Evaluating a prospective life partner - need advice

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
EveMadeline
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Post by EveMadeline »

I agree with most of what has been said. I'm fairly young so I don't have life experiences to share but even so I think a lot of what you are dealing with is pressure from your family and what is "expected" of you because you've been with her for four years. I'm clearly no expert but you haven't said anything that would make ME want to marry her- bad with money, doesn't plan ahead, wants the opposite of what you want, and after all that you think you MIGHT love her... I would be worried that she would get pregnant by "accident" and then you would be stuck with her ...for a very long time :/
Sounds to me like you're worried that you won't find anyone better than her...but by what you've told us she doesn't sound too put together so I don't think you should be worried about that.
Just my two cents...I'm a 19 year old female and I wouldn't marry a guy like that... Actually I probably wouldn't be dating him either, but I'm mean like that :P


bigato
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Post by bigato »

Maybe buzz could meet Eve one of these days...


peterk
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Post by peterk »

Not gotta work out I'd say, to be blunt. If you don't want kids I don't really understand the desire to commit for the long term in the first place..
Reach into your mind and try and realize the truth you already know: she's cool - but you don't really love her and the only reason you are still with her is because it's easy and you are scared you can't find another girlfriend.
In the mean time, while you're figuring all this out, make damn sure you're wearing condoms, and YOU buy them...
SHE is thinking one of three things: I'll stay with him until I find someone I like better, I love him and need to convince him to marry me, I love him and I NEED to convince/trick him to marry me at any cost.
You have no way of knowing (don't kid yourself) if she's the second type or not.


dot_com_vet
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Post by dot_com_vet »

My advice, don't get married before 30. Wisdom makes decisions like these a lot clearer.


AlexK
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Post by AlexK »

dot_com_vet is right. Another reason to wait for marriage is men get more attractive as they get older and women peak in their attractiveness in their 20's. So you can find a higher quality mate if you wait. Ladies don't hate, you know it's true.


bluepearl
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Post by bluepearl »

In life, there are a lot of choices you can back out of if you realize later on that you made the sub-optimal choice.
School/ vocational/ career decisions, how frugal/ spendy/ deep in debt you want to be, even choices about your wife/ wives. Yes, there are prices to be paid for each of them (from Harry Browne, not me :)... lost time, lost $$, etc. but you have a choice.
Having a kid though is not a choice you can reverse, and unless you want to be irresponsible (and I'm going to boldly proclaim that people in the ERE forum are NOT), the decision stays with you for life...
So, short answer. Please don't get married now.


Marg
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Post by Marg »

@AlexK If you think that women are attractive because of physical appearance and men become attractive because of the money they have then yes they peak when you say they do. I don't think much of that way of valuing women, but it is true that many people do indeed view women that way.
Taking emotion out of it, though, if ERE is your goal then someone who is attracted to you b/c of your money (you know, so they can spend it) is not going to help you accomplish your goals. Money and security is what you offer in exchange for the attractive wife that is ten years younger than you are. I would argue that especially for ERE, that's a pretty bad way to pick a spouse.
To the OP, I agree with a lot of what has been said but I would like to offer a different view. If you are unsure you want to marry and you don't want kids when she wants to be a SAHM and are proposing largely b/c your parents think it's the right time... well, don't you think she deserves better than that? You both do. You both deserve to marry someone you love and that you wouldn't want to live without and who doesn't want to live without you. You are only 21 and there is plenty of time for both of you. Maybe you two would be very happy, but it doesn't seem like the right time to get married even if in the future you think you might want to.
Lots of time for both of you... no need to rush.


Debbie M
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Post by Debbie M »

