Over the years, they have struggled with infertility, alcoholism, money, and have somehow remained lighthearted about it all. “My whole life, I have always had financial insecurity,” said Mr. Cocchi, who grew up in Uruguay and has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Connecticut. “It’s comic. I don’t pursue the goal of making money.”
While trying to conceive Ms. John had two miscarriages. “Devastating.” she said. “I was already what they call a ‘mature’ mom. It was not clear to me that I was going to be able to sustain a pregnancy.” She added: “I remember being in my garden in the Bronx and thinking, ‘Maybe I’m never going to have a baby. I guess I’ll have some plants.’”
Eventually she became pregnant with their son, Rafael John Cocchi, who was born in 2001. “I really liked the way I was with Horacio and a child,” she said. “I liked how the focus wasn’t on me. It was on the next generation. It felt really right.”
Soon after Rafael was born, they moved to Connecticut, and bought a house in 2006, at the height of the market. In 2007 Ms. John was offered a job teaching in the dance department at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Mr. Cocchi, who was happily teaching environmental planning at the University of Connecticut, did not want to move.
After a lot of arguing, he acquiesced. “My wisdom is, it’s very hard to have a long-lasting relationship,” he said. “For me, it was about how much am I willing to give up to keep this marriage growing?”
They tried to sell their Connecticut house, but the real estate market was crashing and soon their mortgage was greater than the value of the house. “We are poster children for the mortgage crisis,” Ms. John said. “We drained all of our savings to try to hold on to the house.”
They ended up declaring bankruptcy and losing it in a foreclosure. “We cried,” she said. “We felt shame. We didn’t tell anybody. But, I want people to know: You go through a lot when you’re married, and if you come out the other side, you are very strong.”
In Texas, things did not…