Tell me if I am insane here. My ex-husband left me about a year and a half ago for another woman. He bolted out of this house leaving almost everything behind except his personal belongings. Desperate to go public with his new woman, he pretty much signed all his life savings away, walked away from his equity in the house until I sell it, a lot of furniture, paintings that were family treasures, and then signed a separation agreement waiving all rights to the contents of the house.

Fast forward to this month. Guess who’s bought a house in a faraway suburb with his latest bride-to-be? And guess who suddenly wants stuff back, including a Montauk couch that he claimed had “sentimental value” to him? Before he even asked, I returned all the paintings to his sister as I prepared for my own move, feeling they belonged with his family. And when he asked, I cheerfully coughed up the couch (scratched badly by one of my cats, who’s been using it as her own personal emery board), which he came to pick up when I was away last week. However, he forgot a dresser. Here is our exchange:

From: Trixie
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 9:42 PM
To: Tool
Subject: dresser

Do you want to come back and get it?

I will be away next week and you can come pick it up. Also, there is lovely painting in the boys’ room that was your grandmother’s that should stay in your family. Please take it as well.

 

From: Tool 

Sent: Wed Aug 20 9:34:35 2008
To: Trixie

Subject: RE: dresser

Yes, I’d like the painting. I’ll get it next week. I’m also interested in the one my parents gave us as a wedding gift. It was also in our family. But it was a gift to both of us and is worth some money. Can you think of a way to settle that?

 

 From: Trixie 

Sent: Wed Aug 20 21:37:35 2008
To: Tool

Subject: RE: dresser

I wanted to keep that. It has sentimental value to me.

[Eds Note: Ssssurely not as sentimentally valuable as a couch?!?]

From: Tool
Sent: Wed 8/20/2008 11:09 PM
To: Trixie
Subject: Re: dresser

Well then you should have it. How about I take the brass clock my stepmother gave us?

 

From: Trixie

Sent: Wed Aug 20 23:37:35 2008
To: Tool

Subject: RE: dresser
I say this gently: I feel a bit odd to be giving you wedding gifts that meant something to me, given to us by family members I loved and still love, so they can adorn the house you are moving into with the woman you left me for. I know that might sound childish, but the thought of it is hurtful to me. Maybe it is childish, but it is how I feel. You left this house and you could have taken that stuff for many months afterward, and you didn’t, and now that you are setting up house, you want it back. It just hurts. So no. Sorry. The stuff actually really does mean something to me and is comforting to me.

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