This indecision's bugging me
February 24, 2014 3:35 PM   Subscribe

For the past two and a half years, I've been in a relationship with a Very Nice Man. We are both in our early 40s, and when we met we had both recently left much longer relationships, although neither of us came straight into this. We own our own houses, and neither of us has kids, although we do have pets. So we're fairly stable, with few obvious complications. The Little Big Words were said long ago and are repeated sometimes, and he describes the relationship as serious. There are no significant problems in the relationship, and things are always good when we're together. So what could possibly be wrong?

He has always said (most recently a couple of months ago) that he does not want to live with anyone or marry anyone. We spend one afternoon and one evening a week together, for a total of maybe eight hours. For practical reasons, many of them on my end, we aren't usually able to do much more than that. For a while now, I've been thinking that I want more, and have been sad and depressed that he doesn't. So the answer is obvious: I should end it if it's making me unhappy and there's no prospect of that changing, right? This afternoon I had firmly convinced myself that I should.

Except: I don't really want to live with anyone, either! I love my silence and my solitude (except very occasionally when I don't), and really need a lot of quiet time to myself. I don't like having anyone around all the time or even very much of the time, it leaves me tense and on edge no matter who it is (unless they have four feet). I can think about living with him and while I see how it would make some things easier I can also see exactly how it would bug the living crap out of me.

So why does it bother me so much that the Very Nice Man doesn't want to live with me, either? I can think of reasons: a narcissistic need for him to want me more than he does, maybe, or a feeling that we're not equally invested in this, or that I don't matter that much to him, but none of them ring true to me. And how do I deal with this reaction? Is there something to calm it that I'm not doing (ideally without going to the crossroads at midnight)? Or is my first solution probably right? I've been chasing my own tail thinking about it for months now and it isn't even good exercise. I couldn't even think of good clear tags for this past "relationship". And this all makes me feel stupid that I can't figure it out, but that would be another question well beyond the scope of this one.
posted by sockasm to Human Relations (33 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a possible third reason: because in our society, the norm is "people in a relationship eventually shack up together as a signifier that they are in a Relationship." However, this doesn't have to be your norm. Try that on for size and see if it makes you any happier?
posted by jamaro at 3:41 PM on February 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

So why does it bother me so much that the Very Nice Man doesn't want to live with me, either?

Who said that desires are always consistent? Who says that we don't regularly want mutually-exclusive things? You want the upside of someone wanting to live with you without the hassle that goes into actually living with someone.

I think what you need to decide is what you really want here. Do you really want to continue living by yourself? Or do you actually want to live with someone, even if it's not this man? Because clearly, you can't have both. So I think it's really just a question of talking this through with him (and probably some other people) and clarifying your desires.

Also be open to the possibility that it's some previously unidentified factor that's at work here. Someone has already mentioned a lingering sense that people in Serious Relationships ought to live together. That could be it. Or it could be something else. That might be something to bring up with a therapist. But even just a good friend who knows you well would be a good place to start.
posted by valkyryn at 3:44 PM on February 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Would it be helpful to have another shared goal in mind? Maybe you'd both like to own a boat or a cabin in the woods (or something else that maybe even has a bed but is still not your own home)?
posted by kmennie at 3:44 PM on February 24, 2014 [9 favorites]

I understand your conundrum. Really I do. I find myself in this space sometimes myself. I can't answer this question for you, but I can ask you a few questions that might help you center on what the right thing for you to do is, maybe?

1.) You say you don't "really" want to live with anyone, either. Do you "not really" want to live with anyone - for really real? Or do you tell yourself that because there's actually a scenario in which you would want to live with someone, but you either can't imagine it, or are afraid you can't get it?

2.) If someone said to you right now "sockasm, you need to live with someone right now - but you get to pick what that person is like and what your day to day looks like" what would you do? How would you feel?

3.) Is there an in-between here? Can you see your SO more often without living together and get a little more face time? Would that help?

