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Different Planning Styles


anon888
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We have been dating for a year and live about 1.5 hours apart. We both have extremely busy lives, and our work schedules are both shift work that changes week to week, so it is not easy to plan when we can see each other without spending the time in advance each week to organize. At this stage in the relationship, I have been spending on average at least three nights per week at their house per week, and they spend roughly one night per month at my house because their work schedule is much more abrasive than mine (they do night shifts).

My partner has requested that every time I leave to return home, I provide them with the exact date that I will return to their home and stick to this commitment. They say that it helps them add anticipation to the relationship and more predictability, giving them comfort and happiness. I have struggled with their request because I am not a planner. I generally only plan a day or two. For example, I often do not make plans for the weekend before the weekend. I generally create a plan the day before. 

I also feel like their request for a plan in advance is potentially too controlling. I am uncomfortable that my partner can request that I provide them with a precise plan on the day I leave to go home, but if I ask them to provide the same plan to me for when they will come to my house, they refuse to do so because I am the one that is supposed to create this "effort". I would never actually expect that they provide a plan in advance anyway). We both want to plan, so there is more certainty when we see each other, but I struggle with their request because of the one-sidedness of the arrangement.

Am I unreasonable, or is it normal to expect a relationship to naturally progress to this kind of arrangement before two people move in together? The short answer that I provide myself is that I feel unreasonable and that there should be more flexibility.

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I think there is a middle ground that can be reached here.

In my experience, when people do what your partner does (asking/insisting on planning like this), it's usually due to anxiety on their part. Nothing nefarious, but some people just struggle with NOT knowing when something is going to happen, or when someone is going to pop by. It is not necessarily controlling, but I can see why you may think it is. My last ex was like this - he liked to know when I was going to come back as he would often plan ahead a little (we lived together so things like meals, etc.) He didn't care at all if I stayed out late or stayed over with families or friends overnight or even two nights and he never messaged/contacted me a lot when I was out - he just wanted to know when I'd be back because the uncertainty made him anxious. Lack of planning in general made him anxious!

It doesn't have to be controlling, some people just like to plan and that's fine. However, I do think it's not fair if it's a bit one-sided and I would talk to your partner about that. If you are to give a date of your next visit, then it's only fair that your partner does the same.

That said - about that middle ground. They are a planner and you're not - why not agree with your partner that a 2 day "window" will be given for return, with an exact day to be confirmed when the time gets closer? That way you're not beholden to one specific day but then they will not have that uncertainity. 

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11 hours ago, anon888 said:

  I also feel like their request for a plan in advance is potentially too controlling

If you are going to their place this much as a guest, you'll have to let them know in advance. It's that simple. 

Just stop hanging out at their place this much.  Create more time for yourself but when you do plan to stay there, tell them in advance.

You'll have to resolve this power struggle before you even think about moving in together,which sounds like it will be a disaster.

If you two can't get it together as far as simply visiting each other, the type of cooperation and coordinating it takes to live together just isn't there.

You don't need to send anyone a spreadsheet of your schedules and life but if you are the guest you'll have to be more mindful of telling people in advance whether you can be there or not.

Stop going there this much. 

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11 hours ago, Fudgie said:

I think there is a middle ground that can be reached here.

I agree. You should be able to find a middle ground that suits both of your needs. Unless you prefer power-struggle relationships.

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If you are expected to provide a commitment to plans in advance, they should be expected to do the same. 

Lopsided responsibilities and expectations will lead to discord & the failure of things in time. 

It really is that simple. You have to set boundaries and hold them to ensure your needs are considered and met. One sided compromises damage your self esteem and worth. Of course for the harmony of things, someone has to give in at times, but has to be fair over the long run. 

You're traveling there several times a week, they're coming monthly... this in itself will eventually create a problem. 

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  • 3 months later...
On 1/7/2022 at 4:59 AM, Wiseman2 said:

Stop going there this much.

^^ this.  That's 9 hours of commute per week, you are putting in a LOT of effort in comparison to what they are doing.  Seems unfair

On 1/7/2022 at 9:58 AM, Lambert said:

If you are expected to provide a commitment to plans in advance, they should be expected to do the same. 

Lopsided responsibilities and expectations will lead to discord & the failure of things in time.

I've notice that people who like to control more than to love only give as little as what the other person lets them get away with.  Or they give just enough to keep the other person on the hook.  Perhaps it's time to draw the line...

Good luck my dear!

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