Thursday, July 24, 2008
No easy routes
I make it a point not to write about other people in my blog. It is, after all, my blog and they didn’t ask to be included. I’m making this exception because I already mentioned my ex in a recent post, it’s integral to what I’m going through, and he never reads my blog anyway.
For those of you who know of my difficulties with my ex and who were pleased to see he’s been helping me, know that there are no easy routes or straight lines. I got into a hassle with him yesterday, ran aground of the issues that undermined our nearly twenty-five year marriage. It’s no surprise, of course.
My ex’s most generous impulses are inevitably undermined by his stingy follow through. Of course, he doesn’t see it that way, doesn’t see himself as stingy or withholding. He’d call it self-protection, preservation of his resources to ensure his own care before he can consider distributing them to others. This always drove me crazy when we were married. I’d count on his implied generosity which rarely made it past the suggestion stage. I’d end up feeling cheated, denied. He’d sense my resentment and hold his valuables closer to himself lest they be wrenched from him against his will. Needless to say, the marriage suffered. There was a huge amount of emotion bound into this difference of expectations. Toward the end of our time living together, it felt like we were speaking different languages. It became impossible to communicate.
Accordingly, what he does give freely is advice, much of it unsolicited. He constantly scours various sources of media for more and more facts that support his outlook and opinions. He loves to send people articles presenting some unpopular idea or other that he holds dear. His knowledge is the one thing he’s not afraid to lose, so he shares it readily.
I am deeply mistrustful of “facts” which strike me as lies presented selectively to uphold whatever one wants them to mean. I tend to see at least two sides to every issue, so my approach, on the other hand, is to base decisions on emotion and instinct. He characterizes this process as denial.
It’s been eleven years since we separated, ten years since the divorce. Time has rounded some of the sharp edges that threatened to slash each other to pieces. But the differences are still there, still capable of fueling explosions of baggage where dirty underwear flies in all directions.
We got into an argument yesterday over this very sort of thing. He had previously come up with an idea for loaning me money collateralized by my life insurance. In other words, I’d add him as a partial beneficiary on the policy and he’d loan me that portion of the death benefit. That seemed a logical and welcome solution to my immediate crisis. It would get me through the short term, allow me to pay my mortgage and other essential bills, and buy me time to implement more long term solutions to my situation. And let’s face it, all solutions take time to get up to speed and return rewards.
But he seems to have reconsidered this option. It now strikes him as ghoulish. He can’t foresee me paying him back before I die and doesn’t want repayment contingent on my death. Plus, he fears that such a solution would introduce unwelcome emotional complications with my daughters.
I’m caught in a bind. I appreciate the help he’s given me in terms of figuring out what needs to be done. But I also need a way to finance the next few weeks while I make my way over hot coals to get to a place of more income and fewer expenses. He will help me with some money, but far less than I had hoped for, and with many more strings attached.
This process is exhausting and extremely stressful. I feel like I’m getting an ulcer.