Because My Boyfriend Works For An Airline, I Get To Fly Free Anywhere In The World...but...


 On several occasions I had set him down and told him he has to contribute to house expenses.  I asked him for $200 a month and that I would add it to the tab of expenses that he had already said he would pay  back for and hadn't yet.  

 He got a few film jobs here and there, but either they didn't pay him very much, or they promised to pay, but nothing materialized.  He also had a way of working which he said was working that annoyed me.  He would lie on the couch with his phone and computer texting and emailing.  I'd see him mostly on facebook, so I would not trust that he was "working".  He did however convince me that he was networking.



In December of 2007 I was introduced to my boyfriend Michael.  I was 59 and he was 44.  I am white and he is black.  We were introduced accidentally through our mutual friend Matthew who I have known for about 20 years.  Matthew is a documentary filmmaker who has always struggled financially, and I have no idea how he has managed to stay afloat, but he manages somehow.  Matthew is also black.  Michael was helping Matthew over the phone at my computer because Matthew wanted to duplicate a DVD.  It wasn't working, so we got Michael on the phone to help troubleshoot.  We had several conversations and tried several things but ultimately Matthew left and Michael and I kept in touch, continuing to try to duplicate this DVD - it never worked.  Michael was at that moment in time in a hospital undergoing testing.  He was subjecting himself to these procedures, which included being injected because he was going to make a few hundred dollars for being a subject for medical tests.  He is also a filmmaker, a very charming sounding young man.  He sent me some very amusing and charming emails and after a few exchanges he invited me to join him to go to the Art Museum.


I was married in 1984 to an artist and we got divorced in 1995.  I have had a few relationships but was very single at that time.  I had in fact just broken up with someone with whom we talked about marriage, but on Valentine's day he had broken up with me and had decided he wanted to be polyamorous.  So I had really given up on relationships and was very content on my own, until I met Michael.


Michael showed up two hours late for our first date.  I forgave him but I told him it was not OK to do that.  I made him a nice lunch at my house, and then we strolled across the park and went to the Museum.  He was quite good looking but a little scruffy.  His manner was very educated and sophisticated.  We enjoyed our visit to the Museum where he showed some knowledge of the artwork.  We stayed in touch and he came to visit a few times.  At the time we met, I was completely re-organizing everything in my apartment.  There were boxes everywhere, and I still had a way to go.  I started the project because I lost something that was very valuable, and was going through every item I possess to see if I could find it.  I was going to take everything out of every cupboard.  And I have a large apartment with a lot of stuff.  Michael offered to help and I accepted.  He spent a few sessions helping me get things all sorted and he was very helpful, organized and neat. 

Michael told me that he was living alone at an apartment where he used to live with his mother.  His mother had died a few months earlier. He had been married for 12 years and had an 8 year old son who lived with his ex-wife.

He invited me to go to a free event with live music and ballroom dancing  and I discovered that he cannot dance.  Qute a disappointment for me, as I love to dance.  He has no sense of rhythm.


It was coming up to New Year and we planned to spend the evening together.  We had a wonderful time outside, and were waiting for a fireworks display in the park at midnight.  Midnight came and he did not kiss me, and I did not kiss him.  I wanted him to kiss me, but he only hugged me.  I figured maybe he is gay, because even though I was 59, I am very attractive.

A few weeks later, he invited me to go to another museum.  We went for a walk inside the museum and found a quiet place to sit.  While there at that moment, I asked him if he was interested in me romantically, and he said yes.  I asked him why he hadn't made it clear, and he said he didn't know how to start, and I told him he didn't need to worry about it, we would be OK.


The next time we spent some time together we held hands and kissed and it was really lovely...and so the relationship really took off.

I went to his apartment for dinner.  He had very little furniture and the place was a dump and rather untidy.  It looked very sad with no style, just a collection of things that looked as though he found them on the street.  His bed was a mattress on the floor. It was all rather sad and pathetic, but he made me a lovely dinner, cooked very nicely and it was nice to enjoy his company.  We slept together and he felt very good in my arms, and the sex was very good.

