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Are we just too different to make this work?

Tagged as: Dating, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (1 November 2008) 3 Answers - (Newest, 20 June 2009)
A male Canada age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I'm hoping someone can shed some light on some feelings I'm having lately as well as what my girlfriend might be thinking and/or feeling. I fear this will be a long read but hopefully I can keep it reasonable.

I've been living with my girlfriend and her two children for the past 4 months and overall it's been great. I love her dearly and I know she loves me too. The move was a major change from how I had been living previously, on my own and single for 3.5 years while I went back to school to change careers. I know that some of how I've been feeling has been related to the complete change of pace of my life but I accept that, and while I have trouble with it at times, I find as long as I take some time for myself here and there (which I wasn't at first), I can adapt.

Lately though I'm starting to see things and it's making me wonder if we're just so fundamentally different in some of our likes/dislikes/ways that it just can't work.

She is very, as best as I can put it, sophisticated. She is well educated (languages), traveled and informed about the world around her. She is interested in reading up on the latest medical breakthroughs and politics and can easily be at home in a room of powerful players, which she often is through her work. She can name-drop with the best of them and could probably tell you the names of all the MP's in our city. She loves Jazz and 'adult contemporary' music. Her intellect is one of the things that attracted me to her in the first place, but as it turns out it's a bit of a double edged sword.

I am educated as well (design school) and feel I'm reasonably intelligent. I'm greatly interested in design and art. I love indie rock and alternative music and watch movies and play video games to relax and have some fun.

Here's where we start to run into problems. I can accept that we have different personal interests, it keeps things fresh and I've honestly learned a bit by showing an interest in what she likes, not to mention met some pretty interesting people. Granted some of the things have been utterly boring for me but I do them because I know they're important to her, which is what I think makes a relationship work. I don't know that she can say the same.

She literally hates any kind of remotely "lowbrow" humor which has become an issue of late. I love movies like Superbad or Harold and Kumar, shows like Family Guy and Southpark, and love to listen to the morning show on the edge here in Toronto. She says that these things are insulting to her intelligence and literally hates them, and I honestly think (based on comments from her) that she looks down on people that do like that stuff because, in her words, she just doesn't get that sort of humor. That's where it becomes a problem, I can deal with her not liking something that I do, but to look down on those that do IS a problem because I do. Not to mention that I no longer get to listen to the morning show I like, and unless I want to hear her go on about how stupid something was, watching those kinds of movies are out too. She doesn't understand that it's not even about movies, or TV or the radio, it's the fact that I feel I can't enjoy those things anymore which is a big problem for me.

Then there's the video games. I know most women don't like them and I don't expect her to all of a sudden get into playing Counterstrike. But she has made it clear that she thinks video games are nothing but a complete waste of time and if she had her choice they wouldn't be in her house. She's been better lately but, for example, she came home the other day and I was sitting playing something after working my butt off getting some yard work done for a few hours. I felt I deserved to relax for a bit before she got home and we went out (we had plans) but she was instantly in a horrible mood when she walked in the door, which remained for the rest of the evening. She wouldn't say what was bothering her and actually said she was fine but I'm smart enough to deduce what it was and know she was far from 'fine'.

I could go on and will gladly answer questions to fill in gaps as best I can. Guess I'm just starting to wonder if she actually likes me. I know she loves me, I feel that from her and can see that in her eyes, but I just have to wonder if she can like someone who's into things that she looks down upon. I won't even get started on what she thinks about things like Maxim magazine (which I like to read) and it's ilk.

Thanks for any insight you can offer.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (20 June 2009):

She sounds like she is full of herself and has some unresolved personal issues;she is not a single mom for nothing. What brought the two of you together in the first place? There is nothing wrong with differences,though these days there is a lot of selfishness and displacement going around. Compromise and respect are the keys to good relationships. Ask her what she saw in you in the first place,and do not be her whipping boy!!!

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A female reader, babomi China +, writes (1 November 2008):

babomi agony auntwell, the thing that bothers her is that you re sharing the tastes of a teenager

basically you re showing "i haven t changed since i was 15, it has been 15 years, half of my life, i made these choices when i was a young, immature brat, and i haven t found better to feel good since ... errr ... i haven t even looked actually"

if you keep at it for a good 15 years more, lose some hair and add some beer gut, you know what you get?

homer simpson (worst case scenario)

i can understand she s not feeling comfortable with this static attitude if she s a curious, open person, looking for progress and achievement

it seems like you re not going anywhere in the case of your own satisfaction and personal evolution, that would be scary and frustrating for any partner

it s not only "harold & kumar"

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (1 November 2008):

It does sound like you two have your differences. I had the same problems with my husband. We share some common interest but a lot of thing we don't see eye to eye on. I think that you two should sit down and have a long talk about compromise. Try it out for a little while, see what happens, and if it doesn't work and she is one sided I think you should leave. Find somebody you are compatible with. You also need to take into consideration the fact that she has two children. She probably wants to raise them a certain way, you know have certain influences around them. This is where it is hard for a single mother to adjust to having another adult figure in her children's lives. My husband would put Family Guy on for my at that time four year old daughter to watch. NOT COOL. So, we compromised. He would put Family Guy on for him to watch after she went to bed and because I didn't really care for the show at that time I would go do something else. So... OPEN COMMUNICATION AND A LOT OF COMPROMISING.

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