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When Should You Break Up?

"Perfect Boyfriend . . . Except For Three Major Problems"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I am 38 and dating an amazing man of 35. We've been together for about five months and despite his attempts to "take it slow" he is basically living with me. He still has his other place but is here every night except maybe once a month. We get along great, have a lot of laughs, and really seem to understand each other. Personally I'm madly in love in a way I've never experienced.

We have both been divorced for about 2-3 years and he admits to being incredibly hurt by his last girlfriend, who dumped him and got married to her ex (yep, that would hurt!). When we met, I was just out of a relationship that should have ended months prior and neither of us were really looking for anything serious, but I feel I was more ready than him. He just took me by surprise and swept me off my feet, and while he kept maintaining that we were taking it slow, it didn't go that way — within a couple months he was calling me his girlfriend by accident and like I said, staying with me all the time. Here's the problem:

Keep reading to find out this reader's three major problems in her relationship.

  1. If he's here all the time, why won't he just move in? I understand he has fears that it won't work out and he doesn't want to feel that kind of pressure, but for one, what is he so scared of, and for two, if he is that worried then he should probably go home more often. Why doesn't he? We have discussed this and it always ends up upsetting us both, so nothing ever changes — I just keep thinking I'll give it some time and that I should respect his pace. But I have a 9-year-old who is with me half time and becoming very attached as much as my bf has tried not to let that happen, and it isn't fair to my roommate who pays me rent that he is always here without paying.
  2. He will not admit that he loves me, and I'm pretty damn sure he does. Despite seeing that this upsets me and me admitting that I'm madly in love and hurt that he won't admit it, nothing really changes. However, last night, during a fun game and a lot of laughs, he said "I love you, baby" but in a funny way like when you admire a friend, and after a few drinks.
  3. He has become absolutely uninterested in sex! I've just been through two terrible months of starting the pill, trying to adjust to it, constantly bleeding, and then finally getting off it and getting an IUD. For one, I didn't go through all that so that we could NOT have sex, and for two, I'M IN MY PRIME! And I want him like crazy! I try touching, being sexy, dropping hints, etc. etc., but he pushes me away or tells me we can do it if I do all the work. (Fail.) He is very affectionate otherwise — hugging, cuddling, ass-smacking, etc. But he says he is always tired and sore from work, and that he just doesn't have a drive. Before I started the pill, he had trouble keeping it up with a condom, so I went through all that adjustment and now he just isn't interested at all.

Wow, when I write it all out, it seems like we have some major problems. I keep telling myself that he is right to try to maintain a slower pace, but on the other hand, it seems like we are past all that. He is very respectful of me in that he calls and texts all the time when we are apart, he listens to me when I need to talk or vent, he helps me with things around the house, he cooks for me, he is very thoughtful. I just don't get what is going on with this other stuff. We've both agreed that we both need to go to therapy (separately) for various issues, and we have both struggled with depression, but he doesn't seem depressed. He likes to go out and have fun, he is motivated and works hard, and he laughs a LOT. So what gives? I am crazy about him and I'm willing to accept his timeline, but he doesn't know what it is, so how should I? How do I know if I can really trust him or if he will ever really be ready to move forward together?  What if he is just with me because it's comfortable and easy and convenient and I spoil him?  I really think we have something special, and I am generally a very level-headed person, but . . . am I kidding myself?

