Author Topic: tell me about your amazing relationship!  (Read 28904 times)

Zikoris

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2014, 12:25:07 PM »
Okay, so in your case the relevant question would be: If your partner said he absolutely needed to live in a big house, would this be worth saving the relationship over, or would that end the otherwise ridiculously happy?

Yeah, that just couldn't work for me. I would be miserable. If a partner required me to be miserable for him to be happy, it wouldn't work. And vice versa.

For me, a dealbreaker would be something that would make happiness in a long term relationship impossible. I could not be happy with someone who wanted kids, liked to party, was a slob, liked to fight/argue, watched tv (especially sports), or wanted to follow Standard Life Script. It could not possibly work.

Awesomely specific. Thanks!!

On the "slob" note, what would that look like to you? i.e., You noted that committing to a broken-down trailer with a malfunctioning toilet is fine, but some other sense of "messiness" would be a dealbreaker for you.

My first boyfriend was a slob - if I was away for a weekend it would be clean when I left and I would return to clothes everywhere, pizza boxes, dirty dishes, the works. Compared to my partner now - I was is the hospital for a week last year and the place looked basically the same when I came home as when I left. I don't expect the place  to be spotless by any means, but I need:

1. dishes to go in the sink after meals,
2. clothes in the hamper or closet,
3. bed fixed,
4. garbage in the garbage bins,
5. nothing on the floor for me to trip over.

Anything else is a bonus, but I've found that I NEED those five things to feel relaxed at home.

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2014, 12:35:39 PM »
Yeah, that just couldn't work for me. I would be miserable. If a partner required me to be miserable for him to be happy, it wouldn't work. And vice versa.

Wow, you just perfectly articulated something I didn't really know and was trying very hard to grasp! Thank you, Zikoris! There are some aspects of life I don't quite grasp, and the way you worded this just cleared up a four-year long question I've had! If a partner required me to be miserable for him to be happy.... Excellent.

I don't expect the place  to be spotless by any means, but I need:

1. dishes to go in the sink after meals,
2. clothes in the hamper or closet,
3. bed fixed,
4. garbage in the garbage bins,
5. nothing on the floor for me to trip over.

Anything else is a bonus, but I've found that I NEED those five things to feel relaxed at home.

Again, thank you so much for those specifics! So, "broken" is okay, and "broken down" is okay, and not having a consistently functioning toilet is okay, but things largely out of place is a no-go for you. Yes, that clarifies. (I need only #4 and #5, but nothing broken down to, yes, feel relaxed at home. I like that criteria for assessing what's required, too!)

rujancified

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2014, 12:45:06 PM »
And to answer the original question:

We've been together 8 years, married 2. Currently no kids.

--Humor is top of our list as well. 

--Same general idea on what we want out of life, though we differ on how to get there.

--Trust. Same value system. All those foundational-type things.

--We're both good at timing serious discussions well so they don't flare up into fights - ie I don't try to talk to him about the grocery bill when he's been at work until 3 AM.

--I am a worrier and every new situation is a fun new opportunity for me to come up with the worst case scenario. He makes me believe that anything is possible. He thinks I'm better/smarter/stronger than I think I am.

--For the most part, our differences are complementary. He's a single task person and is focused to a fault. I've been known to walk into walls because my head is somewhere that my body isn't. We're both know-it-alls, but have different areas of expertise.


(Aside: It has been wonderful reading through everyone's thoughts/advice on this thread. Great stuff.)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2014, 12:53:23 PM »
Deal breakers for me:

1. Suddenly refusing to work on personal health. As much as I love my wife, if she "let herself go" and refused to do anything about it, I wouldn't want to watch her slowly die....

2. Cheating. But polyamory would be fine. We've even talked about it, just never found a partner to explore it with.

Exhale

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2014, 12:56:23 PM »
Great question (and responses). My ex wife and I are very proud that we were able to navigate the end of our relationship with kindness and compassion for one another. That relationship taught me so much about what I need in a partner as well as what are my challenges are as a partner.

IMHO vital components include presence, connection and commitment as well as:
- Self care/self love/self knowledge => includes knows your emotional baggage and how to handle it
- Clear communication/honesty => I love the silly hat idea as a way to keep everything in context
- Prioritizing affection/intimacy => I've found many people put a longterm relationship on autopilot
- Humor/enjoying one another/playfulness => life is short, I want to enjoy it!
- Kindness (even when mad, wronged, etc.) => I'm attentive to how a person treats an ex, people s/he doesn't like
- Not sweating small stuff - takes knowing your core needs and what you can be more Zen about (this connects to the "wiggle room" question. If you know what your core needs are, then you also know where you can be flexible)

In addition to the general list above, I know that I need:
- To live a MMM lifestyle (including the valuing physical health and having low-cost fun)
- Be around creative people with optimistic, can-do attitudes

Esther Perel gave a fantastic TED Talk in which she shared that her research showed the times people felt most drawn to their partner are:
1) When apart and when reuniting
2) When your partner in his/her element (radiant and confident) and you get to see him/her afresh
3) When surprised, laughing together, encountering/enjoying the novelty of one's partner

She goes on to say:
- "The crisis of desire is a crisis of the imagination."
- "Sex isn't something you do, but a place you go." (connecting with life, energy)
- "Committed sex is...focused and present" - not something that just happens

Another resource is Cherie Bryd's Kissing School: Seven Lessons on Love, Lips, and Life Force. This book presents the curriculum from the Kissing School that she runs in Seattle.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 12:59:53 PM by Exhale »

VegemiteMess

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2014, 01:00:26 PM »
I have really enjoyed reading through all these responses.  A lot of the characteristics Mustachians have mentioned echo the findings of John Gottman.  If you haven't come across his research on what makes a happy marriage, it's worth googling.

homehandymum

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2014, 01:03:37 PM »
Quickly replying before rushing off to a softball game with eldest daughter:

dealbreakers
1. cheating 
2.  physical abuse or just being plain mean on an ongoing basis (and I intellectually understand how difficult it is to draw that line, having watched several friends struggle to do so)

Caveats:
Both of those would be major personality shifts for this person, so I'd be pushing for a medical assessment/brain scan to rule out physical causes.

Both of us value being on the same team, so if either of us has a desire to do something drastically different from what we have already planned (like when we first started looking at homeschooling), it is raised with a "Hey, I've been thinking about x, what do you think?"  And there is plenty of time allowed for tossing the idea around to see how it feels and how it might play out.  The other person usually always makes the effort to understand where the initiator is coming from, and accommodate the causal desires, even if the pitched solution doesn't fly.  (sorry, can't think of an example off the cuff).

Oh, another deal breaker might be the 8month per year travel you talked about, but we did go through a phase when we just had one child where he was working out of the city for 1 week in 6.  It lasted about a year, and wasn't ideal, but we both knew it was temporary.  On the plus side, his work location was near his parents, so we piggy-backed a family holiday onto it a couple of times.

Basically, if one person really NEEDS something, then the other will try to accommodate it - but their NEEDS have to be met too, including situations where those are in direct conflict.  We haven't yet come across one of those situations.

Spiffsome

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2014, 03:45:56 PM »
My husband and I have been married for 8 years, together for almost 12. Our basic values were fairly similar, and we road-tested the relationship by living together for about 3 years before marriage.

One of the biggest things that keeps us together is appreciation. I thank him for everything that he does for us, and he thanks me. We've also developed a habit of telling each other, "This is one reason why I love you. You do X," whether X is asking the other person's opinion, making dinner, doing something thoughtful, or whatever. Consciously noticing that your spouse is doing something nice, and then telling them that you noticed, is a really great way of keeping a relationship healthy. I'm sure that we're both doing more nice things for each other now because the other person notices and points it out.

Zikoris

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2014, 03:57:27 PM »
Quote
Again, thank you so much for those specifics! So, "broken" is okay, and "broken down" is okay, and not having a consistently functioning toilet is okay, but things largely out of place is a no-go for you. Yes, that clarifies. (I need only #4 and #5, but nothing broken down to, yes, feel relaxed at home. I like that criteria for assessing what's required, too!)

