Tell me if I'm just a jerk


#1

I think I might be a jerk, but I’m not sure how to rectify that.

I’ve been dating my GF for quite a while, just over three years now. A couple things have emerged now that make me question whether or not I will propose. First and foremost, I want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. She’s not at all enthused about living abroad, however (She does have asthma and allergies, which could make living in, say, Beijing, unpleasant). In fact, she’s pretty much dead against it. I’m not sure how to get around our two divergent career interests/paths. She wants to stay very much close to home and be a therapist whereas I want to travel. I don’t know that I can propose if I don’t get an enthusiastic “yes” to living abroad, at least for a number of years.

Second, I think that I’m becoming less attracted to her. For a while, the whole “tomboy” thing was cute, but not anymore. I feel bad for being so shallow at this point in our relationship, but I can’t help thinking “I wish my GF would wear something like that or do something with her hair” when I see other girls on campus (within limits of modesty, of course).

Also, her choice of friends is…“annoying” might be the best word. Two of her closest friends are actually her ex-BF’s.:blush:

Finally, I’m not sure if we have enough common interests. Anime and gaming is cool and everything, but I like working out and figuring out the Chinese Communist Party’s minority nationality policy - she doesn’t.

I’m not sure exactly what to do or think. I don’t have any Catholic friends to ask for dating advice and it would be a shame to throw away our relationship if I’m just being a jerk about it.


#2

[quote="Argh, post:1, topic:191313"]
I think I might be a jerk, but I'm not sure how to rectify that.

[/quote]

Well, I'll take it one step at a time, then

I've been dating my GF for quite a while, just over three years now. A couple things have emerged now that make me question whether or not I will propose. First and foremost, I want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. She's not at all enthused about living abroad, however (She does have asthma and allergies, which could make living in, say, Beijing, unpleasant). In fact, she's pretty much dead against it. I'm not sure how to get around our two divergent career interests/paths. She wants to stay very much close to home and be a therapist whereas I want to travel. I don't know that I can propose if I don't get an enthusiastic "yes" to living abroad, at least for a number of years.

My brother wanted to be a smoke jumper, that is, the guy who jumps out of the plane into a wildfire and puts it out. Dangerous, risky job with great pay but like military stints leave the spouse alone alot. He met his gf, who became his fiance' who is now his wife. He will never be a smoke jumper, infact, he'll likely be a small town cop or fireman. But he made a decision that SHE was more important than his career.
Women, for the most part, tend not to like leaving home.

Also, as a therepist her reputation and her ability to help people is directly related to living in one place for a decent number of years. Therapy jobs can be especally family friendly and pay well so if you loose your job you can count on her income. Still, playing hopscotch around the world is NOT how a therepist really operates.
So, you're being selfish, but not really a jerk.

Second, I think that I'm becoming less attracted to her. For a while, the whole "tomboy" thing was cute, but not anymore. I feel bad for being so shallow at this point in our relationship, but I can't help thinking "I wish my GF would wear something like that or do something with her hair" when I see other girls on campus (within limits of modesty, of course).

This is poor communication. You like your GF for who she is. If she got dressed up and was 30 minutes late all the time you'd hate it more. If you would like her to wear her hair a certian way ask her. Sometimes guys don't realize that alot of hair-styles can give you a headache....like buns or pony tails or different things. Also does she have the money to dress up. Guys can put on a $10 button up shirt and look GREAT. Girl's clothing costs ALOT more, it's not as durable and often uncomfortable. But if you really want her to try cuter stuff than suggest it. See WHY she isn't wearing it insted of lamenting she dosn't.

Also, her choice of friends is..."annoying" might be the best word. Two of her closest friends are actually her ex-BF's.:blush:

Close as in how. Right now you're her BF. If you're all friends...with you being at the top then I don't see a problem. You're exclusive but at the same time you're not.

Finally, I'm not sure if we have enough common interests. Anime and gaming is cool and everything, but I like working out and figuring out the Chinese Communist Party's minority nationality policy - she doesn't.

