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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Thinking about making a massive change in my life and want to query your collective wisdom to solve a problem. I have stopped growing as a person and it's been stopped for too long (ever since COVID struck, 2 years). I went from being the first child in my family to graduate from college -> getting a decent paying job -> self teaching myself programming AND traveling in another continent for 6 months -> doubling my salary by getting a job as a software dev after coming back -> reaching remote status as a software dev. I consider myself financially successful and working remotely, I feel like an entire world (literally) of options have opened up to me.

There's only one problem... my significant other.

She's an INFJ and we've been together for 15 years, we met in college. She's been taking care of me and helping me evolve. I had hope that once I got to the stage where I am now, that she would switch gears and also take steps to evolve herself. I've known it was a gamble (aren't INTPs prescient? ) and it seems like I'm on the loosing side of this dice roll.

For the past few years, I've been trying to get her to ready herself for change. I've asked her to switch over to a remote job and have been telling her of my intent to travel the world again to no avail. Last year, traveling was a no-go because of COVID. Due to our financial well being improving, I also let her know that it's no longer necessary for her to take care of me as she did before and that she needs to invest that time in improving herself financially or in other ways. To date, it's as if all of this has fallen on deaf ears. She says she wants to travel, but has taken very little action in regards to that. Unfortunately, our finances are not to the point where she can just quit her job.

I feel like it's my relationship holding me back and after two years of what feels like being handicapped, I'm getting ready to move on. I don't really want to leave, but at this point it's staying stagnant with her vs continuing to unlock my future potential. Anytime I try to bring this subject up, we just get into an argument and can't move past it.

Have you been in a situation like this before? What did you do?
 

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I've always taken responsibility for the financial needs of the entire family. My wife never worked outside the home. I guess I have a very traditional belief that it is a man's responsibility work and a wife's option. It sounds like she is taking care of you, freeing you to develop into best you that you can be. What would it take for you to take care of the family's needs?
 

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edit: ugh I'll have to come back to this when I can get in a more constructive mindset. I just feel bad for her for supporting someone for so long who's just going to turn around and leave her when they've gotten successful. Perhaps I'm not understanding it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@Mark R
We're both millenials and I wish I could be in your position. We both live in a big city, and until recently, I simply did not have the financial means to have her stay at home and not work. Yes, you and @WickerDeer are right, she freed up my time so that I could become a better version of myself.

Also, just to clear this up, I wouldn't leave her high and dry. Even if I left, I would still contribute to her financially for a long time to come.

The problem isn't so much the money. It's that our visions of the future are diverging towards incompatibility.

I want to, and now (almost) have the freedom, to travel anywhere in the world. This is an amazing privilege because it allows me to meet other goals. I can meet new people, see cool places, live at a higher quality of life for the same price. It appeals to me as a INTP because I can optimize for many things with less tradeoffs than if I were to stay put where I am.

Where I'm getting stuck is convincing my partner that with some effort, she too can achive this. Because I can't budge her, I'm unable to exercise the flexibility I have worked so hard for to unlock.

Yes, she helped me get here, but I'm starting to get resentful because I can't fully use what I've unlocked in my life. It's like having a sports car that can't shift past the 2nd gear.

It's not like I haven't been patient. She's known this was part of my plan for a few years. None of the solutions I have thought of are great.

1. I can leave and continue to support her financially, giving us both a chance to do what we want to do in life at the cost of breaking up.

2. Giving her an ultimatum might force her to change, but this is not ideal either.

3. I can do what feels morally correct and stay with her at the cost of sacrificing my hopes and dreams. This would not be good for the relationship long term either.

There are likely other options I'm just not seeing, which is why I'm here tbh.
 

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I was in your situation once. I chose to do what was good for me versus what was good for the couple. My boyfriend of the time chose to support me in my choice, we separated for almost a full year so that we could both evolve on our sides. Admittedly, we were still committed to each other despite our break-up, so instead of separating us, it reinforced our bonds. In the end, we reunited, stronger.

What I learned from that:
  • Happy, autonomous individuals make happy couples.
  • When someone truly loves you, this someone will be willing to let you go for your sake. A relationship shouldn’t drag us down, but push us up.
  • Following our hearts can be painful, but fate can have something good to offer when we do.
 

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Heh.

I'm an INTP, I'm a programmer, I'm self-taught, my career has let me get jobs anywhere, and indeed I have just moved to the other side of the world for a new job because why not? So I'm doing what you want, in a way.

A word of warning: It can be very fucking lonely. Covid is obviously the big factor here, but I'm in an odd feeling of stasis now where I'm in a new country, still working from home, and don't really have any friends apart from some coworkers who I talk to online about work stuff sometimes. I've lost my ability to connect with people online because it's all I've been doing for the past 2 years (I did remote working for all of covid too). So my social world is flatlined and any sense of excitement about this whole new adventure is rapidly waning into a sense of bad isolation.

