the cruelty of sweetness… – Part Four

The weeks of summer started to pass us by and the wedding plans were starting to take shape.  By the end of summer we not only had our date set, photographer booked, the reception hall and caterer ready to go (see post), but we also had purchased a beautiful wedding gown, set up musicians for the ceremony and had begun the search for bridesmaids dresses and were starting to research flowers, music and DJs for the reception, and videographers.

Things were moving right along.  The Ex had had a few more outbursts since our Boston trip, but nothing too alarming and that I couldn’t chalk up to pre-wedding jitters and/or the idea that I was doing something wrong, not being what he needed me to be.  But we carried on, I was continuing to learn lessons, lessons that would later force me to take a hard look at myself and our relationship.

Despite a few hiccups, we kept moving forward.  Being a little older and having actually lived outside of my parent’s house for quite some time, own a home, had some life experience, I took initiative in our relationship to do all the planning for merging our lives.  The Ex had never lived on his own, the only time he didn’t live at his parent’s home was during his college years, and even then he was home some weekends, holidays and summers.  Even as we were planning a wedding, he was going on 29, still living at home with Mom and Dad.  So, to be honest, he had no real world experience with maintaining a home and a lifestyle.  Ultimately he had never been completely responsible for himself.

I, again, gave him the benefit of the doubt and allowed him the excuse that the economy has been bad for several years and it had been difficult to find a job that paid a higher salary which would give him the ability to provide for himself.  While he was working, the salary he was earning was barely enough to cover the debt he had acquired over his nearly 29 years: student loans, car payment, credit card debt, and other miscellaneous things.  (Debt he wasn’t completely upfront with me about when we started discussing merging our finances.)

And, to top it off, he wanted a job that was a “calling.”  He couldn’t decide where his passions were leading him, making it difficult to decide between going back to school or being more aggressive with the job search.  Problem was, his laid back, status-quo, “sweet” personality caused him to not go after anything aggressively and so no bites on any resumes and applications submitted.  He was content to only send in applications online and patiently wait for an email or phone call.  Anyone looking for work should know that’s not enough.  It takes more effort, it takes customizing cover letters and resumes to suit the position being applied for, it takes talking to people to see what’s out there and what your possibilities are, it takes motivation.  Something, as it turned out, The Ex had very little of.  Throughout the entire year and a half we were together, not one interview.  And this was in addition to the three year dry spell before we met.  So in 4 1/2 years, he had not had one interview.

Something about this started troubling me.  Was he ever going to start his career?  If we married, was I going to be ultimately responsible for financing our life?  Would he ever contribute?  Was I being unreasonable to expect he step up to the challenge?  Was he even capable of doing more?  Should I be more accepting and try to figure out other ways he could contribute to our relationship and the household?  These questions and more started to seep into my brain and riddle me with worry.

I worried that I would not have a partner to help carry the heavy load of life, but that I would be essentially taking on a “child” that had no ability to manage himself.  Someone I’d have to take care of, plan for, tell what to do, and provide for financially (as well as other ways, that later became more obvious).  I was worried.  I was stressed.

Having a plan in place always makes me feel better.  Actually having a plan in place and a backup plan, and a backup plan to the backup plan, makes me feel better…

So to help me feel better, I asked him several times over the summer and early fall to begin gathering all his paperwork for all of his accounts, debt, loans, monthly expenses, etc… so I could start putting a plan in place.  After all, again, I was the only one between the two of us with any experience and knowledge on how to do this.  He kept saying he would and then wouldn’t.  He’d say he’d forgotten it, or wouldn’t bring it up altogether.

My worry seemed to grow.  Was he hiding something?  Or was he truly that forgetful and scattered?  If he’s not motivated enough to just bring paperwork over when nothing else was expected of him, would he ever be motivated to do anything more?  Why wasn’t he showing any interest in learning how take care of his business better?

This worry was starting to take it’s toll.  I wasn’t sleeping, my stomach was constantly upset, I was having headaches nearly every day.  Worry was growing, it was growing into something bigger, it was growing into doubt…

To be continued…

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