My mom is an introvert who likes flowers and pretty things. She likes Oprah and Dr. Phil and reading murder mysteries. My dad is an extrovert who likes sports and beer and all day golf games. He can't stand fiction unless it's allegoric (like the Oddesy). Yet they are very happy together and have been for nearly 30 years.

I'm not sure exactly what to do or think. I don't have any Catholic friends to ask for dating advice and it would be a shame to throw away our relationship if I'm just being a jerk about it.

If you're catholic and she's catholic you need to sit down and have the talk. Explain to her how you feel about going overseas, hear her out. Astsma and Allergies aren't just annoying...Asthsma can be life threatening, and in a place like Bejing it could kill her depending on the severity. Also if you're married then kids will come. Do you really want your wife (even if it isn't this girl) to be alone in a huge city for most of the day while she's pregnant? Especially in a foreign country that could be hostile to Americans?


#3

[quote="Argh, post:1, topic:191313"]
I think I might be a jerk, but I'm not sure how to rectify that.

I've been dating my GF for quite a while, just over three years now. A couple things have emerged now that make me question whether or not I will propose. First and foremost, I want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. She's not at all enthused about living abroad, however (She does have asthma and allergies, which could make living in, say, Beijing, unpleasant). In fact, she's pretty much dead against it. I'm not sure how to get around our two divergent career interests/paths. She wants to stay very much close to home and be a therapist whereas I want to travel. I don't know that I can propose if I don't get an enthusiastic "yes" to living abroad, at least for a number of years.

Second, I think that I'm becoming less attracted to her. For a while, the whole "tomboy" thing was cute, but not anymore. I feel bad for being so shallow at this point in our relationship, but I can't help thinking "I wish my GF would wear something like that or do something with her hair" when I see other girls on campus (within limits of modesty, of course).

Also, her choice of friends is..."annoying" might be the best word. Two of her closest friends are actually her ex-BF's.:blush:

Finally, I'm not sure if we have enough common interests. Anime and gaming is cool and everything, but I like working out and figuring out the Chinese Communist Party's minority nationality policy - she doesn't.

I'm not sure exactly what to do or think. I don't have any Catholic friends to ask for dating advice and it would be a shame to throw away our relationship if I'm just being a jerk about it.

[/quote]

I don't think you're a jerk, you want what you want in life. Now you have to decide if you want her enough to make some sacrifices and she has to decide if she wants you enough to make some sacrifices.

It's not reasonable of you to expect someone with asthma to live in a polluted city, have you suggested travelling to cities that would be good for you as well as not terrible for her health? There are plenty of clean foreign cities. If you're dead set on going to Beijing and she on staying close to home then you might as well stop wasting each other's time and move on.


#4

[quote="Argh, post:1, topic:191313"]
I think I might be a jerk, but I'm not sure how to rectify that.

I've been dating my GF for quite a while, just over three years now. A couple things have emerged now that make me question whether or not I will propose. First and foremost, I want to pursue a career in the U.S. Foreign Service. She's not at all enthused about living abroad, however (She does have asthma and allergies, which could make living in, say, Beijing, unpleasant). In fact, she's pretty much dead against it. I'm not sure how to get around our two divergent career interests/paths. She wants to stay very much close to home and be a therapist whereas I want to travel. I don't know that I can propose if I don't get an enthusiastic "yes" to living abroad, at least for a number of years.

Second, I think that I'm becoming less attracted to her. For a while, the whole "tomboy" thing was cute, but not anymore. I feel bad for being so shallow at this point in our relationship, but I can't help thinking "I wish my GF would wear something like that or do something with her hair" when I see other girls on campus (within limits of modesty, of course).

Also, her choice of friends is..."annoying" might be the best word. Two of her closest friends are actually her ex-BF's.:blush:

Finally, I'm not sure if we have enough common interests. Anime and gaming is cool and everything, but I like working out and figuring out the Chinese Communist Party's minority nationality policy - she doesn't.

