Sunday, July 22, 2018

Do Romance and Finance Mix in the Age of Grindr?

They always love and money don't mix.  And the only lesson I think I've learned from Ungrateful Greg is that money and finances can mix, but if you're not mindful, it can create a mess.

Here's the problem...

(If you're not familiar with my history with my ex Greg - see here:  The Tragedy of Ungrateful Greg

I don't deny it.  When I told Greg that I was out on a date with someone else, he was hurt and angry.  I shouldn't have done it.  It was mean.  Yes, he started the argument, but I shouldn't have done that.  I regret that mistake every day for the past six months.  But I don't think that's what made Greg stop loving me.  

He would never admit this in a million years, but Greg has a lot of pride.  He's a bit stubborn.  But it was one of the reasons I loved him.  He would stand his ground, no matter what - even if I thought he was wrong.  If you can't tell, I can argue circles around most people, and I always thought I needed someone who wouldn't be a push over.  It was actually something I admired about Greg.  The problem is people with pride who are stubborn will sacrifice a great deal in order to prove themselves right. 

What killed my relationship with Greg was the money I gave him shortly before I left town to take a new job.  And here's why...  

Greg was struggling financially.  He was in debt a few hundred dollars.  I paid it off, because I loved him, and I genuinely saw the pain he was in as I was readying to leave.  I wanted to at least ease his suffering somewhat.  And I wanted him to know that I cared about him.  Maybe that wasn't the best way to do it, but I saw he needed help, and I had a bit to spare.  And... He agreed to help look after my flat while I was away, so in theory, he'd be working for some of the gift I gave him.

Did Greg Sacrifice His Integrity by Keeping the Money?

But once he decided that he was going to cut me off, the money became a weird sticking point.  Greg (and all of you readers know) it's extraordinarily slimy to take a massive gift like that under the pretense of getting back together if I were to ever return (which is what he told me at the time), and then after a minor argument decide to cut me off -- but keep the money anyway.  It's indefensible -- and that's one reason Greg didn't tell any of his friends and family about the money I gave him.  He wailed to high heaven about me sending him a mean text, but he conveniently neglected to mention that I had paid off all his bills.  It was a convenient way to make himself look like a victim, and he knew that people would question his actions if they knew I had paid off his debts.  Had he told everyone the full story, he knew that most of his friends and family would say "Hold on a minute -that man must love you a little bit. Maybe work things out."  But Greg didn't want to hear that.  So he made himself look like the victim, but I have a feeling the money probably still nagged at him.  

I fear my money humiliated and/or emasculated him.  Greg tried to tell me "You wanna' date other guys, then fuck off, I don't need you."  But financially, he wasn't in a position to give the money back.  So in a sense, me giving him that money robbed him of his final "fuck you."  Greg knew he had to do something slimy in order to be able to pay his rent and get by, putting him in a difficult position.

He had to sell out on his own integrity in order to stay debt free.  And I think that made him furious with me.  

He couldn't properly tell me to fuck off without returning the money, which he couldn't afford to do.  So he told me to fuck off, but deep down inside, he knew he did something wrong - which is why he didn't tell anyone about it.  He knew he was a hypocrite for keeping the money.  

Money Can Create Messy Situations &  Most People Are Weak Around Messy Situations

These types of situations are not all that uncommon.  It's what I call "Gay Mess."  Now, straight people can get just as messy.  But I'm writing about homosexuals.  Now...  Greg knew he was hurt and broke.  So what was he to do?  He couldn't really say "Damn it Andrew, I hate you.  And you've put me in this impossible position, because I can't afford to repay you."  If he had compromised with himself and worked things out with me (which would have been the smartest option), he would have felt like he was being bribed or he was submitting to me because I had more money than he did.  But Greg is not a powerful communicator.  He's a smart guy, but he's not into self-actualization like I am.  He probably just felt a wave of conflicting emotions, and he did what most people would do in these types of situations.  


He killed the whole situation.  Like MURDERED it.  Like blood on the dance floor, the body is still warm, murdered it.  I put him in a difficult situation that he had no capacity to handle.  So what did he do.  He cut me off and he spent two months in his head chanting the same story to himself "Andrew's a dick head.  He tried to bribe me, but fuck him." 

I don't know this for a fact, but I know how he thinks.  He probably chanted that to himself day after day, week after week, month after month.  And eventually, he convinced himself of it.  He convinced himself that I [Andrew] am an evil manipulative ex-boyfriend, who would NEVER truly love him and wasn't worth his time or attention.  

We all do this by the way.  We all come up with convenience justifications when we've done something slimy or when we don't want to tell people the full truth, or when we'd rather walk away from a messy situation than do the hard work of putting things back together.  That's what kills gay relationships by the way (and probably loads of straight relationships).  Something happens, emotions get messy, nobody's perfect, and people just find it easier to throw in the towel than sort themselves out.   

But at the same time, the guilt still gnawed at Greg.  So three months later, when he was seeing someone else, he sends me a message on Instagram saying "Hey, let's be friends, but nothing other than friends."  