I ask you these questions because - you don't sound convicted about what you want here. I always find that if you visualize what it is that you really want, and accept that you might not get it, not because of some failing on your part but just because it might not happen - you will at least feel better about the choices that you make. It is possible to live with someone and have them not make constant demands on your time. It is possible to live with someone and not even see them that often! It is possible to live with someone and have plenty of quiet time to yourself. You might find that it is more work than you want to do to find that person or make that living style work; but it's not impossible.

My advice to you (and it's my advice to myself, also, as I have struggled with a similar conundrum) is to give yourself permission to dream of something that's not what you currently have. Allow yourself to have those dreams. If you can't achieve them, or if you don't think it's worth the effort, that is okay!
posted by pazazygeek at 3:45 PM on February 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

only eight hours a week sounds like about 1/7 of a relationship. does he have any girls or guys on the side?
posted by bruce at 3:50 PM on February 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

before walking away, maybe re-prioritize things on your end so a little more free time opens up - see if he's open to spending that expanded free time with you (and if you enjoy having more of him in your week).

it sounds to me like you're worrying that this relationship is uneven - that by him unilaterally talking marriage and living together off the table, he's signalling a disinterest. but, as you say, you don't really want those things either you don't think. i think you can get your questions answered about his buy in level to the relationship by looking for other signs, like him wanting to spend more time with you if the schedules change, or being willing to travel with you, or emotionally opening up more.

you might also think about other outward relationship markers and how those things feel - time with each others friends and families for instance - do you feel an unevenness there? are there things that aren't living together that you feel are missing?
posted by nadawi at 3:50 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

For practical reasons, many of them on my end, we aren't usually able to do much more than that.

I think this one is actually on you. It doesn't sound like the problem is his lack of desire to marry or co-habitate -- as you've said, you value your solitude, and the thought of living with someone else gives you the quivering fantods (I'm the same way, so I totally get where you're coming from).

What can *you* do to free up more time, or eliminate the "practical" barriers to spending more time together? Assuming that he wants to see you more often, that is.

The relationship you've described sounds a little sparse, intimacy-wise, given the time constraints. Maybe having full weekends together, or more evenings during the week together, would be the solution?

If those practical issues are set in stone, then I think you have a different issue to tackle -- your unavailability. Merging lives requires a ton of compromise...
posted by nacho fries at 3:52 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you're missing the forward momentum, the one that for a lot of folks goes something like this:

1. Meet
2. Date
3. Date exclusively
4. Cohabitate
5. Get engaged
6. Get married
7. Buy house
8. Get a kid/pet/garden (or what have you)
9. Raise kid/pet/garden (same)
10. Retire from long career
11. Look forward to grandchildren/travel/hobbies
12. Maintain health, deal with illnesses, etc.

Every step is sort of made knowing there's another goalpost to get through. It feels like progress. We believe progress is good. And it does feel good to accomplish things. You're staring into the abyss because it's not clear what the next progressive step would be.

I'm not on the normal path for 1-12, so I have to construct different goals to feel like I'm making progress: read this book, travel to this place, etc. So my goal for you is this: build a life together, travel to places together, find fulfillment in work and volunteering.

Your goals don't have to be the same as everyone else's. You can move anywhere on the board, which is a dizzying but powerful amount of freedom. Celebrate that.
posted by mochapickle at 3:56 PM on February 24, 2014 [32 favorites]

He doesn't want to live with anyone or marry anyone. You don't want to live with anyone. You don't mention whether or not you want to marry anyone...could that be it? For example, as in this New York Times article, Living Apart Together? Even if you're not into the romantic wedding idea at this point, are you wanting the practical aspects of a Serious Relationship -- someone to be your emergency contact, your healthcare power of attorney, that sort of thing?
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 3:58 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Could you guys find a compromise? Maybe a larger space where you could each sort of have your own turf and privacy?

You also sort of tiptoe around what everybody in this situation actually wants. Is the issue truly one of living space and alone time, or one of commitment? Your worries seem to be worries about commitment, not living space. It occurs to me that this wouldn't be the worst thing to talk out with somebody outside the relationship, whether that's a friend you can trust to be cool/not Rules-ish or a therapist.

