Tag Archives: marriage

When Love and Pay Collide 31-May-2012

When Love and Pay Collide
When Love and Pay Collide

When Love and Pay Collide  31-May-2012

I heard a discussion the other day about prenuptial agreements.  It was just a little blurb I heard as I flipped past a radio station.  It was, of course, a heated discussion, which is why I changed the channel.  Earlier that same day, I read an article that made light of how children “don’t know what love is” in reference to loving their peers.   You know, we’ve all heard it, said it…  “Puppy Love” for elementary school aged kids, “Hormones” for teenagers!  In general, I think it’s safe to say that adults don’t really think that kids know what love is or means.  Of course, it was a pair of grownups that were arguing about how much money should or shouldn’t be tied to any given marriage.  Hearing those two different topics on the same day got me thinking…  which is always dangerous!

Remember when you were young, and all that mattered was how your heart felt?  You weren’t worried about splitting a mortgage or a power bill with your homecoming date.  You (probably) weren’t burdened with a car payment or concerns of how to fund college for your own children.  You just dated who your heart told you to.  You loved until it didn’t work anymore, or maybe you never even stopped loving that high school (or elementary school) flame…  but you probably didn’t end any relationship in your youth for any financial reasons.  To be loved by a child is the most absolutely pure type of love anyone can be blessed with.  Yet when we talk about their youthful heartbreaks, we diminish that passion by calling it names like ‘Puppy Love’ or ‘Hormones’.  I just disagree.  As I often do.  Hearing the radio debate and reading that article on the same day made me ask myself…  “Am I sure I can still love as purely as a child?”  I am sure.  I truly am.  Yet reading the news and listening to the radio leaves me a bit more worried than usual about society in general.

With grown up love, we split the furniture and argue over the house and the credit card debt.  Whose fault this or that debt was, how much money which one should get when the love dies.  How many years together equate to how much of the assets.  Who cheated, who didn’t, why it matters and how much that should ‘cost’.

Folks, I’m here to tell you that Love and Pay shouldn’t ever collide.  Not ever.

Yet they always do for adults.  Always.  I truly have to wonder if the financial slaughter at the end is just all that’s left after the love dies, or if the potential for financial disaster was what killed off the last of the love in the first place.  No matter what your opinion is of all that, or how strongly you feel that you should have been able to keep the big screen TV or the washing machine in the divorce, what is for certain is that adults talk about love ending, moving on, and the financial aftermath…  all the while, youth finds new love regardless of whether or not the love actually died in the last relationship.  Youth springs new beginnings while adulthood barely stops to mourn the loss of the last.  It would seem.  And it’s not just divorce…  some people stay married for financial reasons, and/or finances strain most marriages at some point or another.  Sadly, single adults are far more likely to date within their pay grade than teenagers are.  It’s how things work.

So which one of us is more immature?  The elementary school child checking ‘yes or no’ on a love note, the passion of a high school romance, or the adult who can’t see that finances were a burden that should have never been strapped onto the back of love?  I think that in the majority of cases, Love and Pay only collide over time, accidentally.  Sometimes it’s the plan from the get-go.  How often which is which is only opinion.

For my own part, I’d trade you all 3 grocery bags of stuff I got in the divorce for the rush of one single love note that asks me to check ‘yes or no’.  Because that kind of love, however you see it, lasts forever even if only in your memory, while adults toss around the word love like it’s a weather forecast.  Sometimes I think adults are just too mature to see the wisdom that was often intertwined with immaturity, so they just write it all off and assume they know better now.  I’m not convinced.

In any case, it is what it is.  We’re adults, we have rent or a mortgage, we have utility bills.  We have to buy stuff for our kids and ourselves.  Our finances really are part of who we are.  Is it impossible to keep love and finances completely separate?  You could when you were 8 years old.  But you didn’t really know anything about life back then, right?  Just a puppy.  Puppies grow up to be dogs that still love unconditionally.  What goes wrong with the humans?

Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Heart

Rockwell Syndrome 18-April-2012

Rockwell Syndrome
Rockwell Syndrome

Rockwell Syndrome  18-April-2012

Poor old Walt Disney.  I truly believe that he had good intentions.  I think he just wanted to make movies that kids would love.  And he did.  In 1930, could anyone possibly have foreseen ‘Princess Syndrome’ becoming a plague?  Would anyone really have sold us red M&M’s if they thought we’d get cancer from them?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I really don’t know.  In any case, part of me does hope that old Walt is rotting in the below right now.