I think it doesn't bother me because I've lived in some pretty run down places - basement suites that leaked when it rained, bed bugs, electrical wiring done in a way that using more than one cooking element knocks the lights out. Meh, I just fix the problem and move on. Totally worth it if you get a great deal on rent.

It has been nice not having to deal with that stuff for several years now since finding the holy trinity of "cheap rent", "great location", "really nice apartment" in Vancouver four years ago.

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2014, 04:07:58 PM »
I think it doesn't bother me because I've lived in some pretty run down places - basement suites that leaked when it rained, bed bugs, electrical wiring done in a way that using more than one cooking element knocks the lights out.

Oh! I'm convinced those bother me because I've lived with them! Great deals on rent, for sure, but after a decade or so in those, I'm done, and I refuse to put my kid in stuff like that.

Yeah, I'm finally in the holy trinity, too (though in my case I had to leave Vancouver to get it)! Loving it.

deborah

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #60 on: November 28, 2014, 04:29:43 PM »
I would like to explore a little more in the "worth it despite [these strains]" and "dealbreaker" aspects of ridiculously happy relationships, with anyone willing to go there. At least two people said lying or otherwise breaking trust (e.g., cheating) would be a dealbreaker. What else? Some sample questions to getting digging in that vein (certainly feel free to ignore these and write about things that feel more relevant in your relationship):

If your partner asked you to shave your facial hair in varying arrangements, or to wear high heels or a suit or whatever other look, for the partner's esthetic enjoyment, would you?No - we are not about changing each other - this would be a deal breaker. I am not his doll. He does things I don't like - for instance he smokes, and I have asthma that sets off when there is cigarette smoke around. He smoked when I met him all those years ago and still smokes. He does it outside - he is always very careful not to impact me. But I have never asked him to stop smoking. I also do things that he would prefer I didn't do. The deal breaker is forcing the other to do something different. I don't drink, and he drank a lot when I met him. He stopped. It happened gradually, but must have happened within the first 8 years, because it had definitely stopped before he went to the US. Again, I never asked him to.

Do any of you live with a loud, huge screen TV that you don't love, just because your partner likes to have one?No - we don't have a TV (never have). If either of us wants to do something disruptive to the other, they do it when the other is not around - there is plenty of opportunity (and tells the other that they intend to do it). We have right of veto, but being noisy while you're not around would be fine. Courtesy. For instance, SO does not like bright lights, and I like to be able to see, so there is a room set up with bright lights that I use when I need to, and there are extra lights that only I use in some rooms.

If your partner said today that your current home wasn't really working for them, and they genuinely needed your family to live in a broken-down 100 sq ft trailer with a broken toilet, would you?We'd live on the same block of land, him in the broken-down trailer, and me in what I could tolerate. We'd still live together.

If your partner wanted to be "on the road" solo for 8 months of the year, yes or no?This doesn't happen, but he is involved in sport and goes away most weekends, and a few weeks. But I go away too. Doesn't worry me. We have lived apart for years at a time. He would still ring me every single night (as he as in the past).

If your partner never did outdoor sports with you, or needed to have 5 dogs, or called you on stuff, or never called you on stuff, are you still game? Don't understand the question

Metta

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #61 on: November 28, 2014, 06:13:50 PM »
We talked a lot about deal-breakers in our first few years (remember, we are the people who have to get everything down and verbalized, if not written up). It basically boils down to this:

Any form of dishonesty is a deal-breaker for him. Anything. Even polite spin. I am much more comfortable when I have honesty in my relationships, but it is not an absolute deal-breaker for me.

For me an absolute deal-breaker would be cruelty, particularly to those vulnerable or to animals. I cannot live with someone who would hurt others or be a part of a system of cruelty. I don't think I could live with a non-vegetarian.

Most of the other things you mentioned are negotiable. I'm pretty flexible. I've worn clothes he likes (even when I was somewhat dubious). I've done things I wasn't sure I'd like and things i didn't like. He's tried things I liked. We've lived in various ways, though I hated it when we lived apart (for work). Sexuality in all its forms is pretty negotiable to me. (I value the negotiation part of that sentence.) I will live anywhere. He is my home, not some piece of real estate.

swick

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #62 on: November 29, 2014, 12:17:56 AM »
  For me, in the forefront of my mind is always what will make him happy.  I try to go out of my way to make him his life as comfortable and easy as possible.  He does the same for me.  It becomes this really great cycle of giving to each other in a way that enhances both of our lives for the better.  I think that if only one person puts in the effort, it becomes draining and selfish.  But if you are both working hard for the other's happiness, your relationship will flourish.

The quote above really sums it up for us. We have known each other since grade 1,  5 years of dating and 2 years married.

Within the last 4 years we have helped his mom through breast cancer, moved away from all of our support networks to an isolated community where everyone exists in a state of "anger and bitterness", done some international travel with my mom and his parents, gotten married,  dealt with death and loss, bought our first house, sold our first house and moved back home and purchased a new house. So other then kids, had most of those "major life stress events" happen.

The single biggest thing that has gotten us through everything is what Allie posted above. Knowing you have someone who will always be in your corner and who is always looking out for your best interest is very powerful. Also just having the ability to embrace and encourage each others silliness is the best. Laughter really is the best medicine :)

We do most things as a team - we just enjoy each others company so much it makes all the mundane things fly by. I have found it very interesting that many happy couples on here have distinct roles and responsibilities.

We have some very separate and some similar hobbies and are great sounding boards for each others creative ideas. I'm more right brained and he is more left-brained and we combine our energies to build something great. One example was I wanted to make a series of Perfumes based on the temples from Zelda: Ocarina of Time for his sister in-law for Christmas but had no idea how to package them I wanted "some kind of chest." He came up with a chest that when you open it it plays music and lights up and has a button in front of a space for each perfume, when you press the button it plays the song from the temple and makes the lights change color. It is way better then I could have imagined. I usually come up with the basic ideas and he makes them better. 

Gray Matter

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #63 on: November 29, 2014, 04:48:58 AM »
I would like to explore a little more in the "worth it despite [these strains]" and "dealbreaker" aspects of ridiculously happy relationships, with anyone willing to go there. At least two people said lying or otherwise breaking trust (e.g., cheating) would be a dealbreaker. What else? Some sample questions to getting digging in that vein (certainly feel free to ignore these and write about things that feel more relevant in your relationship):
...

Stuff like that, whatever examples of "worth it despite [something that feels like a strain]" and dealbreakers. i.e., What "wiggle room" exists in your/a ridiculously happy relationship, and what wiggle room does not? How does wiggle room play in to ridiculously happy relationships?

If your partner asked you to shave your facial hair in varying arrangements, or to wear high heels or a suit or whatever other look, for the partner's esthetic enjoyment, would you?   Possibly.  I believe in accepting our partners as they are, so if I felt like he was trying to fundamentally change who I am, then no.  But if he wanted to do a little role-playing in the bedroom, then sure!  DH has never tried to control what I wear or how I look, though, and it's hard to imagine him doing that.  Or it going over well with me.

If your beloved asked you for an open or polyamorous relationship, would you say yes even if this wasn't your preference?
  I would go for polyamorous (sounds kind of interesting) before an open relationship (too jealous).

Do any of you live with a loud, huge screen TV that you don't love, just because your partner likes to have one? No.  But he does like to have music on way more often than I do.  If it's on, I want to be listening to it.  If I'm trying to do anything else, like read of have a conversation, then it annoys me.  We both compromise on that one.

If your partner said today that your current home wasn't really working for them, and they genuinely needed your family to live in a broken-down 100 sq ft trailer with a broken toilet, would you?  Depends.  I would need to understand what was behind the need.  If he simply has a preference for broken-down trailers with broken toilet seats, then we could set one up for him in the backyard.  If it's because the responsibility of a big home is too much, then I would pay more attention to that.  But regardless, I don't think I could live in a broken-down trailer for long because my surroundings really impact the way I feel and I have a strong preference for natural materials--we'd need to fix it up.  A charming tiny home, though, I could do that.

If your partner wanted to be "on the road" solo for 8 months of the year, yes or no? That's a tough one, but probably not.  No way would I marry a man with this need/desire, if I knew about it while dating.  But if my DH had this need now after 20 years of marriage...still difficult.  I'd need to understand the driver.  If the driver is that he would prefer to live the life of a single person, then he should just go do that.  If his driver was a passion like being a musician, then possibly, but even then, I want a man whose family comes first in his life (even before a vocation).  But I wouldn't want to blow my family apart, either.

