Why Do I Keep Lending My Ex Money Even Though He Lies to Me?

Woman in white tee and short brown hair has hands in her face, clearly upset.
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Back in September, I lent my ex-husband money.  He swore he was good for it and, in truth, he always has been. My son had also just helped him secure a job that was starting in early November. So, how come, when I found out that he had relapsed around Christmas and that he had lied to me when I saw him in early December, I was more seething than sad? This isn’t the first time I’ve lent him money, should it be the last? - Addicted to Loathe

Obviously, it’s devastating when someone we know, in any way shape or form, relapses. Let alone, someone we’re related to, were married to, had kids with, and are connected to for life. As much as we all wish we were the type to come out of the gate filled with compassion and in our hearts, have you met us?  Anger is more often our go-to emotion. Understandably. It’s somehow “easier” to feel than hurt or sadness.

But (you SO knew my but was coming), what if it was more of an anomaly that your ex paid you back all those times than this one time they didn’t? Think about it: Did you celebrate those times as long and weigh them as heavy as this time?

Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course, we are thrilled when we get our money back, OR when our boss acknowledges us, OR when our date texts us after we hangout, etc. But which one do we talk about more? The time they do or the time they don’t?

Ever wonder why?

There’s a Neville Goddard quote that hits this note (and nerve). Apologies in advance as it’s potentially got more bite than my but: “Most of us think that we are kind and loving, generous and tolerant, forgiving and noble; but an uncritical observation of our reactions to life will reveal a self that is not all kind and loving, generous and tolerant, forgiving and noble. And it is this self that we must first accept and then set about to change…”

Turns out, humankind isn’t all that kind. Obviously, myself included.

So, how do we deal with our not so niceness and bench ourselves from the sport (aka being right that someone is wrong) we often find ourselves unconsciously playing?

Here’s how. And, yes, easier typed than done.

  1. Stop being surprised that an unwell person is unwell. Consider this: lending your ex money was a test of sorts. And, worse, we don’t test people to pass. There’s no juice in it for us. See: Neville quote. Otherwise, we’d get off equally (or more!) when they pass the test then when they don’t.
  2. Pick your no’s. If you are not madly in love with the person asking for money, (or any favor for that matter), then, by all means, don’t say yes. Say no. Nicely. 
  3. The string attached when you say “yes” but really mean “no” is more of a rope.
  4. Find your Bonnie to their Clyde.

Spoiler alert: No, I’m not just old with that film reference. Although, that too. If you married an addict, the likelihood that you are addicted to something, even if not a substance, is also high. You may be “addicted” to an outcome, a feeling, i.e. being unappreciated, right about their wrongness, martyrdom, etc.

Once you forgive me for #4, remember to celebrate the wins. The actual ones.

The best way to defibrillate your heart with someone and to stop seething is to have compassion not just for their humanity, but yours too.  Once we can see that we are not always as nice as we think, often test people to fail, and sometimes say “yes” when we mean “no,” is the moment we can do something about it: Like, forgive. Not just them, but ourselves.

Now, those are great buts.



Marnie Nir is formerly an Expert Life Coach, and Chief Creative Officer of a decade at coaching firm Handel Group, ghostwriter of the book “Maybe It’s You” and writer of the online courses: Inner.U Life, Love, Student, and Career.

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