*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
For all of my adult life, I have been a strong, independent woman who has not relied on a man’s support or income to sustain me or my teenage daughter, Tori. For the first time in my life, I’m living with a man, my boyfriend of three years, and I’m currently in a position where I make and contribute more money than he does.
I love my boyfriend, and I would do (almost) anything to support him. I think his car is nearing the end of its life and he’ll need something to commute to work, which he can’t afford right now. I am happy to let him use my car even though he’d be putting hundreds of miles on it a week, and I don’t complain that since I’m the one going to the grocery store I am the one always paying for groceries. On the other hand, if he straight up asked me for a handout of money for something he wanted, I would tell him no. He is a grown man and should be able to fend for himself.
My friend Patty was married to her husband Ron for almost thirty years, and when they finally and thankfully divorced, she was able to collect considerable alimony. In the years before that, though, Ron had struggled with drug use and alcoholism and often couldn’t hold down a job for more than a few months or years at a time.
Patty, as a waitress, didn’t make great money and there was no way she could support her husband and their son on her own, but there came a point when Ron was unemployed and she had to do just that.
Patty worked double shifts to make up for the loss of Ron’s income and still couldn’t get all the bills paid. Their teenage son Matt even got a part-time job after school to try to contribute to the household while Ron continued his unemployment and descent into alcoholism. When Patty found out Ron was cheating, and not for the first time, she was having a last-straw moment, and yet she stayed for her son Matt’s best interest.
Patty did everything she could to ignore Ron when she was home, that is unless she was berating him for his infidelity and inability to find work. They hardly spoke to each other, and it wasn’t until their joint bank account was completely empty that Ron came to Patty begging to have money for booze.
“I’ll pay you back when I get a job,” he told Patty.
“Oh, please, we both know you won’t,” Patty replied.
“Fine. I’ll find a girlfriend who’ll lend me money,” Ron spat in her face.
“Go ahead, good luck with that,” she said, having no confidence whatsoever that he would find another woman to support him in his terrible state.
She was right. Ron did not find someone to give him money and kept begging Patty for an allowance which she refused to give him.
Undoubtedly, divorcing Ron was the best thing Patty ever did in her life.
What do you think?