If your partner never did outdoor sports with you, or needed to have 5 dogs, or called you on stuff, or never called you on stuff, are you still game? Yes to all of these.

"Worth it despite" is his travel--it's the only real thing I can think of.  Dealbreakers...now that we're married and have kids, there are far fewer dealbreakers than before we got married, if that makes sense.  When I was 20 and naive, I thought if my husband cheated on me, it would be over.  But now, I view cheating as having many subtle nuances.  Some couples have open relationships, so it's not cheating and it works for them (not for me).  In my own marriage, I would view one of us cheating as symptomatic of serious issues in our marriage, and if I thought those issues could be resolved, then I could live with the fact that one of us cheated.  And sometimes, I think cheating can be about something one spouse is going through (midlife crisis, feeling old/frumpy), and not necessarily say that much about the marriage.  (Neither of us has cheated, to my knowledge.)

Deal breakers are things like chronic cheating/lying, deep-seated disrespect, extreme self-centeredness, cruelty (to me, the kids, animals, others), an addiction that can't be moderated.

When I was dating, deal breakers were things like career military (didn't want a traveling spouse, didn't want to move all the time), pro-life beliefs, not liking dogs, not wanting kids, religiousness (or belief that any one god/religion is the "right" one), extreme status-consciousness, and hunting (just didn't understand how someone could turn killing an animal into a sport--still don't understand it, but I like and respect every hunter I know, so I just chalk it up to one of those things I simply can't understand, but don't need to understand in order to respect/support their rights.  And as a meat-eater who pretends that meat comes from the supermarket, not animals, I can recognize my extreme hypocrisy).

Most of those early deal breakers would still be deal breakers for me if dating (only possible exception is hunting).
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 04:57:21 AM by Gray Matter »

daymare

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #64 on: November 29, 2014, 12:13:01 PM »
My husband and I have been together for nearly 6 years ... the first year wasn't good, and lately we're not as happy together (because I am personally unhappy being in grad school, working to fix that), but the rest we've been very happy and I expect many happy years to come.

We have a lot of things in common, some of which seem superficial but I think matter in the end
-We both hate watching sports, don't follow any national sports at all
-Both enjoy down-time alone (me reading books or things on the internet, him playing video games)
-We both know the other is awesome and attractive and has other options, and we don't believe in soul mates
-His parents are both immigrants to the US, as in my whole nuclear family (parents, me, brother) and both families had very little when we were young
-We both have a college education (where we met)
-Both sets of parents respect our relationship
-We are totally happy being weird together
-We are mostly on the same page financially (both in our assets when we got married, and as far as future goals are concerned)
-We both like being outside and aren't afraid of the outdoors (I just don't have any patience for people that go hiking or camping and complain or are afraid of bugs or other ridiculousness.  Similarly, wouldn't be cool with someone who didn't see these activities as fun.)
-Both are low-key (both how we dress & face maintenance, being happy eating the same food several times, how much we need to clean)
-We are both intellectuals and curious (this manifests differently - I read constantly and he barely does, but he knows scientific facts and is curious about things)
-We both don't like soda
-We both don't care about cars
-We're analytically minded but in different fields (him - chemical engineering/process engineering, me - math/econ/finance)

I think he is incredibly attractive, and he has qualities I value (lots of which are things I want to be better at - like being patient and non-judgmental and assuming the best about everyone and being easy-going).  He is kind and patient and thoughtful without being a pushover - I am a bit more intense.  I have a strong personality (pretty much every speech at our wedding mentioned I was strong-willed ;)) and I am also more of an introvert and more outgoing.  We have friction sometimes because I am more organized and I get upset when I have to coordinate/lead some aspect of our life and manage him and he's not meeting my timeline.  A lot of that is on me - he is not asking me to take on that role.  Mostly, we are happy together because we are equals.  We are feminists and can do more with the support of the other than alone.  He is a great caretaker, and we both find the other adorable even in less-than-great moments: when I am pouting, when he is whining, sometimes we can just laugh our way out of the situation cause the other is so damn cute.  We are very physical with each other (which is good because I really like touching people), but also have different friends and are independent people.

FrugalInTheBigSky

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #65 on: November 29, 2014, 01:35:58 PM »
It has been fun reading these responses. And it will make me go back and post to the "how did you meet" question because I think our story is fun, at least the way I tell it.. ha ha.

My boyfriend (are we too old to call ourselves that?) and I have been together for 17 years. In reading the responses, I'll bet my younger self might have thought the common threads read here couldn't be described as "amazing". But it adds up to no drama, constant companionship, and understanding mate-- love. And I'm not a sappy one.

We argue out loud. Sometimes the conversations become arguments, sometimes the arguments become conversations. Sometimes they are about petty things (who left the kitchen light on?) and sometimes are about serious life issues. In any case, nothing goes unsaid. It might not be pretty, but we share our thoughts, emotions, plans, dreams.

We don't have kids. We don't have family close by. We don't argue about money. Sometimes those are the things I feel like other couples argue about. But basically, I agree with everything Zikoris said. And we don't watch TV.

We are good for each other in that our opposites support and soften each other. I am reserved, judgmental, and tend to organize/overthink everything. My partner is social, warm, out going, inclusive, talkative, plain spoken.  Friends might watch us playfully bicker, but we both trust that we will respect and listen to each other at the end of it. We have challenged each other to improve ourselves as persons, not just as a couple. In that way we have continued to grow as individuals rather than morph into a solid state. Maybe I should copy/paste this for Valentines!

As for frugality, the Mustachian lifestyle (even before I discovered MMM) allowed money to never be a source of stress.

deborah

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #66 on: November 29, 2014, 03:58:43 PM »
Scrubbyfish everyone is different. You can see that from the answers to your "deal breakers". It's really interesting to me that the answers to what makes a good relationship are very similar, but the "deal breakers" have more differences. People have their individual boundaries, and good relationships know and respect each others boundaries. A "deal breaker" ignores the boundary or stops respecting the boundary.

Good relationships also work together to allow each partner to be fulfilled. If someone needs a "deal breaker" to be fulfilled, they are prepared to work together to make it not a deal breaker (like my answer that we would live on the same block in different accommodation). This stuff isn't about instant gratification. We didn't have what we have today when we first met - we didn't know each other for a start. I would be surprised if anyone who answered had what they have today when they first met. We had something like it after a few years, but it just keeps on getting better and better. Understanding someone else takes a lifetime.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #67 on: November 29, 2014, 07:57:44 PM »
Married for 6 years, together for 10. For us, it's all about:
-Shared vision and goals. This is huge. We want the same things out of life, which enables us to frugalize and optimize towards those shared hopes.
-Communication. Sounds overly simplistic, but actually takes effort to implement.
-Equality. We share all tasks/chores related to keeping our little frugal household humming. Clear divisions of labor, as many others have mentioned, make for a smooth operation (he cooks, I clean, he does dishes, I do laundry.... we actually get pretty granular in our division of responsibilities, which works really well for us).
-Same page financially. We're in total agreement over every aspect of our finances. Can't imagine it any other way.
-Love, friendship, respect, trust. We're one another's best friend, confidant, lover, chief encourager, and partner in every sense.
-Humor. It's pretty key.

My husband recently told me that the best day of our marriage wasn't our wedding day, it's today and tomorrow and every day after that.

To the question on deal-breakers, I don't know because we're still together. What I mean is, I've learned to never say never and to keep an open mind in all things. It's possible something would pull us apart at some point in life, but I honestly wouldn't know what it is until it happened.

southern granny

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #68 on: November 29, 2014, 08:44:52 PM »
Our next anniversary will be 40.  We are happy and I feel confident it will be until death us do part.  Our "secret" to making it 40 years is commitment.  Over the years, there were times when it might have been easier to split than to work it out, but thankfully we both felt that it was worth working out.  We do almost everything together.  Most we both enjoy, some only one of us enjoys (He likes to watch football, I don't.  He goes shopping with me although he doesn't like shopping.)  But we also do get time away.  I have a girl friend that I go out with a couple times  a month and other friends that I meet for lunch.  He used to hunt and golf although now his time alone is usually in the man cave (garage).  We help each other and we respect each other. Our children have never had to deal with step parents and our grandchildren only have two sets of grand parents.  We are truly blessed.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #69 on: November 29, 2014, 11:09:24 PM »
Married for 22.5 years, known each other for 24 years. Parents of six kids-ages 20-6

What makes our relationship amazing...