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
Yes, you're right.
sagagirl sagagirl 4 years
Three things stand out to me: "He will not admit that he loves me"; "absolutely uninterested in se"x; and" he admits to being incredibly hurt by his last girlfriend". Based on that I don't think you are at the living togehter stage. He is battling with some issues from his past relationship. That is why he probably had the issue with keeping it up. He has one foot in his past relationship or relationships and one foot in your situation. He is also unclear about what your relationship means to him. He has contradicted himself by saying I want to move at a slow pace and at the same time spending so much time with you. He cares about you and you care for him so the relationship is worth fighting for, but only if he is willing to deal with his issues. Life is way too short.
dashsuede dashsuede 4 years
1. It's way too soon to move in officially. He definitely needs to understand that he needs to go back to his own place more often for the reasons you stated. It doesn't need to be an argument, you tell him your reasons and he needs to respect it and find a way to deal. 2. I think it may be too soon for that. You can just wait. 3. Sex is important. He needs to be working with you to find a solution instead of shutting you down. Whether it be making a specific schedule, or if he needs to get therapy or something.
Quriosity Quriosity 4 years
Even though he's there almost all the time, the dynamic is not the same at all as moving in, as other posters said. To think about moving in after 5 months of relationship, it seems a little too soon. Usually, it takes 6 months to know someone well, and a year to really know someone. I would suggest to give him a break, give him sometime to think it through, of all the pros and cons of living together. But that doesn't mean he's not committing, just being sensible. HOWEVER I understand what you mean about household expenses. If I was the roommate, I wouldn't be very happy either. These problems, you really need to sit down and discuss calmly. Let him know it's not fair on your roommate or your daughter. I would suggest either to have him over at yours less (and you can maintain your own life outside of him), or if he does insists staying so often, have him help around the house, buy groceries/cleaning products, or just chip in! It's only fair, and a thoughtful adult would think of. As to saying 'I love you', everyone has their own pace, and pressuring just won't help. Let him say it on his own, that's the only way you know he's genuine. BUT I would be a little suspicious if it's been a year or two and that hasn't happened yet. Wait and see. I totally understand your feelings. Usually very eager for thing to happen during the early period of a relationship. Last thing: don't listen to people stereotyping what your relationship could be. You can move in together, and eventually get married, or not; Or you can live separately and get eventually married or not! You should know how you'd like your relationship, and what works or doesn't. There are no guarantees. The only thing you should worry about is being on the same page, the both of you. Hope this helps!
danakscully64 danakscully64 4 years
Oh no, not the same crap again, Pax. http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-03-03/entertainment/27057883_1_cohabiting-couples-marriage
testadura67 testadura67 4 years
It sounds like he's enjoying the benefits of cohabitating/marriage/whatever without making any commitments. He won't officially move in with you, won't say he loves you, and holds sex over your head. I think you should only give him the privileges his commitment deserves. If he won't move in officially, then he needs to stop living there. Which may be inconvenient for you too, as you will probably have to go to his place a lot more frequently. My main concern in this whole situation is your child. If your child is getting attached to a man who won't commit to you (not necessarily by getting married, but even just emotionally), then you need to put a stop to it. You have a kid to worry about. Your feelings come second. Set some boundaries with this man. If he doesn't like it, he can learn to commit, or get out of your life. You have an example to set. Don't forget that.
henna-red henna-red 4 years
google cohabiting, or statistics of cohabiting......I'm seeling some differing info. There's been a shift in expectation of marriage, a huge shift considering in some states, 30 years ago, it was illegal to cohabit if you were unmarried. Cohabiting without the legal document, has changed the stats on divorce, because people can seperate, and it's not legaly a divorce. Lots of interesting info, actually, some perspectives slanted, some more objective. Actually more info initially about cohabiting than divorce stats........gotta love google.
Pazuzu Pazuzu 4 years
Actually the more I think about it, it does make sense. I mean, if you're already living together, marriage is just kind of what's expected. You've already started your life together so the marriage, in your mind, wont have that much meaning. So I see that side to it. I always looked at it as "well I better find out if I can live with this person before we make it official. Better to break up than get divorced." So I definitely see what you're saying, and stats like that have been around for years so there's got to be something to it.
Pazuzu Pazuzu 4 years
Thank you for sharing the article. Here's the way I look at it ( if you don't want to have a conversation/debate that's fine, I just enjoy talking and learning everyones views. I like getting as much information as I can). I don't think living together before hand will guarantee a happy marriage or guarantee divorce. But I think it allows you know if you can live with that person. You may both be in love but your living habits may drive the other person insane. Since you're not married it is easier to just leave. But I think too many people divorce without trying to save their marriage. I don't think living together will ultimately affect your marriage, I think individuals will either fight to stay together, or will seperate. I think in today's society there is no stigma on divorced people so being married doesn't make it any more likely you'll stay together. And I'm curious as to how living together before marriage can damage an eventual marriage. I mean I don't see how it makes you more likely to divorce? Once you've taken that vow you're on equal footing as any other married couple regardless of how the relationship started out.
pax4pax pax4pax 4 years
The study I read was a while ago, so, just a quick search on the internet turned up this for stats: http://www.rayfowler.org/2008/04/18/statistics-on-living-together-before-marriage/ What I read mainly focused on the fact that the ever-available presence of an easy exit brought instability in, though no-fault divorce has done the same for marriage.
Pazuzu Pazuzu 4 years
Ive never seen any research that supports that claim, but also nothing that supports the contrary. I'm very interested in that debate, the whole cohabitation thing, can you direct me to where you get your information pax?
pax4pax pax4pax 4 years
People who live together have a higher failure rate than those who do not. Maybe his ex could not handle the lack of sex and went back to what she knew. Sounds to me like he just wants to save on his utilities. Given the issues, you should look for someone else.
Pazuzu Pazuzu 4 years
Moving in together definitely changes the dynamics of a relationship and hes probably scared of that. Before my boyfriend and I moved in together I was terrified. I was so worried we'd find out we couldn't live together and id lose this amazing guy. But I realized its the only step forward and better to find out if we match or not. He probably has reservations about moving in and doesn't want to lose you if it turns out you rub eachother the wrong way. Saying "I love you" is also a huge step. Hes probably scared of that too. Maybe hes trying to figure out the best way to say it. Try giving him some time, everyone has their own pace and you cant force him to say or feel it. As for the sex, it sounds like he may have ED or some other medical problem. That's embarrassing for a man and kills your sex drive. Try talking to him about it, maybe suggest he uses a vibrator on you. Sex can definitely end a relationship, if hes unwilling, for whatever reason, you need to decide if taking care of yourself is enough. Give him some time and if things don't change talk to him about how you feel. Maybe try a joint counseling session. You both need to be open and honest. It sounds like you're both carrying baggage and it'll take time to heal wounds. Good luck
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