks, could you also sell furniture?” Actually, there had been numerous requests for me to add furniture to my offerings. However, unlike selling knickknacks, selling furniture online can be quite difficult. Furniture tends to be more expensive, and factors such as the material are also important.
Even though I had worked in an import shop before, there are risks involved in sourcing furniture sight unseen and selling it. So, I decided to call my old boss at the import shop to discuss the matter.
“Hello, is this the manager? I have something I want to discuss with you.” As soon as the manager, Maggie, recognized it was me, she sounded genuinely excited. “Hannah, it’s been a while. If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.”
“Well, I’ve had some requests to sell furniture in my online shop.” “Furniture? That sounds like a challenge. So, I was thinking of checking out the actual items before selling them. How did you source your items?” “Maggie, I see what you’re saying. I can definitely help with that.” Maggie, who had connections with overseas suppliers from before, offered to contact one of them and arrange for them to provide furniture to my online shop. Thanks to my long-standing relationship with Maggie, the overseas supplier was happy to comply with Maggie’s suggestion.
I decided I would travel abroad to source the furniture. However, I couldn’t just go abroad without telling my husband. So that night, I broached the subject with him.
“Jake, about the week after next, would it be okay if I was away for about a week?” “A week? Why so long?” “Well, you see, I might have to go abroad for work with Maggie from the shop I used to work at.”
“Huh, abroad? If you’re going to lie, at least make it believable.” My husband pointed at me, his expression one of mockery. “You’re going overseas for work? You’re practically unemployed. What are you even talking about?” “Well, wait a minute. You know I run an online shop, right? This trip abroad is for sourcing items for the shop.”
“So, you think I’ll just believe you if you tell a work-related lie? Are you stupid? Your little amateur shop? There’s only so far I can go. Think what you want, but right now, our sales are decent, and our customers are increasing steadily. This time, it was because of a customer’s request. If you’re too persistent anyway, I won’t allow you, practically a shut-in, to leave home for a whole week with a beer in hand.”
My husband stomped off to the bathroom, a deep sigh unconsciously escaping from my lips. Why can’t he try to understand? His reaction is too harsh, just because he doesn’t approve of my work. But I can’t just go abroad without his permission. I must persuade him at any cost.
Although I was hesitant to continue the discussion, I couldn’t ignore the issue. The next day, when my husband came back from work, I spoke to him again.
“Jake, about yesterday’s discussion, look, I’m tired. I don’t have time to indulge in your lies.” “I’m only speaking the truth. An unemployed person going on a business trip abroad? You’re quite good at lying.” “I’m not lying. I really have to go abroad for work.”
At that moment, as I grabbed his arm to plead with him, he looked down at me as if to mock me. “Oh, really? Then liars get divorced, too. Divorced? What are you saying? You know I really can’t stand liars, especially pointless people like you who are always trying to show off your success. I didn’t mean-” “Shut up! You just want to use a lame excuse to go on a vacation abroad. I bet your boss is a man too, right?”
“Divorce, divorce. I’ll make sure to demand property division.” Saying this, he stormed out of the room. At that moment, a furious rage swelled up within me, making my veins pop. Who does he think he is? He looks down on me just because I work from home. He only wants to feel superior. Enough is enough. If he wants it that way, then I’ll do as I please.
From then on, I stopped seeking his permission for my actions and decided to go on my business trip abroad. Two weeks later, as scheduled, I headed overseas with Maggie. We went directly to our UK suppliers where we inspected the furniture and accessories that I would sell in my boutique.
Taking advantage of being abroad, I spent the last day sightseeing with Maggie and was able to enjoy some fulfilling days. That said, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. My phone was filled with a barrage of messages from my husband Jake.
“You didn’t really go overseas, did you? Get back here right now. I’ll forgive you if you return today. Time’s up; we’re getting divorced. You worthless woman.” His every message filled me with irritation, but I didn’t reply. I knew that any response from me would only escalate the situation.
When I returned, if he’s open to it, we’ll talk again. With that decision in my heart, I spent a carefree week abroad. The business trip was over, and I bid farewell to Maggie at the airport and set out on my return journey.
Facing Jake was awkward, but I steeled myself and opened the front door. “I’m home.” The lights in the house were off, and there was no welcome back. As I headed to the living room, laundry was scattered on the floor, and there was no place to step. Used dishes and instant noodle containers were left as they were in the sink. In the midst of this, I glanced at the desk and saw a piece of paper.