You are unlikely to find a perfect match, but you do need to be compatible in several ways. Many people say not to be roommates with your best friend because being best friends isn't enough--you also have to agree on how to live (are you both neat? compatible sleeping hours? compatible eating habits?). Married people need to be compatible in all those ways plus long-term issues like where and how to live, whether to have kids, how to raise any kids, religion, who to visit on holidays, etc. I also thinks it's good to see how they are when they are sick and when you are sick, and to see them in a whole different context somehow, such as on a camping trip.
I think some people are easygoing and would have a lot of compatible mates. Other people are picky in many ways or very different from average and may have more trouble finding a good match.
Think about what you'd need or really, really want from a wife that you couldn't get in any other way, and make sure you can get those things. What I really, really want is someone smart who likes to think, someone nice, someone who gets my sense of humor, someone who likes cuddling, and someone who can handle my being a picky eater, nonreligious, frugal, not wanting a job, and not wanting kids. My current guy and I disagree on sex (he wants more, so we use lube) and food (so we each cook our own and we have dinner parties so he can cook for others like he likes). We agree on extra bonus things I would never insist on such as wearing earplugs in movie theaters, not liking crowds, and liking the same music. He needs someone smart, responsible, and who likes his music playing 24/7. He wanted kids, but not so much that dating me was a dealbreaker.
The book "The Accidental Tourist" also makes a good point or two about relationships. 1) Don't just think about how you like the other person; think about how you like yourself when you're with that person. 2) You don't have to just let things happen to you or do what's expected; you can make decisions and try to direct your own life.
So, are you getting things from her that are rare and wonderful? Can you think of ways to compromise on your differences that will be acceptable to both of you? (Maybe she can work with kids; maybe you can adopt older kids that you've gotten to meet first. Maybe she can learn about money; maybe you can be in charge of most money things and she can have an allowance to be frivolous with.) Whatever you can't get from her, can you get that from your other friends and relatives? Do you hate being alone so much that a mediocre marriage is better than being single?
The book Too Good To Leave, Too Bad to Stay is handy for helping you figure out which kinds of differences should be considered dealbreakers. The book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, is also interesting--pointing out stupid things that shouldn't be dealbreakers. ("Settling" sounds bad, but "good enough" is rare and good.)
Walking that fine line between being picky and unappreciative of a good thing versus realizing when things aren't quite good enough for the rest of your lives, no matter what, is not easy. And frankly, I don't think anyone else can tell you if you're too young or if you have plenty of time.
**
As to how to bring up all this serious stuff, I would just bring it up when you're hanging out and have some time. Some people like to bring up serious things on long walks--you give the other person time to absorb startling information without having you staring at her. Tell her about ERE and ask her what she thinks about it. Tell her some of the reasons it sounds good to you. If she doesn't like it, ask what her specific worries are. See if you can brainstorm ways where you get to feel free to not work (and not have money stress) and she gets to feel free to be impulsive. If there's any way y'all can think of to make things work, even if it would sound weird to other people, that's a good thing. And if not, then a break-up would be better. And like someone else said, if you break up, there will be a lot of crying on both sides, but if you've both tried to compromise and seen that it can't be done, at least no one will have to feel surprised or abused.
Disclaimer: I'm 49 and never married. Scary, eh? I never did the breaking up, though, so it's not my fault for being too picky. I quite liked all the guys, loved most of them, and don't think any of them were a waste of my time. And since I don't want kids I am in no rush. And since I'd rather be single than in a mediocre relationship, I'm in no rush.


buzz
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Post by buzz »

> Maybe buzz could meet Eve one of these days...
It -would- be pretty refreshing to make dinner for and talk to someone already knowing at the very least your financial mindset is the same. It takes far too long to get to that point with women.
> I would be worried that she would get pregnant by "accident"
Yikes. I know it's not exactly an uncommon tactic, but she has never broken my trust and I don't like to assume foul play. That would make for a very high strung relationship.
Thank you all for your input thus far, you've given me a lot to think about. I may be writing an update in a few weeks.


EveMadeline
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Post by EveMadeline »

>It -would- be pretty refreshing to make dinner for and talk to someone already knowing at the very least your financial mindset is the same. It takes far too long to get to that point with women.
I think this is people in general, not just women. You don't usually sit down with a stranger and ask them how their retirement fund is going haha
Also, about the "accident"- I was just pointing out what I think the worst case scenario would be, didn't mean to accuse.


aussierogue
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Post by aussierogue »

I agree with jenny penny. Alot of assumptions above. Life is about comprmise. There muust be compelling reasons yu two have beentogether for so long. Committment is a great thing/
And to those say "if you gotta ask then there is your answer" - I disagree....why should chosing a lifepartner be such a dogmatic no brainer choice? Especially for an intj as we could be waiting forever...
For most couples i know they ask themselves subconsciously for years if they have made the right choice or "if i had chosen that person would life be different". Thats normal...especially after 4 years...
The lucky ones realise that marriage is about compromise, is not always about being "in love" etc etc...
So here is the breaking news....there is no right or wrong answer on this one...and timing will play a part. Best method is to COMMUNICATE your feelings, worries, expectations with her and even your family if need be. Then things will work themselves out....
cheers

aussie


RealPerson
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Post by RealPerson »

@Buzz - I just came across this thread for the first time. So....I can't help but ask. What did you decide to do?