So we continued to see each other, mostly at my place.  It was apparent that he had just about no money.  Michael is a film maker and produces short films - independent films.  I did not demand that he wine and dine me.  I figured he would find a project and earn money, and if not, he would get a job. 

After seeing each other for a few more months he told me that he was being evicted because he couldn't pay the rent.  His mother's rent had been subsidised, but the landlord had quadrupled the rent and said he was not eligile for the old rent.  I told him he could move in with me and he did in April.

He had items in storage and he couldn't afford to pay for storage and eventually his account went into default, even though he took all the stuff out.  He says the stuff is now at a friend's house and he is leaving it there rather than bring it here.

He keeps all his possessions in one closet.  Nothing of his is anywhere else in the apartment.  He brought very few things with him.

He got a job doing a film in Ohio but it requred him to drive.  He had several unpaid tickets on his license and so I lent him the money to clear them up so he could take the job.  He never paid me back.

He did get a few jobs and one of them involved transferring videos to DVDs and I fronted him the money for the equpment, but he wasn't paid whaat he billed and wasn't able to pay me back.

  He contributed a few dollars here and there, but when his computer broke I paid for it to get fixed, and then when it broke again, I got a friend to donate him another one.  I paid his phone bills twice for several hundred dollars.  He refuses to get a budget plan because he cannot control how much time he spends on the phone.


Eventually, Michael got a part time job at an airline.  An unskilled yet high security job, which provides no health or vacation benefits.  It does, however, give free travel on the airline for himself and for wives and domestic parters.  We set up a joint bank account and then I was eligible to fly for free flights anywhere the airline flies.

My first trip was to London, because that's where I'm from.  I went to visit my brother.

Second trip was to Japan, via Los Angeles.  I use hospitality exchange web sites to find free places to stay as I don't have resources for hotels.  I have a spare room at home, and have always travelled like that.  For many years before I met Michael I had been hosted in foreign countries with people who have a spare room or a couch.  And I do the same for them, or other members.  I have built up a "profile" on various hospitality sites so that people know I am a good host and a considerate guest.  So this opportunity to travel was already working for me.

I didn't need to take very much time off work.  Since I have always worked part time, I didn't need to use up a lot of vacation time.  I always work Mon-Tue-Wed, so I would make a trip when Monday was a National Holiday.  In this way I could string a few days together (eg Wednesday night to Monday night is 4 days including travel time).

We were able to go to Egypt together, then.  I also got to Dubai and Amsterdam, as well as visit friends in St. Louis.  We took another trip to Egypt together.  I had to lend him money for each occasion and pay for all his food.

Michael rarely eats.  I have stopped feeding him.  This has been very painful for me, because I hate eating alone.  Also he works nights so he's not around at dinner time anyway.  I have found other things to do on Mondays, but Tuesdays and Wednesday evenings I would like to spend with him.  Nowadays he is busy "networking" which leaves Thursday and Friday mornings.  Saturdays he spends with his son.  He also has used his travel privileges to go to film festivals and meetings in LA.  He went to Cannes and Dubai film festivals.  He has no money so he either stays in the airport or tries to find a place to stay.  One time, some people considered him to be a freeloader and asked him to pay $100 which he paid.  When I heard about it I was annoyed that he didn't sort this out before he went.  If was expected to pay, he should have said he didn't have the money.

Michael's attitude about money is completely different from mine.  I am able to stretch a dollar very far.  I have managed well, so I can buy things in bulk or unlimited travel cards to maximize expenses.  We live in a large city, and we don't need a car.  I rent out a room in the apartment so my outlay is actually very low.  I am quite used to not going out.  I have netflix, basic cable for entertainment. I paint and write music, volunteer so I am never lost for something to do.  My job is challenging and I enjoy it most of the time.  


