Hello everyone. I would really appreciate some relationship advice. I've (M, 21) been with my girlfriend (F, 24) for 10 months and we confessed our feelings 18 months ago. We met through our university drama club and we have lots of common interests. I've helped her move house, we've worked on theatre together, lots of good memories. We've cohabited for 2 weeks on holiday, and a few days every week when I am at uni. We are sexually compatible, very affectionate, and her parents really like me and have insinuated I'd be a welcome addition to the family. She has said she wants to be together forever. However, there are some niggling relationship problems which have either grown with time or were never resolved from the beginning. I can't tell whether they're resolvable, nor how I would broach these topics with her. The main problems are: 1) We have fundamentally different values: politically, she is very progressive, atheist, modernist, feminist, cosmopolitan. I dislike these things. I prefer the conservative, religious, traditional, local. Her and her parents are clearly dismissive of religion, while I would definitely want my children raised religious as I was. At home I go to church, but when she's around I feel embarrassed to mention it. I have told her I think we disagree on a lot, but I don't think she understands the magnitude. I don't need a Yes Man, I just worry our underlying values could spell misery for our future together. I also don't know how we could constructively talk things through without things blowing up. We have already had problems regarding COVID; she said once she got her double vaccinations she would stop wearing masks. But when I got double vaccinated before her, she emotionally pressured me to keep wearing masks. I was really shocked when she told me "some people develop long-term pain from COVID, if YOU don't always wear a mask *I* could catch it and you wouldn't want ME to be in MORE pain, would you?". This felt very emotionally manipulative, using herself against me and putting her needs first. 2) Related to the last sentence, my girlfriend has had inexplicable pain since she was 17 - it started in her neck, spread to her shoulders and upper back, and after the first lockdown it spread to her hands too. She thinks her hands couldn't handle the excessive amount of typing and clicking during the first lockdown (when all her work, amateur theatre, and free time was online) but the other pain is a mystery. The pain means she cannot find work and finds everyday chores very difficult. She also needs regular massages to help reduce the pain, and I've had to learn massage techniques to give her one every few days whenever we live together. Although she does do her share of some things like cooking, when we are together I do most household and physical tasks. Now, I enjoy being strong and manly and helping her, but I often feel she takes it for granted (and she definitely takes for granted how much her mother does for her when I'm not around, which doesn't bode well). Also, no doctor has been able to diagnose the pain or find permanent solutions, and I am worried she has accepted this for life - which I don't know if I am prepared to accept. Furthermore, if this is true I worry her taking me for granted may only worsen with time. She admitted her grandparents worried that she was spoiled as a child. My parents, who have met her many times, also think she is spoiled. Unfortunately I also agree, but am unsure how I could begin this conversation without offending her. Like with politics, the longer the conversation goes unsaid the more unsure I feel and the more I quietly resent her, while she remains oblivious. 3) Finally, my girlfriend has lately been very socially isolated. For pain and money reasons she has lived at home with her parents, but she can't drive and lacks the money to stay long-term in Oxford where I and her friends live during uni time. When she does temporarily stay in Oxford, I (and most of her friends) have uni or work while she has loads of free time. This leaves her lonely, trying to get me to hang out with her longer than is good for my work-life balance. We've tried rigidly timetabling my social life and arranging things more spontaneously and both times she felt unwanted, unhappy, and said it wasn't enough. When we cohabit she happily arranges social events with her own friends but if I do the same with my own friends she feels unwanted. I have an introverted streak and enjoy having days to myself to socially recharge, or an hour alone if I am upset, neither of which she understands despite my explanations. Recently she complained that she feels she initiates all our social interactions and this makes her feel unwanted. I sympathise and will try to improve, but she doesn't seem to understand this is inevitable since I'm busier than her. Are these problems normal or fatal? Splitting would break her heart but I worry she isn't right for me. All advice welcome!

2 years ago

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