But since I’m all manly and whatnot, I didn’t grow up hoping that one day my Prince would come.  I grew up hoping that if I learned enough smart stuff, I’d get a college degree, get a good job, buy a nice little house with a white picket fence, get married, and come home to my family every night after work to talk about our day over the dinner table.  I followed the instructions.  Got an Engineering degree.  Bought the cutest little house in the country, married a lovely young lady that I was very much in love with.  The rest didn’t really go as planned.  Although my kids would fit right in with any Normal Rockwell painting you’ve ever seen.

Is it Norm’s fault?  It’s the American Dream, isn’t it?  Grow up, get married, have kids, maybe even buy yourself a shiny new car.  Get a bigger house.  A newer car.  And so on.  Even I, with my harshly jaded view of marriage (or more accurately what divorce does to marriage and family), still slip sometimes when I’m talking to the kids and say things like, “When you have kids” etc…  I should be saying, “If you decide to have kids.”  And, “If you decide to get married.”  Am I planting seeds in them that will make them think that getting married and having kids is the only life path they should consider?

I honestly don’t know the answers to any of these questions.  No answers today.  I don’t know one single Princess.  I do know a handful of happily married couples who could be in Norman Rockwell paintings.  A small handful.  But the odds are similar:  One in a million, or so.

I like to write happy stories about the fun things my kids and I do as a family.  Those are the things that inspire me the most, and therefore I write best about, and people enjoy reading the most.  I bet Norm did the same thing.  Saw something that inspired him, so he painted it.  Similarly with Walt, he had an inspiration that turned into a movie, so he shared it with the world.  It’s just what I think.  You won’t find a Norman Rockwell painting of the first time he saw his wife with another man, or an animated Disney movie about children beaten black and blue by an alcoholic parent.  Because nobody wants to immortalize any of those things.  I doubt Norm or Walt realized they were writing instruction manuals.  Maybe that’s where it goes wrong?  When we see these things as instructions rather than recreation?

Am I doing it too?  Am I creating an unrealistic vision of how things can or should be, by writing about only the good stuff?  I don’t mean to.  It’s not all rainbows and sunshine here.  We have our days.  In general though it’s very good, and I love to write about it.  So I’m not even for a millisecond thinking about changing any of it.  But I do wonder…  I wonder why, when we see amazing things, they also make us sad that everything isn’t amazing all the time.  Yet isn’t that the nature of things?  We should be striving to improve all the time, so when we see something we like, shouldn’t we also strive to achieve it?  Where does all that completely natural thinking go so horribly wrong?  No answers today.  Only questions.  Sorry!!!

Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Syndrome

The Dating Game (and associated scary stories) 26-January-2012

The Dating Game
The Dating Game

The Dating Game (and associated scary stories)  26-January-2012

Last night I saw a friend’s facebook status go from ‘In a relationship’ to ‘Single’, and I spent some time trying to find a way to change my status from ‘Single’ to ‘Still Single’.  There isn’t an option for that.  What gives???

I’m not good at dating.  It’s not a secret.  Even though it’s not something I forget, it would also seem that I get frequent reminders.  Most of the time I’m glad I’m not good at it.  If I were good at dating, wouldn’t that also mean I’m bad at being a keeper?  Yet without dating at least a little, there’s no one to ‘keep’.  It’s a vicious cycle.  A circle with no beginning or end.  The chicken and/or the egg?…  And all that.

There are lots of reasons.  Most of the time I’m so flat broke that if I do have a few spare bucks, I spend it on and with my kids.  Dating is ubercomplicated at, ahem, ‘my age’ and with kids.  I’m not an incredibly social person.  I don’t drink.  Dating web sites are…  Oy.  Lots of reasons.  Excuses?  Cover stories?  I really don’t know.  I say that a lot.  There are lots of things I don’t know.

However, there *are* a few things I’ve learned about people in the dating arena, or at least the ones I seem to come across in my stage of life.  Here are some sweeping generalizations that I am certain may generate angry letters to me.  Oh dear, I’ll end up single!

