I am so confused….. (Part 2)

For the first time, since Tony, I was so confused about how to move forward. The difference now is that I’m not in love with Scott so the overwhelming emotional component is missing – so why am I so conflicted when my heart isn’t involved?

I finally realized through my reading on intuition that it was because my gut was involved when I didn’t even know it. The battle I had been waging was between my gut and my head, rather than my heart and my head. That’s interesting.

While I’ve detailed so many of his good qualities, there are several that have concerned me from the beginning. I know before I wrote this how shallow some of them sound and all I can say is this: I was raised very differently from Scott, we did not start from the same place and life experiences shape us.

Scott was born into a poor family in the Midwest, the actual backwoods. His family kicked him out in 7th grade and he had to stop school and earn a living. He was married by the time he was 18 and she was pregnant. Knowing he needed to make a change and support his new family, he joined the service for 4 years. Some time after service, he realized he needed more than selling cars or working in warehouses so he went to school and obtained his Bachelors degree. Some time after that he began working for the government and subsequently earned two masters degrees, one being from Columbia. He was in a long and failing marriage that produced two daughters. One who he is very close to and one who doesn’t speak to him. Post his divorce he became involved with a married woman for 3 years. That relationship ended entirely about 6 months before we met. Like me, they were always on and off and he dated during the years of the affair. He owns a home and is stable financially. He has come a long, long way from an uneducated kid from the sticks.

I was raised with everything given to me and my education was expected as well as paid for by my parents. While I made missteps educationally, I fell into management and had pursued a career that was lucrative until 2018. You know I’m spoiled and have been around middle class money for my entire life. I never really struggled to put food on the table the way Scott did. My arguments with my x revolved around how much money I should spend on vacation. I am not frugal and always believed I would earn a pretty decent living. I bought my home post divorce and was going to be able to contribute significantly to my kids college educations. Once I left my role in 2018 and had surgery I never regained my financial or career footing. However, my expectation of my own income and financial situation never faltered, not until very recently. I admire ambition and career success that nets a large financial gain. Since my divorce, that has always been a significant attraction because my x was willing to allow me to bear the financial burden of the lifestyle we were living and I never wanted to feel that way again. Money and earning potential had become much more important to me post divorce because of my experiences during marriage. It actually became a dating qualification. I had grown used to some luxuries that I provided to myself and I didn’t want to give them up. I had fought too hard for status.

Scott works for the government and, as everyone knows, the government caps salaries no matter how good (or bad) you are at your role. Because of this, the government employees also are known to rest on their laurels and do the minimum required work once they pass a certain time in the job. The private sector would fire incompetent or lazy employees, while the public sector tolerates this for some reason and makes it very, very hard to fire someone. The stability associated with a government job as well as lack of incentive breeds a sort of laziness that’s commonly known. This is NOT Scott by any means, I am just trying to set the stage. Government employees also work very standard hours. You put in your 40 hours and not a minute more because there is no incentive to do so. This also creates a fabulous work life balance because the hours are dependable and stable. As long as the employee is willing to sacrifice earning potential, a government role isn’t a bad one to have and why most people never leave them despite their apathy towards their jobs.

Of course I am over generalizing as well as stereotyping. But, based on my experiences, this sort of apathy does exists and breeds a sense of arrogance in government employees. They know they can’t get fired, they know they only need to put in the minimum effort and once they reach the ceilings of their roles, they become big fish in small ponds and that creates a whole other sense of bravado. And this IS Scott. He’s at the top of his game and will likely be in this salary pool and role for quite some time until his boss leaves. He has no desire to go after more because he likes his 40 hours a week and is satisfied with his salary. He has come from nothing so where when is today is a great achievement and it’s ENOUGH for Scott.

But Madeline is wayyyyy more judgmental coming from corporate America and the private sector. Where the harder your work the better potential for financial gain. Where hours and work/life balance are irrelevant. Where you get bonuses, perks and promotions that you and everyone around you equate with success. Where you never assume you are safe or stable so you work harder in the hope it offers some protection when the layoffs come.

With those explanations, the divide between Scott and I becomes evident. He is a big fish in a small pond and definitely has an arrogance and bravado because of it. He also has a lot of time at work to chatter and gossip (I tell him he’s a wash woman and he admits to it). My experience as a leader has taught me not to gossip at work or even be perceived as a friend to all my employees. Scott says the government doesn’t have barriers like this – everyone is friendly with everyone because some people never change level but are age peers. Scott is satisfied with “enough”. The biggest criticism from my marriage and even my children is that it’s “never enough” for me. And that’s true.

