You'd melt my heart, but your preferred temperature just makes me melt.
June 17, 2010 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Is temperature preference a relationship deal breaker?

I have a crush on this women. One reason I wonder if it'd ever work... yesterday in our four-season north American city it was hot (to me) and humid. I was sweating walking around outside. She was wearing a sweater. Then we went inside where it was airconditioned and she was immediately freezing... I have a hard time seeing how something like this could work out, when it seems one of us would likely either be too hot or too cold all the time.

(Yes, I realize I should probably just be following the advice from "my dad".)
posted by ThisIsNotMe to Human Relations (61 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a hard time seeing how something like this could work out, when it seems one of us would likely either be too hot or too cold all the time.

I think, as a general rule, each person in a relationship has a temperature preference and it is a constant struggle for who rules the thermostat. In our house, she does and I walk around without a shirt a lot, but that's also conducive to our sex life, so everyone wins.
posted by Hiker at 7:09 AM on June 17, 2010 [13 favorites]

Only you know what's a dealbreaker for you, but...the fact that you're even considering it does not give me warm fuzzies (no pun intended) about this.

Also: I used to be hot all the time. Now, I'm cold all the time. You never know...
posted by JoanArkham at 7:11 AM on June 17, 2010

Yes, the relationship is in trouble.

Not because of your different temperature preferences, but because you feel the need to ask a website whether to break up over them.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:12 AM on June 17, 2010 [34 favorites]

My mom sleeps with the windows open in winter, and my dad cranked the heat in his study and wore sweats. (Also, she's a Democrat and he was a Republican). They were married for over thirty years.

It's only a dealbreaker if you make it one.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:13 AM on June 17, 2010 [5 favorites]

Sounds like you're looking for a reason to break up with her. Congrats, you found one. It's lame, and she'll see right through it, but I'm sure it'll work just fine for you.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:13 AM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

What is it about her feeling cold in air conditioning that bothers you? The fact that it does makes me think that you're right, this relationship will never work.
posted by amethysts at 7:15 AM on June 17, 2010

A friend of mine dated, lived with, bought a house with, and married a man with very different temperature preferences.

Compromises and negotiations about air con/heating settings have been required, yes,

but they are very very happy together.
posted by Year of meteors at 7:15 AM on June 17, 2010

Eh, she can bundle up as much as she wants, you can wear whatever you find comfortable.

The only incompatibility is if either one of you feels the need to make this a Very Big Annoying Deal. Does she complain about it too much? Or are you embarrassed by her dressing unseasonably? It can simply an acknowledged quirk (which may be because of circulation issues or other medical reasons, btw), and no, not a dealbreaker at all.

If your crush turns into dating, then co-habitating, you get an electric mattress pad that you only turn on for her side of the bed, and you decorate the back of your couch and chairs with throw blankets.

/I am part-reptile.
posted by desuetude at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2010

Just a note to the prior comment-makers: You guys are not reading the question--he's not breaking up with her. He's not dating her. He has a crush on her.
posted by millipede at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2010 [11 favorites]

Does your ladyfriend work in an office building? If so, part of the reason she was wearing a sweater and was cold on re-entering a building is probably because the A/C is cranked up really, really, really high in her building. I used to have a heater in my office, but I used it only in the summertime. Now I just wear sweaters from May through August.

And I'm somebody who happily leaves the thermostat at 65 degrees in the wintertime.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:17 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The secret to a long term relationship (married almost 13 years) is to not worry about small stuff like this. You can worry and/or fight about the temperature, or she can wear a sweater while you wear a t-shirt.

I don't care which way the toilet paper hangs, I try to put the toilet seat down out of respect for midnight runs to the toilet, I've accepted that she doesn't always put the mail where it belongs, and she accepts that I'm really difficult to wake up in the morning and I go through hobbies like Larry King goes through wives.

