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The Truth About Yesterday’s Post, the Girl who Broke Up With Me, and Personal Finances

January 31st, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

First thing’s first: A warning that today’s post is a little all over the place.

Second thing’s second: I owe my readers an apology.

As most people who read this blog know, the success of UIGM can be attributed mostly to its honesty. Yesterday’s post (“Don’t Let Her Marry A Starving Artist”) wasn’t completely honest. Don’t worry, I didn’t Jayson Blair/Steve Glass/Manti T’eo things. I watered down the truth and for that, I’m genuinely sorry. I changed some things for the same reason I sometimes change the times and places of events and leave other characters nameless in my posts: For the purposes of creative license and to protect myself and others. Those who know me in real life can usually piece together details, and know the real story, but there are more people I don’t know who read this blog, and it is why I put up this wall between them and myself along with the people I write about.

I don’t turn up the drama on anything I write about (what we call James Frey-ing it); if anything, I turn it down. Whether it’s because I’m embarrassed by the more non-fiction version of events or I’m concerned with what the reaction might be, I temper things down because the truth is sometimes too much for even me to share. And maybe what I should do, when I know I’m writing about something that I’m sensitive about, is not write about it at all. Maybe I should wait until I’m comfortable with whatever has happened and then share with you all.

I didn’t do that yesterday. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and most of it has been about my finances. I’ve been opening up to more people in my personal life about it, and I knew it would be good to open up about it on this blog. So I decided to write what I wrote yesterday.

It was a fairy tale version of what actually happened, written in the more romantic second-person voice, because when done right, it sounds pretty. So I apologize to anyone who read the post and connected to it in a genuine way.

Ninety percent of the post is true. Everything from what my mother said to me before I moved out and started my first job after college to the money problems I faced with my first girlfriend. Those things happened.

The portion of the post that wasn’t true is as follows:

Too embarrassed to say anything to the girl, you made a decision that would break her heart and yours at the same time. The first thing you did is you admitted that once again, you were in a hole. This got her upset. You told her you understood why she was upset with you, and then you told her it is why you had to let her go.

Yeah, things didn’t happen like that.

She let me go, and this is how it happened.

It was a Friday and she decided to take the day off from work. Since she had a couple of appointments uptown, not far from where I lived, the plan was for her to stay at my apartment while I went to work and we would meet up later. When I left, everything was fine between us.

The day goes by and before I leave work I reach out to her to see if she wanted to do anything. Still tired from an exhausting week of work, she said she didn’t feel like doing much, and at most she wanted to get something to eat because she was hungry. I asked her if she wanted her space or she wanted my company because she can be particular about her space.

With little enthusiasm, she said I could come over and so I did. At her place, I could feel the negative energy, the reluctance from her to be close to me. She was cold and as distant as East and West, but I let it slide. That Saturday I went about my day and didn’t hear from her at all. We originally had some plans that night, but the two of us were tired and opted to stay in at our respective places.

On Sunday, I called her and texted her in the morning. She texted me back in the afternoon and said she would call me within the hour. Three hours later she texted me, “What’s up?” I texted her back, “I thought you were going to call me.” My phone rang, when I picked up, it was her on the other end sounding annoyed.

Knowing her well enough to know things weren’t going well, I asked her to tell me what was going on with her and if there was something wrong. She hesitated, and then said, “I need to ask you a question.”

“Okay,” I said. “What’s your question?”

She asked: “When I was at your place on Friday, I grabbed your keys and right beside them a stack of unopened envelopes fell, are you behind on your rent again?”

“Well, I think that’s something we should discuss in person,” I said.

“Okay, well come over,” she said.

When I arrived at her place, I explained to her how I got in that hole again. (As I said in yesterday’s post, she was with me when I got in the hole the first time.) But getting in the hole again was something I kept from her because I was embarrassed and I was sure I could handle it without her help. I also knew it could change things between us if she found out.

She said when the envelopes fell, she picked them up and she noticed how they were addressed. Then, she took one and put it up to the light. That’s how she knew how bad the situation was.

She asked me what I was doing about it.

I said my family was bailing me out.

She asked me what I was doing to make sure it didn’t happen again. I made mention of how I’m changing up my spending habits, and a bunch of other gibberish. When I say it’s gibberish, it’s not because what I was saying wasn’t true but because I think that’s what it sounded like to her.

She said my plan wasn’t good enough. She said she found it unattractive that I had no plan. She said she felt like she was with a boy and not a man.

