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Incompatible? Compromising? Where is the line


TurntSloth

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I guess that's up to us right?

I'm currently having major doubts about my future with my wonderful girlfriend and I'm not sure if I'm being dramatic (spoilt even?) or I'm justified in my feelings. I'm curious as to what other people think and if anyone on here has been in similar situation, what you did... 

I should start with our ages: I'm 29 and she's 26. We've been together for over two years now and both love each other very much. Our day to day is fine, we don't live together yet but are excited to move in together when our current tenancies run out in the summer. In the meantime we see each other and spend multiple nights a week together. We're very affectionate with each other, we enjoy spending time together and doing things whether its a big night out or a chilled day on the sofa. Our sex life is great and we've become very good at communicating with and understanding each other over the last couple of years - if we do have arguments we settle them in a mature way, hearing the other person's point of view and we'll make sure to make up afterwards and confirm our love to each other. Blah blah blah, you get it, the point is I think our relationship is fantastic at the moment, I'm happy with how things have gone and I love her and very much want her to be a part of my life for the rest of it if things keep going the way they are. I've never been happier since I met her. She says the same thing.

But.

We don't agree on anything!

Kids: I've always wanted them, she never has

Marriage: I've always liked the idea of a small wedding and some kind of party later for close family and friends to celebrate, she hates the idea of marriage and a wedding and never wanted either

Buying a house: I'd love to buy larger property slightly out of the city where my money would go further and I might have a garden and multiple rooms to play with, she's only ever wanted a one bedroom property for herself in the city because anywhere else would be boring. The thought of leaving the city is complete nonsense to her despite the increased price of accommodation

Dogs: I've always wanted a dog, she hates them

 

These are the things I've lost sleep over, but then I started thinking more and realised that even little things like our taste in music/films are slightly different to the point where we take turns to choose stuff rather than both enjoy the same things together. I love travelling with a passion, she hates everything about it, I love theme parks and rollercoasters, she is scared and would prefer not to etc...

The small things obviously aren't a big deal, I don't mind listening to her playlist or watching something she chooses and I can go to theme parks or even on trips by myself or with other people, but the bigger things listed above are a concern to me. 

We've spoken about them and have both kind of agreed that compromise is part of a relationship and where we can, we'd be happy to do so for each other because we love each other and want to be together, but I'm just not sure it's right, there are some things you just don't compromise on - kids being the obvious. I'm happy to live in the city for example but part of me also thinks why should I? I've known what I wanted and worked hard for it all my life, why should I now throw away my desire to own a nice big house because of a girl I met when I was nearly 30. Am I being harsh or unrealistic? This is my first proper relationship so I'm not too sure where the line is on this sort of thing. 

On the other things, she has really tried to be more open minded about the idea of having kids since I first said it was something I'd eventually want, and it really shows - she now doesn't seem totally against it but to me it still doesn't feel right that her heart isn't totally in it. Those aren't conditions to have children in my book. She'd be happy for a dog or a child, but not both together. I want both (am I being spoilt?). She'd be ok with a small wedding party even if she felt a little uncomfortable on the day if it's something I really want that would make me happy. At one point I asked her why she was willing to make such big sacrifices to make me happy, when she could have the flat of her dreams with no children running around, what's the point in throwing away the life you've worked towards all this time for the sake of some guy? Her answer was that she's happy with me and doesn't see herself being as happy with anyone else. In her eyes, the chances of her meeting someone that doesn't want kids just like her is extremely low as well so why leave a relationship with someone she loves just to end up alone or in the same situation a few years down the line. 

It's also worth mentioning that she does have quite strong opinions on things that have changed in the past and could do so again. She used to hate the idea of relationships for example, she never wanted to be in one and had nothing but bad examples of men in her life to fuel this. Then we met randomly and hit it off, now two years later she's very happy being with someone. A smaller example is that she hated Valentine's day and never celebrated that either, until I took her out in our first year together and now she loves and looks forward to it. 

So on paper, great, problem solved right? She gets her home in London, and I get my wedding and start a little family. But it doesn't feel right to me. She doesn't have the same 'life goals' that I do. We're not on the same page and I don't feel like she or I should have to adjust what we want in life to please the other on such a big scale. I can't talk about things like this without feeling miserable because whenever I mention my happy family home with child and dog running around in our big garden, she doesn't get excited for what we could have one day, the tone of her voice just makes me miserable as she argues against it.

Has anyone else 'compromised' in this way before? Or not? How do you feel about your decision now?

 

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As you said, there is no way to compromise regarding having kids. You either want them or you don't. You either have them or you don't.

