Blissful Ignorance

I will always cherish the initial misconceptions I had about you.

– Unknown

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We didn’t purchase a Subaru, said no to taking home a litter of kittens, we failed to accept the matching Birkenstock’s, but that aside, our relationship did move rather quickly; I won’t deny that it followed a rather Lesbian trajectory.

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fishyOne afternoon I overheard him on the phone with Steve, arguing about money, well, basically demanding Steve give him money. Then I heard him mention something about a court date – and him not going. He turned around, and I made it quite obvious I had been standing there long enough to know something fishy was brewing.  So he came clean… or so I thought, at least partially.

picirresponsibilitySo that first night we met, my ex failed to disclose that he’d lost his job at the non-profit; instead he’d told me all about his incredible dream-job that he co-created with his boss. So now, 2 months into our relationship, he admitted that his job had disappeared; he’d felt too embarrassed to admit it when we met, saying I seemed so successful and he felt embarrassed to admit he was without work; I felt sorry for him, stupidly, instead of questioning why he’d lied and continued for 2 months without addressing it. He explained that the non-profit “went under” due to financial issues; I guess they weren’t making enough profit?  And making matters worse, he was facing eviction as well as a court case with his landlord (he believed he could get out of this one by flirting with the landlord…) as he owed several months in rent. Rent aside, he was already in debt, had absolutely no credit, and he’d gone through all his money, including several thousand dollars Steve gave him a few months prior. He started to cry…

picfailuretoownupHe had nothing to help get him out of this predicament. He’d been dependent on Steve, I found out, whenever he was in need. Steve wasn’t able to provide more money this time, and my boyfriend seemed a bit ungrateful that he’d run dry. He sounded rather selfish when speaking about Steve’s inability to assist. But I didn’t know the dynamics between them nor was it my place to put my 2 cents in.  It was apparent that he was rather under-prepared for life in general, though. But at age 30, how many young adults actually are? I thought about how he didn’t have a family to help him out, well except for his brother who he’d maxed out, or any sense of family structure growing up for that matter. Whereas I, on the other hand, happened to have really great, involved parents, parents that wouldn’t accept me or my sister coming home with even a B in a class because they were… teachers.  And both of them were alive and healthy. My boyfriend didn’t luck out like I did, and it wasn’t like I’d done something to deserve what I was blessed with, it was the luck of the draw.

I felt really assholesbad for him; and I wanted to see him succeed. I didn’t see this as being some gigantic red flag, its somewhat the norm in pricey D.C. with young adults – you live paycheck to paycheck, and God forbid you lost your job, because then you were truly screwed. But… the only plan he had in place was to try and flirt with his landlord so he’d drop the case. Needless to say, we weren’t quite mirror images after all. But I still believed we were a great match because he made me feel complete, he made me feel like I was with the man I was destined to be with if that makes any sense at all. Something that should have jumped out at me as a flag was that, his 10 second crying spell aside, he didn’t seem all that concerned about any of it. So there I was with my first official boyfriend, my “soul mate” who’d asked me to promise I’d be his for life… and I agreed… and he  had nowhere to go except (possibly) with an aunt over 30 minutes away. I suggested asking Steve, but it turned out he’d lived with Steve several times already and there’d been tension so he moved out, he wasn’t willing to return. So we wouldn’t be spending even a fraction of the time we currently spent together anymore.

PITY2.jpgAnd so… he asked to move in with me. As much as I wanted to say yes, I said.. no, this is too soon, it’s just not wise. But the closer we came to the date of his eviction, the more he talked about how infrequently we’d see each other, I ultimately agreed to it. The plan:  he’d stay with me until he got a job and was back on his feet, a few months maximum was the thought, for free. If things went well, we could stay in that arrangement, or, what he wanted and I just sorta nodded (I thought he was jumping the gun, he didn’t have a job yet), was that we find a larger apartment once he was working. For pricey DC, I thought my place would suit us just fine, I wasn’t keen on renting when I owned something already, but whatever, that was his thinking, we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.

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redflaghyperbole.jpgThe first few months were total bliss, I was shocked at how smoothly things worked out. I remember speaking to my mom on the phone, telling her how this was the total opposite of her worries, of my worries even, and it had brought us so much closer. It was no longer “me,” but “us.”  He’d help speed me off to work in the morning, making breakfast, giving me a kiss goodbye and taking both dogs out to use the bathroom, which saved me a good 20 minutes. Then I’d come home to find him excited, having cooked something to surprise me with for dinner, and our nights together were always fun.  He was so sweet, so doting and kind. And the fact that he loved cleaning and cooking was a huge plus. I appreciated what he did for me so much, I felt… so lucky. His words were always full of love and kindness, his emails reinforced what I already knew: this man was in love with me.

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I’d frequently arrive from work to find fresh flowers, the condo cleaned, furniture, paintings and artwork rearranged, when I was gone. He had quite the eye for style, I was impressed. 

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piclackofrealisticlongtermThe sex was amazing…  and while it took a bit of “training” and patience on his behalf,  as well as 3 negative HIV tests together, he managed to make up for all those lost years of mine. Now I understood why sex was seen by many as the “ultimate” high in life. Sex aside, we had non-stop fun even if just lying around, watching TV and doing nothing productive. It was nice being loved, it was nice sharing my home with the guy I loved, I felt like I had an actual “life” instead of the loneliness I’d known for a decade. He went on job interviews frequently, he’d come home all excited, he had so many opportunities opening up every day it seemed.

picgrandioseselfworthAfter every interview he’d return home, 100% certain that he’d gotten the job:

I got this job, trust me, I got it!