-Shared major goals and values. He's not into MMM, but he supports me cutting cable, making my own detergent, and saving a large portion of our income.
-Shared religion/beliefs. This is very important to us and affects every choice we make and how we raise our kids.
-Equal partnership. We don't have "your jobs" and "my jobs". We both help out. Even while I was a SAHM, he still would cook, clean, help with kids, or whatever needed to get done. I often prefer to fix things in the house and yard rather than clean/cook.
-Physical Attraction... It's still very important! We both are committed to physical health and being as attractive as we can for each other.
-Our relationship takes precedence over the kids. Of course, we take care of the kids, but we make sure that we focus on each other. We take trips as a couple, date, and have time away from being parents. We know that someday the kids will be gone, and we don't want to be strangers!
-Absolute commitment to each other. If something is broken in our relationship, we fix it. We are both in this forever. We don't flirt with others, or get in situations that could even have the appearance of infidelity. We agree that love is an action word. We are invested in this relationship. There is NO ONE else on the earth I want to be with. He is my Mr. Darcy and alway will be. And I choose him, and happiness, every day.
-Children: Although they can cause stress in a relationship, I know we wouldn't be the people we are today without them. We have both become better people than we were when we got married. And having children did a lot of that.
-Frankly, my husband. He puts me above himself everytime. I am trying to learn to be as selfless as him, but it's a process. ;)

What we could do better
-Communicate about differences without being offended. It's a work in progress. We are not always of the same opinion, but I think that's ok if you can talk and be respectful.

What would be a deal breaker:
-Stuff he just wouldn't do. Infidelity, abuse, secrecy, etc. Honesty is a priority for us.

 

Villanelle

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #70 on: December 01, 2014, 12:29:03 PM »
If your partner asked you to shave your facial hair in varying arrangements, or to wear high heels or a suit or whatever other look, for the partner's esthetic enjoyment, would you?   Sure, on some occasions.  Tossing on heels or red lipstick or whatever would be NBD. 

If your beloved asked you for an open or polyamorous relationship, would you say yes even if this wasn't your preference?  Possibly, depending on the terms under which he wanted to do all this.  His time is very, very limited, so I'd be hesitate to give up too much of it.

Do any of you live with a loud, huge screen TV that you don't love, just because your partner likes to have one?  Sure, assuming he was respectful about how he used it, how loud it was, etc. 


If your partner said today that your current home wasn't really working for them, and they genuinely needed your family to live in a broken-down 100 sq ft trailer with a broken toilet, would you?  I guess it would depend on why he needed this, how long it needed it to be for, etc.  I wouldn't be willing to commit to it for forever, but a year (if we fixed the toilet)?  Maybe. 


If your partner wanted to be "on the road" solo for 8 months of the year, yes or no? My husband is in the Navy.  He deploys.  So we are used to being apart.  And even if it was for personal reasons, I'd be willing to support this once, or maybe once every decade or so, but not indefinitely.  Time together is important for cultivating a relationship.

If your partner never did outdoor sports with you, or needed to have 5 dogs, or called you on stuff, or never called you on stuff, are you still game? Yes to sports, yes to dogs (assuming he was willing to do much of the care and to make sure they were well-trained), and I'm not sure about the calling on stuff questions, because I'm not sure exactly what this means.

For all of these, I think the key is compromise.  The giant TV is fine, for example.  I could compromise and spend the money on that and deal with the noise, if he could compromise and keep the volume down sometimes and be mindful of when I was needing to concentrate on something or sleep.   If he wanted to try living in a hovel, I could compromise on that, if he could compromise on length of time, or maybe level of run down-ness. 

Sustained disrespect is about the only deal breaker.  That covers just about anything he could do that would make me doubt our ability to recover together. 


scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #71 on: December 01, 2014, 12:33:11 PM »
Scrubbyfish everyone is different.

Yes! Hence the question to countless people of varying backgrounds, interests, personalities, etc. The "what's different" for everyone is what I was hoping to hear about.

This thread has been awesome, enlightening, inspiring!

Really loving the posts.

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #72 on: December 01, 2014, 12:39:50 PM »
Oh, a couple of people weren't sure what I meant about "called you on stuff, didn't call you on stuff".

Again, my sample questions weren't meant to necessarily be answered, but more to trigger any person's own examples of what they might consider unusual/different/excessive/whatever, and whether they consider a given specific wiggle-able or not.

That noted, by "call you on stuff" I meant a partner speaking up when they see you doing something that might be considered crappy/problematic/etc. I think for some people, this activity is essential in a relationship and for others an absolute no go.

snafuing1

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #73 on: December 01, 2014, 12:45:32 PM »
I'm polyamorous, but only one of my relationships is past the 4 year mark, so I'll write about that one. We've been together about 8 years and just got married this past summer. We're both 26.

What makes it work?
- Division of labor combined with trust. We negotiate chores and other areas of responsibility, and we completely trust each other to handle our "assignments" without meddling, though we do sometimes seek each others' advice. For one example of many, I am in charge of our money. I might consult him on big purchases, but ultimately the decisions are all mine. This reduces stress, and encourages us to negotiate broadly rather than argue about nit-picky bullshit.

- Together and separate hobbies. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so we have stuff we do separately that the other has no interest in. And when we're together, we make an effort to keep hobbies in common so we have interesting stuff to do.

- We agree on the Big Stuff. Our relationship would kinda suck if we didn't agree on the really important stuff that affects each other: neither of us wants kids, we're both natural savers, we're both into polyamory, we both enjoy being active, etc. Corollary: we respect that we're separate people, and agree to disagree on the things that don't affect each other. I'm vegetarian, and he loves bacon; I'm Buddhist, and he's agnostic. We do our own things and it hardly affects the other person at all.

-  We call each other out, and accept that criticism graciously and with gratitude. Not pointing out something that he does that bothers me or seems stupid would cause me to feel resentment, for one thing. Also, having someone as close to you as your partner is a huge opportunity, because they will see your blind spots, and recognize when you're putting the blinders on yourself. In this way we use each other as a resource for personal growth.

Strains:
- when our libidos are out of sync, ordinary grumpiness from time to time, he's a yeller and I hate yelling. all small stuff right now.

Dealbreakers:
- If one of us fell out of love and stayed that way for some time. Huge personality changes that left the other person behind, like suddenly needing monogamy, or leaving our active lifestyle and gaining 300 lbs, or deciding to have a child while the other person didn't want one.

Finally:
"When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory."
- Friedrich Nietzsche
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 12:51:22 PM by snafuing1 »

homehandymum

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #74 on: December 01, 2014, 01:07:05 PM »
That noted, by "call you on stuff" I meant a partner speaking up when they see you doing something that might be considered crappy/problematic/etc. I think for some people, this activity is essential in a relationship and for others an absolute no go.

For me, I have appreciated it when DH says something like "do you need a glass of water?" (which is code for "you are being unnecessarily cranky"), or "That was just mean".  He doesn't say it often, and it's good to get a reality check reminder that other people need to live with me and I'm being difficult to live with :)

On the other hand, this never gets to the point of continual policing of my behaviour or anything.  In general, we enjoy living together, and have acquired the skill of mentioning how we appreciate each other.  The appreciation in words and actions far outweighs the occasional "OMG, you are driving me crazy!" moment.


Also, I see lots of other have answered the specific question about polyamory.  For me, I'm monogamous, and don't think I could do polyamory.  But if DH raised it, it would begin a discussion about what he was wanting, and how we could accommodate it together.  If polyamory turned out to be a dealbreaker for *him* (i.e. he absolutely required it), then I don't think I could go there.  But the thought of it and the discussion surrounding it in itself would not be the dealbreaker.