Life is not an episode of Seinfeld. Embrace your differences.
posted by bondcliff at 7:19 AM on June 17, 2010 [22 favorites]

Just a note to the prior comment-makers: You guys are not reading the question--he's not breaking up with her. He's not dating her. He has a crush on her.

He mentions a "crush" and a "relationship." I assumed he's in an early relationship with someone he has a crush on. They're not mutually exclusive. The whole situation was a little unclear to me. Anyway, if you prefer, here's a revision of my comment in case they're not yet in a relationship:

Yes, the prospective relationship would be in trouble if it were to materialize.

Not because of your different temperature preferences, but because you feel the need to ask a website whether, in the event you did form a relationship, it would eventually be necessary to break up over them.

posted by Jaltcoh at 7:19 AM on June 17, 2010

It sounds like you're trying to sabotage this crush before you have to take action on it. Temperature incompatibility is a kind of classic thing in couples ("She steals the blankets!" "He cranks the a/c!"), so to me, it sounds like you're trying to make it easier if nothing happens with the crush.

If not, don't be so caught up in what won't work. Sweaters are easy. Tank tops are sexy. Snuggies were invented for a reason.
posted by xingcat at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2010

Like everything else in life, it's a compromise. We keep the house warmer than I'd like, so I often wear shorts in the dead of winter, but we keep the bedroom cooler and we use separate blankets so that my husband can have four blankets to cuddle in, and I can use one (with my leg stuck out for temperature regulation) so that I don't sweat. Also, she can always wear warmer clothing, but at a certain point, you will run out of things to remove.
posted by crankylex at 7:20 AM on June 17, 2010

I'm a bit confused, outside in the heat she was too cold so she was wearing a sweater, and indoors she had the AC on full blast and was even colder? It doesn't seem to make sense. If she was cold outside why have it even colder indoors?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:23 AM on June 17, 2010

indoors she had the AC on full blast and was even colder? It doesn't seem to make sense. If she was cold outside why have it even colder indoors?

It wasn't her choice to have the AC on.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:25 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wow, sometimes people on this site are crass/mean as hell. I'm certain the poster isn't asking for your Freudian analysis of his motivations. If you read between the lines, he is asking for our experiences in relationships where similar dichotomies exist.

That being said - no, the relationship isn't doomed. My wife and I argue about the thermostat all the time. She's always cold, I'm always warm. We have lived together for almost 15 years. We deal with it. It's not a big deal if you love someone and have humor about life. Make it a joke - its a small thing really. A relationship is a very large structure, and your personal body temperatures are but one small aspect. Stay lighthearted about this type of stuff.
posted by archivist at 7:27 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mod note: few comments removed - save your snark and outrage for MeTa or go outside, it has NO place here, thank you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:29 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: - It's a crush. There's no relationship. The disturbing thing here is that he is already envisioning a crush as a potential full-blown relationship.

- If you start seeing her and things go well, you will probably not be so worried about this temperature thing.
posted by L'OM at 7:41 AM on June 17, 2010

If you ask whether it can be a deal-breaker, the answer is yes. If you ask whether it is, that is a question for you to ask yourself. The importance of your temperature preference sounds more important than your interest in the relationship.

A deal-breaker can be anything, it never has to be justified. Just make sure you're identifying the real problem and that it really does matter to you enough.
posted by Saydur at 7:44 AM on June 17, 2010

In the specific context of the question, Jaltcoh's about right.

Taking a wider perspective, I'm surprised by the dismissiveness: markedly different tolerance of local climate goes beyond the level of toilet-roll spats. Enduring a hot summer or torrential autumn or frigid winter, regardless of HVAC and sleeping compromises, can make people really miserable. It has the potential to circumscribe the range of potential places to relocate and build a shared future. If partner A's dream job is in Phoenix (or Finland) and partner B simply can't adapt to that kind of climate, even after best efforts, then it's a Very Big Deal.
posted by holgate at 7:45 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

My mom sleeps with sleeveless nightgown and just a sheet in the winter. My dad used to sleep with flannel pajamas, a heated mattress pad, and an electric blanket. They were married for 41 years when he died. So no, it's not a deal breaker. You just make it work.
posted by thejanna at 7:48 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Not a deal breaker, but it is an issue, not just on the daily level, but long term.