I'm not sure exactly what to do or think. I don't have any Catholic friends to ask for dating advice and it would be a shame to throw away our relationship if I'm just being a jerk about it.

[/quote]

Do I think you are a jerk? No.

But I do think that right now you are not ready to marry this girl and probably nobody else either. To me it sounds like you have too many plans and other things that you want to accomplish. While such things are not completely incompatible with marriage, they must ultimately be subordinate to the needs of the marriage. It doesn't seem to me that you are in that place. You have too many ambitious plans.

I don't think there is anything wrong with your girlfriend. But she may not be a match for you. It sounds like she is more in the "settle down and create a nest" mindset.

There are women out there who will follow you wherever you want to go. But they are probably (and reasonably so) going to expect you to take care of them.


#5

It sounds to me that you’ve rationally considered whether this girl is right for you. From what you describe, you don’t have enough in common, don’t have even similar goals, and she is friends with two ex-boyfriends, which I personally think is questionable.

You are not a jerk by any definition. You sound intelligent and thoughtful.


#6

How much do you love this girl? Do you want to live with her the rest of your life? More importantly, do you love her more or a career in the foreign service? If your answer is her then you need to arrange your life plans around her. If you want a foreign service career, you need to tell her what you are doing and if she refuses to go along with it to simply end the relationship. There is no sense staying in a dead end relationship. Its unfair to both of you guys. Judging by your post, I think you like being in a relationship with her but not necessarily like being with her.

Also, girls that are close with even one ex-boyfriend are a cause for concern to me. This is because at some point there was attraction and mutual interest between the two and at any point they can re-discover this, leaving you on the outs with her. Some girls keep ex-boyfriends close either because they dated and genuinely didnt have a long term connection or she wants them close so that in the future she can have a chance with them again. Ex-boyfriends still in the picture just cries out DRAMA to me.


#7

I’ll just add that if you have some unusual career dreams you feel strongly about, you’re going to have a hard time finding a woman unless you found one who didn’t have career dreams of her own.

It would make sense for someone with your plan for the future to look for a woman interested primarily in being a homemaker, and without strong family and community ties.

With any woman who desires to be a professional, or who wants to live near family you will run into this issue. This is stating the obvious, but maybe you need a reality check. It’s going to be hard for you to find a woman willing to follow you around as you pursue your dream. You have to decide how important it is to you to be married, whether you can get by on temporary relationships, and whether the kind of career you want is worth it.


#8

I admit, I only read the original post, but I have to say, if you are becoming "less attracted", then you need to break it off. And amicably, and honorably.

Don't waste her time, as that really will make you a jerk. And I'm sure you don't want to fall into that role.


#9

[quote="flyingfish, post:7, topic:191313"]
I'll just add that if you have some unusual career dreams you feel strongly about, you're going to have a hard time finding a woman unless you found one who didn't have career dreams of her own.

It would make sense for someone with your plan for the future to look for a woman interested primarily in being a homemaker, and without strong family and community ties.

With any woman who desires to be a professional, or who wants to live near family you will run into this issue. This is stating the obvious, but maybe you need a reality check. It's going to be hard for you to find a woman willing to follow you around as you pursue your dream. You have to decide how important it is to you to be married, whether you can get by on temporary relationships, and whether the kind of career you want is worth it.

[/quote]

Its a problem quite often with careers and relationships. In my experience, women tend to go for more stable careers that allow them to stay in one place and not have to leave home a whole lot. Men tend to go to careers that are not as stable and maybe require relocation or traveling. Women frequently hate that their man does this and wished he had a "real" job. My uncle is an accountant and part owner of a small business that is going through some growing pains so the income isnt go great yet. My aunt wishes he had a "real" job that was 9-5 with a steady paycheck like she has. I see this a lot with pilots as well. Go onto a pilot message board and you will see a lot of them venting about wives and girlfriends that are upset they are away from home and have to travel so much and wish their man had a "real" job. Women love stability and in general are not as receptive to change in their personal surroundings. In general, men love adventure and taking gambles and this means that they frequently come into problems with a woman that isnt too pleased about this.