TerriM

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #75 on: December 01, 2014, 01:14:21 PM »
I would like to explore a little more in the "worth it despite [these strains]" and "dealbreaker" aspects of ridiculously happy relationships, with anyone willing to go there. At least two people said lying or otherwise breaking trust (e.g., cheating) would be a dealbreaker. What else? Some sample questions to getting digging in that vein (certainly feel free to ignore these and write about things that feel more relevant in your relationship):
Quote
If your beloved asked you for an open or polyamorous relationship, would you say yes even if this wasn't your preference?

No.  Aside from religious objections and health risks, almost every poly marriage we're aware of has broken up in favor of the new couple.   If my husband or I even asked this knowing the outcome, it'd be a clear sign that we have to sit down and figure out how to fix our own relationship or just say goodbye.  I don't think a prolonged goodbye with another person taking over your place in the house is the way to go.

Quote
Do any of you live with a loud, huge screen TV that you don't love, just because your partner likes to have one?

Yes/no.  I loathe the TV.  I got enough of it as a child.  We have the TV (and tons of other methods for screen time), and the husband watches it, but he was watching it after the kids went to bed and the noise was keeping them up, so he got a wireless set of headphones to keep it quiet.  That is fine with me, and makes me happy.   

Quote
If your partner said today that your current home wasn't really working for them, and they genuinely needed your family to live in a broken-down 100 sq ft trailer with a broken toilet, would you?

Yes/No. 
1.  Living with a broken toilet would get our kids taken away by CPS, and their safety, happiness, and security are the utmost priority. 

2.  If my hubby wants to live that way, he's welcome to bring the broken down 100 sq ft trailer (or build some equivalent) in our backyard and live in it separately.  He can come by for meals, spouse time, and whatever else he needs.  IN FACT, we've joked about buying a duplex so that he can have personal, private space that is free of toys, clutter, hobbies, etc. for his own sanity.  He could even sleep late when the kids are up early running around like maniacs.  I would totally support this if it was beneficial for our marriage.

Quote
If your partner wanted to be "on the road" solo for 8 months of the year, yes or no?
Depends why.  If he's trying to avoid the house because it's a cluttered hoarder's mess, then we should fix the situation.  If it is the only way for him to stay happy in the marriage, then yes, but the kids would miss him a lot, and I think he'd need to really consider their needs as well.

Quote
If your partner never did outdoor sports with you, or needed to have 5 dogs, or called you on stuff, or never called you on stuff, are you still game?

Yeah.  That's the way things are.  We live with it by giving each other the time to do our own activities.  I feel that being free to be yourself is an important part of marriage.  I go bike riding without him (even though he has a bike).  He goes on walks without me.    I'm glad he's at least getting the exercise.

snafuing1

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #76 on: December 01, 2014, 01:27:07 PM »
No.  Aside from religious objections and health risks, almost every poly marriage we're aware of has broken up in favor of the new couple.   If my husband or I even asked this knowing the outcome, it'd be a clear sign that we have to sit down and figure out how to fix our own relationship or just say goodbye.  I don't think a prolonged goodbye with another person taking over your place in the house is the way to go.

We're happily married, 100% healthy, been together 8 years, and have been polyamorous since day 1.

I'm not trying to say everyone should do it (they shouldn't). I just wanted to make you aware of our successful poly relationship, since you said you'd never heard of one.

deborah

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #77 on: December 01, 2014, 02:04:07 PM »
No.  Aside from religious objections and health risks, almost every poly marriage we're aware of has broken up in favor of the new couple.   If my husband or I even asked this knowing the outcome, it'd be a clear sign that we have to sit down and figure out how to fix our own relationship or just say goodbye.  I don't think a prolonged goodbye with another person taking over your place in the house is the way to go.

We're happily married, 100% healthy, been together 8 years, and have been polyamorous since day 1.

I'm not trying to say everyone should do it (they shouldn't). I just wanted to make you aware of our successful poly relationship, since you said you'd never heard of one.
This sounds like two very different situations - the first is a couple adding another, the second is several meeting and forming a relationship.

SisterX

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #78 on: December 01, 2014, 02:18:46 PM »
If your partner asked you to shave your facial hair in varying arrangements, or to wear high heels or a suit or whatever other look, for the partner's esthetic enjoyment, would you?

Well, I've removed hair on my lady bits before at his request, so yes.  I've colored my hair and worn specific items of clothing (even uncomfortable ones) because he likes them.  He'd do/has done the same for me.  Doesn't mean we keep this up all the time, but it can be fun to surprise the other person with things like that sometimes.

If your beloved asked you for an open or polyamorous relationship, would you say yes even if this wasn't your preference?

No.  It might (might) work out for some people (snafuing's comment aside, I've also never heard of it working out well long-term) but it's not for us.  There's something to be said for monogamy.  I've made vows to him and while he's not my everything (that would be too stifling for us), he is and will be my only sexual partner until one of us dies.  We work hard at pleasing each other, and doing so in the bedroom is no different than trying to please each other out of it, and it's just as important.  I don't want anyone else because I can't imagine anyone else knowing me and my wants/needs as well as he does.

Do any of you live with a loud, huge screen TV that you don't love, just because your partner likes to have one?

No.  The T.V. wouldn't be the dealbreaker, it would be that at that point I would see that our values were completely different.

If your partner said today that your current home wasn't really working for them, and they genuinely needed your family to live in a broken-down 100 sq ft trailer with a broken toilet, would you?

We lived in a dry (no running water) cabin in the woods here in Fairbanks.  We were poor college students who could barely afford to heat the place (and that was a long, brutally cold winter, even compared to a normal Fairbanks winter), so the average temperature away from the heater was probably in the 40s.  We still talk about that time with affection and laughter.  I'd move back into one in a heartbeat, actually, if not for dishes (our mutual least favorite chore) and cloth diapers.
In relationships, it tends to be true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Travel, kids, home repairs...if you've got a strong relationship underneath, those blips will become funny stories.  If you're just not compatible, those things will tear you apart and undermine what you do have.  We didn't road-test kids before getting married, but we both felt it was important to travel together and to live together for a time before making it legal so that we knew exactly what we were getting into and ensured that we could live with each other and not kill each other over the next 50 years.

If your partner wanted to be "on the road" solo for 8 months of the year, yes or no?

Why would I want to be with someone who would want to downgrade our relationship to essentially that of penpals 2/3 of the time?  We're together because we like being together.  Frankly, we both deserve better than to just hang around waiting for the other person to decide when they want to have a real relationship.
Work situations are different than voluntarily leaving your partner for most of the time.

If your partner never did outdoor sports with you, or needed to have 5 dogs, or called you on stuff, or never called you on stuff, are you still game?

I think this is another "what fundamental aspects of the other person's personality can you live with" question, and that's going to be different for each individual.  We do different sports, I like to read and he likes to play video games.  We also enjoy many of the same activities too, though, and we agree on major things like pets (have a cat and a dog) and kids (have one, will have another...eventually).  We absolutely call each other on behavior that isn't conducive to a happy relationship, because that's important.

Stuff like that, whatever examples of "worth it despite [something that feels like a strain]" and dealbreakers. i.e., What "wiggle room" exists in your/a ridiculously happy relationship, and what wiggle room does not? How does wiggle room play in to ridiculously happy relationships?

I don't feel like we really have anything that's "worth it despite the strain" between the two of us.  Anything like that is an external force: our daughter's (awful) sleep habits, his crazy school schedule.  We're together in large part because being together is so easy.  I'd even argue that being with him is easier than not being with him.  He makes me lighten up when I need it and I do the same for him.  We make life better for each other as often as possible.
One of the things people constantly find shocking in us is what we are willing to joke about.  When I got pregnant, my husband started almost immediately making fat jokes about me.  I laughed until I cried at all of them, because he never would have done that if he actually thought I was getting fat.  (He would have brought it up if I was just getting fat, but he would never have made a joke of it.)  He got so many gasps and outraged tirades from friends, even when I was doubled over gasping for breath.  One friend even said, "Never let her leave you," when he saw that I was laughing. 
He started weight lifting recently and I've been making fun of how much he's started eating.  Like, constantly.  Open the fridge and say, "Hey, I'm stealing your calories."  He'll say, "I'm still hungry," and I respond, "I bet you are, fatty.  Stuff your face moar!"  He laughs every time because it's funny (he's not fat, at all) and it reminds him that I'm noticing how he looks/the changes in him.  In our own way it's my stamp of approval that he's taking care of himself.  If we couldn't laugh at each other and ourselves this way?  That would be the ultimate dealbreaker.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 02:40:24 PM by SisterX »

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #79 on: December 01, 2014, 02:42:00 PM »
I think this is another "what fundamental aspects of the other person's personality can you live with" question, and that's going to be different for each individual.