Having a child when she doesn't really want one would be a huge mistake. Remember, SHE would be the one who would have to be pregnant and give birth. It's a really big deal.

IMO, that alone is enough of an indication you two are not suited for marriage to one another.

It is possible to love and respect someone even though they are not the right lifetime partner for you.

Decide if kids are something you honestly want. Decide if you would live a life of regret if you gave in and never had them. Then you'll know what to do.

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It's possible that you have an ideal/pastoral idea of what living in the country is like and it's not very realistic. Have you thought about your commute or lived with friends or family who live in the rural countryside? I would explore what this is really like and try not to squirm too much on the differences right now. 

In order for some (not all) women to want to have children (just like some men too) being with the right partner is what makes all the difference and can be the tipping scale of whether family life feels right or not. I think she sounds very level-headed. She's not going to have a family with just anyone. It sounds like she's open to the idea with the right man. 

You're both still in your 20s and this is still very young to me. You both have yet to travel, spread your wings. The only way you can be on the same page is if you trust each other. 

Is there any real reason why you distrust her when she says she is open to the idea of having kids? Do you provide any real examples of knowing what it's like to have a dog or living in the country? 

There are lots of possibilities. Some people are a lot more visual and realistic and need to see that vision playing out rather than it remaining something dream-like or unrealistic. 

She may not be ready for all of those things either because of finances or other reasons. Are either of you prepared to take on marriage, starting a new life, buying a home, getting a dog and having kids? 

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I'm friends with a couple that agreed to not have children before they married. The husband already had kids and didn't want any more, the wife never had kids. While they are still married and seem to be very happy, the wife is sad she never had kids. I became pregnant and she told me how much she envied me even though I was unmarried and my baby's father left me when he found out I was pregnant. She doesn't regret the marriage but is very sad she never got to be a mother.

Just something more to consider.

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This is the major issue I see with you two:

36 minutes ago, TurntSloth said:

Kids: I've always wanted them, she never has

The other stuff can probably be worked around. But not this.

These things are trivial:

36 minutes ago, TurntSloth said:

even little things like our taste in music/films are slightly different to the point where we take turns to choose stuff rather than both enjoy the same things together. I love travelling with a passion, she hates everything about it, I love theme parks and rollercoasters, she is scared and would prefer not to etc...

I mean, you could be describing my boyfriend and me here. For the first 6 - 7 years of our relationship, we did enjoy everything together. Now we know for sure that I definitely don't like death metal and episodic superhero soap operas. He doesn't like watching endless documentaries or basically anything having to do with 17th century literature. We now enjoy these things separately. He doesn't like amusement parks. I go with others. And we're still going strong into our 9th year. I think these differences make for a great relationship.... but neither one of us ever wanted kids.

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31 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

This is the major issue I see with you two:

The other stuff can probably be worked around. But not this.

These things are trivial:

I mean, you could be describing my boyfriend and me here. For the first 6 - 7 years of our relationship, we did enjoy everything together. Now we know for sure that I definitely don't like death metal and episodic superhero soap operas. He doesn't like watching endless documentaries or basically anything having to do with 17th century literature. We now enjoy these things separately. He doesn't like amusement parks. I go with others. And we're still going strong into our 9th year. I think these differences make for a great relationship.... but neither one of us ever wanted kids.

I would put it exactly the same way.  Two additional examples -many years ago I remember my mother telling me her friend's son had met a wonderful woman except she hated camping and he loved it.  They actually almost broke up but married and I'm not sure if she ever went camping but he thank goodness got past that and went on to be happily married to her.  On the other hand I have a friend who married someone about 10 years ago or so - I believe they agreed that they would have only one child.  I believe she didn't want more than one because -at least partly -she's very intense and focused on her career and finds it extremely rewarding and did not want to have more than one child given the increased parenting time, etc.  They had one child -a beautiful girl inside and out.  But then they divorced -apparently he went back on their "agreement" and wanted more children.  They divorced when their child was around 6 or 7.  So hard! (She remarried, not sure about him).

My husband and I have different tv show taste (but enough that overlap), and today we discovered when I gave our son a Covid haircut at home that I like the "six pence" version of the barbershop song and...... he likes the two bits version!!!  OMG.  We also have somewhat different political views.  But.... before we got back together after having dated in the past we talked about three things in less than five minutes.  Marriage:  we both wanted to get back together only if we wanted to marry eventually.  Kids:  both over the top enthusiastic about having them (I would not have been ok with anything less than over the top enthusiasm).  Relocation:  essential for his career so I told him the few places I would not move to.  We had no discussion about wedding receptions - to me that is totally irrelevant - if you want to be married you work out how you're going to celebrate the marriage and when.  But those three things -essential and would have been dealbreakers otherwise.

