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New Beginnings Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Need time and money to nurture a relationship
InnerLight
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Member # 19946
Default  Posted: 11:01 AM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I am feeling challenged by my SO's lack of time and money to invest in us. We've been together 3 years.

He is an extremely talented artist and works in commercial art full time, does overtime, takes on the occasional free lance work when he gets it and regularly sells paintings that he works on at night. He works a lot of hours but still doesn't make a lot of money and he is frugal. The last 2 years he has had some medical expenses not covered by insurance and whatever extra he makes goes to pay those bills and his student loans.

I enjoy feeling special to him when he takes me out to dinner, but I feel bad for him financially so I offer to contribute and he often accepts. And then I feel not so special. If he does take me out I reciprocate with a home cooked meal. I make a similar amount of money, and also have big bills to do with maintaining a country property so neither of us have much money, but I think he has even less.

We have been together for 3 years and this is the first year he gets 2 weeks of paid vacation, but he is afraid of taking more than 2 days off at a time because he's afraid they will fire him and hire someone else.

We have both worked a lot in the last 6 months. It's been a year since we went away together and this past week we finally took a little trip. We had 3 days, 2 nights. We took my car because his clunker is less reliable than my clunker. He paid the gas. We camped to save money. We split the camping fee. I am a great camper. I know how to be comfortable and enjoy the outdoors and I'm a fabulous camp cook. Still it is hard to be romantic in a tent at night wrapped up in many layers due to the cold so we were not physically intimate.

We did an exhausting hike up a mountain that had amazing views. It was an ordeal. The next day we painted outside. A gorgeous view of a mountain and a lake. His artistry inspires me, and has rekindled my own art. He is encouraging in just the right way. It was fun. On the way home we stopped at a BBQ and I offered to contribute and he accepted so I paid my own way.

Emotions came up while we were hiking and I tried to talk to him and he told me to drink more water. So I also felt emotionally lonely. I had a lot on my mind but I didn't seem to get much out of sharing with him and so I didn't feel as close to him as I would have liked.

So even though I had a good time, I feel unromanced. It's like we are nice companions, good friends, but not especially close.

At the end of the trip I expressed my feelings about wanting more intimacy with him but he didn't know what to say or do.

Later he called to apologize. He said I am the bright spot in his life and he felt sad that he was not making me happy. He admitted that the drink water/emotions comment was a stupid thing to say. He offered to take me out to a fancy restaurant I have been wanting to go to for over a year. I accepted.

But I don't know what to think. He is a good, hard-working honest man with a kind heart. He is a bit dense about emotions, but he tries. I've let him know romance is important to me. He doesn't have to take me out to fancy places or hotels on holidays if he is broke, but then it doesn't cost much to express your love for someone, to write a card, to give some flowers, but he is working all the time so he doesn't have much mental space for romantic thinking either.

Any relationship needs some kind of investment in time and money and he seems kind of impoverished in both. How can this ultimately be fulfilling for me or for us?

I'm not sure what to think. Open to feedback. Thanks for reading all this.

[This message edited by InnerLight at 11:04 AM, June 24th (Monday)]


BS, age 53, d-day 6-2-08, divorced after 17 years and 20 together. dating again, living in the sticks with a cat. It's taking a long time to create new dreams and a new life but it is slowly coming together.

Posts: 5733 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Rural California
Sad in AZ
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Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 11:32 AM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

On the surface, this seems like a Languages of Love situation, but on further study, it just seems that he does not emotionally fulfill you, and you need that. Are you just hanging on so that you are not utterly alone or do you really, really see something that can fulfill you in this relationship?


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 19795 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
Amazonia
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Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 11:40 AM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Do you subscribe to "traditional" gender roles that you feel he should pay? Why not take turns paying when you go out, and take turns cooking when you stay in? I don't really get the whole concept where he takes you out, but you cook at home. Seems disequitable.


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13565 | Registered: Jul 2011
Helen of Troy
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Member # 26419
Default  Posted: 11:50 AM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Have you brought up the financial issues with him, told him your feelings on that?

