relationship deal breaker: different goals

once upon a time, there was a girl.  and this girl always knew she never wanted to leave nebraska.  nobody except other people in nebraska understood this.  she met a boy.  this boy always knew he never wanted to stay in nebraska.  everyone outside of nebraska understood this.  they fell in love, talked about the future, argued about the future, couldn’t find a compromise on the future and now she’s in nebraska and he’s in NYC.

this is what we call a deal breaker.  a geographical deal breaker, in this case.  but a deal breaker none the less.

their goals were different.  she wanted to stay, he wanted out.  neither of them were wrong.  they just had different goals for their lives.  at least they figured this out before they did something dumb, like get married.

two friends of mine got married.  *see what i did there?*  he thought they’d be a two income couple and wait to have kids until they were financially ready.  she thought she’d sit around the house, eat ice cream and make babies.  yeah, they’re divorced.  it wasn’t a match.  something they would have known had they talked about their goals. but they didn’t and they ended up with 3 kids and boat load of bitterness.  not awesome.

heading in two different directions, doesn’t really work.  having opposing goals is to resentment what cow pies are to mushrooms.  fertilizer.  asking someone to completely give up his or her life plan to be with you isn’t fair.  to either of you.  if a compromise can be made that you are both on board with, great!  do that.  but IF you do that, you’d better be able to do it with enthusiasm and no sense of loss.  otherwise, that seed of “what could have been” turns into that man eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors.  only not as amiable and it eats relationships and souls.

having similar goals that are taking you to the same place is like floating down river on an inner tube.  it’s the natural course.  you just have to keep your balance and try not to get stuck in eddy.  differing goals is more like trying to swim up stream.  or against a rip tide.  or a tsunami.

if one or the other of you is willing to flip a u-ey and start heading in the same direction as the other without any resentment, then do that.  it can work when one or both are willing to make the adjustments necessary to get on the same page.  but if one person is being asked to give up more than what he or she is really willing to give, then it’s time to let it go.

that’s not to say that those goals won’t some day bring you back around to the same road.  it just might.  but you’ve got to be fair to yourself and to the person you care about by allowing for dreams/careers/goals to be pursued freely.  those things should not have to be hacked to pieces to try to reform it into something that will fit in your little world.


5 comments on “relationship deal breaker: different goals

  1. Chilly says:

    Cool site!

    Note: I found you by clicking on your comment to my response at CNN (yeah, I’m “CC”). I’ll keep checking back & send some readers your way!

  2. Love the analogies in this post, too funny!! But also very true two people with different goals can’t make it work unless they see eye to eye!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sharideth Smith, Sharideth Smith. Sharideth Smith said: how not to get eaten by a plant, today at AWGTW: […]

  4. Mandie says:

    I’ve read a bunch of your posts and I agree with you on the e-soul mates thing. Weird and awesome.

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