Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

How do couples handle it when they seem super compatible, except for one thing that causes a big rift?

Asked by Blackberry (30929points) September 30th, 2011 from iPhone

For example, one wanting kids now, the other wanting to wait. Or one wanting to finally get married, the other not.

What happens when they really feel this is the one, but they disagree on a major topic. Or what usually happens? Do they separate or work it out til one of them gives?

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33 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

I think the only options are to break up or for one party to be unhappy for the rest of his/her life.

My current boyfriend was in this situation. He and his wife disagreed on one major lifestyle choice. So, they separated.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Concessions have to be made. You figure the pluses outweigh the minuses. It’s all about what you’re willing to fight for and what you’re not willing to fight for – if that which is causing the rift (and I agree the children thing is a biggie) is something you can’t seem to get over, you shouldn’t be together.

ucme's avatar

Okay, this is where they sit like two mature adults & discuss in a sober & sensible manner.
Then after a civilised debate we find that the woman was right & invariably gets her own way!!

Hibernate's avatar

They work something out.

wundayatta's avatar

It seems like something that adults should be able to work out. But it seems to me that issues like the ones you mentioned have to do with very fundamental values that a person has. Often, these values are not negotiable. It isn’t just about having children, it is really about your vision of the future of the world and your role in it.

So if you say you are super-compatible but you haven’t discussed these things before and y ou haven’t discovered your differences or you have discovered them but you didn’t think they were important, then I don’t think you are as compatible as you thought. There should have been an inkling long before because these are fundamental issues reflecting very important values. If you do not agree on these issues, then, in my opinion, your relationship will be on very unstable ground. Especially if you’ve been together a while and you didn’t see this coming. To me, that’s a very red flag.

What should you do? Talk, of course. Review your commonalities. Maybe you’ve missed something. Maybe you can reach common ground on this. Review how forthcoming you have been with each other. How open have you been? Perhaps you will find you have been holding things back because you were afraid to address them or for another reason.

This incompatibility is an opportunity to really open up your relationship and make it deeper. But there’s no guarantee you will be able to like this new person you have discoveredl

SpatzieLover's avatar

Either they learn how to adjust their expectations on their own or through therapy or they split.

Every relationship has some amount of compromise. If communication doesn’t work for compatible people, then who will it work for?

Cruiser's avatar

These are often game changing mid life crisis events. I know someone I am close to…actually 2 people…one their spouse wants more kids after their kids are already in high school and that is a deal breaker for the other spouse. The other friends spouse wants to slow down and take life more easily while the other spouse wants to live life large now that the kids are out of the house and in both cases their solution was to start having an affair.

Blackberry's avatar

@Cruiser Ouch….
This isn’t about me, by the way.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

You compromise. Marriage is about communication and compromising. You have to find something that works for you, or someone will be miserable and it won’t work.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Cruiser That’s unfortunate. In many cases, couples work this stuff out. There must’ve been some pretty big communication gaps for both couples to look elsewhere to fill their needs.

Cruiser's avatar

@Blackberry I didn’t think it was!

@SpatzieLover I don’t think that was the case and in fact I know it was just the opposite. In both examples much effort was made to address these differences in expectations. In the end I get the impression they all felt strong enough in their wants and I expect to hear about divorce proceedings in the near future.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Between my wife and I, love and compromise. Between my closest friend (an ex with whom I was engaged) and I, love and support. Between another dear friend (another ex) and I, love and understanding.

It’s just a matter of talking and finding the right balance with each relationship (sounds easy, but when you’re involved it hardly ever seems so). For myself I feel I’ve been very lucky that “the right balance” has allowed those relationships to continue – that’s all too frequently not the case, many times the only balance that can be agreed on is ending it.

But in all cases, as has been said numerous times before, communication and honesty (both with yourself and your partner) are critical to where they can’t be overstated. Otherwise one or both typically end up miserable.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Like everyone else I imagine… They fight and then compromise. Isn’t that what the relating portion of the word relationship is all about? A vessel as a common ground catalyst to find a way not to make one another walk the plank?

*Although roll playing is fun… LOL

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Blackberry I miss supersquirrel… *Sigh

Blackberry's avatar

@GabrielsLamb Ok, for one more day. I have funny stuff I wanna put up lol.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Blackberry YAY! Nuts to the super rodent! Good ones… Like Cashews and junk!

