Send your questions to Terrance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Gay Best Friend,
When I met my boo, he was not at all what I expected on the outside, but I (thankfully) was able to see through that and find the man inside that I loved. He had a blue-collar job, which I had never experienced, but I think because it was a pretty good paying blue-collar job, I stuck with it (wink).
Right now, the state we live in is one of the most economically depressed in the country, and the manufacturing jobs are drying up. Companies he’s worked for have been bought and downsized, or just had to cut corners. He’s had to leave the state twice to find employment in the past four years because he’s not the type to sit at home and do nothing. I have gone to visit him many times where he has gone, but I wasn’t ready to move at the time because my family’s 35-year old business is here. I’m an only child and my parents are getting older. He’s come back home to be with me, thinking he had a secure job, only to have it snatched from him.
But, since he left his last job in June (over some really SCANDALOUS stuff, you’d love it – his boss would love you – we’re thinking of suing), we have not been able to find him a new job. He’s been doing what he can around the house – he’s an excellent cook and really knows how to clean – but he feels like he’s not contributing like a man should and it’s starting to depress him. I feel him losing hope bit by bit every day as each rejection letter comes. We used to live large, but now, with only one income we’ve had to cut back, and that upsets him too. He has a baby mama that he pays child support to, and even though he’s unemployed, he still owes that child support (SMH – don’t get me started on that topic), and now that he’s six months behind (not his fault), there’s a warrant out for his arrest.
He feels like everything is conspiring against him, he’s slipping into a real depressed state, and it’s starting to be a drain on me. I love him to death, and I know it’s supposed to be through thick and thin, but what advice do you have to get through the thin times? He’s done a *lot* for me over the years – when I tried to say thank you, he insists it was his “job” to take care of me and that no thanks was necessary. But now he needs me – just the fact that *he*, the man, needs *me* upsets him too – but I don’t know how to make him feel better without taking his manhood away from him. I struggle to keep his spirits up. I do what I can for him, but it’s not enough. When I ask him what I can do, he just says “find me a job.” Obviously, I have no control over that. I send out his resume constantly, but with double digit unemployment here, everyone is looking for a job, and with his impressive looking resume, employers think it will cost a lot to hire and pay him. That’s the only reason I can think of that no one is responding to his resume – the whole “overqualified” thing.
Is my man’s ego worth leaving everything else I have in life to pick up and move to another state so he can find a job? I have no doubts about the strength of his love for me, and mine for him, but honestly, I’m scared to leave the security of what I’ve got here in my family business. My parents are in their 70s and his mother is sick, and where he wants to go is way across the country. I need some help deciding what to do. When things are good for us, they’re really, really good. I need to fight for him now that things are not so good, but how do I do that and not give up *me* in the process? Ms. In Love But Struggling
Dear Ms. In Love But Struggling,
Girl, I tell you, the smarter some women think they are, something truly is lacking in the head. Not saying you are, (yes I am), but clearly you’re not listening to yourself. If you were, then you wouldn’t have written this letter which clearly has every possible answer to your questions that you need.
There are some things I don’t know if you are being serious or if you really can’t see the sidewalk because of your oversized wig blocking your vision. You better push those bangs back and wake up!
I love how you say he is a blue-collar man, which you have never experienced, and despite his background you fell in love with him. Please make it stop! LOL! Girl, your nose is so high in the air you can smell Jesus.
This is what I don’t understand. If you work, and have a family business, and the economy is sooooooo desolate in your city, then why not get your man a job in the family business? I am sure there is something he can do at the family business, especially for a blue-collar worker. Hell, he can answer phones, take messages, clean, move furniture, drive, or something. There’s got to be something he can do there. I just don’t understand why you couldn’t tell ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’ (in my Southampton voice) to give your man a job. Please work that out and explain it to me.
But, what I don’t understand and what you’re defending is the fact that he has a child, didn’t pay child support for six months, has a warrant out for his arrest, and you say it’s no fault of his own. Oh, really? So, whose fault is it? And, you’re over there shaking your damn head over his situation with his baby momma because he owes child support? Really, Ms. Thing?!?! Girl, please don’t make it his baby momma’s fault. I’m sorry, but didn’t he help bring a child into the world and as a man, instead of trying to impress you, and flossing around town, he should have been stacking up on his child support payments since the economy is jacked, and he doesn’t have a job. Your man’s obligation is to pay child support, and if he hasn’t done so in six months, then it’s the child’s mother’s fault? Please explain. I’m listening.
