Hello, I'm Dr. Jackie, an interpersonal communication researcher/professor and relationship expert. I would like to talk to you some more about your conflicts and see if any can possibly result in a compromise or other result. I'll wait on line to see if you want to chat right now.
If I do not see you come back online, I'll try to answer as best as I can based on your post. :)
I am going to post my response here but will also send you an invitation to talk on the phone or Skype some time later. Or of course, we could meet on here at a mutually good time. For now...
Your situation is not unique in that so many of us grow up with a set idea of how things "should be" ideally or at least how we envision our adult lives playing out--based on our own examples from our childhood. And to give you the easy answer first, yes, it IS possible to continue to be happy despite different goals--as long as you can somehow come to some type of mutual solution or compromise. If you cannot, however, as long as both of your conflicts/goals remain strong and unaltered, then you will continue to have conflicts. So let's take each conflict briefly.
Conflict 1: Living together / Not together. I admire your decision as I am guessing it is a moral/religious conviction. And I think you can work through this one even though he wants to live together before/if you were to get married. I am wondering if it is a moral thing if you could stay at each other's places for several days at a time as you get more serious in order to "practice" living together. This is such a tough one because it is noble wanting to respect one's convictions. However, most married couples have minor conflicts about toilet paper (over or under), tooth paste place, dishes in the sink, etc. that can be resolved BEFORE making the ultimate commitment. Living together or as I have suggested, staying over for a few days here and there, maybe on weekends, can give you a better feel.
Fortunately, I cannot find anywhere where it is stated that either of you have been married before/lived together before. If this is true, since you are young, you may not find yourselves in the conflict that older, divorced individuals have because they are more "set in their ways". So I agree that you may be able to resolve this conflict more easily than the others.
Conflict 2: Stay-at-home Mom vs. "Working Mom."----Let me tell you something not just from research studies (which is where I like to post answers since they are based on up-to-date study results) but from my own experience PLUS research. Growing up, my mother CHOSE to stay at home with me. She is incredibly intelligent (M.S. and B.S.) but gave up her career to stay at home. Even when financially our home could have benefited from her working outside the home, my parents decided that she should be home. I often wondered how anyone could be satisfied or not feel lazy, probably because of the then famous show, "Married with Children." Now as a professor full-time and counselor, I often am tempted to hire a nanny. With three children, it can get overwhelming. In fact, my husband and I made the recent decision that he would stay at home most of the time and work from home all but two days a week. And two of our children are school-aged. The reason is that with activities and school and homework and trying to cook healthy, nutritious meals, etc., I do not see HOW families can manage with both partners working outside the home full-time and still manage to maintain a relatively clean home, keep caught up with laundry, and eat good, cooked food (not take out or delivery). Staying at home, even when the kids are school-aged, absolutely can be a full-time job. I never "saw" how much my mother did at home until I started coming home tired and faced piles of laundry and hungry family members! So I am guessing your boyfriend simply does not realize or remember what it takes to maintain a home with active children. So maybe if he reads this or you can get him to read some studies (I can give you some references), he will see how much work there really is at home. And if he is not willing to do half the laundry, half the cooking and cleaning, etc., then he should realize that your job as a stay-at-home is DEFINITELY not a lazy choice!!!
Do you want to talk about these on the phone/Skype or do you know if you will be back on to chat? It is going on 1:00 p.m. East Coast Time. I have some appointments this afternoon but can talk later this evening if you would like. Please let me know. Best! -- Dr. Jackie