Dear Amy: Im thinking about asking my girlfriend to marry me, but Im not sure. Weve been together for about two years but have known each other much longer. We have heavily overlapping social circles.
We get along very well most of the time, but when we do argue it tends to be about politics, about where we should live and other big-picture things. When we argue, she has a tendency to be dismissive and unyielding. Im worried that what seem like nebulous or abstract differences will eventually become concrete and create problems.
Am I making too big a deal of these things?
Dear Boyfriend: The real clues to your future challenges exist not in the nature of compromise but in how these agreements are reached. If you are consistently giving in to someone who belittles or dismisses you, then thats not compromise thats being dominated and bullied into submission. And, yes, you would definitely regret being married to that.
To have a successful long-term relationship, you and your partner need to learn how to talk, fight, visit and revisit issues and how to leave some things well-enough alone. Successful relationships are those in which both partners feel they share basic values and approach big-picture issues as a team.
Your intuition is a gift. Pay attention. You know that things will have to be different for your relationship to succeed. If you are contemplating having children with your girlfriend, her current attitude toward you would make her a poor parent.
Does she want to learn to express herself differently? Does she want to be in a successful and peaceful partnership with you? If so, the journey toward change could start with a couples counselor. I highly recommend it before marriage.