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Am I being fair?

(20 Posts)
Thistledew Tue 23-Jun-09 21:32:34

I have been in a relationship for about a year and a half, and things are now at the stage where we are heading towards a serious commitment (talking about buying a house together, discussing expectations from a long-term relationship).

DP is a really lovely man with an affectionate, gentle, honest and caring personality. He is intelligent, well educated, and we have very similar outlooks on life. He is good-looking in a ruggedly hansom way, and although I have been out with better looking men, I fancy him to bits. He has a good job with a quietly ambitious career path, yet is very much a work-to-live rather than live-to-work type of person.

I know that he will make a great father and be a husband who will do (more than?) his fair share of running the household. This is particularly important to me as I have a very demanding career that I am passionate about, and would not be able to give up to be a SAHM (I get bored, miserable and grumpy working in an office each day, let alone staying at home). We have even discussed the possibility of DP being a SAHD.

Basically, DP is a great catch, but there are a few points where our personalities do not quite gel, most of which do not cause a problem or which we have already resolved any conflict, for example I am the more extrovert and gregarious of the two of us- we have already resolved an issue around the fact that I like to be the last one standing on a night out whereas he is quite often the first one wanting to leave. He is also more organized than I am, but I am quite happy to be organized by someone else!

It certainly works well for me to be with someone who is a bit more organized and practicable than I am, and he seems to like my more spontaneous, devil-may-care attitude.

The only problem here is that I find him just a little bit dull, or as rather feisty aunt of mine described him “a bit solemn”. Not all the time, and hardly ever when it is just the two of us, but it is something I notice when we are in company.

Sorry for the essay, but my question is: am I being fair to him or to myself to enter into a commitment with him without thinking that he is the most perfect man ever?

angel1976 Tue 23-Jun-09 21:53:34

I think it's bad and unrealistic to enter a relationship/commitment thinking that the other person is perfect!

The reason why I got with DH and why we married was because he loves me and he is very loyal. He compliments me very well (I'm a little 'flighty' to say the least blush so he grounds me) and we work very well in the relationship. Of course it helps that we love each other very much and we are soulmates to each other. I don't think he is perfect. Never has and never will. And there are some things that I knew about him before we got married that I sort of knew would cause problems later on but marriage is a bit of a leap of faith. You marry because you cannot live without each other but also with a blind faith of some sort that if you have love, you can get through anything...

You sound like you have a great relationship. Is it you who find him dull or are you worried about what others think? I suppose you need to ask yourself whether he is what you want for the rest of your life. You sound very sensible. Maybe too sensible? I'm very outgoing too and DH is more reserved. I've gone out with men who are very gregarious but I found myself competing with them for others' attention and it's hard work! So the grass might not be greener on the other side... Good luck!

Thistledew Tue 23-Jun-09 22:05:46

Thanks angel.

I think you are right in that I can be too sensible sometimes (even if I am not necessarily on a day to day level). Also, I made a spectacularly poor choice in my last serious relationship so am probably over-thinking this one too much.

It bothers me that I sometimes find him a bit dull more than worrying about others' reactions, although it may also be to do with the fact that I used to be very shy myself, and now have much more fun since I plucked up courage to be the life and soul of the party.

What does worry me is that I am not sure I have that 'can't live without him' feeling. I am very a very independent sort of person and don't feel that I need to be in a relationship. I also have the belief that there is no such thing as 'the one' and that one could have a satisfactory relationship with any one of a number of people. Very unromantic, I know!

OptimistS Tue 23-Jun-09 22:07:24

Not sure if 'being fair' is the right way to think about this. You are both who you are and neither of you can or should change as neither of you are doing anything wrong. You seem to accept that and are not looking at this in terms of change. You seem to be looking at it more in terms of 'can we live with this or is it going to be a point of friction x years down the line?'.

IMO you have a very sensible attitude. Even if you can't live with it, it doesn't necessarily mean you are being unfair to your DP. There are numerous posts on MN from people who have settled down with someone they really liked and respected, maybe even loved, but didn't really lust after. Initially everything is fine, but that lack of lust eventually results in one partner resenting the other and the relationship falling apart. Very sad all round, but no one's actual fault. Your problem is in a similar vein.