She said she didn’t want to be with a boy. She couldn’t be with me. She wanted to be there for me, to help me, but she couldn’t do it as my woman, not anymore. It hurt her too much that the man she knew made her most happy was the same man who couldn’t afford to settle down with her, to get her a ring, to start a family. All of these things are things she wanted with me, and things she knew I wanted with her, yet none of them were things I could provide.

That’s what really happened, and even as I’m writing this, I hesitate to push the “publish” key, but if you’re reading it now, you know what I decided.

I know a lot of people are inspired or moved by my stories I share on this blog. People ask me all the time, what motivated me to write a “relationship” blog and I tell them, the ones I used to read weren’t as honest about their own lives as I felt they could be. I’ve always thought you can’t talk about other people’s relationships unless you’re willing to talk about your own.

That’s what this blog is about, after all, the key word in the title of the blog is “I.”

The reason I didn’t tell this story yesterday is because I know some people are going to judge the girl in it, and think she should’ve done things differently. The truth is, she too read the post yesterday and told me, it made her look weak.

She isn’t weak, and whether anyone agrees with her decision or not, I was with her that night, and I saw the strength it took for her to say those things. As hard as it was to hear them, it was just as hard for her to say them. One little detail I forgot to add is a lot of what she said was said through tears. But I can’t protect her or defend her from you all and I can’t sacrifice the truth for her protection.

The night of the breakup, I told my mom what happened. I was hesitant, because my mom really started liking this girl, and I knew when I told her what happened she was going to be disappointed things didn’t work out.

To my surprise, though my mom was indeed disappointed, she also said she couldn’t blame the girl for what she did. “You know, she’s right,” my mom said. “Maybe you’ll learn from this and if you want her back, you have to make the necessary changes in your own life in order to get her back.”

Well, one thing I’ve learned is, keeping things in, no matter how personal they are, isn’t helping me. The truth really does set us free, and even though I don’t know most of you all, dear readers, I think we understand there is a mutual respect and appreciation for one another here, which is based on my honesty. I care about you all, and because I write about my life in a very authentic way, you all care about me to an extent. I appreciate that and it motivates me to continue writing.

On this blog, I have written about forgiving the man who raised me (Pop) and the man who didn’t (my biological father). I have written about becoming an uncle. I have written and documented how I lost weight and gotten into shape. I have written about the death of one of my best friends and I have even helped one of my other best friends meet his wife-to-be. Through sharing these things, I know they have helped me and they have helped some of you, which is why I’m going to start being more open about my personal finances.

I seek solace in the fact that A LOT OF PEOPLE are struggling to make ends meet, to pay the rent, to keep the lights on. I know A LOT OF COUPLES struggle to stay together because of what they’re getting paid and not getting paid, and how they’re managing both of those things. Maybe, if I’m more open about my own struggles with personal finances on here, and my journey to get them under control, A LOT OF PEOPLE will be motivated to do the same. I don’t get paid to do such a thing, but I do believe I get rewarded.

This blog, has been an ongoing journal of a very interesting life, something deeper than a relationship blog. I think one of my best friends said it best the other day, that my blog isn’t about relationships specifically, it’s more about becoming a man.

Let me tell you something about becoming a man: You have to get dumped sometimes by someone who loves you for the shit you won’t fix in order to fix it.

I have learned firsthand, no woman really cares how much money you make. This woman, the one who broke up with me, didn’t even know how much I made. She just knew whatever I made, I wasn’t handling it responsibly. She saw me well-disciplined in so many other parts of my life, but when it came to money, she saw a child and no one wants to be with a child.

Fellas who read this, if you’re struggling to get by, take a look at what you’re doing and why you’re struggling. Then, fix it. And when I say fix it, I don’t mean the problem itself, I mean yourself, the person who caused the problem. Then ask someone for help, and if you have a woman who holds you down, make her one of the first people you ask. Be honest with her. It may scare her, but tell her, you’re only doing this because you want to get to a place where you can take that next step in life with her, assuming you want to. If she leaves you, fix it anyway and don’t let it stop you, because another woman will come in your life, and you don’t want to strike out again, especially for making the same mistake twice.

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  • Alchem

    I ended an engagement for the same reasons your girl broke up with you. It is a hard thing to do but the alternative is to end up in a place where you don’t feel secure. And I don’t say money is secure, but the ability of a man to have a risk management plan that he sticks to that ensures a good future for both of you.

  • Scribbles & Tostitos

    First, I’d like to THANK YOU for your honesty on this blog. “Until I Get Married” is one of my favorite blogs. Why? Because of your honesty! It has inspired me to keep 100 on my blog as well.

    Second, A LOT of people – both men and women – struggle with personal finances. You are doing the right thing by working on it before you get married instead of waiting until you’re in a marriage. Money is the number 1 cause of divorce. Definitely not something to be embarrassed about.

