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How different is too different for a relationship to work?

(26 Posts)
CocoPlum Thu 19-Nov-15 14:41:13

Very early days of dating someone new. At the weekend it came up, are we suited to one another. His view is that at the moment, he likes me, likes talking to me, we have fun etc, but that we are fundamentally very different people and it will take some time to work out if that's something that would work in a relationship.

I'm not sure how different is too different, and I just wondered, what do you think would be a deal breaking difference? I'm trying to work out if he's right, because I'm not sure he is in our case!

cailindana Thu 19-Nov-15 14:42:58

Differences about money, where to live, gender roles, communication and family are usually deal breakers.

MidnightVelvetthe4th Thu 19-Nov-15 14:44:14

I think you're overthinking it, it was possibly a flippant comment from a lighthearted conversation with no thought behind it at all. If its a new relationship then maybe he wants you to slow down a bit so was applying the brakes?

UmbongoUnchained Thu 19-Nov-15 14:44:16

I broke up with someone once who had very different attitudes to parenting than me. There was no way I wanted him parenting my children.

RatherBeRiding Thu 19-Nov-15 14:47:59

For me its very important to have shared values first and foremost, a shared view of what's "right" and what's "wrong". After that things like politics, background, hobbies etc etc seem to take care of themselves. Maybe he meant something like that?

NewLife4Me Thu 19-Nov-15 14:48:58

Me and my dh are like chalk and cheese and share hardly any views tbh, well when we started out we didn't.
Over the years we have compromised, on things that can't be compromised we take it in turns who has the over riding decision.
Seriously, we didn't agree on most of cailindana list, but we worked at it as life apart seemed unbearable.
We have been married for 23 years, have had ups and downs as most marriages do, but today are stronger than ever.

Good luck to you, it doesn't mean your relationship won't survive, but you'll both need to be committed to compromising and making it work, if you can't live without each other.

RedMapleLeaf Thu 19-Nov-15 14:52:11

What do you want from him / a relationship with him?

What differences are there that concern you?

(Remember, he's not the prize).

CocoPlum Thu 19-Nov-15 14:53:12

midnight it was quite an intense conversation. Not very flippant at all.

A lot of the things you're all mentioning - parenting, where to live etc, we so far seem fairly similar in. Parenting is definitely huge for me.

Rather I feel like he was referring more to things like background, hobbies etc, which is why I feel.confused. he specifically mentioned a passion of his that he said even if I was interested in what he said about it, I would never understand or love it like he does. I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing though.

CocoPlum Thu 19-Nov-15 14:54:01

School run! I'll come back to this later smile

Handywoman Thu 19-Nov-15 14:56:50

how long is a piece of string? depends somewhat if you are planing to marry, cohabit, have children, styles of communication, fundamental values, what can be humoured, tolerated, negotiated etc.

recently came out of a relationship where he was the total opposite in parenting style. that was a deal breaker. could have been workable if the dc had been kept separate but he was often an emotional wreck about his dc even when she wasn't there. so it was a fundamentally unworkable issue would have liked to have been a fwb but he wasn't up for that

OP I'll bet the guy you are dating isn't giving it half as much thoughts as you. Is there a gut feeling (vv important)??????? Maybe if you're posting here, your gut is telling you.

Or can you not go with the flow???

TheWoodenSpoonOfMischief Thu 19-Nov-15 14:59:42

My dh and I are really different. We have differing political views and values but there is some crossover.
But somehow we get on. We can compromise and respect each other.
We ve been married 17 years.

RedMapleLeaf Thu 19-Nov-15 15:03:57

I feel like he was referring more to things like background, hobbies etc, which is why I feel.confused. he specifically mentioned a passion of his that he said even if I was interested in what he said about it, I would never understand or love it like he does.

What do you think??

NewLife4Me Thu 19-Nov-15 15:03:58

My dh is not a social person at all, happier with his own company, close family and the occasional smallish dinner with another couple.

I'm a socialite and quite outgoing, very loud to his very quiet.
It works well, although our personal social life isn't too interesting, but we do things like theatre, cinema, eating out etc.

We are both 50 next year, the thought of a party, especially surprise sends dh out in a rash or gibbering wreck. I'll be bloody upset if I don't get a surprise party. grin

category12 Thu 19-Nov-15 15:11:00

It sounds to me like he's telling you this is a short term thing. I don't know why it would matter if you'd never love or understand his hobby like him - it's not obligatory to share every interest hmm. But seems like he's preparing the ground.

Joysmum Thu 19-Nov-15 15:43:36

Another vhalk and cheese relationship here. 22 years on and going strong with disagreements.

