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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Is it wrong for me to plan for the "What if's" in life?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11973points) April 12th, 2010 from iPhone

I’ll be getting married in a few months. As of right now, I’m happy with my partner. I look forward to married life with him. I used to think that marriage is forever, no matter what. I thought that once I got married, I was in that marriage for life. No divorce for me. But lately I’ve been having different feelings about this topic. I’m realizing that life doesn’t always work out the way you think/hope it will. No matter how much I want to be only married to this one person for the rest of my life, it may not work out that way.

Ever since my new way of thinking, I’ve started to try and get my own individual life. I’ve been getting together with my friends more often, venturing out into the world on my own, even applying for jobs. I feel like if my husband and I ever got divorced (which isn’t very far fetched according to statistics), I don’t want to be that woman that is completely lost without her other half. As of right now, I’m completely dependant on him. I go where he goes, eat what he eats, thinks what he thinks, etc. I want to be my own person now. I’m planning for the what if’s, which I think is a smart move on my part. However, he sees this new independence thing as a threat. He’s worried that getting my own life will hurt out relationship. I’m not sure how to convince him that this is actually a good thing, and that he should do the same. How do you feel about being an independent woman/man? Is it the smart path to take? Or should I be more focused on making my marriage last until death do us part?

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32 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

Sounds to me as if you’re just now beginning to grow into a mature adult. Are you CERTAIN you want to get married before that process is completed, or at least more advanced??

gemiwing's avatar

If two people in a relationship are exactly the same then one of you isn’t necessary.

A good marriage is not dependent on doing everything together, eating the same food and thinking the same thoughts.

Facade's avatar

Considering your previous questions, I think it is very important that you nurture yourself and your relationships outside of your fiance.

johnny0313x's avatar

I think realizing the what ifs are good but obsessing on them is bad. I just heard a song by Natasha Bedingfield called What ifs – maybe you should give it a listen.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@CaptainHarley I’m certain I want to get married. But I’m concerned that my fiancé isn’t on the same page. Isn’t he being a little naive by thinking it’s ok that I am completely relying on him financially and emotionally? I need to be my own person. And he should want the same for himself.

Coloma's avatar

You are doing the right and healthy thing.
There are no guarantees in life, no extended warranties so to speak. lol

If your husband to be is worried that your independence will effect your relationship that is a warning sign of his insecurities, and perhaps control issues which is not a good thing at all.

Relationship is intended to enhance a flowering of both individuals, not to stunt ones blossoming in an attempt to capture and contain.

Continue your growth path and postpone the marriage for another year or two,

If your fiancee continue to feel threatened by your changes at that time it would be wise to decline the union.

The truth is, very few relationships follow a linear path of growth and as such, many do not make it, nor should they.

Best of luck to you, and do NOT, EVER, stifle your growth for relationship.

Anyone that wants to cage and control another is not a good relational gamble.

At the very least you will suffer from stagnation and at worst you may be setting yourself up for serious abuse.

janbb's avatar

I’m always a firm believer in a Plan B; as long as obsessing over it doesn’t take away from Plan A. I also think the more complete and independent person you can make yourself, the greater success you will have in a marriage or outside it. There’s no downside to having a career and good friends of your own.

Sophief's avatar

First, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. When I first read your question I thought you would be thinking a little more ahead than you actually are. To me, it reads like you are going to be getting divorced as quick as you are getting married.

It is an idea to have savings, but from what you wrote it looks like your starting to get your single life back before you are even married. Obviously you’ll need a career, unless you will be a housewife, but I think you are just experiencing pre wedding nerves.
Be happy, love who your with and be excited for your future, together, as one.

Coloma's avatar

@Dibley

No, THAT is the issue, two individulas are NOT one!

They may share a life but for the best likely outcome both must retain an individual sense of self.

This is WHY so many relationships fail, because one or both parties expects the other to be a carbon copy of themselves.

Extremely damaging and unhealthy!

