“In reality, serendipity accounts for one percent of the blessings we receive in life, work and love. The other 99 percent is due to our efforts.” — Peter McWilliams

Holiday MartiniThis week’s Sleeping with Money lesson is about establishing boundaries. I met Partner #2 right after my brief stint with Robin. It was a difficult time in my life — financially speaking. I was transitioning from an unsuccessful attempt at owning a business to rejoining the ranks of full-time employment.

It was December 1998 and instead of returning to the industry where I entered after college, I decided that I might as well take a stab at something new. The dotcom boom was in full swing so at thirty, I got a very entry-level job at a small web development firm. Although this provided me with experience and offered me a “foot-in-the-door” in the technology sector, the pay meant that I needed to supplement my income by doing a service job on weekends.

That particular November I had lined up a catering gig so every Friday and Saturday night I was schlepping food and beverages at the finest holiday events and house parties in Atlanta. On December 2, I met Partner #2 and she emitted a bizarre spell over me. (I remember the exact date because we used it later as our anniversary). I’m sure many of us have been in dysfunctional relationships where the primary basis for the connection was unadulterated chemistry. I had never experience anything like it before or since… which is a good thing! It tapped into all my issues — this according to my therapist who absolved me when it all ended miserably years later. Isn’t therapy worth the money!

Anyway, long story short, I met Partner #2 during the height of primo catering season and she immediately thought that I should quit the gig and focus on our “new” relationship. If that’s not a red flag warning, then what is? Well, I considered it for about two minutes. I even remember where we were having the conversation… it was over drinks and a night of partying at some Midtown Atlanta gay bar. Another red flag.

When she asked me to quit, I told her that I would probably make $1000 over the next few weeks and really needed the money. So I gave her the option… if she really wanted me to be available at her beck and call on those upcoming weekends, then she could write me a check for a grand and we could live happily ever after in the month of December!

She chuckled and said, “Ok, it’s probably best that you keep the job.” I didn’t have any trouble getting my career back on track after that. I was able to give up the service sidework within a few months. I set a boundary and stuck to it. Now if only I had done that elsewhere in the relationship. By month five, we were packing up and moving to California together. Crazy lesbians!

To be continued… so many more money stories to share and lessons learned about my chapter with Partner #2.