Differences You Can And Can’t Overcome As A Couple
The very reason we are typically attracted to the people we love is that they possess some qualities that we don’t. The union feels supplementary and complementary—like a ying to a yang. But, just like they say that there are two sides to every coin, there are multiple sides to the qualities you may love in somebody. Sometimes, a trait that you typically admire can manifest itself in ways you don’t necessarily like. Differences are a good thing in a relationship but some differences can be hard to manage for a lifetime. When we meet someone, we may only think of how it feels to be with him now, but if you’re really considering a life-long partner, you should ask yourself, “Could I deal with this major difference forever? How will it affect us when it comes time to…buy a home or…have children?” Here are differences most couples can’t, or can, overcome.
When he doesn’t want kids
Meeting the man of your dreams only to realize he doesn’t want kids can be devastating if one of your other dreams has always been to be a mother. You’ve seen friends settle for men about whom they weren’t really crazy, all because they were father material. You don’t want to be one of them. You want to be with this person you’re over the moon about. But…he does not want to be a father.
You may always feel robbed
If you know that one of your callings in this life is to be a mother and you give it up for your partner, unfortunately, that relationship itself may cease to be the dream it feels like now. You will probably struggle to feel the full love you do for this man now, several years down the line when you missed your chance to have children because of him. If you forego having kids because you think this relationship is worth it, just know that this relationship probably won’t feel this way forever—specifically because it robbed you of one of your dreams.
When he wants to live near his family
It’s very important to some individuals to raise their children near their parents, siblings, and other family members. If this is your partner, you may feel hesitant about living so close to your in-laws. You fear there could be boundary issues—they may stick their noses where they don’t belong and come over all of the time.
You may learn to embrace them
The truth is that, most people have these fears and find that at first some of those fears come true. But the benefits of having family nearby far outweigh the occasional nuisances. You have free babysitters at your fingertips. You have people to help you with all sorts of issues that may come up around your home. And you have a built-in social network.
When he wants you to quit working
So your partner would prefer you to be a housewife. He sees you enjoying your career now but he has made comments about wanting you to stop work once you get married, or once you have kids. You love your work. It’s part of your identity. But…is he right? Would it be bad for your kids if both parents were working?
You’ll likely resent him
If you do decide to leave work to raise kids, that has to be your decision. It cannot be forced on you. If you later regret that transition, and it was your partner’s bidding, you’ll quickly feel like your marriage is more of a prison than a happy place. You’ll blame him for taking your independence away, because you know how hard it would be to re-enter the workplace after many years away.
When you have different faiths
There are a lot of things to consider here. Do your parents “forbid” (not that they really have that authority) you to marry someone of a different religion? Is it important to you that your partner converts to your religion? Or, are you really okay with participating in different faiths, so long as your core values are the same?
It can work, until you have kids
Having parents that disapprove of the union won’t be easy, but what I can say is this: most parents want a relationship with their children, and won’t hold a grudge over this forever. So long as you and your partner are okay with celebrating different religions, you’ll likely make it work. It does, however, get tricky when you bring children into the picture since you may both want to raise the kids in your faith.
When only one person is social
So a hermit and a social butterfly found each other. Those two opposites attract often. The social butterfly goes off to her parties and events alone, just rejoining her partner—who has been waiting at home on the couch—at the end of the night.
It depends on how you manage it
Naturally, if only one person likes to go out, then this pair will spend a lot of time apart. You’ll have to work extra hard to make the relationship a priority and carve out time to be together, in the middle of your busy social life. It is not easy. This is one of those situations that I’ve seen go either way—fail or succeed—many times. It really depends on the severity of the personality differences, and the couple’s efforts to put each other first.
When you have different ideas for marriage
Perhaps one individual likes the idea of an open marriage, or of being swingers, and the other…does not. Perhaps one individual is polyamorous. It can be very hard to have a deep connection with someone who subscribes to a different idea of marriage than you do.
You’ll feel betrayed and he won’t get it
Unfortunately, it can be very hard for a person to change his or her idea of what loyalty and marriage means. If you do allow for an open marriage or polyamory when it’s not really your thing, you will likely wind up feeling betrayed. Meanwhile, your partner won’t even sympathize or feel apologetic because he doesn’t understand your concept of a union.
When your financial priorities are different
One wants to do a lot of philanthropy work. One wants to travel a lot. One likes nice things. One could do without. But, these two people love each other. Can it work?
A financial advisor can actually help here
Fortunately, if you are financially well off as a couple, a financial advisor can be very useful here. A financial advisor can set up investment accounts, trusts, and other such accounts that ensure there is money for each of your goals and desires. That being said, one must wonder how compatible—on a fundamental level—two people really are if they view money so differently.
It’s better to see it sooner than later
Even though it can seem premature to make decisions based on these differences when the relationship is still so fresh, these types of differences rarely change. So if you see them now, it’s better to decide whether or not you can live with them now before you are more attached and entangled. Too many divorce stories consist of something like, “Well, we just thought we’d change each other. And we didn’t.”