Check him off the list

Joey listens to National Public Radio daily.

My boyfriend moved home to Chicago to be with his young daughter and wants me to join him. He originally moved to California because his baby’s mama took a job here. When she returned to Chicago, so did he. I visited, met his family, but can’t see myself living there long-term. I love him but have doubts. Recently, he had an unexpected expense and reluctantly borrowed money from me. Weeks passed without repayment. I gave him a deadline because my house payment was due. He sent a text saying that he didn’t have the money. I had already written my mortgage check. He eventually paid me back, including bank fees, but now, I don’t feel like I can trust him. Plus, when we argue he always says it’s over and then begs me back. Recently, we have escalated to name-calling. Is finding love really so hard? Do I have the wrong idea about what a committed relationship is? I’m nearly 40, a single mother of two grown girls. I was pregnant at 17, married at 20 and divorced by 22. I have not experienced anything close to a serious relationship before. Am I afraid to let go because I am afraid I won’t find love again?

No, you’re afraid to face the truth because you don’t know if you will ever trust yourself again about men, money or moving. Here’s the breakdown: It’s an ego boost to be wanted, especially when you have been alone for so long. You might even have told your girlfriends that your man wants you to move across the country to be with him. That kind of conversation would heighten the seduction of being desired. But the truth is Chicago is not your Emerald City. You could argue that your own children are grown and there is nothing keeping you in Sacramento. I would argue that your intuition is inviting you to stay. You have strong security issues, likely born of being a single parent for so long, and this relationship does not offer the safety you seek. When you accept how vital security is to your self-esteem, you will find every life-determining decision is easier to make.

Let’s chat about the cash. My friend Byron Katie once told me how to loan money. When someone asks to borrow money, give whatever you can afford. You can establish a payback date, but don’t expect the money to be repaid. If the debtor returns your money to you, wonderful! If not, well, no worries, right? This practice helps you to understand and trust the mercurial nature of human beings. That said, it’s also easier to trust yourself if you don’t write checks until you have the proper funds. (It’s one of those things that we all learn the hard way.) And, yes, it is easier to trust others when you trust yourself first.

The other issue, of course, is the inability to resolve conflict. You and your man have not learned how to handle disagreements. Part of the problem is that you believe he is not trustworthy. If you don’t trust him, love does not really exist between you. Oh, there might be attraction, lust, comfort, fun or other factors, but genuine love requires trust. If you long for the real thing, consider this relationship practice and patiently continue your quest.

Meditation of the Week

As a birthday gift to myself, I purchased a sterling silver charm bracelet for three meaningful charms I had been given over the years. At one jewelry store, the saleswoman chastised me for coming in 20 minutes before closing and then said it would be $90 to attach the charms. The next day, I went to Guzzetta & Co. Fine Jewelers on Howe Avenue where I received excellent service and a sane price. How are your customers treated?