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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When does it become too much?

Disclaimer: We have a very good relationship and see a future with each other if it were not for... these things:

1. Age gap. I'm 22 and he's going to turn 20 soon, so around two years. It wouldn't be so much of an issue, except his undergrad degree is 5 years long (so there are 3 years left after this one). Then he wants to do masters and PhD (my plans are irrelevant at this point since I'd be done earlier). If we give it an optimistic estimate of 5 years to a PhD, I'd be 30. He probably wouldn't want to have kids before he finishes his degree, but I mind. I mind it extremely much. (don't get me wrong, he wants kids). Bottom line is, I want my eldest child out of college and financially independent by the time I'm 50. Which means I have to pop out a child at 28 at the latest. I saw how tiring it is to have to fund a kid when you have no more strength and vitality (my mother). I'm NOT doing that. If I were single right now... I'd go for a guy who's at least 25 years old. Ideal age would be 27. That would fit my plan perfectly. Honestly I didn't expect this relationship to get so serious, so it wasn't something I thought hard about when we first started, er, hooking up.

2. Distance. I'd never make it in his country (language barriers) and I do not wish to (don't particularly like it). He said he'd likely not be able to go to grad school in my chosen country (again, language barriers), though he expressed a willingness to settle down there permanently. But I'm concerned about how many years of long distance that would be. I'm quite a sexual person and now we see each other once every several months. Our relationship is barely 8 months old and I'm already finding it difficult. I don't know (and I don't expect to) if I can make it for the amount of years this schedule seems to take. One thing I'm afraid of doing is to hold out for a couple of years, finally cave (either by telling him I can't do it anymore, or actually cheating on him). We both would have wasted so much time. Especially me, given my kid-out-of-college-by-50 plan.

Despite how much I want to be with him, the realist and pragmatic side of me can't help but tell me to break up with him right now. I think for it to work, one of us would have to change our plans pretty drastically. As for what I want out of this thread... Well, wisdom and experiences would be nice, to help me through my thought process. I don't necessarily want a definite course of action. I will determine that myself.

Some food for thought:

Have you drastically changed your life plan for someone you thought had long term potential? Was it worth it? Did you have regrets? Would you do the same again, given the chance?
 
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Can you find someone local close to your age and wants children in his 20's to fit your plan?

this guy doesn't seem to fit it. then again, a plan can be changed but a match is very hard to find.....
 

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I think that the only one who can decide is you. It sounds like a very difficult situation tbh and I'm not sure what you are looking for. General thoughts, other perspectives, advice?

I'm double your age, so I would likely come from it at a very different angle than you, but if that would be useful, I'd be happy to share. (Tomorrow, since it's way past my bedtime.).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think that the only one who can decide is you. It sounds like a very difficult situation tbh and I'm not sure what you are looking for. General thoughts, other perspectives, advice?

I'm double your age, so I would likely come from it at a very different angle than you, but if that would be useful, I'd be happy to share. (Tomorrow, since it's way past my bedtime.).
Yes please. Every bit of experience I can gather, the better. I plan to have a very serious talk with him about this in the near future.

It's true that I didn't start dating until I was a bit older (19), but this being my third relationship, and since I've seen the way many, many people's relationships go, I do not wish to "date around" any longer. I see it as a pointless wasting of time, much like doing nothing after college until you "figure it out". Life that is not lived intentionally does not interest me. Of course I'm not saying RAWR WE MUST GET MARRIED, but there must be at least a good chance for it to work out, so that I'd commit. Most of all, I want to be clear on one thing: Provided we work out, is he down to get married? I know there are people for whom they must date around at least a certain amount before they'd even CONSIDER settling down. I am not interested in these people in the least. From what it looks like right now, that seems to be his intention (he's even speculated on names of some of our future children), but no matter what he says, he's only 19 and had one serious relationship before this one (he had casual ones). Also, he's young and in love. People say all sorts of things when they're young and in love. With that said, he's very mature for his age. I'd place his emotional age to be north of 30. Some studies show that while getting married older does help the stability of the marriage, the benefit only applies as marriage age is up to 25. After 25, there seems to be no net gain in delaying marriage. Thus, with that in mind, I would NOT like to delay marriage just for the sake of delaying marriage.

