When the balance of power shifts…

Money doesn’t talk, it swears.  ~ Bob Dylan

North Carolina is a fifty-fifty state.  When a couple divorces all property is equally divided.

Something came up recently that gave me pause and made me think back on my 30  years of marriage to D.  He indicated that he had given me a particular amount of money in our settlement.  Really, D.  You gave me that?  According to the law, it was mine.  You didn’t give it to me.

I have come to understand that our attitude about my money, his money and our money became a sticking point in our marriage quite a few years ago.  Once I stopped working full-time I was apparently not pulling my weight any longer.  That wasn’t just his attitude, it was mine too.  I think that our spouses treat us the way we allow them to treat us.  When it came to money I allowed him to belittle me once he became the only wage earner.

My intention here is not to kick a dead dog.  I simply think this little epiphany was begging me to comment.  And I comment not to take anything away from D’s generosity.  He was generous to a fault throughout our marriage and I appreciate that very much.  But the fact that as recently as a month or so ago, he thought he gave me what was rightfully mine explains a great deal about what went wrong in our marriage.

There are many shifts of power in a relationship.  Most of them have nothing to do with  money.  I think they’re about respect more than anything.  And where there’s respect the two can balance and re-balance the power.  I think in this case I didn’t insist on the respect I deserved and I didn’t get it.  Neither did he.

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14 thoughts on “When the balance of power shifts…

  1. Pat, this post really hit home with me because I recently stopped working full time. I so easily could have started down that road of disrespect. But now I know what to guard against. Thank you. And I never knew you were such a good writer – keep it up.

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  2. There is so much truth in this post for me too I hardly know where to start but suffice to say it is brilliant the way you can identify what a lot of people think is often an issue around money or power and show us that it’s really even bigger – that relationships need to start from a respect, belief or love of ourselves first. For so many of us this is the hardest thing. Your ability to say so much in a few paragraphs is just amazing. Lovely post, well done.

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    • Thank you, Penny, for your kind words. And you’re right it is the hardest thing for so many. Maybe it’s my age or maybe fear of my inability to do better but I don’t think I’m interested in another relationship.

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  3. Really well thought through and expressive post. To say I enjoyed reading it is possibly the wrong expression but I totally agree with what you said. I find I often totally agree with you. You Blog is a treasure to read

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  4. Wow. This is me, or at least it feels like it.
    I also let my ex have the power. i believed him when he said his house, his bed, his car, his money. Well that may have been true before we married, or when I was a student and I wasn’t bringing in too much money, but regardless of if it was true or not, I should never of allowed anyone to make me feel that way. As if I owed him, as if I should always be in gratitude for the roof over my head, or the vacations we went to. I would have had those with out without him.
    Even when we split my ex felt like he was giving away half of his estate, his belongings, his finances. Never did he realize that half was rightfully mine. And in all honesty I have to take HALF the blame for that. Because what you say is true our spouses, and actually anyone for that matter will always treat us the way we allow them to.

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    • Thanks for your comments, bye2. I think recognizing who we were and what we did is a good step in the right direction. Maybe we’re learning from this experience we didn’t want to go though.

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