Donate Now
We've Moved! Check out our new boards.
  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Heart in the right place?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Heart in the right place?
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's a situation here that I know I shouldn't worry too much about, but I am for some reason.

As I said in the "Why Hurry to the Altar" thread, marriage/engagement isn't that important to me. Sure, it's a beautiful thought for somebody to buy you a nice ring and declare their love, but other than that it seems to me a social stunt used by most people to try to prove their relationship.

That said, I've been struggling to gain independance and get out of my parents' house. In desperation, I told my mother that my boyfriend told me he wouldn't propose to me unless I have a job and can support myself. This of course upset my mom far more than me.. she's been very insistant on marriage for a long time and thought that was dreadful.

Thing is, dearest mom is a chatterbox. Today, my two sisters (one older, one younger, both "engaged") confronted me about it, and presented me with facts about why they think he mistreats me. All of it was trivial, such as only agreeing to see me once a week, and being more focused on work.

However, they did have some concerns that did sort of strike me -- I'm not sure why. They said that a proposal should be out of love, and that saying such a thing means that his love is conditional depending on my economic status. Also, when my younger sister got engaged, my partner reprimanded her boyfriend, stating that it's wrong to propose to a girl/woman when a man doesn't have the means to build a life with her. Maybe she's bitter about that, I'm not sure.

To sum it up, my boyfriend says that two people should be financially stable and have plenty of money saved before considering marriage, regardless of their feelings. My sisters and mom say that he's too old-fashioned in thought, and they worry he might be trying to control me.


Again, I honestly have no clue why this is bugging me. Maybe because the words of my family carry more weight. I know this may seem trivial, but I'm really at a loss. Any input is highly appreciated!

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wobblyheadedjane
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 11569

Icon 1 posted      Profile for wobblyheadedjane     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Miss Lauren:
To sum it up, my boyfriend says that two people should be financially stable and have plenty of money saved before considering marriage, regardless of their feelings. My sisters and mom say that he's too old-fashioned in thought, and they worry he might be trying to control me.

I think this quote sums everything up nicely, and seems to be indicative of your family's attitude towards huge life-changing situations. Your younger sister is engaged and pregnant, but not really economically stable to support those changes. Luckily, your family is supportive, but it seems like a very interdependent family.

However, I'm having a hard time seeing the logic in how someone could be trying to control you by encouraging you to be more independent, both economically and generally (in moving out of your parents place, and thus their rules.) Both my fiance and I are able to financially support ourselves, and I would've never considered marriage without that support - it means that in tough times for him, I can carry the financial weight for a while and he carries the chores and sometimes, it'll be his turn to bring home the bacon, so to speak. It all evens out in the end, but if we weren't both independent, it would be a difficult situation.

It sounds like your boyfriend has his head on his shoulders pretty well, and you as well. It's okay to evaluate your mom and sister's advice - I certainly listen to my mom's advice when she gives it, even if I don't always follow it. But I do think that economic and emotional stability on your own are a good way to ensure secure footing in a partnership.

--------------------
Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

Posts: 1679 | From: London, ON | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you for the reassurance, wobblyheadedjane. It's more helpful than you may know.

You're really right in saying mine is an interdependant family. The reason my mom is probably so eager to marry me off is because she wants to me to continue to be dependant on somebody. My older sister is engaged to a guy she barely knows in another country. I guess I was silly to take their concerns too seriously. [Smile]

Your relationship sounds wonderful. I hope I can build one similar. In short, my family believes that two halves make a whole. People like us are all for two wholes making.. well.. any successful relationship.

Thanks for helping me figure this out! Really.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wobblyheadedjane
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 11569

Icon 1 posted      Profile for wobblyheadedjane     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh hey, anytime! I totally feel for how family support is important - when we were telling my folks we were engaged, I thought my heart was going to claw its way out of my chest because having their support meant a lot to me. But I'm sure I would have coped if they had been less enthused too.

I think your saying about a relationship being about two wholes is very apt. [Smile]

--------------------
Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

Posts: 1679 | From: London, ON | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
likewhoa19
Activist
Member # 28218

Icon 1 posted      Profile for likewhoa19     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
All of it was trivial, such as only agreeing to see me once a week, and being more focused on work.
I agree with everything everyone else said above about the economically independent marriage situation. However, honestly, I did not think that little sentence above sounded so good. Do you mean that he will only see you 1 day a week, or that you only have a regular date set to see each other for 1 day a week? B/c if it's the former, that could really pose down the line. If you are living w/ someone who's more married to their work than they are to you, I think most people dislike that after awhile. Is perhaps part of the reason you're so interested in marriage anyway b/c of the way you were raised? Are you planning on getting married to this guy soon? B/c I would recommend knowing you enjoyed being around a person everyday over a long period of time before you start worrying about marriage.
Posts: 193 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for your response, likewhoa19.

