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Culture Clash

Wed, Oct 31st 2001

My boyfriend and I had a long distance relationship (1000 miles apart) for 1 1/2 years. I recently moved close to the same city as him to start grad. school. He is 23, I am 26. Some days our relationship is wonderful, other days I wonder what the heck I am doing. I have to believe our backgrounds are what contribute to the arguing. I come from a well-educated family and a town of 15 T. His family graduated high school and are from a town of 400. They find it humorous to call themselves "rednecks." I have no patience when it comes to his grammar. The sentences that come out of his mouth sound as though he only got a 5th grade education or something. Also, when he is around his friends or cousins he has to use every profane word out there. He does have a college degree. Then there are the stickers he puts on his car. His back window is FILLED with stickers. I personally feel stickers in car windows are VERY tacky and tasteless. He has also had something done to his muffler so that when he uses the accelerator, it makes a lot of noise - he is proud of these pipes. I think these are also very tasteless!! But, from where he comes from this is normal. The people in his community actually think its "cool." I am embarrassed to ride in his car!! I have tried very nicely and calmly to tell him my feelings towards these issues, but he gets very defensive with me. We have numerous arguments. He gets defensive and then I get so fed up that I start to lose my nice/calm attitude, then slowly the arguing intensifies and we are each saying hurtful things to the other. Another problem is that I was raised in a very cold, unaffectionate family. He was raised in a very warm and loving environment. We have each grown into our separate roles. I can be very distant at times. He always wants to be next to me. Whether its cuddling, kissing, holding hands, etc... I am very clear about needing my personal space. This, understandably, pushes him away. I don't want to give up on this relationship. He is also the nicest most caring man I have ever met. I know I am pushing him away with my feelings of uncomfortableness when it comes to affection. I also have such a hard time dealing with his profanity/ grammar and the car situation. I don't know if it is happening because of his age or if it is just him? He tells me I am making a mountain out of a mole-hill and not to let things bother me so much. I understand his feeling this way. But, I also feel that when two people are in a serious relationship and care deeply for one another, then they do things for each other out of love. Each person should be able to talk about any issues they may have regarding the relationship. These issues should be able to be talked about, not turned into a heated argument. I just don't know what to do. Do I put the things that are bothering me in the back of my mind and try to realize they really aren't that big of a deal? Do I wait for him to get a little bit older? Do I continue to let him know the things that are bothering me? I realize you need much more information to fully understand what is happening here, but this is it in a nutshell. I am hoping you are able to give me SOMETHING!! I truly need another persons opinion to put my mind at ease. Thank you!!

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