BFD and I have had a rougher than normal few weeks.
He has been under significant business strain, with a hard, complex deadline, and he’s been ill. Meanwhile, I am stressed out and trying to cope with the myriad poverty-induced indignities that affect my daily life. We’ve been battling a bit and we’ve had some rough conversations — even on my birthday, when he reminded me, again, that my lack of money is a HUGE issue for him.
After that, I had serious misgivings about staying with him. In fact, I kind of decided we were done. As usual, my defense mechanisms kick in and I decide to ignore him and us and move on.
So, of course, he’s reaching out, extending himself, and reconnecting.
We have a single serious issue: money.
Money is a thing between us. He’s rich, I’m poor, and it affects us tremendously. These are not class issues . . . we do not have a difference in class, in education, in social values, in philanthropy. But in the day-to-day reality of our lives, our financial disparity shadows everything.
He does not want to have to support me. He would support me . . . he just does not want to have to. I have no problem with that. I am not comfortable with him supporting me either. I think he should do things he wants to, but doesn’t have to. I do not think he should do things for me because I need them. I want to be independent from him financially. I have dated very wealthy men before, and it does affect things, although I have never had so little money as I do now. I would prefer to be his partner, not his dependent. Otherwise, it gets too overwhelming and the power dynamic is upset. He is controlling and domineering by nature, and with a dependence issue, it’s just too much.
So, on my birthday, we had a hard discussion about money and his fears about supporting me and the fact he is not getting into a relationship like that again, and I decided, well, I guess we’re done. I began envisioning a life without him and decided I was okay with that. I would be broken-hearted, but I have had my heart broken before and most likely will have it broken again. There are worse things in life than a broken heart.
Then, he reached out to me the next day, unexpectedly, via email, and was rather sweet.
And this afternoon, he called to chat.
He sounded better than he’s sounded in a long time — more relaxed, more connected. He called to ask if I were going to training tomorrow and to ask me to dinner afterward. (Later in the convo, he suggested perhaps JerkFace and HotNeighbor might join us. I love this about him, that despite the fact he wants to spend time with me before his trip [and to take me home and fuck me], he also wants to keep connecting and building relationships with my/our friends.) We spoke about the training and I told him how sad I was to miss yesterday. He wants me to get a ride from HN because he cannot believe I would deign to take the bus. I believe he actually used the word “undignified.” Yes, dear, so is poverty.
Interestingly, I may be getting my car back. Basically, once he knows I can afford it, I am getting it back. It’s a lease, which is why he wanted me to buy my own car (so I would have a car at the end), but he also really wants me to have it back. He said several times “you’re paying the insurance,” which, dude, fine, I will pay the insurance. So, as soon as I can, it’s mine again. It’s far nicer and less expensive to me than anything else I could buy, and neither one of us is comfortable with me driving a crappy car. Honestly, he seemed to think it would again be undignified for his girlfriend to drive a truly crappy car, just as it is for his girlfriend to take the bus.
Now, a reasonable person would say, then why doesn’t he just give you his car? Which he did before. But it’s important to him that I am contributing to it, and that’s fair. These are deep-seated issues we’re dealing with and, if he wants me to pay for half the car and the insurance, then that is what I will do. He even told me that he’d gotten it detailed and did something with the tires, so it’s all ready for me. In fact, though it’s not properly registered, yet, he has driven it and he wants me to have it back. He wants it to be my car. He is proud to subsidize it, proud to give me the opportunity to drive it. It is a vote of confidence in me (and my financial future) that had been missing, and a vote of confidence in us. After all, it ties us together for another year. It’s a vote of confidence in my financial future because it means he believes I will be able to afford a nice car when the lease ends.
We spoke about training and his bluster about quitting from Monday’s conversation had disappeared. In fact, he loves it and he’s committed to it, and he’s committed to having me there. He loves that I love it, even though it precipitated our money conversation when I asked him to pay for my training for the rest of the month. (He refused, initially, saying it’s my responsibility to make the commitment to it, and later relented.)
He told me about the new marketing campaign and it’s a win. He thanked me profusely for my help and support, for bringing the right people in, and for giving it the right feel. He also mentioned that he’s going to join a team with JF and W in the fall. Really. They will be teammates. Awe-some.
As time goes on, our lives become more intertwined. This place feels more like home to him. My friends are becoming his friends. It’s a little overwhelming to me because I know how tenuous things sometimes feel. But, then I realize that when he knows I am making money, when BP is actually paying me (again), the majority of his hesitation evaporates into the aether. It did when we spoke this afternoon and I mentioned casually that things will be improving shortly. He was instantly excited. We also set a time for lunch with BP next week — a lunch I know BP will decide to skip and send an underling, but there’s no reason to piss BFD off yet. I am still hoping I can convince BP otherwise.
He is simple, really. He wants our relationship to be here and be good. I am his girlfriend, after all. He’s terrified of being taken advantage of, he’s terrified that I am comfortable being dependent, and I am afraid of depending upon him, of being completely open and vulnerable with him, when I feel I am bringing so little to the relationship (other than a high sex drive and a great ass). Those have been the only issues we’ve had. Our behavioral tics are there — I can be withdrawn and distant; he can be asshole of epic proportions (they could write epic poems about his asshole ways) — and yet, those we struggle through and overcome. But money has been there and has lasted. I have refused to invite him to things because I could not afford to pay for us both (which infuriated him when I told him). I have passed on many trips and opportunities because I did not want him to pay. It’s stupid, as he told me, repeatedly, but that’s my thing. It’s his thing, too.
My financial situation is changing and I am slowly clawing my way out of poverty. (If I told you how little I live on, you would be shocked. When I say poverty, I mean poverty.) The amusing thing is that I am one deal away from being financially set. As soon as next week, things could be fine. When I say fine, I mean I could make more in a single week than I have made cumulatively in my life (and I was a lawyer in private practice). He knows this, but he does not know how close it is. What I am working on is potentially lucrative.
When I hear him relaxed and engaged and happy, I feel confident that we’re fine, that we’re strong.
It scares me to know how intertwined our lives are becoming. My friends are becoming our friends. My business partner may become his business partner. I may own part of his company. His training has becoming my training. His car will again become my car. And yet, despite our issues, we’re becoming closer and the are stakes becoming higher. But, as afraid as I am of how hard things will be if we break up, we keep drawing closer together and more intertwined. At some point, I will stop resisting it and just drop my guard completely.