One question I'd ask you: what do you want? Do you want to see your boyfriend X more amount of time? Do you want to live under the same roof as your boyfriend? Do you want to have a shared sense of serious and commitment to each other that could maybe be talked out or symbolized in some other way?
posted by Sara C. at 4:04 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not that he's offering it, but maybe what you want is a live in relationship in a giant space where there's lots of room to escape and have alone time. You are in a uniquely wonderful space: You don't have to make a decision right now. Maybe you can let the reaction sit with you while you also focus on what does work really well for you in the relationship.

I'm in a similar position, and I like it a lot.
posted by janey47 at 4:11 PM on February 24, 2014

Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay is a really good book for when you're feeling ambivalent about a relationship. When we're trying to make a decision we tend to think: well one one hand X but on the other hand Y, and try to see which one outweighs the other. But we all have individual definitions of what's important to us so it's more about whether the relationship meets your specific needs, rather than whether its "good enough" on a general level. You might find it a useful tool in figuring out what you want from the relationship, which will help you decide if your current partner is meeting those needs. Good luck.
posted by billiebee at 4:17 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll throw a question back at you, OP -- why does "something more" have to be living together? Could it be that you'd really just like to spend more time together, and it bothers you that the amount of time you're together seems to be enough for him? Alternatively, could it be that you want more/different, but not with this person, even though there is nothing ostensibly wrong with this relationship? (If the latter, this was me a few years ago. My advice is to just do it.)

Also, I was in a similar relationship and eventually it began to rub me the wrong way that the other person would pronounce "I don't ever want to get married" or "I don't ever see myself living with another person," etc. I think it's because hearing it made me feel somehow defensive, as though I was telegraphing something unconsciously that he felt he had to address. Which I wasn't.
posted by sm1tten at 4:18 PM on February 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

Is the romance part of your relationship fulfilling? Does he make you feel loved and valued when you're not together? Does he find ways to let you know that he's thinking of you throughout the week? Any small gifts, occasional surprise flowers, or sweet notes? Do you do the same for him? Do you spend phone or communication time when you're not together? Do you share what's happening in your lives day-to-day?

That would make the biggest difference to me even if I didn't see my partner much. I'd want to talk with my partner and feel like they think of me and consider me beyond the physical get togethers. I'd want to feel connected to them even if I'm going about my own business and I'd want to feel like I'm a very important and valued part of their life. You can have passion and deep emotional connection without spending every minute together. Do you have that?

If what you have is more of a convenient partner place-holder with a person you care for and love, but who is at arm's distance through most of the week, I can see how that might start to feel empty.
posted by quince at 4:24 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do you want kids? I assume you do not but want to be sure.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:36 PM on February 24, 2014

So why does it bother me so much that the Very Nice Man doesn't want to live with me, either? Most girls are raised to want to be married. Intellectually, you may be perfectly happy with the status quo, but your inner princess may want a white horse, shining armor, glass slipper, magic kiss from a prince, etc. Explain to your inner princess that you don't have room for a horse, think armor is impractical, can buy your own shoes, and don't believe in that sort of magic.

Do a little careful soul-searching to see if you are really satisfied with the relationship. If yes, carry on. If no, take appropriate action. If maybe, well, then, you've got some thinking to do.
posted by theora55 at 4:46 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

After a divorce and a co-habitating disaster, I have a recurring fantasy about finding the perfect man who would split a duplex with me. We'd each have a side and have coffee on the shared patio out back.
posted by mibo at 4:48 PM on February 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

Just some quick clarifications:

Many of the reasons we don't spend more time together are from my end, but not all. His job schedule gets really horrible for about a third of the year, we both have one night a week (a different night) that we have other outside things we do that are important to us, I have dogs and they can't just be left alone all that much, houses need maintenance and yard work, etc (oh so much damned maintenance and yard work). We sometimes do get together outside of our regularly scheduled stuff, but we tend to end up with only Friday left during the week and we both often feel pretty badly run over by then. Oh, and we live on opposite ends of the county from each other, too.

We do stay in frequent (more than daily) contact via email (because we're old, and text just seems more urgent and demanding).

I do not want kids.

