Relationships and Money

I was getting all excited about being in a relationship with volleyball coach, and things have been moving fairly quickly too.  Even though I’ve been sick since coming back from Asia, I’ve taken him out for dinner, slept over, and met his friends at a house party.

See, what I like about him is that he complements me well.  He is much more stable and responsible.  He is also very straight, and he has high ethical standards.  I think this revelation that being with someone like volleyball coach is exactly what I need is something that required a big leap for me personally.  Everything has been going very smoothly, but what I’ve also come to realize now is that the reasons for why I like him will also be the same reasons for why I may feel like we may clash.

Money – I am already starting to see that we will have an issue here.  He is responsible with his money, very responsible.  A pet peeve of mine when we get into a relationship is having to split the bill.  I feel like if you’re together, the bill shouldn’t be split.  It seems petty and I’d much rather take turns getting the bill.  In the end, it should end up more or less even anyway.  Volleyball coach on a few occasions has suggested splitting a bill right down the middle, and I find it a little annoying.  I just split a grocery bill with him that was divvied up and then when I accidentally didn’t send the money transfer, he reminded me to send it.

When it comes down to it, the underlying issue is that money has never been a huge issue for me.  It’s quite apparent that I make more money and spend more of my disposable income.  On the flip side, I’m spending money on a handyman and a maid.  I don’t have the time to deal with fixing things in my home and I’d be lucky to have enough time to do the basics chores around my house.

Our lifestyles are very different, it kind of boggles my mind.  The last 10 years of our lives have been very different.  I’ve spent the last 10 years focusing on working and climbing the corporate ladder, studying for my professional certification to advance my career potential, partying, travelling and working out.  That basically sums up how I’ve developed myself.  What fascinates me about him is that he has spent the free time in the last 10 years in organized sports teams, building close relationships and being independent on a tight budget.  In some ways, I envy him for being able to do things that I’ve not been able to do.  Being in organized sports teams has been an area of my life that has been a failure.  I’ve tried doing organized sports teams, but have never been skilled or athletic enough and finally found my space in individual physical activities like yoga, bootcamp, dance, rock climbing and occasionally recreational team sports.  I’ve also struggled to keep close to a group of friends and while I have close friends now, generally friendships for me have been a bit superficial.  Basically, he has succeeded in life where I’ve faced failure, or rather, challenges.  What this means is that we had different life priorities in the last 10 years, we chose very different ways to live our lives and develop ourselves.

What it comes down to essentially is whether we can compromise on these things.  So far, I get the sense from him that he is willing to compromise, though I don’t think he is as far along as I am in analyzing the situation.  He knows we are different and he also seems to think that our differences are good and that each of us brings in a different perspective.  I already notice that he has prioritized me in some very big ways.  This year he decided to not join his volleyball league and instead coach a more junior league.  Part of the reason is that he knows this volleyball league will be demanding in both time and money, which would take away from developing our relationship.

So, money… it’s a sensitive topic.  He’s definitely not as well off as I am and I think the real question is whether I am okay with living that lifestyle if I were to be with him.  Simply put, yes of course I’d be willing to compromise.  I’ve basically been living the single life where I am selfishly spending a lot of my disposable income on myself.  If I want to build a long-term relationship and have a family, it makes total sense that I won’t be able to be so selfish with my money.  Right now I have this attitude that I work hard, so I deserve to spend it on me, but I think I can be more mature about this.

In reality, being responsible with money means a lot of not so fun things like not hiring people to clean my place, taking economical and planned vacations, eating out less.  These things aren’t completely lost on me.  I grew up with immigrant parents that had to save money and were not able to afford luxury things such as vacations.

While my parents were careful with where they spent money, they were also very generous, especially to their direct family.  If their siblings needed a loan, they would lend their hard earned money.  They also give generously at weddings.  My parents also did not cheap out on food, and they would never want to be a position where they owed someone else money.  I hold true to these values, and this is very important to me and items that are not negotiable.

One area where I feel that we could have disputes about is being generous.  I feel like I am much more generous than volleyball coach.  I always try to give more to my friends and never want to be in a position where I owed them anything because that makes me uncomfortable.  Volleyball coach is very particular about what he shares and what he gives to even his closest friends.  He has a thought process that he went through in what liquor to bring to his friend’s house party.  He also thinks to bring back the unopened bottle of wine that he brought.  See, if that were me, I’d just leave the bottle there as a gift to the friend.  I wouldn’t even think twice about it.

When it comes down to it, I do not have control over his level of generosity.  I think I’ll have to see whether I can live with it.  I’m hoping that by being generous myself, I can influence him to be more generous.  On the other hand, I think I can work on being more compromising and being more okay with living a lifestyle that is more money conscious.  It would be good for me, and admittedly it is an area that has come up in small ways in past relationships (not enough to rock the relationship, but it has definitely come up).  What this mean is that I’ll respect his decisions to save money.  I won’t disagree to them, and at the end of the day it also means that I will save money too.

It’s a very small thing, because personally I don’t have to change my spending habits.  I can still continue doing what I do on my own.  I just have to be okay with it if he suggests more economic choices in the relationship, like if we go out to dinner together or if we go on vacation together.  I think it would be a compromise that would be good for me and something that I’d be more than willing to do to be in a relationship with volleyball coach.

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