Emt3225's avatar

It’s sad to say that must people that get married today end up divorced within 5 to 10 years of saying the words I DO…Back in the days divorce wasnt even considered.. Woman stayed home and took care of the house and kids, while the hubby went to work.. Women didnt have much say back then..Most women only had grammar school educations.. It was unheard of for women to have college degrees… Times have changed and women are more educated and independent..I think wheter your a male or female everyone needs to see the world and allow themselves to mature before getting married.. I believe in living alone for a year or two, thinking for yourself and not relying on people to solve your problems..Know what it is to work a full time job and pay the bills on your own.. So God forbid that day does come along, where divorce comes into play you will be able to stand on your own 2 feet… Good luck :)

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Dibley Sorry if I sounded like I was obsessibg over the what if’s. That’s not the case at all. Nor am I trying to have a single life. It’s just that I’m realizing that I was being close minded by thinking that my marriage will absolutely last forever. That’s not always the case. I’m not hoping it ends in divorce. I just think it’s smarter to make sure I have some sort of independence in case it does. Even if we’re married forever, it’s still nice to have friends and a separate life every now and then. Spending everyday with only one person tends to become boring, overwhelming, and leads to a lot of “nothing” fights. It seems like it’s making my relationship unhealthy.

Sophief's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 You don’t have to apologise to me, I was just saying how it looked to me. You say your fiance is seeing it as a threat already though, which concerns me a little. I think marriage is a beautiful thing, 2 people coming into 1. So many marriages end in divorce these days, I don’t want yours to be one of those. I think as long as you listen to each other and respect each other you should be ok.

Facade's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 That is making your relationship unhealthy. Get out. Make friends. Get a job, even if it’s part time. Pick up a hobby. What you’re trying to do isn’t wrong in the least.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Facade And it feels great. I’ve noticed that when I go out for a couple hours with my girl friends for shopping or dinner, I come home in a happier mood. My fiancé sees my happiness as a lack of him being able to be the one who puts a smile on my face. I wish he’d understand that it’s a different kind of happiness that my friends give me…

tranquilsea's avatar

I think that it is good for both parties to feel like they would be financially ok if they were to break up. From your first post I can see why your fiancé would be a little concerned about your about face. Going from being with him 24/7 to looking out for yourself part of the time would be startling because he is used to one thing and now he’s getting another. It could seem like you are in preparations for leaving. Guys have an innate need to support their partner and actions often speak louder than words.

You should talk to him without saying, “just in case this doesn’t work out” because that may put him on the defensive. He probably needs time to adjust with lots and lots of supportive talks with you.

It is good that you are looking for ways to define yourself outside of the marriage. Just be sure that there are many ways you are with him in the marriage.

janbb's avatar

My husband and I almost always feel better when we’ve done our separate things and come back together to share our news. He is now on a two week sailing trip with friends, and I am enjoying some alone time. We have many things we share and many things we do separately. We’ll be married 37 years in January!

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@janbb Thats great. Very encouraging to hear :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, it is a smart thing to do – your fiancee (from what I heard of him) will probably not appreciate this process of yours but I hope I’m wrong.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I can already tell he’s not in favor of this process. But maybe he’ll come around. I’m crossing my fingers.

janbb's avatar

You need to sit down and have a serious talk about this and why he is not in favor of it. If he is not willing to grant you autonomy, it is a bit of a red flag in my opinion. Not sure if just “crossing your fingers” is enough of a solution.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I agree with @janbb – if you become more independent, he will probably grow more and more resentful unless you clearly express to him that you realized it was important to (don’t mention the part about in case of your divorce) to have your own interests, to stand for something as yourself – explain to him that you hope he will support you as he should because he is the person you want there for the long haul and if he can’t see how important this process is, he needs to re-evaluate himself.

Facade's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 The wait-and-see technique doesn’t fit this situation. You should be direct with him.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir and @janbb I agree. I will definitely sit down and have a talk with him about this whole thing. Of course, I’ll avoid saying anything along the lines of “If we get divorced…” Even though he has his flaws (as do I) and I might’ve painted an unflattering picture of him in the past, he really is an understanding guy. I think if I just openly tell him my feelings on the situation, he’ll come around and see things clearly.

cak's avatar

I think it’s a matter of maturity. I can remember, in my first marriage (this isn’t why it didn’t work, there are a list of reasons why it didn’t work) my husband didn’t see the need for me to “be my own person” he didn’t get it. Funny, because when he met me, I was independent and that was one of the reasons why he liked me. When I started doing more and more for myself and for my daughter, he and I did grow apart; however, it was because I realized I wasn’t the person he wanted me to be. He wound up with a girlfriend and I wound up with an attorney – and custody.