The answers have been great so far, and have given me several things to think about. Thanks! I'll mark stuff later, because I don't want to discourage anyone else popping in with their thoughts by making it look all settled.
posted by sockasm at 4:51 PM on February 24, 2014

Crazy suggestion: what if one of you moved to the same neighborhood/within an easy walk of the other?

That said I still feel like a lot of your discombobulation here is more emotional than practical.
posted by Sara C. at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

So why does it bother me so much that the Very Nice Man doesn't want to live with me, either?

Good question. I am in a long distance relationship and the conventional wisdom--that most people find these things intolerable if there's not a firm end date--isn't true for me. My ideal world is something like mibo's split duplex. Maybe. I'll explain a few of the issues I've had and see if any ring a bell?

- prioritizing. We spend about the same amount of time together as you guys do but it's more like "every other weekend" However, if we're in the same place for longer, we stay longer. I love being with him and vice versa (even if we do drive each other crazy after a while of close quarters) and so there is definitely a "Hey when can I see you next?" vibe that is nice and that we like. Occasionally one of us gets a little busy with our own stuff (not sure what the issues are that you mention where you can't see him more, but maybe something like that) and we have to do a little correcting. Since we're used to not seeing each other, it can normalize and then we can fall off if we're not being attentive/careful and communicative.
- seriousness. He is my +1 for anything I bring a +1 to if he can make it. Occasionally he can't make it but usually he can. Same is true for me. We spend holidays together and plan vacations together.
- marriage/family/cohabitating - We talk about these things often just to make sure we're on the same page. He has a son who is nearly an adult who is his priority which makes total sense. I do not want children though I adore his son. He would prefer to not be married for his reasons and me for mine. However we had the "If it were really important to me for some reason to be married, we'd be married right?" "Yes." conversation which was comforting.
- goals - our goals are compatible. We're crazy about each other but also need downtime/alone time.

On preview - I hear you that you have things that are hard to fix so you can spend more time together. At the same time, yardwork and dogs seem like things that can be at least temporarily managed, or, more to the point, I'd check in with yourself to make sure that you're not using them as stand-ins for possible other issues. Like can you do yardwork together? Get a dog walker/sitter for one extra night? Do you feel like your time together needs to be date time and not just normal old "hey this is my life" time?

I'm not saying that I don't sometimes have the same concerns that you do, especially sort of "Where is this going? concerns. But usually I just need to think about what I want, whether I'm getting it, whether there is something I can do if the answer to the previous question is "no" and whether my guy is the guy I want to get it from whatever it is.
posted by jessamyn at 4:58 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I wonder if you're afraid that "I don't want to get married" = "I don't want to get married to you" and that one day down the line he will meet someone that he does want to marry, and it won't be you.

So maybe you want some reassurance about his level of commitment. You know how you feel, but you need a sign of how he feels. Because words are easy. The "shared project that takes financial resources" is a good one.

I know someone, divorced, in a serious relationship, who got a commitment ring. A big one too. She has no intention of getting remarried. So you could ask for that - to clarify both of your future intentions towards the relationship and seal the deal with an exchange of rings. It might be good for you too, to clarify for yourself how much or how little commitment you want, and are willing to give.

There are lots of different types of relationships btw. Just needs clarity from both sides.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 5:03 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Well, I was totally like you. I loved living on my own. I had a series of great "side dish" boyfriends who demanded nothing more than I was willing to toss their way. Every one of them was a good man and a long-term deal. It was almost awesome.Then I met my husband. Who demanded more of me but gave so much more. Pow! I wasn't as happy living on my own any longer.

I grew up as a child of parents who have a genuine 50 year love story - a true and honest partnership. And even in long standing relationships with good guys, I wasn't satisfied until I had that primary pair bond. Maybe you're looking for the real deal and you can't be 100% satisfied with less.

(That said, marriage and long-term relationships aren't for everyone and that's okay too. I'm not judging it.)
posted by 26.2 at 5:05 PM on February 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Priorities get communicated through logistics and scheduling. I apologize if I'm misreading your clarification, but it almost sounds like Very Nice Man and/or you (not sure how much of this is coming from each side) are each saying to the other: my priorities are work, pets, important weeknight activity, home maintenance, and yard work. After all of that is completely squared away, I should usually be able to squeeze you into my free time somewhere, but if I get too busy, you're the first thing I'll drop.