As for how this changes things for me: If he says "yes, I'm ready to settle down if this works out", I will treat him seriously. By this I mean I will treat him as a future life partner and make him as important as my own family (that's how spouses or potential spouses treat each other, no?) If he says "no, I think I must date around some more, even if we work out", it doesn't mean I will break up with him immediately. I'll date him until it is no longer convenient to (and I will tell him this straight up. I will be casually on the prowl, and if the right person shows up or if I plain just don't want to anymore, it's goodbye. He's free to do what he wishes with this information)- this seems to be what people who are "dating around" do anyway. They break up when relationship is no longer convenient to the circumstances. I know this sounds cold but as much as I want him in my life, I refuse to make someone more of a priority than I am his priority. Right now he is very high emotional and practical priority, but that is contingent upon his reciprocity. In other words, I will not sign if the contract is not mutual. I guess I just plan ahead very far in my life. I don't need to have a set-in-stone schedule, but the rough schedule must not be too far off.
 
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Right now he is very high emotional and practical priority, but that is contingent upon his reciprocity. In other words, I will not sign if the contract is not mutual. I guess I just plan ahead very far in my life.
Haha. Most 'INTJ' statement ever.

And in response to your issue:

If you both are wildly in love with each other and want a long and happy future together, you're both gonna have to make compromises.

That's pretty much it really.

Generally though, long distance over such a long timespan is nigh on impossible.

I had a girlfriend in Korea for almost two years. I was blindly in love so tried to ignore all the major issues. We split up in the end, simply because we didn't get on in the right way. However in hindsight I'll say that the biggest thing would have been the massive compromise required regarding country, lifestyle, life goals, language, culture etc.

Also. If you have no interest in his country or his language, you should maybe rethink the whole thing because it's really not fair for you to want it all only in your own comfort zone. If you don't like his country, then I personally think that you by extension don't like him as much as you think you do. People will always somehow represent the culture of their homeland in one way or another.

Think of it this way: If you ever go with him back to his home country to see his life, his people, the way he grew up, the things he holds close and calls home, and you don't enjoy any of it....... then something is already not right.
 

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Pretty cool - I see a number of similarities here: we are both female INTJs, we both have younger partners, and we both have international relationships.

I will respond in two very different ways, neither one will tell you what you ought to do.

1) Follow your Ni. If you disregards all your Te, what would be left?
Ni is very seldom wrong.

2) The very long and personal answer which is based on my own experiences and observations. A lot is likely not applicable to you, but I am adding it just because it may offer a different angle.

a) Age differences
 
This is a hard topic to talk about, because chances are that I will sound patronizing, but know that this is absolutely not my intent.
- You are 22. To me, that is a very early age to plan the rest of your life. I know that us INTJs tend look into the future a lot, but some things are just better off not planning too much in detail. Sometimes it is better to just let go and enjoy the moment.

You started dating when you were 19 and have had 3 serious relationships. To me, that does not sound like you have had a lot of time being single the last few years. Being single is not a bad thing. The way I see it, it is in many ways a gift to yourself - for me personally, it was close to a life saver, tbh.

On the other hand, in a way you are getting both the single life and dating life, in that you are in a LDR, which I find interesting. I think that this might be worth thinking a bit more in depth about.

Many people are still quickly developing in their 20s. Chances are that you will be a pretty different person in just a few years and that is probably true for your bf too. So the question is, will you develop towards each other or away from each other? That is something that is pretty much impossible to predict. But note that the same is also true in any relationship. People get married because they found a perfect match, but a decade later, the match is terrible. What I am saying is that no relationship is 100% predictable, no matter how well we plan ahead.

- Age is just a number. My husband was 19 when we met and I am 7 years older than him. Guess how many times and in how many ways that freaked me out? Many and, you guessed it, many.... :-/
What I finally accepted was that he was in many ways more mature than the men I had dated who were 5-10 years older than I was.
All men are not necessarily ready to settle down and have a family as a function of their age or their career - they simply don't have the same biological time constraints as women do, so they have more freedom in taking their time. I generally get the impression that men who are working on their 'second' family are more invested in the children though (see below).


b) Parental age
 
It is great to have a plan, but I think that many people get very surprised when they realize that - despite all the stories we hear about people getting accidentally pregnant all over the place - getting pregnant is not as easy as we think it is.

