I am torn.

My estranged (14 months) survivor husband and I are still tied financially over a boat loan. He loves the boat. It's his only place of peace. He's been making the payments diligently. He pays child support for another year, at which time he might be able to take on the loan himself.

He came here yesterday and took half of his remaining belongings. I told him that if he can get my name of the loan, I will file for divorce and have him served. He won't have to do anything. At this point I just need to be out of this. It feels like an anchor around my neck.

He teared up when I said this. Not about divorce of course, but about the boat. Said he doesn't know how he can do this, that the boat is the only thing he has in his life that has any meaning for him. After talking I backed down. Said we'd stick with the way things are for now.

Today he came to get the last of his belongings and I regret my decision to continue backing his loan. It was so hard when he left as I know that I'll probably never see him again, that my hopes of his return are shattered. Yet I've been the one person who is very slowly and from afar helping him to move his healing forward by sacrificing myself and supporting him when he needs it. Yet I get nothing in return. And I can't be free.

He has gotten everything he wants. He gets to leave me, keep his boat, get loving support from me (this weekend he also took Mike Lew's book and this website address, which is huge), pretend with his friends that everything's awesome. It seems that he shows no care or concern for me or my well being unless he wants something. He hasn't expressed any remorse for how he treated me in our marriage or for walking out on it the way he did. Yet he expects me to back his boat loan because it means so much to him and his healing. Today I am so confused and I feel played.

I'm still crying, an hour since he left when he said "I'll see you later" and I said "well, no, I guess this is it. You have no reason to come out here anymore." He replied with "I'm sorry for destroying you". His first words to me today by email were "Thank you so much for helping me heal."

I've been angry, at myself and the situation. What he's doing isn't fair. I have done this loving act to support him, but it makes me feel so incredibly bad and powerless and trapped and taken advantage of.

It feels like we're in a pool and he's standing on my shoulders so that he can breathe, but I'm barely gasping at the surface.

I can't divorce him until our financial ties are cut, and he won't do anything to cut them because he will lose the boat. Looking for financial support elsewhere means his house of cards falls down. It's like the only solution he can see is somebody else propping him up.

Then there's the pragmatics. We sell the boat, still owe 10k on the loan, he declares bankruptcy and I'm stuck with the debt. One final kick in the guts for me, by him.

It would be an easy decision if I could remove his abuse and that fact that he's just starting to look at it from the equation. But how can I do that? As my sister says, he's got me right where he needs me...taking advantage of my kindness, compassion and generosity to get what he wants.

How can I get out of this?

Edited by northernflicker (12/09/12 07:20 PM)
Edit Reason: bit more context