To me, in a serious relationship, I would want a bit more than that, more doing things together (including mundane things like errands), and more of a sense that sometimes other important things get put aside temporarily (skip a weekend of yard work) if the relationship needs to take precedence.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 6:02 PM on February 24, 2014 [12 favorites]

Wow! So familiar!

My partner and I have, for seven years now, lived like this and we have had conversations addressing this issue a number of times. She lives in town, I live in the country - we have a town house and a 'country estate' and we each live in our own place for most of the time. She loves to spend time here, and if I get a contract in town, I spend all that time at her place and only come 'home' at weekends. It might be different if we both lived in town, I don't know.

It suits us, and we are happy with it. It does have its down sides, but we live with them. So it really boils down to what you want from the relationship.
posted by GeeEmm at 6:08 PM on February 24, 2014

After all of that is completely squared away, I should usually be able to squeeze you into my free time somewhere, but if I get too busy, you're the first thing I'll drop.

This, this, this, this, this.

Ok, so you each have one night per week committed. But why can't you, say, do home mainteance and yard work together (take turns at each others houses or whatever)? Have him come over and walk your dogs together? Cook dinner together?

A big part of "a relationship" is not doing all the special things together -- it's doing normal stuff like fixing the porch or walking the dogs or doing the dishes together. I feel like you're missing that whole part. You don't have to live together (or even want to live together) in order to do those things.
posted by anastasiav at 6:10 PM on February 24, 2014 [19 favorites]

However we had the "If it were really important to me for some reason to be married, we'd be married right?" "Yes." conversation which was comforting.

This is important.

My subjective impression, OP, is that you don't feel like he'd be there for you if you, I don't know, broke your leg and needed to stay with someone for a while, who could help you shower and bring you little treats. Some people live together and don't have that, of course, but that's what I think you might be worried about--spending time with someone who doesn't truly have your back.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:42 PM on February 24, 2014

My thinking upon reading this:

(a) You and Very Nice Man you settle for each other. Nobody sounds particularly smitten. You don't sound hugely excited about or into each other in this post, especially given the Very Generic Name that you give him here. You have a part time relationship and overall, both of you seem fine with that BUUUUUT....

(b) Who wouldn't feel a little insulted that he doesn't love you enough to want to marry you, even if you feel similarly towards him? I would also worry that he'll someday meet someone he actually wants to marry.

(c) What mochapickle said, particularly: "Every step is sort of made knowing there's another goalpost to get through. It feels like progress. We believe progress is good. And it does feel good to accomplish things. You're staring into the abyss because it's not clear what the next progressive step would be."

You have no more steps with this guy. The relationship is either going to stay as it is/stagnate or end. That's where I think I would start feeling bothered with this. How well can a relationship endure in stasis? Are you okay with no forward motion forever even if you don't care about shacking up or getting married?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:43 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I wonder if you would have these questions if you lived in a culture where living arrangements were never used to measure the quality of a relationship (e.g., when you meet the man you "really love", you will want to live together, etc.) and government got out of the private-relationship business altogether, i.e.,. marriages were no longer a thing.

Since this isn't about "should I stay or should I go", perhaps it might help to decide to live with the indecision for the time being, rather than trying to trace it to the source. Yeah, I know, I just suggested that you stop thinking about what you told us you can't stop thinking about. To compensate for my clumsy choice of words, a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke:

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
posted by she's not there at 8:45 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

As a few other people have said, examine how much of your discontent is not so much from actual personal discontent but how our society assumes relationships should progress. There's an escalation that people expect to see and experience, and we assume that the love and commitment isn't there if we don't. It sounds like you and your boyfriend may be happier with a different level of contact, and that doesn't mean you're not in a meaningful relationship.