I don't the answer, but 1.5 years into a relationship is fairly early days tbh. It's well documented that the so-called honeymoon period can last a good 2 years. Obviously there are loads and loads of exceptions to this, but my advice would be to just keep things as they are for a bit longer. If you are at the stage where the honeymoon period has worn off and you are deciding whether you can live with the real person (as opposed to the 'perfect' person you saw in the first throes of romance) then give yourself enough time to make that decision. Better to take your time and make the right decision than jump in, hope for the best and then realise you've made the wrong choice.

FWIW, he sounds lovely and bearing in mind that it will be your partner, not your friends, who will share the sleep deprivation and enforced nights in that accompany having a child, I'd be inclined to ignore the fact that he seems a bit dull in company. Many people I thought were a bit dull before I had children, are, I realise now, actually the ones with their feet firmly planted on the ground who are rocks of stability and just the partner you want rather than the life and soul of the party who would rather be out being the life and soul than staying indoors with you and a sleepless baby... That said, some people are just dull...

Sorry, that's a bit long. blush

sandyballs Tue 23-Jun-09 22:12:35

You don't mention the word 'love' in your post. It's almost as though you are trying to convince yourself ... great catch, good looking, fancy him to bits etc. Do you love him?

OptimistS Tue 23-Jun-09 22:15:30

Do you have to have that 'can't live without him' feeling? Is that necessary (or even healthy)?

I take your point about not needing to be in a relationship. I am much the same. That's no bar to being in a successful relationship. It just means you don't make the mistake of trying to find someone to 'fix' all the things in your life you are not happy with. That's a good thing and more likely to get you a true partner (who you can journey down the same road with, with your individual detours but the same goal) rather than a wimp who follows your path and sucks the soul out of you or a dominator who forces you down his path to the detriment of your own personality.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how wonderful a man he is. If he bores you now, it will only get worse as time goes on. That doesn't make him a bad man or you a horrible woman, it just means you're not compatible.

You can't get everything from one person, I think this is where a lot of relationships go wrong. If he ticks the majority of the boxes, and you can learn to live with the ones he doesn't, then go for it. You'd have more fun going out with friends than him anyway, why not let him go home early then stay out with your mates another couple of hours?

You don't sound terribly bothered though, do you want to be in a relationship at all right now?

SolidGoldBrass Tue 23-Jun-09 22:22:21

It's certainly true that there's no such thing as 'the one' and it is perfectly possible to live happy with any one of a number of people who are attractive, available and decent human beings.
Do you like and respect him, and do you like having sex with him? if it's yes to all three, you should be fine. If you think you're a bit better than him and he should be grateful to have you (or if you think that he is out of your league and you can't believe he picked you) then there may be problems ahead - and if one of you is notably less keen on sex than the other already, that could turn into an issue.
It's also true that for a lot of people, when they decide to pairbond, one is thinking 'I love him/her so much' and the other is thinking 'Well, this one will do.' This isn't necessarily bad, either, though the younger the couple are, the more likely the 'this will do' one is to get bored.

Thistledew Tue 23-Jun-09 22:23:59

Sandy- Yes, I think I do, but how do you define being in love? I get a warm, cozy feeling when I think about him, and if I am upset, happy or amused at something he is the first person I want to talk to. Do I miss him when we are not together? At the moment we do not live together (not practical for work reasons) and I find that I have a week-day head and a weekend head- almost two different mindsets that focus on different things- work and being with DP, and as I am not accustomed to combining the two, seem I don't even seem to think of them coinciding. I do look forward to seeing him at the weekends, and snuggling up in bed or on the sofa together.

It may seem that I am angst-ing over not very much, and I hope that is the case, but I don't have a great deal of confidence in my relationship choices. As I alluded to earlier, my last serious relationship was in hindsight particularly toxic, and I now recognise that what I thought was love then was nothing of the sort.

angel1976 Tue 23-Jun-09 22:34:31

Thistledew - A year and a half is a fairly short time. You don't have to buy a house together now etc. Give it more time. I think your feelings will clarify in time. For DH and myself, we knew we wanted to be together very early on and married 22 months after we met. Even now, when we have bad times, we know that we want to be together. Of course we can live without each other: I'm fairly independent myself and also quite happy for DH to go and do his own stuff BUT the point is that we don't. Being with each other makes us happy. Does being with your DH make you happy and make you want to be with him? I think it's normal to have doubts but give it time...

