I am a recently separated woman, living just a few blocks from my ex. We have children together, and were together for almost 15 years.
One of the issues in our marriage was his lack of contribution to the care and maintenance of our home. We hired people to cut grass and shovel snow (if I didn’t do it myself), and paint our verandah. New cans of paint sat in our basement while rooms went unpainted. He turned away help from both sets of in-laws for so long that we just started to work around him, planting a garden, redoing bedrooms, building furniture to keep the place organized and tidy. It was a chronic issue between us (among others of course), and I never understood how he could lack so much pride in his own home. I stopped inviting people over for years, because I was embarrassed to have them see how we lived.
What I imagine.
Since I moved out (we share custody of the kids, and that seems to be working well so far), he has revamped the kitchen, hung art on the walls, tidied up the garage so he can park in it, and a variety of other things. More work has been done in a few weeks than has been done in years. I am furious!
Why would he do this all now? I have asked many people and nobody could explain why he never did anything to help, and why he’s doing it now that I’ve left. Is it just to hurt me? Is it to make the place better for the next woman in his life? Should I even care as long as my kids have a better home?
After the last time I was there, I have finally decided I can no longer go into the house; it hurts me every time I see it. Do you think this is a good strategy? Can you figure out his change of behaviour?
The rest of my life is great now, and my new living space has already become a home to me. But I’d love to hear your insights, so I can really start seeing things more clearly.
Dear Miss Daisy,
I hear the disappointment and frustration in your letter. I understand why you feel this way. You wanted to have a nice home, and a place you could share your lives together, entertain friends comfortably, and provide a nice place for your children to grow up. It seems as if only one of you wanted these things during your union, and that person was you.
You don’t mention any of the other issues that contributed to the deterioration of your marriage, but I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that there might have been some nagging on your part, and some avoidance on his part. People often don’t like to be told what to do, even when it’s very obviously what they need to be doing. It’ s in our human natures to want to make the decision to act on our own accord, and not based on the desires of other people. For some, the constant reminders about all that needs to be done (and isn’t currently getting done) act as a continuous sandpaper, grinding away at our self-esteem and desire to become involved in new projects. This is not an excuse, but perhaps it will provide some insight into the other half of the problem.
I imagine this is what it’s like. I hope I never find out.
Here’s the next part, and I’m not sure you will like it. However, you have asked for insight, and I have some to offer.
You are now separated, and on your way to divorce. The ‘why’ of it really isn’t important. Will it make you feel better to think that your ex-husband is experiencing a new lease on life, and has obviously overcome one of the major hurdles that he had when you were together? There’s a pretty good chance that his newfound interest in home decor coincides directly with your exit from the marital home. Whether that bothers you or not, depends on you, and honestly, it is up to you to decide how you want to assimilate this information in your life. In the simplest of terms, it no longer concerns you. You should be pleased, because it IS good for your children. If I had to guess, I would say this man doesn’t really care at all what you think about his interests. He seems pretty happy to be on his own and it sounds like you are happy on your own.
I think your strategy of staying out of the home is a good one. Perhaps there will come a time in the future, when the sting of it isn’t so fresh, and your own happiness far outweighs any of the past negativity associated with the home, and you will be able to step inside without feeling anything at all.
The future climate of this relationship is up to you. Since you are no longer together, and you still must co-parent, it is in your best interests to let it go and move on. Don’t worry about what he is doing, with whom, or why. It simply does not affect you anymore, and it is really not your concern. I say this with great kindness and respect, and I hope it is taken that way. Be happy for him, and happy for your kids. Wish him well, and prepare to open your heart and start a new life that will be ultimately more rewarding and fulfilling than the one you are leaving.
(image source: quick-rite.com)
Dear Miss Daisy,
I know a guy (it’s me) that will trash the house on a weekly basis for a nominal fee. Another thing you could look into is a way to get some red squirrels or raccoons into the house. They will fuck shit up in there and keep him on his toes for weeks, because he’ll always wonder if he missed one that is having a litter in the attic. You seem kind of like the bitter sort, so I’m sure you’ve already figured out how to get in there without getting caught, you probably just didn’t know what to do when you got there. That’s where I can help. I spend most of my days thinking about how to fuck up people’s lives, just in case someone like you comes along. Give me a call, and if you don’t, there’s not much else I can say other than whatever you choose to do, make it untraceable.
I said upside down you’re turning me, you’re giving love instinctively,