The Gap Between Us

In my last post, I talked about how excited I am for the coming year. I am convinced that 2015 is going to be a year of positive changes. A year when Bryan and I can finally close out some old chapters in our lives, and start moving forward.

But as I’m blissfully aware of the silver lining, Bryan’s having a hard time seeing past the clouds. He’s going through a really tough time right now, between work (or lack there-of), and his ex, and his kids. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Much, much worse. But the thing is, it’s all temporary. Okay, except the kid thing; I fully expect there to be a lifetime of ups and downs in regards to his oldest son. Otherwise, in less than a year all of this will be over, and things will be better. Things are already starting to get better!

The interesting thing about being a couple is that, even though you support each other through tough times, you don’t always go through the tough times the same way, or even at the same time. My job became a struggle 2 years ago, when people started to realize Bryan and I were dating. And, while he was there for me, he wasn’t really “going through it”. Until he lost his own job. Now things are starting to improve for me, but he’s struggling to figure out what to do next. Emotionally, I’ve been “going through” his divorce since we started dating, and everything that meant to me, and him, and his ex, and the kids. Sure, it was his divorce, but for him, nothing had really changed since they’d separated a decade before. It wasn’t until he lost his income, and had to start pushing to get things finalized, that he really started going through it. He’s in a position where he can’t afford to let things continue on any longer, but he hasn’t been able to reach an agreement with his ex. Things are steadily becoming worse, and he worries they’ll lose everything if this drags on much longer. I know that things will get much, much worse, but I also see that they’re now in a place where things have to start happening. Suddenly, there’s a point where things have to end, and we can finally pick up the pieces and move on.

Bryan is stuck in the mire of what is going on right now, and the immediate future of what is to come. He isn’t working right now, and he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. Being in the construction industry, the next few months are going to be dead. Once things start back up, he can choose to continue working through the union, or try to find a supervisory role with another company. As of last year, he was eligible to take retirement through the union. Which means he also has the option of retiring, taking his pension, and then going into another career altogether. But, he has to finalize things with his ex before he can retire, so he knows where things stand with his pension. He’s bored, and restless, and unsure about the future. If he takes a job outside the union in the mean time, he’ll lose his place “on the list”, which means he’ll lose out on the opportunity of going to work at a higher paying job once the season starts up again. On top of that, he’s quickly running out of money. Once things are finalized with his ex, his expenses will drop dramatically; No more big house payments, or high utility bills. But in the next month or so, he expects to find himself in a position where he can’t make ends meet. Then what?

In a matter of months, I see things finally starting to fall into place. We’ll put my house on the market, and hopefully be able to free up some cash there. Maybe I’ll get a promotion? He and his ex will finally settle things, and he’ll figure out what he wants to do job-wise. Sure, things are going to get worse. We’ve been weighing out all of our option, and coming up with a plan to make it through. I’m ready for the bad, but I’m choosing to look ahead to the good. And I’m super excited about the possibilities. Bryan’s having a hard time seeing past what lies directly ahead. He’s taking things one day at a time, and concentrating on what comes next. That’s fine too. But, it creates a bit of a gap in our perspective, where I’m feeling hopeful, and he’s, well, not so much.

All things considered, we’re dealing with everything fairly well. But it does take an effort to bridge the gap. When you’re in a relationship, what one person is going through has an enormous effect on the other. But, despite the fact that you’re going through it together, you aren’t both going through it the same. Bryan’s job loss affects me, but it’s still his job loss. And I have to be sensitive to that.

So, I’m excited for everything that 2015 holds. But I’m also stressed, and frustrated, and tired, and scared. And I’m tempering all of my emotions, so I can be sensitive of all the emotions that Bryan is experiencing as well. Some days I do better than others. Hey, we’re only human, right?

– Cindy W.