#10

I don’t know if I would make this kind of a generalization without data to back it up. But anyone with the kind of a job that requires them to travel is going to have a problem with relationships. It’s not about being adventurous or wanting to settle, even if the man and woman were both “adventurous” it’s extremely unlikely that their respective careers would be taking them to the same places.

The kind of person with a career that requires frequent travel really needs someone without their own professional dreams and someone who doesn’t care about being uprooted from time to time, not being near family etc. (Or they have to be willing to be in a long distance relationship, which again is not something people generally want to do).

It would seem to me that it would be quite difficult to find that kind of a person. It is essentially a person who has no life apart from the “adventurous” partner. Even if such a person was found, it would seem they would be quite unattractive.


#11

You sound like I did in my 4th year of university. I was dating a guy for three years and we just grew apart. I was all into politics and wanted to work away from home. He wasn't like that. Nobody made enough of an effort to stay together... and so we broke it off. It was really hard for him and me at first, but we are both glad we did it.


#12

You are not a jerk . When thinking of marriage remember the old maxim " When in doubt - Don`t " .
[SIGN]Pax et Bonum[/SIGN]


#13

I'm just thinking, why waste three years of each others' lives with a relationship that neither of you seems intent on turning into a permanent commitment. If neither party is willing to make any sacrifice for the other, it's not a courtship, just a friendship.


#14

I am a trailing spouse myself, an American expat living in Seoul. All the trailing spouses I've met have had to give up their primary careers. Being a trailing spouse is difficult even when you are enthusiastic about the posting. In a way, the trailing spouse (almost always the wife) spends more time interacting with the locals than the working spouse. You're the one that has to go grocery shopping, take the kids to the doctor, and deal with the repairmen that come to the apartment. That said, living abroad is also fascinating and quite an adventure The best part is all the new people you get to meet, both locals and other expats from all over the globe. I guess my point is that if you want to live abroad, you need a spouse that is just as enthusiastic about the lifestyle as you are.

Based on the facts you laid out, I think it is clear that you will need to choose between this particular girlfriend and your career. Since you're not already married, I don't think that's being selfish, as much as it is about exploring what you want to do with your life.

The fact that you've already invested three years into this relationship can make it difficult to think clearly. Ask yourself, if you met your girlfriend today would you be interested in pursuing a long term relationship with her?


#15

Oh, your job is a great one! Lots of women would love to follow that around! I’ve met many. But if you’re limited to Beijing, your spouse may not get medical clearance to go. I’ve seen that with other cities too.

I’ve seen spouses work at embassies also. And teachers at the local American school or DoD school, nurses… there are jobs that are portable. A therapist who speaks English is a great job… I’m sure most people at State need therapy and probably their families too. (joking. no rants, please…)

And even a girl who stays friends with old boyfriends… well, that could be a good thing… a measure of someone who knows when something isn’t permanent but respected the people enough to be their friend in the first place and didn’t see the need to trash them just because it won’t lead to marriage. It can actually be a very good sign of mental health that someone can have a friendship with an ex. Especially at a young age… they recognize they’re not completely compatible, but she didn’t have to burn him to the ground on her way out.

Your bigger issue is really the diminishing attraction. What first attracted you… now repels you. That is sometimes the way it goes.

That is YOUR issue. You own it. She was who she was and was happy about it long before you came along. You were attracted to her. In spite of it or because of it. You need to find out why you were attracted and now repelled. so you don’t do it again.

But if she doesn’t want to travel, find someone who does. She is not a permanent match for you. There are many women who would be happy to see the world. Just know their issue may be seeing you as a plane ticket out of Dodge. Be sure they want you and not the frequent flier miles.

