Well, I’ll be damned.

I’m asking so many damned questions of myself right now it’s not even funny.

I love the man I’m with. I’ve dated him three months, but I’ve known him as a friend forever, literally since 2006. Yet, we hit it off. We’ve developed feelings for each other and his family has welcomed me with open arms.

But damn I have so many reservations. Not about him, but whether our relationship will survive in the long-term. It’s hard finding someone compatible who understands and who is attracted to you. I’ve had a hell of a time getting to know him better and growing our relationship.

But I have my passions, and they seem to cut into his feelings. We can get past the food issues (he’s a hardcore meat-eater, I’m a hardcore vegetarian) and the general religious/politics (polar opposites, and I’m a bit more worldly and much less religious than he is), and our fitness lifestyles (he calls me a health freak, but not derogatorily) but probably the bigger issue is that he’s a lot more family-oriented than I will ever be and I’m a lot more career-oriented than he will ever be.

Career for the longest time has been an escape from the personal hell I’ve been living for the past decade. Why? The passions I’ve derived from career and other interests – particularly running and fitness – have opened up other doors. Not just in terms of skills gained but networks opened and doors opened. I made a load of new friends and through those friends, I rediscovered the man now in my life.

Yes monetary reward and financial security (not opulent living, there’s a difference, and I don’t care for the latter) are important, but I feel strongly the ideas and work should drive you and the rest in some way takes care of itself.

If finance – be it wealth management or some similar topic – lights that fire under my arse, what exactly is the problem? If my potential startup ideas look feasible, and I want to sink the extra time needed to run with it, what exactly is the problem?

I think his fear is that I will become a workaholic, but to me, a workaholic is someone that works for the wrong reasons, the money, the fear (although in this economy, the fear of loss of job is well justified) of losing a promotion or whatever. My friend Rob who finished university with me blasted the vast majority of MBAs in our generation, as having no care for the work they did, only getting into the programs they did, for guaranteed wealth out of school, the high life, and endless amounts of sex.

(I’ll save that topic for another day, but the point stands…)

That’s not the person I want to become. At all. I’ve already been there in my last position. Trust me. Not again. Hell no.

Obviously there’s the balance issue, and work/life balance is always an issue in most firms particularly with consulting, another option I’ve looked at. Probably will work on a niche market, or possibly in industry as well.

The position I have now – financial analyst – is awesome. The problem solving, and the chance I get to make my work truly my own is priceless for someone at my level.

But I have to question – will I get bored? I’ll continue to update skills and stuff. But when I get bored, when I’ve run my course? If I don’t get bored, then awesome. But who knows?

Money management keeps me on my toes, and my emotions are extremely controlled, almost to a fault, even with money. Would I want a career in it? That’s why I’m in grad school. Retool and learn what I need to in the business world. And discover where I really shine, and run from there. I know the money will be there if I keep myself on my toes. I’m more worried about that fire in me.

The net effect on my personal life is something I have to consider though, and where I can draw the line at personal support.

But damn I have to question to myself, he’s a great guy, but the whole family-oriented thing is great and all, it’s almost to a fault.

It seems like everytime I mention anything about finance (NOT personal finance and money issues in general) from a career standpoint, it freaks him out. Partially guessing that working more is more time away from him. Except we live in a big city and we both WANT the big city life, but there are price to be paid for that. I’m not sure if it’s a rose-colored glasses thing but from conversations we’ve had, I’d like for him to go in with his eyes wide open making decisions. It seems like he doesn’t want to think about it, or it’s too much for him to think about money issues or complex issues in general. Ignorance is bliss…until you wake up and realize you’re way in over your head with life in some way kicking you in the arse.

That’s just an example. Another example? Our families. His – loving, warm, welcoming – being the POLAR opposite of mine: dysfunctional, abusive, constantly fighting.

Both my father and I are scared to death to bring him home, any first meeting with my family will be in Center City, where my mother cannot go off the rails.

It freaks me out because my family is unwilling (or in my dad’s case, unable) to provide that same warmth his provides me. It hurts knowing he will never get that same in return. It really does. He’s understanding of mine, but I hope that doesn’t put off his family if mine doesn’t see him for months.

Really I’m scared. There’s a lot of hurt. I can’t have even a 5 minute phone call with my mother without a shouting match and hanging up. There’s just too much hurt, you know. I’m scared to death to bring him home.

On the career end, I don’t know if it’s anxiety or just sensitivity, but I can’t grasp why so many things I do or aspire for make him feel awkward. It seems he can’t relate (or in the case of “tough” talk or decisions, doesn’t want to think about it) and it’s a struggle.

I have to question if he can handle me, what I represent, and where I come from. And both of us are still peeling the onion off each other and still learning about each other. I don’t judge, I don’t impose and thankfully he doesn’t either.

I’m pushing through, but whilst I want to be sensitive, I want to scream that he have a little more gumption in him. Can he handle the cold hard truth? Even working on tact, not everything is roses, and the world I come from is sick and dysfunctional. Telling him I’ve been abused (after he pried it out of me) was a nightmare, because I knew it was going to torture him. I knew I could trust him, but I’m not sure he can handle me.

I’m not sure he can handle my career aspirations because yes they involve a lot of time. He’s not asking me to be a SAHM (stay at home mum) but I also want to make that decision on balancing what drives me with an appropriate dose of common sense, what pays the bills, and student debt I have, and possibly a mortgage too.

It’s called being responsible people. Is that such a bad thing?

No I can’t have it all, but I am aiming for the best balance of work/life, monetary to provide for the needs (and not necessarily all the wants either), and the work that lights a fire under my arse. Is that such a bad thing?

I’m not sure he’s digging my career interests, but we’re wired so differently.

We have so much in common, but so many differences. It’s like…ugh.

But we do have a lot of fun together, and we are making decisions for the benefit of us both. I’ve got another person in my life, and I have also been kicking myself in the arse to include him in my decision making process and talking through problems. We’re getting along fine even if there are hiccups.

Just gotta get my concerns out there at some point. He’s stressed the importance of a long-term relationship. We do have a good thing going, we get along, and we’ve said to each other that general qualities, each likes what they see in the other.

But long term? I’d love for it to happen. I’m just thinking some things inherent in each of us are going to work against that. I don’t know.

This is more than I’ve hoped for in ages, and even he’s said the same thing.

One step at a time. I’m happy and I know he is too.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Maybe it’s not as bad as you make it out to be, and if it is, it’s another learning experience.


One thought on “Torn

  1. Wow, there’s a lot to think about there! But you know…you’ve only been dating him for a few months..even if things seem serious, I wouldn’t get too caught up in wondering “what if” and what will be in the future. Just enjoy the right now 🙂

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