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1 hour ago, TurntSloth said:

She doesn't have the same 'life goals' that I do. We're not on the same page and I don't feel like she or I should have to adjust what we want in life to please the other on such a big scale. I can't talk about things like this without feeling miserable because whenever I mention my happy family home with child and dog running around in our big garden, she doesn't get excited for what we could have one day, the tone of her voice just makes me miserable as she argues against it.

Well, is good that you two have discussed such things... sad, though that you do not have the same life goals.

Has been 2 years.. fine that things seems so well & dandy... BUT...

Reality is setting in... yes, you should be able to 'plan' for your own future.  If you want a nice home with at least one kid and a dog, then that is really what you should be doing (IMO).

IF you feel and decide this isn't for you- because if your indifferences, then you need to speak up and be honest with her..  If it's just too much on you- say so.

You've still got a good many years to seek this out.  My brother went almost 10 yrs single.. then came across one sweet gal who caught his interest & they married within a year.. still together after 5 yrs  :).

 

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2 hours ago, Batya33 said:

her friend's son had met a wonderful woman except she hated camping and he loved it. 

Ha! My bf hates camping, I like it (he went camping with me once, said he enjoyed it, and then we never went again lol)

I like the "six pence" version of the barbershop song and...... he likes the two bits version!!!  OMG. 

On one of our first dates, we both got out of my boyfriend's truck humming Marvin Gaye's Let's Get it On. After the first bar (waa waa waa waaaaaaaah wahh), he hummed the bass line and I hummed the melody. It was totally spontaneous--we just hear different parts of the music.

We also have somewhat different political views. 

Our political views are dissimilar as well.

We had no discussion about wedding receptions - to me that is totally irrelevant

Same.

 

 

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I think one mark of compatibility is that compromises don't really feel so compromising. Sure, we all make them in relationships, but ideally they don't leave you feeling like you've compromised some core personal truth.

That, I'd say, is a pretty good marker of the "line" you're trying to find here. 

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4 hours ago, TurntSloth said:

I guess that's up to us right?

I'm currently having major doubts about my future with my wonderful girlfriend and I'm not sure if I'm being dramatic (spoilt even?) or I'm justified in my feelings. I'm curious as to what other people think and if anyone on here has been in similar situation, what you did... 

I should start with our ages: I'm 29 and she's 26. We've been together for over two years now and both love each other very much. Our day to day is fine, we don't live together yet but are excited to move in together when our current tenancies run out in the summer. In the meantime we see each other and spend multiple nights a week together. We're very affectionate with each other, we enjoy spending time together and doing things whether its a big night out or a chilled day on the sofa. Our sex life is great and we've become very good at communicating with and understanding each other over the last couple of years - if we do have arguments we settle them in a mature way, hearing the other person's point of view and we'll make sure to make up afterwards and confirm our love to each other. Blah blah blah, you get it, the point is I think our relationship is fantastic at the moment, I'm happy with how things have gone and I love her and very much want her to be a part of my life for the rest of it if things keep going the way they are. I've never been happier since I met her. She says the same thing.

But.

We don't agree on anything!

Kids: I've always wanted them, she never has

Marriage: I've always liked the idea of a small wedding and some kind of party later for close family and friends to celebrate, she hates the idea of marriage and a wedding and never wanted either

Buying a house: I'd love to buy larger property slightly out of the city where my money would go further and I might have a garden and multiple rooms to play with, she's only ever wanted a one bedroom property for herself in the city because anywhere else would be boring. The thought of leaving the city is complete nonsense to her despite the increased price of accommodation

Dogs: I've always wanted a dog, she hates them

 

These are the things I've lost sleep over, but then I started thinking more and realised that even little things like our taste in music/films are slightly different to the point where we take turns to choose stuff rather than both enjoy the same things together. I love travelling with a passion, she hates everything about it, I love theme parks and rollercoasters, she is scared and would prefer not to etc...

The small things obviously aren't a big deal, I don't mind listening to her playlist or watching something she chooses and I can go to theme parks or even on trips by myself or with other people, but the bigger things listed above are a concern to me. 

We've spoken about them and have both kind of agreed that compromise is part of a relationship and where we can, we'd be happy to do so for each other because we love each other and want to be together, but I'm just not sure it's right, there are some things you just don't compromise on - kids being the obvious. I'm happy to live in the city for example but part of me also thinks why should I? I've known what I wanted and worked hard for it all my life, why should I now throw away my desire to own a nice big house because of a girl I met when I was nearly 30. Am I being harsh or unrealistic? This is my first proper relationship so I'm not too sure where the line is on this sort of thing. 