I perceive it like this, if Scott is as good as he brags to be (another quality I do not like at all) then why doesn’t he leave and go make double or triple the money he claims he can make in the private sector? He says it’s because he doesn’t want to work any harder – he did it enough when he was young and he’s satisfied with what he’s accomplished. I thumb my nose at this since he’s only 46. I feel he’s too young to be so complacent.

But, that me. He’s happy. He’s satisfied with what he has and what he’s achieved. My fear is that my judgement, which has always existed (it’s not new, I’ve always felt this about people) is never going to go away and I may ultimately resent him the way I resented my x for never wanting “more”. I do feel he should be proud for what he’s achieved from where he started, but I don’t feel a man should be done at such a young age.

That’s the worst of my snobbiness out of the way. It covers almost all the qualities I dislike about Scott: lack of drive or ambition, arrogance/bravado (big fish in a small pond), gossip, braggart and the stereotype of a government job personality.

Unfortunately, there are other concerns.

I am not especially attracted to Scott. I thought he might grow on me but he isn’t. He’s not ugly by any stretch of the imagination and he’s very fit and pretty rock solid. He even has most of his hair! He is a bit short for my taste but still taller than me so I’m trying to let that one go. It’s just his overall appearance isn’t “doing it” for me. Combine this with ok sexual chemistry (not horrible but definitely not great) and I’m worried we have a toxic combination. I don’t find myself wanting to call him handsome or wanting to explore his body. Sex has improved but he has already told me I’m the best sex he’s ever had. He has been patient to learn what I like or don’t because sex in the beginning was close to bad. I’ve had some seriously amazing sexual partners – so should I be worried? My older friends tell me to forget about this. If sex is good enough I should be fine. We are getting older not younger. He never pressures me sexually but he really isn’t intuitive. He fumbles more than I would like for someone who claims to have had many partners. I hate being the leader because it leaves me with no desire. This one combined with the job situation worries me.

We come from different classes. Should this matter in this day and age? I didn’t think so exactly but I can see it pretty clearly with Scott. Being raised in a city or suburb of a city versus the middle of the country just creates a whole different person. Can you change that? Probably. He surprises me with some things like understanding some fashion brands but then there are other things that I just don’t get. Like shooting squirrels and throwing them in the grill. I’m unsure which divides can be crossed and which don’t matter. He’s also just lacking that “cool-factor” because of this. Again, not sure how much it matters except that sometimes he really does come across as a hick and I feel a little embarrassed. Luckily he has never done this in public, only in private.

Scott can also irritate me pretty quickly. He often starts stories in his head and then finishes them out loud, leaving me to decipher what he’s talking about and me getting frustrated with an unclear story. For someone as smart as he is, it’s all book smart. He definitely has trouble getting his thoughts out of his head in a cohesive manner.

His humour is a bit low brow for me. Reminds me of my x but I can manage this. He does come from the middle of the country.

So it’s sort of like 3 big negative buckets:

The job/ambition and the type of behavior a government job has created in him

Attraction

Class

I thought I was getting this out in 2 posts and clearly I can’t. So the rest has to wait for part 3!

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

9 thoughts on “I am so confused….. (Part 2)”

  1. Wow, that’s pretty picky if ya ask me… and you didn’t. I know of your… pet peeves and pretty much all of them are coming out over this guy but what I’m really wondering is if you’re really finding reasons not to really connect with him and, thus, sabotaging things? Dude is guilty for being the man he feels he wants and needs to be? I had thought that you had done well to set aside you biases and listen to what your instincts were telling you but it seems to me that when your instincts tell you that this guy might be the one who can make and keep you happy, your biases jump in and start picking him apart and for the sole purpose of not taking things beyond what they currently are. I know you have the right to do this but again, since you didn’t ask me, that’s being the poster child for self-destructive behavior. It’s a defense mechanism and one that you created to make sure no one can get that close to you and especially after the Tony debacle.

    I had thought and hoped that you’d gotten better about such things. He was born and raised on the wrong side of the tracks? I read that part and my jaw literally dropped! Your attraction biases are off and running again and what you think of his alleged lack of ambition because he works for the government made my jaw drop even more; most women would be quite happy that homey has a job at all, given the state of things these days.

    Are you gonna kick him to the curb because he has the audacity to not be the man you want him to be? Starting to sound like it but if there’s a Part 3 in the works, yeah – I gotta hear the whole story. This is the old Madeline talking – what did you do with the new Madeline who saw the reason in giving guys a chance despite them having the nerve and gall to be who they are?

    Yeah… and you know I have the nerve to call you out on this and question what you’re doing…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love that you call me out and I was hoping everyone would because even I feel, deep down, my biases are self-destructive and I didn’t truly acknowledge that until now. My friends have been really good at setting my head straight – it’s just me stuck in my own head thats causing me to be unavailable to him.