Look, I know times are hard for a lot of folks. People are in binds and are financially strapped. It’s tough out there, but as my grandmother would say, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.” If he’s previously gone out of town to get a job successfully and made money, then what is the problem with him leaving again? Let that man go and do what he has to do.
And, if I were your man, I would feel depressed as well. He isn’t contributing to the household because he can’t and any man who can’t contribute or carrying his weight, well, he should feel useless. But, uhm, sweetie, you’re babying him. You send out his resume, you take care of him, you keep trying to make him feel better (I can hear you now, “Come here snookie wookie. Let me rub it and make it feel better”), and I love the line where you say, “We have not been able to find him a job.” Everything you’re doing for him is what you do for a child. Yes, darling, you’re hand-holding him. Hell, I’m surprised you’re not nursing him as well. Well, I’m sure you are.
You say it’s starting to drain you, well, it’s because you’re supposed to be his woman, not his mother. You are so busy trying to nurture him, and taking on his problems, which he created, and you’re trying to fix them. HONEY, LIKE HE SAID, YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING FOR HIM, BUT FIND HIM A JOB. Again, he’s relegating the power over to you, so you can fix it. You are the woman who saves him in his time of need, and the woman who is taking care of him because you’ve taken on the role of wifey, yet you’re not married. I’m curious to know if you two have talked about marriage, or if he plans to marry you. I’m sure he’s said to you at one time or another, “When I get on my feet we’re going to get married.” Girl, please spare me and yourself.
There is a difference between being co-dependent and independent. I don’t think you’ve learned the balance of being his woman and supporter. Yes, we all need someone to rally for us and cheer us on. We need someone in our corner when times get hard. However, taking the reigns and trying to fix a situation that you didn’t create only makes you angry, frustrated, and resentful. And, instead of supporting you become co-dependent to their situation. You allow them to act out, do things they normally wouldn’t do, and take the blame because you want to be understanding. You know they are going through things because of their situation. Well, I’ll be damn if you drag me into something I have no control over. I’ll be damned if you get upset with me and you stop taking care of your responsibilities. No sir, and no ma’am.
Look, Ms. In Love But Struggling, if you can’t comfortably leave the safety of your situation, and feel confident in your man and his ability to take care of the both of you, then what do you think? It’s obvious you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Are you willing to give up your Gucci, Prada, Michael Kors, and Christian Lacroix for the Gap, Banana Republic, or Old Navy? If you’re going to stick with your man, then you’ve got to step up your Beyonce game, and Upgrade your man. But, that means letting him be a man. Let him do what he needs to do for his situation. I love how folks think they can rectify and fix someone else’s situation when they themselves created the mess that they are in. He needs to rectify the child support situation and handle his business. He has a warrant out for his arrest. So, is he going to ignore it and go out state to get a job? What happens if gets arrested while out of state, then he will have to be extradited back home. That doesn’t sound logical, now does it? Again, he needs to be a man and handle his business. The warrant is not going anywhere. That needs to be first and foremost. And, he’s not alone in looking for a job in this economy. There are millions of folks in his shoes. Like most people, you’ve got to go where the jobs are, and you said he’s been willing to relocate, but he can’t keep running back and forth. If you don’t want to move, then don’t. If you want to be with him, and this love of yours is so strong, then go. Write out the pros and cons of your relationship, and then the pros and cons of moving with him out of state. You say that your parents are older, and you have the family business. It sound like you will lose more than he. I say let him get his affairs in order, then move forward. You can’t move forward with looming complications hanging over your head because every time you take one step forward, you will be taking two steps back. – Straight From Your Gay Best Friend
Make sure to get your copy of my new book, STRAIGHT FROM YOUR GAY BEST FRIEND – The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Work, and Having A Fabulous Life (Agate/Bolden – October 2010; $15). It is available in bookstores everywhere, and on Amazon, HERE!