Riggerjack
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Post by Riggerjack »

It's probably too late to help Buzz, but I thought I should contribute my 2 cents.

21, been together for 4 years and not sure you're in love- you're not.

you'll know it when it happens, and there will be false positives.

the best advice on this I've seen was from John t. Reed: meet a new girl every week, date at least forty times, marry the one you miss when you are with another.

Note, he said date, not bang. The points are several: be selective, get experience, be purposeful, build a knowledge base suitable to the task.

You are choosing a partner for life, how can you do that if you don't know what's out there? How can you do that if you don't know what you want, have to offer, or can't stand? While none of this is exclusive of being 21, odds are stacked against you at 21.
As to being worried about ever finding anyone more right, that's what the internet is for. Figure out what your true deal breakers are, hit search, and there should still be thousands of results. If not, maybe you need to gain more experience in compromise, before inflicting a life with you on someone you love.

There's someone out there for everybody, but she's hard to find if you're not looking, and you need to be ready and worthy when you find her.


Spartan_Warrior
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Post by Spartan_Warrior »

I'm curious to find out how this went as well. Like others, I'm also of the opinion that marriage at 21, with disagreements about children and money, sounds like divorce at 25! But, of course, there are always exceptions.
"It -would- be pretty refreshing to make dinner for and talk to someone already knowing at the very least your financial mindset is the same. It takes far too long to get to that point with women."
This was another red flag to me. I was at this point with my current girlfriend by the second date.* (Except she was the one making the dinner ;) We've only been dating for a little more than a month and I've discussed my intention to retire at 33-35 and live frugally with little negative feedback from her, just curiosity (though granted, it could just be too soon for her to feel comfortable dissing my dreams). If you're not comfortable talking about this stuff after FOUR YEARS... seems kinda off.
*On the other hand, I've been dropping ERE on every girl I've dated this year fairly early on almost as a screening tactic, so maybe I just have a different style. However, it definitely shows you pretty quick whether you're on the same page (or even in the same book) financially!
Otherwise, this is one thread where I have little to add, but it's been an enlightening read.


aptruncata
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Post by aptruncata »

@buzz
What do you want to do?


spearson1937
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Post by spearson1937 »

I wonder what decision you came up with, Buzz? Did you pop the question? Or you opted to pursue the goals that you have in your life?


buzz
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Post by buzz »

Ah, I didn't realize so many were left in suspense...
Following this discussion and some thinking, I let her know that I am not looking to get married any time soon. She was okay with that. Everything was good and casual for about six months. We were in the mall one day and she insisted we go by the ring store

...
I'm now single.


Noob
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Post by Noob »

Raw deal Buzz. Sorry to hear things had to come to that point for you.


mrjay
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Post by mrjay »

Did you/she cut all contact or remain friends? I did some crazy stuff in college (in terms of dating) and also have/had a tendency to run for 3-4 relationships - - i agree, they can be damn painful when they end. kinda stupid, live and let live. (one i'm with now i met AFTER college, dated 4 1/2 years, were apart 4/12 years, now we're back together going on 2 1/2 years).
In college, I had many discussions with the girlfriend - we knew before i graduated we weren't going to live together - she didn't want to live where i wanted to live, so that was "grounds" for not being together, but it didn't prevent us from keeping in touch. We stayed in contact for a good year after college, even hung out some on weekends (college was 300 miles away), but as i met the new girl, i lost contact with the former girl, gradually, and now i found out she's living where she wanted to live - with a guy similar to me. Yay me...(or yay her).
As for the other gf I dated in college (and prior to college), um, well, she married the guy she dumped ME for, then after about six years, we connected again on the interwebs. That was an interesting experience. We're still facebook friends and keep in touch that way - no personal one-on-one conversations anymore, tho. Wow, weird times. Weird times indeed.
So, that brings me back to what I wondered - - I mean, most people i've dated, i still somehow keep in touch with. 80% bad, 20% good, i guess.


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