Published October 26, 2011, in MSUM’s, The Advocate
My question is this. I am dating a girl. We have been together for two and half years. We have had some troubles lately. At first I thought it was growing problems, but now I don’t know. I want to be with her, but I am scared that if we go further, it will just hurt more. We disagree on several things — she wants kids, to stay in this area, to get married. I don’t know what I want yet and am happy with the fact that I might never know.
Every kind of relationship has streaks of good and bad times, but if these issues are big enough to where they cannot be reconciled, it is best to end it sooner than later. The longer you ignore the differences neither of you are willing to compromise, the deeper the laceration will be when you cut off your relationship. As you’ve found out, relationships are never perfect.
As far as children are concerned, many people feel anxious about having children until later in life, so don’t be surprised if you end up changing your mind in a few years. However, if you are certain you don’t want children, don’t sugar-coat anything. She needs to know where you stand.
Many men are leery of opening up to their significant others for fear of heaven knows what. Unless one’s girlfriend is completely self-absorbed, she is asking your take on life because she genuinely wants to know your views on an issue and how the two of you can resolve the problem at hand.
There are so many issues two people must consider before jumping into marriage. Sometimes, finding a halfway point doesn’t always work. Both people must realize they can’t always have exactly what they want. Occasionally, one must consider which is more important: the issue or the person you love. Even if you love someone and can’t imagine your life without them, if an issue is a constant challenge, is it worth the steady strain?
The classic plight of couples who can’t agree on issues like children, finances, location and religion, among others, are so common, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to find a solution.
Many concerns don’t get resolved and couples will always have minor subjects that grate on the nerves, but when couples agree on more issues than not, these relationships are still completely worthwhile and have more moments of joy than stress. Having the two-in-one package of a best friend and lover, there for you through the good and bad times, is invaluable.
Though many women will refute this generalization, it’s true: The majority of women yearn for stability – assurance that they are your one and only. It may sound sappy, but hopeless romantics are not a dying breed, no matter how independent women are. Though they prove themselves tough and liberated, they still want to be taken care of and to take care of you. Marriage is popular for a reason and holds a security (though divorces are popular as well) that dating does not.
Unfortunately, many couples are so convinced that marriage is a curse they continue living with each other but throw the idea of marriage out the window. Marriage is not a disease. It’s a gift. Excuse the proverbial phrase, but it takes two to tango in the tricky dance of marriage. Both partners have to work together to keep things fresh and stable.
I urge you to weigh your differences carefully.
Speaking not from marriage experience but from a life of observing (which is quite different, I know), I can’t tell you what decisions you should make in regards to such crucial matters, but one thing you should definitely do is to continue addressing these issues with your girlfriend. Don’t leave her out when discussing your concerns. She deserves to have a say in your future together.
Your friend Meghan
BY MEGHAN FEIR