On a daily level: I wear sweaters a lot in weather under 80. Mr Anitanita often rubs my cold hands between his and says "so cold!", and then talks to me about the physiology around poor circulation to extremities, and says 'Exercise, baby! Exercise!" I find this adorable.

Sometimes, when he's sweating in the garden, I make him a large, icy apple juice and seltzer water spritzer in a glass I have chilled in the freezer (I now understand that lowering core temperature is helped by having his hands touch cold things, like tall icy glasses). I think he's appreciative.

I think in things like this - because cold weather is a big deal for me - it's your response to the small things really matters.

Good news: We never bicker over hot water - I think I use 80%. He doesn't drink through my hot chocolate. He always has ice. When it's cold - very rare where I live - he has less of a problem jumping out of bed in the morning and turning on the heat, and God, that is a gift.

Personally I'd be curious about what the 'target temp'. is between the two of you, rather than thinking that each of you needs to go to your respective temp. extremes.

On a larger scale, Mr. Anitanita has been generous enough to remove potentially living in a winter wonderland from his to-do list (we might have to move again for his training), because I'm just not biologically engineered for anything under 60 degrees.

Conversely, I have added living in a winter wonderland at least one more time in my life, because I'd rather be cold with him, than warm without him.
posted by anitanita at 7:48 AM on June 17, 2010 [12 favorites]

I have a lower tolerance for cold and heat than my husband does (although not as extreme as you and your crush). In the winter, I wear warmer clothes and keep blankets at hand at all times. In the summer, I wear less clothes, have fans ready, and if my husband gets chilly he just uses a blanket. The only time we really have an issue is when the car is freezing in the winter and I blast the heater but he's roasting. I typically try to wear more clothing, he wears less and our next car is going to have dual temperature control.

To sum: don't let it stop you if you really like her.
posted by Kimberly at 7:48 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

The temperature thing might be temporary. Was she inside in freezing A/C *before* the two of you took your walk as well? She might have been residually cold, and only just warming up when you went back inside. This happens to me all the time.

Only time will tell if she's always cold. Others have given good advice if that happens.
posted by travertina at 7:50 AM on June 17, 2010

My wife prefers it around 65° and loves winter. I prefer it around 95&deg and loathe winter.

It took a lot of negotiation over where to set the thermostat, but we somehow managed to work out this terrible discrepancy over the years.

Also, you think too much. Stop that. You'll find a dealbreaker with literally everyone, if you look hard enough.
posted by ook at 7:54 AM on June 17, 2010 [4 favorites]

Honestly, I do not think this is a joke post nor do I think the OP is over-thinking this.

My husband has arthritis and is always cold. I am, like my dad, a warm person. I prefer the house to be slightly chilly, he prefers it to be toasty warm. Considering how far apart our starting points are, those preferences result in vastly different temperatures. It is an issue and it isn't a small one. There are times of year when we sleep in different bedrooms just to be able to control our own environments.

I currently have all of the windows in the house open except one. My husband is asleep in a south-facing room with the window closed, under a duvet, being beaten on by full sun through the window. When he gets up, I will close all the windows and while I will do it cheerfully because it isn't his fault he's cold, I will not be happy about it.

On the premise that the cold person can get warmer with more layers but the hot person can't get cooler after point-naked, when I'm hot in the summer we open a window and he puts on a sweater. In the winter, I strip down to a string vest and boxers and he wears a jumper and quilt on the couch, with heat.

We do the best we can by being accommodating of each other but there are times I want to SCREAM WITH FRUSTRATION because the temperature in my home is claustrophobia-inducing. and I genuinely, genuinely fear menopause and hot flashes because I think we've already pushed the boundaries of compromise and accommodation as far as they can go without causing real conflict.