I say this to give a word of warning about how you think things might be. It isn't automatically all fun and adventure.

This is probably all worsened by the fact that I'm single, and I'm annoyingly picky so I've been single for ages, and with covid around it's really just been a big fat wad of ultra isolation for a long time. Also as a person in his early 30s, I feel like making friends is harder too. You say you're a millennial so I guess you're a similar age. The first time I went out into the world I was in my early 20s and it was a socialising free-for-all, it was an adventure around every corner. I'm not a social animal at all, but during that youthful phase of life it seems that people just gravitate together and you can get what you need easily. But now in my 30s I feel like people just keep to themselves. I keep to myself too. It's not a very good recipe for fun.

Two years ago I had a long term girlfriend (2 years together, so not super long, but still obviously a major thing) and I left her for similar reasons to you. I wasn't happy in the relationship at all, and I knew things would be better for me elsewhere. Career-wise, things are better, but in terms of all the core human factors (friends, love, etc), I left everything behind and now I'm more alone than I've ever been in my entire life.

Sorry this sounds extremely sad haha. I'm actually fine most of the time, but in absolute truth and from a purely factual viewpoint, I am more lonely now than I've ever been. INTPs are bloody good at the 'lone wolf' thing, so it's only now that I'm really starting to feel it, two years after I first made the decision to go my own way. I loved my new freedom for the first year. Now I feel like my social world is badly lacking. As I said, covid has been a HUGE factor in this, so maybe things could be different for you. But covid ain't going away, and if you choose remote work you'll definitely be entering the realm of isolation.

Make of this what you will.
 

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Sounds to me like it's time to break up. She was content in her role (apparently), and isn't going to suddenly have other goals. Providing some financial compensation seems fair.

I think I understand what you're feeling. It's a living death.
 

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@Mark R
We're both millenials and I wish I could be in your position. We both live in a big city, and until recently, I simply did not have the financial means to have her stay at home and not work.
It is your choice what budget you can tolerate and you can live at just about any financial means you are willing. You don't have to live in an expensive place. I worked as a high school teacher and had an income of about $30,000 for the whole family (in 2011) at one time. We made it work.

We were raising a child together. I was taking care of myself and the family. My wife was completely dedicated to our child and gave me very little emotional support. I felt duty to our child and stayed in the marriage for the sake of our child. I envy your situation actually. I have no idea what it feels like to receive care or emotional support from anyone since I have been a grown man. I have only given to others.

It doesn't sound like there is a child involved. You and your partner have different goals and expectations now. Who am I to say what is right for you?
 

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Hi all,

Thinking about making a massive change in my life and want to query your collective wisdom to solve a problem. I have stopped growing as a person and it's been stopped for too long (ever since COVID struck, 2 years). I went from being the first child in my family to graduate from college -> getting a decent paying job -> self teaching myself programming AND traveling in another continent for 6 months -> doubling my salary by getting a job as a software dev after coming back -> reaching remote status as a software dev. I consider myself financially successful and working remotely, I feel like an entire world (literally) of options have opened up to me.

There's only one problem... my significant other.

She's an INFJ and we've been together for 15 years, we met in college. She's been taking care of me and helping me evolve. I had hope that once I got to the stage where I am now, that she would switch gears and also take steps to evolve herself. I've known it was a gamble (aren't INTPs prescient? ) and it seems like I'm on the loosing side of this dice roll.

For the past few years, I've been trying to get her to ready herself for change. I've asked her to switch over to a remote job and have been telling her of my intent to travel the world again to no avail. Last year, traveling was a no-go because of COVID. Due to our financial well being improving, I also let her know that it's no longer necessary for her to take care of me as she did before and that she needs to invest that time in improving herself financially or in other ways. To date, it's as if all of this has fallen on deaf ears. She says she wants to travel, but has taken very little action in regards to that. Unfortunately, our finances are not to the point where she can just quit her job.

I feel like it's my relationship holding me back and after two years of what feels like being handicapped, I'm getting ready to move on. I don't really want to leave, but at this point it's staying stagnant with her vs continuing to unlock my future potential. Anytime I try to bring this subject up, we just get into an argument and can't move past it.

Have you been in a situation like this before? What did you do?
honestly it sounds as though since you now have no use for her you are ready to ditch her because she's not what you want in your new life. real nice. do her a favor and make it quick. of course not one mention of love.
 

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I had a girlfriend who left me to go to grad school in a different city. Actually, I encouraged her to go after what she wants, and I made it clear that it would mean breaking up since I'm terrible at long distance relationship. I think as long as you're not married or have kid(s), then you do have the freedom to choose without being the ass, at least in American culture. If she really cares about you, I think she would let you go since that's what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Why can't you just take her on a trip or something--give her something financially now. Help her choose a new job if she wants that...or even help her negotiate with her employer for time off. You might be surprised how much husbands can help women negotiate for things in their own workplaces (it's really odd when I think about it, but it's something I've seen with a few of my coworkers).

