Thursday, December 16, 2010

I have a dilemma

To make a long story short, I have a divided heart. Here's the long story.

I've been with Ranger for two and a half years now. We've had really good times and really bad times. Some of the best and worst of my life. On the up-side, he loves me like no one else ever has. He loves me in ways that I never thought possible. I'd believed that's how love should be, but experience taught me that it just might not exist. It was a figment of my very active imagination and should be confined to the fiction I like to write.

Then, I met Ranger. He had the same concept, and the same problem. So we let each other love and be loved as we thought it should be. And the fantasy came true. That would be bliss.  If only the fantasy weren't partly still a fantasy....

As you know, dear Diary, there's been a down-side, too. He's lost five jobs since I've known him. Granted, two of those have not been his fault. Three have. He's been searching for jobs constantly, but now the search has changed. He doesn't go anywhere in person anymore. He doesn't call unless I prompt him. He searches the same online job sites every other day, submits the same generic resume again and again.

He got a job for a couple of weeks, in October. It wasn't his fault that he lost that one. Technically, he hasn't lost it. They just stopped putting people on the schedule because their business is tanking. But the big point is that he got that one by having face time with the manager. She recognized us as regular customers, so when she had an opening, she asked him about it. The online job searches produce NOTHING. Phone calls and face time do. So, what's he doing? The online boards. Only.

He is paying rent by having a work contract with his landlady. Rent on a tiny 6' x 8' trailer (which is powered by an extension cord from the house) in exchange for working so many hours on the property. He has a small trickling of money from his rock business, but it's tiny and irregular. I help cover expenses, like groceries and storage. We share a storage building, which is mostly my stuff so I don't mind paying that rent. And he only eats one meal a day (two on a good day).

So, yeah, I'm kind of enabling the insufficient job hunt. I'm realizing that. All because I can't let him be homeless and starving. I've been thinking a lot about this for a couple of months because the burden of it (in many ways) is starting to get to me. He's become very sensitive to any suggestion that he do something different; he takes it all very personally and gets seriously depressed over it. That makes talking about things really difficult.

Of course, the fact that he's now a convicted felon doesn't help anything. That's a HUGE stumbling block to him getting a job. It will effect every job he could possibly have.

He also needs to do something about his child support situation, which is really bad and unfair to him. After finally getting a copy of the records his ex filed with the courts, he found several blatant lies in the statement about his income sources and amounts. I've given him leads on men's advocacy groups that would help with the legal side, but he's done nothing.

The persistent dragging of his feet leads me to believe that the plans we've spoken of are nothing more than words now.  He swears it means more than anything to him, but when push comes to shove....  You can see why I'm done believing in that.

I also have the problem of doubt. I constantly wonder about his ability to be honest and faithful. I still have questions.

It's been over a year since his fling with that roommate. Ever since that, I've had that awful "waiting for the other shoe to drop" feeling all the time. That feeling that there's something terrible hidden from view. We've had a couple of arguments about little things that look suspicious to me. It's enough to keep me wondering: is there nothing to hide or has he just gotten better at hiding it?

I think my big hang-up with this is knowing that he's never been completely honest with me about it. I've given him a couple of opportunities to fess up without repercussions, just so I know that we have a clean slate. But no...he hasn't taken them. There's just too many unexplained loose ends with what happened at the park in Utah and with the roommate.

Okay, not unexplained. Just lacking an explanation that actually makes sense. He's given me explanations, but they just don't fit. And hindsight has led me to wonder about another situation, which might have been another fling. But there's no way I'll ever know for sure.

Our lives are unbelievably entwined. How can I detach from that? His life would fold, but is that my responsibility?

Lord, I hate thinking and feeling like this. If he'd just pull his act together. It's getting old and burdensome.

Conversations with Ranger are strangely silent lately. I don't know where his thoughts are. I've seen him like that once before, and then I found out where his thoughts (and other parts) wandered. When he does talk, much of it is suggestive or even vulgar in nature.  His words make me feel so rotten that I stopped our intimacy weeks ago.  It just feels wrong.

So, I find myself back to my original problem, where I was before Ranger and I met. I need a partner. I need someone to share our triumphs and tribulations, and the general burdens of life. I need someone to help me carry the load, and I can help carry his.

I've had this with Ranger, and it saddens me to the bone to see it evaporate.

At this point in time, I feel more burdens being loaded onto my shoulders, and I'm at my limit.

Ranger is aware of my frustration. It scares him a little, that there's a possibility I'll lose patience. Apparently, it doesn't scare him enough to light a fire under him, though. He's growing content with the status quo, regardless.

In the meantime, Jacob enters the picture. In many ways, Jacob does not follow the pattern of the men I've been attracted to. Pierced, tattooed (the only one that shows is this little symbol in the middle of his forehead), 3 inches shorter than me, and 13 years my junior.

Yep, 13. There's that number again.

And I am attracted, for many reasons.

He's highly intelligent, reads and writes the same genres that I do, has the same devotion to Shakespeare, has his priorities in order, committed to raising his daughters right, hard-working at a steady (long-term) job, and is well-respected by his coworkers and peers.

And now says that looking out for my happiness is becoming one of his priorities. He and I have been chatting casually for a few weeks, mostly about single parenthood. He needed some hope that somewhere out there was a woman who would realize that his children have to come first, that he can't throw them overboard just to indulge sexual needs. He's finding that most people don't "get" this idea, just as I have found. To hear me say I understood that and his frustration over people who expected less...well, that was the beginning of our commiserating.

Have I dated him on the sly? No. Have I even so much as held his hand in sympathy? No. We just talk about our commonalities and our troubles. Yes, including Ranger's ups and downs. He worries over how my stress effects me. And lately, he longs to spend more time with me, to learn about me and not just my stresses.

And I've grown fond of him. Am I in love with him? Not yet. Ranger is still in my heart, to some degree. But there is certainly room.

Right now, I wish for that moment when you look back on things and it all makes sense. I'm not sure what's happening, if it's temporary, or where it'll end up. I need one of those proverbial signs, I guess. But when does that ever really happen?


Angella Lister said...

there is no easy answer, that's for sure. holding you in my thoughts.

Blogget Jones said...

Thank you, Angella. It's weighing heavy on my heart lately.