Yes, I am worrying about menopause 20 years in advance because that's how big an issue this is in couples where this is a problem.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:17 AM on June 17, 2010 [6 favorites]

If something as trivial as this could be a dealbreaker for you, then, yeah, it's a dealbreaker.
There are a lot of things in a relationship that have to be negotiated. If you can't get past something like this, then the relationship is doomed.

Most people, though, would be able to work things out.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:19 AM on June 17, 2010

Yes it can be a deal breaker. I'm from the south. My exhusband was from Minnesota. We both ended up in Alaska. At some point he decided we were never moving from Alaska. Of course, the real problem was that he didn't consult me on this decision. But the other problem is that -50 kind of bothers me. Call me a princess, but temperature preferences can make a difference.
posted by madred at 8:20 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: anitanita: you made me go "awwwwwwww". That's so sweet.

I was thinking something similar: this could be a reason to break up, but it could also be a reason to:

- carry a sweater with you, so that when she gets cold you just happen to have something cozy in which to wrap her;

- buy her a beautiful pashmina wrap that sets off her eyes;

- if you're overweight, lose weight (this can make a big difference) - you probably aren't, but I've heard bitter stories about the reign of overweight office matrons who controlled the thermostat of chill;

- later on, buy her fuzzy, lovely nightgowns;

- socks! There's a whole universe of wonderful gift socks out there!

- in January, suddenly say, "My sweet little baboo is too cold! We must do something! Is it time to go to Costa Rica?"

- I mentioned socks, but did I mention hats? Scarves? Those lovely cloth sacks full of microwaveable beads?

- Let's not forget, "You had your arms crossed, so I made you some tea."

- Even better, "I knew you would be cold after driving home, so I prepared a nice warm bath. I even used the thermometer to get it to just the temperature you like (I secretly measured last week after you got out of the tub, and added two degrees). I hope you like roses or lavender, because those were the only two kinds of bath bombs the store had. There are fresh blueberry muffins hot from the oven, with locally-made butter, on the little table I set up next to the tub. Don't worry, I've already fed all three of our medium-length-haired and very affectionate cats, as well as the new kitten, and they're all freshly brushed (so you won't get cat fur on your newly-clean skin) and sleeping on the fluffy comforter on our bed, warming it up for you. As soon as you're done in the bath, I'll heat this lovely massage oil I just bought and rub your feet until you fall asleep, at which time I will curl up next to you to ensure you do not get a chill in the night. You'll need to be at your best to enjoy the hot waffles with syrup I'm going to make for you tomorrow morning."

(Don't worry, my dude will be home from his trip tomorrow night. Can you tell I miss him?)

To summarize: warming up your chilly lady love is one of the most romantic things you can do.
posted by amtho at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2010 [13 favorites]

Note: calling this issue trivial is not helpful. For couples where it is easily resolved, it is trivial by definition. In relationships where set temperatures are very far apart and comfortable compromises are harder to find, it is a perfectly legitimate point of conflict.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:30 AM on June 17, 2010 [7 favorites]

You're overthinking this.
posted by joost de vries at 8:30 AM on June 17, 2010

At the school I attended, disagreements over temperature was the biggest reason for dorm room assignment changes. Eventually they put the question, "do you sleep with the window open in the winter?" right at the top of the compatibility questionnaire. You can work around it with dual thermostat electric blankets, aim-able heaters, etc. You'd need to address it deliberately.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:34 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it's a deal-breaker, then you better resign yourself to never making a deal.
posted by Beardman at 8:42 AM on June 17, 2010

I want to find someone like Mr. AnitaAnita & Mr. Amtho. sigh.

