Monday, January 9, 2012

My partner M and I met with L today for couple's counseling.  We actually haven't been in probably 2 months, which was fine by me! First off I have a hard time talking in general, which of course is one of our problems.  And then then what sometimes feels like the 'triangular-ness' of the relationship can really throw me for a loop.  I don't think today, at least the 'process of' therapy threw me too much, although there was a bit of weirdness (on my part), but I think M and I have some work to do.

Not that M and I have a lot of disconnects, but we certainly do have our share, and the process of potentially uprooting our lives, moving, and buying an ice cream shop certainly puts a spotlight on our communication issues.

We were meeting L at noon today, so M picked me up from work and we drove together.  I actually didn't want her to. I like and typically need the alone-time after a session, but I figured it may be defeating the purpose of couple's counseling if I hide from the chance to be alone, together, and talk.

When M got me I had some work frustrations that I had to deal with as we drove, which took up most of our commute time.  But about 15 minutes before we got to L's office I was updating M on our household budget that I was working on this morning.  This budget reflects what our new post-move-post-buy-the-ice-cream-shop lives would look like.  Yes, our living expenses will go down, but my salary will be less than 1/3 of what I make now, at least for the first year.  So I had to tell M that once we move we'll both need to be working, we cannot, at least initially just live on the income from the shop.

To back this up a little bit, you see the ice cream shop is my dream.  I first told M about it 15 years ago and we both tried to make it work, but it honestly wasn't the right time for us.  So after an initial push/plan, we put it aside. 

Our lives went on, M, who was also in IT, quit her job and went back to school to become a medical esthetician.  She bounced around a few different jobs after becoming licensed, and never quite found her niche.  But over 8 months ago she took a part time job as an instructor at an esthetics school, and she really loves it.  I was so happy for her.  The position was 3 nights a week, which worked well for our schedule, and that of our 5 year old. 

Fast forward to now, where I HATE my job.  I am at best middle-management and it's a terrible position to be in.  Yes, I could get another job, and I've been looking for nearly two years, but I also know that no matter what, the grass usually isn't greener, and I'll have to deal with similar middle management-type issues no matter where I go. 

You see, my favorite part of managing is the people on my time.  The people who's lives I can affect in a positive manner.  Whether it just be treating them like adults and not micro-managing, but also helping them grow into areas where they can excel.  I like the mentoring part of the job.  The part where I can back my team up completely, but also work with them in the trenches.  The people are what have kept me in my current position.  But the limitations I have faced and the crap I've had to stomach is just too much for me.And I will really hate leaving some of them, but it's time.

But I really hate asking M to leave her job and move.  Although two weeks ago she came up with the idea that in March, if we haven't sold our current house, she would quit her job, move up north, and run the shop while I continue working full time. I need to keep working to pay our existing mortgage, and although there's a chance we may sell the house before March, given the state of the housing market, I don't think it's something we can count on, and we need to plan for further out.

Now, if you've stayed with me this long.....

So, 15 minutes before a couple's counseling session today, a session that I'm already nervous about, I bring up a difficult subject.  Actually, what I now realize is that the subject was only difficult for me, not M.  I actually thought we were having some sort of disagreement, but in talking with M about all of this on the ride back to work, it appears my perception was not reality.

I told M that my stomach was in knots while talking about the budget and both of us having to work.  One at the ice cream shop and one outside of that, at least for the first year.  She was shocked that I was so nervous. I told her how spent I was after the session with L.  Once again, she was surprised.  She thought it was a really good conversation and felt very positive afterwards.

How can that be?  How can we be from such different planets?

There's more to the story, but I'm afraid it's gotten so convoluted know that I've probably lost any value in writing this. I see L individually this morning so I'm sure she'll make me sort this out.

Oh, and the triangular-ness this time....I sort of felt like L was just giving M all the good reasons to make this dramatic change in our lives.  You see L is VERY much glass-half-full, and M is VERY much glass-half-empty.  So in some ways I felt like L was trying to coerce, or at least convince M that this was all a good thing. But I'm sure I'm seeing this with some sort of crazy filter.

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