unwillingness to change lifestyle for a mate

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hyperlexian
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03 Aug 2012, 1:14 am

so.... i got to thinking about 4 male and female friends of mine who are older (30 to 50) and unlucky in love. none of them are bad looking as far as i can see, and all of them work in the same high-paying job. they have varying levels of satisfaction with the single life, and some of them had a relationship when much younger but nothing recently that could be considered serious. at least one is a probable undiagnosed aspie but flies under the radar, and another one has some other kind of mental disorder.

from the comments they have made, i have thought that they seem to have a similar "issue"... which is not wanting to change their lifestyle to adapt to a potential relationship.

all of them still go on first dates and chat online for a while, then something seems to click in their heads and they decide not to pursue anything further. when asked as to why, they say things like:

"i'm just so set in the way i like to do things. i don't want to have to quit my part-time delivery job for some girl."
"i have my routines, i like things the way they are. i'd have to move because there isn't enough space here."
"i spend weekends with family, and i don't want to change that. i am really close to my parents."
"my parents wouldn't like him. he wouldn't fit in with us."
"i'd have to start cooking and cleaning properly and that isn't worth it."
"i have my life established here, and all the best people are <somewhere else>"


i honestly do not know if they are looking for someone "better" who would be worth changing their lifestyle for, or if they really don't plan to ever make adjustments for anyone.

do you see yourself in a similar situation? is this common?


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yellowtamarin
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03 Aug 2012, 1:34 am

Nope, I'm willing to change stuff around for someone I love. If I knew I could have a great relationship with someone who lived in another country, I'd probably move there, for example.

I'm not a fan of change, but I'm also a bridge-burner (yes you can have both these qualities!). A successful love life is one of the most important things to me, so I'd make changes to make it happen, if I saw the opportunity.

Am interested to see what others say.



meems
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03 Aug 2012, 2:49 am

I don't know. I'm 25 so maybe I'll be more willing to change my lifestyle in a decade or so but right now I'm looking forward to several years of school and learning a new language so I can ultimately immigrate to another country entirely. I think it would be unwise for me to get into a serious relationship prior to figuring all of that out anyway.



WalkingTheDog
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03 Aug 2012, 4:57 am

hyperlexian wrote:

i honestly do not know if they are looking for someone "better" who would be worth changing their lifestyle for, or if they really don't plan to ever make adjustments for anyone.

do you see yourself in a similar situation? is this common?


I think it is pretty common. There are a surprising number of confirmed bachelors at my workplace. I'm sure we all have our reasons for being unmarried, and in one specific case I can think of, I'll bet the guy just doesn't want to change. For myself, I don't mind changing my lifestyle to a certain extent. The problem is I have trouble meeting people.



Kjas
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03 Aug 2012, 6:15 am

I know a lot of lawyers who fit what you have described exactly.

Honestly, they don't seem to be happy in general. For the ones I know, it seems to function as an excuse more than anything - they are scared of actually getting into a relationship because it would mean change, effort and whatnot. They fear suceeding at finding someone and the unknown that comes with it more they they fear not finding someone, because at least they know what not finding someone entails - they are already living it.

But a large percentage of them also expect their potenital partner to change everything in their life to suit theirs. They expect that and feel that they are entitled to that and will not accept anything except that.

Just my experience with these types, if I understood your OP correctly.

I think for most well adjusted people, considering a compromise for a partner where necessary, excluding major life goals or things you really love or beliefs you really care about, is quite reasonable.


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BenderRodriguez
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03 Aug 2012, 6:47 am

I think it's fairly common and there are probably some lifestyle changes that any of us would refuse to make.

Nothing wrong with it as long as they don't go around whining about being single. But TBH most of the ones you mention do sound like excuses to me



CrazyStarlightRedux
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03 Aug 2012, 7:06 am

I am adaptable, but I need to brush up on my independent skills.

To me they sound happier being single at the moment, but I cannot judge as you seem interested in the answers they gave you.


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mv
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03 Aug 2012, 7:16 am

I *can* change, but I'm always resentful when I do and it's not appreciated to the level that I think it should be. I'm very rigid and I'm usually alone. But social interaction also exhausts me and taxes my every resource/skill.

I think we make choices, and to some people companionship is "nice" but that's about it. Comfort is a part of it, too; to some people their own personal comfort (physical, emotional, mental) is paramount. I sometimes look at people who do (what I consider to be) *too much* to conform to their SO's lifestyle and I feel sorry for them. "Where did *you* go?", I think.

It's hard for me to know what's a healthy compromise and what's too much. And it could be that those things are just relative from person to person and there is no one right answer (which drives me nuts). Also, what are the right things to compromise on? Something that seems petty to you may seem life-sustaining to me, and vice versa. That kind of thing.

Personal example: my divorce was hell, but I was secretly thrilled (and comforted myself) when I could put all the lightbulbs I wanted back in place (ex- prefers it cavelike, I hated it).



