The Wages of Wedded Bliss

30 Aug

Letterbalm Pile of MoneyDear LetterBalm: I’m staying in my marriage only for the money. My husband and I have been married for five years, and it’s been hell. He was “the strong, silent type” that first attracted me to him. But now he criticizes and belittles me, even in public. He’s always nasty to me and irritable to my friends and relatives. He and I co-exist; we concentrate on our jobs and, thankfully, don’t have kids. Everybody says I should leave him. Here’s the catch: He has a 99-year-old great-aunt who’s very wealthy and dotes on him. (I like her, and we get along quite well.) She’s ailing, and she’s told him and me that he is her major heir. I know it is crass, but I’m hanging in there to get a portion of his inheritance upon our divorce. Please give me the words to placate him so he won’t file for divorce before she dies.

–Gold-digger, Not

Wow. Are you a mob lawyer or a corporate raider? Because you have the stoic genes, girl. Presumably, you’re taking steps to prevent pregnancy, and you’ve said nothing to your spouse that you’re putting up with him on the chance you’ll get some of his legacy when you divorce. The money will come from an aged in-law who likes you and whom you like, so you can infer she’ll be glad you share in some of the loot. If your spouse is as hostile as you say, it’s just a matter of which happens first, your aged in-law passing away or his divorce action. And, there is no guarantee you’ll ever see a dime. You don’t need to do anything but continue as you are – living a lie. Are you sure his hostility isn’t for an unrelated reason (illness, financial reversals)? Is he having an affair and wants you gone? You want the words to pacify him. Are you sure they won’t inflame him? Here goes, and Ms. L.B. is earning her keep today:

Gordon, please give me a few minutes. I know things have been rocky between us for a long time. We’re concentrating on our jobs so we don’t have to have that much to do with each other. You’ve been critical of me, and I promise not to get upset if you tell me why. I’d like to work on improving our relationship, and if that includes changing some of the things we do that irritate each other, I’m willing to do my part. If there is something going on that doesn’t have anything to do with me, I’m willing to listen and help. We shouldn’t be going through our marriage alone.

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