This phrase is often used in war movies and political dramas, and is a political strategy adhered to by most countries. It means that if either side continues, both sides are assured devastating consequences. The idea is meant to prevent further aggression. Who knew I would agree to a path that will lead to mutually assured destruction for my spouse and myself, yet here I go.
Background if you aren’t aware……. I was given a ridiculously low “settlement offer” last Friday. My initial reaction was “oh well, I gave this a shot, I’ll skulk away and try to live on next to nothing each month”. The more I got to thinking about it though, the angrier I got. I live, and will continue to live, in the same community as my spouse and his new GF, and the lawyers are suggesting that I accept a life of financial ruin while he continues to eat out, vacation 4 times a year, pay for his Cadillac. And I said No.
I told my lawyer that there are only 2 possible outcomes. 1 is that I will walk away with enough money to buy a townhouse in our school district and a monthly alimony that covers my expenses, or 2- we both go bankrupt fighting over it. I think this qualifies as Mutually Assured Destruction, don’t you?
I’ve been pondering why I’m taking such a drastic stance. Throughout our entire marriage I’ve gone out of my way to do the prudent thing financially. I even went as far as overlooking his many dalliances, in an effort to protect our family unit. I was frugal, I did without, and I was extremely deliberate in my attempts to keep our family together and solvent. It was my life’s mission.
I guess in the end, this is why I am now willing to throw it all away. I failed. I did not keep my family together. My financial prudence, my compliant nature and my willingness to accept whatever my spouse wanted to throw at me failed to keep us together. So if that behavior didn’t work for me for the past 25 years, why would I repeat it now? Further, if I repeat it now I am sentencing myself to a lifetime of this behavior, because it will be all I can afford.
It took 25 years but I now understand that sometimes the only acceptable outcome is Mutually Assured Destruction, and this is one of those times. The only way for me to begin anew is to burn us to ground. At that point I will be able to rise from the ashes of our life and start over.