Today I’d like to introduce you to a blogger/columnist I think you will find quite interesting. Her name is Claire-Louise Meadows, and she blogs at http://afternyne.com and contributes to the Huffington Post UK edition http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/clairelouise-meadows/.
Claire offered her take on a Daily Mail article titled We fought for equality. So why do greedy wives still sponge off their ex-husbands?, and today, I want to offer mine.
Let’s start by playing a game of what if…
What if I woke up tomorrow and decided, you know what, this not buying me flowers bullshit is a deal breaker. I want a divorce. I have not contributed money to my marriage for the past 11 years, but goddamn it, I have contributed value.
I want the house, the car, the kids and all the furniture. I want child support, half of Mr. JB’s pension and alimony to cover the time it will take me to find a job. Oh, five years ought to do it.
And I’m going to get it. All of it. I have the courts on my side and the law to back me up. And I will have all the sympathy of our friends and family. Remember that time he picked me up in a bear hug and broke my rib?
I think I remembered that wrong. He actually got really mad at me and he beat me up. Punched me in the ribs. No, wait! He pushed me down the stairs. He did whatever it is you have to do to break someone’s rib. I don’t know. I’ll figure out the details later. I can make this shit up as I go along.
Jesus, it can take DECADES for a woman to recover from that kind of abuse. I may never have to get a job! I can live off his salary until the pension kicks in.
Super win for me!!!!
It sounds like a joke, but IT’S NOT. I could do all of those things. I could walk away with everything.
And if I did, it would be his fault. He should have bought me those fucking flowers.
These are the kinds of divorces the Daily Mail is talking about, and I agree with both Claire-Louise and Liz Hodgkinson that this shameless fleecing of men needs to stop. The laws governing divorce were created when the world was a very different place, and they are now being used to abuse men and reduce them to what amounts to indentured servitude.
Yes, that’s for you, Liz.
In my circle of friends alone, I know of countless men who have fallen foul of greedy ex-wives who seem determined to see the men they married reduced to penury.
It’s easy for an attractive woman to use her charm and wiles to entrap a rich man, all the time calculating the cash they receive when they can call time on the marriage.
One friend had been married for about 20 years when his wife decided she wanted a divorce. There were no particular grounds, and no one else was involved. Each sought out a lawyer, and the wife was awarded 85 per cent of the joint assets.
There were no children and she had never worked. After the divorce, she moved into a small cottage with enough money to see her out. He had just enough money to buy a small flat, and had to start all over again. He got virtually none of the marital assets accumulated over the years, including a house worth £800,000.
But, I can also see another side to this argument.
Let’s play another round of what if….
The sad truth is that I’m getting older. I haven’t really let myself go, but I’m not the taut, firm twenty-four year old I used to be. Three pregnancies have left their marks on me, and I spend an awful lot of my days in yoga pants and UGG boots. They’re fucking awesome UGG boots, but still. Mr. JB looks at me, and it just isn’t there anymore. And I make him feel old.
You know who doesn’t make him feel old? That twenty-four year old PhD student he met at work with her perky tits and firm ass. The way she giggles and flirts with him makes him feel amazing. Like he’s still got it. She thinks everything he does is hilarious and she’s in awe of his experience and knowledge and expertise and once he starts banging her on his desk, it’s all over.
He’s trading me in for a younger, hotter wife who is also not quite such a mouthy, judgy bitch. Of course, he has no idea that ten years from now, she’s gonna be in yoga pants, complaining that he doesn’t buy her flowers, but no matter. Right now, he feels like a god!
So he sits me down and gives me the talk: I want a divorce.
Oh yeah? Fuck you. I have spent the last decade of my life making it possible for you to excel at work, keeping you healthy and happy, caring for your children and your home, and those things are now mine. You wouldn’t have the income and position you have without me, and you WILL pay me for those things.
That’s the kind of scenario that divorce and alimony laws were designed to address.
I’m not certain where the statistic comes from, but I have come across it repeatedly: 17% of divorces are caused by infidelity.
I sincerely doubt that ALL of infidelity was committed by men, and furthermore, that the cheating partner went on to marry their paramour. But let’s assume it’s true. Every divorce in which infidelity is cited as the main reason for the divorce involves men cheating on their wives, and every single one of those men went on to marry their mistress.
It would still only be 17%! That’s a very small number. The other 83% fall under the “irreconcilable differences” label.
All of this suggests that the first scenario I described is the most likely one. Most divorces are initiated by women. And most of them are for completely bullshit reasons. The top two reasons cited are verbal abuse and emotional neglect. He called me a bitch and didn’t buy me flowers.
Most men are blindsided when their wife requests a divorce. Because she has never given any indication that anything is wrong.
I call it “The False Okay.” I think a lot of women tell the very same lie for years on end. They say “okay” when they don’t mean it. They tell their husbands, “everything’s fine,” even when it’s not. “Keeping the peace” is what they call it. They are, they tell me, getting through the day. It is all about the argument they simply do not want to have.
Part of the reason women don’t have the argument they need to have is that there is no consequence for letting shit build up for years and years and years without saying a word. If women knew they would walk away with NOTHING, they might be a little more inclined to open their mouths and speak.
That is why, despite the headache of administering such a program, we need to bring back the concept of fault to divorce. Spouses who want to walk away from a marriage should be free to do so for any reason they like, but when it comes to dividing assets and determining custody, we need to return to the concept of guilty and innocent.
You’re not happy and don’t feel fulfilled anymore? Okay, sweetie. That’s too bad. Off you go, but you will NOT be taking the house and car and kids with you. Get your clothes and your shoes and your self-help books and GTFO.
Personally, I think infidelity is a stupid reason to end a marriage, but if that’s going to be the reason you cite, then you’ll need some proof. Screen-cap those sexts, honey. You husband has been abusing you? Prove it. You can’t just SAY IT. You need to prove it. And that proof will guide judges when it comes to the division of assets.
As it stands, the law does an excellent job of protecting those few women like myself from being left destitute should my husband decide to trade me in. It’s doing a piss poor job with the others, though. Even divorcees admit that divorce is far too easy to obtain, removing all incentives for couples to grow the fuck up and deal with their issues. And by “couples”, I mostly mean “women”, since they are the initiators in the majority cases.
And that’s what it comes down to. Women refusing to engage their husbands when they have a problem, allowing resentment and bitterness and unhappiness to build until it becomes unbearable, and then blaming all of that on their husbands. And we give them no reason NOT to do that.
Toil and trouble
And cauldron bubble
The Three Witches from Macbeth leap to mind, for some reason.
If we brought the concept of fault back to divorce, women would have some pretty damn good reasons to work on their marriages rather than heading for divorce courts where they can rest assured they will walk away with most of the assets and the children.
You want a divorce? Okay. You’ll need a reason. And if your precious feelings are the only reason you can come up with, well, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, sweetheart. The door will be staying attached to the house your husband and kids will continue to live it, with or without you.
Oh, and as an aside, I should tell you that Mr. JB now buys me flowers quite regularly. He fucking hates it, but he does it. Because he knows I like them. Know HOW he knows that?
I told him!
Honey, you’re the best. And all the phones are on their chargers! And my keys are in my purse.
Lots of love,