At the risk of airing our dirty laundry, we're having a hard time right now. It's been difficult for Greg to feel ownership in the house. He doesn't feel like the house is ours, mostly because it's mine. He misses living in walking distance from a coffee shop and his bus commute is not ideal. He'd rather live in a house that he helped pick out. And I totally get it. If the tables were turned I'd be in revolt and he'd be putting the house on the market. I've been a house dictator and he's been a total champ about it.
I have always said I wouldn't sell my house unless I got married. And I probably wouldn't sell it even then. This is my nest egg, something I was barely able to do on my own (and my parents helped me so I really didn't do it on my own). I've seen so many women get screwed over in divorces/breakups, downgraded to apartment living and a dramatically reduced income because their earning power (which is still only 78% of a man's to begin with) diminished while they were raising children. I don't ever want that for myself.
When I bought my house I was in a job I hated. After going to grad school for three years for what I thought was my dream career, I found myself in a job that I took no enjoyment from. I felt like I completely lost my personality in the two years that followed. I was very, very down. And then I bought this house and I feel like I got my mojo back. All of the sudden I had the creative outlet that I was missing at work. And solving my own problems in the house (like a clogged pipe or a broken bathroom sink) made me feel capable. Every time I was able to do something on my own I felt less adrift and more empowered. And I started writing again, in the form of this blog, and I found this fantastic network of supportive people. (And after four terrible years I finally got a new job!)
I don't do well in shades of gray when it comes to property. I won't sell my house or put someone else on the title unless we have a binding contract, like marriage. But I'm not ready to get married anytime soon and Greg isn't sure he ever wants to get married. So we're left in this weird space where he doesn't want to drop money into a space that isn't his, and I don't want to sell (let's not even go into the fact that the economy tanked and I'd probably lose money selling the house), and HOLY SHIT how do same-sex couples deal with this bullshit when they can't legally marry?
When I suggest painting a room together or rearranging furniture or something he's only interested in painting the basement black, which . . . dude. No. Just . . . no. See? House dictator.
I'm happy to limp along and worry about this stuff later but it rears its head frequently when you live in a fixer. The house needs to be painted and the floors need to be refinished. Should he pay for half or should I pay for all of it (which means it won't happen any time soon)? Should he get input on new curtains if he's not paying for them and he doesn't really care? I try to tell myself that this is all just stuff, that a fire could wipe out my house and then wouldn't I realize that relationships are more important than the box you live in? But this box is all wrapped up in my financial future and my sense of worth. So, yeah. Does anybody have any insight? Am I being stubborn or selfish? I find myself thinking how much easier this would be if we were poor and in our twenties. But we're grown-ass adults, with investments and life paths that we started without each other. The whole house feels like a wagonwheel coffee table right now.
The upside to all this moping I've been doing? I bought myself that climbing hydrangea 'Moonlight' to make myself feel better. Would I have bought it anyway? Probably. Shut up.