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Q: Hi Meredith,
My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years. We have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company. I really do feel it's is a perfect match in many ways and he tells me he feels the same. I am 25 and he is 26. We both still live at home with our parents a couple towns over from each other, leaving it possible to see each other once or twice a week and on most weekends. We have discussed future plans of marriage, but we both know that we love the way things are going for now. We have said that maybe in another year or two, after we save a little more money, these plans will be acted on. I think that now would be a great time to start, but I do not want to pressure him into such a huge commitment. He is definitely worth the wait.
I understand that he is still young and a lot of him still wants to party and go out a lot. He is always making plans with his friends and always needing to know what they are up to. I am glad he has a great group of guy friends, and I get along great with them as well, but lately, they are his first priority. If I ask to go out for dinner on a Friday night, he always says "We’ll see," meaning, “I will wait for my friends to get back to me, then I will decide.” He always invites me out with them, which is a good thing, and gets upset when I don’t come out. I always respond with, “Why can't you just be with me for one night?" and his response is always “Because I love being out with all of us including my friends and you," or "In a few years from now, we won't be able to go out as much as we do and party."
I do agree that we have a handful of good years left before we all start settling down, but when is enough, enough? I know he does love me, and loves my company, but is it time for me to back away and reevaluate what would be better for me? I do have a great time when we go out in groups, but it would be nice once in a while to have my own quality time with him. This also makes me wonder, is he feeding me lines just to keep me around? Is he telling me he loves me and can't wait to marry me for nothing? It is just so confusing to me because after spending so much time with his friends, you would think that he would want a nice relaxing night with me once in a while. I would be absolutely devastated if we were to break up, but I have so much love for him that I know I am capable of loving another. Should I stick by, or look for someone else to love who would want to be in the presence of my company?
– All Partied Out!, Boston
A: I don't think he’s feeding you lines, APO. I think he loves you and wants you around. He doesn't seem to be looking for something new. In fact, he seems desperate to maintain the status quo. Many people in their 20s get scared of "adult life" and cling to routines to prove a point. Your guy is incredibly social and a bit paranoid about his grown-up future. I don't think this is about you -- I think this is his issue with his future self.
The thing is, it's hard to figure out his motives and your potential as a couple when you're both living with your parents. If you were living together or in your own places, you'd have plenty of nights alone together, and you'd both be psyched to escape with friends whenever possible. I think that if you knew when you were planning on moving in together -- like an exact date or year, at the very least -- you'd be less stressed. You'd know that he intends to move forward. You'd know that your current situation is temporary. At the moment, there's no end date.
At the beginning of your letter you say "we both know that we love the way things are going for now." But you don’t. You want to move out of your families' houses. You're not opposed to partying -- you just want to become more emotionally intimate and to know what you're looking forward to.
Talk to him. About the timeline. Because I think that's your real concern. I'm pretty sure that solving one problem will solve the other. If he can't move forward or come up with a real plan for taking the next step, then yes, you've got some big things to consider.
Readers? Is it problematic that he won't go for alone time? Am I right to say this is about their lack of plans for the future as opposed to partying? Is it troubling that her significant other shows some, um, Peter Pan symptoms? Will he ever want to settle down like an adult, whatever that means? Discuss.
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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.