Then he’d be comparing these jobs – the pros and cons of each – when he hadn’t gotten a single offer. I’m big into counting the chickens once the eggs are hatched; my mom is responsible for implanting that in my head. But at least he was confident in himself, which I always seemed to lack, still… it seemed a bit pretentious, insisting that everyone loved him, and spending his paychecks before a single one was ever due to arrive. After each interview, he’d return home singing his own praises:

They loved me, they absolutely loved me!

Even before job offers, he was dragging me to view new, larger apartments for us. I tried to look on the bright side: at least he’s optimistic about things, right? But his optimism never panned out. He didn’t get a single job offer, not one. Suddenly his job hunt came to a dead end. I soon found out why. I’d wager there was some truth to what he said, they likely fell in love with him – everyone did. Everyone I introduced him to said, basically, the same thing:

Don’t let him get away! He’s husband material.

backgroundBut what he later told me was that each employer ran his credit and background checks and were hit with a hot mess. Apparently he had a restraining order still showing up from none other than… Steve?!? Yes, years ago the two had gotten into an argument over a dog they shared, and when push came to shove, Steve had friends in the police force that lied for him, and so my boyfriend got slapped with the charge. It was clear that it wasn’t that big of a deal if the two were now best brothers again. But according to my boyfriend, there was nothing Steve could do to get it expunged. In another 2 years, however, it would be gone from his record. So it looked like finding a job wasn’t going to be as easy as we’d anticipated… He continued on his hunt though, but the same thing happened over and over again. I’ll never forget the night when he came to me, convinced he’d found the solution: 

I’ll go back into modeling! What am I thinking, trying to work in an office? I was born to model.

 

HUH!?!?!? 

 

 

He was good-looking; but supermodel he was not. Have you ever heard of a 5′7″ male model getting his big break at age 30… in Washington, DC of all places? Let’s be real here… male models are usually 6′4″ and 25… we don’t live in Miami or New York, either. In terms of a career, outside of a very lucky few (like Kate Moss, net worth at age 42, $72,000,000), modeling doesn’t pay, that’s not a realistic solution. 

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It was a dream, a dream that a lucky 1 in 10 billion gorgeous people actually got to live out. When I told him how handsome he was, but that I thought modeling was not something that seemed wise for a career, his reply surprised me:

Maybe I’ll need to go back to stripping then.

He’d never told me this. Come to find out he’d lived in Florida at some point where he’d stripped. He told me that he was the most popular dancer, the one that always made the most money, which caused jealousy among the others. Things got catty, things got nasty, even physical – and so he had to quit he said.

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I couldn’t imagine having to strip for a living, but I guess when you’ve been thrown out on the at a young age, you’ll choose the quickest way to earn a dollar, or lots of dollars. He was beginning to let rather narcissistic comments drop frequently; he ep.PNGseemed to believe his looks entitled him to money, or preferential treatment, or free everything.  And it wasn’t just his looks: it was one thing in particular that was his money maker. 

I just hate having a dick this big, everyone just wants me for this and nothing else.

Blah, blah, blah. He definitely believed he was the hottest thing in the universe:

I’ve only been turned down by one guy in my entire life… And it was because he said he wasn’t into black guys, but he added that he’d make an exception for me, only I lost him in the club that night.

I heard that story time and again. Ugh, I would just turn that off in my head and make-believe he was telling me something different. He was hot, I’ll admit – and he knew it, and seemed to milk it for all it was worth; especially the money maker.  He did live a bit in fantasy land, too, that was becoming more and more apparent. And for a guy that had 94 pairs of shoes (enough said, right?) he needed to curb his (my) spending habits in regards to his perceived wants and needs, particularly clothing. He didn’t need anything more; he had a storage unit filled with clothing.

opportunistI didn’t live large, and I had some extra money to help support the two of us. But he was turning out to be a bit of a diva at times, and he liked expensive, high priced items. I suggested he get a job that could cover his extras, like working at Starbucks while I covered the major expenses. But his response was that those types of jobs were below him.  He mentioned how his other boyfriends bought him all these fancy things; I reminded him how they were all assholes and I wasn’t. I wasn’t buying his affection with material goods, I was giving him my undivided love, and that was worth far more. Maybe 5 months in I’d left him 2-$100 bills; it was all I had on me, and he was going to get food at the grocery store for dinner with another couple that lived in our condo building while I worked. When I came home it smelled wonderful, but when I asked for change, he looked at me like I was crazy:

Change? I thought you wanted me to feed 4 people. I spent all of it.

How did he blow $200 on a single meal? It was chicken, some sides, salad, wine, and dessert. It wasn’t filet mignon or anything costly. I didn’t let it get me too angry, though, but I didn’t give him money like that again.  Yes, he was definitely a diva, he was higher maintenance than I imagined, and he sure knew how to spend other people’s money. But one thing I knew was that nobody’s perfect, and very few people actually have your back in life; and I felt safe knowing that he had my back no matter what.

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We split our first grocery run; other than that, he didn’t pay for or contribute towards a single item for the remaining time he lived with me.

It didn’t bother me, however, at least not when we were getting along. I saw it like an investment in our future, I saw him as part of me; and we were going to spend our lives together. I was fine being a one-income “family” as he was appreciative and kind.

whitethinBut that didn’t last forever.whiteyimage

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Then again, nothing lasts forever. Well, except for one thing…

 

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