If you would like to increase the quantity or quality of time you spend together, you could try to be creative about doing things that you currently do individually together (home projects, pets, exercise, activities, etc.), occasionally grabbing lunch together during the workday if viable, and setting aside 24-48 hour periods you can spend together.
posted by metasarah at 5:35 AM on February 25, 2014

It sounds like you're lacking intimacy in your relationship, because you don't spend enough time together to have that intimacy. So, there are two good options. Prioritize spending more time together, because you're both busy and if it's not a priority it won't happen. Or break up.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:41 AM on February 25, 2014

You know what? He's been 100% honest with you about what he wants, and you're 99% down with the program. You actually want him to want something, you yourself don't want. don't have any problem here, except that it doesn't look like what you think it should look like.

If you like where you are, and you like how it's going and you're perfectly contented and you have no actual complaint....shut up and enjoy it!

Some people aren't meant to mate in captivitity. That's okay.

If things change, and you want more time with him, or you want to move in with him, or you want to have children, then you can re-evaluate.

In a perfect world would you have him hassling you to move in together, even though you don't want to? Do you want to marry him? (Who says married people have to live together?)

Once you frame up what it is you want, ask him for it.

I suspect that you're just an unconventional person, and you're a bit surprised and delighted to have found someone who fits you perfectly.

The other option is for you each to sell your houses and buy places next to each other. You'll be in proximity, which may make things easier, but you'll still each have your own space.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:18 AM on February 25, 2014

Been thinking about this a bit more and wanted to share a bit more about some things that were helpful to me. I have, in the past, had similar relationships to the one that I have now. Some distance, pretty independent, not entirely conflict-free, somewhat non-traditional. Both of my last two relationships, after they ended, saw my exes getting into married-with-kids situations that made them pretty happy. And it was weird for a while because I was like "Hey I thought we were on the same page about this...?!" and I was never sure if they were as much into the together-apart thing as I was (and there wasn't a way to know, really).

But, at the end of the day, they gravitated towards relationships that weren't what I wanted and they were happy and I was happy. But it took me a bit of asking myself "Why do you feel weird if the guys are in relationships that they want which isn't one you wanted?" It's harder to have an against-the-grain relationship because people will tell you that you're just biding your time until you have a real relationship and there are enough people with stories like "I felt like you did until I met The One" that it may always make you wonder. And sometimes I wonder, certainly. The useful part, for me, is making sure you're living the life you want to be living now and not sort of treading water to wait until you're in a different place. So I guess I'd ask yourself: is this relationship your ideal, is it what you want as you're living it now? And if you're not, in your secret heart of hearts, why not? Are there things you could change that would make this relationship into the one you want, or one that is pretty close? And, if so, are the things that need to change on your part, your partner's part, or just the world's part?

It sounds like you're grappling with some of your own avoidant tendencies, maybe, and want to find a way to feel more connected without giving up the calmness in your life that you enjoy. And there may be a way to do that, but it may involve you or your partner getting outside of your comfort zones or having tricky conversations that always involve some risk. To me one of the things that makes a relationship serious is that you can open up and be vulnerable and try to get outside your own head and have some trust that you can grow and change and still be loved and work on togetherness with another complex person. It's not super simple and I empathize greatly. Best of luck.
posted by jessamyn at 6:51 AM on February 25, 2014 [6 favorites]

I find that in relationships a lot of the fuel that keeps them interesting and fulfilling consists of projects that are undertaken together, with a single goal shared by two people.

The so-called "traditional" projects were things like house, kids, for many in the past a single career, etc. Carrying out these projects is, for lots of people, the main thing a marriage consists of from day to day - getting things done, accomplishing things that are difficult to do alone.

For vast swathes of people, those traditional projects don't make sense - but without shared-vision projects, there's simply not a lot of "stuff" around which a relationship can develop and grow.

I don't think it matters what the living arrangements are, except that not doing that together takes a whole bunch of shared projects off the table - the "plant the garden" and the "mow the lawn" and the "can you stay home for the plumber this time" kind of stuff that seems meaningless but in fact is a lot of what couples spend their time actually dealing with.

So I would try and find *other* real projects to substitute. Maybe you could buy/rent a cottage or something together, something to work on and a place to go as a couple that's shared? Plan more trips together, but trips that take work to plan and that both of you would have to invest time in planning and executing?
posted by mikel at 6:56 AM on February 25, 2014 [2 favorites]

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