The romance part, he just may not "get". Three years is a solid amount of time, you say he treats you well, is honest, etc.
It's ok to ask but is it possible he just doesn't know how or feels uncomfortable or awkward because that isn't who he is?
And yeah if you're cooking for him it's fair he pays when you go out to eat IMO.
If you aren't able to sort these issues out, what about couples counseling? Some have sliding scale fees or free like from family therapists at universities who want and need the client experience. Most are supervised by seasoned professionals in the field.
Hope some of this helps.
He sounds like an overall good guy.


Posts: 4677 | Registered: Dec 2009
Crescita
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Member # 32616
Default  Posted: 12:07 PM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Perhaps if you bring a little of the kind of romance you are looking for to the relationship he will have a better idea how to reciprocate. Guys tend to think I donít like flowers or jewelry if they donít see me with flowers or jewelry, yet if I buy some for myself, they get it right away, and have a better idea of my style. Light some candles, play some soft music, share a desert, and ask him to join you for a stroll around the neighborhood. Give him a tangible idea of the little inexpensive and thoughtful things you enjoy rather than just ask for them.

Posts: 3256 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: The Valley of the Sun
jennie160
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Member # 29949
Default  Posted: 12:42 PM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Why not take turns paying when you go out, and take turns cooking when you stay in?

This is what SO and I do as well, that way when we go out and he pays I feel special and when I pay he feels special. If we each just pay our own share of every meal neither would feel special and it would feel like I was basically just taking myself out.

Give him a tangible idea of the little inexpensive and thoughtful things you enjoy rather than just ask for them.

I like this idea too. You have to give him an idea of what you think of as romantic. The best way I have found to do this is to show SO what I like by doing it for him. Typically, he will be grateful and reciprocate. If your at the store and see his favorite snack food buy them then tell him "I saw these at the store and knew they were your favorite". One of my love languages is physical touch so I love back and foot rubs. I typically will start rubbing SO feet or back just so he will reciprocate so I can feel emotionally close to him.


Posts: 921 | Registered: Oct 2010
NaiveAgain
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Member # 20849
Default  Posted: 6:40 PM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

He said I am the bright spot in his life and he felt sad that he was not making me happy. He admitted that the drink water/emotions comment was a stupid thing to say. He offered to take me out to a fancy restaurant I have been wanting to go to for over a year. I accepted.
He does sound like a good guy, and it seems to me like you have overall been happy with him by your posts on here over the past few years, is that correct? Is this just a minor bump you need to work thru, or has this been an ongoing problem that is starting to be more and more of an issue for you?

I know we always say "don't settle" but that doesn't really mean we get everything we want in one person....we do have to make some sacrifices and compromises when we decide to go long-term with someone.

I completely understand about the financial aspect of this and how it is important for you to feel special by him going out of his way and doing something romantic once in a while, or covering the bill from time to time....my new guy is not very stable financially at this point, and there are weeks where he doesn't have enough to take us to McDonald's, so my solution is we just don't go. We eat at home, we do things together that don't cost money, we spend quality time together, but we don't do anything that costs money. It doesn't feel right to either of us to have me paying for everything (plus I can't anyway, I'm as broke as he is) so we watch a lot of movies from the library and grill out.

My guy also isn't great with flowers or love letters or stuff like that, but he is romantic with his words and with the way he helps me around my house, and that works well for me and does make me feel special. If I ask him to do something, he will. If I ask him to discuss something that is bothering me, he is very good at that also. So I get enough "feeling special" from those actions.

I think the time thing would bother me the most with your guy. I need time with my partner, that is more important than anything else at this point.

Have you discussed moving in together? That would probably help financially, if you two are at that point, and might free up his time a bit so you have more time with him to bond and do things together....

p.s.

but I feel bad for him financially so I offer to contribute and he often accepts
Stop doing that. It makes you feel bad and it is not helping him to stand on his own two feet as a man and take care of his own finances. He may love his art, but if he cannot support himself doing it, he has to be realistic and find another job that pays the bills.....

[This message edited by NaiveAgain at 6:41 PM, June 24th (Monday)]


Original WS D-Day July 10, 2008. Kept lying, he is gone.
New WS (2 EA's, no PA) 12-3-13
If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.

Posts: 15105 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: Ohio
InnerLight
♀ Member
Member # 19946
Default  Posted: 10:06 PM, June 24th (Monday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

On the surface, this seems like a Languages of Love situation

I am fluent in Affirmations where he is not. We've worked this out in some ways, but it falls through some times.