We really only have one day a week because that's all that can be spared. When a partner works for up to 12 hours a day, it's really tough to meet more than a couple times a week, at most, you know?

I don't find anything wrong with his dedication to work.. after all, he wants me to get a job too so that I can help build the future he's working hard for. I have to disagree though that it's necessary to see a partner every day to get a feel for marriage. I mean if you think about it, in today's society both partners usually work full-time to run a household. Between a full-time job, financial duties, friends, and personal care, most married couples really only spend 2-3 hours a day with their spouse. I think that young couples who spend too much time together (aka every day, for countless hours a day) will have a hard time coping with marriage because of the dramatic decrease in time spent together.

And to answer your question, I am just barely considering marriage with this guy, but discussions about it always land with "in a few years". So I am planning on it, but not basing the decisions I make now on it. My parents are the ones pushing the marriage issue.

Anyway, I went off into a little rant. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your concern [Smile] .

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey, I'm in a similar boat, as far as time spent with a partner goes. Between both of us working, the tugboat, and general life, I see him maybe once a week, if that. Every couple of weeks we tend to spend a whole day together, and it's lovely.

You know? That's okay. It works for us. It's been this way for the 4 1/2 years we've been together.

We talk every day on the phone, without fail. I know what's going on in his life, and he knows what's going on in mine. This is simply how it is right now. It will change, when I move out of my parents house, but how it will change, I don't know.

Out of curiosity, is it just your mom forcing the marriage issue?

--------------------
Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Scarleteen? Donations keep us around for you. So give a little! (Or a lot. Whatever works for you.)

Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Your situation is almost exactly like mine, DarkChild717. Save that I have the "luxury" of one day spent a week. That works for us as well, and nobody really sees anything wrong with it except my family.

My mom makes really.. well.. obvious jokes to my boyfriend when he comes to pick me up, saying things like "Oh poor Lauren, the only one of my girls not engaged! Always the bridesmaid, never the bride!" We usually try to laugh it off, but recently she's been doing more, like supplying him with my ringsize and questioning his feelings towards me.

I like to stand my ground on this issue, but I'm really family-oriented, so what 3 people say compared to one temporarily had a bit of an impact on my thoughts.

[EDIT] I just saw all of your question. It's not only my mom pushing the issue. My youngest sister's boyfriend practically lives her and made a huge public engagement a few months back, so everybody seems to now think that's the norm. My sisters think I'm trapped in a loveless relationship since I see my boyfriend so infrequently; it puzzles them. So yes, I'm getting pressure from mom and sisters both. -_-

[ 04-28-2006, 03:05 PM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
likewhoa19
Activist
Member # 28218

Icon 1 posted      Profile for likewhoa19     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Between a full-time job, financial duties, friends, and personal care, most married couples really only spend 2-3 hours a day with their spouse.
Maybe they only spend 2-3 hours a day FOCUSING ATTENTION on their spouse, but they spend many more hours seeing their spouse carrying about all the mundane functions that make them human. You will be sharing your home w/ them, which is a lot different than just seeing someone once a week. You will see them after work everyday, and they may not have the energy to be as pleasant as they are when you see each other one special day each week. You will see the full range of their moods -I think THIS is a very important thing to know about someone (eg how do they handle anger or frustration?) before marriage. You will see how they act when they are less worried about you leaving them, and completely relaxed into a day-to-day routine.

You need to know if you're okay with the way he acts when he's had a bad day. If you're okay w/ the degree of the household chores he can be relied upon to perform regularly. You need to know if you will like sharing a bed with him every night, if he will become selfish sexually, starting to take you for granted. I mean, obviously this is just my opinion, but this is also from watching my parents and a lot of adult couples who were very focused on the "in-love" and not so focused on the "are our lifestyles compatible?" before they got married, and that led to some unhappiness after a few years.

Posts: 193 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe I know how my partner reacts to bad situations and anger quite well. You really don't have to be together physically every day to communicate effectively. It's sort of offensive to suggest to people like myself and DarkChild717 that this is the case, as we both are in long-term relationships that HAVE worked by seeing each other less frequently than some people see fit. A young couple that has dates/goes out together every day has even LESS of a clue of what it's like to actually live together, in my opinion. I don't mean to be rude, but your previous message came off as slightly abrasive. I apologize if mine has as well.

You will see how they act when they are less worried about you leaving them, and completely relaxed into a day-to-day routine.

