Meeting the parents ... then living with them.
Q: OK, so I'm 37 years old and in my first real relationship ever. We've been together for just over seven months. I had always figured that I would be alone forever -- just a crazy old cat lady. Before this, I had one crazy "hook up" night in college, one guy I dated for like a month, and one other date. But I am crazy about this guy. I've never felt like this before. No one else has ever made me feel wanted and needed like this.
Here's the problem: he is 36 years old and has never moved out of his parents' house. He has also been out of work for just over a year. I also just lost my home. I've moved in with him and his parents. He promised me before I made this move that he would find a job and we would get our own place soon. It's been two months and he has made little to no effort. I don't want to be a nag, but I do make comments now and then. I also e-mail him job listings that I find online that he would be perfect for. He ignores them, and when I ask if he looked at them he just says he didn't reply. He always has some excuse for why the job isn't right. I'm trying to make him understand that at this point he can't wait for the perfect job to come knocking at his door. He needs to be proactive. I just worry that he is too comfortable living at home. He keeps telling me that I worry too much and that things will work out. Don't get me wrong -- I love his parents, they are great. But I have been on my own for almost 20 years. He is pretty much a momma's boy. She has done everything for him his entire life.
I really want us to get our own place. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to keep nagging him to the point that he can't stand it anymore. But I don't know how much longer I can sit around while he doesn't make any effort. I really do love him, and I'm pretty sure he loves me. I know it isn't easy. I was out of work myself for 15 months a few years back. I'm really wondering if moving in "temporarily" was the wrong decision ...
– Don't Want to Ruin It, Medway
A: Can you afford your own place, DWTRI? If so, get one.
Find a cheap place. Have your own space. See if he makes an effort to join you. And by join you, I don't mean shack up with you while you pay rent. See if moving to a new place pushes him in the right direction. See if he takes steps to become your real, grown-up partner. If not, you'll already be set up for a fresh start.
I think this relationship has potential, and I think his laziness might have something to do with the fear of rejection that has crippled many people in this economy. But he was living with his parents long before the downturn. And it seems that when he says that everything "will work out," he means that everything will work out on his terms.
I don't want you to feel as though he's the only guy who will ever care for you. I don't want you to make too many excuses for him because you believe he saved you from becoming a crazy cat lady. That's why I think you need the space. There's no way to get clarity when you're living with his family in his comfort zone.
Again, make your own comfort zone and see if he has any interest in it.
Readers? Am I right to say she should move out? Does her past (or lack thereof) have anything to do with her choices? How can she push him out of his cocoon? Should she? Advise.
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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.