Seinfeld:  Some people are only dating so that they can ‘win’ the relationship, like that episode of Seinfeld.  They date only long enough to find a flaw that makes the other party unworthy, and/or a reason to dump them, even if they only had one date.  It seems like they think that they get points for ‘winning’ the dates/relationships.  In any case, since their goal is to ‘win’, the game is of limited duration no matter who wins or loses.

Lonely:  Just dating cuz he or she is afraid to be alone, and/or is simply lonely.  Will die without that half that makes them whole.  Is incomplete without a ‘partner’.  This person is seeking a boyfriend or girlfriend.  A warm body to fit that ‘spot’ in their lives, with little regard or thought given to whether or not this or that particular dating partner is really anything more than a placeholder.

Popularity:  This is like a spin-off of the Seinfeld group above.  Somehow, the more actual single dates this person has, the better they feel about themselves.  This person isn’t looking for relationship ‘wins’, they’re looking to pad their numbers like an accountant doctoring the books…  “I had so many dates last year, I blah blah blah…”  So, 200 dates with 175 different people makes them super cool?  It’s a bragging rights thing?  Signing up to be number 176 doesn’t seem like it could be the end of that story.

Jenga:  It’s the ‘Popularity’ group above, but for the refined pro dater who needs to have a lot of romances going at once.  Like Jenga!  The taller the shaky tower, the better!  Quick to build another shaky tower as soon as one round ends in a heap.  Somehow, the added complication of a 7th dimension to the already chaotic hundreds of dates creates more fulfillment for this person.  ?  It’s the challenge?  Iunno.

Hobby:  Just a way to meet people and try new things, but not really looking for a long term relationship.  If the stars lined up properly, they might settle down and give up dating, but if not, they’re in no hurry to choose the wrong person to fill any voids.  This is kind of the joyride group?  Like cruising.  No destination, just enjoying the ride.  I think.

Marriage or Bust:  “I’m going to be married in the next 3 months.  If I get married, I can have a bigger house, a newer car, retire sooner, etc…”  This seems more like a business transaction to me than anything else.  One that seems far more likely to fund a divorce than a retirement.  Oy.  Again.

Image:  This person dates because they worry about what people might think if they don’t.  People might think they’re gay.  People might think they can’t get a date.  People might think they’re unlovable if they’re not in a relationship.  Must be something wrong with him or her if he or she is single?  As if the presence or absence of a mate is somehow a measure of the individual?

Trade-In:  This group is always dating someone, but always looking for something ‘better’ to ‘trade up’ to.  This person is never ‘off-limits’ or in a relationship they wouldn’t ditch if they thought the next person had more to offer.  Always shopping.

Horny:  #selfexplanatory  (<<<how many of you saw the word ‘sex’ in this tag, then went back to re-read it?)

I’m apparently doing it wrong.  I don’t think any of the above reasons to date are good reasons to date.  I’m not incomplete without a woman in my life.  I don’t care what people think… about anything really, let alone what they might think of me being single.  Not in any hurry to remarry.  No desire to rack up big bragging points about how much or often I date.  I would just like to find someone whose company I enjoy, and then date that person.  Just one.  One at a time.  For as long as it’s good for both of us.  Really simple.  Yet apparently not at all how other people do it.

I guess it seems like most people date just to date.  Like the gameshow.  Like a sport or a hobby or a recreation?  Whereas, I see it as something I’d like to do with the right person.  Date her.  Thus the confusion, at least on my part.  I’m looking for a person, while it seems other people are looking for dates.

Anyway…  this is going in circles,  just like it always does inside my head, so I’ll get to what little point I’m able to make to myself on the matter:  All the while, over the past 5 or 6 years of being a bachelor, trying to figure all that out, that massive investment that I see others make in dating, I haven’t made.  And since I haven’t invested myself in dating, I’ve had more of myself to give to my kids.  And because of that, well…  we’re the family that we are.  A really good one.

You know that little tip of the Ying that is just a sliver next to the head of the Yang?  Yeah, that’s what dating is to me.  That little sliver of one thing that allows more room for something else in the bigger picture…  I think.  There’s room for all of it in the proper proportions, but unless you give each thing the right real estate, the synergy gets broken.  I think The Oracle tried to tell me this once.  I just didn’t ‘get it’ then…  I take back everything I said about doing it wrong.  *Whew*.  I’m glad I had this talk with me!!!

Cheers from The ThreeFiveZero Bachelor