So, he bought the car. All £11,500 worth of it.
The sight of it there on the drive is bitter-sweet. On the one hand it represents his selfishness, his need for things and his hypocrisy.
He bought it despite the fact I vehemently disagreed with the purchase and that we can’t afford it without getting into (more) debt. Also, if we were going to spend that amount of money I’d rather have spent it on something we would all have benefitted from – a holiday maybe, with enough money left over to pay off our credit card bill and be debt-free. Also, my life is peppered with ‘advice’ from Ethan to spend less on food, his loud exhalations of breath at the cost of school trips and, just yesterday, his suggestion that I buy Sam’s shoes from M&S rather than Clarkes as M&S is cheaper (yes, I did nearly deck him!).
On the other hand the car has, for a limited time I realise, made him happy. He’s thoughtful and caring towards me (presumably due to the guilt), he’s jolly with the kids, he takes himself out for drives and comes back relaxed and invigorated and, although I’m loathe to admit it, he’s had some great moments with the kids due to the car. They love it. Ava is desperate for him to pick her up from the school disco in it because it’s so cool. Sam and Oliver love it because the roof comes down and the seats heat up. And on Saturday Ethan and all three kids spent a happy couple of hours cruising around the peak district in it while I got some work done.
After years of battling, I’m at peace with the fact we’re very different when it comes to possessions: I don’t really need them and am not all that interested. In fact I’d rather make do with a slow and decrepit laptop which still has some life in it than get a faster, shinier, new one. He, on the other hand, thinks of anything over 5-years-old as being out of date and past it, he spends countless hours of his life surfing the web looking at products and he gets immense satisfaction out of having the best, most economical, fastest, latest versions of everything. What I get from people, Ethan gets from things.
His spending has always been manageable. He does act within the boundaries of having a family to support first but, put it this way, only one of us in this family can spend like that. If I took on Ethan’s approach, we’d be bankrupt within a year. The thing I’m most put out about probably is that I really, really didn’t agree with the extravagant car purchase. I cried, I argued, I had sensible discussions with him, I even tried to guilt-trip him with references to holiday-less summers and no money to celebrate my 40th birthday. We eventually reached a compromise and agreed that he would spend no more than £9000 on a car and even that pained me.
Then he came home with one that cost £11,500.
So, the car on the front drive has given me a happy, caring, cheerful, considerate, helpful husband for a while but the cost - apart from the money - is a feeling of betrayal and of my views and feelings not counting for much. Or at least not counting as much as having a fancy new car.