I’d like to start this post with a disclaimer that my sister and I are absolutely fine – there’s nothing but love people.
I haven’t written anything highly personal on the blog in a while, so I thought I’d share the story of how my path in life has changed quite dramatically in the past year or so. All courtesy of my slightly idiotic sister. Not the one from my very popular ‘Perfection is lie‘ post, but the other one. Although she’s no less perfect to me. (OK, slightly less perfect since she did this to me – but it’s water under the bridge!).
Our lives changed in 2o15
Towards the end of the year, I married my husband in a quiet, comfortable ceremony.
We were in the process of selling our flat in Brighton and were actively searching for a house to buy in Eastbourne (the only place we could afford). Both working at American Express (as many people do in Brighton), our future was firmly set in the South – we loved our jobs and our lives.
Ready to start thinking about growing our family in the next few years, we planned to apply for a mortgage on return from our honeymoon.
And then I got a call
Two days into our honeymoon in Santorini, I received a call from a debt collection agency.
A huge bill in my name was being chased by a phone company. But it wasn’t the phone company that I’d been with for years. And I hadn’t lived at the address they were chasing for a very long time.
I couldn’t work it out, but panicking at the enormity of it all, I paid up there and then. The kind-hearted operator couldn’t have been more apologetic for interrupting my honeymoon and delivering the news that my highly-cultivated credit score would be in tatters. He told me I could refuse to pay and flag it as fraud for investigation…
…but I had an inkling
Many years ago, I recalled getting a mobile phone delivery that I didn’t order.
Before I had a chance to question it, my darling sister swooped in and grabbed it off me. She told me she’d simply put my name on the delivery as I was most likely to be in to collect it. And for some strange reason (or because I was 18 and didn’t really care) I just shrugged it off and moved on.
What my delightful little sister had actually done was to put the entire contract in my name. She wasn’t yet old enough to take one out, and seemingly, the identity checks were incredibly lax. She had no idea of course that it could do anything to negatively impact me. I doubt many people are even aware nowadays that a mobile contract can affect your credit score. So I don’t blame her.
However, with the magical wonder that is hindsight, I do wish I had checked my credit score before it all kicked off. It’s pretty important to know your score, so do yourself a favour and check at Cafe Credit.
How did the bill come about?
A few months prior to our honeymoon, my sister had finally cancelled the contract. Unfortunately, she then stopped the Direct Debit at the same time, not realising there’d be a final bill.
You get the gist.
Despite being unaware of all of this, I knew that it had something to do with her – and so I paid up.
When I hung up the phone, I felt like my world was crumbling around me. All the hopes and dreams I had for the future disappeared with the shredding of my credit score. We couldn’t apply for a mortgage the week we returned from our honeymoon as originally planned. In fact, we probably couldn’t apply for a good few years.
Now, if you don’t live in Brighton, you probably won’t believe me when I tell you that we couldn’t afford to rent anything larger than a one-bed flat. Add to that our two house rabbits and my desire for children, and we were looking at a very cramped living arrangement, or a complete delay on all of our plans.
I wasn’t going to get my sister in trouble for anything, that was certain. But that left me in a limbo I had never anticipated. I’m a goal-planner at heart and our future was mapped out so clearly in my head. It was incredibly hard to think about letting it go.
We’d flown out so happy and excited for our next steps in life. But I spent that day staring at the beautiful Santorini horizon unable to see a way through the fog of bitter disappointment.
And then I drank some wine
Wine really helps to clear the fog.
After a glass or four, I suddenly realised that I had to practice what I preach. I’m always telling people to look for the opportunity in a situation – when was I going to get a better time to do it myself than when my dreams were fading into nothing?
So I took a bold move and suggested to my husband that we move to the Midlands. Start afresh – new jobs, new house, new life. It wasn’t completely random; my family have all moved here over the past few years, and I missed them a lot. The rent is cheaper here, and I didn’t have any doubt we could find jobs. To me, it was the perfect solution – facing the crap head-on and doing something amazing with it.
And much to my utter amazement, my husband (Brighton born and bred) agreed. We’d give up everything we’d known and built for our lives down South, and move to the middle of the country.
And so here we are. I accidentally got a job too early (a story for another time perhaps) and so we spent the first part of our marriage living miles apart. I then also fell pregnant before he’d even moved up. But it all worked out in the end, my friends! And we couldn’t be happier.
I never thought I’d say this, but I am so glad that my sister defrauded me or I’d never have had the balls to live the life I really wanted. So thank you sister, but please don’t do it again.
This is a collaborative post, but all stories and views are my own. Please visit my disclosure page for more information.