On the other things, she has really tried to be more open minded about the idea of having kids since I first said it was something I'd eventually want, and it really shows - she now doesn't seem totally against it but to me it still doesn't feel right that her heart isn't totally in it. Those aren't conditions to have children in my book. She'd be happy for a dog or a child, but not both together. I want both (am I being spoilt?). She'd be ok with a small wedding party even if she felt a little uncomfortable on the day if it's something I really want that would make me happy. At one point I asked her why she was willing to make such big sacrifices to make me happy, when she could have the flat of her dreams with no children running around, what's the point in throwing away the life you've worked towards all this time for the sake of some guy? Her answer was that she's happy with me and doesn't see herself being as happy with anyone else. In her eyes, the chances of her meeting someone that doesn't want kids just like her is extremely low as well so why leave a relationship with someone she loves just to end up alone or in the same situation a few years down the line. 

It's also worth mentioning that she does have quite strong opinions on things that have changed in the past and could do so again. She used to hate the idea of relationships for example, she never wanted to be in one and had nothing but bad examples of men in her life to fuel this. Then we met randomly and hit it off, now two years later she's very happy being with someone. A smaller example is that she hated Valentine's day and never celebrated that either, until I took her out in our first year together and now she loves and looks forward to it. 

So on paper, great, problem solved right? She gets her home in London, and I get my wedding and start a little family. But it doesn't feel right to me. She doesn't have the same 'life goals' that I do. We're not on the same page and I don't feel like she or I should have to adjust what we want in life to please the other on such a big scale. I can't talk about things like this without feeling miserable because whenever I mention my happy family home with child and dog running around in our big garden, she doesn't get excited for what we could have one day, the tone of her voice just makes me miserable as she argues against it.

Has anyone else 'compromised' in this way before? Or not? How do you feel about your decision now?

 

You're both extremely incompatible.  Your relationship with her is doomed for failure.  You can either just wait and see what happens next or figure out a way to dissolve the relationship sooner than later.

You don't have a bright future with her for obvious reasons.  You want kids, she doesn't, you want a nice wedding, she hates the idea of weddings and marriage.  You want a house in the suburbs whereas she prefers to be a city girl. You enjoy travel while she despises traveling.  Both of you couldn't be more different! 

Music genre and her not liking roller coasters isn't a big deal since my husband and I have different tastes in music.  My husband and sons enjoy occasional thrilling roller coasters while I prefer to sit on a bench and wait for them to finish.  You couldn't pay me enough money to ride a roller coaster!  😲

When my husband and I were dating, we had the same hopes and dreams.  We both wanted a family and now we have two fine sons.  We both saved our money to buy a house in the 'burbs and have since moved up several times.  On days off, my husband plants roses in our garden both in front and back yards.  When our Golden Retriever was alive, it was the white picket fence, two boys and a dog.  We have a very "mom 'n pop 'n apple pie" existence.  It sounds to me that you desire the same life my husband and I attained.

I was even able to stay home for several years while my boys were little.  It was the best years of my life.

Neither you nor your girlfriend should compromise especially major decisions regarding marriage and family.  Your quality of life with her will be miserable if you continue a relationship with her which is going nowhere.

My husband and I never compromised with major decisions and we have no regrets.  I'm very confident about my decision regarding choosing the right man and giving each other a good life.  I was conservative with my choice in a man and it paid off. 

I think you need to use your own common sense, listen to your gut intuition and instincts.  If something doesn't feel right to you regarding you and your girlfriend, then listen to that inner voice in your brain because it's always right on the mark.  If you don't use your conventional wisdom, you will have regrets and harsh consequences for many years to come.  Poor decisions and choices are a tremendous waste of your time, energy and resources not to mention experiencing unnecessary heartache and disaster.  Be wise.  You'll thank yourself later.

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I think life can be challenging enough,  even when you're both on the same page with what you want.

While all the things you mention with your gf sound lovely, you can find that with someone that wants the same things as you.  

Genuine care for one another, ability to communicate, forgiveness, respect, physical needs being met all just scratch the surface of a happy coupling for the long run. 

With time, I could see a lot of resentment and blame being cast, as you both look back with regret of what could have been. And if there are children....  you definitely want to pick a good mother for your children.  They can't. 

I could see some unhappy kids, feeling their mother never wanted them.  And I know times are changing and there are many great dads. so don't string me up for this but the mom is the primary care giver and if she didn't want them. that is HUGE.  Kids are so much work & sacrifice, not wanting them would make it unbearable.  

