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He fears cohabitation

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 22, 2010 09:17 AM

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This letter is from SITTH.

Wasn't that a "Star Wars" character?

Q: Hi Meredith,

So I have what seems like a "He's just not that into me" problem on my hands. The complicating factor? I know he loves me, and we've been dating for FOUR years... but he won't move in with me.

I met Jack in our freshman year of college, and we became good friends. We lived together in the same dorm for the rest of college, and spent a lot of time together. We started dating junior year, and have been together since. We'd both dated people before, but this is the first really serious relationship either of us has been in.

So fast forward, we're 25. We fight more and more (mostly about this), but we're still very affectionate and in love and we want similar things for our futures. He's very busy with work (100 hours/week), and we currently live about 40 minutes apart. If we lived together, we could see each other much more, and we could both save lots of time and money if we lived together, or even just nearer to each other.

He's going to be especially busy around the time when our leases run out, and he hates moving. I understand these things, but have offered to help him with logistics and packing, and figuring out if he can extend his lease a short amount of time to a less busy time of year. He says he's still not sure.

I have told him that it's weird to feel like he doesn't think I'm worth the hassle of moving, especially when moving would also shorten his commute. He claims that I am trying to manipulate him with guilt into doing what I want.

I honestly can't understand him loving me, wanting to be with me, wanting a future, but not wanting to move in with me, or at least to the same city. I know we're young, but moving doesn't mean a ring.


– Should I take the hint?



A: SITTH, moving in with someone isn't an engagement, but it is a big deal. Cohabitation is the mother of all promise rings. You're talking about distance and money, but he knows better. Once you move in, it's hard to move out. Moving closer is less scary, but it still ups the ante.

He's allowed to feel overwhelmed by the idea of living together. He's allowed to take time to consider what he wants before he picks up and moves. His hesitation doesn't necessarily mean that he's just not that into you. It could mean that he's just not that into living with you yet.

He thinks you're being manipulative? He's wrong, of course, but if that's the case, put the spotlight on him. What does he want? What is his big solution?

Get him to detail his grand plan. If it's the status quo, he's going to have to explain himself. My guess is that his reasoning will be, "I'm not ready and I don't know what to do in the meantime." And that's OK, sort of. It's honest.

The big secret about marriage and cohabitation is that many people wind up making huge commitment decisions for reasons that have nothing to do with love. Couples take major steps based on leases, money, mileage, and children. That's the truth. And it's not always a bad thing. Jack probably feels odd moving forward in his relationship with you because of a 40-minute commute. I'm with him, but that's life. Our practical paths dictate many of our personal decisions. As we get older, we're pushed into doing things before we're ready. And sometimes, if we refuse to be pushed, we risk losing what we have. He's going to have to figure that out.

You need to sit down with him and discuss your four options, which are breaking up, maintaining the status quo, moving in, or moving closer. If he's most comfortable with the status quo, make your own plans and revaluate how you feel when your leases are up. By then, you'll have a better idea of what's going on and what he's capable of … or you'll be so sick of it all that you'll know what you have to do.

Readers? Does his hesitation mean he wants out? Is there an option I'm missing? Is there a better way for her to communicate the problem without pushing? What's the answer here? Share.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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