Inequal relationships

Remember how I blogged about essentially giving myself a pay rise? Well, I officially now have a new position too. To clarify: I changed my work schedule a few months ago and took on some new duties. Now, my pay and title have finally caught up!

I don’t know whether or not this was prompted by the universe in response to my looking elsewhere, but I also got a kick out of turning down the interview after news of the promotion.

Of course, this changes the dynamics of my relationship. I’m on the up, while T is still jobhunting. As we see it, the best options are for him to hopefully get an in at a good company – perhaps not necessarily in engineering but in anything that he could excel at and ideally has some interest in – and work his way up; or to go back to school. (The other path is just to get any job, and probably continue in that manner for years and years. Obviously that’s not the preferred route.)

Up until now, he’s been extremely lucky in his career, mainly due to contacts. But when that is stripped away, realistically, he has no qualifications and not a lot of work experience. And to make things worse, he’s never worked for minimum wage, and is used to making a decent hourly rate.

I now make enough to at least pay the bills, but at times I resent it. The only reason I’m making this much is compensation for working weekends; it’s not going to last forever and whatever I do next is almost certainly going to involve a pay cut. So while I can, I’d really rather be saving the extra money than using it to, well, keep us afloat. That includes paying out the nose for gas so he can go visit friends and family in our neighbourhood (something that’s a constant source of tension; I understand how boring it must be at home, but unless he’s doing something productive like driving to a job interview, there is simply no way to justify spending on petrol).

So I veer between frustration, resentment and guilt. Because really, if I hadn’t landed that internship three years ago, who’s to say I’d have a job now at all? I could be the one sitting at home combing job boards. There but by the grace of God, and all that. Am I being selfish – shouldn’t I be committed enough to see us through the hard times as well as the good? After all, I know he would give his last cent to help me out if the situation was reversed. That’s the kind of person he is.

I wonder if maybe he could venture into some sort of self-employment. While I’m hardly in a lucrative field, at least I have a couple of income streams, no matter how small. Along with mystery shopping, there’s my side gig (writing)
and tutoring (or rather editing and proofreading). Mine may not be skills that command big bucks but at least they’re somewhat marketable.

I am a great believer in things working themselves out, but it gets harder every day. The odds of obtaining a job that hits that magic trifecta: stimulating, fairly compensated and with room to grow – are slim. And there’s no use in going back to school without a clear idea of what to study. The whole topic is just so MEHGAHBLEH that I just try avoid it full stop – which is really not ideal.

How do you handle a situation like this?

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9 thoughts on “Inequal relationships

  1. This is a tough situation and I think that I would also feel resentful if all my hard work went to paying for living expenses when I could be spending my potential disposable income on things that I want to be spending it on, such as savings or retirement or whatever.

    Have you guys talked about T getting a temporary part time work to help you guys tie over until he decides what he wants to do? I agree that one should not go back to school without a clear vision of what they want to get out of it. Maybe he can take some part time courses. to help him get a sense if that’s the direction he wants to be heading in for school, if he has something in mind.

    Maybe you and T can agree on an amount of discretionary income to be used on petrol and “fun” stuff, and stick to that budget.

    Just my two cents. Hope this helps and good luck :)

  2. I know I would be really frustrated like you are. You’re right that’s not fair!

    At the same time, finding work is hard right now. And I’m sure being unemployed has T down in the dumps. Is there anyway he could even start doing odd jobs – like mowing lawns? If at the VERY least he earned the money to cover his own “fun” expenses (like that extra petrol) then it might make you feel less resentment?

    I hope he finds work soon!!

  3. I know how you both feel….and I don’t really have a solution. =[ Right now, basically my “game plan” is to find a job, that while not ideal does not make me want to shoot myself. Once I have that job I’m still going to keep looking, but it’ll at least pay some bills while I find something that really fulfills me.

    The biggest difference between me and you is that we (the BF and me) don’t live together and don’t have our finances tied together….unfortunately that puts a bigger strain on you guys.

    I wish you guys luck! The biggest piece of advice I’d give is to make sure you guys talk it out. If you’re anything like me you tend to bottle things up, and let me tell you that could mean disaster. Make sure he knows you feel like there’s a lot of pressure on your shoulders, and while you know he’s not in that situation by choice, you should both be working on a solution together.

    Personally, bringing up my career to anyone is still a delicate issue….I feel like my career is dead, like I don’t have the qualifications to be hired in that area by another company, (and not to mention frustrating when family seems to overestimate what it is I was doing). I’ve slowly moved to the point that I can talk about entertaining the thought of self-employment (even though I’ve thought about it on my own plenty). What I’m trying to say is approach with caution. Even if he agrees with a thought he may meet with resistance. At least I do. (I feel like I just contradicted the previous paragraph with this last one, lol. Sorry.)

    Anyway, I went on a bit long. but seriously, I wish you guys luck. I’ve been in a similar position to both of yours and neither one is easy to deal with.

  4. Hey, i enjoyed reading your post : )

    I see it as a dilemma thats quite typical for most couples though that doesn’t mean there’s always a clearcut route through the tunnel. Maybe simplfiying your expenses could be a small suggestion? But the idea of multiple streams of income is definitely a good one and which T should also consider.

    I’m sure he has hobbies that could ‘pay’ decent enough money in the short-term, say photography, coaching or doing surveys?

    Stay positive. Sure you’ll find the way : )
    Atticus

  5. I think its natural to feel that way. But it may or may not be fair/rational. How long has he been out of work? If it is longer than a few months, I think you are totally allowed to be frustrated and should expect him to start finding ways to pick up the slack – small jobs on the side in the neighbourhood, getting a part-time or full-time job that is non-career or starting some sort of business himself. Looking for jobs online can only take so long each day. What is he doing with the rest of the hours in the day?

  6. Its hard. Rambo and I are kind of in the same situation and I know he gets resentful towards me and it usually comes out when we’re having an intense fight. I usually help with what I can regarding my income, meaning I pay for all groceries and household items. I also give Rambo now 150 a month depending on my income. Is there something he can pay for if he does a couple small jobs here and there, at least so he can pay for his own gas or something? It’s okay to be frsutrated though, don’t feel like a bad person hun. He needs to help out someway.

  7. I was in a situation somewhat similar. I was dating/living with a guy for about 3 years, and not long after he moved in he lost his job. I started working 2 jobs, 80 hours a week. He finally got a job, and had that for about a year, and then he lost that job, and I couldn’t get a second job at that time, so I started working 60 hours a week.

    There were many times in that 3 years that I was incredibly frustrated about having to work all the hours, make the money to keep food in our belly, and the roof over our head. It would have been different if he kept the house clean, did something other than watch tv, play video games.

    In the end I had to realize that he wasn’t the one for me (there were ALOT of factors), and obviously not someone I could rely on. It sucked… but you have two choices… deal or don’t deal. Only you can decide how much you’re willing to take.

  8. I’m thinking along the same lines of Serendipity–finding something he can do to help out.

    I was reading something, probably a relationship book at work, and the author said that the key to being happy as a housewife is to still make some sort of income. That way, you’re contributing to the household and have some power. It also keeps you more desirable than just baking muffins and sweeping the floor.

    I get that your boyfriend isn’t a housewife (yet) but I think the principle is the same. Especially because men get super weird about money.

    I suggest finding him a part-time job, while he looks for something more permanent, so he can start paying off a couple bills a month.

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