"You're lucky my financial situation isn't where I'd like it to be..." my Gentleman told me last weekend, "Because if it was, if I knew I could give you and this family all that I'm planning on providing, I'd be putting pressure on you to move back to Louisiana."
I love that he wants to take care of me. I love that his goal is to make sure I want for nothing and that he can take care of everything.
I don't TRUST it though.
I tried to trust that my ex-husband could take care of us when I became a stay-at-home mother after years of being a major breadwinner in our marriage. It felt good to me to take a break. But soon, I was learning of reckless hidden spending.... not to mention the history of debt we'd just paid off. I felt like I had to babysit our money. It was tirelessly frustrating.
Then we separated and I had to find work once again, this time with an added limitation of a career that required NO travel since I now have 2 children that I parent (mostly) alone.
My ex-husband and I agreed early in our marriage never to fight about money. We knew that financial issues were one of the primary causes of divorce. We actually avoided the topic of money so well that it is STILL difficult to talk to him about it to this day.
Gentleman Jack, on the other hand, is very comfortable telling me about his expenses, what he brings home from his business, how much debt he has...
I keep reminding myself, "Hey, at least he's being honest." My ex didn't inform me of his debt until 6 months into our marriage. That announcement was a shock to me as I had just quit work to go back to school. We struggled for years before I began bringing in mucho dinero to pay everything off. He supported me financially during my college days but I still didn't feel like I could trust him with the checkbook. We didn't talk about it. I just took over and made sure we'd be ok.
Jack has his own financial issues and this time I'm determined to stay out of it. I still have a desire to want to "fix" things and help him get it all sorted - like I did in my marriage. He isn't asking for that and, in fact, insists that I allow him to figure things out for himself. But when I see how it upsets him or he loses sleep over it... it is very difficult to remain outside of it.
Talking about money with him still makes me feel very uncomfortable.
Why is that?
Early on in our relationship, I noticed my irritation at Gentleman Jack's desire to talk about money, debt and each of our financial issues. I've also discovered that when I have a strong emotional reaction to something or someone's actions about something, it must mean that it's a problem for ME.
I have to look at the issues I have surrounding money.
I'm starting to resent that I don't have more of it!
It began innocently enough....
I started resenting the fact that we couldn't go out more, do things more, travel more.... Why couldn't he afford me?!?!
Hello?! *smack upside the head*
"If I believe anything about relationships," Jack always says, "I definitely believe in FAIR."
Why on earth was I expecting him, a single father of two with ZERO financial help supporting his children, to pay for MY fun?
What sort of belief was stuck in my psyche about who should pay for what?
We're both independent, single parents of two children with mortgages, utilities, childcare costs and credit cards. We both have to drive 3 hours to visit each other. We both want to have fun, travel and eat out. We both want to take our children to do all the family friendly places in my big town.
And so we began splitting things, sharing the expense of things (though he insists on paying more often and/or helping)....and then I began to realize that I wanted MORE dollars to do MORE with him.
Initially post-divorce, I felt a simple life with little means was a perfect life for me and my daughters. I feel that's no longer true. I want more. I want to DO more. I want to provide for ME and not depend on someone else. As much as I'd love to be taken care of, I'm not sure I could relax enough to enjoy it. Could I trust it?
I will continue to delve into this issue more as revelations occur.
What about you?
Do you have an opinion on who should pay for whom? When dating? In a relationship?
Do you have difficulty discussing money with your partner?