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Loving the Wrong Man

Dear Philippa:

After nearly 2 years I realize my boyfriend and I are just not right for each other. I love him but we fight and argue all the time. He's more outgoing than me. He loves sports and activities. I don't. I like to do things for the community and lead a quieter life. He says it doesn't matter than we're so different. Am I giving up or facing the truth?

�Beth, Long Island


Dear Beth,

It is so tough when love grows in an absence of compatibility. Not long ago a woman who interviewed me confessed that she and her husband have had a very rough road over the years. She said that they were not right for each other but they stayed married because of their commitment to each other and the kids.

You, however, are not married. The questions you are asking now are important. Denying realities and continuing to live in conflict and chaos is not good for you or your boyfriend. You both need to understand what you each need to sustain a healthy relationship.

Maybe your boyfriend was raised in a family where incompatibilities and conflicts were accepted as the norm. Some people aren't aware that it is possible to have a harmonious, joyful, long-term relationship.

Well, it is, and you both deserve one. The question you need to ask yourselves is, will it be with each other?

It is possible to learn how to accept differences and negotiate the important aspects of a relationship. This takes commitment and could require outside help from a religious or psychological counselor.

You might find it helpful to get some sense of what you really need to be happy. I developed a tool in my new book that takes you through ten key areas of your life to evaluate the characteristics, values, goals, and styles of the kind of people with whom you will be the happiest.

Having interests in common isn't the key either. It's more a matter of stylehow each of you relates to life. Look at your close friends, favorite family members and coworkers you like. Notice what you enjoy about them. This will help focus you on the kind of people with whom you feel good. After all, it's how you feel about yourself when you are with someone that is the chief indicator of compatibility.

Look back at early times with your boyfriend, how did you feel when you were with him then? Maybe you liked his outgoing nature at first and found it exciting. How do your values and goals line up now? Are you headed in similar directions? Do you share passions, not just interests? Is your humanitarian side a major aspect of your life and goals?

You need to ask yourself all these questions and share them with your boyfriend in such a way that he doesn't feel judged. Let him know you both have to decide what each of you need and want in the relationship.

Know that you are guided and trust yourself. This isn't being selfish. When you are in an environment that is naturally good for you, instead of fighting or trying to accommodate, you will have more energy to give to the other person and the relationship.

Imagine a life the way you would want it, sharing your life with someone with whom you fit together naturally? This is not a dream. This is a reality you can help happen.


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