Respect and concern for how the other person feels, emotionally, physically, etc., makes for a healthy, loving relationship. Go for it.
posted by theora55 at 8:52 AM on June 17, 2010

There are few things more miserable to me than being too hot or too cold. Sure, I can wear as little as is decent and sit in front of the fan if it's sweltering, but if I have to be up doing something physical it can get miserable pretty quickly (and as much as imagine I'd like to, I can't sit around all the time.)

If the heat is cranked down or the air conditioning is freezing I can put on a sweater, socks, layers, etc. but what about my freezing cold nose? What about my hands? Gloves are impractical for indoors if I actually want to do anything other than watch tv.

Thankfully my hubs and I pretty much agree on temperature and climate so I don't have issues at home, but I deal with this every single day at my office. If I left it up to fate I'd be either roasting or freezing at any given moment in time. (Sweater, fan, heater, heating pad at the desk (for warming up hands) keeps things bearable... and I frequently get made fun of for having the fan and heater going at the same time.)

Personal climate control is very important to some people. It's not trivial, if it is enough of an issue for you to be thinking about it now. It doesn't have to be a deal-breaker (see the many good anecdotes above) but it could be. I wouldn't let it stop me from entering a relationship with someone I was really into, though. If you are good people and crazy about each other, you'll find compromises and it will be a small deal in an otherwise good relationship. If the relationship is not the greatest, it will be just one more damn thing you can't stand about your partner but probably not the major issue that you'll break up over.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:57 AM on June 17, 2010

I just wanna add that when I seriously consider questions like this to be potential dealbreakers it's my OCD acting up. Just saying. If you find yourself analyzing things like this constantly and asking other similar questions, asking for reassurance on the internet as to whether whatever is okay (a compulsion, you might say), it might be something to think about. Memail me if you feel this might apply.

Just for an anecdote my boyfriend and I prefer different temperatures and we're fine.
posted by tweedle at 9:11 AM on June 17, 2010

Another person here whose SO is a different temperature. Literally. My base body temperature is around 97.5, his is around 99.6. Compromise is your friend in any relationship. In ours, he gets to control the thermostat, and I get to buy as many throw blankets and sweaters as I want. He warms up my hands with his when I'm too cold, and I put my cold hands on his neck when he's too hot.

It's only a deal-breaker if you want it to be.
posted by specialagentwebb at 9:16 AM on June 17, 2010

This describes me and my wife. So, not a dealbreaker by any means. I am always hot. She is always cold.

She wears layers of clothing and sweaters inside while I wear a T-shirt.
At night, she'll put extra blankets on her side of the bed only.

Sometimes, she turns up the heat and wears a T-shirt while I sweat profusely.
I do this because I love her.

We live in London instead of the warm climate she is from. But this is where our lives and careers are and a place we love for many other reasons.
But mainly, she does this because she loves me.
posted by vacapinta at 9:23 AM on June 17, 2010

Best answer: Sometimes at the beginning of a relationship, one can feel panicky over every little thing, especially if it seems like it might become serious. Could this be what's happening here?
posted by PersonAndSalt at 9:28 AM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Happily married 11 years. Really, about the only thing we differ about, is temperature. But how! It's comical, in that we're almost always at opposite ends. It's not that I'm always hot or she always cold. It's that when I'm hot, she's cold and vice versa. There's a lot of good-humored ribbing about it, but no conflict. We try to accommodate each other's temperature needs - it's not hard at all. If I'm cold, I'll just put on a sweater. If I'm hot, I'll put on a tee, or less. Blankets on, blankets off. Easy, peasy. Try to think of ways in which both parties can easily accommodate each other. And if you care for your SO, you'll look for ways to make him/her comfortable, even if it's at some small cost to you - it's a privilege to do so. I'm happy I can do something nice for my wife. I cannot imagine it being any kind of deal-breaker.
posted by VikingSword at 9:43 AM on June 17, 2010

what deal are you talking about here? you and your future boo get to decide what the deal is. and you can turn this into something fun and sweet (and sweaty!). another huge fan of anitanita and amtho here! perhaps the deal is that you turn the differences in your bodies into ways to love and care for each other.
posted by anya32 at 9:46 AM on June 17, 2010

This describes my in-laws and my relationship, though maybe not as much as your example. My mother-in-law is often warmer than everyone in the room, and my father-in-law is fine. My wife is often cold in our house, wearing blankets and fuzzy socks, while I go strutting around in whatever I like. As long as neither of you try to control the temperature to a level that makes the other really uncomfortable, you'll be fine.