    Third, I am happy that you’re working on your personal finances. I need to work on managing mine as well. Will you be documenting your progress on your blog? I’d love to read.

  • Vignette Berkeley

    I have to say that the connection that I felt to yesterday’s story doesn’t change with the clarification that you made today. The heart is the same, as is the honesty, and you tell it in a beautiful way. I’m sure you know that the willingness to do the work is the hardest part about any changes and it sounds like you have that down. Best of luck and thanks for allowing all of us to continue to benefit from your story.

  • Clutch

    Behavior change isn’t linear, it is a process. We have ups and downs, regress and progress. If your woman decides not to endure your process for whatever reason then that’s her call. It all depends on the situation, e.g. another g-friend might stick around longer to see how you evolve, understanding that this issue can take a while to resolve. The bright side is you learned she’s probably not for you, bruh, and if this situation helps you make positive changes then you’ve gained from the experience. In context, I know you have many more positives than negatives (especially compared to the ‘competition’, lol), but everyone has deal breakers. In the words of Obama, “Move Forward”.

  • QueenDaneen

    Wow, I think it took a lot of courage to tell the story yesterday and then come back and be honest about the situation and how the relationship really ended. I believe a lot of people can relate to mishandling money and the need to change themselves in order to have a better life for themselves and to become a more attractive partner in the future. Thank you so much sharing and allowing your life to become an example to those who read your blog.

  • Alicia Young

    What an excellent piece. Such fine writing. Such riveting honesty. And unequivocal truth.

  • Hope

    I was with a guy for over 5 years, thru both of us losing our jobs and finding new ones. He wanted to be an actor and he let that take presience over anything. He NEVER had money and was (is) constantly in debt. Thru it all i loved him, supported him, offered any help in any way. But this last job loss… He now seems sad and pathetic to me. He can’t pay rent or even buy food. Yet he refuses to do anything to better his situation. There’s only so much u can do for someone if they won’t do it for themselves. Thank u for your honesty Jozen.

  • JMatt

    Thanks for the transparency. Today I struggle as well financially and a the 1st of the month looms in hours I feel like I’m at rock bottom. It does not have to always be this way. I wish you more…

  • Kristina

    the most honest post, and the better one out the two. That last paragraph really summed it up for me. My parents don’t understand, a person’s money situation also takes in to account when dating someone. It says alot about the person. Thank you for helping me to move forward in my own life.

  • esoteric

    I’d be an ###hole to not start off by saying how I genuinely appreciate you sharing your life with me as a reader. I also admire how you turned your passion into your hustle… into your “living”! It’s a pursuit I am currently embarking on! Funny that as I read your article the other day… My eyebrows raised as you mentioned that you broke up with your girlfriend… although I don’t know you personally, through your sharing I had already pegged the girl as your last relationship that you wrote and tweeted openly and passionately about. I honestly inside my head said… but wait… didn’t he say she left him? I appreciate your ability to as a man come to us as your readers and tell us the truth. I know you didn’t ask for advice but I want to offer you a little … in your quest for your truth don’t let UIGM become a crutch. There will come a time in your life that UIGM won’t exist or takes another path as you grow and life happens. So be careful. I’m sure none of your readers mind being your sounding board but make sure you have enough life balance that you can live in your truth beyond the computer screen! Blessings!

  • Sue

    I’m a regular lurker here and today I break my silence to say: I think you are very brave to share this with your readers. All of us are very sensitive about our finances. I can relate to some of your struggles, being in grad school does a number on your finances. But I’m hopeful that things may get better in future, for a while I had given up but now I feel re-energized to face the issues head on.

    Am curious though, is it just men who worry about “getting their ducks” in a row financially before they get married? I come from a culture where the man is supposed to be/raised to be the provider. But still, I would like to have my finances in order before settling down. And I don’t necessarily mean making a lot of money but rather having a good handle of whatever I bring in, irrespective of the amount. For me, this is irrespective of whether the guy has his “ducks in a row” or not. Though, if it were the latter I would suggest we work towards the goal together. I wonder if there other women with the same mindset?

    And to Jozen: from a guy’s perspective, would it be surprising if a woman said she needed time to get her financial act together before proceeding?

  • Monica F. Brown

    Thank you for being so brave and honest in sharing your story. There are many individuals as well as couples sharing the same struggles; it’s nice to have someone share a realistic spin on the emotions and happenings as they occur.

  • AMrs.

