Maybe in a world without money

By Mir
February 18, 2005

When my ex and I were married, we never fought about money. I think that’s unusual; most couples fight about money, yes? We never did.

I’m very frugal. I shopped often but didn’t spend much. He grew up poor and really enjoyed being able to “indulge;” he shopped infrequently but tended to get the things he wanted when he wanted them. We had enough money for everything and it wasn’t an issue.

Cue the divorce. For a solid year–while the legalities were pieced together in painful detail–we fought about money constantly. Actually, we paid enormous sums of money for our lawyers to fight about it. What a grand system we have here.

Finally: the divorce was finalized, he was in his own house, and money should’ve stopped being an issue. Hahahahaha!

Sometimes I’m so cute when I’m stupid, dontcha think?

So guess what! I’ve managed to live on child support and, um, nothing, for over a year. Mr. Brilliant is pulling down a 6-figure salary and complains to me about the sad state of his finances every chance he gets. I used to be really mean to him when he did that–because, hello, if you’re too stupid to live on his salary (even with what he pays in child support taken out), please don’t come to me for sympathy.

(In the same vein: if you manage to total your car during the worst part of the divorce process and don’t even have the decency to have an injury or something, please don’t bitch to me about how expensive your car insurance is now.)

After a while, I changed tactics. Instead of being sarcastic and nasty every time he brought up money, I would just quip, “Yeah, well, I don’t even have a JOB!” and changed the subject. Because I’m mature that way. He seemed to take the clue and stopped complaining to me so much, lately.

Then… I got a job! Yay! And he waited an entire week before sending me an email announcing his tally of “extra” money he’d spent on the kids while I was unemployed, which he’d now like half of, please, as soon as I can get him a check.

There are times when I think we’ll find our way towards an amicable relationship without tension, and then there are times when he demands money from me when I haven’t even received my first paycheck and I remember that he makes three times what I do and oh yeah, also, he’s a soulless automaton seeking to Make The World Fair In His Eyes. And so I will spend some time doing deep breathing and carefully compose my emailed response and manage to keep it civil save for the phrase “don’t get your panties in a bunch.”

And I could’ve kept being righteously indignant about it all, except that in his response he couldn’t resist adding “I believe the phrase you’re looking for is ‘boxers in a bind.'” And that made him almost human and then I was still pissed off about his stupid demand for money, but it made it a little harder to just wish for something very heavy to fall on his head.

So, yeah, we could have a friendly relationship someday. When the kids are done with college, perhaps.


  1. Wash Lady

    I gave up ever having a friendly relationship with my X. I honestly believe that he *lives* to make things difficult for me, to keep trying to reel me into emotional trauma, and to be the absolute worst father that two daughters could ever have. The very sad part of it is that he traded his relationship with his daughters for the thrill that he gets trying to make things bad for me. If you look up loser in the dictionary – you’ll find his picture :(

  2. winbenkat

    So, he’s been keeping track, with a spreadsheet perhaps, of all he spent on “extras” for the kids who I believe are BOTH of yours for the past year? I’d be interested to know what he considers an extra…medicine, food, etc.? Ya know, all those things you’ve been wantonly frittering away your money on since you separated/divorced. :)

  3. dave

    I’m thinking that he cringed when you mentioned that he was wearing panties. Because he probably is. The “boxers” correction is just a diversionary tactic.

  4. Ben

    What an ass! I’d divorce the bastard.

    Oh, wait…

  5. sara

    sounds like something, oh i mean exactly something my dad tried! just try to laugh, because that is what a judge would do (i know because my dad tried it and it didnt even get past a first hearing). i know its hard to when a parent puts money before his kids.

  6. Laura

    My X keeps track, and occasionally will fax me an invoice of the money I “owe” him that he spent on our child. Shoes. Underwear. Stuff like that. I ignore him – and I’m embarrassed for him, his mother, and everyone who consorts with him. He and I will NEVER have a friendly relationship, mostly because he doesn’t have a soul, just a dark black hole of selfishness and short-sightedness.

  7. Leanne


    How about this. Write a check in the amount he’s requesting. Scan it. Hang on to the file. Rip up the check. Tell him it’s in the mail. When he asks where the check is after a week, tell him you mailed it. Wait. After another week, send him the scan to prove you wrote it, and tell him you’ll cancel said check and write another. Repeat for as long as his stupid-ass believes it’s all the fault of the post office and/or bad karma. If he starts to question why it hasn’t arrived, throw destiny out there for him to ponder, ie. “maybe you’re not meant to receive it???”

    Possible modifications: take short MPEG of you putting the check in the envelope and into the mailbox (promptly remove and rip to shreds). Take another short MPEG of mailman removing mail from your mailbox, getting into truck and driving away.

    heh. ;)

  8. Em

    Wait can I help you compose the response? Let’s see…. (clears throat)…

    Dear Tool,
    Love never,

  9. janie

    Heh, my X asks for money to do stuff with the kids, because he seems to think we should be sharing the child support. Heck, he doesn’t even give me the full amount each month. I can’t believe your ex had the gall to ask for money back!

  10. Amanda B.

    Ahhh, ex’s. They make our lives so warm and cozy.

    Yeah…or NOT. Hopefully you guys can be friendlyish one day. But if not, i figure you’ve already served your time.

  11. RockStar Mommy

    You know, you could always just tell him to pound sand up his ass on the whole “extra money” thing. I mean, really. How tacky & classless. It’s not like he’s shelling out money for SOMEONE ELSE’S kids. Gahhhhh. It’s amazing how difficult some people have to make this process.