This is vaguely akin to food preferences: you might like spicy food while she prefers it mild as can be, but you can add spice after-the-fact, and all should be groovy. Avoid things made with peppers from the out-set when cooking together, and enjoy things to your personal liking when eating out, and all is well. Or maybe you like to sit with your feet firmly on the floor, while she likes to have her toes brushing the floor at most. Perhaps she loves shaggy dogs, but you're allergic to anything with fur.

The world is full of things that might not bring you two together, but you shouldn't let that drive you apart.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:00 AM on June 17, 2010

it's not a dealbreaker. i've always dated guys who don't get cold whereas i get cold super easily. it's an excuse to snuggle ;) i used to call one ex my walking heater. i was always really touched to receive various gifts acknowledging my inability to retain heat (scarves, heated gloves, blankets, etc), shows thoughtfulness on the part of the SO.
posted by raw sugar at 10:36 AM on June 17, 2010

My husband and I definitely have extremely different temperature comfort levels. Right now, living without A/C, it gets warm enough at night that I am comfortable. We both sleep under a sheet (me with leggings + socks) and he has a fan on his side of the bed.

When we lived with A/C, I let him turn it down and we slept with separate blankets. I had a heavier blanket + a cashmere throw (cashmere is great for staying warm), he had a sheet or a lighter blanket.

We bicker about it once in a while, but I found that the key to warding off misery is simply to be prepared. ALWAYS have a (cute!) spare jacket or sweater in the car for her, so if you go to a restaurant and decide to sit in the A/C (or outside, when it's chilly) she won't be shaking and in pain the whole time. I know for me, even with the A/C at 70, I might need 2 sweaters if I have to be in it for several hours.

And it really does have a correlation with weight - I went through a phase where I gained 20 pounds and was significantly warmer than I was before I gained and after I lost.
posted by funfetti at 10:52 AM on June 17, 2010

We can't predict whether you two can successfully compromise or not -- it has far more to do with you as people than it does physical temperature tolerance. Even if you're both not big on compromise, maybe one of you is stubborn and wants it all their way and the other has enough of a martyr complex that it works out anyway! There's no sure way of knowing if this is a deal-breaker without your actually attempting the relationship.

That said, the hot man / cold woman thing is so common as to be a joke... being able to cuddle with them for heat is right up there with jar-opening and spider-killing on the list of basic perks to dating a man, I'm told. Since you presumably would want her to cuddle with you, having temperature-related enticements to do so doesn't seem likely to be a bad thing.*

* - except at night, in bed, when she puts her icy feet on you.
posted by Pufferish at 11:05 AM on June 17, 2010

Please note: I didn't actually say that my dude does all those things. I can dream, can't I? He is fairly considerate, though.
posted by amtho at 11:06 AM on June 17, 2010

Often in relationships things can boil down, heh, to simple things over time, like being physically comfortable together, enjoying similar pleasures. I have experienced the temperature issue a number of times in my life with friends and lovers and it is really *not* fun. I like it hot. I sleep with multiple blankets, enjoy snuggling to the point of perspiring, like sweaty sex, feel great when it's 90 degree F and humid, loved living in the heat in India with rivulets of perspiration running down my back and legs. I mean a *love* it hot.

A couple of ex-lovers *hated* it hot, threw off the blankets, left me shivering, chattering my teeth night after night, waking up with a crick in my neck, grumpy, bleary-eyed with lack of deep sleep. They liked their sex talcum powder dry, rushed into the shower to wash off the perspiration. It felt clinical and unfriendly to me.