“What is this?” It was a filled-out divorce paper. Beside it was written roughly, “To the cheating, jobless woman. I’m ending things with you who don’t even listen. Fill out the divorce papers immediately. If you want forgiveness, come here at my parents’ house. Then I’ll reconsider.” Just reading the note, I could picture Jake’s smug face. He probably thinks that if he wrote this, I’d rush to apologize.
Of course, I had no such intentions. I signed the divorce papers that had been left for me and headed straight to the state court. With no problems, the divorce was accepted smoothly. Next, I went to the real estate agent and requested to cancel my current apartment lease.
Actually, the place I’m living now is the apartment I lived in when I was single. Jake moved in when we started living together because it was spacious enough. We had talks about moving to a bigger place once we have kids, but there’s no need for that now. After finishing the lease cancellation, I immediately started packing up.
The next day, I sent all my belongings back to my parents’ house and scheduled Jake’s belongings to be delivered to his parents’ house. All the while, he continued to send me messages filled with absurd demands. “Stop being stubborn and come apologize now! You have until the end of the week, you hear?” and so on. Of course, I ignored all of them.
After emptying the apartment, I headed back to my parents’ home. A week later, my phone had been ringing non-stop since morning. Even though I ignored it, it just wouldn’t stop ringing. So, I reluctantly decided to answer, planning for this call to be the last. I pressed the answer button.
“Hello?” He started shouting at me right off the bat. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Taking it back by his loud voice, I instinctively pulled my phone away from my ear. I decided to record the conversation just in case, and then I spoke again. “What’s the big deal? There’s nothing left to talk about.”
“Don’t mess with me! Why were all my belongings delivered to my parents’ house? I just got to the apartment, and it’s completely empty!” “Oh, that… well, I canceled the lease, so I had to get rid of everything, right?” “Canceled? You… how dare you do something like that on your own?”
“On my own? The apartment was in my name. I can do whatever I want with it, can’t I?” At this point, I had nothing left to lose. To me, his words had no effect at all. As I responded in a provocative tone, Jake showed his irritation. “Don’t mess around! I don’t give a damn about the lease. We were married, remember? I lived in that apartment too. You just went and canceled it on your own? What the hell are you thinking? You think you can just do whatever you want, even though you’re unemployed?”
“I’ll never forgive you for this!” He raged on, showing no consideration for my feelings whatsoever. That rant doesn’t even care about me anymore. I decided to let him know the truth. “Um, sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re getting all fired up about not forgiving me, but we’re not married anymore, okay?”
“What? What are you talking about?” “I submitted the divorce papers you left behind, so we’re strangers now.” “Why should I continue renting a place for a stranger? Hold on, you’re joking, right? You’re basically unemployed. You’d be in trouble without me. What… don’t make me laugh. When did I ever say that?”
Caught off guard, Jake was at a loss for words over the phone. Seizing the opportunity to vent my pent-up frustration, I blurted out, “You’ve really looked down on me all this time. I’m not the unemployed or jobless person you think I am. I didn’t cheat on you. I was traveling abroad for work to cater to my clients. If you can’t believe that, that’s fine, but just so you know, I’ll never forgive you.”
“Well, wait a minute! Put your online store! It’s not like the sales can just increase. That… I’ve been working my butt off for the past three years. You don’t know anything and didn’t even try to understand. You keep making assumptions.” “Three years? Just so you know, I’ve been making many times more than you. You looked down and belittled me. I don’t want a marriage like this. You can live a miserable life on your own for all I care.”
With that, I hung up the phone, deleted his contact, and cut off all means of communication. It seems that he finally came to his senses and realized that many people are using my online store. He even heard about my success through mutual friends and once came to my parents’ house, but I no longer have any intention of meeting or talking to him.
Jake made the effort to visit my parents’ house, but he was turned away at the door by my dad. Apparently, his own parents found out about his behavior towards me and kicked him out. Now, I heard he’s renting an apartment near his workplace and just shuffling between home and work alone.
As for me, I decided to live with my parents for a while. Thanks to my job, I can work from anywhere, which is a blessing. My parents’ house is quite old, so I’m thinking of starting renovation soon. I’m sure my online store will continue to grow without having to worry about anyone else. I’m free to travel abroad whenever I need to. I may have a divorce on my record, but I don’t regret prioritizing my dreams. I plan to keep working hard and return the favor to the people who have supported me.
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