We started trying when I was in my early 30s, soon after I finished up my PhD. It took 8 (!) years for us to have kids (twins). I am the 'old mom', practically the age of many grandmothers here in KY. I am 42 and I have kids who are toddlers.

Yes, the negative is that I probably don't have as much energy now as I did 20 years ago. On the other hand, I have developed other aspects of my personality that I feel now we're lacking back then - most notably healing from my own childhood, but also a much calmer temper, loads of patience that I never had before, more quick to improvise, more flexible, more willing to compromise, less controlling, and not least, my struggle to get to this point has given me a true appreciation for my children.

I do also have a much higher education, better economy, and wider range of skills that ensure my childrens and my own practical safety if something was to happen to my husband. I don't like the idea of being practically dependent on anyone, no matter who.

I see so many other parents who seem to take their children for granted, or maybe even see their children as an annoyance to raise and get the heck out of the home as soon as possible and it's most often the young parents (I did read in a little of that in your OP). I always wonder why they even bothered having kids in the first place. It seems more like they do it because that's what people do.

And that is another thing that changed for me. I was never particularly interested in having children until I met the right person to have children with. I wanted to see this incredible person, my husband, in our children. I wanted to give him the gift of fatherhood. (As a matter of fact, I was contemplating leaving him during the 8 years of pregnancy problems because I wanted the gift of children so badly for him - if I couldn't give that to him, maybe someone else could?) I wanted to mix our DNAs and create a bond that is stronger than anything else.
And I am aware that it does not sound 'INTJ' at all, but in a way, that is how I knew it was real. For me to become so emotional and romantic about something, it had to be real or I would simply have dealt with it in a rational manner as usual.

Another thing to be mindful of - your parents don't dictate your own parenthood or your own behaviors. As I mentioned, my childhood was pretty shitty, so I am determined not to make the same mistakes my parents did. If I do, I don't deserve having children, because that means that I have learned nothing from my own experiences.
To me, many of the mistakes my mom did were related to her level of immaturity and her very unrealistic view of having children (and the fact that probably has NPD).
Take what was good from what your parents did when you grew up and pitch what was bad.


c) Immigration
 
This is hard. I think that @HAL has a good point - it is incredibly hard to immigrate alone. I moved to the US from Sweden for my husband. No family, no friends, no safety-net. The first 5-6 years were hell. I was depressed and stressed, lonely, lost. It was one of the worst period in my life and I had lived through some serious shit before that.

As an introvert, you have the advantage of being capable of handle loneliness, but you will likely also have a much harder time getting new friends (plus, it probably depends on the type of introvert you are: see here). I am a social introvert, so the loneliness was torture.
As an extrovert, I imagine the opposite is true; maybe easier to make friends, but the serious initial loneliness might be too much to handle.

Language and cultural barriers are hard to get over no matter what. I sometimes feel like I don't really belong in either place anymore, but I also feel that I am strong enough to deal with that.
And to visit a place is not at all the same as moving to a place.

LDR - I have learned that it is not for me. I can not handle it. I need to be close to my partner. I was away from my husband for 6 months after we had just met and I barely made it through.
It does not make you a bad person. Most people can not handle LDR, I think. I think that there is a support thread for people in LDRs here on PerC, by the way. Maybe something to look into?

Sorry about the long and jumpy response. Hopefully you can find a couple of things that might help within this wall of text.

Good luck with everything! :)
 

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Have you drastically changed your life plan for someone you thought had long term potential? Was it worth it? Did you have regrets? Would you do the same again, given the chance?
Yes I have.

Was it worth it, no... because I adjusted too much around that person and did not demand compromise.

Regrets came when I got tired of things revolving around that person and it taken forgranted how much I adjusted and how little was compromised.

