When Melanie's well-to-do husband, David, cut off her household allowance and wanted her to work at the only job she could get — at a big-box store — she began divorce proceedings. Three hours before they were scheduled to appear in court, David begged her to call off the divorce.
"He said he'd realized that he couldn't live without me and was willing to give me whatever I wanted to keep me. He told me to quit my crummy job and said I would become an equal partner in our finances and that both of our names would be on everything. He agreed to take classes in anger management. He said I should find him a class, and he'd take it.
"He just kept offering me more and more to stay, until I realized he was giving me everything. I called the lawyer and asked her to halt proceedings — but not cancel them." Melanie wanted to wait until David had finished his anger management classes before she did that.
"Apparently, most of the people in the class are court-ordered. The registrar thought it very funny that David was 'wife-ordered.' The course worked wonders. Now, he really is the nice guy I always knew he was, underneath it all.
"Now, we discuss our finances together constantly, and he says my advice is great. We each get so much per month for personal spending, and the rest we discuss jointly." They also discuss "the little things, like which movie to see. If we can't agree, I'll go to an action film with him one week, and he'll see a chick flick with me the next. It's a new and interesting experience for both of us."
Melanie thinks David's original announcement that he was cutting off her household allowance had something to do with the new, "all tricked-out" BMW he had bought a few months earlier, over her vehement objections.
"He said it was a business investment, like advertising. I think it was more a 'swelled head' syndrome. He got the new toy and then got mad at me because he didn't have the money to pay for it. The way he looked at it, it wasn't his fault for buying something he couldn't afford; it was my fault for not working."
After they got back together, David sold the BMW and bought a Prius at Melanie's urging. "Now, instead of bragging about his expensive car, he brags about how green he is. He's inspired his frenemies. They all sit around bragging about how many miles they get to a gallon."
After Melanie canceled the divorce, she and David flew to Las Vegas and renewed their vows. "We felt it was important to make a fresh start with a clean slate. That was three years ago, and my marriage is on a better basis than it ever was. Last week, he hugged me and said the financial security we enjoy today is all because of my excellent managing. That's the highest praise I've ever received.
"It means so much to know that my contributions to the marriage are valued. We don't talk about the past much, only the future, which looks good. I'm so glad we stayed married."
Have you gotten revenge for a betrayal? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."