“Attrition warfare is a military strategy consisting of belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and material. The war will usually be won by the side with greater such resources.”
It’s now approaching five months since E communicated with me at all about anything.
In that time, during every single day, I have vacillated between intense anger and deep hurt, and between a strange sense of calm and a heart-stopping feeling of panic, whilst all the time feeling overwhelmed by confusion and hurt as to how things have ended up like this.
When E and I were together, we would occasionally talk about what would happen if we split up – these were always vague ‘never gonna happen’ conversations, usually in response to watching a TV drama or reading a news article about a celebrity divorce. We always agreed, that if we split up it would inevitably be amicable. Even if we didn’t always like each other, even if we bickered, we were best friends, it seemed inconceivable that we could ever reach the bitter tit-for-tat depths that we witnessed on the TV or in the news.
To be fair, so far, I think I’ve avoided bitterness. I have done my best to make sure the kids are given as fair a viewpoint of everything as possible, I try hard not to be nasty about E in front of the kids (I even ask the boys if their Dad’s ok and how he was when they see him), I’ve never stopped E seeing the kids, I’ve never done anything petty or nasty to make his life difficult.
The only time I have been remotely difficult was ignoring the initial emails asking me to sell the house. I admit, that might not have been the right thing to do, but I was so upset by them (at the time we were just a week past Youngest Daughter’s devastation at her GCSE results and I was genuinely terrified that she might try to overdose again, I was watching her like a hawk, the last thing I wanted to think about was selling the house) that (as I documented on here) I just ignored him.
I admit that I ignored him partly because I was really pissed off with the peremptory way in which he suddenly demanded I sell the house. There was definitely an element of ‘fuck you’ in my ignoring – and I think, after everything he’d put the kids and me through that’s understandable (even if it’s not entirely commendable). But the main reason I ignored him was that there was such an overwhelming number of things for me to think about. There was so much to do, so much to organise, so many things to think about. It was all a big confusing whirl of *stuff* and literally I didn’t know where to start with it.
Of course, E’s reaction to my ignoring him was to immediately bare his fists and show me in no uncertain terms who had the power in the whole transaction. He withdrew his financial support and, in the five and a half months since he did this, the kids and I have gone from struggling financially to absolutely desperate.
In those five months, my solicitor has written twice (and got one response in January, which offered no way forward just lots of ‘poor me’ and petulant foot stamping about the house needing to be sold immediately), his parents have written to him, and I have written three (I think) emails asking him to please respond and please talk about what he wants to do next. In all of the emails I have sent I have emphasised that I am willing to sell the house and yet he hasn’t responded.
The longer he ignores everything, the more likely the house is to be repossessed and the more likely neither of us get anything from a sale. I just don’t understand what he’s doing.
I’m still trying very hard not to get sucked into a bitter tit-for-tat ‘war’ with him. I could use the kids as ammunition, I could manipulate them and twist things so that they despise him (let’s face it, the bare facts as they are wouldn’t take much twisting – if any at all) and refuse to see him. I could splash stuff all over his personal social media and mine and make life really uncomfortable for him. I could put stuff all over his company’s social media pages and cause all sorts of embarrassment. I could turn up at his flat (something my best friend and I discussed with tears of laughter, over a bottle or three of wine last time I saw her) and make things really unpleasant. I could turn up at his office demanding answers. I could complain to his professional body the one which demands ethical financial behaviour – suggesting that his financial behaviour has been far from ethical – it wouldn’t stand up, but it could deeply embarrass him. I could aim for his wife and put stuff all over her company’s social media pages. I could even call her a horse on my social media and face no consequences (we’re not in Dubai here). Admittedly, doing most of these things would make me look utterly unhinged, but they’d make his (and her) life really difficult.
I haven’t done, and would never do, any of them
All of those things would be vicious and vengeful (and probably quite fun if I’m honest), all of them would cause hurt, pain and embarrassment, but not one of them would come close causing to the pain and the damage E has inflicted on the kids and I by withdrawing his financial support.
Whilst all of this has been going on, I’ve been surrounded by concerned and supportive friends and family, some of whom have (absolutely understandably) suggested that I just put the house on the market and sell it and then go back to E and see if we can negotiate. Of course, this is an option, but it’s a last resort, I’m still really hoping to reach a grown-up agreement with him. Others have suggested that I try appealing to E (begging) re selling the house/sorting the finances. Again, I understand this, but this whole thing (from the reason we split, through his actions and lies after the split, to the way he’s behaving now) has caused me such personal humiliation, that I don’t feel I’ve got much pride left. The last shreds of it have been spent on trying to keep the kids and I afloat for the last six months. I still can’t bring myself to beg him for help – although, who knows, if it means I can feed the kids and pay the mortgage, I might yet have to.
Sometimes, I feel that E is trying to take everything from me. I’m not sure why, I honestly can’t think of anything that I ever did to deserve this, but he treats me as if I was the one who had the affairs and lied for year. He’s even tried to take this blog from me – in his response to my solicitor he described it as ‘online abuse’ and said he wanted me to password protect it so only people ‘in my circle’ could read it. This blog has been my only voice, the only tiny bit of control I’ve had since everything happened, and yet, he even wants to destroy this little piece of me. I’m clinging onto this with every last scrap of my being.
It’s all beyond belief. It doesn’t seem real. When I think back to the jovial chats we had about separating and the confidence we had about how we’d always be civil to each other, it’s incomprehensible. I’m losing a war of attrition that I never wanted to be part of and that I never saw coming and I’m not sure what to do next.