Point I totally think when people make plans to join their lives that it can be possible and awesome. I think it has to be based around compromise rather then one person adjusting too much around another. I don't think that major life goals should be expected to be sacrificed by either. Adjusting is one thing. So if you can make it work while maintaining your long term goals but just adjusting the where and how that's one thing, but if anyone is expecting you to put your own ambitions aside I say fucking run the hell with em.
 

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Is it that you dislike the mores, deeply ingrained traditions of his culture or things like the food, clothing etcetera? I ask because when you marry someone you absolutely marry their entire family, set of friends and background. If you have children this intensifies.

Even if a person is not very close to their homeland or family, this may change when they become a parent.

I am forward looking also, so I understand planning. However, you asked for experience so this is what I have to offer. Planning is beneficial for practical reasons. As long as it is with the understanding that we truly have no control over anything.

You could put all your hopes and dreams on this man and he could die unexpectedly. You could make a life in your homeland with him and a family emergency could require returning to his. You could adjust plans to have children at the age you feel appropriate and realize that one of you has problems conceiving. And, so on and so on.

Thus, many things come down to this: If life circumstances do change and flex is this the person you want as your team member beside you while these things go down?

Can you imagine life without him?

I agree you need to know specifically how he feels about marriage with things like family and immigration featuring so specifically into your plans.

I promise even better than planning on a schedule is making sure you find the correct future Father for your children @Persephone. Your relationship with their Dad set the tone for their future relationships. If it takes a bit longer to find someone who will be that man, it will be worth it for you and your future family.

All the best!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice, everyone! Lots to think about.

Is it that you dislike the mores, deeply ingrained traditions of his culture or things like the food, clothing etcetera? I ask because when you marry someone you absolutely marry their entire family, set of friends and background. If you have children this intensifies.
Well, I've never really liked the way the language sounds. Too... Slurpy. To vowel heavy. Aside from that, I don't like the general atmosphere of the country. I'm an INTJ and when I got to know German culture, it was basically insta-love. I like their straight talking attitude, coupled with a polite reticence and strong sense of duty and discipline, and so forth. His culture is sort of the opposite of that. They're very good at enjoying themselves, and not very good at getting things done. It is a high context culture (basically, most of the communication is not spelled it, and as a result a lot of subtlety is required). They are SO FUCKING LOUD. Sometimes in even other places in Europe, if you hear a group of people break into loud song, you know it's them. And I see this in his country as well. People just breaking into wild song and generally being a nuisance. To be fair he doesn't like that either; he once told me he didn't see himself ending up with a girl from his country because they're high drama and felt that girls from other countries were more low key. If that's what he thinks, what if the entire country, on the whole, is high drama? I don't want to deal with that. I like his mom perfectly well, but his dad (they're divorced) is a bit of an immature drama queen. He's nice to me NOW, but I imagine once we get used to each other the mask will come off. Because he's told me some wild, wild stories about his dad's moods.
 

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Thanks for the advice, everyone! Lots to think about.


Well, I've never really liked the way the language sounds. Too... Slurpy. To vowel heavy. Aside from that, I don't like the general atmosphere of the country. I'm an INTJ and when I got to know German culture, it was basically insta-love. I like their straight talking attitude, coupled with a polite reticence and strong sense of duty and discipline, and so forth. His culture is sort of the opposite of that. They're very good at enjoying themselves, and not very good at getting things done. It is a high context culture (basically, most of the communication is not spelled it, and as a result a lot of subtlety is required). They are SO FUCKING LOUD. Sometimes in even other places in Europe, if you hear a group of people break into loud song, you know it's them. And I see this in his country as well. People just breaking into wild song and generally being a nuisance. To be fair he doesn't like that either; he once told me he didn't see himself ending up with a girl from his country because they're high drama and felt that girls from other countries were more low key. If that's what he thinks, what if the entire country, on the whole, is high drama? I don't want to deal with that. I like his mom perfectly well, but his dad (they're divorced) is a bit of an immature drama queen. He's nice to me NOW, but I imagine once we get used to each other the mask will come off. Because he's told me some wild, wild stories about his dad's moods.
I really appreciated your response. You are great at describing things in a clear but intriguing and entertaining way :)
It sounds like BOTH of you are thoughtful and putting effort into this.

I wish you all the best in mulling everything over and putting things into action eventually!
 
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