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KimberlyF, Longtime Relationship Expert
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I am in a wonderful relationship and were planning on getting

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I am in a wonderful relationship and we're planning on getting married but we have a couple fundamental differences on issues that haven't really been a problem so far but I'm worried about for the future. My girlfriend really wants me to go back to school to get a degree but I already have a really good job that pays me as much or more than the job I would get with a bachelor's degree plus by the time I was done with my degree I will have four more years of raises and some seniority. I've explained all this to her and it didn't seem to be an issue but she keeps bringing it up so I know this is something she really wants. I don't want to be in a relationship where my partner is disappointed in me and I also don't want to go to school and throw away thousands of dollars just to make her happy. 2nd she's christian, i'm atheist and it doesn't seem to be a problem but I think she's trying to take me to church to convert me. I think these are problems but she feels I will give in

HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. By the way, it would help us to know:


-What are your ages?


-How long have you been dating?


-Have you ever consider going to an online college at night?


-Did she know you were athiest when she started dating you?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

I'm 23 and she is 33 but we have no problem with our age difference unless you're thinking we're just at different points in our life.


We've been dating for 4 months. Except for last night when these two questions started bothering me I would've been ready to marry her at anytime. I haven't bought her an engagement ring or anything so marriage isn't imminent but I don't want to hang around this relationship if we have fundamental issues that we can't work out.


I've considered online college but the problem for me is still the same because I feel like it is throwing money away since I already have a job that pays about average for a bachelors degree and if I'm going to school I probably won't be able to work overtime like I am now. So, online college is even more expensive than going to the actual school (I live fairly close to some) and I don't see any benefit to it anyway.


Another thing is she wants to go back to school to become a nurse and I know one time I said I wasn't going back to school she was worried that meant I wouldn't allow her to go back to school but I assured her that was not the case and she hasn't brought this up again so I don't think that's the reason.


She knew I was an atheist when we started dating or very soon thereafter. I remember her saying she was worried about it at first but I quickly talked her out of it and she hasn't brought it up since except wanting me to go to church with her. She's also said she doesn't expect me to go to church if I since I don't believe but I don't know if she really feels that way.



She may have more of a problem with you being atheist than the college issue and since you made it clear to her that you didn't want to go back to college then that really shouldn't be an issue especially when you are making the same amount of money you would with your Bachelor's degree she may just be worried with the economy the way it is that you may lose your job to someone who is more qualified degree wise, you just have to keep reassuring her that you job is secure if it is secure. As far as the difference in religion that can become a huge issue when it comes to you getting married and I'm sure she will want to get married in her church and you may not want to get married in a church and if you do you may have to go to her church to even be considered to get married there alot of church only marry people within the congregation and also as fas as the two of you having children it will pose a huge difference if she wants to teach them about God and the bible and the fact that you do not believe in it. These are really things you will have to discuss and talk about before you even consider asking her to marry you what if she says yes to your marriage proposal and you get married and then she realizes you have too many difference and then it's too late you are married and it ends in divorce.


I think she accepted these things about you because she thought that if you loved her you would change for her but that isn't a good idea to think that way or to want someone you love to change who they are to make you happy then that person doing the changing isn't happy so there is no happy medium. You both are going to have to find common ground on these issues if you are to be truly happy in your marital lives, so try to work on these things now and don't give in and then feel like you compromised yourself and your beliefs to make her happy or you will only grow to possibly resent her later in life for having changed who you were.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

The main issue is with going back to school though. I don't think it has anything to do with my job or the economy. She just seems to feel that strongly that I need to go to school and get a degree. My mother is the same way and now they kind of try to team up on me. Maybe it just takes someone with those feelings to understand but I'm not sure she can come around to my viewpoint. I feel that the chances of the degree improving my life are very slim and I know if I do it and it doesn't improve my life I'll probably resent her.


Her religious beliefs are not a problem for me at all. We don't plan on having kids but if we do she can tell them whatever stories she wants I would happily let them believe in God if they want. I just think it may be a problem for her if I don't believe. I read other advice columns about this and the wife always seems to feel very strongly that the guy is either lazy or a bad person if he doesn't go to church.



Then you have to make her see that things aren't going to effect your lives and you have to also make her see that she has to support you no matter what your decision is, especially about school. Tell her and your mother you don't see adding yet another expense to your budget when you already have a great paying job and got it without having your bachelor's degree and with the job experience you are getting from this job you will never need that degree and it will be taking away from you making more money and your time you could be spending doing other things. If college is the only issue you feel you will have with her then that isn't so big that you can not ask her to marry you when you get the ring do it the traditional way women always love that. It won't mean the same if you do not have a ring it's just tradition. You seems to be a great couple except for your disagreeing on college and alot of couples fight over worse things than that. You can work through it together!

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