Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guest Post: The Cost of Relationships

Everyone once in a while, I get an e-mail from another blogger asking if they could write a piece for my blog. Usually I'd ignore them because their e-mail seemed spamming or batch sent. However, I got an email from someone called Imogen Reed, asking if she could write something for me. The thing I like about it was that it seems as if she took the time to write it herself. Anyway after exchanging a few emails about exactly what I'd like for my blog she sent me this story that I now present to you, enjoy...

Everyone once in a while, I get an e-mail from another blogger asking if they could write a piece for my blog. Usually I'd ignore them because their e-mail seemed spamming or batch sent. However, I got an email from someone called Imogen Reed, asking if she could write something for me. The thing I like about it was that it seems as if she took the time to write it herself. Anyway after exchanging a few emails about exactly what I'd like for my blog she sent me this story that I now present to you, enjoy...

Time is Priceless
5 years ago today, I broke up with my first long-term partner. Had we remained together for another 28 days, we would have been celebrating our 5th anniversary. Our break up wasn’t conventional by any standards; we had, what others presumed to be, the “perfect” relationship, so when we finally
announced we were parting ways, there was a torrent of phone calls and emails from confused close friends and distraught parents asking us only, “why?”


The thing is, there wasn’t one exact reason why we decided to split our apparently happy union, it was a number of issues that had developed and brewed behind closed doors for a number of years. When I think back, one of the hardest aspects to deal with when we finally decided to split, was the
effect it had on our friends and family, their denial of the circumstances, their inability to understand that we were no longer a “we” but separate entities in our own right.

It’s hard to explain to those in your life whom love you, that sometimes just because something seems perfect, it conversely may not be right. This is the paradox of emotions we had to dissect and divulge. 

Love and Freedom
We had met at college, and the first time we ever spoke we immediately hit it off. Music and great literature spoke to us beyond anything else, and we shared the same tastes in almost everything. We found ourselves a little spooked by the coincidences we shared in our lives. After two weeks of
chatting at lunch and emailing each other funny little stories about our lives, we decided to make our relationship official, much to the joy of our respective friends. They somehow knew we were going to be a couple eventually.

The first 3 years we shared together were blissful; we had spent every second of our spare time between lectures together, and we would arrange dates to the cinema and concerts several times a week, if money allowed. Everything seemed so perfect, even to us, until college ended, and real
life began.

I decided to work for myself as a photographer. I had always been obsessed with photography since being a child, people knew me by the camera slung over my shoulder, it was almost like an extra body part, and was always with me.

Working as a photographer allowed me the chance to really express myself artistically, however in terms of money, it just wasn’t enough to pay the rent.

Growing Up in Love and Life
We knew that ultimately, our quirky and artistic life style would have to come to an end, only 6 months after graduation. My partner had been working in a bar, I doing my photography, and if it were not for money, let’s say there’s a possibility we’d still be together today.

He was striking to look at, mysterious and dark in both his features and attitude, but what really hit me about him all those years ago was his tenacity, his confidence and his intelligence. Although his job at the bar was fun and easy going, he knew he was capable of a real career far more lucrative and productive than serving friendly drunks late-night beers.

Using all those talents I first fell in love with, he took it upon himself to find a “real” job to support us. It didn’t take him long, within 1 month of collating his art work in to a portfolio, he had attained himself a well paid position in a marketing company, designing graphics for various clients. At the time this seemed to be the solution to all our problems, yet it was only the start.

Promotional Problems
Before long he was promoted to head of his department, and with this new position came a wage increase, and obviously, more responsibility. We always imagined his new career and wage would give us the freedom to spend more time together doing the things we really loved, but we were so wrong.

His position entailed travel, long haul, from everywhere including China and Europe. The more ingratiated he became with his colleagues and the world of work, the less we saw of each other. Some weeks he would be traveling for the majority of the time, and with my inconvenient and
sometimes unsociable hours working as a photographer, there would be days where we would experience nothing more than a fleeting kiss on the stairs before we both headed off for work in the morning.

One year in to his new career, we worked out we had barely shared 10 whole weekends together in all that time, and we realized that our futures were heading in very different directions.

Out of the blue, one frostly and dark morning, he took me hurriedly to one side, just as I was desperately trying to force my shoes on to my feet, late for the bus to work.

“I’m going to be thirty this year you know. I always said I’d have children by the time I was thirty.”

I just stared at him blankly, as I immediately understood the subtext to this apparently off-the-cuff comment. His work had taken over his life so much, and he’d obviously been spending all those redundant hours flying across the globe really questioning what his future had in store for him.

However, we both knew when he uttered his confession about fatherhood that our relationship wasn’t fit for children. He was 5 years my senior, and no matter how strong his desire for children, he knew that emotionally, neither of us were in the position to care for a baby. His career was still
taking off, as was my photography business, adding to this the fact that we had hardly spent a day together for over a year, a baby was out of the question.

Is Love Truly Free?
It was at this point that it all fell apart. It was futile to continue on as a couple, as we were living the life style of mere roommates, and nothing more.

We amicably separated, and made the phone calls to all those whom needed to know. Granted, we shared tears and sighs, and even laughed together about the wonderful times we had shared, but we knew deep down it was time to say goodbye.

In retrospect, I guess there could have been a way for us to stay united all those years ago, but we decided to concentrate on gaining a life style we felt pressured to obtain. We were lead to believe that to be together and be happy, we needed money, a car and a nice place to live, yet aspiring
for these material gains just left us emotionally bereft. We could have thrown ourself into the business of balancing credit card transfers to find a way through but this just wasn't our style.

Sometimes in life, you need to question what really is more important; money, which surely allows you the freedom to acquire the things you think you need, or time, which is unequivocally priceless.

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