Sweating the Big Stuff

Do you sacrifice the “big stuff” marriage/kids for a connection with someone that you’ve never felt with anyone else?

Dear Big Stuff,

I appreciate your willingness to let me answer this big life question, which happens to be my very first question (yay!). I expect you to take my advice 100% and never question me. Kidding, take everything you hear, always, with a grain of salt. You are the expert of your own life.

Okay, here we go!

Sometimes we go our whole lives with a certain picture in our head of who we will be in x amount of years. Will we work in the field we want? Will we have a dream house? Will we have traveled to our heart’s content? Had all the kinds of sex we wanted with whomever we wanted? Will that weird dude you worked with at that one bar still comment “hot” on every Instagram selfie until the day we die? We may never know (yes, he will).

At any rate, we like to think that our lives will look one way, that’s how we set goals and accomplish things big and small. It’s natural and smart. Some people plan more than others, but however you want to do it, that’s okay and healthy. You do you. That’s not rocket science.

The catch is when other people enter our lives and we begin to imagine our future selves with this person. It’s scary and exciting and risky, and we start augmenting our original plans to include them (hopefully they do the same).

There are few ways to answer this (actually there are endless ways but I’ll stick to a few), and the first is to hold your damn horses.

  1. Stop. Think. Regroup.

On a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the most you have ever wanted something, and 1 being that feeling when you step on water with socks on, how badly do you want the “big stuff”? Is it somewhere high like 7 or 8? Then maybe this isn’t the relationship you can be in, at least not long term. Is it more like a 5? That’s something that you can (and should) talk about. Talk with a therapist, a friend, and OF COURSE your partner. Your mind may change, but you have to think about it.

  1. Give it some time

Sleep on it. Sleep on it for six months, a year, two years. Tell your partner that this is something you want to come back to in that time. Your feelings about the issue may change, they may not, but at least you’ve given yourself the space to think. I want to note here that you are one hundred percent allowed to ask your partner to also think about it and see if they are willing to compromise. If they aren’t, that’s okay, but if you aren’t, it seems you’re at an impasse my friend.

  1. Acknowledge that it is a sacrifice

That word popped out to me, not because I am a genius, but because that’s the verb you decided to attach yourself to. To you, giving up the “big stuff” is a sacrifice. It may not always be, you may later on down the road decide you don’t want kids and you don’t want marriage, and your life will look a lot different than you anticipated. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s something that you have to acknowledge. At this point, it’s a sacrifice. It’s up to you to decide whether this amazing person is worth that.

Either way, it’s hard and sad. And it’s perfectly okay to feel that way. You don’t have to make a decision and feel like you’re not allowed to be upset about it. Let yourself feel what you feel and respect it.

A little self disclosure, I got married very young. Then, consequently, divorced very young. My life obviously looks pretty different than what I expected it to, but as I ride my bike down the pothole ridden roads of Montreal, a safe distance behind my boyfriend who I adore in every way, I am so happy that my life doesn’t look the way I expected it to. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t mourn broken things, I did. It means that I allowed myself to make hard decisions and to feel whatever feelings came next. All you can do is be open and honest with those around you, and most importantly with yourself.

All the best,

Emily

 

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