You say that she has to take care of her financial situation, and yet you say you had great financial success--so if you had a lot of financial success from her help, why don't you contribute to her financial situation so she can focus on something else like a better path or whatever. At least it doesn't make sense to me you'd be expecting her to pick herself up from her bootstraps while you said she helped you.

Maybe have an honest conversation with her about traveling--are you seeing yourself wanting to travel a lot? Ask her if that's what she wants, and see what you would both want to do. If she says she'd like it, try to ask her what would make her feel the best though, or just figure out her feelings about it. If she really wants the same thing then you should just try to work towards that with her.

Women, on average, make less than what men do. So you might think she should just step up in her income, but maybe you should consider that women do face discrimination in the workplace and many women do not experience the job market the same way that you might. Idk Even without that, perhaps you could consider her opinion and perspective on what she wants to do and how it's going.

Also, maybe try to figure out if she feels stuck or stagnant, and ask her to talk about it. Maybe it will help her come up with her own solutions, or else you can understand better.
I can't really take her on a trip because she has difficulty in getting vacation days off due to her job. I have tried to get her to negotiate to switch over to part time, but she won't even try asking and gets angry if I press the issue. I have set an example by recently negotiating a pay raise myself, but I can't get her to move on this. It's tough. I understand women see this as potentially causing conflict, so they are very uncomfortable at asking for things.

I think what you said about understanding her point of view is key here. Not sure if it's an INFJ thing, but it seems like even she doesn't really know or can't describe what she wants. It's been difficult for me to try to help her in that regard. My intuition tells me that she may know what she wants, but won't tell me because it would affirm that we're no longer compatible with each other.

Something else I can put on the table is just taking her along with me on my travels and footing the entire bill financially if she is open to that idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was in your situation once. I chose to do what was good for me versus what was good for the couple. My boyfriend of the time chose to support me in my choice, we separated for almost a full year so that we could both evolve on our sides. Admittedly, we were still committed to each other despite our break-up, so instead of separating us, it reinforced our bonds. In the end, we reunited, stronger.

What I learned from that:
  • Happy, autonomous individuals make happy couples.
  • When someone truly loves you, this someone will be willing to let you go for your sake. A relationship shouldn’t drag us down, but push us up.
  • Following our hearts can be painful, but fate can have something good to offer when we do.
I like this idea, but it is quite a leap of faith to take. I'm glad to hear that it worked out for you as I've also thought about this plan of action as well.

In an ideal world, I would leave for a year, come back and pretend like that never happened. But alas, in the real world, things change, distance pushes people apart, it's a roll of the dice.
 

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I like this idea, but it is quite a leap of faith to take. I'm glad to hear that it worked out for you as I've also thought about this plan of action as well.

In an ideal world, I would leave for a year, come back and pretend like that never happened. But alas, in the real world, things change, distance pushes people apart, it's a roll of the dice.
Life is full of risks. I like this idea too.
 

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I think you should offer her a solid plan, not a hypothetical possibility. Where, when, for how long. Where exactly are you going to live and what could you do/see there. What will happen to your current home while you are away. Why you want it and what it will give to her and to you both as a couple. “Sell” your vision. If this foreign adventure is something that you desire more than she does offer her possibility to come with you “worry-free”, volunteer to take care of initial practicalities, take on responsibility to support both of you financially.

I am pretty sure, if she will see real potential in this adventure and that you fully realize what you are doing and are serious about it, she will help and put effort in to make it happen or then will let you go, so you can fulfil your dreams, because usually people don’t want to be an anchor on someone’s neck and be a reason for their misery.

Also, if she has issues with her work, why she has them? Maybe it’s important for her career development to sacrifice vacations and she also needs some time and support to sort it out. Have you supported her in reaching her goals? I find it strange, that you want her to make some changes to adjust to your goals but say nothing about her goals or how you helped her with those. Giving advice, to do like you did is not helpful and it is not a support.

If her workplace is actually not so good, if she is drowning in a swamp without realizing it, it’s in your power to pull her out. You have wings now, you can show her all the new perspectives you are able to see now yourself.

I am millennial as well and living abroad for almost ten years now. Moving to different country was one of the best decisions in my life in terms of personal development. It´s an amazing and very giving experience. But, heh… I was naïve...

It’s quite challenging adventure I’d say. Environment is new, but overall it is still same life, I still have to do my laundry, go to grocery store and do other boring mundane stuff. As a foreigner I had to jump through additional hoops to get simple things done due to language barrier and different rules. Going through bureaucracy to get all kinds of papers right, is also special. If you have health issues, it is whole another story. And loneliness is real, even for hardcore introverts. The older you get, the harder it becomes to make new friends and if you don´t stay on one place long, it makes it even more difficult.

