“Hostility.” This is how my ex just described my attempt to re-gain the court-appointed alimony payments from him; the ones he randomly decided to stop paying a few years ago. This description (hostility!) was eye-opening for me. I'd had no idea! Can you follow the logic?
After years of me offering alternatives to court, such as a commonly agreed written negotiation, collaborative divorce or maybe mediation, this last-ditch-effort hearing, according to him, had:
- Nothing to do with the fact that he went against a court order when he stopped paying me alimony;
- Nothing to do with general financial need or fairness;
- Nothing to do with me needing the means to live in the expensive area where he lives with my children (my old neighborhood); and…
- Nothing to do with me just standing up for what is right, given our own story.
You’d think that I was making up this whole new concept called “alimony” and was trying to press this wacky new idea on an unsuspecting court system as a sole result of my hostility against him! I mean, he may not like paying alimony, but alimony has nothing to do with hostility. It was invented for a reason.
The funny thing is, my response to him that it was “nothing personal” was absolutely true! It’s been far too long since our separation. I have moved on and healed in an amazingly powerful way. Yet, part of my healing has been to acknowledge when I have rights and when I need to stick up for myself.
There was a point before heading back into court that I almost decided to “just let it go.” But that decision would not have been made based on what is best for me, overall, it would have been made out of a wariness of his crazy and a desire to keep his negative energy at bay and far, far, far away from me!
I could have swaddled such a decision in some sort of high-road agenda to “leave the past and his negativity behind me.” I practiced that in my head, actually. I could tell family and friends, who’d stuck by me all these years, that I had made this more-or-less “spiritual” decision. I could make it sound good. I could pretend I wasn’t being chicken and once again letting my ex get every single last thing he wanted. I almost convinced myself that it would be better to walk away from asking for what was right.
However, as I contemplated “the high-road,” and I mean an authentic one, it occurred to me that taking the high-road can be done without leaving myself and my own interests in the dust. Plus, I felt that my decision might just go beyond me. After all, I am training to be a divorce coach and a personal coach!
What if my decision somehow informed others? Or my daughters, God forbid? What about all the women on the planet now and in the future, all these women who, if I knew them, I would encourage to stand up for their rights?
We all need to be able to stand up to that one big bully who just wants to get his own way 24/7 and who would hold us down out of the mere fact that he could and that he was fairly certain we just might allow him to hold us down. Thinking of it this way, I knew for myself I only had one choice. I had to hold my nose and go back into the courtroom.
So into the courtroom I have gone. The “jury” is still out. I cannot know if I will succeed, but I do feel that I have done the right thing for me. And, it doesn’t matter who except me believes it, I feel nothing but peace as I move forward.
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