Dear Tuffy Luv,
I’m 25, with a university degree and a great start to a career at a growing startup company that has tons of potential, and has the ability to one day very soon make me a household name in the industry. I work late everyday, sometimes on weekends too; I live and breathe my career, and my entire life has been dedicated to my education and career, especially since one of my shorter-term goals is to buy a house in the next year or two. I’m all about tough love – I believe everyone should have a hunger to reach their full potential, and if not, shame on you (just to give you a little perspective on my personality).
Enter the kink in the chain. The 23 year old bad boy who lives eight houses away. He decided he’d had enough of school after high school graduation, and works two part-time jobs at a burger joint, and as a condo super. He’s never believed in saving money because “more money means more problems”. Four years later, when he COULD have been graduating university, he feels a little sorry for himself that he’s got no education, no savings, a shi*ty job, and no driver’s license. He’s got a great heart, and is one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and he’s crazy about me. And for some reason, I’m crazy about him too. We’d had the conversation about us being more many times, though I’d always said no, it’s a bad idea. But a few weeks ago at a party, we kissed. So now he’s not taking no for an answer.
The thing is, if he had his life together, there would be no question – I’d openly love him and announce it with flying colours to the world. But I have a hunger for success, and he says he wants to go back to school, but the program he wants to enroll in doesn’t start until September, so who knows what mind changes could happen by then. I’m afraid that if I give him a chance, one day I’ll wake up and he’ll resent me for being ahead of him, or that while being afraid of that I held myself back, or that I’ll resent him for not trying harder. I’m afraid of bringing him to work parties and having my co-workers ask what he does. I’m afraid of bringing him around my friends with their highly successful fiancés – not because of his lack of ‘experience’, but because being with someone like that has never been an option for me, and it’s not really who I am.
At the same time, he cares for me and accepts me despite all my bitchy, neurotic flaws. He’s been there for me during a really crappy period of my life when I literally had no one else on my side (and in hindsight, rightfully so). And I do feel the same way. He knows that too, and says he won’t give up because he believes in time I’ll change my mind.
I just don’t know what to do. Do I fight my ego and take him for what he is? Do I lay out expectations for what I want in a partner and what my life plans are and ask him if he can give me those things? Or do I leave it, walk away, and hope for someone else?
Hoping for some tough love, and an outside perspective.
Here’s the thing.
You don’t love a person because they’re perfect. You don’t love them because they conform to your ideals, or fit perfectly into your plans. You love them for who they are. You appreciate them, and you take care of them in return.
You, my friend, have got a major case of the snobs.
This guy was the only one there for you during a horrible time in your life. He picked you up even when, as you put it, you “literally had no one else on [your] side (and in hindsight, rightfully so).” He values you for who you are, even though who you are is very, very, VERY clearly not perfect.
So why, then, are you so concerned about what other people think? You seem embarrassed by this man who has been such a good friend to you. HE should be embarrassed–for being there for someone with so little respect for him.
The grossest thing you say in this whole email is: “being with someone like that has never been an option for me, and it’s not really who I am.” Who the floop do you think you are? Are you kidding me with this?! You’re a 25 year old who is starting out and HEADED in the right direction. You want to look down on this guy because he’s getting a later start? And, to be honest with you, I think it’s some pretty bad shoop that you would judge someone based on what they do for a living. It’s fine if you don’t want to date them, but you shouldn’t look down on them.
But that’s just Aunt Tuffy’s gag reflex talking.
Honestly, dude’s 23. He has plenty of time to get it together. If he’s planning to go back to school, great–why don’t you have a little faith in him? Assume he’s going to do it, and if he doesn’t, worry about it then. If you want to be with this guy who has been so great to you, and who you actually HAVE FEELINGS FOR AND WHO HAS FEELINGS FOR YOU, you should obviously, obviously, obviously go for it. Love is special and rare. You do not find it with every man you meet. This, I guarantee you.
So here’s what I think you should do. Tell him you care about him and you think he’s a great guy, but you want to take things slow because you’re not sure if you have the same life goals. Start dating. And then reassess in 3 months. And then six months. And then one year. And I think you’ll have a pretty good idea if you guys are headed in the same direction, and, if not, whether or not you care about each other enough to adjust and make it work. You might decide that the things you want for your individual futures really are too different to make a life together. Or you might find you balance each other out. Either way is legit, but you’ll never know if it can work if you don’t even give it a chance.
But, to be real with you, I don’t think you deserve him. At least not with the stuck up attitude you display in THIS email. Not very many people in life are going to be genuinely on your side, and it sounds like this guy is. You’re so busy being embarrassed by the thought of dating him that you seem to have forgotten: Most people look up to someone with such a good, kind heart. Maybe you should stop looking down on him–and take a good, long look at yourself.
Hearts & Skulls,
Question?! Ask Tuffy Luv. Or else. tuffyluvcc [at] gmail [dot] com