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TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My boyfriend and I are not sure if we share the same values.

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My boyfriend and I are not sure if we share the same values. We are worried this might be a problem in the future.Background: We have been dating for 9 months. I'm 29 and he is 30. He told me a few days ago that he is nervous about his future. He is mostly nervous about his job because he isn't earning as much money as he was promised from his employer. He says he feels like a boy and not a man yet due to his issue with job and also because he hasn't traveled. He also said that he is nervous about us because he feels pressure now that we are getting older and all of our friends are getting married. He says he thankfully doesn't feel any pressure coming from me. However, he is concerned that we might have big value conflicts that we expressed earlier in our relationship.1st Conflict- he wants to live together before marriage and I do not. He isn't ready to live together anyway. He agrees with me that it is less pressure if we don't live together...so we could possibly agree to forget this idea.2nd Conflict- his mother worked full time and nannies took care of him and his brother. He imagines his future wife will take a similar path. My mother was a stay-at-home mom while my dad worked. I imagine I would take this path. He told me a few months back that he would be open to this idea if he made more money. And he still said this last weekend, but I sensed hesitation. He also said "If I can't afford to provide this to you, then I'll feel like a failure."He said he doesn't want to break up, but he understands if I want to move on to a richer and older man. He kept repeating how nervous he is about his future. He expressed too that he wants me to get a better job now so I can contribute something. At the moment, I can't contribute much because I have a very unpredictable career in the TV industry. He makes a lot more money than me. He said it's unfair of me to expect that lifestyle in a few years while I am not helping towards that kind of goal with the lifestyle I lead right now. I understand that concern.I'm worried we might be doomed for failure. He said he will try his best to see my points of view but he still sees a stay-at-home mom as a lazy profession after the kids are in school. What are your thoughts? Can we work through this or are these problems possibly going to continue? Besides all of this, we are happy now.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

If I do not see you come back online, I'll try to answer as best as I can based on your post. :)

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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...

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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!!!

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

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

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am online now...I can speak in a few minutes. Maybe 1 minute
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I am online now. I will read your response.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** your responses. Those are helpful.
To answer your question- no, neither of us have ever been married before. I lived with a boyfriend once for a few months. I am ashamed of myself for not listening to my gut that I shouldn't have lived with a boyfriend because it was much more painful to separate after living together. My boyfriend lived with a girlfriend once but only for one month because he was between places. They broke up shortly after that.
I will try to get the courage to show him your responses in a few days. His concerns are more due to me not having much money to contribute. He is slightly jealous of me because I was able to travel, chase my career goals, and burn through all of my savings in the process. He feels like it is unfair for me to burn through all of my savings like that, and now demand this of him in the future because I have nothing saved up. He also doesn't see how families can live on one average income. And he feels jealous that he has not lived out his youth to his satisfaction (traveling, etc). He feels like all of the pressure is on him to do well and not me. Growing up, he said none of his friends had stay-at-home moms. Everyone had a live-in nanny, including my boyfriend.
Overall, I know he loves me but I have an inkling that he is just passing the time with me because he enjoys the company. He said isn't sure when he will be ready for marriage and kids, and even once we get to that point, he is worried we will never see eye-to-eye. I told him I will try to get a more steady job now and try to save so he knows I'm not just putting all the pressure on him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I love some references from you regarding studies of stay-at-home parents.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I am following up to see if you have any further input? I would also like to see the references you mentioned regarding studies of stay-at-home-parents. Thank you.

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