Do you subscribe to "traditional" gender roles that you feel he should pay?
I enjoy feeling feminine and being taken care of once in a while. I am so directed in the rest of my life and I manage so much that in my relationship I enjoy the break of being really feminine. The whole taking turns thing and Even/Steven thing starts to turn me off frankly. I think we are too equitable and that's part of the problem for me.

If you aren't able to sort these issues out, what about couples counseling?
We did this for a while to establish decent communication patterns, but its been a while. We stopped to save money.

Give him a tangible idea of the little inexpensive and thoughtful things you enjoy rather than just ask for them.

Yeah, when you just ask for them it kind of takes the romance out, but if I wrote a love poem for him, he wouldn't reciprocate although I would really love to receive one.

You have to give him an idea of what you think of as romantic. The best way I have found to do this is to show SO what I like by doing it for him. Typically, he will be grateful and reciprocate. If your at the store and see his favorite snack food buy them then tell him "I saw these at the store and knew they were your favorite".
I've done this, given him little inexpensive surprises, but he doesn't reciprocate that way which is OK, as that wouldn't do it for me either.

He does sound like a good guy, and it seems to me like you have overall been happy with him by your posts on here over the past few years, is that correct?
We have had a lot of fun together in short dates. He is pleasant to be with. I just feel like a companion rather than anyone he is passionate about.

He may love his art, but if he cannot support himself doing it, he has to be realistic and find another job that pays the bills.....
He is so frustrated and bummed out about this. To be in your 50s and at the top of your game in this area you've studied and developed all your life and it doesn't pay enough to take care of anyone but yourself...it just sucks for him and it sucks for me to watch him be stuck here.

I can't tell if he is just being a dufus-ey guy by being lame re: romance, or if I have just chosen another emotionally distant man to be with which is my pattern. Believe it or not, he is the most emotionally present and nicest guy I have been with. My X was way more emotionally distant.

Sigh. I'm just in a funk about this. Thanks for all your responses.

Are you just hanging on so that you are not utterly alone or do you really, really see something that can fulfill you in this relationship?
I think I can answer yes to both possibilities and no to both. It's a mixed bag like all relationships.

I don't feel very trusting in myself to go forward for the right reasons.


BS, age 53, d-day 6-2-08, divorced after 17 years and 20 together. dating again, living in the sticks with a cat. It's taking a long time to create new dreams and a new life but it is slowly coming together.

Posts: 5733 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Rural California
phillygirl
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Member # 9078
Default  Posted: 4:13 AM, June 25th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Just chiming in...

It seems that by you saying this

It's like we are nice companions, good friends, but not especially close.

and this

or if I have just chosen another emotionally distant man to be with which is my pattern.

That deep down you already know the answer to your question about this relationship.

I think the money issues bug you more than they would if he were more emotionally available to you. I think if you felt that you were getting more out this relationship the money wouldn't matter as much. Maybe you feel like you are the one always giving, and not receiving as much in return...you're the one being thoughtful, being romantic, thinking of creative inexpensive dates and gifts, offering money, etc.

Maybe what you're sensing is that you want a man who is more giving...with his time, with his emotions, with himself.

[This message edited by phillygirl at 4:13 AM, June 25th (Tuesday)]


Me - BW
Him - WH
Divorced - 7/2013

Posts: 824 | Registered: Dec 2005
NaiveAgain
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Member # 20849
Default  Posted: 5:43 AM, June 25th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

If you are questioning whether he is emotionally distant or whether you have emotional intimacy, then you don't have it.

There is no doubt in my mind that I have emotional intimacy with my guy, and I deal with the financial crap because I am totally fulfilled emotionally. We both feel the close bond, and we value the way we can talk about anything, anytime, with each other. In fact, after we have been apart for a small amount of time and that bond is a bit more distant, he will notice it himself and work to bring us back together by cuddling or talking or something.....


Original WS D-Day July 10, 2008. Kept lying, he is gone.
New WS (2 EA's, no PA) 12-3-13
If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.

