I am a 20-year-old girl from Islamabad. I have been in a relationship with a guy for about two-and-a-half years. He is 21. I met him during school while doing A’levels. He left after school but we got in touch with each other a few years later and started seeing each other.
Our relationship has always been rocky and unstable as he is unambitious and immature. He also has anger management issues – due to an abusive father – and that leads to him misbehaving with me. Also, I discovered later that he was hiding things from me about his family and his background. Things got messy between us and we broke up.
Ask Asad: My girlfriend has suicidal tendencies. How should I break up with her?
We then tried making it work a couple of times but never fully succeeded. Now we once again trying to make it work – for the last time.
My problem is that I feel the differences between us – mentality, financial status, family background, upbringing, etc – a lot.
I grew up in Islamabad, lived a comfortable lifestyle with a liberal mindset. I have noticed how that his mother and sisters are different from me.
I am studying law and plan to go abroad for my masters. He also has promised to settle abroad in a bid to improve his financial status and change his family set up so I would not feel the differences in our lifestyles. He really wants to make it work. However, he has not spoken to his family about making the drastic changes in their lifestyle so far. It seems unlikely to me that his family will want to change their lifestyle just for some girl whom their son wants to marry.
Also, I do not think we have a future together as I am not a compromising person by nature and I strongly believe I cannot adjust to his family’s lifestyle. I have mentioned this to him but he is adamant that he will make it all better.
I want to be with him but the differences in our lifestyle and family background are too great and getting in the way. I do not know what to do. Please help me figure out what should I do.
A confused girl
Dear confused girl,
It seems to me that you have already made up your mind about your relationship with him. It is just that either you are not fully aware of it or are trying to ignore your decision and playing for time. It is quite clear that you are leaning more towards breaking off with him than being with him. And that is perfectly fine. You should not be forcing yourself to be with him in this relationship. Nobody deserves that – not you and definitely not him.
Many a time, relationships that are borne out of love demand major sacrifices. And to be honest with you – after reading your letter – I do not believe you are ready or willing to make these sacrifices. And you are not wrong in doing so. You know yourself as a person and you are sure what you can or cannot compromise on. That is a mature decision. But at the same time, you should not try changing someone’s family just because they are different from you. That is not fair.
His promises about changing his financial position and his family’s lifestyle might be genuine and he might be sincere in keeping them but it is easier said than done. If changing one’s lifestyle by changing one’s financial situation was so easy, everybody would be doing it. Also sooner or later he is bound to resent you for that. He will resent you because he would see that he had to make a lot of changes and sacrifices in his life for you to accept him – that you did not accept him initially as he is, the way he is.
Ask Asad: How should I stop myself from falling into the trap of procrastination?
And what about his family? I do not believe they will take kindly to the idea of having their entire lifestyle uprooted – just because their son wants to marry a girl who is used to a different lifestyle. And how does he plan to change their mentality and way of thinking? I do not believe he will ever be able to do that. Neither should he try. I am sure his family is a loving one and they are good people at heart. Why should they change just because of you?
Be brave. Go with your gut feeling and let go of this relationship. It is better that you both experience the heartache of breaking up now rather than all the pain, misery, frustrations, anger, fights and blame-game that might come later because of the differences amongst you both and your uncompromising nature.
All the best!
Asad is a counsellor, life coach, inspirational speaker and a personal-development expert. He advises on social, personal and emotional issues. You can send him your questions for this weekly column at [email protected] with “Ask Asad” mentioned in the subject line and provide as many details as possible.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Express Tribune.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