Q: Dear Love Jays,
My boyfriend and I often discuss/plan our future together (where we want to live, how we’d like to raise our kids, etc). We are on the same page on a number of key issues on raising kids, but I stress over any differences of opinion even though we are talking years away. I’m a planner. How much is too much detail to get in to about the future? At what point is it better to just let life unfold and see how we deal with things as they come up?
A: Dear Focused on the Future:
I truly have never understood how/why women are so focused on the future. Honestly. I have tried to figure this mystery out for years and every time I am left with a slight headache. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy planning for the future, but planning YEARS in advance? Really?
Let’s do a fun activity (grab a pen and paper): Think back to a year ago (July 2011) and recollect all the plans you made and visions you had about where you were going to be by July 2012. Grab your piece of paper and draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left side of the page, write down all the things you planned on having accomplished by today (this includes your job, living situation, friends, personal goals, etc.). On the right side of the page write down all the things (same as above) that have taken place in the past year. Be sure to include all unplanned occurrences and indicate which things are still the same from 2011 to 2012.
Finished? Let’s review.
Does the right side of the page look anything like the left? How many events occurred between July 2011 to July 2012 that were planned? Unplanned? Did you honestly envision yourself at this exact place a year ago?
The main purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate how little control we have of planning our future – even if it’s only a year away! Stressing out over little details specifically related to the future doesn’t serve much benefit. Change is going to happen – it’s inevitable. What may be a major detail today may not be tomorrow. Discuss the important issues and move from there. If the two of you can see eye-to-eye on the big ticket issues, I’m sure the other “little details” will work themselves out.
Just remember, there is a fine line between planning for the future and preparing for it!
A: Dear The Plan is Law,
As women we love to plan things, it is in our nature. It is sometimes difficult to live in the present because we want to make sure we are prepared for later, especially when it comes to planning your life with a significant other.
Learn how to turn it off, NOW! It is nothing but a pain in the butt. Realistically you can only plan for so much because the future is so uncertain. Yes, you should plan vacations and all things that require booking, but other than that let it go. Let’s say you don’t have any children and you don’t “plan” on having any for at least 5 years. You shouldn’t stress over things like him hating soccer, but you really want your kids to play soccer because it’s your favorite sport. It is completely irrelevant to your life at this point. Cross that bridge when you get to it.
On the flip side, if the differences are in character than that may be something you want to tackle now.
What is important is that you are both communicating about what you want the future to hold and it looks similar. Look at it as a goal, but not an end all be all. For now just enjoy each other and live in the present 🙂 Good Luck!
© LoveJays 2012