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Acrimonious Acrimony

My dear Jil, the issues you raised kind of remind me of the Tyler Perry movie, Acrimony. Don’t know if you’ve seen it. It’s one of those psychological thrillers. The moral plot is deliberately twisted to create acrimony in the audience. “Acrimony” is used as a double entendre I believe.

The movie is so acrimonious that when I held a life session review with the junior consultants at Alder Consulting the air-conditioning could not cope with the heat generated during the discussion. The women were on one side and the men were on the other side, confirming the fact men and women view same set of facts from different perspectives and come to different conclusions.

I’m trying to avoid being a spoiler in case you haven’t seen the movie but briefly this is the story. A boy and a girl meet on campus. He disvirginized her, right in the middle of her mourning for her late mum. Mum leaves her some money. He somehow talks her into buying him a car and still cheats on her with another babe. Turns out the girl has a huge temper issue. She settles the score by ramming a car into his RV. The other girl was in the RV. Well, girl ends up in hospital, had to have a hysterectomy. Boy comes to hospital, reconciles with her and they end up marrying over the objections of girl’s two sisters. No sister came to wedding. They thought it was a huge mistake.

After college boy couldn’t get a job. Turned out he had done time, spent two years in prison. He never disclosed this to girl until after college. But while in college boy had invented a battery. Only he couldn’t get anyone to finance the invention. He convinces girl to mortgage her inheritance to finance a prototype. Everything rode on that battery. For years and years he kept working on that battery with no headway. All the while girl was supporting the family. She was the bread earner. The guy had no job.

Well, remember that girl he cheated with? Twenty years later she pops up in the plot. She now works as Assistant to a venture capitalist he’s been trying to reach for years. She arranges a meeting for him with the venture capitalist, who offers him $800k for his invention. Outright transfer of intellectual property, not a licensing agreement. Well, that deal went south since boy wasn’t willing to relinquish his intellectual property rights. This leads to exasperation at home. 800k seems like a lot of money. It will save the house. Wife had had it up to here. She wants a divorce. Divorce comes through but then fortune changes for boy. Venture capitalist agrees to licensing agreement. Boy gets a very large cheque.

Despite divorce, boy cuts girl a cheque for $10m and also buys her home back. Girl is sorry she listened to advice from her sisters to get rid of him. She wants him back. Only now, he’s with that other girl. THAT other girl. She had taken him in when he had to move to a shelter. Girl goes deranged on finding out. If you want to know more about the derangement bit you’d have to watch the movie. I’m assuming you’ve not seen it of course. But it’s real derangement.

Question then is, who’s the moral villain – boy or girl? Should she have divorced boy? Should she even have married boy? In your analysis factor in the cultural worldview of the African American.

By now you understand why any discussion of the Acrimony movie creates so much acrimony. Some of the young consultants at Alder Consulting are calling for Round 2 discussion. New insights have purportedly emerged! So heated was the exchange that some ladies called for murder of the guy. The guys of course had a different mind-set. But there were so many assumptions in those discussions.

For example, does the fact of striking it rich change the guy? Is he still the same guy, who now has money, or is he a born-again guy because of money? Does money ennoble a guy? Can money make someone a better person?

There are other issues as well, issues worth considering. How much disclosure should you make to your boyfriend or girlfriend? Shouldn’t the guy have disclosed he was convicted at fifteen for instance?

Then there’s the question of tunnel vision. Should a guy have so much tunnel vision pursuing a dream to the detriment of everything around him?

Should a man live off a woman, and for so long because he’s trying to get a venture off the ground?

Should a girl marry a guy who cheated on her in school?

Shouldn’t alarm bells sound when a broke guy is trying to persuade you to buy him a car, especially with money from your inheritance?

At what point should a woman say she’s had enough? Is it long before she’s lost everything or at the cusp of losing everything?

Shouldn’t there be discussions of how a marriage will be sustained economically, before marriage? Does love invalidate the need to discuss the economics of a proposed union?
Is it all about vision? Do you marry a guy because he has a vision or because he demonstrates he can take care of his family? Is vision enough?

Having booted a man out of a marriage, does a woman have a moral right to lay claim on him when his fortune changes, ostensibly based on past investments?

Was the man fair in giving her $10m and buying the lost house back? Was that enough for all the years of support and suffering?

What do women really, really want from men?

As you can see there are so many issues and moral twists and turns in Acrimony. But we must not forget it’s just a movie. For the total sequence to happen as depicted, it will take a combination of the lives of five couples. Obviously the writer thought through all the moral angles and decided to convolute the issues.

There’s the challenge of mistake of youth. Should a guy’s mistake in his youth be permanently held over him?

These and many others are the issues raised by the movie. But here are a few lessons.

Morning shows the day but it doesn’t reveal the night.

Emotions are powerful. Don’t give your affection to the undeserving.

There are manipulative people – people who will manipulate you for money in the name of love. Be discerning.

When a relationship starts with demand for money you might be entering a demand and supply configuration.

Yes, we should have vision but vision is not enough. Vision can’t fill the stomach. You’ve got to earn as you pursue your vision.

A man who lives off a woman is a great burden on the woman, both financially and emotionally.

Don’t sell yourself cheap. Don’t let your present circumstances determine the value of your invention. Use an objective yardstick.

Don’t give up easily. Success requires dogged pursuit. You must believe in your dream.

Some relationships are bound to end up as tragedy. Don’t fool yourself if you’re starring in one.

It’s good to believe in a man. But the man must also acquit himself and validate that belief through a sense of responsibility.

Not everyone can handle money. Some instantly forget all those who sacrificed to get them up there once their fortune changes.

You can’t blame anyone for the consequences of your marriage choice. You have to take responsibility for the partner you chose.

You must exercise control over your emotions. Emotions are combustible. Emotions can cause enormous damage.

When you’re angry don’t take a major decision. Calm down first. The word “decision” presumes rationality.

Know when to cut your loss in a relationship. If you leave things too late enormous psychological damage can be done.

You should encourage critical disclosure in your relationship. Examples include former marriage, child outside wedlock, imprisonment and blood group.

Know when the ship has sailed. If your ex is married the ship has sailed. Don’t get into obsession. It’s dangerous and emotionally unhealthy.

When you’re close to the edge seek help. If you cross the line it’s hard to come back.

There are things that only take place in movies. Don’t confuse art with reality.

What seems is not the same as what is. Be careful with suspicion. It’s imagination corroborated by possibility.

Marriage is powerful. It defines the track of destiny. Be careful who you hitch your wagon to.

A youth has to be wise. Decisions made at a young age can be very consequential.

Well, think on these things.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

Morning shows the day but it doesn’t reveal the night. Click To Tweet Emotions are powerful. Don’t give your affection to the undeserving. Click To Tweet Don’t give up easily. Success requires dogged pursuit. You must believe in your dream. Click To Tweet
Tags : Bitterness, cheating, acrimony

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