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(16 Posts)
CharlieChan Wed 08-May-13 14:59:50

Hi there... HELP I need your advice! When a couple have such massively differing tastes, views, opinions (I don't know how we didn't see these differences in the very beginning) - how on earth do you compromise when you have a 15 month old baby? We can't agree on food, clothes, hairstyle, parenting methods... anything. We have a whole load of other issues going on as well which we're trying to tackle but this is one major issue for us. Is anyone else in a relationship where there are so many disagreements?! We've been together for nearly 5 years and are on the cusp of separating. In fact we have split up but I'm fighting for us to work it out... (I'm the Mum).

Hassled Wed 08-May-13 15:04:53

I'm struggling to see how wildly you can disagree on something like clothes for a 15 month old. And food - well there are books and guidelines which you should both have a look at, and take whichever of your approaches seems closest. There's help out there to tell you what the "right" way is.

Parenting methods - what, specifically? Are we talking things like the strictness (or not) of routines? Discipline?

How much of this is being driven by exhaustion and stress, do you think? Is the fact you think, say, a Big Mac is fine and he thinks only organic wheatgerm will do actually the problem?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 15:05:51

If you can't agree on trivial stuff like food and clothes and you can't agree to disagree, I think you're wasting your time. Why do you think you didn't you spot this incompatibility earlier? Didn't you talk to each other?

Dahlen Wed 08-May-13 15:07:51

Well, for starters you might want to consider the fact that separating won't actually solve the problem, as there's nothing like conflicting parenting styles to cause bad-feeling between separated co-parents.

Which means, you need to find a way of dealign with these differences that will work whatever happens to your relationship.

If things are that bad you can't talk without it descending into an argument, perhaps mediation might be the best way forward.

scaevola Wed 08-May-13 15:07:58

It sounds to me as if all those things are actually symptoms, not causes.

You are unlikely to be able to 'fix' any of them if communication between you is poor? The differences were there all along, but would not have been a problem if communication was good earlier on. You mention bigger issues too - could it all be connected?

First step is whether you both want to work on your relationship, and agree in what areas you have problems. And then work out how you deal with them. Would you, as a couple, think you would see more progress if you worked on the bigger things first in the hope that daily irritants will reduce as those sources of friction resolve? Or do you agree it would be better to try to find productive ways to deal with small conflicts in the hope it will give you tools to tackle the big ones?

CharlieChan Wed 08-May-13 15:14:19

Well clothes wise - my partner dresses the baby really scruffily which winds me up because he's my pride and joy. Food - I stress if my baby doesn't eat properly and will keep trying something until he eats. My partner just gives up if he doesn't like something and won't end up feeding him anything or very little. Also where we shop and what brands we buy. I read the books / websites and guidelines but my partner thinks I'm too uptight and obsessed with it all. He doesn't listen to me... Parenting methods - he thinks I run to my baby's aid too quickly and I worry too much if he shows any slight bit of illness - runny nose, cough, conjuntivitis, temp. My partner will say he's fine when he's blatantley not. I think there's a lot of stress involved at least now. It's getting unbearable.

JoinTheDots Wed 08-May-13 15:18:16

I agree, how much of this is "I want his hair cut" vs "His hair so so cute long!" and how much is actually the bigger things you are going through, coming out when you argue over hair / food / what to dress the baby in?

Parenting styles are important to agree on - in terms of sleep training and discipline, but there is usually a bias towards the person who does the most childcare, making the primary decision on this, as long as the other person does not -really- hate the way you do things.

Personally I think you have to pick your battles, so the other person decides on hair styles, you decide what they wear, or whatever.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 08-May-13 15:27:06

Oh so it's just food and clothes for the baby. Not generally? I've always thought that's the beauty of having two parents because kids get different treatment from each and it usually ends up compromised in the middle. Have you got any in-laws chipping in their two penn'orth? That's when it gets really interesting normally.

Are you sure this is really about baby clothes and runny noses though? Are there any other tensions in the relationship that haven't been worked through properly?

CharlieChan Wed 08-May-13 15:27:28

Yep some good points thank you all. I'm new on here and it just feels good to air it. I know we have bigger issues but it's just about how to tackle these smaller day to day things at the moment. I like your suggestion jointhedots.

Cryptonomicon Wed 08-May-13 15:36:19

Something else to think about - are you actually prepared to compromise or do you think you are always right and you want to work out how to get him to agree with you?

Do you actually listen to each other or just wait for your turn to speak (so you can convince him he is wrong)?

I found that my relationship with my husband improved when I was honest with myself about these things and actually made an effort to see things from his point of view.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 08-May-13 15:56:06

If you can back-track a bit, were things all right between you before you had your baby? The things you mention are more likely to have been simmering a long time. Somehow people always place great store on being compatible, actually lots of couples get along with quite different approaches to allsorts, but fundamentally they respect each other's choices and care enough about one another to ignore the petty stuff.

If on the other hand one of you can't/won't compromise I don't think there's a lot of mileage in a liaison, add to that the sheer demands of having a toddler and you're pretty much up against it.

wheredidiputit Wed 08-May-13 17:34:08

You need to take a step back. Your child is 15mth it doesn't what they are wearing. You get them dressed they get dirty. If you don't like the 'scuffy' clothes then throw them away.

As for food again why are you so full on. your child will eat what they want may eat loads one day and nothing the next it what they do.

Do you really want to compromise if yes then how, you need to change as well as your partner.

CharlieChan Wed 08-May-13 21:14:34

I am bending over backwards to get us to talk and listen and compromise. We do talk and we let each other speak - we don't shout or raise our voices anymore. We've been to a couple of relate sessions but he won't go anymore. I am self analysing sooo much and trying to acknowldege where I might have have gone wrong and how I want to address it and have said I want to work at it but he's still putting so much blame on me and he's saying he has been consistent all along and hasn't changed and he thinks I'm trying to change him. Maybe it's because he can't adapt to the new life... He's basically saying now we're incompatible, the person that I've become isn't someone that can make him happy. 'Parties don't stop when you become a family..' that's one thing he said that rings in my ears. Bah anyway - I think the split is inevitable. I'm not going to beg.

CharlieChan Wed 08-May-13 21:16:19

Donkeydontridebicycles - I think you've hit the nail on the head.

Thanks everyone..

Moanranger Wed 08-May-13 21:28:43

You sound quite anxious. From my POV some of the stuff that is stressing you out isn't very important tho I acknowledge that you think it is. Have you examined your own anxiety?
I had to recognise that my H did things differently when he took charge of kids, and while I didn't necessarily approve, I knew it was important that he had his own parenting norms, not just following a "to do" list written by mummy.

CharlieChan Wed 08-May-13 21:35:53

I'm totally anxious and I know that I have to chill out and let him be - I've said this to him. I'm going to see a counsellor but he's saying it's beyond repair. He can't acknowedge that we've had to go through a lot of adapting to our new life - he won't let me have that.

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