A man I know, his wife left him with two little kids 2 & 4... she didn't want them.  It was heart breaking.  At the time his sister and her husband stepped in to help him... it was really bad. The poor kids.... and the guy all the guilt about the kids, trying to work and keep it together mentally and emotionally. Thank God for the sister. 

You have to make good choices that support the life you want. Not the "if only" best case scenario.

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I understand, "love is blind" and all that! Been there! But honestly it seems to me like you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. In other words you are just too different on too many important life goals and values. The goals, beliefs and values are actually the most important part of a relationship. In your case they really don't actually match. When people talk about compromise in relationships it's not about the really big things. The stuff a couple would be compromising on would be only small, like little everyday things.

Nobody should have to actually change who they really are and what they want in life for their partner. If you live in London, that's a city of nearly nine million people! You are still young and there would be hundreds of women around your age who could be much more compatible with you than your girlfriend. Even the smaller differences can actually become a problem if there are too many of them.

The point of being in a relationship is that you find a companion who compliments your life and in a sense makes your life better. You would share at least some common hobbies and interests so that you could do activities together. If you don't even like a lot of the same things and your goals and values are totally different, I'm sorry to say but I doubt it would work out in the long run. Above all I really don't think you should pressure someone to have kids who basically doesn't want them. You shouldn't even pressure someone to get a dog if they don't want a dog. But at least in the case of a dog, if you broke up then you can just take the dog with you and she doesn't need to have a dog. If she agrees to have a child it's for life. It's not just a pet for Christmas. 

Why are you trying to mould a woman who's incompatible into what you want instead? There are so many other women out there that would want to actually have kids, have a dog, get married. Like even me for example! It's pretty common for women older than late 20's to want kids and marriage. Personally I love dogs as well. So I think it would be quite easy to find someone else. Not saying me but I'm just a random on the internet and even I want everything you wrote! Marriage, kids, nice house, travel. Even if you'll be hurting at first but ultimately it would be the right decision.

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2 hours ago, TurntSloth said:

Thanks everyone, I kinda knew where this was heading but had to see it as well. I haven't replied in here frequently, but I have read and do appreciate everything said.

 

I guess the writing is on the wall heh - I barely slept all night 😞

I'm sorry.  This is tough and the lesson here for next time-- be more selective in the early stages of dating. It will save you a lot of pain in the long run. Been there, too. Its ok to love someone and let them go. 

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It's tough when the breakup occurs not because of something bad like cheating or abuse, but because your life goals are incompatible.  You still love and respect one another but it just won't work.

Try to look at it as the two of you now being free to find someone whose life plan is more aligned with what you want.

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20 hours ago, bluecastle said:

I think one mark of compatibility is that compromises don't really feel so compromising. Sure, we all make them in relationships, but ideally they don't leave you feeling like you've compromised some core personal truth.

That, I'd say, is a pretty good marker of the "line" you're trying to find here. 

Exactly!!!

 Compromising is finding common ground you both can be okay with but you both are happy to compromise for each other.  You are correct that if you have to convince her to have children it is a no go.  Could you imagine her resentment towards you when the child is 2 and throwing tantrums all day and you are at work?  What would that homecoming each night be like?

  Do you have ANYTHING you both enjoy doing together outside of sex?  If you have several things you truly like doing together the other stuff is not that big of a deal.  The wanting/not wanting kids thing is huge there is no way around it.  No marriage, no kids sound like dealbreakers to me.  

 This has to suck to in this position but you knew fairly early one this was her stance on these things right? and yet you stayed.  Was it hope she would change?  Are you clinging to that hope still?

  Lost

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13 hours ago, TurntSloth said:

Thanks everyone, I kinda knew where this was heading but had to see it as well. I haven't replied in here frequently, but I have read and do appreciate everything said.

 

I guess the writing is on the wall heh - I barely slept all night 😞

Yes, the writing is on the wall and staring right back at you in the face.  Heed those warning bells in your brain because it's always right.  Better safe than sorry.

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OP, it is not often that I see a post with so many enormous red flags.  The issues are not minor.  Your relationship has major, major issues.  I don't see how you can compromise on a number of them.  Whichever way you look at it, one of you will be miserable and unhappy.  It's not worth being miserable for the rest of your life. I say cut your losses.  

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There are some things you can compromise on, but major things like, marriage, kids, and where to live should be must-haves or you are sacrificing too much. There are other women who you will also get along with and who you could potentially love AND shares your life goals. Unfortunately, you will have to end things with your incompatible partner to find the partner who you are compatible with. 

Nobody said life was easy. We all have hard decisions to make. Take care.

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