That statement sort of worries me. Do you mean that living together/being married is a way of feeling more secure together? If so, it's the wrong reason to do so.

I haven't said that I am planning on marrying this guy and moving out of the house; of course we're going to live together first before taking the plunge.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
greenapp1es
Activist
Member # 28071

Icon 1 posted      Profile for greenapp1es     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Likewhoa, sometimes the 2-3 hour is what a spouse will SEE of a partner in a day, not just focusing attention. My best friend and her cohabitating boyfriend have 2-3 waking hours together...which is often spent doing things not focusing attention on one another. This does not mean they never focus attention on one another, just that in a relationship where her boyfriend works 12 hour shifts welding and lives an hour away from his job doing so in that amount daily is unreasonable. They try to enjoy days where they both have off together, and make time for eachother when they can while having enough "alone time" to themselves to keep sane...while doing all of the necessities to keep the house in order.

Also, while you are entirely correct that one needs to know the insides and outs of a partner before a marriage, this can be done without actual face-to-face contact. The amount of time my boyfriend and I physically spend together a week varies...from 1 evening (6hours or so) a week alone to randomly doing stuff for a couple hours each day....it simply depends on our schedules. Friday nights is our day together...non-negotiable. But even if that is the only day that week we have time to physically be with each other we communicate extensively through other mediums...I know how he reacts when frustrated, I know when he's had a good day or bad, I know what eats him and what help get him through stuff, etc.

Also, I've known a bunch of couples who have never cohabiated before marriage and had it successful...it was a matter of knowing their partner well enough and caring enough to communicate through bumps. Also, I've seen long cohabitations break apart.

The biggest thing I think is something you touched on...to make sure the "our our lifestyles compatible" is touched on before marriage...whether people live together or not or no matter how much physical time is spent together. Or, if they're not completely compatible as is, are they close enough to compromise mutually and are both partners open and willing to doing that.

I also agree with miss lauren, moving in together is not something that should be done at all if a partner is "worried about you leaving them." A couple should be secure and comfortable in a relationship BEFORE moving in together, else it can simply exaggerate the problem. If you're already paranoid that you're partner is going to leave you, what is going to happen when your partner wants to hang out with friends alone, for example? The insecure partner is notably all the time their partner is gone, and then if it becomes a problem the other partner does not have a place to excape from a possibly explosive jealousy/control situation without making the problem worse.

Wow...that was long....I also hope I didn't come off as abrasive...that wasn't my intent. Also, Miss Lauren, both you and your boyfriend seem to have a really good grasp of what is healthy long-term in this situation...congrats on that. Being strong indivduals will only help to make you a strong couple, and I hope the best for you. Good luck with your family, I'm sure it must be tons of fun dealing with that kind of informal pressure on a daily basis.

Posts: 96 | From: Illinois | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you so much for your input, everyone.

greenapples, that was exactly what I was trying to say. Most couples I know, my parents included, really do only have 2-3 hours of cohabitation when not sleeping or working. Thanks for your compliments and encouragement, as well. It sure is fun, ah tell ya.

likewhoa19, just because a couple doesn't spend a lot of time physically together doesn't mean they don't know each other well [Smile] . I have spent the night in a bed with my partner, and he has proved an unselfish lover. Concerns about chores and being in bad moods are overcome with good communication. I really didn't intend to sound mean in my other post.

Again, thanks to everybody! I know I could rely on you. You guys are truly awesome.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
likewhoa19
Activist
Member # 28218

Icon 1 posted      Profile for likewhoa19     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well yeah, and I am admittedly undoubtedly cynical. I grew up surrounded by a bunch of middle-aged women who complained that after they'd been married for 5-10 yrs, everything changed. Quality of interest and attention they got from their husband in bed and out went down, etc. (And these WERE women who had dated about 1 day a week for 3-4 yrs and thought they knew their husband before marriage. I think most people these days DO think they know their fiancé.)

So I'm not interested in marriage personally. B/c even though I know people do sometimes have good experiences even after they've been married for 20 yrs, it seems to me like more marriages work through the woman putting up w/ second-class treatment. But I guess divorce is always an option. Yeah, I'm cynical; that has a lot to do with the people I've been exposed to. Sorry if I sounded condescending before, I wasn't implying you shouldn't make your own decision on whether you know him well enough and want to get married.

Oh, child-rearing is another issue that causes me to be cynical about marriage. A study done by a woman at Berkeley of Berkeley PROFESSORS (you'd think smart, independent women who'd want their husbands helping out at home, yes?) found that the average female professor at Berkeley spent 50 hrs a week on household chores and child-rearing. So NO WONDER men hold about 4/5 or more of the tenured positions...

