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Dear Little Bobby….
My boyfriend and I are both creatives who have been living together for about a year.
I moved out of my apartment and into his (fairly small) house that he has owned, alone, for eight years. In the process I got rid of a large portion of my belongings, which was freeing in its own right. I was happy to donate my clothes, decorations, furniture, etc., to declutter my life, and because we simply did not have room for a lot of my stuff.
Since he has lived in the house alone for so long, it’s been a big adjustment for him, too.
“Our house” is decorated very differently than I would have chosen. I appreciate all the music he has helped create but the walls are covered with flyers and posters of past shows.
I have a few family photos up but sometimes I feel like I’m getting swallowed up in his world, his house. I want a home that reflects my interests, as well as the life we have created together. Most of the house is also painted in an unsightly peach/brown color that he seems to be fine with but I would like to change.
I think a home environment should help inspire creativity and help everyone in the house feel comfortable and welcome. How can I get my man to be open to changing up our home decor without him feeling like he is losing his home?
—Living in Her Man’s World in Albuquerque
The first, and most important thing to do, is to communicate. Tell him exactly how you feel and that you are interested in compromise. Maybe you could agree to decorate a room or two together, thereby creating a shared space, with shared taste. You could agree, ahead of time, that each of you has a veto over decorations in this designated “shared space.” If you do not BOTH agree, then it is a “no-go” on the decor in question. Another approach could be to each choose a different wall to decorate.
As for the “unsightly peach/brown color,” maybe offering to paint, or help painting over it, would be a great time to re-adorn the walls with items that you both are inspired by. And you are right, the home environment should absolutely inspire both of you to let the creative juices flow.
Either way, it is all about communicating. If you do not feel respected and represented in the place you call home, then that will only lead to further problems.
Is he receptive at all to any this? If he is, then that’s a good starting place. Eight years, however, is a long time for him to have created some hard-to-break habits. If you love him, try to have compassion and patience for him. If he loves you and is in touch with his feelings, then you will know it, he will show it, and you can resolve this together.
How is the rest of the relationship? Are you both creating? Do you create together? Is the sex good? Do you make each other laugh and want to be better people? Is he someone that you want to share you life with? Weigh all of these factors together.
If you both love each other, then this issue can easily be overcome as your life together continues to grow. Just don’t forget to keep creating as individuals, AND if you so choose, also create as a team. You might both be stronger as a result.
If he is too selfish to even try understanding your point of view, then maybe do not bother redecorating, if you know what I mean.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl”
—James Brown, “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” 1968
Dear Little Bobby….
I used to live in NM.
I have a good friend there who has another friend (in Taos) in need of a caregiver. I don’t know the woman who needs help, but have spoken to her several times over the phone and would like to help her.
Currently, I live in Dallas and cannot afford to visit first to check out the situation. Since money is an issue, the woman who needs caregiving said I could stay with her, but this seems “iffy” since I don’t actually know her.
I am not really happy here in TX or with my current job. Additionally, I used to paint and would like to get back into making art.
Should I consider a major life change? Aside from funding, I might get stuck in a possibly uncomfortable situation. Help!
I also used to live in the Dallas area. After many years, I could no longer tolerate the climate so I moved to NM. I was escaping the political climate as well as the hot/humid climate. Do you want to move in order to escape something? To find something? Maybe both?
As an aspiring painter, Taos is very much a place that could benefit you. Despite its small size (population 5,000) there are EIGHTY art galleries in Taos. I doubt you can find any other town THAT small with 80 art galleries. Does this mean you should move there and plan on making money as a painter? Of course not. But how many other painters around this country would love to move to Taos, with a job already waiting for them? I think the answer would be…a LOT.
Do this mean you should make a major life change? That depends on your motivation: What are you trying to achieve?
You are correct—you MIGHT find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. In fact, the job you might have, might disappear right after you accept it. I also had a job waiting for me when I moved to NM. After I moved, the job immediately disappeared (because of outside factors) and I found myself in a new state, unemployed, where I knew almost no one.
I briefly considered moving back to Texas, but I decided to try sticking it out partly because TX was STILL hot, humid and more expensive. So I applied at local natural food store and was hired. But the most amazing thing happened right after: On my second day at this new job, a coworker and I began talking about music (specifically, our mutual love of The Beach Boys). Within a few months, we had become friends and formed a band Shoulder Voices.
14 years later, his friendship and that band are still going strong. And my life has been greatly enriched by both. If I had stayed in TX, or if the job I thought I was moving for had NOT disappeared, these events might not have happened.
If I had stayed in TX, another sequence of events would be in my past, and I might have developed some other, very important, friendships there. I might be very happy, maybe not.
The point is, looking back, I feel like things happened just as they were supposed to happen (good and bad). I’m glad that I followed my passions.
No one can promise you what will happen if you move, OR if you stay. You could get stuck in something uncomfortable right where you are. In fact, maybe you are already “stuck” and this is a chance to get “unstuck.”
For me, I weighed the economics of Albuquerque being cheaper than Dallas (this may or may not be true of Taos). I weighed the fact that I enjoy the weather here a LOT more. And, after time, I weighed my new friendships and my new “family” (the band) against not living as close to my first family in Texas. I also considered that, overwhelmingly, I like the politics of NM more than those of TX. For instance, did you know that in Taos, 74% of registered voters are Democrats and only 13% are Republicans? That sort of thing matters to ME.
Now, it is up to you to decide what matters to YOU. Could your desire to provide caregiving services to this woman actually end up helping both of you? If you act out of love and genuinely want to help someone in need, you will only be rewarded. Even if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
Often, those are the situations that help us to learn the most. You can learn about helping others and you can learn how to best handle uncomfortable situations. What a blessing that would be. We ALL need help dealing with uncomfortable situations, and eventually, we ALL need help.
Then of course, there’s the painting!
I can’t promise you anything other than this: If you follow your heart, you WILL be happier than if you do not.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“What a way to spend that evening
They all turn up with their friends playing a game
But in the scene I should have been
—Pink Floyd, Paintbox, 1967