Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Heart of the Money Matter

This past weekend I drove up to meet Mark and the boat in West Palm Beach. WPB is a super cute little town –everything is new and so Floridian. While relaxing on Sunday, Mark took me to the outdoor shopping mall. After not finding a place to cut Mark’s hair and a lunch at Panera (something I’ve seriously missed since moving down here), we walked into Macy’s.

As we past the designer purses, Mark suggested I get one. On cue, the sales lady popped up over the display cased and just happened to mention everything is 25% off. Of course “SALE” is my kryptonite. I meandered around the locked bags trying a few on and finally pick one. As the final price popped up and Mark paid, my knees when weak and I immediately regretted my moment of lapsed judgment.

See, I have a thing about Mark spending a large amount of money on me because I still see it as “his” money – not “ours.” Mark works, I go to school. Mark earns money, I don’t. It’s his money. Though Mark begs to differ.

Since day one, Mark has always said what is his is mine. (I would have offered the same, but all I came into the relationship with was 20 pairs of heels and a very large Chihuahua).

When we began dating, I didn't mind Mark paying because he had no other expenses (the boat paid for virtually everything), while I was barely living paycheck-to-paycheck at a dead-end corporate job. And since we only really saw each other every other weekend, and we stayed on the boat when I saw him and we usually found cheap plane tickets (multiple layovers and late arrival times), I’m sure we easily could have spent a similar amount of money on dinners, dates and events in those two weeks if we had been living in the same city.

However, no matter how dead-end the job, I was still working and I was earning “my” money. I could occasionally pay for a plane ticket or a hotel room or a dinner or a round of drinks. Working gave me a sense of pride.

I struggle because if I did get a job now it would either be a retail job (no pay and draining) or I would have 15 hour days, six days a week; meaning that when Mark is home, we’d be nothing more than roommates who see each while brushing teeth.

Mark makes it clear that we are a team, but that is a hard pill to swallow when you realize you can’t give the person you love everything that you wish you could (Mark celebrates his 35th this year, and I wish I could do something amazing for him). Mark noted on Sunday night that whatever he might provide me with financially, I provide him with emotionally. He assures me that a time will come when he is looking for something land-based and I will be the only one with a steady income. It’s hard feeling like a teammate when you feel like you can do better. However, I guess if what concerns me the most about our relationship is how I can provide better means we’re probably doing better than most.

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