By: Revanche

Relationshiply complications

November 15, 2006

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This was the post that never made it up from a few weeks ago.

“If this is the man you’re spending the rest of your life with, he should know and he’ll understand.”

In all my months of blogging and years of financial planning, I never thought I would be on the receiving end of this advice. But I was, and rightly so. Why?
Because I’m so deeply involved in my family’s finances and yet feel like I cannot and do not have the right to discuss them outside the family.
Because I feel that it’s my burden to bear and that no one else needs to be privy to the conversation.
Because it’s embarrassing to admit that as together as my finances are, my family’s are not. It’s a huge responsibility that feels like my real job – making sure everything’s ok – but it’s nothing I can really articulate. I didn’t, and don’t, want to admit to myself that I can’t save them from their circumstances. I don’t want to admit to the world that I’m foolish, and stubborn, enough to try.
Because keeping my mouth shut was better than trying to explain why the situation is the way it is to anyone, even BoyDucky. Especially BoyDucky. I’m as bad as PaDucky: he insists on not disclosing financial need to me and I insist on not asking for help from anybody. This is my baggage. How do I check it?

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For weeks, I’ve alternated between feeling guilty for refusing to admit that I have a problem, and being determined to fix the problem instead of talking about it. But month after month, things didn’t really get better. I found myself putting off conversations about our future and wondering how exactly I think I’m going to plan our future together with this big blank information-shaped hole that I insist on censoring.

So, I did it. I finally did it. I finally ‘fessed up to BoyDucky. I admitted that there are times I’m fully supporting the family, and there are times when it’s to a lesser degree. There were times I’ve made poor decisions. There were times I should have simply put the extra money towards savings instead of rushing to the rescue. But I didn’t know, because I didn’t ask. And maybe my naïve insensitivity had just as much to do with PaDucky’s reluctance to reveal times of difficulty as did his pride. The communication on this particular front with PaDucky may never change. And I don’t know if and when things will be in better shape.

It’s the first step, the first salvo fired, but it’s not the war. It’s not even the battle. Despite his reassurances that he both understands and expects to help my parents as I would expect to help his, I know that it’ll continue to be a struggle to ask BoyDucky for help when the time comes. I can hardly reconcile myself to accepting that he can support me through school, but to add the burden of my parents?

Still, it’s a step. And we’re reading the same book, even if it’s not quite the same page.


4 Responses to “Relationshiply complications”

  1. Kelly says:

    Money and relationships are hard. My boyfriend and I generally agree on things, but there are still issues that we have differing opinions on. It scares me to death to think of combining my finances with ANYONE and having to work out our differences. I truly believe that is why most marriages fail is because partners can’t communicate about finances. Congratulations on taking the first step…best of luck to you and BoyDucky!

  2. Thanks, Kelly! You see a TON of preemptiveness on my blog because I hate being blindsided about bad situations [like unexpectedly finding out about parental debt]. It’s early yet, but I want to reach an understanding about our goals and how to approach them before it becomes a problem. It’s all well and good for me to assume that I’ll be CFO so everything will go my way, but we all know that’s not really true!
    Money can be such a control issue, I can only imagine how heated things could get if we have both have deep, differing convictions about how to work with our money.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s good that you have begun to discuss these issues with BoyDucky. It’s much better to be open than not and if he wouldn’t react well to this conversation, anyway that could be a red flag for the other conversations on sensitive issues you will have over the years. I fully support you helping your parents. My concerns expressed in my comments here were that like you express in the “unpublished” post that you are over ambitious on this score at this stage in your career when your earnings are relatively low, relative to getting more established and helping more later. I hope it all works out.

  4. Moom: Thanks for the support, both in broaching the subject and for what I’m doing. It’s definitely a sensitive issue to me because I’ve not had to worry about depending on another person or sharing my burdens before. To his credit, he’s very supportive right now and believes that we can make it work on our end so that we can share our life and still help our parents. I just hope that he continues to feel that way when we’re actually in the midst of it!

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