Should boyfriend and I break up if we fight, can’t agree on where to live?

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 30s. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We’ve started talking about moving in together and getting married, but things haven’t progressed.

First, we decided to meet each other’s parents. So, he met my mother, who lives nearby. After that, I told him that I wanted to meet his parents, who live further away, but he hasn’t even contacted them.

I thought the longer we wait, the further our plans will be delayed, so I started looking for a place for us. After urging him to do so, he finally started looking for places, too. But our preferences are very different.

He finally said, “I’m worried we won’t get along if we move in together.”

I was really annoyed because he was the one who suggested we move in together in the first place, but I held my tongue at the time. Lately, we’ve been fighting more, and trying to find a place has become a chore.

Looking back, I don’t think we have ever made a decision together before. It makes me wonder if we share any similar values. Should we give up on trying to live together?

— K, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. K:

I see. You have never made a decision together before. So, living together and marriage are the first decisions you two are making as a couple. If that’s the case, it’s not surprising that you two are not on the same page.

Why don’t you two take this opportunity to get to know each other better? Even if you fight, think of the phrase “after rain comes fair weather,” and interpret it that way.

Given the situation, I don’t think you should simply write off the relationship because you don’t share similar values. Take the time to think about how to make your marriage last by figuring out each other’s good and bad qualities, as well as learning how to get along with each other. How about tackling this task together?

However, it is true that some people just aren’t a good match for each other because their values and sensitivities are too different. If you feel like that is the case for you and your boyfriend, I suggest that you should break up with him soon.

Whether this engagement drama is about tying the knot, or the wake-up call that you needed, will become clear later.

— Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist