*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Several years ago, I dated a man with a poor work ethic. Ironically, I met him at work.
We worked at the same sporting goods retailer in neighboring departments. I often saw him climbing ladders and sitting atop exercise equipment. We occasionally exchanged greetings. Somehow, I developed a crush on him.
He got fired before I had the chance to see if he had feelings for me, too.
As luck would have it, we ran into each other not long after he got fired. He confided that he'd been living on a can of Coca-Cola and a single candy bar per day since he lost his job.
I took pity on him and invited him out to dinner, which I paid for. Obviously, I knew he didn't have a job or money since he had gotten fired from work and was living on a can of soda and a Snickers bar per day.
We began dating, and I figured it was only a matter of time before he got a steady job. Little did I know, it would be nearly a full decade before he would find and keep a full-time job. For ten years, I was his primary source of income. I would often leave my own bills unpaid to buy him groceries or pay his rent.
It was during this long ten-year span that my boyfriend made me buy him new clothes for a job that he'd already quit.
A company hired him to assist their customers. As a customer service representative, they expected him to wear nice pants, a button-down shirt, and a necktie. He didn't own any of the above.
When he told me about his predicament, I reluctantly agreed to help him. He had already cost me thousands of dollars over the course of our relationship. I reasoned that spending a few hundred dollars more would be worth it if it meant allowing him to work full time at his new job while meeting their dress code requirements.
We went to the store where he picked out pants, shirts, and far more neckties than I thought necessary.
I also bought him a nice leather belt and some new undergarments, including socks.
He was ready for his new job, or so I thought.
Around a week later, when he should have been at work, I saw him walking down the street wearing tattered blue jeans and a t-shirt. I pulled over to give him a ride and to ask him why he wasn't at work.
That's when I learned he wasn't actually working for that company anymore. He hadn't worked there since the first day when he showed up to fill out some paperwork and learned about their dress code.
In other words, he had allowed me to spend several hundred dollars of my own hard-earned money on clothes he allegedly needed for a job he didn't even have. To add insult to injury, he had already decided not to return to work before we went shopping for clothes.
As far as I could tell, here's what happened: My boyfriend pretended to have a new job, so I'd buy him clothes.
I asked him if we could return the clothes for a refund, and he said, "No."
We did eventually break up—but it wasn't soon enough.