Agreed. As such, these were all just sample questions, intended to help any post-er dig up their equivalent and talk about that. This said, I really, really enjoyed reading your responses to my examples!

snafuing1

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #80 on: December 01, 2014, 02:42:23 PM »
This sounds like two very different situations - the first is a couple adding another, the second is several meeting and forming a relationship.

No actually - I've been with my husband 8 years and my girlfriend for 3.5. They aren't in a relationship with each other, but they have become close friends.

I didn't mean to start something about polyamory though - it is just a different choice made by people who have slightly different relationship needs than those who choose monogamy.

One of the things people constantly find shocking in us is what we are willing to joke about.  When I got pregnant, my husband started almost immediately making fat jokes about me.  I laughed until I cried at all of them, because he never would have done that if he actually thought I was getting fat.  (He would have brought it up if I was just getting fat, but he would never have made a joke of it.)  He got so many gasps and outraged tirades from friends, even when I was doubled over gasping for breath.  One friend even said, "Never let her leave you," when he saw that I was laughing. 
He started weight lifting recently and I've been making fun of how much he's started eating.  Like, constantly.  Open the fridge and say, "Hey, I'm stealing your calories."  He'll say, "I'm still hungry," and I respond, "I bet you are, fatty.  Stuff your face moar!"  He laughs every time because it's funny (he's not fat, at all) and it reminds him that I'm noticing how he looks/the changes in him.  In our own way it's my stamp of approval that he's taking care of himself.  If we couldn't laugh at each other and ourselves this way?  That would be the ultimate dealbreaker.

This is so cute. My mother-in-law is constantly all "Be nice to your wife!! >:(" while I am doubled over laughing at something he's said. Laughing at ourselves and mocking each other is one way we show affection, and if other people don't get that, that's their problem, not ours!

I told her it's like in The Princess Bride, where when he says "As you wish," he really means "I love you." Only, when we say "I hate you," we really mean "I love you." :)

madgeylou

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #81 on: December 01, 2014, 02:55:00 PM »
My husband and I have been together for 6 1/2 years, married for just over 2 years. In that amount of time, we've gone through job losses, family illnesses and deaths, and many kinds of life drama involving money, siblings, houses, neighbors, debt ... it's been, um, eventful!

But we have done remarkably well together. We have a lot of commonalities in the way we like to live -- quiet and fairly orderly with lots of laughs and trips to fun new places. And we value similar things -- travel and experiences more than big houses and fancy stuff.

We're also both grown ups in that we take responsibility for our own emotional states. We ask for help when we need it, sure, but mostly we each try to keep our own heads straight as much as possible. When I'm annoyed about something he does, I ask myself what's going on with me that I'm getting annoyed before expressing my annoyance to him. When he gets in a mood, he tells me and goes off to put himself back together again, and I try to do the same. Over time we've learned not to take each other's emotional weather too personally.

We also make an effort to be polite and kind to each other. We both make an effort to stay on top of household chores and joint projects. Hugs and kisses and jokes and cups of tea are shared throughout the day. It's peaceful between us. Our relationship is a stabilizing force that makes us both stronger.

I was single for years on end. Like you, Scrubbyfish, I never saw anyone that I would enjoy living with more than I enjoyed living on my own. But honestly, this relationship has been like falling off a log. Sure, we've had things to learn and negotiate and get used to ... but overall it's just simple and fun and easy for us to be together.

I always wanted to be able to be in a relationship, to be able to share openly and not have to watch my back or constantly negotiate boundaries and second guess myself. But it's no good trying to have an open-sharing kind of relationship with someone who hasn't earned your trust. This is the mistake I made several times when I was younger -- I opened my heart to people who had not earned any access to it.

To me, the only kind of relationship I think I could be in is with an ethical, equality-minded, intelligent, caring, trustworthy person who I could rely on to give back to me every bit as good as I am capable of giving. Nothing less would ever make me happy. Once I figured this out, I felt an immediate sense of peace and ease about the love part of life. I think this is something like you've been describing on your journal, Scrubbyfish -- to decide what is and isn't worth it for you, and to make decisions from that place.

TerriM

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #82 on: December 01, 2014, 02:56:48 PM »
No.  Aside from religious objections and health risks, almost every poly marriage we're aware of has broken up in favor of the new couple.   If my husband or I even asked this knowing the outcome, it'd be a clear sign that we have to sit down and figure out how to fix our own relationship or just say goodbye.  I don't think a prolonged goodbye with another person taking over your place in the house is the way to go.

We're happily married, 100% healthy, been together 8 years, and have been polyamorous since day 1.

I'm not trying to say everyone should do it (they shouldn't). I just wanted to make you aware of our successful poly relationship, since you said you'd never heard of one.
This sounds like two very different situations - the first is a couple adding another, the second is several meeting and forming a relationship.

In the long run, they're the same.  The original couple's primary relationship frequently becomes the secondary one and then there's a breakup as they lose interest.   They can be in the same house or not.  With texting, it's pretty easy to have someone else virtually in your house when you're spending time with your spouse.  Kind of like these forums.... :)
 

Ok, here's from what I see from my parents (who have been married almost 50 years)

1.  You have to decide you will make the marriage work and stick through the hard times.

2.  You have to appreciate your spouse even if you don't think they're anything close to being a perfect human being.

3.  No abuse.  You can argue, but you can't hit, and you can't use words to wound.


My father says "I am so happy that we're married.  I love your mother."   He could easily say the opposite.  He's made a decision to be happy with the marriage he has, and it has a positive affect on both his attitude and hers.


I think the attitude thing applies to a lot of things.  Mustachianism for example.  You can be decide to be happy being frugal or you can resent every moment of deprivation.   You're more likely to stick with it if you decide to be happy even when things aren't quite what you want.

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #83 on: December 01, 2014, 02:59:52 PM »
I just realized another way I could phrase the secondary intended question (dealbreakers, wiggle room, etc) that might be less confusing:
When you were dating, or if (the unique) you were to newly start dating now, what things would you automatically or probably steer away from? i.e., What did you or would you, Holder and Facilitator of an Amazing Relationship, determine as a total relationship disqualifier early in the process?

SisterX

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #84 on: December 01, 2014, 03:00:14 PM »
We argue out loud. Sometimes the conversations become arguments, sometimes the arguments become conversations. Sometimes they are about petty things (who left the kitchen light on?) and sometimes are about serious life issues. In any case, nothing goes unsaid. It might not be pretty, but we share our thoughts, emotions, plans, dreams.
...Friends might watch us playfully bicker, but we both trust that we will respect and listen to each other at the end of it. We have challenged each other to improve ourselves as persons, not just as a couple. In that way we have continued to grow as individuals rather than morph into a solid state.

Phew!  I was starting to feel a bit out of place with all the people who say they never or almost never argue.  We're both strong-willed and extremely stubborn.  We agree on all the big things and nearly everything else so we don't have an actual argument very often (maybe 1-2 times per year?) but we bicker a lot (it's kinda fun for us) and we like to challenge each other, and sometimes things come up which we don't agree on.  Example: we had to have a major discussion once that was time-sensitive.  His work schedule was so crazy that I (as the instigator of the conversation) didn't see a time which would have been good to bring it up, so I chose what I thought of as the less-bad time.  He didn't agree so our argument was over poor timing and when to bring up such a major discussion.
With our personalities, sometimes things get heated, but we try very hard to keep it respectful.  Especially now that we have a kid, I'm a huge fan of writing things down.  It allows you to calm down and write out your thoughts in a way which allows you to double-check for both clarity and for ensuring that neither of us says something that we ultimately don't mean.  Also, we're both awful about interrupting the other so this way we can't do that, nor do we end up yelling at each other (never solves anything anyway).  It only takes about 2 back-and-forths in a computer document before we have calmed down enough to have a civil and fruitful discussion.
I'm still adding the funny hats thing into the mix, though.

snafuing1

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #85 on: December 01, 2014, 03:27:52 PM »
I just realized another way I could phrase the secondary intended question (dealbreakers, wiggle room, etc) that might be less confusing:
When you were dating, or if (the unique) you were to newly start dating now, what things would you automatically or probably steer away from? i.e., What did you or would you, Holder and Facilitator of an Amazing Relationship, determine as a total relationship disqualifier early in the process?