What kind of bull shit is that?  It's still slimy.  But that was his way of acknowledging to me that he knew what he did was wrong.  The problem was, it did nothing to fix the hole in my heart and the fact that I was still in love with him.  So of course, I'm furious at Greg, and I can't be the normal confident guy that I am.  I still wanted to get back together with him, if only he'd be open to talking things through.  But by this point, Greg had spent months and months trying to convince himself that he was "right" or "justified" in cutting me off but he was still perfectly entitled to keep the money.  And the funny thing is, Greg's not self aware enough to realize what he's doing.  This isn't a read, it's just an observation of a man I spent fifteen months with.  

I was always obsessed with self-actualization, enlightenment, personal growth and stuff like that -- even though I'm a shady bitch at times.  I always wanted to learn my flaws, because I feared they'd stop me from finding happiness.  Greg is a smart person.  And before I left him, in terms of our personalities he was the greatest BF I had ever had.  But he had no capacity to deal with a messy situation.  He just wasn't self aware enough to see all the moving pieces of his psyche.  And I wasn't there to work this situation through.  If I had been in town, he wouldn't have been able to ignore me.  I could have been more forceful.  But I was thousands of miles away.  I was hurt that he had cut me off, and I felt like the situation was still mostly his fault.  So we drifted, both sinking into our respective holes of believing only what we wanted to believe.

It was a perfect shit storm.  It was a mess, and no one was there to clean it up.  

And now Greg and I are back living in the same city, and he's unwilling to even talk about getting together.  He doesn't realize it, but his own ego has gotten the better of him.  And in the name of proving to me that he can't be bought, he's sacrificing the only person on this planet outside of his family who loves him unconditionally.  (By the way, that relationship he was in didn't last.  But he's jumped into another one with someone else -- all the while, completely not dealing with any of these issues and completely killing off the possibility of embracing the love I had for him.)  Perhaps I should call him Stubborn Stanley rather than Ungrateful Greg.  

But the point is this, money can fuck shit up if you're not careful.  

Think about how easy it is to walk away from a messy situation... 

Think about a time where you chucked in the towel - where you gave up and walked away rather than confront the truth that you played a part (whether majority or minority) in creating a messy situation?  

Now usually with gay relationships, the messy comes from sex outside the relationship.  Again, these situations get messy.  But either way, gay men do not handle mess well.  And because there's so much unlimited choice out there, we don't have to.  We can chuck the whole thing away, open the apps and find someone else.  

But then we wonder why we can't find real love in the age of dating apps...  

Your inability to handle messy situations like an adult will KILL your ability to have a loving relationship.  Humans are flawed.  I make mistakes all the time.  Humans get confused.  They get hurt.  And in my case, when I feel hurt, I want to make the other person feel twice as bad.  And to make matters worse, I thought I was trying to help by giving my soon to be ex boyfriend a massive amount of cash.  But all I really did was wound his pride, and he's been punishing me ever since.  I played a massive role in creating this shit show.  And honestly, if I had it all to do all over again, I would have flown home and been there for Greg.  But I was pissed off and I assumed he'd come around.  But he didn't.  He let his anger fester, and I let my anger fester.  

My New Rules Around Money

Trust me, I realized now that I shouldn't have given Greg that money.  Here are a couple of rules that I've invested around money in order to avoid this situation ever happening again.

1) When dating someone, ONLY treat them to meals and/or vacations or activities that you both share together, for these activities will strengthen the bond you feel.  For an anniversary or birthday present, take your man to a nice meal, a spa day, a fun activity, or a weekend getaway.  

2) NEVER give them large amounts of cash -- and DEFINITELY don't give them cash if the relationship has a good chance of ending in the first six months.  (For the reasons I just stated above)  Now if you're married or you're living together, this rule won't apply.  But until your relationship is rock solid, don't do anything that will hurt the other person's ego or put them in a situation where they feel used or subservient to your money.  

3) If you do decide to give traditional gifts, keep this rule of thumb in mind: If this person dumps you and then subsequently gave your gift to their new boyfriend/girlfriend, would you be furious?  If the answer is yes, then don't give them that gift!  Only give them something that you are completely detached from.  That may mean giving them a smaller gift, which of course, you can supplement for a nice meal out or a spa day or something.

4) Don't Make Your Lover Feel Insecure or Subservient - In my case, I want to lavish affection on my boyfriends.  But I see how I need to be sensitive that perhaps too much of a good thing can make the other guy feel inadequate or inferior.  Greg may have felt bad, because he could never give me anything as nice as what I was able to give him.  That might have hit his self esteem.  And perhaps, I made him feel like he "owed me" for lavishing so many gifts on him.  God knows I'm not perfect.  I tried very hard not to do this, but in an argument, I know I can lose it and be an ass hole.  It's important that my boyfriend doesn't feel "less than" or that he isn't a 50-50 partner in the relationship, simply because I've got more money. 

And obviously, once the relationship ends, I often feel used.  I thought I was investing in a long term future, and they were just enjoying the ride while it lasted.  I freely admit that makes me furious and then I throw around accusations, which only makes my ex feel more defensive -- even though I'm accurate, they don't care.  Again, no one thinks of themselves as a user.  But people enjoy the gifts while they are coming, they make promises in the moment, and then when things change, these situations get messy.  And when things get messy, gay guys tend to throw in the towel, leaving me feeling like a moron.  I need to be more careful about these situations, and I also need to be sensitive of how gift giving might make the other person feel a tad guilty or that it might dampen their voice in the relationship.  So by all means, learn from my mistakes.