It’s been said that there are four different types of partners– soul mates, mind mates, play mates, and help mates — and we tend to have preferences for one type or the other. You can rank this out, for example, my top preference is to have a soul mate, with mind mate second, play mate third, and help mate dead last. Whereas my husband would rank it this way: play mate, mind mate, help mate, soul mate.
It sounds to me like your boyfriend’s top preference is to have a help mate. This doesn’t make him wrong. Lots of people prioritize help mate over all the other types. In fact, I’d say it’s incredibly common, from what I’ve seen (beyond Reddit and out in the real world). Help mate and soul mate are the two most common preferences.
A help mate is a partner who shares common goals and vision for the future, and who assists you in maintaining a home, building a career, saving for the future, raising children together. It is all the “adult” things.
A soul mate is a partner who connects with you on a deeply intimate, emotional level. It is the stuff that songs are written about. It’s romance and flowers. Two soul mates together can look a lot like a high school or Romeo & Juliet romance, or yes, the honeymoon period.
A mind mate is a partner who connects with you on an intellectual level. Who shares your interest in science or philosophy or current events etc. Two mind mates together could be the couple getting their PhD’s, or completing the crossword puzzle together Sunday morning in bed, or reading side-by-side at night, or having a lively debate about politics… or sitting in the rocking chair at the old folk’s home, their bodies spent, but their minds still active as they talk endlessly about their favorite topics.
A playmate is a partner with whom you share fun. You share the same sense of humor and are always cracking jokes. You share same interest in arts or sports and you’re always up for an adventure. This can also be the couple that has a lively and adventuresome sex life. The couple that plays together, stays together, is their motto.
It sounds like your preferences are incompatible. It sounds like you’d prefer a play mate (someone to have fun with you), a soul mate (someone to make love to you), and a mind mate (someone to talk to about interesting topics), over and above a help mate. Because you’ve been self-sufficient all these years, help mate is just not as important to you. You want a spouse who will add different dimensions to your life, and if they also ease your burden a little, that’s icing on the cake… not the whole cake.
I don’t think you can change him. These preferences run quite deep, as deep as any personality types. We are born with our specific temperaments. Time and experience doesn’t tend to change these temperaments and preferences, but rather, bring them into sharper focus.