Great question! If I was looking for someone to marry, my disqualifiers would be:

- Bad with money. If they have super high debt, a low-paying job, and no ambition to get themselves out of this situation, it's a non-starter. Maybe this sounds awful, I don't know, but it's the truth.

- Inactive and totally out of shape. They don't have to be a champion marathoner, I'm certainly not, but if they aren't interested in doing anything active or health in general, it won't work.

- Extremely jealous or insecure. This is hard to quantify, but I can't handle too much of these traits.

- Overtly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. Instant deal-breaker.

- Wants children. Nothing wrong with kids, I just don't want them, so we aren't compatible.

That's all I can think of now...

TerriM

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #86 on: December 01, 2014, 04:29:48 PM »
I just realized another way I could phrase the secondary intended question (dealbreakers, wiggle room, etc) that might be less confusing:
When you were dating, or if (the unique) you were to newly start dating now, what things would you automatically or probably steer away from? i.e., What did you or would you, Holder and Facilitator of an Amazing Relationship, determine as a total relationship disqualifier early in the process?

I would have taken my differences with my mother-in-law much more seriously.  I would also take the differences between how he and I grew up financially much more seriously.  There's nothing wrong with how they lived as they have a lot more money than my family did, but the financial expectations end up being very different right down to how you clothe your kids.  I might tell my mom that I found a piece of furniture on the street or that I got a really cute dress for my daughter at a garage sale, but I would deliberately refrain from mentioning these things with or around my MIL.   But there's an implicit expectation of how we should live that I am uncomfortable with.  It's like a rubber band pulling you to the high spending realm when you really need to be in the hunker-down-and-save realm.  And the more you try to be Mustachian, the more you're viewed as cheap and lower-class.  I think my husband and I would be much more easily aligned if we didn't have external forces on us.   The discussion of this issue in The Millionaire Next Door shed a lot of light on what was happening and why, but it's still like a minefield for me.

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #87 on: December 01, 2014, 04:44:17 PM »
Oooooooooooooooooohhhhh... And great answering, snafuing1 and TerriM! Thanks!!

singingbiologist

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #88 on: December 01, 2014, 08:54:18 PM »
I've been married to my amazing husband for two years, but we've been together for going on 10! We started dating when I was 19 and he was newly turned 20, and met at college.

What makes it work? Fundamental compatibility, great chemistry, and communication, communication, communication! Really listening to one another, asking what the other is thinking, and being unafraid to broach tough topics before anyone has a chance to stew about anything. Genuinely caring about how the other is feeling and how their day went, and wanting to share in their good days and help them get through their bad days. Supporting the other through thick and thin. Great sex! All this has helped us feel grateful for the other every day, constantly say "I love you", and generally go about with a happy glow regardless of any negativity in our lives. It's easy to let the small stuff go when you have something so fundamental as a life partner figured out!

Tough times have included bouts of unemployment on his end, long distance, and periods of intense stress on my end (phd student alert). We've come through everything stronger because we trust each other to be the best parter we can be, we are free with love and affection, and we talk through everything until all parties feel better.

Glad to see so many other happy couples out there in MMM land!

scrubbyfish

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #89 on: December 01, 2014, 08:58:05 PM »
(Who could not love a singingbiologist?!?!)
Your very first post was telling us this happiness! Lovely! :)

pbkmaine

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #90 on: December 01, 2014, 09:16:01 PM »

"We're together in large part because being together is so easy.  I'd even argue that being with him is easier than not being with him.  He makes me lighten up when I need it and I do the same for him.  We make life better for each other as often as possible."

This. Our relationship is the easiest one I have ever had. He gets me on a very deep level. He loves me warts and all. He is my biggest cheerleader. When I screw up, he tells me not to be so hard on myself. When I have a great day, he tells me I deserve a great day. If I really want something, he will move and earth to get it for me. I only hope I do the same for him.

Zikoris

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #91 on: December 01, 2014, 10:10:39 PM »
To the people who argue a lot - I guess I just don't understand this, but why would you want to be with someone you don't get along with? How can you have a peaceful and happy home if you fight regularly? Or does it not affect your happiness?

I mean, I'm not some sort of Mother Theresa, there are definitely people in life I don't get along with and get into arguments with, but I would see a basic inability to get along with someone as a really good reason not to date them in the first place.

TerriM

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #92 on: December 01, 2014, 11:18:27 PM »
I just realized another way I could phrase the secondary intended question (dealbreakers, wiggle room, etc) that might be less confusing:
When you were dating, or if (the unique) you were to newly start dating now, what things would you automatically or probably steer away from? i.e., What did you or would you, Holder and Facilitator of an Amazing Relationship, determine as a total relationship disqualifier early in the process?

PS: Smoking, heavy drinking, drug use, violent or threatening behavior, serial dating (i.e., the inability to be comfortable as a single person), and depression.   

Some of these would not be deal breakers after getting married--I certainly wouldn't walk out on someone who'd become depressed, for example--but I wouldn't enter into a dating relationship with someone who had any of these traits until they'd been resolved.

JustTrying

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #93 on: December 02, 2014, 01:03:49 AM »
I don't know that we're "ridiculously" happy, but overall, hubs and I are happy. Here have been some of the keys (at least for me):

1. Viewing our relationship as a choice and a commitment. Yes, he makes me angry sometimes. So I can think, "Hey! Why'd I marry this guy???" and brood about how awful he is. Or, I can remember that I committed myself to him, and I can figure out how to make that commitment work. Choosing the latter option works best.

2. Acceptance. Seriously, trying to change your partner rarely works. You've got to accept the good with the bad! :)

3. Open communication. Not much else to say. We're both straight-forward people. It works very well for us.

4. Having similar sense of adventure. We love great adventures! It keeps us in love!

5. Not having kids. We might have kids someday, but I'm not going to lie: I think not having kids makes our relationship a lot easier!

Because of #1, I'm all about staying true to my vows and committed. That being said, cheating would be a deal-breaker. Oh, and violence, but he's not really the violent type. (I don't think he's the cheating type either, but cheating is closer to the realm of possibility).

To the person who asked the question about arguments: Research suggests that what really matters is the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions. So, if us arguers argue 1x, but then have 9 positive interactions, we usually are just as happy as the non-arguers. Or, we could be much happier than the non-arguers if the non-arguers don't have very many positive interactions. I explained that really badly. I'm sorry. I'm an arguer, and for me, arguing is a part of a healthy relationship (even friendships). If you can disagree and STILL love each other that's TRUE LOVE! :) However, I certainly don't argue with my spouse everyday, and we have far more happy interactions than angry interactions!


Gray Matter

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #94 on: December 02, 2014, 06:04:17 AM »
To the people who argue a lot - I guess I just don't understand this, but why would you want to be with someone you don't get along with? How can you have a peaceful and happy home if you fight regularly? Or does it not affect your happiness?

I mean, I'm not some sort of Mother Theresa, there are definitely people in life I don't get along with and get into arguments with, but I would see a basic inability to get along with someone as a really good reason not to date them in the first place.

I think I can answer this, at least from my perspective.  Bickering can be fun, and can even be a sign that you "get along," and by that I mean that your temperaments are matched.  If I had a husband who was unfailingly polite and solicitous of me, that would drive me crazy.  I have a strong personality and need someone who can match me.  I love that we can let it all hang out, we can say what we're thinking (even if it's "rude"), we can use humor.  It works.  Some people seek peace and quiet, others seek mental gymnastics (which these "conversations" can be).  Sometimes one of us will play the devil's advocate just for the sheer fun of it.