Posts: 193 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Likewoah, did you ever stop to consider that perhaps there might be communciation issues with the people you're using for an example? Really, communcation is key in any relationship. Living together does not negate that fact. Relationships change, too. So, it's not reasonable to expect the first five years to be identical to the following five years, and so on.

Profession does not determine how things work at home, I assure you. Personality, communication, all those things play a vital role.

--------------------
Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Scarleteen? Donations keep us around for you. So give a little! (Or a lot. Whatever works for you.)

Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
likewhoa19
Activist
Member # 28218

Icon 1 posted      Profile for likewhoa19     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
oh, communication is hugely important for overcoming obstacles, I'm not denying that. But I'm not close enough in anyone else's relationship (yours especially) to know how theirs vs. your compares in terms of communication. Of course, there tend to be some obstacles people don't want to overcome, so communication will become passive-agressive, no matter how capable they both could be of open communication. also, the chemical hormone in the brain that causes you to feel the euphoria of love, usually only lasts around 4 yrs, so biologically you will go through periods of just plain not feeling romantically towards a person you're living much more than 4 yrs with, and I think that probably changes people's behavior as well.

I DO think it would be wrong of you to ASSUME, however, that these people with a lot more years do not understand communication as well as you and your boyfriend who you've never lived with.

(I'll ask another question, purely b/c I'm curious about the 1 time a week concept: do you know how often your bf expects to have sex once married? That, as I understand it, becomes a bone of contention for a lot of couples...)

[ 04-28-2006, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: likewhoa19 ]

Posts: 193 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Eh. I'd imagine he'd expect some sort of sexual activity more often that it occurs now, but really, that's not a big factor in our relationship. It never was. When we have the time, it happens, but when we don't? That's okay too.

Never did I make an assumption that I know more about communication than an older couple. I simply pointed out that it could be a factor in your example. I've been volunteering here for nearly six years know, and many of the relationship issues that get posted here can really be helped with communication. It's not assuming anything, that's experience talking.

Going back to the original question: I agree with jane. Frankly, there's nothing outrageous about insisting that someone be emotionally and financially independent before heading out into the world. My mother has always insisted on that very fact. [Smile]

--------------------
Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Scarleteen? Donations keep us around for you. So give a little! (Or a lot. Whatever works for you.)

Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have to say, I am seriously impressed with your boyfriend per this.

Any partner making another's autonomy and independence a requirement for further commitment is showing a LOAD of respect for their partner, and a pretty obvious commitment to the well-being of their partner, even separate from them.

Go him, says I.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Any partner making another's autonomy and independence a requirement for further commitment is showing a LOAD of respect for their partner, and a pretty obvious commitment to the well-being of their partner, even separate from them.

That was in my gut the entire time. Thanks once again to everybody that's helped me. I'll try to help my family to understand, and put less weight on what they think an ideal relationship should be.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
likewhoa19
Activist
Member # 28218

Icon 1 posted      Profile for likewhoa19     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, I mean, personally, I want to have a job and be able to support myself whatever I'm doing, BUT I just thought I'd come back and mention there is another side as well. I don't think this is a problem in your relationship, since your bf is making his intentions clear from the start. BUT I can say that in my parents relationship, once they got married my mom wanted to stay at home full-time and have babies istead of working professionally, and that's when a lot of conflict started b/c my dad actually cared about the money issue, and wanted her to be working.

So with regards to
quote:

a LOAD of respect for their partner

I guess it's important to know for sure whether it's that he wants you to be independent, OR if it's that he only wants to be married to you if you are bringing in money/doesn't respect child-rearing as an activity (I mean, if having children is something you want to do eventually for a few years, otherwise I suppose you wouldn't care). You may already know in which sense he meant that ultimatum, it's just that some people really do care about the money rather than their partner's independence per se, so it's important I think to not make assumptions about a statement like that being a good thing just b/c we're women who LIKE to work.
Posts: 193 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
-Lauren-
Activist
Member # 25983

Icon 1 posted      Profile for -Lauren-     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I understand your concern, likewhoa. I considered it myself.

However, I just yesterday asked him what he truly meant by what he said. He said basically that in general, being independant is just something I should do before going out on my own. He knows I'm unhappy with my current life situation, and thinks I could benefit from working to change it. And lastly, that although he has no intention of going anywhere, it isn't guaranteed that he will be around in the next few years for whatever reason. He wants me to be able to care for myself so that I'm not left utterly helpless if he's not around.

So, that put my mind entirely at ease.

Posts: 4636 | From: USA/Northern Europe | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

  New Poll   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3