is money a non-negotiable?

Of all the differences my boyfriend and I have, the fact that we relate to money differently is probably the most likely factor to break our relationship.  Just the other day, after a very nice afternoon, after watching an intense emotional movie, we went to dinner.  I had wanted to go there for my momentous birthday, but couldn’t.  I was happy we were in the neighborhood and hungry so that we could go eat there.  We were only going to eat there if there wasn’t a usual hour wait.  We got seated right away.  First my boyfriend says it’s too loud here.  So we get seated on second floor.  As we’re looking at the menu, my boyfriend makes a face saying that everything on the menu is very expensive.  Mind you, we had both been at this restaurant before and both of us liked it very much.  So I asked should we leave?  We should leave now if we’re not going to stay.  My boyfriend says it’s ok we can stay.  Then we order, both of us ordering the least expensive items on the menu for dinner.  Then he says to me, hey didn’t you want to get that appetizer you mentioned before?  I’m shocked that he mentions that because yes I want it but refrained from ordering it because he already seemed stressed about the cost of dinner.  I’m fine.  I don’t need to order the appetizer.  He wanted to split a beer, to which I said, no I want my own.  Then after we ordered, he tells me if I want it, don’t let him hold me back, go ahead and order it.  I didn’t even know what he was saying.  We usually split the bill.  So was he saying we’ll pay for our own share and not split the bill?  Or was he saying if I really want it, he would split the bill with me even though it would go beyond what he feels comfortable paying?

Thus began the downward spiral of a very nice evening, at least as I was experiencing it.  I didn’t want to talk about money, especially over dinner.  I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.  I didn’t want him to see me that way so I kept looking away into the distance.  Far from expecting my boyfriend to pay for dinner for both of us, I just want to be able to eat together at places I want to eat at.  Most of the time, he chooses where we go to eat.  This was one of the few times I got to go to where I wanted to go because of timing and location.  Not to mention, this is where I had wanted to come for my big birthday.  I felt sad that I have to worry about how my boyfriend and I are going to have to split up the bill: would it be 50-50 as usual or some other ratio if order freshly made guacamole?  I told him I couldn’t talk about this over dinner.

Later in the subway, which isn’t a huge improvement from talking about money, still public, still in non-private setting, we continued our discussion.  I expressed my reasons for being upset.  It’s not that he doesn’t have money at all.  It’s just that he didn’t want to spend the kind of money eating at that restaurant would involve if we ordered an appetizer.  As we continued the discussion one day later, it became clear that for him, spending money on food is luxury beyond basics.  For me, food is a necessity, even eating good food at a nice restaurant isn’t considered wasting money.  I feel the other person does not care about me if they don’t want to spend money that would enable me to do something I would enjoy very much.  In this case, not wanting to eat at this restaurant initially, or letting me know he couldn’t afford appetizer that I might have wanted, in my heart, felt like he didn’t care about what I wanted.  It’s very strange to have this relationship to money, I know.  My parents for the most part use money to express their love.  No, that’s not really how I want to be shown love.  I really would like my parents to ask how I’m doing and really care about how I’m doing.  I really would like my parents to show me that they love me by their action and words.  My boyfriend expresses his love for me in action.  With words, he’s much more careful about saying that he loves me.  Still, he’s one step closer to expressing his love for me in non-monetary ways than my parents are.  So then in my head I know it’s OK that my boyfriend can’t afford to eat at places I want to eat at, at least not too often.  Maybe I’m sad that I feel like I make more sacrifices than he does on just about everything.  So when it comes to where we go to eat, it’s more intensely experienced as something he’s not willing to compromise on.  Oh, the complexities of relationships.  When you love someone and feel vulnerable and open with the person, of course the reward is hugely positive when good things are experienced; then when something is interpreted as hurtful, well, that gets experienced as something hugely negative.

