I mentioned in the Parent Emeritus thread that I divorced my husband of 29 years this past July ... over issues of severe abuse in the past that I've never been able to get past, despite 14 years of trying. The abuse not only affected me, it affected our children (of course). I tried unsuccessfully to leave, filed for divorce in 1998/99, but after getting some terrible legal advice I ended up staying - to protect the kids, as I thought then. The abuse didn't continue after that, there were ongoing low-level things but nothing near as bad as previously. But I ended up unemployable as a physician, angry, in despair, and starting down self-destructive paths as I became more despondent. I didn't want to go that route ... so managed to find a training program last fall that would allow me to write Board exams and become employable again, thus able to support myself. I hadn't had a penny to call my own for 29 years. I worked like crazy, got accepted to the training program by the skin of my teeth, and prepared for life on my own. I got my divorce six days after starting my new training program in a new state. Three weeks later I found a lump in my breast and a week later was diagnosed with breast cancer. I'll admit, I was devastated; my brain literally stopped working with the stress. I would come home from work and just sit on the sofa, staring into space. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. And worse, a friendship I'd begun with someone I'd known slightly for several years, someone respected and liked in the community, who I thought was a really good person, and who pursued me energetically once I was free ... and I was very very happy to be seeing this man, who shared so many values and interests and seemed so wonderful ... well, the moment I told him that this wasn't a cyst, it was something worse ... didn't get back in touch for two weeks, then sent a dismissive message, then an angry message that he didn't want any sort of relationship, didn't want any expectations of him. I'd already told him I didn't expect him to hold my hand but was hoping for friendship. I haven't heard from him since. My ex was devastated at the news and offered his help. At first I stayed away; but I did ask his help by mid-August after running into roadblocks trying to arrange surgery, and just crumpling with the stress. He was respectful at first, very helpful, and has been a tremendous support all through. For that I'm permanently grateful. The trouble is that he's assumed we're remarrying and everything will go back the way it was. He told me recently that we 'have' to remarry this December/January, whatever is best for taxes, and I need to pay him back $$$ because he feels I made out better than he did in the marital settlement (not true). I declined both requests and he was initially very agitated and upset and left in a huff. However, he isn't giving up. He is still extremely helpful, but also clearly assumes too much. For my part, I know I need to have some difficult conversations with him, but I don't want to have them while I'm trying to finish this semester's academic work and get through chemo. I want to choose my time, preferably after chemo's done and I'm not under such pressure academically. I admit, I don't want to die alone. I'd like companionship in the time I have left, which could be 18 months or 28 years. But I freeze at the thought of remarrying. To not be able to walk away, after my experiences, is anathema. And I refuse to ever be financially dependent again. Yet I know my ex-husband assumes joint finances, which really means HIS finances; to say that I have to keep my bank accounts separate would probably be a deal-breaker for him. I don't want to be disingenuous with him but resent being forced into discussions because he's putting the pressure on. The other issue is that my oldest son, who remembers more of the abuse than anyone, feels that his childhood and young adulthood were taken from him by his father, feels that he needs to distance himself. He would NOT understand me having more than an arm's length relationship with my ex. And although I suspect that some of my easy child 1's problems may have occurred anyway, I can't say that he wouldn't have done much better away from his father. He would have, in almost any situation. The entire family got together for Thanksgiving and, except for difficult child's drama, it was okay. It's all supposed to happen again for Christmas. I'll be more worn down then, two more chemo sessions along, and probably not able to do much. I need help and frankly no one but my ex is in a position to give it. Yet I don't want to betray my children's and especially my oldest son's, memories and experiences. I'm wondering what people think of me waiting until after chemo is done (next February) to have these talks with my ex. Whether I should just bite the bullet sooner, in spite of having finals etc. in December. I wish my ex weren't putting such pressure on, and making so many assumptions, but he is. The longer I wait the worse it'll be, yet I resent being forced into unpleasantness when I really need to finish multiple projects and study for finals. All our lives everything's been all and only about HIM, and it still is.