Where did we go wrong?
Was it back in our first year together? I had some concerns that our values were different. He told me he was underwater on his condo mortgage; that he had refinanced so he could pay off credit card debt. That gave me pause because to me it indicated that he had poor financial judgement/skills. But anyone can make a mistake, so I overlooked it and just hoped he would learn from the experience.
He sold his condo on a short sale and moved in with me. I invited him to do so, although I insisted that he pay me rent. And he did for a while.
He had to leave his job. His father’s health was failing and he couldn’t handle the dysfunction at work at the same time. He became depressed and went on short term disability.
His father died. His depression worsened.
He lost his job.
He filed for unemployment.
He had problems finding a new job. (He never did find one.)
He revealed that he still had some substantial credit card debt and that he was considering filing for bankruptcy. After a lot of thought, I supported his decision to do so because I could see no other way for him to get out of the hole he was in. Also, I was thinking at this time (over a year ago) that we would move to California together in about 3-5 years; that bankruptcy would drop his credit score and his credit report would need some time to recover.
Through all of this upheaval in his life, I supported him.
I supported him financially by forgiving his rental agreement over and over again (there were months he paid me nothing, and finally at my request he scheduled a token of $25 a month), and I supported him emotionally by giving him space to work through his depression and continued unemployment.
When the Affordable Care Act kicked in, I added more complications by offering to add him to my health care plan as a domestic partner since it would cost him less than any other kind of plan. He swore he would reimburse me for it, but I knew that was unlikely. He did pay me some money after a few months, but it wasn’t nearly the amount of the true cost. And he never offered to do so again.
So, here is where things ended up:
- He was depressed.
- He had no regular income. In the last 8 or 9 months of our life together he got his money for daily living by draining his 403(b).
- He was so mired in his misery that he seemed unable to provide me the love and attention I craved.
It’s the latter thing that seriously killed the relationship for me.
I had told him that to me the most important “love language” is actions: do things for me to show that you care. He did take on certain household chores regularly, but it very often seemed to be done grudgingly. Maybe it only seemed that way because of his general misery, but it nonetheless made me feel the help was given less because of love and more because he wanted to avoid nagging from me. I recall a conversation I initiated about this topic once. I asked why he seemed to resist and resent doing the things I asked of him. He answered that he thought I was giving him “busy work.” It didn’t occur to him that I *really* needed and wanted his help.
He had a significant amount of time on his hands every day, yet he never once said to me “Is there anything I can do for you today?”
He didn’t reach out and hug me spontaneously, despite me doing it to him many times and even asking for hugs at times. (Physicality and appropriate touch is another important thing to me.)
He rarely initiated sex. Maybe it was the copious amounts of SSRIs that killed his libido, or maybe (again) it was the general misery.
He was often “upset” and didn’t want to talk about it or invite me in. It seemed I was simply expected to cut him some slack because of his mood.
The sighs. The tone of voice that clearly expressed annoyance. Both of these challenged me. I tried very hard to rise above them, to ignore them, and to not escalate by responding in a similar fashion. I made an effort to modulate my tone of voice and make it neutral and non-triggering. He didn’t seem to catch on at all. I told him, calmly, how much it bothered me to be addressed in such a fashion. I asked that he not do so, and while he would usually comply when asked, he never stopped doing it regularly; it just seemed to be his natural way of responding to my comments and questions. Every time, it felt like a wound to me.
Finally, I just gave up. I stopped trying. I made up my mind to move to California this year instead of waiting. (Last year’s BRUTAL winter provided a big push, too.) I told him that with the higher cost of living and the fact that I was not getting a cost of living adjustment to my salary, I couldn’t afford to pay for him to move, too, or to pay rent on anything but a very small one bedroom apartment.
Then I lived with him like a roommate who got some bonus kisses goodnight.
Yet in the final week of our cohabitating, I still felt very sad. And on our last night together, we cried together and snuggled. Within an hour of him leaving, I was sobbing wretchedly.
Why am I sad? Is it because I am missing him or is it because I am missing having a companion in my life?
I think it is both. Inside B there is a wonderful man: creative, intelligent, sexy, and giving. I was able to see glimpses of it at times. I think what makes me most sad is that — try as I might — I couldn’t help that man emerge fully into the joyousness that is life.
I’m hoping that by returning to his family and his hometown — a place where he experienced some of the happiest times of his life — he can find that joy.