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.