See? That being loved for yourself runs on a two-way street!

:thumbsup:


#16

The ex “BF” is a red flag. There is to much of a risk that she has either not gotten over her priors or her approaches to relationships is somewhat shallow. Is her relationship with you a relationship of conveinience on her part?

If your opinion of her is fading it will likely continue to do so. Don’t get into a situation where you consider her drawbacks tollerable.

As for the jet set lifestyle, are your parrents that way? Mine were not but when I was 20 I was very adventerous, by25 I accomplished many of the things I set out to accomplish and realized they weren’t what I imagined, by 30 I was of the white picket fence mindset. There is a chance that your lifestyle in 20 years may be more equivalent to your parrents. How does she fit in with that lifestyle?

There is nothing wrong with being selfish. Get you know your true self and work to find someone who is compatible with you. It may turn out that she is better for you in the long run than you realize.


#17

[quote="royal_archer, post:16, topic:191313"]
The ex "BF" is a red flag. There is to much of a risk that she has either not gotten over her priors or her approaches to relationships is somewhat shallow. Is her relationship with you a relationship of conveinience on her part?

[/quote]

As someone who's friends with ex boyfriends, it doesn't have to be a red flag. My relationships are purely platonic, there is no interest at all in resuming the relationship. They reason I'm friends with them is that once you know a decent person for many years and are friends with them, it's pretty silly to destroy that friendship.

Personally I would never date a man who expected me to dump friends I've known for years.

Not all break ups are ugly.


#18

I have to agree with the above. While I am not friends with all my exes, I was able to remain friends with one. Thr break-up was NOT amicable, and we didn’t talk for 2 years, but we got back in touch and while we are hardly “best friends” like we were for the 2 years before the romantic interest, we can maintain a decent relationship.

Now this is where I address the OP, on the same train of thought. My husband has told me that my relationship with my ex made him uncomfortable. Because of this, we don’t really talk much anymore. This is important to your situation because he knew he wanted to be with me, but there were things that had him uneasy. We hammered all this out before we got engaged. (We did NOT get engaged until we were sure this is what we both wanted) I’d advise the same for you. If you want to even try to be with this girl, you need to tell her all of these things and give her the option to change. If you don’t want to be with her, then that’s fine. Break it off, and do it sooner rather than later.

Just just fyi, not wanting to be with her because she is a tomboy, or her friends are annoying, or career difficulty doesn’t make you a jerk. It makes you sane, and a good man. You know what you want and you aren’t going to lead anyone on. This trait will make you a good husband someday, and my only advice is wait until YOU feel ready. If travel is your immediate desire, then do it! It’s harder to do when you’re married, and when you have kids it’s impossible. Enjoy it now, and settle down when YOU are ready. Not just because you’ve been with someone “long enough.”


#19

I have been a foreign service wife for twenty-six years. If your girl friend does not want to live abroad either your marriage or your career in the FS will not last long. Don't worry about going into the service as a bachelor. There are plenty of lovely young female FSO's who are worried about ever finding a husband who can live with their career choice. Also, just because you know Chinese, don't think you will immediately will be sent to China. You will be assigned according to the needs of the department (think Arabic!). My husband has yet to be assigned to a country where the language that he spent so much time in high school and college to learn is spoken. It is also a good idea to learn a world language. I would suggest Spanish, not French unless you want to spend a lot of time in Africa.


#20

I have been a foreign service wife for twenty-six years. If your girl friend does not want to live abroad either your marriage or your career in the FS will not last long. Don't be conserned about going into the service as a bachelor. There are plenty of lovely young female FSO's who are worried about ever finding a husband who can live with their career choice. Also, just because you know Chinese, don't think you will immediately will be sent to China. You will be assigned according to the needs of the department (think Arabic!). My husband has yet to be assigned to a country where the language that he spent so much time in high school and college to learn is spoken. It is also a good idea to learn a world language. I would suggest Spanish, not French unless you want to spend a lot of time in Africa.


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