I saw something once on a Facebook page. A woman who had been left by her husband of many years was lamenting the fact that he made approximately 4x what she did, and once support ended he would still be making 4x what she made and she’d be struggling on her own. Like many of us, she had been a stay at home mom, supporting him in his career climb behind the scenes for years, and now that she’s middle aged and he’s decided he needs a different model, she’s disposed of and left to fend for herself. She did have a job, a teaching job, but it paid far less than her ex-husband’s job. Where is the justice, she wanted to know? Where are his consequences for his behavior? Why must she suffer all of them while he suffers none?
Someone advised her to stop expecting equality. She pointed out that it was a fruitless exercise and once she stopped focusing on that, the better off she would be. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there. She went on to say that countless numbers of people undoubtedly make more money than the original complainant does and she needs to put her ex-husband in that group and focus on herself and what she can do to make more money.
I get it. I truly do. If we continued to dwell on the unfairness of it all we would go crazy. Hell, I consider myself to be at “Meh” when it comes to the end of our relationship and the fact that he married his gold digging whore of a cousin. I’m even pretty close to “Meh” when I think about my old lifestyle and everything that has been lost. But that’s because I’ve learned not to stay there in that cesspool of “What if’s?” too long. If I do, it infuriates me. Even to this day. So I walk away. I focus on other things.
But here’s the thing. This isn’t just someone else that makes more money than we do. This is the person who was supposed to be our partner. We supported them, encouraged them, picked up the home life slack for them. We thought we were building something together. We formed our plans for our life based upon them. And they decided to take their toys and give them to someone else.
My boss makes more money than me. I’m pretty sure both of my brothers make more money than me. Most of the people I work with make more money than me. I’m perfectly aware that there are a lot of people out there that make more money than me. Am I resentful of them? No, of course not.
Those people also didn’t rise to their position on my back. They didn’t string me along until they got what they wanted and then kick me in the face and leave me and my kids to starve. They didn’t ask me to move multiple times throughout our relationship, leaving behind friends and a life I had foraged. They didn’t throw up roadblocks to me getting a job so that I was financially dependent upon them.
He did. He did all of that and he suffers no consequences. His life goes on exactly as it did before. And for the most part I don’t think about it. Because I would go crazy and the anger would consumer me. So I don’t dwell on it. I don’t expect equality. For crying out loud, he’s got a 20 year head start on me. I’d be crazy to expect equality.
But to act like he’s just some other person out there who makes more than me? To skip happily along and get a second and third job so I can get somewhere close to the amount he makes? To donate plasma twice a week on a regular basis to make up the difference? To sign up for Door Dash and Uber and tutor and babysit and string together a whole list of side jobs so I can hopefully take a vacation once in a blue moon while the ex takes two and three expensive vacations a year? To live in a crappy little dingy basement apartment while he’s living in a four bedroom/ 2 bathroom house with a fireplace and a hot tub in a quiet subdivision?
Nah. I’m not going to do any of that and act like it’s no big deal. It is a big fucking deal and that was the original woman’s point.