That's fine, we can't be all things to all people but in a relationship with the freedom and understanding that this is the case and we can interact with others to fill in the gaps, we're do nicely.

In fact it's a real benefit that we are 2 halves of something great. I'm a planner, he's great in a crisis (we don't get many because I plan well!), you get the drift.

CocoPlum Thu 19-Nov-15 16:36:47

Red there aren't many differences that concern me, these were his thoughts. I kind of like some of the stuff we don't have in common. What I want from a relationship - not necessarily with him - is to be listened to and respected, and treated like I am important within a relationship. Equally I need someone who understands that my children have to be the priority while they are so young. It's important that whoever I'm with understands that I've chosen to be a SAHM.

I don't think it matters that I don't share that passion. I'm very happy to learn about it - I like hearing him talk about it and he doesn't patronise me when he has to explain stuff - but I don't see it as necessary to share the interest. As it happens, he has a job that is very tied into a great passion of mine.

Handywoman I am pretty happy to go with the flow for now. I'm just pondering it because to me these differences aren't so apparent and I don't want to keep quizzing him on it. As long as he's happy to continue seeing what happens but with a positive attitude (rather than believing it's unworkable from the start) that's ok.

Onesteptoofar Thu 19-Nov-15 19:56:42

Yes sounds like he doesn't see a future with you and this is his way of letting you know that. This is the excuse I've given to the past 2 men I've been involved with.

niceupthedance Thu 19-Nov-15 20:20:26

Fundamental differences to me would be differences in lifestyle eg drinker/non drinker, lark/night owl, planner/leave things until last minute, tidy/messy etc.

But I agree it seems he has found a reason he doesn't want to get serious with you, and I don't think you can probe him about it, unless you want to hear that.

HPsauciness Thu 19-Nov-15 22:50:23

niceup me and my husband are really different on most of these, I don't drink/he does, he is often late/I am always early, he's messy/I'm less messy and so on- our body clocks are fairly equal though.

I honestly don't think any of these are deal-breakers, I think something like 'gender roles' would be a killer difference for me, if he was anything less than 100% behind me fulfilling my potential, I couldn't hack the latent sexism of many many guys I know.

Op, I don't think that's the issue here, though, I agree with the person saying this sounds like an 'I like you but...' type conversation, you are focusing on one aspect of it, but it does sound like he's going to come back to this and not really be that into you- see how things go but if these conversations reoccur, then I don't think that's good news, he certainly isn't falling for you if he's saying stuff like this.

Botanicbaby Fri 20-Nov-15 00:25:01

Uh oh. "Very early days of dating" and already it's come up whether you're suited. By him. Added to that he seems to be implying that no matter what, you'll never 'get' his hobby/interest in the special way he does. So fucking what. He sounds like he needs to get over himself.

Why should you need to? As you say, you're in the very early stages of dating. Why invest so much of your time/effort trying to understand his hobby/him.

Is he putting in the same amount of effort for you?

Sansoora Fri 20-Nov-15 02:01:10

At the weekend it came up, are we suited to one another. His view is that at the moment, he likes me, likes talking to me, we have fun etc, but that we are fundamentally very different people and it will take some time to work out if that's something that would work in a relationship.

Im really sorry, but it sounds as if he's just biding time with you till the right person comes along.

Steamedcharsiubun Fri 20-Nov-15 02:30:10

His hobby whatever it is sounds like it is a dominant part of his life and if that means he wants to put in time, money and effort and you won't understand it then listen to what he is saying.

Regardless of compatibility levels amongst people on this thread it seems like he has given you a warning shot across your bows.

The biggest issues are usually money, parenting and interactions with extended family.

firesidechat Fri 20-Nov-15 14:00:36

* I feel like he was referring more to things like background, hobbies etc, which is why I feel.confused. he specifically mentioned a passion of his that he said even if I was interested in what he said about it, I would never understand or love it like he does. I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing though.*

If he said that with a perfectly straight face and wasn't joking, then I would have happily walked away at that point. It's such a ridiculous thing to say.

firesidechat Fri 20-Nov-15 14:01:10

Ahh. Bold fail, but you know what I mean.

MiniTheMinx Fri 20-Nov-15 17:59:12

There is another perspective. I wouldn't assume he is sending a negative message just because he's a man.

Differences matter more when there is poor communication and unwillingness to compromise.

Perhaps he is sounding out whether the two of you can compromise, are able to acknowledge and discuss this, perhaps he needs reassurance that the differences are not insurmountable. I think also some men may panic because they think women want to change them and perhaps his way of seeing whether your response indicates this.

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