As HAL said, it is not all fun automatically. Making it fun requires efforts.

Can’t help but feel sorry for your INFJ. It looks like you settled for her when it was convenient and now you are searching for moral justifications to leave. Hopefully it´s false impression.

Anyway, I think you should pursue this travel adventure, you can´t substitute this experience with anything and most likely you will regret if you don´t do it. It is objectively easier to do, when you have no serious obligations. It’s great if you can do it together, it’s more fun this way. But really don´t waste more of her time if you don´t love her.
 

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Maybe your INFJ just has a different definition of self-evolution. It's really not the same for everyone and goes without saying that people often want different things and have different goals in life. I think it's better to just accept a person as they are and not expect them to change from the first meeting. If you can't accept them as they are to begin with, probably not wise to invest in a relationship like that.

It sounds like she has mixed feelings about the whole thing but leaning more so against it if discussions about it don't end well. She could possibly be feeling pressured, but I don't know.

Honestly, this sounds really important to you and like a deal-breaker. And it doesn't really bode well if every time y'all discuss the topic, it doesn't end well. It sounds like you're both at an impasse. There's nothing wrong with wanting different things in life, I just think it's better to team up with people who have the same values and goals as you from the start, so you don't run into this problem in the future.

I agree that staying will only build more resentment, so I vote for option 1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think you should offer her a solid plan, not a hypothetical possibility. Where, when, for how long. Where exactly are you going to live and what could you do/see there. What will happen to your current home while you are away. Why you want it and what it will give to her and to you both as a couple. “Sell” your vision. If this foreign adventure is something that you desire more than she does offer her possibility to come with you “worry-free”, volunteer to take care of initial practicalities, take on responsibility to support both of you financially.

I am pretty sure, if she will see real potential in this adventure and that you fully realize what you are doing and are serious about it, she will help and put effort in to make it happen or then will let you go, so you can fulfil your dreams, because usually people don’t want to be an anchor on someone’s neck and be a reason for their misery.

Also, if she has issues with her work, why she has them? Maybe it’s important for her career development to sacrifice vacations and she also needs some time and support to sort it out. Have you supported her in reaching her goals? I find it strange, that you want her to make some changes to adjust to your goals but say nothing about her goals or how you helped her with those. Giving advice, to do like you did is not helpful and it is not a support.

If her workplace is actually not so good, if she is drowning in a swamp without realizing it, it’s in your power to pull her out. You have wings now, you can show her all the new perspectives you are able to see now yourself.

I am millennial as well and living abroad for almost ten years now. Moving to different country was one of the best decisions in my life in terms of personal development. It´s an amazing and very giving experience. But, heh… I was naïve...

It’s quite challenging adventure I’d say. Environment is new, but overall it is still same life, I still have to do my laundry, go to grocery store and do other boring mundane stuff. As a foreigner I had to jump through additional hoops to get simple things done due to language barrier and different rules. Going through bureaucracy to get all kinds of papers right, is also special. If you have health issues, it is whole another story. And loneliness is real, even for hardcore introverts. The older you get, the harder it becomes to make new friends and if you don´t stay on one place long, it makes it even more difficult.

As HAL said, it is not all fun automatically. Making it fun requires efforts.

Can’t help but feel sorry for your INFJ. It looks like you settled for her when it was convenient and now you are searching for moral justifications to leave. Hopefully it´s false impression.

Anyway, I think you should pursue this travel adventure, you can´t substitute this experience with anything and most likely you will regret if you don´t do it. It is objectively easier to do, when you have no serious obligations. It’s great if you can do it together, it’s more fun this way. But really don´t waste more of her time if you don´t love her.
Well said. I will give creating a solid plan a try. I haven't really done that and she might feel more comfortable once she has a better idea of where we are going to go and for how long.

We actually traveled together for a few months in South America a few years ago and that has given us experience in regards to living abroad. Just not sure why she is hesitant to do this again if we've already done this once before and she seemed to have enjoyed that trip. She hasn't flat out refused to go, probably because I really want to go and that would put us in an impasse.

@HAL

I get everything you've said. I've more or less have imaged I will run into those same issues. I feel as if I am at that point in my life where Neo was when he was loaded into the jump program. Before, I was too afraid to make the leap. Now, I am ready. This is a huge leap. I would like to make it with my GF, but at the same time, she may not be ready, nor even want to make that same leap. And what kills me is having to choose between her and what lies over that leap. Of course, in the movie, no one makes the first jump, including Neo. But that is one of the first step he takes in his hero's journey.
 

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Yes, it would be scary. You might feel guilty. You might look back in 20 years and regret having given up what you had. But that's life.
 
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