Last edited by mv on 03 Aug 2012, 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

thewhitrbbit
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03 Aug 2012, 11:01 am

There are certain things I am no compromise on (For example, I'm not becoming a morning person, or never going out at night) but there are plenty of things I'm willing to try new things on.



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03 Aug 2012, 1:50 pm

hyperlexian wrote:
do you see yourself in a similar situation? is this common?

I've been the one broken up with partly because of that. She was very independent(or wanted to be) I'm dependent & very willing to try to change a lot of things for my partner & our relationship. I cant change everything thou & I need her support to help me change. the girlfriend I have now is the same kind of level as me with dependance, wanting to change but needing support; we help each other.


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hyperlexian
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03 Aug 2012, 2:17 pm

it's interesting to read your responses. my friends are older than some of you, but i have no idea if this is an age-related thing for them or if they felt the same way at a younger age.

i did kind of wonder if they assessed their level of attraction, balanced it against the changes they would probably have to make, and then decided against pursuing the relationship. but then i also wonder if *anyone* would measure up.


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jagatai
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03 Aug 2012, 2:55 pm

hyperlexian wrote:
i honestly do not know if they are looking for someone "better" who would be worth changing their lifestyle for, or if they really don't plan to ever make adjustments for anyone.

do you see yourself in a similar situation? is this common?


It's hard to say where the issue really lies. I can certainly relate to not wanting to change how I live in order to have a relationship. Over and over I have thought I had fallen in love with a woman only to feel the complications of a relationship were more than I wanted to deal with.

I backed away from the last woman whom I wanted to date after thinking of the complications that might come with a relationship. I felt I really didn't want to make large changes in the way I live and I couldn't see asking her to do so as well. But maybe these feelings were a way of covering up the fact that I am clueless about what to do in emotionally intimate situations. It might be emotionally easier for me to believe it is because I don't want to change my life than it is to accept that I am a complete dunce at intimacy.

When I was younger, I had a great fear of having to give up all the things I like about being me in order to have a relationship. I felt (and to some extent still feel) that I would have to suppress all my eccentricities and interests and try to come across as a "normal" person to keep from scarring away a woman. I also worry that she would want me to engage in activities I would not want to do. There are a lot of things about my life that I enjoy, but they are mostly things I do alone. When I am with people, I feel less at ease and I feel like I need to be on my guard to not do or say anything too peculiar.

I would say at this point in my life, I will not make any significant changes for anyone simply to have a relationship. The idea of having to make changes such as where I live or work is immediately stressful. One of my closest friends frequently commented that he wanted to move to a different country and that I would have to come along. Even though I knew this was mostly a joke, it still caused me some anxiety whenever he said it.

After being in an almost constant state of unrequited love from my early teens to my early forties, I am glad to have pretty much gotten over the desire for a relationship. I wouldn't say no if the right woman came along, but I'm not going to stop being myself and I'm not going to demand that anyone change for me. It's easier to keep living the life I am accustomed to than it is to throw everything into chaos without any sense of whether I will be able to live on my own terms.


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digital_eve
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03 Aug 2012, 3:33 pm

" I have my routines"
" I can't see you too often" (linked to the routines)
" I am close to my family"
" I am busy this weekend with my family"

hmmm...in a standard NT to NT relationship, I'd drop a guy like a bad habit at the whiff of anything that smells like a feeble excuse.
I am here to try and work out some of the above-whether they are excuses or part of AS I don't understand.

I have in NT-NT relationships used all of the above excuses as a nice way of backing out of dating a guy who is into me but me not into him.

No matter how super busy I am-if I really like someone and want it to work-I carve out time, hell, I sometimes 'make time'. Routines are adjusted or abandoned completely sometimes if I really want to be with someone.

I worry that I am being used to 'filled time' and becoming just part of the routine that fits in on a particular weekend/weekday/whatever.

It is frustrating and a difficult call to make right now with my BF.



ArrantPariah
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03 Aug 2012, 6:25 pm

Mating isn't for everyone.



Kjas
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03 Aug 2012, 8:10 pm

hyperlexian wrote:
it's interesting to read your responses. my friends are older than some of you, but i have no idea if this is an age-related thing for them or if they felt the same way at a younger age.

i did kind of wonder if they assessed their level of attraction, balanced it against the changes they would probably have to make, and then decided against pursuing the relationship. but then i also wonder if *anyone* would measure up.


The group of lawyers I described are all in their 30's - 60 or so. I think the older you get, particularly in a demanding job, the more likely it is to happen.
For most of them I don't think anyone would or does measure up.

Personally, I would change some things, others no. Major things that are important to me, whether they be big or small things by others perceptions are not thing I would change. But things outside of that small select group, I would be open to compromise if it were necessary and reasonable - naturally I would never take it to the extreme though, there needs to be a good balance.


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AScomposer13413
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03 Aug 2012, 8:29 pm

Kjas wrote:
Personally, I would change some things, others no. Major things that are important to me, whether they be big or small things by others perceptions are not thing I would change. But things outside of that small select group, I would be open to compromise if it were necessary and reasonable - naturally I would never take it to the extreme though, there needs to be a good balance.


^ This, pretty much!!


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