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I am a women in my 30s without kids and I live in the city and love the city lifestyle. I personally would not move into a house that is previously owned and lived in by my SO. I want to start a life with my partner, not being put into his already life.

But if I were you, and I were dead set on living in the suburbs I would buy a house, and continue living the way you are already living. And then and IF you two want to make the next step together and move in, it would have to be a conversation. Moving and owning a house is not permanent. You can decide to sell if the situation no longer suits you.


You need to talk to your girlfriend. What are her expectations? Does she want to live in the city in a house forever? Have kids in the city? There is nothing wrong with any of this. But the problem I see is that your expectation and hers are not the same. So you both need to talk about what you both want, where you can compromise, and where you won’t. You are not in the same page. And it’s hard to make decisions when you aren’t on the same page. You are on your own independent page without her right now and you should buy the house.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Why would you want to persuade her? Seems to me that this is a decision she should make on her own.

There is no compromise here where you will give more then you receive. While she knew you were divorced she may not have fully realized what that meant, so she probably has mixed feelings....thus the mixed signals.

And on the flip side you knew she had no children and liked her city life...nobody forced you to date her yet now you want her to give up her life to accommodate yours.

I just get the feeling that you don't comprehend that you're asking her to essentially leave her life and drop into yours, and I think its important that you understand that pretty much all of the sacrificing is going to be done by her if she decides to go along with this.

It's going to set things up for a lot of resentment if you take the attitude that she knew about your daughter and so you are entitled. If she feels like you understand what you're asking of her it might even help her decision.
Well... some things about her I didn't know at first. The idea that living in the suburbs was a dealbreaker for her was a recent admission.

When our relationship got more serious, she asked me if I would still be open to marriage and having more kids, and I said "yes" which is true. We didn't have to foresight to discuss where we would live when the time came for those things...

I think her wanting to have a house in the city and raise kids there is a little unrealistic (due to the cost of desirable real estate in the city here). I mean if that was her goal, she should've found a guy with a trust fund, not a professional still paying off grad loans and with child support... she also didn't consider the travel time and mechanics of how I'd see my daughter if I got a place in the city.
 

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Another thing is, you need to start to incorporate your gf in your daughters life. She needs to see what reality would look like with a future with him. She will be a step mom. Your ex will be in her life.
 

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She’s apparently feeling the pressure of family and friends and of a ticking clock — especially getting close to 40 — to get married and have a child or two. She may be ready for that much sooner than you are. It’s generally expensive to live in the city by yourself and really expensive to raise a family there. The people I know who live in the city with children have them in private school. Some even decided to move to the burbs, where the schools are better than in the city, just so they weren’t dealing with the added expense of private school. Money is definitely something to consider when you live in the city with a family.
 

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More recently, I mentioned a nice house I saw pop up on the market here in the burbs. GF got surprisingly hostile and said if I wanted that, she could just buy a condo in the city then. When I said, maybe that's the solution, I live out here and she lives there, and we see eachother a couple days during the week, and on weekends (which is how often we see eachother now), she got upset and said that would be a dealbreaker for her.
Here's what I don't understand: She was crystal clear on how she felt. This isn't about negotiating a compromise. Why? Because living in the 'burbs is a "deal breaker" for her.

Relationships require lots of compromise. The thing is, her response when you brought up this issue doesn't strike me as someone who is interested in compromising (or changing her mind) on this particular issue. Sure, you can hope she changes her mind down the road, but I sure wouldn't live on "hopium."

You two may have many aspects of your relationship that are pleasant. But compromise IS a very important aspect in relationships. Sounds like a no-go to me. And I'm speaking as a woman.
 

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While I don't think your gf's response "City or nothing" was the right one, I can see how she may have the impression that you're not serious about her, and are content to date for the forseeable future. That's the impression that I would have got, had my husband started talking about this kind of thing like that when we were dating. Not saying you intentionally gave that impression, but it's likely how she took it. That conversation needs to happen now - where is this going? How will it look?

Also, you need to remember that if you do go ahead and marry your gf and have children with her, going forward you'll need to consider all of your children in big decisions, not just the one you have with your ex.

That said, I am the second wife to my husband. When we met, he had a daughter (obviously lol), I have no children of my own. I embraced that almost all that came with it (high conflict ex). I had my own house, he had his. They were about 40 minutes apart. When it came time to live together it was a no brainer - I moved to him, because it was closer to his ex's home, his daughters school, friends, everything. He had 50/50 custody of his daughter and we all wanted any impact on her to be minimal. We now have her full time, she has ASD and her mum couldn't cope with her so sent her to us. I now home school her and we raise her together.

A gf isn't a fiance or wife, you don't need to consider her in this decision at the moment. I would have the conversation with her before doing anything, and if it seems like a compromise is possible down the track I would continue renting for now. If it remains a deal breaker, you would need to accept that you're not compatible and then buy a home for you and your daughter.
 