There is a difference between bickering (which can actually be a bonding experience) and needling or arguing.  It just feels different.  Those of us who enjoy a good argument/debate have had to learn to read others cues, when it's "all in good fun" and when it's got something else underlying it, so we know when to stop and have a softer, kinder conversation about something.

rujancified

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #95 on: December 02, 2014, 08:35:34 AM »
To the people who argue a lot - I guess I just don't understand this, but why would you want to be with someone you don't get along with? How can you have a peaceful and happy home if you fight regularly? Or does it not affect your happiness?

I mean, I'm not some sort of Mother Theresa, there are definitely people in life I don't get along with and get into arguments with, but I would see a basic inability to get along with someone as a really good reason not to date them in the first place.

I'm the same way, Zikoris. My house growing up was very harmonious. If my parents fought, they didn't do so in front of us kids. My mother didn't tolerate sibling nonsense between me & my brother once we were old enough to know better. So while I LOVE to argue/debate topics, I don't want our home to be filled with actual conflict, unless there is a REALLY good reason for conflict.

SisterX

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #96 on: December 02, 2014, 12:53:38 PM »
To the people who argue a lot - I guess I just don't understand this, but why would you want to be with someone you don't get along with? How can you have a peaceful and happy home if you fight regularly? Or does it not affect your happiness?

I mean, I'm not some sort of Mother Theresa, there are definitely people in life I don't get along with and get into arguments with, but I would see a basic inability to get along with someone as a really good reason not to date them in the first place.

I think I can answer this, at least from my perspective.  Bickering can be fun, and can even be a sign that you "get along," and by that I mean that your temperaments are matched.  If I had a husband who was unfailingly polite and solicitous of me, that would drive me crazy.  I have a strong personality and need someone who can match me.  I love that we can let it all hang out, we can say what we're thinking (even if it's "rude"), we can use humor.  It works.  Some people seek peace and quiet, others seek mental gymnastics (which these "conversations" can be).  Sometimes one of us will play the devil's advocate just for the sheer fun of it.

There is a difference between bickering (which can actually be a bonding experience) and needling or arguing.  It just feels different.  Those of us who enjoy a good argument/debate have had to learn to read others cues, when it's "all in good fun" and when it's got something else underlying it, so we know when to stop and have a softer, kinder conversation about something.

This. 
I already said in my earlier post that we're both strong-willed and stubborn.  Big fights (as in, more than just bickering or sniping at each other) are still pretty rare, and are usually about some information which was communicated in a less-than-stellar way.  We even once had a fight because of something he said in his sleep!  It's a long story, but suffice to say that early in our relationship I didn't know his cues for "my eyes are open but I'm still sleeping while talking to you" and when I offered to do something for him, he yelled at me.  (I can't hold it against him--I sleep walk and talk myself.)
We can both be grumpy, and sometimes it's easiest to take that out on your spouse.  We've learned to cope so that we don't.  I have a friend with whom I can hang out and we can say, "My husband is the stupidest man on the planet!  Grumble grumble, I do so much for him and never get appreciated!"  Neither of us means it, neither of us thinks the other means it, and neither of us will hold imperfection against the other's spouse.  When I go home, I'm cheerful again and feel no need to pick a fight.  My husband has his own coping mechanisms when he's the one who's in a mood to fight and knows that it's just him, not anything to do with me.  Sometimes, however, no matter what we do to avoid it, we just won't agree on a topic.
And, we don't fight all that often.  Neither of us enjoys fighting, but sometimes these things do come up.  I would never say that we never or hardly ever fight, even though once a year is probably "hardly ever" to most people.  The fact that we have any conflicts at all seems like too much to me most of the time.  The few fights we have don't mean that the rest of our relationship is rubbish.  We work hard to avoid fighting, and in many ways the fact that the potential is there means that we work harder to show our appreciation the rest of the time.  It's become quite common that if one of us says, "Hey, I got X chore done," the other says, "You're amazing and wonderful.  I love you."  How many other people say that (and mean it) to a simple, "Oh, I fed the pets"?  The moments of appreciation and love are monumental compared to the small amount of strife.
Finally, we'd both hate it if the other was a pushover.  I do like that he matches me in that, even when it can be super irritating.  :)  I'd hate it if he agreed to everything or thought exactly the same way.  He feels the same about me, because we've actually had that discussion.  Fiery independence isn't always easy to live with, but that doesn't make it an undesirable quality, either.

socaso

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #97 on: December 02, 2014, 01:35:52 PM »
If your partner asked you to shave your facial hair in varying arrangements, or to wear high heels or a suit or whatever other look, for the partner's aesthetic enjoyment, would you?

Sure, no problem. We do this already. He's a hairdresser and changes my hair and his all the time. A couple of weeks ago he shaved his mustache into a handlebar arrangement and I really liked it so he's kept it.

If your beloved asked you for an open or polyamorous relationship, would you say yes even if this wasn't your preference?

Everything is up for discussion with us.

Do any of you live with a loud, huge screen TV that you don't love, just because your partner likes to have one?

It's 46" which is bigger than I would have chosen but I've gotten used to it. The big thing with me is I can only stand to have 1 TV in the house and NOT in the bedroom.

If your partner wanted to be "on the road" solo for 8 months of the year, yes or no?

I'm pretty sure this would mean we weren't in love anymore. We had to spend a month apart once and by week 4 it was too much. I could do a couple of weeks at a time, though. It's refreshing to take a break from each other and come home to appreciate all the things about your partner.

Things that I think make our relationship work:
We're both very open minded and willing to talk about anything even if it's hard.
We both like each other's families and the families in turn are happy that we married each other.
We are on the same page about money, save it, don't get into debt, invest, blah blah.
We have enough of the same interests and enough separate ones so we have things to do together and apart.
We make each other laugh.
We are both good at giving each other appreciation which is important to us because it's something we both crave.


Allie

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #98 on: December 02, 2014, 11:24:14 PM »
Thinking about what was a deal breaker when I met my husband at 18 (a "goofy" sense of humor, lack of confidence, poor physical presentation, clingyness) and what would be a deal breaker now that I am an actual sort-of adult, it would be totally different.  I can't even wrap my brain around it...not to say I am not still turned off on a very basic level by weakness, goofiness, and clingyness.  But, I would be looking for a partner and co-parent, not just someone to hang out with.

In response to all of your questions, if he suddenly came home asking for another lover, a bitty trailer, for me to find Jesus, or some such thing, I think I would be more blindsided by the fact that I was left out of the process.  Would I move to a bitty trailer, open our relationship, or join the church?  Probably not.  But, I would like to be involved in the exploration of these major life experiences so we could make a decision about what happens next as a couple.  The fact that he didn't want me involved would put up a bigger red flag than the actual request.

In our relationship, we are always honest.  But, I think the best part about our honesty is that we know what matters to each other.  I can be in your face honest about 95% of things.  It goes the other way too.  But, we know each other's dark parts.  The things that we are ashamed of or insecure about.  For those things, we are still honest but in a way that is respectful and constructive.  I think most people in awesome relationships would agree that being able to say the difficult things in a way that doesn't hurt is one of the most important things you can learn to do and if someone doesn't want to learn how to do that for you, they aren't going to be an awesome partner.



Annie-Blake

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Re: tell me about your amazing relationship!
« Reply #99 on: December 03, 2014, 01:54:41 AM »
We have been together over 11.5 years.  I think what makes it work for us is that we have a deep love and connection. 

We each lead our own separate lives..go out with our own friends, undertake hobbies with our separate friends (e.g. surfing, swimming, hiking) etc...but then we connect back together and do things with just us or the family.

What also makes it work is that we are complete opposites, so we really balance each other out.  He is calm, cool, collected, not a big talker/conversationalist.  I am loud, talk a lot, all over the place, erractic.  I think he calms me down and I bring him up! 

What would be a dealer breaker? i have never thought about that before.  I think if my husband was not my husband anymore..he became someone that was so unlike him self that I was literally not attracted to that.

Also, i think we work so well is the fact that we are completely open and honest.  nothing is off limits. so everything is always on the table and we are constantly evaluating, planning, questioning each other etc to make sure our needs are being met now and in the future.

i think to sum it up i love my husband and i love that he loves me.  he believes in me. he is always there for me.  i feel so incredibly blessed that i get to spend my life right by his side.  because that is my fairytale come true.