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Will it be my place too?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 6, 2010 09:17 AM

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Thanks for such a big response to yesterday's self-help book giveaway. Hundreds of you e-mailed me for 30 books. Early birds will get worms. I'll try to get Globe pens or something to the rest of you.

Now for July 15. The movie company behind "The Kids Are All Right" with Julianne Moore and Annette Benning would like to have a Love Letters screening and after-party. It's a LL-ish movie -- couples, sperm donors, etc. We'll see the movie and then hang out. It seems like the perfect event for us. I mean, I like our nightlife parties, but all I really want to do is watch a movie with you and then eat nachos and talk about it. So let's do that.

RSVP for the movie at events@globe.com. Do it soon because I assume there's a limit. You'll get details and a confirmation. It will be much fun.

Q: My boyfriend and I have been together a year and we are both in our mid-20s. In the beginning, I wanted nothing to do with him; he pursued me and for whatever reason, it took me awhile to give in. I hesitate to say it was love at first sight, but we fell for each other rather quickly. We make each other very happy and spend a lot of time together but also balance each other out. I'm also somewhat of a pessimist in the love area and if you had told me a year ago this kind of relationship was imminent, I would have laughed. Regardless, I am very much in love with my boyfriend.

As a result of the economy, I spent some time after college flailing around, trying to find real work. I still live at home. My bank account suffered, and even though I am now employed in a stable position, I have no real means to move out very soon. I make money but nothing to write home about.

My boyfriend still lives with his parents too, but not out of necessity. Unlike me, he found a well-paying job immediately out of college and has been saving for a few years. His bank account is rather large. For the past few months, he has been talking about moving out and buying a condo. About a month ago, he asked me if I wanted to live with him.

I should also mention that we were both out on our own for awhile during college and then returned to the nest. We have had time to grow as individuals and are both (relatively) stable, mature, responsible adults.

At first I was ecstatic. Despite only being together a year, I have no doubts about him. I can picture myself being with him and we spend so much time together anyway, it makes sense. He is sweet and thoughtful and is crazy about me. He treats me better than I ever imagined any guy could.

As it stands now, he will purchase the condo and it will be in his name. I will live with him and contribute however and whenever I can. Initially wary of the fact that I will have no real financial or legal impact on the condo, I've realized it's a win-win situation. If things go well (which I forsee happening) I live there virtually rent-free. If things go bad, I can walk away from the situation, no real harm done. In a way, it sounds almost too good to be true. The heavy conversations we initially had about the big stuff went fine (i.e. I want to be with you, you want to be with me, I love you, commitment, etc.) and went a long way to ease my mind. I also made a point to talk about how I want to feel like it is ours even though he is buying it. He said he understood and wants it to be “ours” too

But now, the simple conversations we have about the little things (i.e decorating, kitchen appliances) are beginning to worry me and second-guess my decision. It's not so much the actual decorating that scares me, but the realization that we may be on two different levels when I once thought we were on the same wavelength. When I casually mentioned I can't wait to begin shopping for kitchen stuff, he said there's no need because he has all his stuff left over from college. In the same conversation he also said he wants to use his posters and sports stuff to decorate. Now, I'm not against sports stuff and I understand this is going to be about give and take, but it was more his matter-of-fact responses and my obvious realization that despite everything, it is going to be HIS condo, not mine.

I guess I'm looking for a reassuring nod or a smack against the forehead. My question is this- Despite my love for him and my complete faith in the relationship, is this a mistake? Even though we have talked about making it 'ours', will the fact that it is technically his ultimately make him territorial and me, resentful? I have re-iterated to him that I want to feel like more than just the girlfriend who happens to live there. He is receptive to my feelings and assures me it won't be like that, but am I playing with fire here? Is it too much too soon?

– I Don't Want to Get Burned, Massachusetts

A: I don't think you’re making a mistake, IDWTGB. I don’t think this is about too much too soon. I just think you have to deal with this issue as each decision is made. When he says he already has plates, you say, “How about we get some new ones.”

You should also set up a system that has you contributing more than "whatever and whenever you can." Pay a fraction of the mortgage. Pay bills. Be a roommate so you can make demands about your shared space without feeling as though you don’t have the right to ask. I'm not saying you have to pay half of everything. Just pay enough so that he knows what to count on, and that you feel entitled to have a say.

He gets the "us" concept in theory, but he needs it spelled out for him when it comes to the little stuff. My guess is that he has made you feel this way unintentionally. Tell him that you want your posters on the wall. Tell him you want to push the shopping cart at Ikea. And again, come up with a real system for money. It will be an uncomfortable discussion, but it will save you a lot of misery in the long run.

Readers? Does he get it? Should she be paying real rent? Are they moving in too soon? Is he being honest about wanting to share the space? Discuss.

– 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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