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While I don't think your gf's response "City or nothing" was the right one, I can see how she may have the impression that you're not serious about her, and are content to date for the forseeable future. That's the impression that I would have got, had my husband started talking about this kind of thing like that when we were dating. Not saying you intentionally gave that impression, but it's likely how she took it. That conversation needs to happen now - where is this going? How will it look?

Also, you need to remember that if you do go ahead and marry your gf and have children with her, going forward you'll need to consider all of your children in big decisions, not just the one you have with your ex.

I would have the conversation with her before doing anything, and if it seems like a compromise is possible down the track I would continue renting for now. If it remains a deal breaker, you would need to accept that you're not compatible and then buy a home for you and your daughter.
Excellent advice!

OP, how long have you been with your GF?
You need to sit and have a long serious talk about your future together. Such decisions (housing/shared living) are very important because it'll hugely impact your future (mostly) and hers as well. You need to decide how important are you two for each other - from there you can come to a conclusion who will sacrifice what.
If you take any decision without including her, she'll take it as if you don't care enough, on the other hand - if she's absolutely set on living in the city - then she is not ready to make such a big change.

It could be that you two might not be able to make huge changes and those changes depend on how strong your relationship is.
 
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I am not a woman, but I have to say something. In long term relationships, many things have to be negotiated and at times, renegotiated. These things range from where you live to who empties the dishwasher. It sounds to me like she doesn't want to negotiate. Her life remains the same or you are out. That would be a disqualifying demeanor for a successful relationship in my book.
My thinking didn't quite match what I said. Some things such as the best location for children in shared custody aren't really negotiable. In order to have a relationship with him, she would need to cave on that one, but it would be reason for her to negotiate to get her way in other things - if it weren't a relationship stopper. I guess I live my life much more flexibly. Many years ago, I moved to marry my wife and moving wasn't what I wanted at all - but I wanted her. She recognized that I had sacrificed and I was able to negotiate some other things with leverage because I had made that sacrifice. If living in a particular place is a hard no for anyone, I would think it just wasn't meant to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
While I don't think your gf's response "City or nothing" was the right one, I can see how she may have the impression that you're not serious about her, and are content to date for the forseeable future. That's the impression that I would have got, had my husband started talking about this kind of thing like that when we were dating. Not saying you intentionally gave that impression, but it's likely how she took it. That conversation needs to happen now - where is this going? How will it look?

Also, you need to remember that if you do go ahead and marry your gf and have children with her, going forward you'll need to consider all of your children in big decisions, not just the one you have with your ex.

That said, I am the second wife to my husband. When we met, he had a daughter (obviously lol), I have no children of my own. I embraced that almost all that came with it (high conflict ex). I had my own house, he had his. They were about 40 minutes apart. When it came time to live together it was a no brainer - I moved to him, because it was closer to his ex's home, his daughters school, friends, everything. He had 50/50 custody of his daughter and we all wanted any impact on her to be minimal. We now have her full time, she has ASD and her mum couldn't cope with her so sent her to us. I now home school her and we raise her together.

A gf isn't a fiance or wife, you don't need to consider her in this decision at the moment. I would have the conversation with her before doing anything, and if it seems like a compromise is possible down the track I would continue renting for now. If it remains a deal breaker, you would need to accept that you're not compatible and then buy a home for you and your daughter.
Thanks, frusdil, this is helpful. My ex is also high conflict (as I've written about before here), and I think my GF is wary of that from some of my stories. I'll respond more, below.

Excellent advice!

OP, how long have you been with your GF?
You need to sit and have a long serious talk about your future together. Such decisions (housing/shared living) are very important because it'll hugely impact your future (mostly) and hers as well. You need to decide how important are you two for each other - from there you can come to a conclusion who will sacrifice what.
If you take any decision without including her, she'll take it as if you don't care enough, on the other hand - if she's absolutely set on living in the city - then she is not ready to make such a big change.

It could be that you two might not be able to make huge changes and those changes depend on how strong your relationship is.
We've been together for 7 months. We've spent a lot of time together dealing with the COVID-19 quarantine and helping eachother through that as well. so it feels like a longer time than that. We're both starting to trust eachother, and I can tell she likes to be with me, and has gone out of her way to see me. We've both been there to help eachother out with problems that have arisen during this time. So, I'd have to say, I see the markings of someone I can trust and build a life together with.

She never married or had kids because of some life & career choices she made that I can see she has some regrets over (she moved abroad twice for work). But has generally had long term relationships. Her decisions to live/work aborad were what I would consider frivolous or immature, (she would say "romantic") but hopefully those are in the past(?)

I left this next part out of the first post (I go back and forth between whether to write everything, or be concise), but after the blow up over the living situation, we talked and she dialed it down a bit. She said she felt I was making a unilateral decision over housing that would affect both of us without her input, and got defensive.

