I’ve been with my fiancé for seven years, since we were both 16. We have a very healthy, and happy relationship, with strong, open communication, and are getting married next year.
I often hear people say that we’re too young to be getting married, and that the likelihood that we’ll divorce is high because neither of us has had a chance to be alone or date other people.
Although I don’t agree, I understand where they’re coming from. We broke up for six months when we were 19 and saw other people, but were drawn back into the relationship.
We both agree that we’re stronger for it, but have no interest in repeating it. I normally shrug those people off, or argue respectfully in our defense.
But lately, it’s eating at me because we’ve been talking about what we want the next few years to look like and they are very different.
I want to travel and he wants to start a family.
We often try to find compromise, but it usually ends up with one of us being unsatisfied. I’ve traveled both with him and alone, and he’s always known that it’s been a strong passion of mine.
But he thinks it’s time for me to settle down and “face reality.” I have a good job and make more money than he does, so the wedding is mostly mine to pay.
Lately, I’ve been resenting that I’ve been saving all this money for the wedding, when it could be used to travel.
How do I face the now frightening thoughts that others are right and our seemingly strong relationship will end in another statistic?
Am I Being Impatient and Unfair?
You both are being somewhat impatient and unfair, which is a natural result of having been together since so young and haven’t learned to compromise or be patient about the future.
You’re not alone. A lot of older couples have trouble compromising too.
But in your case, despite what you call, “very strong open communication,” neither of you has confronted your very different views of the near future, until just now.
But if you’re to make it together for the long-term, you have to learn a better way of working together, and soon.
He’s always known about your love of travel. You’ve likely known that family life is his go-to comfort zone.
But not even a loved partner, male or female, should get away with ordering the timing for when you should get pregnant.
“Facing reality” means recognizing each other’s wants and needs, not insisting on his over yours.
Some people might suggest that you take six months off and travel, with him or without him, to allay your future resentment. But that could surely make him label you unfair.
Or, there’s the other approach – pay for the wedding, have kids early, then start travelling as a family whenever possible, even to the point of living elsewhere for a year. Many couples have found that plan an enlightening and bonding life experience.
I say, first learn how to find acceptable solutions together. That’s what can help couples avoid divorce statistics.
You both have personal goals and passions, equally valuable. You both want to reach a decision feeling you were heard, understood, and accommodated.
A couples’ counsellor can help you learn strategies to get there. You may both need to delay the choice you prefer. But it’ll be time well spent.
Do this before the wedding!
My boyfriend of five years lives in my house. He's not working but has a business.
I'm tired of paying for food and entertainment. When he gets money, it's for the business.
How do I tell him to move? I don't think he’ll ever keep a job.
I’m trying to be patient. He won’t get married, and has children from a previous relationship whom he doesn't see.
He's 49 with no assets and no motivation.
Tired of Paying
It’s a one-sided arrangement. If there’s money “for the business,” he has some income to contribute to living expenses.
If he needs it to run this business, then he can take a business loan and pay for something.
Otherwise, insist he either gets a job or leaves. Until you do, he has no reason to change.
But before you announce this ultimatum, get legal advice regarding any common-law obligations to support him. Or you’ll be back where you started.
Tip of the day:
To travel or have babies at 23? Learn how to compromise on major decisions before the wedding!