      He is a good man. I am working hard to pay attention to how I’m feeling instead of what my head keeps saying.

      I love that your honest with me and also that you tel me I’m being ridiculously frivolous ….you might be surprised at part 3. You never know.

      Like

  2. If you already feel so ambivalent about Scott, then do him a favor and end things now. I can’t imagine anything worse than being in a relationship where the other party looks down on me, is embarrassed by me, and thinks I should be “better” by their standards. If you can’t accept him for who he is, then walk away.

    I think it’s pretty terrific that, while his education stopped in 7th grade, he had the gumption to go back to school and get, not only his BA, but TWO master’s degrees. All while supporting a family and being a father while in an unhappy marriage.

    After working and supporting himself (and others) since 7th grade — SEVENTH GRADE!!! — who can blame him for wanting to work his 40 and have some quality of life during his off hours. Quite frankly, I would find this to be a PLUS with a potential partner. I would hate to be with someone who felt that work, the almighty dollar, and status was more important than anything else – me included.

    I have to say that I’m surprised by your focus on money, luxuries and status – especially in light of the difficulty you have been having for the past few years on the job and health front. All of your hard work and long hours didn’t save you from losing your job – and now you are in a tenuous financial situation. You also nearly died! Having survived a recent health scare that nearly resulted in my death, it made me want to savor every moment I might have left. I have to work, but like Scott, I rarely put in overtime and would rather head for the outdoors or to spend time with my friends and family to make sure they know I love them and that they are my priority – because I could die tomorrow and it would be heartbreaking if they remembered me as someone so driven by money, status, “things” and expectations that they wondered if I cared much about them at all. If I were lucky enough to find a funny, friendly, caring man who was stable and had a job in this world where many don’t, I would count myself lucky.

    But if you don’t find him attractive and the sex is blah for you, then again – walk away. I’m not sure I understand why you are with him and having sex with him if it is all “meh” to you. The fact that you would tell him you just wanted to be friends — and then you went ahead and initiated sex with him is unfair to him and makes you seem rather selfish. The vacillation is confusing to say the least.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for such a well thought out reply.

      I don’t think anything you said is wrong. I am struggling with myself regarding why the money/luxury/career is so important to me – especially because what I’ve been through. I can’t yet figure it out. I’m trying to let go of it because I also think it’s a terrible trait I have. I just can’t seem to do so – which was the whole reason for this post.

      There is something pulling me into Scott, something more than I was willing to give back initially. Part of that is the “meh” because I am making so I’m unavailable. I want to open up to him and see if o can clear my mind of the other barriers and accept him for who he is.

      If I can do that, and he’s a pretty wonderful man, I am still left with the attraction piece – and I’m hoping that changes and softens over time.

      I did let him go once because of these reasons, and he really want to try again. I am truly opening my heart and mind to give this a fair shot.

      Like

  3. These are all great comments and say everything and anything I thought of saying. I do think it’s valid to not be attracted to someone because of their personality, their looks, or if the way they go about life is completely different from the way you do (like, one person being super cautious, the other more risk-averse). For me, stuff about class, career, education, etc. is meta. While I can confirm that the work culture in some of the federal government jobs I held rewarded mediocrity, I think it’s a stretch to say that people who work federal government jobs are by nature content with mediocrity. You’re allowed to not dig certain of his personality traits just because, and you don’t need to stretch and make these connections. I love that you can just be honest. Dating brings up ambivalence, and I think that the older we get, the more ambivalence comes up as a way to safeguard our own vulnerability. We don’t want to get hurt again, the way we might have been hurt by our first love, our first marriage, etc. It’s ok and it’s natural. I’m glad you are remaining open-hearted!

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  4. Madeline your job choice can make top dollar but it’s competitive and now leaves you jobless. Too experienced because they don’t want to pay for that experience.

    My eldest sister did government work and if she had stayed a little while longer (she joined at 18) she would have been set for life. She chose to be broke and ambitious and follow her dreams and she doesn’t regret it but regrets the loss of the security. As someone with a similar (but different) story as Scott he is quite impressive and he earned the only thing we want for himself. Also retirement from that kind of job is excellent. My mom worked for the post office 15 years and that retirement alone was good.

    Also my sister was paid 3 figures.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When you speak to wise men and women in the last stages of their lives, they all give similar advice about what they would have done differently: love more and spend as much time fostering and loving the deep relationships around them. Material things, status and money are irrelevant. It’s the people and how much time, love and memories together that did.

    Liked by 2 people

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