Once upon a time, there lived a husband and a wife. They had been married for many years. They both worked in day jobs, and also ran a small interior design business together in their spare time. They were active members of their local chamber of commerce.
However, sadly, as is the way of things sometimes, as the years went by they drifted apart. The wife realised that, although they both worked – and in fact she earned slightly more than him – the husband controlled all the finances. So, after much persuasion, the husband agreed to give her a monthly allowance for her to spend on what she saw fit.
This was an improvement, but after a few more years had passed, the wife realised she was still not happy. She and her husband seemed to have drifted further apart. They had different values and interests. Her husband spent a lot of their “joint” money on things which she had no interest in and saw no benefit from, such as guns and sporting events. She wanted to take her life in a different direction. So, after much soul-searching, she told him that she was thinking about a divorce.
“But why?” asked her husband. “You get more money in your allowance than I do! And I look after you! Why are you complaining? And we’ve all this history together, we belong together – you can’t throw that all away!”
“Yes”, she replied, “it’s true I get more money than you, but I also earn more money than you, so it’s not like you’re subsidising me. I don’t hate you, I just feel we have different needs now. Yes, we have a history, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for us to stay together now – we’ve grown apart, and we want different things in life. I’d like us to still be friends. We can still work together and get along, but I feel we will both be happier if we go our separate ways.”
But the husband was not pleased about this. He didn’t like his wife thinking for herself and wanting control over her own life. So he started to try and bully her into staying with him. He decided to scare her with threats of how difficult he would make life for her, should she decide to leave him.
He started by constantly putting her down and telling her she would never make it on her own. “You don’t have the resources to live on your own”, he told her. “You can’t afford to rent a place by yourself. I’ve been supporting you all these years and running the house for both of us”. This didn’t work too well, as she knew that while he had controlled the joint finances all these years, she earned more than him and was perfectly capable of supporting herself.
Seeing that this tack was not working, the husband next decided to threaten her over their joint business, which they ran alongside their day jobs. This interior design business, named Pound, was a joint venture in which the wife provided the design work while the husband ran the purchasing and financial side. It seemed to the wife that the sensible thing would be for them continue to run the business jointly. But the husband insisted that if she divorced him, she would be removed as a partner and not be allowed to continue with it. “But”, said the wife, “that’s ridiculous. Firstly, it’s jointly owned. You can’t just force me out. Besides, without me providing the design side, the whole business would collapse and have no value.”
“I don’t care”, replied the husband. “If you leave me, I will punish you by doing everything in my power to take it away, even though it means the business will fail and I will make a financial loss”. The wife was baffled and saddened. It seemed that either he hated her so much he would act against his own best interests just to spite her, or he was making empty threats. Either way, his behaviour did not make her feel loved or keen to stay in the relationship.
Next, he tried to intimidate her over their membership of the local chamber of commerce. “We have a joint membership”, he said, “and if you leave me, you will forfeit that. You won’t be allowed to re-join on your own, they won’t want you. So you won’t have any friends left”.
“Nonsense”, replied the wife. “I’m already a member. Of course I’ll be able to stay, whether we are together or apart”.
But the husband insisted that she would be asked to leave, and refused to allow any official ruling by the chamber, because he wanted to isolate her and intimidate her into staying.
As the wife watched her husband grow more and more spiteful and vindictive towards her, she felt her decision crystallise. She hadn’t really been sure, before, whether to leave or not. She still had sentimental feelings for her husband and the pull of their shared history. But his behaviour saddened and worried her. Her husband, while claiming to love her and want her to stay with him, was not acting in a loving way at all. In fact, he seemed to increasingly show nothing but resentment and dislike, and a complete lack of respect towards her. And now, he was even starting to be more controlling than ever and suggesting that, if she stayed, he would reduce her allowance and take more control of their joint assets.
Which would I rather do, she asked herself. Stay in a bitter relationship, where we no longer share values and my husband seems to want to make life as difficult as possible for me? Or leave, make the break, start divorce proceedings? Yes, of course, in the short term the divorce will be hard. My husband may carry through on his threats and try to take our business away from me. He may be spiteful and fight me over every little detail of our joint assets.
But, on the other hand, why on earth would I stay in a relationship with someone who threatens and bullies me? Someone who seems to have no interest in my happiness or well being, just in controlling me and keeping me with them? If I leave, I will have control over my own life and I can spend my earnings however I choose. I will have freedom to make my own decisions. It may be hard, but it will be worth it.
And so, she realised she had made her decision. She left her husband, and after the dust had settled, she found her own path and lived her life on her own terms. And, of course, she lived happily ever after.
In case it’s not clear, this is a metaphor for Scottish independence. Vote Yes!!