Thistledew Tue 23-Jun-09 22:37:51

SolidGold- it is a yes to your three questions

James- I feel the same that he does not have to tick all the boxes, but as Optimist says- should my concerns be a deal breaker?

I do like being in a relationship, and over the last 9 months or so have started to hear the loud ticking of my biological clock. Basically, I don't want to throw away a gem of a guy in the hope that someone more perfect might come along, if my expectations from what I could get from a relationship are unrealistic.

After all, how many good-looking, alpha type males, who have scintillating conversation, but will also be at home to cook tea for the kids and me when I have to work late, do actually exist in reality?

piscesmoon Tue 23-Jun-09 22:39:16

I don't think it is possible to find the 'perfect partner', at least not once you are past the honeymoon period. Everyone can be dull at time if you are with them a lot.
I get irritated with 'can't live without'-having been a widow- I know that anyone can live without them, if they have no choice.You might find living with someone very similar to you is quite difficult.
Having said all that I wouldn't rush into anything if you have doubts.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 23-Jun-09 22:53:42

Hmm. You know, you don't have to live together or marry if you don't want to, even if you decide to (or unexpectedly find you are going to) have a child together. It might be that you would be happier, at least for the moment, keeping separate homes. Is he keener than you on buying a house together, or are you both still cheerfully speculating about it?

Thistledew Tue 23-Jun-09 23:05:06

The housing issue really is a whole new dillema!

We do want to live together, and would have moved in probably a few months ago, but it is unfortunately just not practical at the moment. I own my home, and he is just renting in a shared house, but unfortunately it is close to a two hour commute across London from my house to his work.

I couldn't afford to contribute to rent for our own place on top of my mortgage, and it would seem a bit daft to run two houses. We have thought of renting my place out and renting together for a while, but it seems a bit of a backward step for me to start paying rent again.

I think it would be easier for me to address my concerns if there was an easy way for us to live together for a while, but it seems increasingly likely that I will have to take the plunge and sell my place, which is perhaps why I am dithering so much.

angel1976 Tue 23-Jun-09 23:10:14

Thistledew - Given current climate, can you not rent out your place and then rent a place with your DH? Surely it's not the best time to sell now? It might be economically to sell your place and then buy a place together BUT if you have doubts, I just wouldn't take the plunge straightaway... I do have a general rule that you should know if you want to be with someone after 2 years together, otherwise you should end the relationship so the other person can have a chance to find someone new. Give it time, you still have 6 months in my books! grin

Thistledew Tue 23-Jun-09 23:18:53

Oh, 'tis very complicated...

I am self employed, and hopefully about to start further training this autumn, which will result in my income dropping by about two thirds to three quarters for a year. I will need to share my mortgage/move somewhere cheaper for that time. If I sold now and bought straight away with DP, it would not be a problem. But if I sell now and don't buy, or just rent my house out, it will be over 18 months before I am in a position to buy again. I would rather be paying a mortgage than rent for that length of time.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 23-Jun-09 23:56:19

Hmm. What would you be doing re your housing situation if you were not dating anyone? It's worth thinking about that, as if you are contemplating moving in with him because you need to change your housing arrangements rather than because you really want to live together then it might get a bit awkward.

Babbity Wed 24-Jun-09 00:01:29

He sounds just like my husband, actually. Not the grand passion, but a slow burner. I love him more every day I know him. Still waters run deep and all that.

Follow your instincts. A good man who is your best friend - nothing better. I feel so lucky and blessed to have found him - more so when I think I could have let him go because I wasn't getting all the bells and whistles at the start.

All the best. He sounds lovely.

Thistledew Wed 24-Jun-09 00:15:01

Thanks for all your advice. Posting this has made me realize how much I was hoping that I would not be told that I was making the wrong decision in staying with him, which I suppose answers my own question. I am not planning to rush into any immediate commitment as I have always said that I would finish my training before getting married.

Still not sure what to do about the house issue, but at the end of the day it is not impossible to sell a house if things don't work out as planned.

Babbity Wed 24-Jun-09 00:19:32

Re extroverts vs introverts - my husband is USELESS when partying etc. He hangs back and lets me do all the schmoozing - he hates it & barely says a word. But when it's just us, he's a different person - and it's THAT person you need to like and love and want to spend the rest of your life getting to know - not the solemn party goer.

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