Q: I'm dating a woman who's wonderful in every way. Our relationship has been going on for about six months now and the conversations we have are getting deeper and deeper. I've learned things about her that I'm a little uncomfortable with.
We have extremely opposite views on politics and government. I consider myself to be somewhat of a liberal and she's more conservative, and it's becoming an issue. Civilized debates turn into hot-headed arguments, and it's taking a toll on our relationship. I do love her and want this to work.
Do you think our strong opposing views will be a deal-breaker?
– C.K., Lockport
A: This kind of difference in opinion is only a deal-breaker if you make it one. Obviously, the two of you don't agree, but that isn't always a bad thing. It's fine to have your own personal views, but there's no reason to talk about them all the time. Of all things, don't let politics and government get in the way of the love you have for one another. Agree to disagree and move on. The next time an argument presents itself, change the subject or simply let her know you'd rather not talk about it with her.
However, if it gets to the point where your opposing viewpoints are seriously limiting the amount of conversations you can have, that is a problem. You both have to be comfortable enough to verbalize your opinions without getting defensive or argumentative. This goes for all opinions, not just political issues. Learn how to argue with one another in a healthy way whenever you disagree.
Boyfriend requests 'space'
Q: My boyfriend has recently asked for some space. He's really busy with his job and pursuing higher education. I, on the other hand, don't have many obligations right now, as I'm done with school and am in between jobs. I'm always checking my phone to see if he's returned my texts or calls, and it's causing me stress. He tells me that I need to knock it off and stop being so needy because it puts more pressure on him when he's already got a full plate. How can I stop being so needy? Does wanting space mean he's losing feelings for me?
– N.W., Buffalo
A: I don't think he's asking too much for a bit of space. Spending all day texting and calling the person you're with can feel like a chore after a while. Let him do his thing and try not to take it personally. He's not breaking up with you, he just is overwhelmed.
My advice would be to get out of the house and leave your phone at home if you can, or in the car in case of an emergency. Spend time with friends and family, so you're not always tempted to look at your phone. You need to realize that part of being in a healthy relationship is being able to spend time apart without feeling anxious or constantly wondering what the other person is doing.
Continue your job search, make some new friends, take up a new hobby, or join a gym. Think of it not as your boyfriend wanting to hear from you less, but instead wanting to make that communication more meaningful.
Try to figure out why you're needy to begin with, and then address it. It will benefit all of your future relationships.
Patti Novak welcomes your relationship questions. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your initials and hometown.