Posts: 15105 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: Ohio
InnerLight
♀ Member
Member # 19946
Default  Posted: 10:53 PM, June 25th (Tuesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Today I arrived at my office to find a dozen red roses and a card. He wrote, 'InnerLight, I consider myself a lucky man to have such a beautiful woman in my life. thank you for all you do. I love you. SO.

It feels really nice to receive this gift. I feel like he listened to me and is trying to make things work with me. I know this doesn't resolve everything. I know we don't have the level of emotional connection that I really want, but it does make me feel closer to receive this sweet gesture.

Thinking back on our too short trip, I know that I really loved that we painted together outside, that he is so supportive of my creativity, and that I will see him create a gorgeous landscape painting from the photos. These aspects of our relationship are some of the special parts.

What kind of relationship can we create together from here and will it be enough for me?

I will think on this and probably consult my IC too and let this simmer over the next weeks. We will see what happens...


BS, age 53, d-day 6-2-08, divorced after 17 years and 20 together. dating again, living in the sticks with a cat. It's taking a long time to create new dreams and a new life but it is slowly coming together.

Posts: 5733 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Rural California
Amazonia
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Member # 32810
Default  Posted: 6:18 AM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Very gently here, in my experience and my observation, it's extremely rare to find someone who will do things like write love poems consistently after three years. I wouldn't throw away a good relationship with a healthy individual over that, because I don't know how likely you are to find it in someone else, like, anyone else.

I still really don't get the finances thing. If you make the same amount of money, it seems weird to me that you would want him to spend more, but to each their own.


"You yourself deserve your love and affection as much as anybody in the universe." -Buddha
"Let's face it, life is a crap shoot." -Sad in AZ

Posts: 13565 | Registered: Jul 2011
InnerLight
♀ Member
Member # 19946
Default  Posted: 8:40 AM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I agree, it would be dumb to shut this down because he didn't write me a love poem.

I've been working a lot these last 6 months myself and now that the pace is more normal I'm more aware of what we've created...and the shortcomings.

I think working things out so that things are monetarily equitable as in he buys a $50 dinner so I buy the next $50 dinner is boring and unromantic. I think we are both more turned on by my putting time and money into my appearance so I look and feel especially gorgeous and he feels particularly manly being seen by all with an amazing woman on his arm and paying the bill. Life in the bedroom is way better in the second scenario for me.

I take responsibility for dousing the romance myself by feeling sorry for him and offering to contribute too often. This is a very unromantic scenario.


BS, age 53, d-day 6-2-08, divorced after 17 years and 20 together. dating again, living in the sticks with a cat. It's taking a long time to create new dreams and a new life but it is slowly coming together.

Posts: 5733 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Rural California
NaiveAgain
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Member # 20849
Default  Posted: 5:35 PM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think we are both more turned on by my putting time and money into my appearance so I look and feel especially gorgeous and he feels particularly manly being seen by all with an amazing woman on his arm and paying the bill. Life in the bedroom is way better in the second scenario for me.
That type of scenario works best for us also. It makes both of us feel romantic and sexy.....and it just doesn't work the same when it is the other way around.....which is why we just don't go out when he is broke.


Original WS D-Day July 10, 2008. Kept lying, he is gone.
New WS (2 EA's, no PA) 12-3-13
If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.

Posts: 15105 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: Ohio
InnerLight
♀ Member
Member # 19946
Default  Posted: 6:55 PM, June 26th (Wednesday), 2013View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think there is something about getting to the 3 year mark and wondering where this is going. I am ambivalent about traditional visions of 'moving forward' like moving in together or marriage, but at the same time I want some sign that we are creating something meaningful with our relationship past even-steven dining out, talking every night on the phone, and a 2-3 day camping trip a year.

A joint savings account to save up together for a trip to Denali Alaska would be romantic and bigger and something to look forward to.

(today a female client gave me flowers and a card to express appreciation for me beyond paying me - that's 2 of these flowers/cards in a row after hardly ever receiving these - odd! and lovely)


BS, age 53, d-day 6-2-08, divorced after 17 years and 20 together. dating again, living in the sticks with a cat. It's taking a long time to create new dreams and a new life but it is slowly coming together.

Posts: 5733 | Registered: Jun 2008 | From: Rural California
Topic Posts: 15

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