At this point, I understand I need to have another conversation with her about this.

She has her reasons for not wanting to buy a place in the burbs... I get it. She doesn't want to be close to my XW, and wants to live in a fun, boutique-kinda neighborhood, with a cute little house in a walkable area with bars and restaurants nearby. Don't we all!!! :)

This is - I agree - a wonderful thing. The problems, as I see them are:

  • even the smallest houses in the areas we've looked at are about twice what we could comfortably afford.
  • these houses (2 bedroom/1 bath) would make things very cramped when my daughter is over. if we had our own child someday, they wouldn't have their own room, or my daughter would have to sleep on the couch. This is not something I would agree to.
  • her mom & brother's family would likely stay with us when they're in town... there would be absolutely no space for that.
  • I'd have to drive an hour to get my daughter during rush hour, and another hour back home on nights I have her, and get up and out the door by 6 - 6:30AM to get her to school on time in the burbs. So that not only cuts an hour out of time I get to see her in the evenings, but adds a lot of stress to leave work early and get ready for school.
  • right now, schools in the city are lousy, especially middle school and up. Private schools in our city are $5K- $15K a year. Yikes. So in addition to buying a house we can barely afford, we'd need to be driving our careers ahead & working more to ensure we can afford to school our kids.
So I need to have a conversation with her about these things... at some point. I'm not in a position to buy a house right now, due to employment uncertainty, which will likely be resolved next month.

if we bought a place in the suburbs, we'd have:
  • plenty of space for kids and visiting relatives
  • good public schools for kids for the foreseeable future
  • either of us could afford to maintain the house if something happened to the other & we'd be able to pay down the mortgage and build equity in it, without stretching our finances
  • she would likely have to leave her current job. but she hates it, has told me she could get the same job or better job in the burbs, and it would pay better.
  • we could still go into the city on weekends or even weeknights to visit parks, shows, museums, bars and restaurants. it's not like we're moving to a cabin in Montana... it's 15 miles or 20 mins into the city w/out traffic.
I guess it comes down to her reaction... If she can understand these things, and accommodate them understanding that this is a life she's choosing to build together with me, and I'm not imposing them on her, then I think she's a keeper and this is how it will go.

Otherwise... I'm just enjoying a fling.

I can put this conversation off, but will need to have it at some point. Any advice on the best time/method for doing that?

Obviously the issue of marriage is going to be brought up as well... but I don't know if I'm ready to make that commitment and ask her to marry me. Ideally, she'd agree buying a place in the burbs is the right move, and we could live there for a while, and get married sometime next year - after the Pandemic ends. If it ever does...

Just thinking out loud with some of this...
 

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Discussion Starter #32
I'll add - I'm not trying to turn this into a urban/suburban hate fest. I never wanted to live in the burbs in the first place, but that's where I am & what I'm dealing with. I need to make the best of it.
 

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Have I missed the post where you say you love her? You cherish ever second together? You can't live with the thought of her not being a part of your life? She may be miss wonderful, but it's only been a seven month relationship, so you shouldn't be in such a rush to plan the rest of your life.

I think the prudent thing to do would be continue renting for another year where you are or close by. Then reevaluate things.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Only 7 months - why the hurry? Do you need help financially to swing the house?
no. but I'd like to buy a house sooner than later, and I want her to be on board with the decision, not angry with me for doing it.

Have I missed the post where you say you love her? You cherish ever second together? You can't live with the thought of her not being a part of your life? She may be miss wonderful, but it's only been a seven month relationship, so you shouldn't be in such a rush to plan the rest of your life.

I think the prudent thing to do would be continue renting for another year where you are or close by. Then reevaluate things.
Agree... I am just sick of renting, and would like to be in my own house asap. The key is the gap in timing between maybe buying a house & seeing where the r/s goes.
 

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In #31, You made your case and it is a convincing one from many angles.
Your GF knows you are a father. She needs to factor that into the equation. Make your case to her. Either she buys in or she buys out.
You need to do what is best for your daughter. The move to the Burbs is prudent not only financially, but also from a quality of life perspective.
 

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She seems to have a unrealistic romantic idea of living in the city.

I think she needs a dose of reality. What her life will realistically look like if you guys stay together. The sooner you have the conversation the better. Do it over dinner, or next time you see her.
 

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Seven months? That’s a little too soon for a lot of stuff. I realize her “baby clock” is probably ticking loudly but she needs to be around your daughter a lot longer than she has been so far before seriously discussing marriage and more children. A family lifestyle in the city is easy when you have tons of money but it’s another story when you don’t.
 

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I think the unilateral decision about housing which basically indicated you weren't anywhere near getting serious is what threw her.

But that's up to you. Since you two are in that level of commitment you have to make your own decisions.

Yet housing is usually a 10 year or more commitment.
 
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