  12. Goldie

    OMGoodness! That was so shallow of him! That’s the biggest turnoff to me – a guy treating his own children as a burden. (My other turnoff is a divorced guy that buys his kids expensive things on purpose so they will love him more than their Mom).

    And to ask you for the money when you don’t even have it yet! What a nerve! Tell him Goldie says he should go play in traffic.

  13. Amy

    WAIT just a cotton-pickin’ minute,now. These are HIS KIDS, right? There is no EXTRA when it’s your own kids! There’s only WHAT THEY NEED and HOW FAST can you get it to them!
    Tell him to stick it where the sun don’t shine, honey, and take yourself out to dinner to celebrate!

  14. Snow

    My X doesn’t even have a sense of humor, so I suppose we should consider you lucky, but…well…he’s still a jerk for jumping on the money after a mere week.

  15. Heather

    Asswipe. See my dad’s a fair bit of a jerk sometimes with my parents’ split and whatever, he’s kinda psycho, and is even late sometimes with the support. But, he does extras which really are extras, ie. ski passes for my lil sisters, conference fees for me…that’s gotta count for something.

  16. Kathy

    What an idiot! My ex had the same wicked mean streak. But we didn’t have to deal with children together, just him buying me out of a business and 2 houses and a boat and 4 cars (of course I couldn’t afford to keep any of it!). He would laugh at me if I complained about him being late with the payment (oh you want to see late, just push me and I’ll show you late!) I can’t tell you what a relief it is to have that loser out of my life!

    What a thrill it is to meet a grownup and have a normal relationship! Hope you do the same! And hope he isn’t such an a-hole to the kids!

  17. Nina

    God forbid he should spend extra money on your kids…wait…they’re his kids too….okay he is a tool!

  18. Mike

    Sheeesh, sorry, Mir. I tend to agree with Dave on this one…but then I have to think it may not have just been panties. Hate to get us all back on this topic again (um, ok, maybe that’s just a lie), but I imagine a man wearing a THONG would wind up a little cranky and defensive!

  19. ms

    Perhaps you should send him an “invoice” for the “extra” services you do, like the unexpected nights of lost sleep caring for your sick kids, the amount of emotional damage-control you have to do while he gets to drop them off and skip merrily back to his six-figure-salary existence, the time you spend coordinating their schedules and making appointments for the doctor, etc. Furthermore, if he chose to spend money on those “extras,” he doesn’t have the right to expect you to now pay half, after HE made the decision to spend it. He gave up the right to try to govern your spending behavior once you got divorced. I hope he tries to act in future in ways that would not make him feel ashamed in front of his kids if they hear about it once they are adults. Maybe his thong was bothering him that day….

  20. Philip

    First tell him lovely it was of him to spend “extra” on his beloved children, while observing how amazed you are that *children of all people* needed or wanted something beyond the rudimentary basics of food, clothing, shelter which he has so generously provided for them as set forth in your divorce agreement. Tell him you are proud of him for spending his hard earned money on these “extras” without coming to you first and asking for help, and that you’re sure that after thinking carefully about what he’s asking for you’re sure he will reconsider, since it is in fact true that he does things for his children because he loves them and has an innate need to protect, provide, and care for them.

  21. chasmyn

    Um, the extra money he spent on the kids? What, they aren’t his kids, too?

  22. emily

    Having been divorced for what seems like forever at this point, the best thing to do with an annoying email is to ignore it for a few days. This does two things. One, he knows, most likely, that it’s going to be a controversial email, so he’s breathlessly awaiting your response. Let him suffer. Two, it gives you time to calm down and figure out what things you’re reacting to because they’re just wrong, and what things you’re reacting to because they’re emotional triggers.

    Then, when you do respond, you can work in the ‘I’ve been considering this’ sort of attitude. In this case, unless you had prearranged these expenses, I would have just gushed back something about how you’re terribly sorry that there’s been such a misunderstanding, but that because you two have such different budgets, any expenses that you’re going be responsible for need to be cleared through you first, and you’ll be more than happy to repay him promptly for any of THOSE expenses.

    In arguments where you just want to do nothing, and he wants there to be action on your part, it’s always in your best interest to drag the negotiations out, and hope he’ll just forget about it. Respond slowly, if he bugs you to respond, say that you’re still considering the situation, etc.

    The thing with co-parents is that they never go away, so it’s best to figure out all the ways that they annoy you, and then figure out how to minimize all of that. There’s lots of things about my kids’ dad that drives me right around the bend, but I try to arrange things so that I don’t have to deal with those qualities very often, and then, when I do have to, instead of getting pissed I can just congratulate myself on how well I’ve arranged things that situations like that are so damn rare. Really, it doesn’t matter who’s right or who’s wrong, or who’s trying to mess with who, but it IS important that the kids have lots of access to both parents, and the sooner he becomes not a frequent rival but a guy you deal with who has some annoying, yet managable, quirks, the easier it will be for everyone.

  23. wavybrains

    Sometimes it simply isn’t possible to be friends with your X. I’ve come to this conclusion the hard way. Especially when they seem to have their head up their bum most of the time. I never argued about money while married either. But, perhaps men undergo a personality transplant courtesy of the divorce decree. I’m not sure, but I do know that I’d ignore his email too.

  24. sharon

    I can so relate. Though after being divorced …hmm, had to think about it…nine years, the tension does eventually dissipate…a little.
    ..but this “extra money” thing? What is this he speaks of??? It’s called being a dad. He’ll just have to get over it.

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