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ACELA – money money money

i rode not regional north west train from nyc to boston this morning, but ACELA the more expensive all business or first class express train from ny penn station to boston south station. boy, talk about money money money. what about money? well, for paying double the price of what you might pay for regular speed ticket two weeks in advance, you get much cleaner, even seems brighter, and nicer environment. each seat reclines further back, seemed like more leg room, and faster, smoother train ride. if i didn’t have other places to spend money, i’d rather ride ACELA on any given day, than the normal north east regional train.

i have to ride the “regular” train back. while i’m saving about 45 dollars in about 4-5 hours, well, that’s just it, isn’t it? in the past month and a half, north east regional has come in late to penn station. instead of its usual arrival time, i mean, come on, no rush hour traffic jam on the train tracks, right? so for reasons i can’t figure out, north east regional trains have run late of about an hour or so. this means instead of getting back to my home in time to watch the clock pass midnight, after i have taken a shower, rested, and whatever else, i am just getting off train from penn station to home around mid night.

you know, there is a song called around midnight. i never really listened to the lyrics. but if the song writer were to write about my around midnight experience coming home from train station about an hour after i was supposed to arrive home because the train i was on ate up an hour of my time for no good reason, the song would not be a happy one i tell you! around midnight can be a happy song if you are enjoying your time off, if you own the time you have.

if you are rushing home to try to make it back home by midnight so you can try to get enough sleep for the next morning train back to the city (yes i have thought about just camping out in penn station on nights i end up returning to the same station in less than 8 or 9 hours!) showering becomes a great sacrifice to make – i mean if you take a shower it’s at the cost of less sleep, and if you don’t take a shower after such a long day of traveling, then it’s at the cost of feeling yucky. so anyway, yes! travel ACELA if your wallet allows you to. because ACELA makes your commute from nyc to boston so much more pleasant, bearable, and something one might even look forward to. well, one might look forward to it, except on the night world series starts for baseball. 😦

to love or hate facebook

this morning i woke up to couple of alarming phone messages and texts.   last night i was busy playing chess online with my bf.  now a days, before we start playing, i declare that i will lose this game, but let’s see how well he can do and how long i can last.  so anyway i think last night’s game lasted a long long time.  think we had more than 80 moves, but not sure if i’m just imagining it or not.  it was late into the night.  so anyway, i slept for couple of hours.  then i heard the phone start to ring.  didn’t pick up.  don’t usually pick up when i am still sleeping.  ate breakfast.  but then i got a text informing me that one of my friends on facebook was chatting with “me” online and was being asked to send 750 or 950 dollars to a western union in london.  they had my passport and i was in need.

so i logged into my account.  and right there before my eyes, lines that started out with my name, showed up with words after it.  words i did not type.  sentences i did not construct.  and demand i did not make.  i kept writing to my friend it’s not me.  stop reading.  it’s not me.  stop reading.  she must have been so confused.  but finally she listened to me, and did not wire money to UK to save my butt.

then i tried to figure out how someone got into my facebook account.  was it my fault?  had i done something?  or was it coincidental or random in someway?  nothing i could have done to protect this from happening?

i started taking off personal information from my facebook page.  took of contact info.  education info.  personal info pertaining to my interests in music, book, movies, etc.  then lastly after writing couple status updates to inform everyone to disregard anything they heard from me in the past 24 hrs, i deactivated my account.

then guess what happened?  i had changed the password on the account.  but i was able to log back on and my acct was live.  so weird.  who had done it?  i deactivated the account for the second time.

i got busy changing username and passwords to all kinds of accounts that i have online.  my bf was really helpful in helping me systematically prioritizing the kinds of secure privacy an account needed.  everything on that tier gets one password.  another tier of security level, another password.  then you periodically change passwords on every account on that priority tier.  thinking of usernames and passwords this way really helped me get through the day.

i think maybe i overdid it.  i cancelled couple credit cards  and i changed my phone number too.   just felt like if somehow someone was able to hack into my account, not only did they have my personal info including my phone number, all my e-mail accounts, all my IM accounts, but also they might have access to the password i used on the account.  and since i had not systematically prioritized accounts and assigned corresponding passwords and usernames, password on facebook was also password for other accounts with higher need for privacy and security.  so while it seemed crazy over-reaction, i cancelled credit cards, changed phone number, changed username and password on just about every account i use more or less regularly.

on the phone with some service agents, they would ask, how are you doing?   then i would say, great, considering someone hacked into my facebook account!

so will i activate my facebook account after all this hassle?

ah, to love or hate facebook.  definitely feel like i need it, but do i really?  at the cost and risk of compromising security of important information that i want protected from the public?