An ex-friend liked her home air-conditioned like a walk-in freezer. I had to watch tv with multiple blankets, felt arthritic getting up, always uncomfortable. Even her dogs shivered with the cold inside, year round. In the car going anywhere her high level colllldddd A/C froze my knee caps, a pain getting out of the car. When we planned a vacation together for my birthday it was only during that miserable trip that I learned she hated the heat, the beach, sunbathing, the tropics. She loathed taking walks in the sunshine, yearned for October year round for the cool weather. Anything to do with summer, except food, was anathema. And I love love love the summer. Really and truly no fun, year after year. Good phone conversations and that was it.

Really, temperature can make a big difference in the comfort level of a relationship, from significant things, like enjoying spending downtime or holidays together, to watching tv at home, sleeping comfortably together, which is one third of each 24 hours, not an insignificant amount of time.

Thanks for bringing this topic up. I've never heard anyone put words to this situation and I appreciate it.

So I'd say no, this relationship may be one of friendship but not likely to be workable on the physical realm as long term.
posted by nickyskye at 11:21 AM on June 17, 2010

People's "temperature" can change. In high school my BF called me the Ice Queen because my hands were always frigid (among other reasons, I'm sure). Now I can't sleep unless there's a window open, a fan on and snow's blowing in the room! You can't force your SO's internal thermostat to change, but I don't think it's a dichotomous variable and I don't think it's a dealbreaker. Good luck!
posted by ShadePlant at 1:06 PM on June 17, 2010

Interesting. I have a dad who says shit too. One thing he used to say to me was that it is all about compromise. How much you are willing to do? What is worth drawing a line in the sand over?

My grandparents, were complete opposites in terms of temp spectrum. My grandfather had an electric blanket on his side of the bed even in summer. Grandma was needing it cold. One spring break I was in Florida and stopped by for a visit. My grandfather who was quite deaf at the time was odering my grandmother around to get him more juice, it wasn't cold enough, not enough pulp, the tv was too soft, etc. I sat there in amazement while she actually tried to appease him. I finally whispered to her, "What are you doing? Let him get it himself." She smiled and said, "No. I do these little things for me and he does other things for me. He lets me keep the a/c on while he bundles up. We have been married so long not because we are so much alike but because we compromise well."

For you, this may or may not be a deal breaker. You need to work your way through the relationship to find out. It certainly wouldn't prevent me from trying, but it may be the reason to end it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:32 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sure, couples always squabble about temperature, and, yeah, it's usually the guy who wants it colder. Nope, little differences shouldn't wreck a realtionship.

But what if it's a big difference? I live in DC, and was dating a woman who adamantly refused to air-condition her house. This was in spingtime, but I honestly, seriously considered whether I'd be able to date her during the summer. I'd have been miserable, not just a little sweaty, but unable to sleep, unable to be happy, if I had to spend much time at her place during the summer. I outweighed her by 100 pounds, yet we both had perfectly healthy BMIs; I guess I could have suggested she gain a little weight, you know, build up some insulation, but that didn't seem workable, either.

Turned out to not be an issue--we didn't make it to summer.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:48 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Actually, I'd say it can be a pretty big issue. I wasn't built for the region I live in, where it's stupidly hot and humid from, say, May to October. As in, I leave salt deposits on shirts if I do anything strenuous outside. I have extreme difficulty sleeping in a room that's more than 25 C (god, I wish I could remember fahrenheit, the one true temperature, but I've been gone too long). On the other hand, having the air conditioner on while we sleep means my wife is still using (on her half of the bed) winter blankets. I've only recently been able to convince her to let me turn it on, after roughly a week of poor sleep.

It can be a difficulty. It can be an "aw, how sweet" kind of thing, too. It really depends how you approach it.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:21 PM on June 17, 2010

for what it's worth, do you know for sure she was wearing a sweater outside because she was cold? i often wear a short-sleeve or sleeveless dress and cardigan to work, and i will never take off my sweater even if it's 100 degrees out because i'm self-conscious. (But my office building is usually pretty cold in the summer).

