One Step Back

One week ago I moved and left my marriage.  Things have gone rather smoothly compared to my previous experience and that of friends.  Final bills have been paid and separated, furniture and personal belongings were divided without issue, and we change the car titles on Monday.

I felt I making solid progress in getting my life back until I entered the “black hole of red tape and confusion” of the Verizon wireless store.  That definition came from my friends Jan and Anna.  They recently went through weeks of dealing with just that at the hands of some rather prickly Verizon customer service reps.

It seems I can’t take my phone number from the account my husband and I shared.  His name was primary on the account and even though I was an account manager, I have no voice.  Now my husband has never called Verizon, paid a bill, set up billing ID’s, etc but he is in charge.  He has to call and allow me to take my phone number and create my own account.  Mind you I had this number before my marriage with Verizon on my own account.

Once done I can create my own account with a rather hefty deposit because “the history is in his name and I have no track record.”  I could change to one of the prepaid accounts but because I would be breaking the contract on my phone number I would have to pay to break the contract.  Remember, I don’t have a voice because my phone number belongs to his account, but my phone number has a separate contract.  What?  Huh? Now according to the rather robotic service person at the store, I could move my contract to another relative or friend’s account without breaking my contract.  So why can’t I move it to a prepaid account without breaking my contact?  “I am sorry Ma’am” was his reply.  I wasn’t feeling the love.

So I left the store feeling defeated.  It took me back to another time in my life that I felt trapped by ridiculous policies that treat the spouse (usually the woman) as an unimportant entity.  These same policies often happen with other utility companies.  This leaves many women helpless when trying to leave a marriage.  The bills are often in the man’s name even though the woman often paid the bills or partnered in the effort.  Allowing these accounts to be held in both names in a marriage would be a huge step in helping spouses restart their lives.

I felt I had indeed taken a step backwards today.  I felt angry, frustrated, and something of a second class person.  I decided to leave the store without expressing my anger since it would have been an emotional reaction that would not serve me in the long run.  So I write tonight, because that is I process and try to make sense of something senseless.

I am sitting on the couch with my friend and watching Clemson play football.  She even encouraged me to get a brownie this afternoon.  Chocolate does heal all wounds.   I have a plan in place to deal with the phone situation thanks to my daughter and her husband.  I look at my life and remember that two steps forward and one step back is still progress. 

This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo.  The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.


10 responses

  1. Hugs…I am way behind in my blog reading for several reasons, mostly including five days without power and internet. But I wanted to say that sometimes growth and progress doesn’t look or feel like growth and progress…sometimes it feels like complete and utter failure. It’s not a step back…we can only move forward. Hang in there.


    1. Hope you are recovering from your time without power and internet. Thanks for the comment. Yes, to moving forward!


  2. I have had it happen with me with power, mobile phone, home phone, bank account etc etc….I have been told that this should not happen…I have gone over the head of the person I have been dealing with in the shop or on the phone with success. it is absolute rubbish the way it is set up….I have even been the sole person who has dealt with a company, been the person who set the account up but as it was in joint names for some reason it went to the male person first….made even worse when having to deal on the phone with a company that has their call centre in India…have had some very rude comments from them, and basically along the lines of get your husband to call as he makes all the decisions anyway…so so frustrating


    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It is very challenging!!


  3. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience. Even in a currently stable marriage I often get exasperated when I call and try to do things and I’m not allowed to because I’m not the “primary.” This is obnoxious when the “primary” is deployed to another country. It helps that after the last move I just set up a lot of our utilities in my name alone.

    Good luck with the phone situation. We need to work on some of the mindless assumptions behind company policies. It’s good for all of us you blogged about it.


    1. Thanks. I am fortunate that I have support and family and friends. It is even more difficult if someone is in an abusive relationship or has no family/friend support.


  4. That so sucks! What if it’s 2 women? Who is primary then? Change is happening. Companies need to catch up. Hang in there, Cathy. (And congratulations on not going off right then!)


  5. How frustrating! Such complete bull-pucky. But then it’s not what happens to us, but what we choose to create out of it. You could fight to hold on and allow it to create stress in your life or you could choose to let it go with the rest of the past. Maybe it’s time for a new number — AND a new phone company.


  6. Ridiculous. Good for you for writing about it and bringing awareness to the fact this kind of thing is happening. And on a practical note, I would keep pursuing the issue, in writing, until it escalates to someone who sees how damaging this story is to their company’s reputation.


  7. I cannot say what I feel about Verizon’s customer service (or Assurion either) on a public forum. It’s enough to make even a really saintly preacher cuss.


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