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He's not a planner

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 26, 2013 08:27 AM

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Thanks to everybody who came to the "Casablanca" screening last night. It was a lot of fun. Very romantic.


Q: I'm in a relationship with a great guy. We're talking marriage. Everything for the most part is wonderful except for a communications issue that has, over the course of the years, turned into our unsolvable repeat fight.

The issue is this: I am a planner and he is not. We both have demanding work schedules. I'm on the road a few times a month, and he works overnights and sometimes goes for two weeks or more without having a day off. With our professional demands, we'd never have time to see each other if it weren't for a little foresight (at least, that's my opinion). I'll look at my calendar, size up our schedules, and plan when might be the best chance for us to see one another.

He says that this kind of weekly micro-managing is stressful to him. His job already demands enough, and having to chart out his few free days freaks him out. He promises that we're going to see each other without the constant planning because he misses me and will prioritize me. Historically, he HAS always put our relationship first in the rare free time he does have, so I don't doubt his intent. He just wants it to be less structured. In his perfect world, he'd call me after work and see if I was free, and if I wasn't, he'd ask about tomorrow or the next day.

I feel like this might work for a couple with 9-5 jobs ... but if we did things his way, we'd never see each other! I feel like I'd always be in some kind of limbo -- still inclined to look at my schedule and keep a few days a week free to essentially be "on call" for hanging out whenever he decides he wants to, and missing out on opportunities to hang with friends or attend events. It doesn't seem fair.

So there's the fight: For my sanity, I need planning. For his sanity, he wants freedom. In the end we both want the same thing: to see one another. Where is our middle ground? Is it possible I'm crazy and need to give his way a try?

– Color Coded Calendar, DC


A: Eh -- I'm with you, CCC. His way is annoying. His way makes you feel like you're waiting around for attention even if he winds up putting you first. Your way is practical and gives you both something to look forward to during particularly busy weeks.

My advice is to demand a compromise. Tell him that you'd like to micro-manage one night. Just one. As soon as you both know your schedules for the week, pick one night and reserve it. If it works out that you can see each other more than that, great. But at least you'll have one night on the books. He should be open to that kind of planning. He should want that one night on the books for himself.

This problem might go away if/when you decide to move in with each other (you live separately, right?). Cohabiting couples can usually count on seeing their partners at the end of the night, no matter what. But for you guys, some structure is necessary. This is about practicality and respect. Your plans make sense. You can tell him I said so.

Readers? Should she try it his way? Does he have a point or is his way selfish? What about planning just one night? How can they compromise? Help.


– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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