Travel has always been very important to me.  For years I have travelled.  I was born in the UK, so when I'd visit my parents, I'd take a side trip somewhere, Paris, Portugal, Istanbul, Dublin... so nowadays I spend just about all my spare time finding places to stay. The time I spend with Michael is usually a heated argument about money or time.  We do not see eye to eye and he argues with me.  I have gotten extremely upset and have threatened him numerous times that he should move out.  He says I am petty and abusive.  The petty thing has to do with the way I manage money.  I say it would be nice if he brought home a bunch of bananas which you can buy for $1 just to show he is willing to contribute something to the house.  But he doesn't.  He'll buy some kind of potato chips which he will eat all himself.  All I see is the empty can.  Sometimes he says he gets things for free but he doesn't share those things either.


After complaining that he would travel somewhere and bring me nothing, except once he brought me an airline bag that is given out for free, and I was furious with him about it.  He did buy me a pair of earrings in California.  He left the price tag of $18 on it.  


For Valentine's day, he had to babysit.  That morning, he had nothing prepared for me, no card, nothing.  He just said happy valentine's day and continued playing with his son.  He had promised to take his son out but I didn't want to go, I was too upset that he hadn't got me a card.

When he came back, he had expensive flowers and a very ugly black and white card and some expensive prepared food.  He could have made me lunch instead of  wasting money on a prepared one.

Two months later, it was coming up to my 60th birthday. I told him he must get me a card and a gift of any value but it had to be new and had to be gift wrapped and it had to be presented to me first thing in the morning.  I hinted that bath items were acceptable.  


 He gave me a bathscrub and it was wrapped by the shop and a card.  Barely acceptable but closer to what I wanted.

Breakfasat was a bit of a disaster.  I had some marmalade in the fridge which I don't use because I hate it, and kept it for visitors (ginger flavour) and he put it on toast and I spat it out in disgust.  It was so horrible and upsetting.

We took a bath together and we used the bathscrub - he scrubbed my back and it was lovely.

The next day, I noticed that he started using my bathscrub and I was furious with him.  He doesn't seem to have a clue about what is appropriate and what isn't.

So there have been countless expectations and disappointments similar to these for the past year, and when I have time, I'll fill in the gaps with some of them, but every time I want to throw him out, I think of the nice sex, the warm hugs and the travel perks and he gets to stay.

I was in Dubai for valentine's day and he sent me a sweet message.  he said he had learned a lot from me.  He had said that before and I was wondering what he had learned from me, because as far as I could see he had learned nothing.

When I returned, I asked him what exactly he had learned from me.  He said he learned that he doesn't want to be as closed minded as I am.  This of course was not what anyone wants to hear and I was devastated.

Michael has been working as far as I can tell on doing a film that will take place in Egypt.  If the financing comes through, he will go there and work on it for four, five or six months.  He will have to give up his job at the airline, athought that dpeneds on the timing.  If he has clocked 1000 hours, he can keep the job until next year.  The timing is critical.

Three days ago I was furious with him because he would not cooperate with me, and would not tell me why he would not cooperate with me.  I was hoping to go to Argentina and had an unlimited travel card that would go to waste while I was away.  He said he had an unimited travel card that was going to expire the day I was leaving, so it made sense to me for us to swap cards.  This way I would be able to get to work, go to the airport and then I'd get a new card when I return a few days later, and he could use my card for free in the meantime.  He said no, and he would not tell me why.  I got so furious I tried to wrestle away the computer that I got for him for free.  It was a physical altercation and I was screaming that I wanted to know why he would not exchange with me and that if he didn't he was wasting my money.  I had bought countless travel cards for him and they are not added to his accounting, and I was more angry about the fact that he would not tell me why he would not cooperate.

I slapped my hand on the desk and really bruised it. It still hurts.  I told him to pack his stuff and leave.  This was just as I was heading out to work, and I was running late.  Just as I got to the door I came back and told him I didn't want him to leave.

Later that day, I called him on the phone.  His phone can only receive calls because he hasn't paid his phone bill and they have cut it off to make calls.

We had a very long conversation.  He admitted to me that he was selfish and inconsiderate.

I have stongly believed that he is just using me and I continue to believe that.  I have decided that I do not want him to leave, that he can continue to use me, just as long as we have a pleasant time together and that he treats me with respect.

If he continues to work for the airline, I will continue to fly until I am done with travel.10








Mar 13, 2010