    As one of the people who motivated you to get your weight under control (“what are these for?”), I did wonder when you’d work on the things that would make you ready to get married. Now that I’m a Mrs. I understand completely what your ex was thinking when she had to break up with you. Women (like her and me) look for more than a great personality and bed chemistry when we start thinking long term. The number one question being, is he a provider, will he be able to hold it down in the event that I can not? Money and personal finances are a big deal. I’m not saying you have to rich, but I am saying you have to know how to handle your money responsibly. Living above and beyond your means, is understandable when you’re starting out. But is questionable when you’re older. Not having an emergency fund, retirement account, is a testament of your ability to be able to save for the bigger things in life (such as a house, or a simple vacation, or a major medical emergency). Having knee loads of debt is a testament of your character and values, and it frightens women who are on a marriage track mind. Some can overlook that, and try to fix what’s broken. They can try to help you get out of it. But you have to take responsibility now (which you’re doing), and not until you get married. Glad you’re beginning to get on the right track.

  • dopereads

    this is so powerful…thanks for your honesty, as a girl who’s had a similar situation and has friends and relatives in similar situtations, it’s nice to see you open up about it. that’s the only way you can move forward and grow. Bravo 🙂

  • Lady Julz

    wow i can so relate. The only man i’ve ever loved cant afford to settle down with me anytime soon, we love each other but love isnt enough to maintain a marriage and a family. It was hard telling him i needed more, it was hard to tell him i would not wait for him, it was harder to tell him i love him even though it was true. Finances are a big part of a family, i wish it wasnt but it is. *sigh*

  • Duffnie

    I always read your posts, tho’ this is my first time responding, cuz i relate with this post at such a deeper level, as my parents separated; but the main cause was my dad didn’t know how to handle his finances yet made quite a lot, but somehow it wound up in irrelevant places/interests. Mum has raised my sister and I to become responsible girls___(of course with lots of struggles including taking bank loans to educate us), but if she has made anything clear to us, is never to go for a man with the inability to take care of us or say our families when we’re ready for that. Not that she’s saying go for a filthy rich guy, No but someone with a plan that you two can fall back on if it necessitates. And yes, thank you so much for sharing with us, a part of you, no man finds easy to admit to, as the male ego is another issue you men are so careful about and religiously fear to bruise. I too know that before i drag someone along my journey/path i want him to find me with some kind of financial standing, as the times are changing and no one _____like you said, “wants to babysit” an adult.

  • Miss White

    Nice Jozen. Nice. I aspire to be as honest with myself everyday as you’ve been with your readers #realish

  • keishabrown

    I went backwards in my reeder, so I haven’t gotten to yesterday’s post.
    Like many above me, I applaud the honesty of this post. It seems as though we are supposed to automatically get it, while everything around us has changed. School debt is higher, degrees don’t mean as much as they used to and so on
    Plus a certain generation of us was raised to never talk about money.
    All of it leads to a jumbled mess – that many of us are dealing with than care to admit it.
    You can and do inspire others. Keep going.

  • Sophie

    gosh. I’ve visited your blog sporadically and I have to say, this is my first comment. I never understood or felt any of the old posts. I felt that it was a subset of ny urban braggadocio that I could not relate to and didn’t want to. Even some criticisms of the dating pool and women didn’t sound like anyone I knew. I’m a black woman living abroad. I’m struggling with my finances and paying grad school loans. I’m trying to get my LIFE as they say. Thank you for the courage you’ve demonstrated in sharing this. Two of the things that I think keep me out of greater debt is not having a credit card (bad! – but I know i would use it!) and shopping at thrift stores in nice areas of Long Island and Manhattan when I am home in NY.

  • Shaquetta

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Cheryl

    Thanks for speaking the truth. Right now I feel like I am in this same situation but on the other end of things. I’m your ex girlfriend in a way. I absolutely love my man. He treats me like a queen. I can’t imagine not being with him. BUT money has definitely become a burden in the relationship. I work 40 hours a week, and while I don’t make that much I do have a steady income that pays the bills. He on the other hand has been unemployed for the majority of the year besides a few weekend tutoring gigs. We are engaged at the moment and moving to Texas together to look for jobs and start a new life as a team. However, we are using my savings to pay for rent until we (hopefully!) both secure jobs. I know I am taking a risk and I definitely feel those same frustrations of wanting to be with a man and not a boy. I don’t want to be the one supporting both of us. I know he wants more from himself too. I am taking a huge gamble and I really do hope he can prove to me that he can get a steady job and will one day be the teacher he aspires to be. Reading your blog is making me question if I should give him time to get his life in order, but I’ve been a firm believer in loving through sickness and health, for richer or poorer. I want to believe that he’ll remember one day that I was there for him through it all and was there to support him before he “made it”. Am I doing more harm than help?