SavoirFaire's avatar


Why does one want children now? Why does the other one want to wait? When the underlying reasons for conflicting desires are understood, a couple can often find a place to meet in between the extremes. And this is where the communication comes in. Just saying “I don’t children right now” doesn’t go anywhere, whereas “I don’t know how we would afford children,” “I worry about who will look after them given that we both work all day,” or “I don’t mind midnight feedings, but I’m not ready for diapers” shows that “children vs. no children” is not really the underlying issue. Thus the opportunity arises for solving problems, easing minds, and finding a solution with which both can be happy.

Pandora's avatar

They usually end up splitting up. Or someone gets pregnant and there is no back pedalling. My sister in law didn’t want kids and my brother did and she got pregnant. She doesn’t believe in abortion so my brother got what he wanted and of course she loves their child. She just didn’t want to be a mom this late in her life again. Her second his first.
And in cases where it is the other way around, the woman can still get pregnant unless the guy got fixed and either the guy accepts it or he leaves.
As for the married one, I think most eventually split because the one not wanting to marry is still holding out for something better. I know several couples where one of them would say they didn’t want to get married because it wasn’t necessary. Funny enough how the moment they met someone else they were wild about they had no problem locating a ring.

JLeslie's avatar

Every couple I know that had one really wanting kids andnthe other not, divorced. Pretty much every couple I know who had one spouse really unhappy about where they lived eventually divorced. Getting married or not, some people seem to be willing to hang in for a while, but eventually they usually split up, either because the one who wants to marry won’t wait any longer, or they get married and are divorced in less than a month.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I want to point out that the issue of children was just an example. The question applies to all sorts of potential major issues. Many couples have this problem with regards to sex or money, for instance.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

In my own experiences like this, we tried everything to save the greater whole but ended up splitting. Some seemingly small things fester while you’re pretending they don’t matter or don’t exist, they attract suspicion and grow resentment.

Bellatrix's avatar

They either find a way to compromise (perhaps setting a time when they will have kids or get married) or they break up. Those things really are deal breakers. If someone wants children and the other doesn’t, not sure how you get around that one for the long term.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Bellatrix Some people settle on a puppy…Others it’s diamonds for themselves, or spoiling any nieces/nephews they have

Bellatrix's avatar

If you really want a child, I doubt a puppy or diamonds would fill the void. If it did, I really can’t believe wanting a child was so very important. In those cases, it is unlikely it would be causing a ‘big rift’ in the relationship. Similarly with marriage. If it isn’t really so important, people can probably find a compromise. If it is very important, I think it would always be there like an open sore.

Cruiser's avatar

@SpatzieLover Does that mean I should be worried that my wife just got a puppy?? ;O

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Bellatrix It happens. It’s more common than you’d think,too. I’ve seen a few people on here say they’ve compromised with a pup when one wanted another baby, and the other spouse “felt done”.

@Cruiser Be very afraid…especially if you see her do this!~

Cruiser's avatar

@Blackberry The world is in desperate need of more Super Hero Squirrels! We have a job to do!

Bellatrix's avatar

It might happen, but in the long term what impact does it have on the relationship? Only time will tell on that one. There are different levels of need though. “I would like to have children” compared to “I really want to have children”.

Bellatrix's avatar

Aww @Cruiser… nice Squirrel.

And @SpatzieLover too. An angel squirrel.

(What did we start @Blackberry! :D)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@Bellatrix I have no idea, but it was too cute not to participate. I love the squirrel madness.

JLeslie's avatar

As far as sex and money. I would hate my husband if he spent money putting us into debt. We make all money decisions together. He spends more than I would like on cars, but we agree to spend the money. Actually, he spends less than he would like to on cars, there is some compromise. Some couples have separate bank accounts and can spend what they want I guess? Does that every completely work, when two people don’t consult with the other person at all? I can’t imagine it does. Money goals are lifestyle goals, it is hugely important in my opinion.

Sex, I think most people work out sex. It is hard for me to believe couples really break all the time over this. I think they are really brealing up over other things, and the sex is a symptom. Although, of course there are many couples who have very little or no sex, and are still very united happy couples.

GladysMensch's avatar

I’m amazed by the number of people I’ve known who didn’t discuss some of these things before marriage. I know 2 different couples who married people from other countries and never discussed where they were going to live after marriage. In each case one wanted to live in America and the other in their home country. One couple got divorced, the other is living in America and the spouse is miserable. I know several women who married men knowing that the men did not want children, and assumed that the men would change their minds. Some are still married with kids, most are divorced. WTF people?

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