Fast forward many years. I’m remarried. I’m happy and I am fine to do things on my own or with my husband. When I’m not with him, it’s time for me to kind of regroup, re-energize. To laugh with my friends and do the girl thing. When I come home, we talk and joke about what I did, but he sees the positive in the time apart. When he goes fishing with his friends, it is the same. I welcome that time! Being together 24/7 gets tiresome after so long. Now, don’t get me wrong. My husband is absolutely my best friend. I put no other person – I’m talking friends, above him. I love my time with him, but I love to have that time apart so I can appreciate him, as well.

It’s important to know that you can stand on your own two feet. Grow together, but do things apart. Being one dimensional gets old, having layers to yourself. All the more interesting.

Talk to him. Let him know that you aren’t pulling away from him, at all. Just let him know that it is important that now and then, you see your friends or you need a job. Something, even take a class. Tell him it makes you feel stronger and that will help your relationship, in the long run. Let him know that he does make you happy; however, it’s also something you need to do – be able to make yourself happy. He’s your husband, not your emotional keeper. Tell him you need him to be your husband, friend and best advocate – you need his support. and tell him how much you love him!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217

This is something only you can decide. If he is threatened by your attempts to become your own person and at least partially self-supporting, then I would seriously question whether there is a good match here based on maturity level. What you are proposing is usually a good thing both for you and for the relationship, but you must realize that doing so could put a great deal of strain on the relationship if he is at all threatened. Put bluntly, you need to decide which is more important to you: your newly developed sense of responsibility for yourself, or the relationship. It may very well come to that.

evandad's avatar

You’re right about bucking the odds. You’re being practical. We all worry about “What if’s”. I think you should continue to explore your feelings. How can you depend on someone else if you can’t depend on yourself?

kyanblue's avatar

Relationships work best if both people are independent and self-sufficient. It’s good that you’re trying to claim some individuality outside of a relationship…ultimately, being defined as someone’s spouse is a far more risky proposition (and less satisfying in the long run) than being, say, a dedicated scarf-knitter who runs a mile every morning before breakfast.

Planning for eventualities shouldn’t hurt a marriage, but strengthen it. Imagine the two lovers who never got a prenup because they thought their love meant forever, and in the event of a divorce everything would go amicably and they’d do a 50–50 split without any bitterness. Well. What if they do get divorced? What if splitting the assets does get messy? In this case I feel a lot of hurt feelings could have been avoided if, back when the two were still in love, to plan for any and all eventualities. I think it’s better to be a pragmatist than a starry-eyed idealist who refuses to acknowledge an (unfortunately) realistic possibility. Both people in a relationship must respect the odds and uncertainties of life and make sure that neither person is left adrift should the relationship end. It’s just kind of the smart thing to do.

It’s a red flag if your fiancé needs your lives to be so intertwined, that he gets upset if being around other people makes you feel happy too. To my mind it’s a bit clingy bordering on overly dependent…

Even with my closest friends and family, there are times when I just needed to get away from them and hang out with other people, or just disconnect for a day. The time away and alone energizes me, and—in my experience—maintains sanity.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s very difficult to make hard and fast rules about relationships. The best approach is to find someone with enough in common that you are understandable to each other, but with enough differences to keep life interesting. It’s not axiomatic that “opposites attract,” nor is it sufficient to be “two peas in a pod.” Each couple must work their relationship out for themselves. It’s ok to ask for a bit of help if you think it would be helpful.

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Not at all. It’s always good to plan ahead.

Cupcake's avatar

Geez… I thought I could come in here and have something to say… but @janbb @Simone_De_Beauvoir @Facade and @cak already said it!

Listen to them.

I’m happy you feel better being more independent. It’s healthy. Don’t look at it as a plan B… you taking care of yourself and being healthy is always plan A.

Janka's avatar

“I once lived for the future,
Every day was one day closer.
Greener on the other side,
This I believed before I met you.

I soon learned your love
burned brighter than the stars in my eyes.
Now I know how and when,
I know where and why.

And you know that I love you,
Here and now, not forever.
I can give you the present,
I don’t know ‘bout the future,
That’s all stuff and nonsense.”

Split Enz, Stuff and Nonsense

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