If this turns into a relationship, and she's always cold, it means that you can buy her thoughtful gifts like a cashmere sweater, or learn to knit and make her a scarf.

Although it seems to me like you're massively over-thinking this, it doesn't matter if it's a dealbreaker from any of us, it matters if it's a dealbreaker for you. It shouldn't become a problem unless neither party is willing to compromise.
posted by inertia at 4:48 PM on June 17, 2010

I love 80 degree weather, my husband loves negative 20 degree weather. we are very happily married. you need to calm down.
posted by assasinatdbeauty at 6:19 PM on June 17, 2010

It is good to have something to fight about that is a little thing.

Then when you're already pissed you can make it an extra thing to be snitty about

"You know what? This is fucking ridiculous."

Pause because there's nothing left to actually talk about, but you're still pissed and want to make that clear...what to do...what to bring much you hate her cat? No, the cat's not here, so you can't really say anything about it. You need something real to be pissed about. Something tangible. Then you see it. The thermostat...

"WHY DID YOU TURN UP THE FUCKING HEAT? I'm sweating my ass off already. Not like you even care. You NEVER think about how I feel. It's just oh, I'M cold. Big fucking deal."
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:16 PM on June 17, 2010

Half of a deliriously happy couple here. He's the hot one, I'm the cold one. It actually works to our advantage when we are in bed together because he enjoys the coolness of my body and I love snuggling up to his heat. Outside of bed, I keep slippers, sweater, and throw blankets available even during the summer because sometimes the air conditioning is too much for me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2010

I was thinking this morning about the mis-matches between me and my wife. She's a night owl who will get a second wind between 8 and 10 PM, while I love the mornings and often bound out of bed on the weekends because I'm awake and twitchy. I love sweet food for any meal, but she believes in a strict split between sweet as deserts (and some breakfast items) and savory for everything else. My ideal vacation is trekking around, backpacking and hiking, while she enjoys reading books somewhere comfortable. I love weird, electronic music, often without words, where my wife prefers things she knows so she can sing along. I like going out to shows even when I don't have other friends who are going, but my wife usually prefers to avoid people. And housework ... I'm pretty lax, where she likes order.

But these differences don't drive us apart, they make our relationship more interesting. I do things I wouldn't otherwise because of her, and she because of me. We compromise, sometimes doing our own things because of our differences, or we meet in the middle. I'm becoming more orderly and I'm getting rid of useless clutter, where she is becoming more relaxed about things that don't need to be done right now. I've gotten into country music, while she has become a fan of Man Man. Well, you get the idea.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:20 AM on June 18, 2010

I should also add that we have never, ever argued about temperature settings. Not once in 10 years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:23 AM on June 18, 2010

I have a theory that women have a narrower comfort zone than men. (My sample size is extremely small (I.e., one) so I may be a bit off there.)

I do know that I am constantly upset about how high/low she wants the house temperature to be. (What makes me super nuts is that it's higher in the winter than it is in the summer.) She is, conversely, upset about my being upset.

FWIW, she usually wins.

OK, always wins.

So I just post online...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:07 AM on June 18, 2010

My wife and I have very different temperature comfort zones. I am almost always hot (unless it's snowing) and she is freezing cold whenever the temp drops below 70 degrees F.

We have an overlapping comfort zone of about 5 degrees.

We are otherwise overwhelmingly happy.

Don't choose your mate on temperature comfort.
posted by schyler523 at 7:25 PM on June 18, 2010

Just... ya know, for exposition. Darlingbri oftentimes complains in our house about being hot on occasions when the fucking dog is shivering.

By way, conversely, of agreeing with her -- this ain't a nothing issue, necessarily.
posted by genghis at 7:33 PM on June 18, 2010

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